Are you interested in locating a property manager to help you with your real estate investments? It’s a smart move.
Hiring a property manager will make your life easier by relieving you of your landlord duties. No matter how long you’ve been renting out property, being a landlord never gets easier.
Each tenant can bring unique challenges, but even basic landlord duties can be difficult. It’s hard to build a career as a property investor when you have to manage your tenants and properties at the same time.
Finding a property manager isn’t hard, but you’ll want to be diligent about your search. If you need help with your properties, here’s how to find a reliable and reputable property manager.
1. Determine your needs
Property management companies offer a variety of services but you might not need all of them. You can get an all-inclusive package, however, many companies also offer a-la-carte services.
For example, Green Residential in Houston offers an array of property management services that extend beyond basic landlord duties. They have the capability to provide property marketing services, professional photography, and can also coordinate home inspections.
Do you enjoy being a landlord, but would prefer that someone else marketed your vacant properties and oversaw your renovations? Maybe you’d like to hand off your landlord duties, but believe you have a solid marketing strategy.
Either way, document your precise needs, then start calling local property management companies to find out what they offer.
2. Verify a property manager’s past experience
Anyone can claim to be a property manager. It’s up to you to verify their experience. You want a property manager with a verifiable performance record and character references.
Sometimes people manage property for friends and presume that’s enough experience to land further jobs managing other properties. Don’t take anyone at their word. If you’re looking for an individual rather than a company, check his or her references and speak directly to property owners the candidate has worked with in the past.
Once you’ve verified the person’s experience level, conduct an interview to find out how the prospect might handle specific situations. For instance, ask what steps he or she would take to evict a tenant.
Make sure your potential manager is familiar with the law; otherwise, you risk getting sued by a tenant. If you lose an eviction lawsuit, the tenant could win the right to reside on the property indefinitely.
Other questions you want to ask include:
· How do you communicate with tenants?
· What kind of properties have you managed in the past?
· How long does it take for you to respond to and fix emergency repair requests?
· What softwares do you use to keep track of expenses, rent, tenant issues, etc.?
· What services can you offer that will help make my investment(s) profitable?
The legal consequences for making mistakes as a landlord can be immense. You can’t afford to take a chance on an inexperienced property manager, so make sure you verify the person’s qualifications before signing on the dotted line.
3. Look for a property manager who wants to support tenants
Property managers shouldn’t act like prison wardens. Yes, renters can be difficult, but property managers should focus on helping tenants and making them feel comfortable in their homes.
Look for a property manager with an attitude that supports tenants. You want one who will be more than happy to prioritize repairs and maintenance requests, and keep their appointments.
Tenants count on landlords to keep their properties in good repair. It’s not fair to brush tenants off when they need something.
The best property managers will be great with people. They’ll be great with you, maintenance contractors, and your tenants.
They’ll want the best for everyone at all times and will do whatever they can to keep the peace, while being firm about holding tenants to the terms of their lease agreement.
Mitigate your risk of getting sued by hiring a property manager
Landlord-tenant disputes are common. Unfortunately, the courts are often sympathetic toward tenants even when that person is clearly causing problems. If you don’t do everything by the book, you risk getting sued for such events as:
· Illegally keeping a refundable security deposit
· Housing discrimination that violates the Fair Housing Act
· Having illegal terms in your lease
· Not managing repairs or maintenance requests in a timely manner
· Allowing the tenant to live in an uninhabitable space
· Performing illegal inspections
· Retaliation for not serving an eviction notice properly
The best way to reduce the risk of getting sued is to hire an experienced property management company with a team that knows landlord-tenant law.
You don’t want to get sued by a tenant. Even if you win, lawsuits are time-consuming and expensive. Hiring a property management company will reduce your workload and your legal worries.