As of July of this year, the average yearly salary for a landlord in the U.S. is $71,699. Once a landlord reaches this level of profit, they’re probably juggling a few properties, and their business is likely only going to continue to grow. At this rate, however, the demands of their current tenants are likely absorbing some of the time and money they could otherwise be investing in other properties.
Does this sound like you? If so, it may be time to consider outsourcing some of your work to a property management company. Before you sign on with the first company that comes up in your Google search, however, you’ll want to conduct the proper research. An unfit company can damage your landlord-client relationship and, therefore, harm your business as a whole. We want you to know the best options when it comes to finding the property management company that best suits your needs. As such, we’ve created an in-depth guide of things to look for in a property management company.
Narrowing Down Your Options
Seek Out Referrals
Even in the age of technology, word of mouth is one of the most reliable forms of advertisement. People in the same industry as you may be able to offer perspectives on some reliable property management companies in the area. A seal of approval from other trusted professionals is an excellent place to start.
Do Your Research
Essentially, the entire selection process revolves around proper research and investigation into the workings of a company. Your first step is to do some digging online. This doesn’t have to be an incredibly extensive process initially. Look up reviews online and check whatever information is available from the Better Business Bureau. Get a feel for what people are saying online before setting up interviews with a company.
What to Look For
Rates and Fees
The average fee for an Atlanta property management company is anywhere between 8% and 12% of your monthly rental rates. Seeking out a company that charges within that range is recommended. (Excalibur’s management fees are as low as 4%. Click here to get an instant quote) If you have several properties that need managing, ask the company if they’re willing to keep the fee on the lower range of that window. Other fees that companies may charge can include:
• A monthly vacancy fee (Excalibur doesn’t charge a management fee when the home is vacant)
• A leasing fee
• A lease renewal fee
• A marketing fee
Make sure the company discloses all fees when you’re discussing terms with them and lays them out clearly in your contract. You don’t want to deal with any surprises on your invoice.
See if you can find out anything about the track record of the companies you’re prospecting. On average, for example, how long do tenants stay in the homes managed by these companies? This information may give you an idea of how well the tenant experience is. The tenants’ experience with a management company ultimately contributes to their overall quality of living, and a collection of unrenewed leases may suggest that something is amiss with a company.
How Many Properties They Manage
How do the number of properties compare to the size of the management company? A lack of professional relationships may mean the company has some room for improvement. Too many could indicate they’re already spread too thin. Working with several landlords doesn’t have to be a bad thing, of course: the company’s success could mean they’re looking to expand their business in order to accommodate more properties.
A Tenant Screening Process
Ideally, a tenant should be thoroughly screened before being offered a lease. They should be required to fill out an application and, as a rule, complete the following items:
• An income report
• A verification of employment
• A credit check
The property management company ideally shouldn’t have to get your approval before accepting a tenant’s application. A solid screening process that you trust should suffice.
A Paper Trail
When it comes to a professional relationship between a management company and a tenant, there should always be a paper trail. Any inspection, repair invoice, email, or rent payment should be recorded. You’ll need this information in the case of any potential escalations. You’ll also benefit from having these for your own records.
A Move-In Inspection
This one is fairly simple, but it’s integral in making the move-in and move-out processes run as smoothly as possible and with minimal paperwork. Your property management company should always perform inspections both before and after a tenant’s stay and take a substantial amount of pictures at each inspection.
Checks can be a pain due to the extensive processing they require. Depositing a check can take several businesses days, and there’s always a risk of one bouncing—which, as we know, incurs a fee. You want to work with a company that allows direct deposits for tenants through their tenant portal.
Speedy maintenance is one of the things tenants want most—and poor maintenance services are one of the top reasons they won’t renew a lease. When tenants experience a problem, they expect it to be remedied in an efficient manner. They don’t want to wait around and suffer through broken air conditioning or a bad leak. They need to be able to rely on their landlord to remedy the situation as soon as possible. You, in turn, should have to ability to rely on your management company.
It’s important that maintenance is not only performed in a timely manner, but also done well in order to prevent future costs. Ideally, you shouldn’t give tenants the option to hire their own repairmen. If you do, you won’t know how much the job will cost or if it will be completed properly. The best way to avoid a bigger problem is to let your management company address any issues directly.
Finding the right property management company is one of the most important things you can do for your business. A smart partnership will help your business thrive to its maximum potential. We have a genuine desire to help landlords get the most out of their businesses. To learn more about the best property management company in GA, contact Excalibur Homes today.