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  • José R. Hernández

Why and How to Hire a Property Manager in a Few Easy Steps

What do Property Managers do?

In a nutshell, they manage properties, so owners don’t have to. Working with a reliable support team, a Property Manager can take care of setting rental rates, professional real estate photography, advertising, property showings, tenant selection, rent collection, maintenance, inspections, end of year tax summation, and evictions. Professional requirements vary from state to state, but Florida requires them to be Real Estate Agents.

Why Hire a Property Manager?

There are many reasons to hire a Property Manager, but it all starts with having an extra property to rent. Maybe you got married, and your partner also owns a property. Or it could be that you inherited a house and are tired of seeing it empty. Some people like the idea of property as an investment but don’t want the hassles of managing it. Whatever your initial reason for thinking about hiring a property manager, it all starts with that extra property.

The following list is all-inclusive by no means, but it presents the most common reasons property owners put forward when hiring a Property Manager.

Time

You might have a full-time job already. Promoting and showing a property, regular inspections, dealing with vendors, and dealing with unexpected problems take a substantial amount of time.


Experience A Property Manager is a jack of all trades. She becomes a project manager when dealing with separate vendors working on the same house and a salesperson when showing an apartment.


Are you familiar with Fair Housing Laws? Do you have a network of vendors ready to deal with any emergency, or will you turn to a search engine when a situation arises?


Cost When I mention the cost of hiring a Property Manager, people immediately imagine the 8 to 12% fee they have to pay. I suggest you look at it another way. How many months will your property remain vacant without a Property Manager? What’s the cost of a discrimination lawsuit because you were not familiar with Fair Housing Laws? How much unpaid rent are you able to sustain because you selected a lousy tenant?


Location Are you close to your property or far away? If you think of owning property as an investment strategy, consider hiring a Property Manager. It will increase the area in which you will be able to look for opportunities.


Tolerance Are you tolerant enough to have tenants call you with emergencies during the middle of the night or holidays? That is the job of a Property Manager.


How to Hire a Property Manager?

Believe it or not, this is reasonably straight forward as long as you follow a few simple steps.


Your Needs

What are your needs? Do you need somebody to handle the whole operation or only a few tasks? Do you live next door or in a different state? Are you ok with a lone-wolf Property Manager, or would you prefer a long-established company with a successful track record? What level of attention do you require? Are you ok with receiving the rent check on time, or would you like to see pictures of inspections and other updates? These are questions you need to ask yourself before starting your quest for a Property Manager.


Due Diligence

Once you have figured out your needs, it’s time to start looking for a Property Manager. Ask around. Ask your friends and other investors for references. Check the web and see what kind of services they offer. Check the properties they already manage. You should drive-by them or at least look at the photos of houses for rent on their website. Then ask yourself, do I want my property to look like that? Something to keep in mind when looking at reviews on the Internet: make sure you know who’s writing the comment. Let me explain. Sometimes a tenant would give a bad review to a Property Manager because he enforced the contract both of them signed. Although this would look like a bad review, It might also be a sign of the Property Manager looking out for the property owner’s rights.


Interview & Final Selection

Make a list of questions vital to you, meet with a few candidates, and see how you like them. Detail every issue required of them, and don’t stop questioning until you are satisfied with the answers. It’s crucial that you at least talk to them on the phone. Remember, this is a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand; you want to make sure it’s a good match.

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