You have a home for rent, and you don’t want to manage it yourself. But finding the best property management company in Colorado Springs to trust with your home or real estate investment can be confusing and unsettling. In this blog, we will provide a guide to help you choose the right property manager for you.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY A LIST OF POTENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES
Your first job is to compile a short list of potential residential property managers for your home for rent. Start with the oldest research technique in the book – word of mouth. Ask the people you know and trust for referrals. When you receive a reference, take it a step further and ask specifically, what they like about that property manager. Keep notes on those that have qualities that are important to you personally in a property manager.
Next, hit the Internet. It’s best to take a three-pronged approach when searching online. First, do a specific search for the best property management company in Colorado Springs. Identify those that look interesting to you or that you heard about in your word of mouth research. Second, search for rental homes available in the area where your property is located. Drill down to who is managing those properties and note any that you unearthed in your previous research. Through this process, you are forming your short list of potential property management matches for your property.
Finally, do one final Internet search for reviews of the most promising looking property managers you have found. Check that they are licensed and what type of education and experience qualifies them as a property manager. You also may want to check the Better Business Bureau to confirm they are accredited and have no significant complaints against them. Based on those reviews and the results of your prior research, try to narrow your shortlist down to no more than three potential candidates.
STEP 2: MEET THE MANAGERS FACE TO FACE
Most people renting a home are concerned about getting the highest return on their investment, but property management costs alone should not be the deciding factor. You will find property management fees to be relatively standard, and any diversion from the norm will be easily identifiable.
More critical, it is essential to find a property manager that you feel comfortable with, that will provide excellent customer service to both you as the landlord and your tenants, and who has excellent communication skills. The best way to find that perfect fit is to meet the candidates face to face.
Your personality screening begins before you meet them, however. How responsive is the manager to your phone messages or email communication? Do you have to wait minutes, hours, or even days to get a response? What are they like when you meet in person? Are they gracious and friendly, or gruff and discourteous?
The answers to these questions are a good indication of how they will respond to you once the contract is signed and what kind of treatment you tenants will receive. Your investment will make the most profit if tenants are treated right and don’t turnover frequently. Do not underestimate the power of a personable communicator.
Of course, it is essential to find a property manager who knows about the local market where your investment is located. Make sure that your initial interview includes a discussion about rental comps (comparisons) and rental rates that are appropriate for your property. If the property manager scrambles for information or needs to do significant research even to give an estimate, they may not be familiar enough with your market to do a good job.
STEP 3: DRILL DOWN TO SPECIFICS
The difference between a good property manager and a great property manager is found in the details. All property management candidates will do their best to put the best foot forward during the interview process, but once they have passed that initial test, you need to zero in on particular services and skills to find the property manager that is right for you. Here are some specific areas to look at:
Tenant Relations. A manager is only as good as the tenant they put in your property. Find out how they advertise and make sure their marketing strategy casts a wide enough net to reach a large pool of potential candidates for your home so that they can fill it in a short amount of time. The longer the house is vacant, the less profit you make.
Next, ask about their screening process. There is nothing worse than signing a lease with an unqualified tenant. Frequent turnover, inconsistent payment history, and possible evictions all bite into your bottom line. Your property manager should have the experience to be able to explain why their screening process can identify the best candidates for a mutually beneficial long-term rental arrangement.
Plan on asking about ongoing tenant relationships as well. Does the property manager check in regularly with the tenant to confirm everything is running smoothly? Does the tenant have ready access by phone and email to report problems that may occur, and how quickly does the manager respond to those concerns?
Repairs and Maintenance. An excellent property manager will not wait for a maintenance issue to become a fire-drill, but instead performs periodic inspections of their properties to keep them in working order. Ask your candidates about their maintenance policies. Confirm that they will contact you for repairs over a certain amount, and find out if you must provide a repair fund to the manager or if they handle repairs as part of the monthly accounting. Ask about their vendors and how they screen them.
Legal Issues. Always ask to see the management agreement and have a qualified legal professional review it so that you understand the terms of the agreement. You also want to be satisfied that the property manager you choose is familiar with the state and federal laws related to property management, tenant relations, fair housing laws, and eviction processes.
Miscellaneous Concerns. Every property owner has particular areas of concern that are important to them. Make sure to obtain thorough and satisfactory answers to any other questions you may have.
Here is where you want to fully understand the fees they are charging, including additional charges that you may incur beyond the standard management fee, such as maintenance, vacancy, or advertising fees. Make sure that the standard charges are payable based on rent collected, not rent due, which makes the manager responsible for keeping the property rented. You can also ask for a sample of the reporting you will receive each month to determine if it meets your accounting and recordkeeping needs.
It is critical to choose your property manager wisely because if all goes well, they will help you to earn a steady profit on your investment property. Take the time to screen your property manager as thoroughly as you will expect them to evaluate your future tenants. If they are the right company for you, they will welcome your diligence and commitment to a collaborative working relationship.