When a property owner signs a lease with a tenant, they’re assuring them that they will uphold their end of the bargain. While landlord responsibilities vary by state, the implied warranty of habitability requires that they maintain the property’s essential elements. Such components include the physical structure, property systems (gas, electric, HVAC, and plumbing), and appliances. Rental properties must also remain up to code, pest-free, and secure. These obligations are vital to remaining in compliance as well as maintaining high occupancy rates and cash flow. Though most landlords are aware of this, managing the regular maintenance is often tedious when you factor in other responsibilities (like collecting rent and resolving conflicts). For landlords that have multiple properties or multi-unit buildings, these obstacles only intensify. That’s why many opt to rely on the professional services of a property manager.
What is a Property Manager?
A property manager is someone that oversees rental properties. Some of their responsibilities might include advertising vacancies, screening tenants, collecting rent, tenant management, and property maintenance. Their job is to manage the daily operations of rental properties.
What to Look For?
If you’re a landlord who’s become overwhelmed with property upkeep and tenant management responsibilities, you could benefit from hiring a property manager. As you search for candidates, here are some things to look for:
- Experience – When entrusting someone with your investment, it is vital to consider someone with experience. Property managers should have some educational or professional background in real estate law and business management. Asking questions like, “How many properties have they managed before, how many clients do they presently have, and what experience do they have in turning around troubled properties?” can give you a better idea of their level of experience.
- Professionalism – Whoever you decide to hire as your property manager is essentially representing you and your brand. Therefore, you want someone who possesses the characteristics of a professional. Some key traits might include reliable, punctual, organized, and well-dressed. Talking to references, reviewing their image on social media and professional platforms, and in-person meetings can help you discern a candidate’s professionalism level.
- Tech-Savviness – Property managers will have to utilize several technological resources to complete their jobs. From using accounting software to record rent payments, vendor invoices, and property expenses to inputting tenant data into property management databases, all management tasks are completed on advanced platforms. If they’re not well-versed in using these tools, it can lead to a multitude of problems.
- Availability and Responsiveness – You never know when a tenant might call about an issue. What happens if a contractor needs to be let on the premises to complete a job? You never know when something may arise that requires the attention of the property manager. That’s why it is important to hire someone who has a flexible schedule and a quick response time to prevent problems from escalating.
- Reputation – The reputation of a property manager should not be overlooked. What do other tenants, vendors, and property management firms have to say about this person? Conversations with references and researching online reviews can give you a clearer picture. Keep in mind that no one is perfect. If you happen across negative reviews, complaints, or feedback, don’t rush to judgment. If they took significant steps to resolve past issues and have an overall positive response, they are still worth looking into.
- Management Processes – The whole point of hiring a property manager is to make your life easier. If their management practices, however, do not line up with yours, this creates more work. When interviewing candidates, ask them about the processes and strategies they rely on. How do they handle dissatisfied tenants? What systems do they use to manage finances? What methods are used for advertising vacancies to your target tenants? Do they use the same contractors for all property maintenance and repair tasks?
Owning rental properties can be an effective way to generate income and invest in your future. However, none of it comes without hard work and dedication. As a landlord’s responsibilities are complicated, time-consuming, and ongoing, enlisting a property manager’s assistance is expected. The right person should have the right skills and experience that saves you time and money. If you’re interested in hiring a property manager, use the above qualities to help you identify the best candidate for the job.