What To Look For in a Property Management Company

Landlords who do not want to self-manage their rental properties are faced with the task of finding the right property management company (PMC). Landlords are tempted to look for the lowest priced PMC, but as shown in this article, choosing the “cheapest” PMC may be a mistake. The rental business is full of potential liability and requires property managers to undertake a lot of tasks and processes, so landlords need to ensure that the PMC is equipped to competently manage rental properties.

Here are some important features landlords should be looking for when choosing a PMC.

Choosing the Right Property Management Leadership

The experience and credentials of the broker who supervises the company as well as the lead property manager. Some real estate brokers only focus on sales but may have a property management division. A good PMC should be led by a real estate professional who has sufficient experience with property management and who is able to train its staff to properly manage the rental properties. If the real estate broker only has a PMC as a “side” business to facilitate sales, you may want to find another PMC.

Evaluating PMC Services to Match Your Needs

The services they offer and how they line up with your needs and expectations. A PMC’s website should tell you something about what services they offer for landlords, but it may not tell the full picture. You should ask the PMC to provide you with a list of what services they offer to make sure they line up with your needs and expectations. Of course, the property management agreement will or should speak to this as well, so asking for a copy of their PMA will help you assess their services.

Technology in Property Management

The use of technology to make their job and yours easier. Technology is a helpful tool that enables PMC to manage rental properties more efficiently. This may include software programs that assist in screening tenants and pets, signing leases, processing and handling maintenance requests, keeping records, communicating with tenants, owners, and vendors, and accounting for all accounts receivable and payable. Ask the PMC what programs they use to manage rental properties.

The Importance of Legal Counsel for PMCs

If they have a landlord-tenant attorney on retainer to help guide them on legal issues (not to mention the creation of lease agreement, landlord forms and notices, etc.). Legal issues are replete in the rental business, and some of the issues can be quite serious and have a huge impact on you and your property. If a PMC does not have a landlord attorney on retainer to assist in dealing with questions and issues they encounter on a daily basis, you may need to look for another PMC.

PMC Process and Policy Checklist

Their process and policy for:

  • listing
  • application
  • tenant selection
  • routine inspections
  • maintenance services
  • property and tenancy update reports to you
  • lease enforcement policy
  • move-out process.

Again, the property management agreement should inform you on the services they provide, but the PMA will not provide you with their process and policy for delivering the service. While the PMC will not likely provide you in-house written policies and procedures, you could simply ask the PMC if they have a written policy and procedure manual so that you can at least see what level of professionalism the PMC has to ensure proper procedures are incorporated into their daily operations.

Evaluating Landlord Reviews

Landlord online reviews. Take this with a grain of salt perhaps, because you can’t necessarily rely on Google reviews as they may not reflect the real quality of the company, but if the bad reviews are significant enough to give you warning, you should at least consider prior experiences of other landlords.

Maximizing Benefits with PMC Programs

Beneficial programs for both owner and tenant. In today’s market, there are a host of third party vendors that provide services to PMC, which can benefit both landlords and tenants. Many professional PMCs are taking advantage of these programs and passing the benefits to the landlord. And in some cases, the PMC creates its own programs that can benefit the landlord. Check these out to see what benefits you can take advantage of with the PMC.

Benefits of a Thorough Property Management Agreement

A thorough property management agreement. While a lot of folks do not like to sign lengthy service agreements, the truth is, the property management agreement is a big indication that they know what they’re doing and have the experience to know what matters in a PMA. There are a lot of moving parts in the property management business, and the PMA should take this into account.

Communication Access with Your PMC

Access for communication. Ensure that you will always be able to get in touch with one of the staff members at the PMC. Some companies are very difficult to contact. Not a good thing. Ask the PMC about the communication policy.

These are a handful of helpful suggestions when looking for a property management company. Again, finding the “cheapest” should not be your goal. Your goal should be finding quality and a PMC that meets your needs and (hopefully reasonable) expectations. Using these suggested subjects should assist you in finding the right PMC to manage your rental properties.

Property Management Law Solutions, LLC is a Florida law firm that specializes in landlord-tenant law and is a landlord-only law firm. We provide statewide services including evictions, consultation plans, education and training, membership plans, lease agreement plans and more. If you are a landlord or property manager, contact us today or subscribe to one of our online membership plans.