|Rental property management: Yes
"When it comes to screening
residents, I like to have final say," Taylor says. "I've
talked to property management companies and they're not as careful
as you (would be). I've been doing this for 20 years, and I can
count on one hand the number of landlords who have called me to
check on tenants I have."
Do your homework
with all major professional services, hiring a property manager shouldn't be taken
lightly. Plenty of research needs to be done to protect your investment, but people
skip that part all the time, Karpinski says.
recommends asking for 10 -- yes, 10 -- references. Call them and ask how well
the property has been maintained, how prompt the company is in responding to service
requests, how quickly and how often the owners get their money, what kind of extra
fees they've been charged and if they're satisfied with the overall service.
few people are elated with their property management company," she says.
"A lot of times, I've called and people said they were looking for a new
Look for someone who
is a licensed real estate broker, preferably someone who has properties of their
own and knows what it's like to be an owner. If you're using a real estate agency,
ask if they have a property management department instead of just doing it on
Ask about their Fair Housing training
and their professional affiliations and designations. The National
Association of Residential Property Managers offers the Certified
Property Manager and the Master in Property Management designations
that require education, experience and service.
Review their tenant applications,
their leases, their owner's reports, their move-in forms, their
screening processes and their repair policies. Make sure there's
a limit to how much the property manager can spend on repairs without
your approval. It's often $100 to $200. They need your OK to spend
more than that unless it requires immediate attention, "what
we call fire, flood and blood," Banner says.
If they can't or won't provide those
documents, don't do business with them.
ask about their marketing plan, their vacancy rates and their procedure for dealing
with tenants who haven't paid the rent.
want to deal with a management company that says as soon as we're legally able,
we start the eviction process," Taylor says. "I don't want them hemming
and hawing, saying, 'We call them up to see what's going on.'"
Finally, you also need a good personality fit,
someone you can get along with and who will represent you well to
"You want someone firm, but not too harsh,"
Hill says. "If that happens, the tenants will either call you
or they won't call anyone at all when there's a problem, and then
the property deteriorates."