Shopping for a Residential Property Manager
Shopping for a Residential Property Manager
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Apr 07,2016

Shopping for a Residential Property Manager

You think a professional property manager would be the best solution, but you are not sure how to go about shopping for one.

The Internet is the first stop for most people these days, regardless the quest. So go ahead and go there. Review a few property management websites. Something may pop out at you that will make you want to dig deeper into a few of them. In such case, either email them or telephone the office to make initial contact. Telephoning is probably a better idea. Phoning is a good test, because the manner by which your call is received will be your next indication about the nature of the prospect. A similar test is their reaction to your email inquiry.If the management company survives the telephone or email test, set up an appointment to meet, in person if at all possible. Ideally you will meet with the person or persons that will be doing the work, not a surrogate. NOTE: If they don’t have the time or interest to arrange for a face-to-face meeting, and at a time when they are trying to win your business, you might reasonably wonder what it will be like when the honeymoon is over. When you do meet, bring with you a thoughtfully prepared list of questions. There are many things to ask, but don’t forget to find out about the following, at a minimum:

If the management company survives the telephone or email test, set up an appointment to meet, in person if at all possible. Ideally you will meet with the person or persons that will be doing the work, not a surrogate. NOTE: If they don’t have the time or interest to arrange for a face-to-face meeting, and at a time when they are trying to win your business, you might reasonably wonder what it will be like when the honeymoon is over.   When you do meet, bring with you a thoughtfully prepared list of questions. There are many things to ask, but don’t forget to find out about the following, at a minimum:

  1. How is maintenance handled? Is this a profit center for the property manager? If it is, and you may need to dig deeply to know the truth of this, then be careful about maintenance service calls. What’s to prevent a self-serving manager from finding maintenance where no maintenance was really required?
     
  2. What marketing resources do they have? Is Internet a big player?  It better be!
     
  3. How many people comprise the service team? How are they coordinated to best serve you and your prospective tenant? If this is not done well, you will rue the day you signed on with them. If they cannot explain this, it’s probably something they would rather not discuss.  In such case, it might be time for you to move on.
     
  4. How do they treat security deposits?  (Some managers subversively deduct a large portion of the tenant’s deposit as an administrative fee.)  This is legally okay if properly disclosed, which it often isn’t, but it suggests a disrespectful attitude towards the tenant.  If they are willing to abuse the tenants before the ink is even dry on the lease, what’s the landlord relationship going to look like? This speaks to the core character of the property management philosophy. FYI, proper disclosure of this policy would be at the time of the initial contact with any tenant prospect when discussing the deposit.
     
  5. References are always helpful, especially if you can get some from tenants other than the ones they offer you. Note that I said tenants and not property owners. Most property managers are working for the property owners as clients, and serving the tenants as customers. If the customer is not happy, something is wrong. Ultimately, if the customer is unhappy, the client will be too.

NOTE: I did not suggest asking about fees. That’s something you will certainly want to know about, but it really is not the most important thing. Ultimately, what you want is quality management. I can assure you that there is no discount that makes up for poor quality service. Property management done badly will cost the property owner big time, and the costs are intangible, even though predictable until they actually occur. CAUTION: Do not shop property managers by cost of services alone.

When you compare the answers to these questions, and others you may have, it will be pretty obvious which of the prospects deserves your business.  Good luck! 

Dan Wilhelm
3 Options Realty
http://www.3optionsrealty.com
Phone: 678-397-1282

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If you have been rummaging through web results for “property management companies near me,” then you are at the right place. 3 Options Realty’s property managers in Atlanta are experienced and trained to deliver top-tier service. Call 3 Options Realty to speak with a friendly representative today to learn more about our property management & real estate services. We are ready to take your call.

Buy, Sell & Rent with 3 Options Realty

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We use professional market research to determine fair-market rent, and we use broad market advertising to reach a large audience. Our agents will also help you prepare your property and skillfully present your property. Prospective tenants will undergo comprehensive interviews and background screening before we negotiate with them the rental agreement using our proprietary, attorney-reviewed forms.