There are many good reasons for landlords to decide to retain the services of property management firms. When you make the right choice of firm, they can help reduce your turnover by identifying and helping to retain good tenants. They also take away the headache of having to take care of emergencies like burst water pipes. Unfortunately, not all property management firms are made equal. Some can handle clients and other related service providers badly, and have this reflect negatively on the landlord. Because they are the representative of the landlord on the ground, it is vital that they are carefully chosen to avoid a negative reputation arising in relation to the properties they manage.
- Seek references – it is a good idea to seek out fellow rental property investors and find out what companies they use. you can even talk to friends and family who are renting homes and offices via property management firms and learn which ones have a good reputation. Usually, those that handle the tenant clients well will also deal fairly with their landlord clients. When you have identified potential firms, ask them for references. Visit those properties in person, and where possible, chat with a few tenants to learn how satisfactory a service they provide.
- Check up on them – many who hire these managers for the first time suddenly feel free to focus on other pursuits. The only time they feel compelled to get in touch is when the firm is late in depositing their check. This is a big mistake as the negligence of the landlord can encourage mismanagement on the part of the manager. Cultivate a relationship with the manager and have them communicate with you every time they perform a service, even if it is replacing broken tiles. From time to time, visit your tenants in the presence of your manager and find out if the work you are being billed for has actually taken place. Random visits and calls can help keep the property manager on his or her toes. If personal visits are difficult because of distance, ask the manager to send you before and after photos of the work done.
- Visit vacant units – this is another way to check up on the manager. Many landlords make the mistake of easily believing that they are getting less income because there are empty units on the property. A quick visit should tell you if this is true. For this, you do not need to see the property manager. There have been many stories of landlords discovering their units being given out to friends, or used for illegal activity by criminal property managers. There is much money to e made in illegally giving out rental properties to criminals. Where you find that, a property that always had demand suddenly has several vacant units, but are too far a distance to check up on, contact a friend in the area to drive by and see if anything untoward is going on.