Property management companies can be a great asset for managing your property portfolio. Not only will you get to save time and reduce your stress, but you’ll also ensure your property remains in good hands. The right property management company will take care of things like marketing the property, managing tenant applications, screening tenants, handling repairs and maintenance, and even taking care of evictions, should they become necessary.
But even so, there are some important strategies you’ll need to follow if you’re going to get the most out of your investment.
Hire the Right Property Management Company
The most important step you’ll take is hiring the right property management company. There are likely dozens of options serving your area, so you’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure you’re working with the best possible partner.
· Area of expertise. First, you’ll need to think about their area of expertise. Some property managers specialize in commercial properties, while others specialize in residential. Some provide specialty services while others are more generalists. Choose someone with experience and a focus on what’s most important to you.
· Years of experience. Though new property management companies can be successful, it’s usually in your best interest to choose a partner with many years of experience. The longer a company has been in business, the better chances it has of doing good work.
· Team and coordination. Who will be the team members responsible for overseeing your property? You may or may not get a chance to talk to them directly, but you should know who they are, what their experience is, and how they operate. Even more importantly, you should have a point of contact at the property management company with whom you can openly communicate; it’s important to have a rep who can answer your questions and guide you when necessary.
· Existing portfolio. What kind of real estate portfolio is this company currently managing? If a company has a large portfolio, it’s a testament to their abilities – but it could mean their attention is divided. By contrast, a company with a small portfolio may be more untested, but they might be able to give you more specific attention. It’s up to you and your personal preferences which is better.
· Reviews and testimonials. Take the time to research reviews and testimonials provided by other people who have used this property management company in the past. What do people have to say about this brand? Are they satisfied or dissatisfied? Are there any specific gripes that make you concerned?
· Fees. Finally, you’ll need to think about the fee schedule. Most property managers try to keep things simple, charging something like 10 percent of the gross monthly rent associated with the property as a management fee. Some companies may charge more while offering more, while others may charge less while offering less. Do your homework, so you know you’re getting the best deal.
If you have the right partner in place, your job will get much easier.
You can also improve your relationship with your property managers by improving your communication.
· Set expectations proactively. In any business arrangement, it’s important to set mutual expectations proactively. How often do you expect to meet? What do you expect from your managers? What do they expect from you? The clearer you are from the beginning, the better.
· Voice your concerns and ask questions. Be open about your concerns and feel free to ask questions if you’re confused about something. It will lead to better clarity and more mutual trust.
· Check in regularly. Make it a point to check in with your property management company regularly, such as with monthly meetings. It’s a great opportunity to touch base, go over expectations, and set a course for the future.
You’ve gone through the effort of reviewing and researching the best possible property management company and you’ve improved your communication with them. At this point, it’s important to trust your property managers. These are professionals who have your best interests in mind, so allow them to handle your property in the way they best see fit. Feel free to verify that they’re doing the work and make requests for changes that are important to you – but for the most part, if you want to destress and benefit from better management, you should let them do their jobs.
Get Feedback and Work to Improve
Finally, consider collecting and providing feedback regularly. You can talk about what you like and don’t like about the arrangement and get input from tenants about how the management company suits them. Over time, you’ll build an even stronger relationship with your property managers – and you’ll get even more out of your investment.