Growing a real estate investment business involves finding new properties, securing financing, and making the homes presentable. Add finding tenants, collecting rent, and responding to maintenance issues, and property owners discover it’s hard to do it all themselves. Investors should know how to find the best property management company.
Referrals and Reputation
Make a list of candidates by seeking referrals from friends, acquaintances, and business networks. Property management companies should concern themselves with maintaining a good reputation among property owners and tenants alike. Check out online reviews and any history of complaints with your local Better Business Bureau.
Locate and drive by some properties each candidate company currently manages. Observe if the property looks well-maintained. If the property sticks out like a sore thumb among other, better-maintained homes, that’s a concern. Schedule this outing for a Saturday when tenants may be out doing yard work or gardening, and ask if you may speak with them. Find out if they are happy with the service and responsiveness of the property manager.
Review the property management company’s website. Is it easy to navigate? Look at it from a tenant’s perspective. Note whether the company provides an online form to request maintenance and a secure system to pay rent online. Determine if it is easy to discover how to communicate with the company, book an appointment to tour a property, and apply to become a tenant.
Interviews are critical to finding the best property management company. Interviews give you a feel for compatibility and responsiveness. Ask lots of questions about how they market properties, screen tenants, collect rent, and manage the funds they collect. Ask them to explain their experience, how many units they currently manage, and how they conduct evictions, if necessary. You may also choose to inquire about their historical vacancy rate. Ask the company about their relationship with tradespeople, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, and see if they maintain a list of professionals they’ve worked with in the past for repairs and maintenance.
Licensure and Certifications
During your interviews, confirm the company has the proper license, plus certifications from professional organizations of property managers, like the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). Experienced companies may have attained their highest certification as a Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC).
Terms, Insurance, Compliance, Fees, Termination
Review the company’s contract carefully. Make sure you understand the terms, including their fee structure and each item that incurs fees. Some companies charge a flat percentage that includes all their services, while others have separate fees for filling vacancies, locating maintenance services, and handling evictions.
Confirm the company holds the proper liability, property and casualty insurance, and errors and omissions insurance. Make sure you understand how you can terminate the contract, and be aware of any penalties for early termination.
Finally, it’s very important to confirm the company understands your mutual responsibilities for compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local housing laws and regulations. In the Metro Atlanta area, Excalibur Homes provides experienced, professional property management services, including Decatur property management.