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5 Topics Every Landlord Should Discuss with a Prospective Property Manager
The topic that landlords most commonly ask property managers about first involves costs. While it’s tempting to simply make a decision about a potential property manager based on management fees and commissions, landlords should delve a bit deeper. Professionalism, experience and focus will prove to be the driving forces behind successful property managers. Here are 5 Top Areas every landlord should discuss with a prospective property manager:
1. Professional Associations – When searching for a property manager a landlord should always ask each prospect, “What professional associations do you belong to”? The associations need to be appropriate for the specific profession within the real estate industry. When dealing with real estate sales, belonging to Realtor® organizations is appropriate. When inquiring about property management services it’s important to search out individuals who belong to property management associations such as the National Association of Residential Property Managers. The most important reason is the ethical aspects of property management. It differs from the real estate sales business. The second most important reason to use a property manager who’s a member of a management association is training and education. A landlord should hire a manager who has access to education and is networking regularly with other professionals in the field.
2. Experience – When looking for a property manager, landlords should ask prospective managers questions regarding their experience. Length of time in the property management business is good to know, but it’s not the final determinant. An individual only needs a real estate license to manage property, but being active in the sales industry does not automatically categorize that licensee as a competent property manager. It can take several years of managing properties to become a proficient manager and an efficient time manager. A property manager who is struggling with time struggles with problems and procrastinates on the implementation of solutions.
3. Focus – Ask a prospective property manager if they and their business is focused on managing properties. A property manager who’s primary focus is managing the real estate assets of investors and landlords will stay centered and on point consistently. They will not be sidelined or derailed from the day to day activities of property management by sales listings, negotiations and showings. A Florida property management company may have a sales department or partner, but the primary focus of a property manager should be managing properties.
4. Technology – A landlord should ask a prospective property manager if their company uses efficient payment processes. This includes processes for both the owner and the tenant. Owners need to have the ability to receive payments electronically and to contribute funds for repairs and upkeep. The electronic transfer of funds reduces the time element when managing properties. Tenants and applicants need to be able to apply and make all payments online including monthly rent. Online application and payment portals encourage a rental home shopper to make a commitment to a specific property quicker. Property management websites and payment portals need to be suitable for mobile devices more now that ever. Increasing numbers of rental home shoppers are using mobile devices to search for properties. Technology savvy mobile users are using their devices to make payments and purchases online at increasing rates. One in four Starbucks patrons now pay with a mobile device. Property management companies should follow suit. Those who do will be better able to serve the needs of landlords more quickly.
5. Advertising – Every landlord wants to know if their property is being advertised effectively. With the internet being the primary avenue for rental home advertising, getting exposure for a property should be easy. However, a landlord should not spend too much time trying to find where their property will show up on the web. A top quality rental home website will be able to do that job in addition to feeding the property advertisement to other websites with national exposure. A good rental home website will show up on page one of search engine inquiries. The actual property listing plays a large part in the effectiveness of advertising. A professional property manager with proficient skills will be able to photograph a property to show it in its best light. That manager will also be able to describe the property in a way that highlights not only the great qualities of the property, but also the surrounding community and conveniences. A landlord should take the time to view a prospective property manager’s vacant properties online. This will give the landlord a snapshot of the property manager’s advertising skills.
By making sure these questions are answered satisfactorily by a prospective property manager any landlord should be able to select a competent and professional property manager.
This is a post by:
Jack McSwain, PRM, Realtor®
Managing Broker for Walter Williams Property Management, Inc.
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