How to find your perfect service provider.
If you're looking for a property management service provider, keeping in mind that we live in a post-pandemic world and many things have changed, we've put together a list of essential things to consider.
Off the bat, to maintain your property, you need to:
Deal with problem tenants
Follow up on late rent
Carry our necessary evictions
Find fair prices and getting discounts from trusted contractors
Know what repairs are required (and unnecessary) for rentals
Have the best knowledge on the area where your real estate is
Price your property correctly for rental.
And now, thanks to the pandemic, you have to be able to do so while social distancing and keeping everyone involved safe. At Coastline Equity, we're proud to say we're prepared for this, thanks to Appfolio, a platform we've been using for years, and their services have helped us make a difference in the way we provide property management services.
We also recommend asking any property management firm you are interviewing the below questions:
Is your firm working from a physical office or virtually/from home at the moment?
Are your tenant and property files stored physically, on an in-house server or in the cloud?
Do you use a property management software?
What steps are you taking to keep your team and tenants safe from exposure to COVID-19?
What additional policies or protocols have you implemented since the pandemic began?
1. Communication is vital
As we stated previously, property owners must be aware of what happens on their property. Regardless of the level of involvement property owners want to have, their property managers should commit to responding with urgency. We spoke to one of our property managers, Melanie Renchie, and asked her when she would open the line of communication with a client, here's her response:
"It really depends on the client, the nature of the issue, the size of the property, and the maintenance limit. If there is something major happening at a property, I always keep the client, and well as leadership in the loop. If there is a maintenance issue that needs to be resolved that exceeds the maintenance limit for that property, I will reach out to the client. For larger properties, the clients tend to be more hands-off, and for the smaller properties where budgets are a little tighter the clients tend to want more detail and participate more in decision making. The aforementioned is my general rule of thumb, however, I try to customize my approach based on the needs and expectations of the clients. Some clients require different things, and I do my best to be flexible and adapt to their expectations regardless of how things typically go with other clients."
2. Quick Turn Arounds
Minimizing downtime between tenants will ensure you're getting the most financially from your property. Unless the property needs any renovations or remodeling, your property management company should have this as one of its top priorities.
At Coastline Equity, we used to worry about finding new tenants for our residential properties but in the words of one of our on-site property manager Courtney Brantley "Since we started using apartments.com we get hundreds of leads, and worrying about finding new tenants is a thing of the past"
3. Legal knowledge
As property management service providers, we make sure to review all the necessary documentation monthly to make sure we're ready for the close of every quarter. Hence, our clients have ample knowledge of the performance of their assets.
Your property managers should have the experience to handle your property's legal requirements, like key holding, insurance, property tax, levies, building permits or licensing, and bank account management. They should be skilled enough to build your equity while you are not actively involved in it.
4. On-site property management or maintenance staff
A property management service provider must have a vast network of trusted suppliers or maintenance staff on-site. That way, when they face a crisis, they can resolve things quickly and efficiently.
We have a vetted and trustworthy team who addresses all on-site needs at the properties we manage for clients. It's the most efficient and prompt way to handle any repairs or maintenance issues that may occur.
5. Get to know them
Business conduct has changed due to the pandemic, but that should not influence your process of getting to know the property management company before making your final decision.
One of the most important things to consider is the technology they have, as it will exponentially increase the level of organization and communication you're able to have with them.
6. Understand your fee Structure
The fee structure is critical when it comes to your property management contract. Most property management companies charge a percentage of the rent; it can be as high as 10%or as low as 3%, depending on the size of your property. Occasionally, you may find that 2% is accommodated elsewhere in another charge.
You might see charges in lease resigns, or signings, percentage markups when you hire contractors, and fees may vary on evictions. It is always advisable to know how this compares to other companies in the area.
7. Read the Fine Print in the Contracts
Analyze the conditions under which you can terminate a rental property management contract. You may have a situation where you feel they are not meeting your expectations or the terms you agreed upon, and you want to finish working with them. Make sure you understand the repercussions of legally canceling the contract beforehand.
If you have an outstanding property management company, the benefits and peace of mind will far outweigh the fees you pay for their service. You are making money in the long run, irrespective of that.
Your relationship should blossom into a healthy long-term dynamic, where you will make money for them, and they will generate significant passive income for you through your commercial property and real estate.