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Property Management Help: Finding A Property Management Company

Todays Date: November 19, 2018

Should you need to hire a professional property management company then the profitability of your property boils down to whether you hire a good or bad company.

If you pick a good property management company, your rental home will make you a good amount of money. If you pick a bad company, you could lose thousands of dollars a year on your rental home.

One of the biggest mistakes owners make is that they just pick a property management company out of the phone book without first doing research on the company.

Watch out for those big “we do it all” real estate firms that span across the country. They only offer property management services because they want to be the first company you think of when you go to sell your home. That’s where they make the money, is on the selling of your home and not the property management side. As a result many of these nationwide companies lose money on their property management divisions because they are run so poorly. It is hardly ever a good idea to go with a property management firm that also sells homes. There has been many accusations that these companies will purposely let your home sit vacant while they hit you with sales pitches about how it is better to just outright sell your home. You want to find a company that specializes exclusively in property management. If possible, you want a company that operates exclusively in your area so much so that they have become experts and specialize only in your local markets.

Check references, particularly the management companys other clients. Make a few phone calls to check references. Do not sign any agreement with the property management company until you know they have a good track record. Now here’s where owners blow it. They contact a property management company on their high up pedastool and they demand to see a list of all the property management’s clients so they can call them for a reference. Don’t do that. Humble yourself. Your home will only make about $50 a month for the property management company. If you are a pain, they will simply tell you to take your business elsewhere. The property management company will not release a list of “all” their clients. Not to you. Not to anyone. That is confidential and internal information. Think about it. Anyone could get a list of clients and then contact those clients and offer a slightly lower management fee and take all their business away. You would be hard pressed to find any business that would be willing to give you a list of “all” their clients. Just chill out. Ask for three references that you can call. Call the references and ask if they work for the property management company or know someone who does. Ask the references how long they have had their properties managed by this company, and just go from there.

Go online and check the company out. Do they have all the necessary licenses to do business in your area? Are they in good standing with the DRE? Most states require a property manager to also have a real estate license if they are dealing with single family homes.

Check the company’s insurance. If they are not insured, stay away from them. The company should have general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and workers’ compensation. Remember, the management company will be collecting deposits and rent so they should have a bond on their employees to protect you in case of employee fraud.

Another big mistake owners make is that they do not ask the right questions when hiring a property management company.

Ask the management company the following questions when you are interviewing them:

1 – Can you show me a list of what management services you provide?

2 – Do you sell homes?

3 – Can you provide a list of exactly when I will receive income checks and reports?

4 – How do you market properties?

5 – How quickly do you, and what is your procedure for, handling maintenance requests from renters?

6 – What is the name of the person who will be managing my property? What are their qualifications? Are they legally licensed? How many properties does this person currently manage?

7 – Can I have three references? Specifically, can I have the contact information for three clients of yours with rental properties that are managed by the same person who will be managing my property and that is similar in type, size, and location to mine?

8 – If maintenance is provided in-house or by an affiliated firm, do you only charge the actual cost of labor and materials without any surcharges, markups, administrative fees, or other such add-ons? Can I opt out of your in-house maintenance division and have repairs done by external companies only?

9 – Do you get volume discounts with your vendors and do you pass on that savings to clients without any markups?

10 – How do you handle late charges? Who gets to keep the late charges? If you keep the late charges, will you come down on my monthly management fee? If I get to keep the late charges, are you charging me a higher monthly management fee?

11 – Do you have insurance on employee errors and theft? Specifically do you have an Errors and Omissions policy that covers at least $500,000? On your general liability policy does it cover at least $2,000,000?

12 – Do you have at least a $500,000 bond and a forgery and alterations insurance policy of $25,000 or more for all your employees?

13 – Do you meet all DRE standards for what is considered acceptable and not acceptable regarding the co-mingling of owners’ funds? How do you keep my rental income separate from John Doe’s rental income? If money is not in my account to pay for a repair, do you contact me and ask that I send you the money or is the money taken from another owner to pay for my repairs until I can pay you. (The answer you want to hear is that the repair is not made until the money is in your account to pay for the repair).

Written by Steve Guy. This article will help you should you choose to hire a professional property management company to manage your rental home. If you are a property owner in California’s Central Valley and want to hire a licensed and professional property management firm, go to Madera property management

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