Eight Questions to Ask a New Property Management Company by Dave Sweyer

If you’ve decided to have rental properties in your investment portfolio, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to hire a property management company, and if so, which one?

Like the properties themselves, no two property management companies are the same. Some only manage residential properties, while others specialize in commercial rentals such as retail, office, and industrial space. As a result, their management styles, experience and size of operations will vary.

So how do you find the right property management company to manage your investments?

First, do your research. Online searches for property management companies in your area will yield several results. While we don’t suggest judging a book by its cover, a company’s online presence will give you insight into its structure, size, experience, and level of professionalism.

Second, remember that you are hiring a property management company to work for you. Treat it as you would any other hiring situation. Interview several companies and ask questions until you’re confident you’ve found the property management company that’s right for you.

Here are eight questions to ask potential property management companies to manage your rental properties.

While everyone has to start somewhere, you probably don’t want an inexperienced property manager managing your properties. The right property management company will have many years of experience and will have dealt with almost every aspect of the world of property management, including tenant turnover, maintenance issues, evictions, changes in laws and regulations, among others.

Property management companies come in all shapes and sizes. Some manage a relatively small number of properties, while others have strong management portfolios that include single-family, multi-family, and commercial residential properties. You’ll want to make sure a property management company specializes in your type of property, then consider several property management companies to help you decide which size of business best suits your needs. You may feel more comfortable with a small operation, or perhaps a larger company with a robust and varied portfolio suits your needs better.

It can be easy for a business to overextend as it has to manage more and more properties. For example, an independent property manager probably shouldn’t manage dozens of properties themselves, but a company managing 50 properties shouldn’t employ dozens of people. The number and specialty of people employed by a property management company should allow each property manager to have a reasonable number of properties they oversee. Depending on the size of the operation, a business may also employ full-time maintenance and accounting staff. Ask these questions of the companies you plan to manage your properties to assess whether they have the right staff to meet your expectations.

A property management company with the right experience and expertise will also have satisfied clients. Chances are you know one or more people who have investment properties in their portfolio, so ask people you know for good old-fashioned references. Also, good references and more recent testimonials on Google and company websites will give you a good indication of whether a property management company is right for you.

As with any legal agreement, make sure you know the terms of the contract you will sign with a property management company. Some contracts may seem practically inescapable, while others may not cover enough ground. Always remember that the property management company works for you, the owner, and if you are unclear or uncomfortable with the terms of the contract, ask questions, get clarifications and make changes before designate.

Any property management company with experience, expertise and doing a good job will have a high turnover rate which they will proudly boast about as a sign of their success. The renewal rate of a business shows its capacity and ability to satisfy its tenants.

You will want to know if your property management company charges fees during vacancy periods. Make sure you know if the fees you’re paying are fixed or based on a percentage of rent, so you know what to expect during vacation periods.

Whether a business employs maintenance staff or uses a network of contractors, maintenance costs can greatly affect your bottom line. Some property managers charge a markup fee for their work in organizing the maintenance of the property. Make sure you know how the company you employ handles maintenance issues before entering into an agreement.

As a leading property management company in the Cape Fear area, Sweyer Property Management certainly recommends that property owners strongly consider working with a trusted and experienced property management company. Whether you ask us the questions above or another company, we want to make sure owners and investors understand the relationship they are building when they choose to work with a property management company.

If you own investment property and are not using a professional management company, we hope you will consider doing so. The experts at Sweyer Property Management will be happy to provide you with a free rental analysis or, if you prefer, call us at 910-256-3031.

Sweyer Property Management is a professional, full-service property management company specializing in all aspects of rental management. If you are a real estate investor or owner who would like to learn more about our services and what a professional property manager can do for you, contact us today at 910.256.3031 or through our website. Sweyer Property Management has shown continued growth in the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining excellent Google+ note for customer service.