Renting out property seems easy until you have to deal with empty rentals, flooded basements, late payments, or evictions. Why not let a property manager deal with it for you?
A property manager does more than collect rent. The manager takes charge of the process by screening tenants, hiring maintenance, helping tenants with concerns, and easing the renters out the door. So when you're choosing a property manager to take care of your big property investment, you want the right one.
Here are five tips to help you choose a residential property manager.
1. Get a Referral
Ask around to see if anybody has referrals for you. Can your real estate agent recommend anyone? Do you know other landlords who can recommend agencies?
How does the property manager search for tenants? Where do they advertise? Do they hire their own photographers for advertisements, or stage houses for showings?
You also should find out how the management company screens applicants. What credit scores and background checks do they require? Screening applicants can be tricky, so it's helpful to let a residential property manager guide you through these processes.
What are the fees for finding renters? Does the company charge a flat fee or a monthly fee during the search process? Find out whether the fee gets reduced if you find applicants yourself or send referrals.
4. Compare Fees
Different management companies charge different fees, so you need to know what kind of fees you will be charged. Will the management fee be based on rent collected or rent due, or is it a flat fee? According to Zillow, standard management fees usually run between seven to 15 percent of a month’s rent, but most often around 10 percent.
One reason you hire a property manager is to deal with the unexpected. Are there extra fees for unplanned work, such as dealing with emergencies or handling extra paperwork?
You should also ask the management company what fees they charge when the rental is empty.
5. Ask About Property Inspections
Part of a property manager's job is to help keep your property in good condition. Does the management firm schedule house visits once or twice a year to make sure everything is well maintained? Will the company schedule other forms of maintenance, such as furnace cleaning and pest inspections?
You should also find out how many properties a company manages. If they are stretched too thin, they may not be able to personally maintain your property.
Find Your Residential Property Manager
Ask around, look for the right credentials, and ask the right questions so that you can find your perfect residential property manager. After hiring a property manager, you'll never have to deal with troublesome renters or flooded basements again!
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