How To Choose The Best Property Management Company

When you’ve decided to get into the property management business, chances are, you’re a person who knows risk and doesn’t mind it. There’s plenty of profit to be made from purchasing your first property, but there’s also a lot that can go wrong, like these risks. When the risks go too far, though, and you aren’t comfortable navigating them on your own, it might be time to get yourself a home or apartment property management company.

Ask the same questions

As soon as you’ve identified a need for a property manager, you’ll want to develop a list of questions to ask the managers you interview. It’s really important to create a master list that you ask each property manager so you can get the same information from all of them and make it easier to compare each one to each other.

Ask questions like, how long have you been managing properties, and how many properties do you currently manage. Ask about their management style, like how they prefer to deal with late payments or common maintenance emergencies. Even more specific questions, like will they charge for new lock hardware if someone loses their keys, might help you get to know a property manager’s style and leniency a little bit more.

You’ll also want to get at what type of housing they have experience in, and ensure they’ve got solid past  experience in your property type. If you’ve primarily been focusing on Cambridge houses for sale, for example, you’ll want a property manager who has experience in that area. Same goes with the type of property, as in if it’s a house you’ll be renting out, a large apartment complex, or a holiday home that you’ll need a management company for.

The income levels they are used to dealing with should also be on your question list, as you want to make sure they’re going to be able to handle higher end or lower end properties, depending on your needs. If you still need help drafting up your questions, take a look at this list here, as well as these interview questions.

It’s possible they may have some questions for you as well, such as how independent you will allow the management company to run, or what your plans are for succession of the property if something happens to you. Speaking of that, make sure you’ve got a wills lawyer available to draw up distribution of your assets just in case.

Check their work

With any big purchase, you always read the reviews, right? Same goes for handing over such a big purchase to a property management company. Review their reviews long before you ever sign a contract with them. You can do this by simply looking them up online, as well as asking around to other colleagues in the business. Obtain references as well, and contact each one to get a full picture of what you can expect. References should include other property owners and tenants too.

You could also do a little bit of reconnaissance with your potential property management company. For example, you could try calling up a property they list and ask them questions about it as a prospective tenant. This will give you an idea of how kind and prompt they are, as well as give you an inside look at their tenant screening system.

Finally, you’ll want to check their advertising products as well. Ask if they promote properties online, on print, or in other ways, and make sure you actually take a look at them. Are they using professional photos for the advertisements? Do they answer promptly when questioned on social media sites or via email? Again, you can test these things out by using a friend’s social media site or email to see what response times are like.

Get estimates

If you’re happy with their references and style of work, get an estimate straight away. The estimate should include what the property manager thinks they can get for renting out the property, and their approximation on the house or apartment property’s worth. That will give you an idea of the manager’s intuition and innate knowledge on the subject.

Check licenses and certifications

Find out what kind of qualifications the potential property manager has, as well as the certifications or licenses the company has in general. In New Zealand, there are plenty of courses property managers or owners can take to learn more or brush up their skills, so ask if they have these extra bonus courses under their belt, or better yet, a degree in property management.  

Review their contracts

If the property management company already has a contract drafted up, you’ll obviously want to review it in full. The contract should outline how, when, and where rent is to be paid, both from the tenants and then to you as well, how the selection process will work for new tenants, and how maintenance will be dealt with. The costs for hiring the company should also be included, as well as any fees each year or fees needed to pay up front once hired.  

The contract should also include who you’ll be working with and who your main contacts are. It should specify how far away the maintenance crew lives as well as your property manager. Having maintenance calls from tenants be answered in a timely fashion is one of the biggest issues with tenants, so these types of issues should be outlined clearly in the contract.

Finally, if you’re choosing a property management company in New Zealand, make sure that you’re following government guidelines when buying and renting out your property. Hiring a real estate solicitor will help you navigate these guidelines and any tax implications as well. When you’re ready to hire a property management company, have this article in hand, and you’ll be on your way to profit.