Clayton Sanders

How to Interview a Property Manager
by Clayton Sanders

You’ve jumped into investing in real estate, but you’re not sure where to start when it comes to getting a tenant in, maintenance requests, and a host of other things owners have to worry about. Hiring a property manager may be the best alternative for you. Various companies offer property management services; hence, after considering several relevant aspects, you should select the best providers. A reliable property manager should display qualities such as excellent communication skills, honesty, organization and other quality traits that you can discern during the first few interactions.

If you choose a worth property manager, it will undeniably be beneficial to your assets. Profit margins are directly affected by the kind of property manager you hire. After you have identified a preferred property manager, you have to take them through an interview process. So, what are the questions you need to ask during the interview? This article presents some of these questions and describing their importance in identifying the best property manager.

1. How are potential tenants screened?

You want to make sure you are leasing your investment to a reliable tenant. Therefore, before granting a tenant into your property, they need to be assessed to determine particular attributes. These may include if the tenant has a history of bankruptcy, previous evictions from other properties, criminal activities, credit-worthiness, and their judgments. Such factors will help you make decisions on whether to lease to the tenant or not.

Therefore, during the interview, you need to inquire about what screening process they use for tenants. Make sure the criteria that the company deems a good fit, is also a good fit for you.

2. How is rent collected?

You should also find out how the property manager gets the tenants to pay rent. Formerly, the collection of rent used to be done manually where the landlord or managers could come for the rent directly from the tenant. Otherwise, the tenants would have to take the checks to the manager's office. The property manager you hire should allow for online payments rather than just manual payments. Online payment methods are essential as they allow efficient paying of rent and the tenants can easily hit the deadline without too many excuses. In a lot of systems that allow online payments, the tenant will have the option to set up auto-payments, which is ideal for all parties.

3. What is the fee structure?

Before you hire a property manager, you need to inquire about their charges. Going for cheap companies might mean relatively low-quality services while comparatively high prices could guarantee reliability. You should, therefore, go for one with nominal charges that are not out of your budget. Like most purchases, you get what you pay for. Ask for a sample copy of the agreement and read through to make sure there are no surprise charges that you hit you later.

4. How do you handle maintenance requests?

They should give details on the process that the tenants go through to send maintenance requests. The best way to handle these requests is by use of a ticket system, or through phone contact, from where the tenants should get an immediate retort. The significance of such quick methods is that they build trust among tenants and the value of services offered always contents them. Include in this conversation, questions regarding tenant responsibility charges, do you get a say in what vendors are used and do they hold a retainer of funds from you for minor repairs.

5. How many rentals do you currently manage?

It is essential to identify the number of other rentals that they manage at the time. If they manage a few units, maybe less than 200 units, it may signify that they are amateurish and might lack enough property handling experience. Also, if they manage too many rentals, say over 600 units, that might hinder them from adequately attending to your property. Find out if you will have a dedicated contact for your properties.

6. How and when do you inspect properties?

A property manager needs to ensure that amenities in your property are working and running properly. Facilities such as bathrooms and water pipes need to be regularly inspected, and if need be, repairs should be carried out. You should then establish how often they plan on checking out your property. With regular and seasonal inspections, problems and faults are minimized, thereby keeping your property in good condition which in turn attracts more tenants.

7. Can I see a copy of the lease and associated documents?

You need not to overlook the importance of checking out the essential legal documents. One of such documents is the lease, which is usually provided to the tenants by the property manager. The other important one is the management document that is provided to you by the property manager defining the contract between the two of you.

While the property manager you choose may not be in a position to answer all these questions; not everyone is perfect. However, if they have not attained most of the standards defined by these questions, that should be a red flag. Responding to these questions well proves professionalism and that could help keep your property occupied and generating rental income for you.

Clayton Sanders
Clayton Sanders is a real estate enthusiast and Brand Ambassador for Transactly living in St. Charles, MO. Clayton spends his time researching real estate trends, and the implications of NAR data on the current US housing market. Clayton credits the foundation of his real estate knowledge to Worth Clark Realty.

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