If you have a rental property, you have likely considered hiring a Property Manager. Handing over the day to day tasks of owning a rental property probably sounds pretty awesome.
Hi I’m Becca, I make managing rental property simple and landlord life fun.
The challenge with hiring a PM is knowing if you found a good one. This person is going to manage what is likely one of your most valuable assets, and possibly your path to retirement. You need more than some google reviews to verify if this person knows her stuff.
Hiring a professional PM is the right step for many landlords. Click HERE to read, “Should you hire a Property Manager?”
If you do decide that hiring a property manager is right for you, here are 5 questions you need to ask every PM you interview
5 Questions to see if a property manager is a hero or a zero:
1) How many properties do you manage?
If an agent does not manage at least 30 properties, they won’t make enough money to be full time. You need someone who eats, drinks, and breathes the business if you are going to let them manage your assets.
2) How many inspections do you perform per year on each property?
This is it, the big question to separate the real professionals from the rent collectors. If the agent does not perform at least two inspections per year, standard, run away fast. No matter what excuse they may give you, if an agent is not in the property twice a year, any number of disasters could come up, and you would not know until it is too late.
I perform two inspections per year on all my properties, and I have never had maintenance or tenant issues get too out of hand because I’m there dealing with the problem before it becomes a disaster.
3) When do you start showing properties for re-rent?
All too often, managers wait until a tenant moves out, the home inspected, the unit turned and cleaned before they will even START marketing the home. Marketing does not typically even start until the house has been vacant for two weeks. Good tenants are not in a rush to move tomorrow, so it is usually 30 days before a good tenant moves in. That is 45 days of vacancy AT BEST! In most cases, you can market the home 30 days before the last tenant moves out. Pre-leasing is what I do, and I average 10 days vacancy, just enough time to make sure the home is in great shape for the next tenant.
Marketing homes while occupied is ten times more work for the agent, so they don’t like to do it. That is understandable; you just need to know what you are paying for.
4) When do you pay owners?
This is a trick question… You would assume I want to hear how quickly they pay owners, but I don’t. In every state, there is some sort of escrow law that restricts you from co-mingling the funds of owners. If a manager pays you before the rent check has had time to clear, the rent check could eventually bounce, and the agent would be in escrow violation. You want a manager who understands escrow laws and takes how they handle your money VERY seriously. Any manager who pays out owners before the 10th of the month is likely committing regular escrow violations.
5) What qualifications do you require for service people who work on the properties?
You want to ensure that only properly licensed and insured professionals are doing maintenance on your property. This includes EPA Certification for homes built prior to 1978. If there is an accident at the home, you dont want to expose yourself to serious financial risk because the manager hired the cheapest person without license or insurance.
These are the big 5 questions I want to know right up front to see if I am dealing with a great property manager. If a manager is full-time, they have a good understanding of the local laws, have good systems, do regular inspections, handle my money well, and have great contractors, they are likely heros!
Having quality answers to the questions above does not guarantee they are good managers. However, these questions will eliminate 90% of property managers, and you can make a personal assessment on the remaining 10%.
If hiring a property manager is the right decision for you, now you have a great tool to make sure you have an awesome landlord life!