Do you own rental property? Whether you suddenly find yourself in possession of properties for rent or you've been the manager of your own rental properties for some time, you may find that it is about time to look into property managers associations. Being the manager of even a single rental unit can be a challenge for someone who is not in the rental property business, but trying to rent out, maintain and collect insurance on multiple apartment units or on more than one property can be too much for many landlords. While some property owners may associate the use of a property manager with an unwanted expense, when one considers all of the things a good association does, it is often very much worth the money.
What do Property Managers Associations Do?
Associates of property management organizations are trained in a variety of skills related to helping you continue to profit from your property. These associates have a combination of business skills and property knowledge. The property manager is responsible for maintenance of the property and addressing any repair issues or problems that may come up among the tenants. Property managers associations may hire a superintendent to handle much of this on a day to day basis. Other responsibilities that the property manager or his superintendent may be responsible for include collecting the rent, collecting applications from new tenants, showing rental units to new potential tenants and making sure the building budget is maintained. Many landlords find that these jobs, especially the collection of rent, are ones that they would prefer to leave to a professional association. Late rent collection can be at best awkward and uncomfortable, and at worst a major headache; for some landlords, handling this job may on its own be worth the price of engaging the property managers association.
How to Choose a Property Management Company
Once you have determined you will need a property manager, the question becomes, how do you choose the right one? You should be able to collect a list of potential property management associations from the people you know. Perhaps you have an accountant or an attorney who has some ideas, or friends who own property, or even landlords of property you may have rented in the past. You can also go online and do a search for property managers associations, then ask for information about them in real estate forums online. Once you've found a few property managers associationsyou might be interested in, there's nothing to do but call them one by one and interview them, either over the phone or in person. What you're looking for is their level of knowledge and the potential effectiveness of their strategies for getting everything done that you need a property manager to do. For example, they should tell you how they plan to make sure your apartment building is as full of rentals as possible. They should be able to clearly explain their approach to late rent payments. They should also be able to explain to your satisfaction how they handle repairs, maintenance, and emergencies.
In addition to these practical questions, you should also endeavor to learn a little bit about the company you may be hiring. A company that has been in business for a long time is often more desirable. Certainly you will want to know the monthly fee for their services, as well as any other fees. You'll want to find out about their level of accreditation, how much and what kind of insurance they carry, and what their experience is, especially as it pertains to your particular type of building. It can also be a good idea to see if they can tell you about some of their most successfully managed buildings, and perhaps even put you in touch with those landlords so you can confirm their reputation directly.
Calling or meeting with property managers associations, hearing their pitches, and asking your questions should give you a feel for which company you want to go with. You're looking for not only the specific answers but how comfortable the associate makes you feel. Remember that choosing a property manager for your private property is not a decision to be taken lightly. Once you hire them, they will be making decisions for you that could potentially make or lose you thousands of dollars every month. You want to be confident you have made the best choice.
Changing Property Managers
Although you definitely want to give your property managers association the best chance to do their job, don't be afraid to make a change if one is warranted. If you are losing money month after month, or you're hearing about frequent complaints from tenants, there's a good chance your property management company isn't doing the job you hired them to do. Give them a shot, but don't be afraid to ask another property managers association what they might do differently if things are going south.