Property management is an art form also known as a real estate service for landlords who own rental properties but are not interested in managing the day-to-day happenings associated with rental properties.
Property management is a specialized field and requires skills, knowledge and patience to avoid many of the pitfalls one can encounter when working with people, rental properties and a budget.
Property owners may desire to rent out their properties rather than sell because they wish to diversify their retirement savings strategies, they love the house and can't bear to let it go, they cannot sell the home for the profit they need or want right now, or they may be moving out of the area but plan on coming back in a few years. We've hard many reasons over the years.
When a property owner decides to become a landlord, often they find they do not know how. Times change since the owner was a tenant. Laws and marketing methods change. Some property owners do a wonderful job managing their own properties. But, they still find it's too difficult once their personal life becomes busier.
Important reasons why you may need or wish to consider a professional property manager:
1. You work a full-time job and finding time to properly manage your rental properties is difficult and adds stress to your already busy life.
2. You do not regularly study the landlord tenant laws for the state where you own rental property. Every state is different and making business decisions based on rumors or without understanding the laws can be financially devastating. Our state laws are located here:
3. You are unfamiliar with proper ways to maintain a property to protect your long-range investment.
4. You act on your emotional reactions before evaluating the likely result of your response.
5. You are not prepared to respond to the needs of your property or tenant 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
6. You do not know or have access to reliable, professional vendors who can make repairs, clean and respond to serious matters on your behalf.
7. Bookkeeping is not something you enjoy or know how to do.
8. Creating a policy to approve or deny tenants scares you.
9. You don't know what the results mean for you as a landlord when looking at someone's credit, criminal history, rental history or other background check results.
10. Showing properties to tenants is not something you enjoy.
Property management is an art form because the property management company has to wisely balance people, properties and profits to create a successful experience for the landlord. Needs arise which tend to tilt the balance in one direction. If those needs are not addressed promptly to restore balance, new and sometimes worse problems develop. Think of a property manager being like an artist making a bowl on the pottery wheel - the timing, the intensity of the touch and level of skill either create something beautiful or an unfortunate mess.
Interview a few managers. Ask questions and listen carefully. Are you working with a skilled artist or someone who is dabbling in property management.
Some suggested questions to ask when interviewing a professional property manager:
1. How do you deal with tenants if a problem arises?
- Do they admire how they calmly deal with the situation? Do they mention what laws they need to follow? Does it sound like their response will make the situation better or worse?
2. How do you communicate with me?
- How many methods of communication do they use? Texting? Phone Calls? Email?
3. How often do you send owner statements?
- Will you get copies of invoices? Do they email or mail statements? Do they offer a login to access your account?
4. What do you do when a tenant calls you and yells at you over the phone?
- Do they hang up the phone? Do they listen to the tenant? Does it sound like the become emotionally charged at the mere mention of a difficult interaction?
5. How do you evaluate the maintenance needs of my property?
- Does it sound like they have a maintenance plan for all properties? Do they take a proactive approach or do they rely on the tenant to report all issues?
6. What professional organizations do you belong to and how do you give back to your professional community?
- Managers who say they can do it without belonging to a professional organization are missing out. The number of professional organizations and forums out there are vast and daily interaction with colleagues is easy and elevates the skills of every manager. Sharing is caring.
7. How do you stay educated on local and state laws impacting the landlord industry?
- You should expect your manager to represent you in all facets. We are constantly working to prevent poorly drafted legislation from impacting our clients. We may not always win, but we make every effort to stay current on best practices and law changes to insulate our clients.
The temperament, knowledge and skills of the property manager are vital to your landlording success. Kind, principled, decisive, creative problem solver, determined and honest are successful and desirable characteristics of property managers. NEVER make a decision to hire based solely on fees. Those who do not charge enough close their doors, leaving their landlord clients and tenants with a difficult transition. Professional fees should represent their level of professionalism and demonstrate sound reasoning.
Owning a rental property can be a wonderful experience. Choose wisely and your property manager will simplify and enhance your personal and financial life. Call us and let us know how we can help YOU be an awesome landlord.