First Things First: 10 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Property Manager


October 25, 2018

Are you a seasoned landlord or a new property owner? Either way, you should consider hiring a property manager.  Although there are a few limitations that come with hiring such companies, at the end of the day they are necessary. So, we have put together a comprehensive list of ten things to consider before hiring. 

First things first, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does a property manager do?
  • What are my responsibilities as the property owner?
  • Do I really need a property manager's services?

 

What does a property manager do?

a happy couple stand with their arms around each other in an empty and open room of a new house. They are standing next to the property manager who is wearing a suit and smiling at them.

The role of a property manager is to manage the rental process on your behalf. A property manager gets your property rent-ready. For instance, hiring contractors for home improvements, and taking professional photos for advertising. They set the rent value, screen tenant applicants and handle all property viewings. Once the property is occupied, they handle rent collection, maintenance requests, and even general tenant communication. 

 

What are my responsibilities as the property owner?

There are some universal obligations that all landlords have. For instance, offering a safe and clean living space. Specifically, one that adheres to all health and building codesLandlords always need to keep up with property maintenance. Also, they should be available for tenant communication. Landlords set the terms for the type of tenant occupation on their lease, and also manage rent collection, security deposits, potential evictions.

 

Do I really need a property manager's services?

Managing a property can be a full-time job. Rental properties require regular maintenance and upgrades. Do you have the availability? Do you have professional skills and contacts? These are ways in which a property manager offers their experience and expertise. Ultimately, hiring a property manager will save you time and money. 

 

Top points to consider before hiring a property manager:

1. Experience

It's essential to know a property manager's experience level before hiring. A property manager with too many properties won't have time or attention to devote to your rental. Find out where they are and where their properties are. Ideally, you want to work with a property manager based in your area with local market knowledge.

Check the types of property they handle. Determine if they are at a similar standard and market level to your own. Property managers at the early stage in their career are very enthusiastic. However, more experienced management will have industry contacts and know-how. If you're still in doubt, ask for client testimonials and references.

2. Tenant type

A good property manager should have a database of prospective high-quality tenants. Does the property manager have high-quality tenants in their managed rentals? When hiring a property manager, check to see if they are able to provide tenants from the demographic you seek for your property. Property managers should complete a thorough tenant applicant screening process. Tenant screenings should involve criminal background checks, credit reports, previous landlord and employment references. Consider the types of processes a property manager has in place for attracting and placing tenants before hiring.

3. How to determine the rental value

A professional property manager should be a resource for determining the most accurate and competitive rental price for your property. Find out the methodology and how competitively their other rentals are priced. A good property manager should offer you background knowledge on market prices and work actively to increase your property’s returns. Ask how often the property manager reviews rental value. The rental value should be reviewed regularly to reflect changes in the local market and economy.

4. Vacancy rates

As a landlord, you ideally want zero vacancy rates. When you are considering hiring a property manager, check vacancy rates on their managed rentals. Ask how long it typically takes them to fill vacant rental properties. Blueground offers 100% occupancy rates, taking on units before they hit the market, ensuring full occupancy when rent-ready. Check to see if a property manager offers any guaranteed occupancy rates in their property management services.

5. Communication Style

A property managers communication style with tenants and property owners is important. How regularly do they inspect their managed rentals and check on tenants? Are they able to engage well with tenants to handle requests and make them feel at home?  Dependant on the size of their operation, will you be dealing directly with one individual or various staff members? Ideally, you want to partner with a property manager who will proactively communicate. They should offer regular updates on rental value, maintenance requirements and an overview of the tenant-landlord relationship for your property. Enquire how prospective property managers handle tenant/owner channels of communication. Determine if this meets your requirements.

6. Property marketing

As a property owner, you want to advertise your rental in the best light. An experienced property manager will know how to stage your rental highlighting features that appeal most to tenants. Clean, bright and spacious properties with modern amenities are best advertised with professional photography.  

7. Upgrades

A savvy property manager works to increase the value of your rental property by suggesting upgrades. A major consideration when presenting a rental property to market is if you will provide furnished or unfurnished. Furnished rentals, including fully-equipped amenities, can increase rental value by up to 20%. While some home improvements can be made economically, essential upgrades are best conducted by professionals. Check to see how a property manager is presenting the interior of their properties to market.

Do they work with professional interior designers to upgrade their rentals to their full potential? At Blueground, our in-house interior designers upgrade our rentals with high-end furnishings and sought-after equipment like Nespresso machines, Marshall speakers, Apple TV, and name-brand appliances. This attracts quality tenants and increases the value of the rental properties.

8. Maintenance

Whether routine or by demand from a tenant, property maintenance is always required for a rental property. When considering a property manager, find out what resources they have in the area. Other questions you may ask are,

  • Do they have any industry contacts? You might need those for repairs down the road.
  • Do they have a process for handling maintenance requests? Tenants expect requests to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
  • Are their managed properties maintained to a high standard? Properties require seasonal maintenance checks and upgrades.
  • Do they have a routine maintenance schedule and provide cleaning services? A clean and well-maintained property is what tenants are looking for.

9. Rent collection

A professional property manager should detail how and when rent is collected on your behalf. They will be clear on when you receive payments and provide monthly statements. A property manager must also be transparent and explain their process when a tenant doesn’t pay rent on time. Before hiring, find out how a property manager handles these aspects of rent collection. 

10. Evictions

Last but not least, consider if a property manager will be able to effectively handle evictions. A competent manager should be trained in your state laws to handle an eviction legally and effectively. Check to see if they have the credentials to act swiftly and legally to evict tenants. Having a solid lease agreement in place will make this process more efficient. When considering a property manager, check to see they are adept at drafting lease agreements to cover any potential pitfalls.

a woman with brown hair wearing a denim jacket and holding an eviction notice in her hand looks shocked and has her hand over her mouth in surprise

These considerations should inform your decision on whether to hire a property manager. A good working relationship with a property manager should streamline daily operations. As a property owner, you hope to increase the return on your investment property. A good property manager should elevate your income and reduce expenses. Get in touch to find out more about how Blueground upgrades our rentals through effective property maintenance


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