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Best Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Property Manager

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best questions to ask before hiring a property manager

Hiring a property manager is akin to investing. You want to know the strengths of what you’re paying for when you’re putting your hard-earned cash on a real estate property. You want your asset to perform.

Just as there is a variety of properties to choose from, there is also a variety of property management firms. You certainly want solid experience, effective communication skills and a real passion for property management. Adding to that, you’ll want a firm that has invested in advanced technology to make the process more efficient and worth the management fees.

Since 1980, we’ve been offering superior services here at Realty Management Associates, Inc. Experience, communication and advanced technology aren’t all we offer, either. We pride ourselves on our customer service, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have! To get you started, here are some good questions to ask during your property manager screening:

1. How long have you been in the property management business?

It’s vital to learn the length of time a company has been engaging in property management. You want to know if they have a proven track record. Aim for at least 5 years. An experienced property management firm will know how to handle delicate situations such as confronting tenants who committed violations in the rental property. 

Here at Realty Management Associates, Inc., we have four decades of experience to best help you. Experienced property managers like ourselves also have more efficient management methods and sharp marketing strategies owing to the different environments they’ve been exposed to.

You want to avoid being a guinea pig for a newly minted property management firm. It’s not a good sign when they’re still trying to find their footing in the industry, no matter if their fees are cheaper. It will end up costing you.

property management experience

2. What type of services are you offering to your clients?

Different property management firms offer different services at varied price points. Make sure you have an access to a full range of services. You want to focus on the main management services that will take the workload from you.

Realty Management Associates, Inc., offers a wide range of services to free up your time. These include marketing, tenant screening, rent collection, property maintenance and repair and financial reporting.

Carefully review the list of services to keep from unintentional assumptions. Ask detailed questions about how marketing is handled. Do we take care of arranging professional property photos and videos? If so, how many photos will we provide? How do we conduct their tenant screening? What kind of standards do we set to pre-qualify potential tenants?

It’s better to ask for details to know what to expect from the services we’re offering. As your property manager, we give clear guides to our services to keep you fully in the loop.

3. How many rentals are you currently managing?

This question alone provides you with a perceptive view of how a property management company is performing. If they name a small figure, you can deduce that their level of experience may be inadequate. Another reason could be that their customer base has grown smaller because of unsatisfactory performance.

If the figure is too large, you can also conclude that they’re overstretched. There might be a potential to overlook your property given the number of units that’s currently in their roster of service.

You want to arrive at a comfortable number where the size of their staff can correlate with the properties they’re serving. This can show a company’s expertise and efficiency. Here at Property Management Associates, Inc., we strike a balance between our employees and our clients. This way, we can be sure to give your property the care it deserves.

number of properties

4. How long are your properties typically vacant after turnover?

Check the answer to this critical question. The reason you’re hiring a property manager in the first place is to reduce vacancies quickly. An excellent property manager should be able to ready the property for lease within 30 days. This is enough time to prepare the unit for another move-in. It’s reasonable for clean-ups and property repairs to be finished within this allotted period.

Two to four weeks is generally an acceptable period for property managers to welcome new tenants. Beyond a month, the property manager may not be up to par. The vacancy rate should be below the area average. We strive to not only have your vacancies filled quickly but also with reliable tenants that will treat your properties with consideration.

5. Do I still need to pay when the property is vacant?

Some property managers practice a flat rate so whether or not a tenant occupies your property, you’ll still be liable to pay the fee. The best arrangement, however, is for property managers to remove fees if your property remains vacant.

Having this incentive will spur property managers to find tenants as quickly as possible. If they don’t earn anything, that will serve as a pressure point for them to chase aftermarket leads or double their marketing efforts.

Be wary of those that can still comfortably earn during vacancies. This will drain your resources and won’t create a reward system for them to act promptly. At Realty Management Associates, Inc., our goal is to make your properties as financially successful as possible. We prioritize the best interest of our clients.

costly vacancies

6. How do you set your rental rates?

A good property manager has the expertise to conduct a reliable market analysis. This analysis will provide you with an accurate price in consideration of various factors. The property manager will set a rental rate that will measure the current demand based on the economy and the features of your property.

The property manager must also have ready data of the local area of their expertise. The comparative market analysis would be easily performed among similar properties in your area. Thus, assigning the rent can be determined flawlessly. We pride ourselves on giving you the best rental price for your properties.

7. What are your monthly management fees?

It’s vital to know the fee structure of a property manager. Some will ask for a flat rate while others will ask for a percentage from the rent rate. Some properties also have package plans depending on the services you will need.

Monthly management fees are an important thing to consider and should not be rushed. It pays to have a management pricing comparison to ensure you’re getting a good deal. If you are interested in hearing about our fees, we would be happy to outline them for you!

8. Are there any miscellaneous fees?

As with management fees, different property management firms implement different pricing schemes. Be cautious and ask upfront about extra fees. Some firms will charge an additional fee for tenant eviction procedures and additional marketing campaigns. 

Make sure you have a clear understanding. You don’t want to find yourself paying for more because a property manager has been less than transparent when marketing their services. It pays to conduct your due diligence, especially where financial matters are concerned.

Our team at Realty Management Associates strives for transparency in our financial matters. We value our clients through reasonable fees for our services.

If you have any questions having read this article, we would love to hear from you!