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Finding “The One”: Here Are 10 Questions to Ask a Potential Property Manager

January 02, 2019
Do you want to make money off a rental property without having to get your hands dirty while doing it?

Consider hiring a property manager to look after your rental. Your property manager can handle everything from marketing your property to making repairs.

But before you hire someone to look after your rental property, there are certain questions to ask a property manager that will let you know whether or not they’re cut out for the job. Here are 10 questions you should always ask a property manager prior to bringing them on board.

1. How Long Have You Been a Property Manager?

One of the first questions to ask a property manager should revolve around how long they’ve been managing properties.

You don’t necessarily need someone that has been managing properties for 50 years. But you also don’t want to hire someone who has only been managing properties for a few months now.

Instead, hire a property manager who has been managing properties for at least a few years. More specifically, you might want to consider looking for someone who has experience working in your local real estate market. This will ensure that they know how to market your properties and keep them occupied.

2. How Many Properties Do You Manage at the Moment?

Once you learn a little bit more about how long a property manager has been working in your area, the next thing you’ll want to ask them is how many properties they manage at the moment.

If they don’t currently have any properties that they’re managing, that should be a huge red flag. At the same time, it should also be a red flag if it seems like they have entirely too many properties on their plate at this time.

You want someone who is fully invested in the property management industry in your city or town. Just make sure they’re not going to be too busy to manage your property the right way.

3. What Property Management Services Do You Offer?

Each property manager operates a little bit differently. So it’s a good idea to see which specific services you can expect to receive from the property manager you hire.

Some of the common responsibilities of a property manager include:

  • Marketing available properties to potential tenants
  • Screening potential tenants to see if they’d be a good fit for available properties
  • Making repairs to properties they manage
  • Maintaining properties under their care
  • Understanding and following tenant/landlord laws
  • And more

You should see exactly which services a property manager will provide you with once you agree to start working with them. The last thing you want to do is start working with a property manager only to discover that they don’t offer the services you really need.

4. How Much Do You Charge for Your Services?

Cost shouldn’t necessarily be your No. 1 concern when you’re thinking about hiring a property manager. But it is something you’re going to need to keep in mind.

In most cases, property managers will take a small percentage of the rent that they collect from tenants every month as their fee. You should find out what that percentage is and see how it compares to the percentage taken by other property managers in your area.

5. What Approach Do You Take to Marketing Properties?

If you have properties that don’t have tenants in them, you’re going to be missing out on making hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every month. Therefore, it’s important for your property manager to know how to market your properties effectively to eliminate vacancies.

Talk to property managers about how they market properties to potential tenants. Some prefer to take the old-school approach and market them through newspapers and print advertisements, while others have more advanced digital marketing plans in place.

Whatever the case may be, you need someone who can keep the money coming in month after month by keeping tenants in place.

6. How Do You Go About Screening Potential Tenants?

While you want to have tenants renting out your properties at all times, you want good tenants and not ones that cause problems.

Your property manager will most likely be in charge of finding the right tenants for your rentals. So you should speak with them about what practices they use to screen potential tenants for properties.

You want someone who will go above and beyond to find the best possible tenants for your properties. This will help you avoid running into any issues, legal or otherwise, with your tenants.

7. How Long Do Your Properties Usually Remain Vacant?

No matter how amazing a property manager is, there are going to be times when they have properties that sit vacant. The key is to look for a property manager who doesn’t have any issues filling those vacancies quickly.

Ask property managers how long their properties typically sit vacant. A good property manager should be able to find tenants for a vacancy within just two to four weeks.

8. Will You Continue to Charge Me If My Property Isn’t Rented?

There are some property managers who will continue to charge you for their services, even if they haven’t been able to rent a property out. This will force you to lose even more money than you would otherwise thanks to a vacancy.

Try to find a property manager who will only charge you if your property has tenants in it.

9. Do You Mark Up Maintenance and Repair Fees?

Your property manager should not be turning a profit when they maintain or repair one of your rental properties. They should avoid marking up these services when they offer them to you.

10. Are There Any Hidden Fees I Need to Worry About?

A reputable property manager will lay out all of the fees that will affect you and explain them to you so that you know exactly what you can expect to pay. There shouldn’t be any hidden fees that pop up on you out of nowhere.

Feel free to ask about the possibility of hidden fees when interviewing property managers. It’ll help you avoid any surprises later.

Use These Questions to Ask a Property Manager to Your Advantage

There are so many different questions to ask a property manager before hiring one. The questions listed here should provide you with a good place to start.

Regardless of what you ask, you should make sure you feel 100 percent comfortable when talking with a property manager. They could ultimately make or break your investment in a rental property, so don’t start working with them until you’re sure they’re right for the job.

Contact us to hear about the property management services we can provide for you.

By Gregg Cohen

I am a co-founder at JWB Real Estate Capital, and I love to talk about investing in rental properties! You’ll often find me here contributing to our blog and in our Facebook group connecting with the community & sharing insights.

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