Are you wondering what the five most important things to look for are when hiring the right property manager? Our Peake Management family has a simple checklist of items that everyone should consider prior to hiring a specific management company. Check them out here!
Everything goes better with good two-way communication, especially in property management! Your property manager is responsible for coordinating between tenants, landlords, contractors, homeowner and condo associations, real estate agents, government officials and more, all for a single repair. They’re the oil that makes everything run smoothly. Make sure they are committed to timely communication, while recognizing that their job requires them to be on the road and out of the office about half of the day, so some patience is also required.
Many managers juggle between 80 to 200 properties at any given time. This inherently demands a high level of organization. Your property manager needs to prioritize the most pressing needs and be vigilant about follow-up and keep you in the loop. They flag and track responses from all the different parties to ensure nothing is missed. When interviewing a property manager, you should ask directly about their communication practices:
- Do they have a general time period in which they respond to emails, voicemails, messages?
- Are they able to text you if that is your preferred method of communication?
- Is there an after-hours line for emergencies?
- Are they paperless or will you be waiting for some communications by mail?
- How are your statements delivered? Are they monthly?
- Will you receive copies of the invoices with the statement?
Property managers are very busy people, as are most of their clients. However, if you find a true lack of responsiveness at the very beginning, that’s not a good sign for a long-term relationship.
Will you have one primary property manager assigned to your account (with support) or is the structure such that one employee does inspections, one does work orders, one does communication?
We tried delegating different staff members by function instead of property, and it was a terrible client experience. The client never knew who the right party was to talk to and no one had the full picture. Most clients prefer one primary point of contact who should be able to answer all their questions. We assign properties relatively geographically and one manager oversees the entire process.
Long-term experience is critical in property management. Every year, we all learn more and more. A property management firm that has been in business for more than ten years has far more experience and background in dealing with problems with properties and tenants. It is more likely to be a smooth road in managing your property and they can provide you better guidance on how to address an issue based on past experience.
- Ask for testimonials from past and current clients – look, specifically, for clients who have been with the firm for many years. People don’t always like to be disturbed by strangers asking for a referral, so may testimonials are available in writing.
- Find out how many years the actual property managers have been working with the firm. If there seems to be a high turnover rate, that may be a sign of a bigger problem. Ours have worked for us between 6 and 22 years!
- Also inquire about the firm’s stance on continuing education. Do they encourage their property managers to take courses and further their education?
It’s a digital world and nowhere is that more evident than in property management. Technological advances have made the industry so much more streamlined. Your property manager should be equipped to provide you and your tenants a digital experience to make your lives easier.
- Are managers using tablets to conduct their inspections? If they are still using paper, this is a red flag. It eats up so much valuable time to write, type up and send paper inspections. Every property manager at Peake is assigned an ipad to conduct inspections so they can be shared with all parties at the click of a button!
- Is there an online portal for both you and your tenants? You should be able to access monthly statements, invoices and pertinent documents such as leases, addendums and 1099s and your tenants should be able to pay their rent online and submit maintenance requests. If the firm does not offer a service like this, then keep looking. Tenants especially love paying their rent from their phone.
If you have the option to sign with a company who is using all the modern technology available to provide better service to their client, or one who is still doing it old school, which do you think is the better choice for you and your tenant?
There are many more nuances that go into your search for a property manager, but if you use these five categories as a guide, you will be in good shape. If you are looking for a residential property management in the Northern Virginia area, we at Peake Management Inc. would love to hear from you and, yes, we check all five boxes! We are strong communicators, with extremely organized property managers. One manager is assigned specifically to your account. Every staff member has many years of experience specifically with our company. We are heavy users of technology and continue to incorporate new tools as we discover them! Come and join our Peake family.