Aloha again! You have just made the best and most informed decision for your family, you’ve chosen to rent your home. Congratulations, that’s excellent news!
With Oahu’s military presence being so large, there are military members and their families coming and going all the time. If you select the right property manager, your home will be rented with quality tenants.
Here are some tips on how to proceed with interviewing and selecting a professional property manager:
1. Start with your Realtor; ask him/her if they are a property manager. If not, ask if they have a teammate or a colleague that they could recommend. Real estate is a referral-based business and Realtors know that when they make a referral their reputation is also at stake, so rest assured your Realtor will recommend as many property managers they know that are the best of the best.
2. Now that you have the recommendations, contact the individuals to schedule an in-person interview. Begin the call by greeting them, introduce yourself, inform them of who referred you to them, and tell them the purpose of the call (to schedule a property management interview).
While on the phone take note of the following:
- Did they answer your call or did you get their voicemail? If you got their voicemail, how long did it take him/her to call you back?
- Listen for their telephone etiquette. This is a good indicator of the person as a professional. Are they formal or informal?
- Pay close attention to their urgency. Are they quick to agree to a time or do they consult their calendar first?
When scheduling a time to meet, have the place you want to meet in mind. You may suggest their office or another public place, like a coffee shop or a local cafe. Always have a few days and times to offer and let the property manager choose which one fits into their schedule. Exchange contact information, confirm date, time and location, and thank them for their time.
It’s interview time; here are a few questions to ask your PM candidates:
1. How many properties does he/she manage? Number of units is the best way to measure a property manager’s workload. Also ask how many other employees and contractors assist in managing the properties. An efficient PM can handle anywhere between 30-50 properties with a small team of maintenance and cleaning help.
2. How often will they conduct routine physical inspections of the property? If there are no problems with the tenants, annually is perfectly adequate. If there are minor issues, then tenants should expect quarterly inspections. More frequent monthly inspections may be necessary, but chances of this are really slim if the PM took the time to properly screen the applicants.
3. Are they efficient in using a quality property/tenant management software system as well as their hard copy file storage systems? Let’s face it, our world is lead by the most tech savvy individuals. Your PM should offer you the service of providing you with monthly reports that indicate how your property is performing within the market. Demand your PM have the basic software and record keeping skills that will comfort you knowing your PM is in control of your assets.
4. How will they handle maintenance items? Usually a PM will have a small team that they pay salary, or they will have a very small list of preferred vendors that they have an agreement with to respond quickly to maintenance items. Either arrangement is just fine. Ask the PM what their relationship with these vendors are like. Also, you’ll want to have a dollar amount for maintenance items that your PM is allowed to authorize without your consent. Generally this amount doesn’t exceed $250, and it will be discussed in the management contract.
5. Ask them about their fee structure. Typically you’ll see an 8 – 10% monthly fee due to the property manager for services rendered; it’s important to know if this fee is based on potential rents (could be) or actual rents (are) collected. If it is based on potential rents, then continue your search for a PM. This means they will charge you the set fee even if the property is not rented. You don’t want to hire someone that thinks they are entitled to charging you a fee for their failure.
6. How does the PM prefer to communicate and how often? You will have to make sure that their response to this question aligns with your needs. If you are not always available to communicate with your PM, appoint another individual that may be more accessible, like a spouse or a parent with a power of attorney.
Does he/she listen to you before responding to your questions? You want to read the candidates body language in their responses to your questions. Does the PM listen to your entire question and think before responding, or do they cut you off and finish your sentences? Pay close attention to this because this may be an indicator that this PM may not consider your feelings and have your best interest in mind. PMs that do this may get into trouble by not listening to their clients wishes enough.
Remember to ask him/her to briefly explain their processes for applicant screening and selection, the collection and delivery of rents, and finally, their conflict resolution and eviction experience. These three responses will give you a better understanding of their PM capabilities. If the PM is open, honest, and clear about these three topics, then you should feel confident in their ability to properly manage your property.
Want to Know More?
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope this list of tips and questions will help you in selecting the right property manager to manage your property exceptionally well. If you have more specific questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments.
Mahalo nui loa.