How to find a stellar property manager

Becoming a landlord can be wonderful. All that cash magically flowing into your account every month. (Hooray!) Let’s be real, though: it can also be a huge headache.  

If not for a reliable property manager, you risk losing valuable tenants and ending up spending more money on repairs. And if you own multiple rental properties, finding a property management company becomes all the more necessary.

Here’s how you can find a stellar property manager:

1.      Determine your selection criteria

To find a competitive property manager, first, you need to figure out a set of criteria they should meet.

Here are three key factors to consider:

  • Their ability to manage risks
  • The service level they offer
  • The price of their services

Think of yourself as a recruiter or an employer. You are, after all, hiring someone to do a job. And for that, you need selection criteria. Someone providing an all-encompassing property management service may come with a premium price.

Or a low-cost provider may lack the required expertise. You need to find someone who gets things done and does it well, all at your desired price point.

2.      Ask for referrals

Word of mouth is big and always will be. But you can’t just trust anybody’s word. When you ask for referrals, make sure that it’s from the people you really trust in your inner circle.

A bad referral could end up wasting your precious time and money.

Do consider checking in with your real estate network or people who you’ve worked with before as well. And even if it’s a trusted individual, ask them about the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s best to rely on more than one adviser for referrals, too. You don’t always get the full picture if you don’t ask multiple people.

After shortlisting a few candidates, schedule an interview and be prepared to ask questions about their experience and qualifications.

Kimberly Smith, author of “Making Money with Rental Properties,” elaborated on this in an interview with Realtor.com. “A property manager that is acting on your behalf to lease and manage your property must assume fiduciary responsibility and needs to be a licensed real estate agent.”

3.      Figure out their availability & responsiveness

There are many responsibilities that go along with becoming a landlord. Imagine being jolted out of sleep at 1 a.m. by your tenant claiming their heater is broken. What a nightmare, right?  

Things like this are why it’s so important to hire a property manager. When finalizing a candidate (or a company), make sure you’re on the same page regarding their overall availability and anticipated responsiveness.

Is it important to you that they answer calls and messages 24/7? If yes, make sure that’s conveyed and that nothing is left up for assumption by either party.

The amount of time they take to respond to calls/messages is also important. An ideal property manager makes sure that your property is cared for and that your tenants are happy living there. This way, they not only save you time, but also protect your investment.

4.      Scour the internet

The internet is your best friend. (For cat videos and podcasts, obviously, but in this case, too.) Conduct research on property managers, including reviews from past clients. If you can devote some time, you may end up with a qualified, trustworthy resource that you wouldn’t otherwise have found even through referrals.

Websites such as AllPropertyManagement and $implifyEm curate lists of property management companies you can review. This will help to widen your search parameters. You would, of course, need to find property managers in your area, considering they’d need to commute to the property every so often. You can use Google, Facebook, and review sites like Yelp to check the authenticity of property management companies.

Now you’re equipped and ready to find your own rockstar service provider. A stellar property manager is like a great insurance policy: you don’t spend much time thinking about it, but when you need it, it’s there for you.

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