As a rental property owner, few decisions are as important as hiring the right property manager to oversee your rental. A good property manager will manage everything from day-to-day maintenance to collecting rent, screening tenants, paying taxes, and everything else in between. Given the breadth of services, a property manager should provide, determining the best option can take a lot of time and effort. Every rental owner should ask detailed, nuanced questions tailored to their requirements and preferences. But as a starting point, the following considerations can be used to kick off interviewing and choosing the best property manager possible.
Experience and Qualifications
The simplest step, yet undoubtedly important, is to assess whether or not a property manager has the credentials to provide quality service. Depending on the state of operation, a property manager may need to be properly licensed. Otherwise, they may be operating illegally. It can also help to look at the makeup of their employee base. If the employees received education and certification in the field or are members of trade organizations, it suggests the company is committed to hiring and developing quality employees.
More broadly, the company’s history can be a helpful indicator as well. A company like Valley Management Group, which has been providing San Jose Property Management services for over 40 years, will have built up years of practical experience and plenty of client and partner reviews that can aid in the decision-making process.
Before deciding, a rental owner needs to know what services they need to cross-reference with what services a potential property manager can provide. Some standard property management services include tenant screenings, property marketing, maintenance services, lease preparation, and implementing rent increases. Should a property manager fail to offer any of the requisite services, it’s best to understand that upfront.
Style of Communication
As with any business relationship, having a compatible communication style is essential to achieving long-term success. A property manager needs to be able to promptly and professionally respond to both the rental owner and the tenants. Turnaround time, tone, and medium are essential to cover during an interview with a potential property manager. A property management company should be known for its accessibility and responsiveness to owners and tenants, particularly regarding maintenance, repairs, and any other issues.
Fee and contract structure
The cost of doing business is of utmost importance, and in the property management industry, there are many ways managers can charge fees. Typically, a management fee represents a percentage of monthly rent, but this varies based on property type. There can also be vacancy fees, leasing fees, advertising fees, and countless other costs that need to be considered and walked through before entering a relationship with a new property manager. Understanding the conditions of the management contract and what terms may result in additional fees should also be laid out.
Compliance and Risk Management
Owning a rental property requires compliance with many local, state, and federal regulations that may change regularly. A good property manager stays abreast of regulation changes, ensures compliance with local and federal regulations, handles emergencies, and acts as a partner in addressing all legal obligations. For example, a property manager that provides Santa Clara County Property Management should ensure that the properties they manage are fully compliant with the local regulations in Santa Clara County and California. They need to keep owners informed of new or existing regulations and liabilities and help remedy them as quickly as possible.
Tenant Retention Strategy
Given that the property manager is ultimately responsible for keeping the property occupied and rent-producing, it helps to understand how they plan to keep tenants happy and avoid vacancies. In any rental building, tenant disputes or complaints are inevitable. In conjunction with assessing the property manager’s communication style, rental owners should ask pointed questions to understand how they approach conflict resolution.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a property management company, check our recently updated guide, “Property Management Company Evaluation Guide for Rental Owners.” Valley Management Group is a San Jose property management company that provides trustworthy and affordable services to owners with rental properties throughout Santa Clara County. If you own rental property in San Jose or anywhere in Santa Clara County and need property management services, call 408 286-4200 for a free property management quote with one free month of services.