1. Look for Experience
Experience is a big plus in many industries, but it’s crucial in property management.
After all, you’re entrusting your property in someone else’s hands. When you’re handing over investment as big as a rental property, you want to make sure they know what to do and have done it successfully before.
When evaluating a manager’s experience, don’t just look at how many years they’ve been in the industry. (There are plenty of PM’s who’ve been in the industry a long time with low success rates.)
Instead, you should also consider their experience in:
- Getting proper returns for their clients
- Handling properties similar to yours
- Dealing with tenant issues
- Finding tenants during dry markets
By considering their experience in areas like these, you can evaluate how good they really are.
2. People Skills
Property management is, ultimately, a people business.
Not only will your manager deal with you and your tenants, but they’ll also need to work with third-party suppliers, regulatory bodies, contractors, maintenance crews, utility companies and more…
The better their people skills are, the better they will be at managing your property.
This is often something you need to evaluate when you ‘meet’ them.
It is always a good idea when ‘interviewing’ prospective Property managers, to use a visual method of discussion (Zoom, Skype, Facetime etc).
Observe how they deal and communicate with you, how they make you feel, and this will give you an indication of how well they work with other people.
Your property manager should also excel in
negotiation and managing complaints because these will be vital in dealing with
different types of tenants over the lifetime of your rental property.
3. Expertise in the Industry
As Property management is complicated and certainly not a highly regulated industry, you want to make sure you’re working with managers who know all the processes and methods for ‘getting things’ done.
You want a go-getter!
Assess their industry expertise and determine how much they know about what rules there are and requirements for managing your type of property.
Are they experienced in residential? Do they have Multi-family property expertise? etc. What is unique to your situation, and have they expertise in handling it?
The more knowledgeable they are, the smoother your life as a property investor will likely be.
Remember that an expert manager can also help you avoid fines and penalties etc from the City or County, so you want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.
4. Solid Organisational skills
Property management is a juggling act that requires amazing organisation, scheduling, and time management skills.
Being able to set priority, knowing what is most important is critical (notice I did not say URGENT. The biggest mistake that any manager can make is confusing urgent with important…)
If your PM (Property Manager) isn’t organised and detail-oriented, then you could end up with unsatisfied tenants, property damage, maintenance issues and possibly even costly fines.
It is critical to evaluate their organisational skills by learning about their procedures for key aspects of property management like rent collection, tenant screening, maintenance scheduling, and addressing tenant issues.
What structures they have in place, how they deal with these crucial tasks will give you a great insight into how well structured they are as a business.
This will also give you a better idea of
how organised they are and how well they can manage different aspects of your
5. Good Communication skills
How easy is it to get a hold of your property manager?
Do they respond quickly to your inquiries?
Do they answer your questions clearly and honestly?
These are questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a PM to work with. You need to be doubly sure they understand you are not local and the best way for you to contact them and vice versa.
There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing how your property is doing because your manager isn’t getting back to you or giving you the information you need.
Save yourself the headaches by choosing a manager who values open communication and tells it like it is.
With your investment halfway across the world, this is almost the most important criteria. You need to be kept in the loop with what’s happening, even an email just to stay there is nothing to update you on, is a welcome sight to a lot of foreign investors.
Online portals can also be a good way of getting communication or information when you need it at your fingertips…
6. A Good Reputation
Word travels fast in any industry, particularly the real estate industry, so if a Property Manager isn’t good, you’ll probably here about it.
Conversely, if they’re great, then they’ll probably come highly recommended.
If you’re looking for a new manager for your property, it’s always worth asking around to see who fellow property investors recommend.
You need to ensure to check their online reviews and client testimonials (if any) to understand what their clients think about them.
Get referrals from the company and reach out and contact these clients and make sure they ARE happy with the company’s performance. Particularly their communication, responsiveness and expertise.
This will help you evaluate whether they live up to their reputation.
Keep in mind that some newer PM’s may still be building their reputation, so you may need to do some in-depth research for this. But, you would need some form of referral to use a new Property Manager. As a foreign investor, it is risky to use a new company without a proven track record.
Nonetheless, you’ll get a better idea of what they’re like by seeing what other people are saying about them.