Hiring the right property manager for your real estate can spell the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful investment. When hiring a property manager, it’s crucial to ask the right questions. Having a good property manager by your side can save you from horror stories such as non-payments, illegal activity, and much more.
If you’re not sure where to begin, we have compiled nine interview questions guaranteed to give you the best property manager in South Florida.
#1 Are you licensed?
In states like Montana and South California, property managers are required to be licensed real estate brokers, or to possess a property management license, before they can perform real estate activities like leasing and managing investment properties. Being licensed means that the property manager is clear of any violations such as theft, extortion, and forgery. It also means that they’ve completed a number of hours in the classroom, and that they’ve been actively practicing real estate brokerage for a decent amount of time.
#2 How many properties are you managing?
The most important thing to make sure of is that your future property manager can give your properties undivided attention. An experienced property manager should be able to manage approximately 200 to 600 rental units with ease — anything beyond that is a sign that you should end the interview. Your property manager should be able to juggle all of your properties, handling everything from finding tenants to overseeing repair works. On the other hand, if they are handling only a handful of properties, they might not be as reliable as you think. The phrase ‘quality over quantity’ doesn’t always apply.
#3 What kind of properties are you managing?
He or she can be the most successful property manager in one area of real estate but do poorly in others. If your investments are residential properties, make sure that the property manager you end up working with specializes in residential properties. A retail property manager might not have the experience to handle the tasks involved in luxury apartment management. Your future property manager should be familiar with the responsibilities associated with each kind of property. Better yet, find a property manager who is an expert at managing multiple types of properties.
#4 What is your tenant screening process?
The tenant selection process is one of the most critical parts of leasing a property. You need to ensure that your future property manager follows a thorough screening process to prevent future headaches and disputes. Does the property manager verify the applicant’s employment history? Do they look into their criminal background? What documents do they require interested tenants to submit? Are they knowledgeable about tenant-landlord laws such as the Fair Housing Act? The right property manager should be one whom you can trust to make these decisions without your supervision.
#5 How long are properties vacant?
A vacant rental property should be rented out in four weeks, maximum. If your rental investment is unoccupied for long periods, you will be missing out on serious revenue. If a potential property manager can lease a piece of real estate in less than two weeks, that isn’t a good sign either. It might indicate that they’re listing properties for rates that are too low for the landlord to earn a decent profit, or that they’re accepting tenants without conducting detailed background checks. You will want a property manager who can lease your property in record time, but can also charge accurate prices based on the area and property value.
#6 What rental management tools do you use?
You shouldn’t believe a property manager who says that they don’t use any kind of rental management software to help streamline their processes. When interviewing a potential property manager, be sure to ask them about the software that they use. Inquire about these tools and ask what you can get from them as a property owner. Do you have access to their online portals? Can you ask for reports at moment’s notice?
#7 How is rent determined?
An experienced property manager should know how to accurately determine rental prices. They should also be able to price your property competitively. If they charge an amount that’s significantly higher than other properties in the area, you will have a harder time attracting tenants, which means you won’t be getting enough income to truly feel like an investor. If you decide to bump up the prices later on, you might be losing tenants who are unable to pay for the new rates. It’s best to stick with a property manager who can determine the best possible rental price based on real market data.
#8 How are reports prepared?
Property managers prepare monthly and annual financial statements, but they should go above and beyond to make these reports easy to understand since not all landlords can read like an accountant. They should be able to explain to you everything that goes on in your property, from the amount of rent collected to the emergency repairs conducted, clearly and concisely. Be sure to ask the potential property manager for a sample report — that way, you can see if their manner of reporting suits your preferences.
#9 How long does it take you to respond to concerns from the landlord?
For most people, their real estate investments are their greatest assets. Landlords typically have several questions or concerns about their property especially during the earlier stages of the agreement. A good property manager should be able to respond within one business day, or better — within the first ring of the phone. While there are property management companies that offer 24/7 hotlines, this isn’t doable for many. Just make sure that the property manager you choose won’t take days, even weeks, to give you a solid response.
Time to Start Interviewing
These are just some of the basic questions you should ask your potential property manager. Depending on your type of property, as well as your unique needs, there might be more questions to ask. It’s always a good idea to meet with the property manager in person since this will let you assess someone better. Was he/she on time? Did he/she seem fidgety and deceptive?
Luxury Property Care can help you find the best property managers within the South Florida area. Whether you own a single-family home or a luxurious, multi-story condominium, we have the property managers who can oversee your property with the care it deserves. Give us a call at (561) 944-2992 today to start interviewing.