What to Expect from Your Property Management Company
Even though you own a rental or other income-producing property, you might not be familiar with the responsibilities of a property management company. Hiring a property manager can be very beneficial for your business and make your life as a property owner much more simple.
Of course, you’ll have to choose the right company to take care of your investment. We know from experience that building a solid foundation early, between you and your property manager, will set you up for success for the long term.
First, Understand Their Responsibilities
A property manager’s job will vary from company to company, so always get a detailed list of what they offer before hiring them for the position. Some companies offer packaged or bundled services or you can pick and choose services based on your needs as the property owner. Generally speaking, the property manager’s responsibilities tend to cover the most common issues that both tenants and landlords might face.
Tasks can include:
- Organizing maintenance professionals for routine upkeep of the property
- Responding to emergency maintenance or tenant situations
- Advertise the property to attract the best tenants and fill vacant rentals
- Screen potential tenants and prepare documents for a seamless move-in/move-out process
- Collect, deposit, and keep track of rents
- Office accounting and money management
- Report to you in a timely fashion any issues they cannot solve
You can choose optional, additional services, too. For example, some property managers offer help with remodeling, evictions services, or showing potential tenants the property, even outside of regular business hours!
Communication is Key
Although most property managers perform the same duties, they won’t all come with the same personality. Make a point to listen to how they prefer to do business and find the company that you think would work well for you and your needs. Would you like a large property management company, or do you prefer working with small local businesses? These are things you can decide as you are interviewing.
Make sure you’re open and clear with your expectations, or at least what you think you want if you don’t have much experience yet. Don’t forget to make your chosen methods of communication clear, too. Again, the way you do it is up to you — figure out if you want a check-in text, phone call, or email, and make sure your property manager is in agreement.
Keep in mind your property manager is interviewing you as much as you’re are interviewing them. They are professionals and have to follow very strict Fair Housing Laws and you want a property manager who is knowledgeable and willing to educate you on how best to manage your rental.
Come Up With a Financial System Next
Your property manager will be in charge of collecting your rent money and this cash flow is vital to your success as a property owner. You use rental income to renovate your properties, purchase a more real estate, and pay for necessities. Organizing and tracking incoming rents, late rent payments, and collecting non-payments can be time-consuming and this is not an area for mistakes. A professional property management team will have the experience and organizational tools already in place to make this task seamless.
Also, make sure you are clear how the management company is going to get paid for their services. Everything must be in writing when discussing payment. Your investment is important and you should work with a company that is transparent and open about their fees. Remember, good communication is important when establishing this new business relationship. Any good property management team will be happy to discuss any questions you might have regarding payment for services.
Understand Their Responsibilities
This step is crucial to the health of your property business, as a manager’s misstep can lead to legal action against both of you. It’s important to understand that as the property owner, you’re responsible for your property manager’s actions.
A property management contract outlines clearly the property manager’s responsibilities. In PA and NJ, a professional performing the tasks of a property manager will need to be a licensed real estate agent working for a licensed brokerage. They have a fiduciary responsibility to care for your property and make decisions in your best interest.
Let Them Start
After the contracts are signed, you can give your property manager the master keys! It’s highly advised to start with a detailed walk-through together. They can take pictures of the property and discuss any damage and potential costs to repair. The property manager will begin to keep records that will ensure routine maintenance is organized, collecting payment from tenants for any damage they cause during their lease, and keeping your property legally safe and up to the current codes.
Your property manager’s professionalism and organizational systems will make the property’s daily processes go smoothly. In other words, you now have someone with you, your tenants, and your property’s best interest in mind. You’ll have little to worry about with a good property manager!