Engaging the right property manager can benefit both landlord and tenant. The wrong one can be worse than having none at all. Here, we talk about what to look for in an effective property management company in San Diego and what questions to ask to avoid hiring one you will wish you hadn’t.
IREM and NARPM
The Institute of Real Estate Management and the National Association of Residential Property Managers are two reputable trade associations that set the standards for the property management industry. Draw your shortlist from property management companies that are affiliated with one or both of these organizations. Property management companies specialize in different niches, such as condos or homeowners associations, commercial properties or single family residential units. Make sure, if you can, the companies on your shortlist match up with your niche requirements. You may not be able to discern this until you begin interviewing.
Interviewing prospective property management companies
Interview as many different companies as time permits. Make your choice based on their answers to key questions, but also to intangible qualities, like whether they are genuinely interested in your property. Do they take the time to find out your needs? Are they engaged in the conversation? Look for courtesy, respect and self-confidence. If they do not project these qualities during the selection interview, they are likely to drive promising tenants away.
Dig deep, and ask detailed questions, like:
- How do they advertise? How do they find tenants?
- Is the property going to be managed by a one-man band, who may not be an expert in all areas, or does the company have a team of professionals who specialize in areas like leasing, maintenance requests, accounting, and inspections.
- Ask about their experience in resolving conflicts. How do they handle late payments or willful neglect on the part of tenants? If they try and fob you off by saying they are so good they never have any conflicts or issues, forget about them. A typical property management company in San Diego or anywhere else in the country will come up against these sorts of problems regularly. They will already have systems and processes in place for dealing with them. Look for a company that has established procedures rather than one that learns on the job.
Return on Investment
Whatever your emotional attachment to your property, you must still look at it as a business. Find out what they charge and what you get for your money. The most best and most effective property management companies pay for themselves. What are their vacancy rates and how long does it take them to find tenants for a property? When they receive discounts from outside vendors, do they pass the savings on to their clients or do they sock it away and stick you with the same charges.
Get bids from several companies and compare their rates. Don’t rule out one company because they charge 12% and the other three charge 7%. Find out what the higher-priced company has to offer and calculate your ROI. The better the company is at saving you money, the better it is for you.