What to Ask When Hiring a Property Manager
Posted by Claire on
If you've never dealt with property management companies before, how do you know when you've found the right one? Renting your property and entrusting a tenant, virtually a stranger, to take care of your property is stressful enough. If you're looking to take a less hands-on approach, finding a trustworthy property manager who can manage all aspects of your rental space can be even more stressful. Their duties are robust so what's the best way of finding out if they're the right fit? Bust out those interview questions. Prepare yourself with a list (like ours) and see just how suitable they are for the job.
1. Is this a dedicated property management company and if not, does it have a dedicated property management department with sufficient staff to look after your property?
Property management is not glamorous, and most agencies prefer to spend their time, money and effort on their sales department instead. But if they don't prioritize property management by staffing a department accordingly, how can they prioritize you and your needs? We can safely assume you don't want front desk staff managing your assets in place of an expert. Make sure there are enough knowledgeable people in their office, so the management of your property doesn't suffer when someone leaves or gets sick.
2. How many rental units does the property manager handle?
Think back to the fairytale "Goldilocks And The Three Bears." There is such a thing as "too hot" and "too cold" when it comes to property management. If a manager handles too few, it can be a strong indication that they're either too inexperienced or don't have enough clients due to poor service. Too much and they won't be able to give your property the time and energy it deserves. You don't want to find out too late that they can't spare your unit time and you end up having a dispute with your property manager.
3. How do they decide rent amount for their units?
This is an essential duty every property manager undertakes, and they should excel. It is their job to research and analyze the real estate listings in the surrounding areas of your property and assess what the best rent is for your unit. If they're unable to produce a full market analysis of your neighbourhood and city while also taking into account unique characteristics of your property, they're not right for you.
4. Are there extra fees on top of the monthly rate they charge that you should be aware of?
Have you ever signed up for something super cheap thinking I can't believe how much money I'm going to save? Then you receive your first bill, and there's $30 worth of miscellaneous fees they've tacked onto your monthly rate? It's happened to the best of us, and it can happen to you here. Property management companies are just that — companies. They need to make money, and if they're charging you an absurdly low rate, they'll make it up in other ways. Be sure they're clear on exactly what they're charging you each month.
5. The follow-up to extra monthly fees, will they charge you if your rental unit is empty?
This is an important one since no one wants to be paying for services that aren't utilised. If they charge you your regular "flat rate" even if your property has no tenant, there's no reason they need to look for someone, is there? They get their money either way — win-win for them, lose-lose for you.
6. Are they responsible for conducting rental property inspections themselves or are they handing the keys to any Tom, Jill or Bob?
This should be a no-brainer. A responsible property manager takes the time to walk through a rental unit with a prospective tenant, not let them have free rein. Remember: you want someone hands-on when you take your hands off.
7. Do they mark-up any repairs or maintenance that is required on your property?
Best to find this out before you sign on the dotted line. If they're overcharging you to get work done, move on. Your profits will diminish quickly every time they have to do maintenance.
So if you want to avoid any disputes with your property manager, be sure to ask these questions before you sign a contract. If you're looking for trustworthy property managers in Victoria, BC, contact us now. We'll take care of you.