Hiring a Great Property Manager: 16 Questions to Ask

Hiring a Great Property Manager: 16 Questions to Ask

“Hiring a property manager is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

–  Forrest Gump Investments

Ok, so that’s not the exact quote from Forrest Gump, but it definitely could have been if he’d have gotten into real estate investing. Having a great property manager is one of the most important aspects of your real estate investing success.  However, hiring a quality property manager is not easy.  It can often feel like you’re just picking a random chocolate out of the box and biting into it to find out if it’s going to be a success.  Only if you hire the wrong manager, it can cost you a lot more than just a temporary bad taste in your mouth.  A bad manager can cost you precious time, money, and some of your best tenants.

However, if you hire the right property manager it feels great.  It can make your real estate investment life so much easier.  A good property manager will allow you to relax and sleep peacefully at night knowing that your investment is in good hands.  You’ll know your property and tenants will be taken care of.  You’ll be able to relax and receive checks while your money and your property manager work hard for you.

Hiring a quality property manager doesn’t have to be like randomly selecting a piece of chocolate out of a box.  There are several things you can do to identify the right property manager without having to bite blindly first.

The first key to hiring a great property manager is to talk to other investors and industry professionals in your area.  It’s a must for finding the right fit for you and your property.  Asking for recommendations from people you respect will allow you to quickly put together your list of quality property managers to interview.  Find out who they use and recommend. Ask them who they have heard is good.  A good recommendation is always better than randomly picking names out of a phone book.

Once you have your initial list of recommended property managers together, it’s time for you to interview them.  The following is a list of 16 questions you should ask a property manager when you first interview them.  I recommend asking these questions over the phone to get your initial impression and save you time.  Then, once you have it narrowed down to your final three, it’s imperative that you meet them in person before making your final decision.

16 questions you should ask a property manager before hiring them:

  1. What services do you offer? (leasing, maintenance, accounting, etc?)
  2. What size and type of properties do you typically manage?
  3. How many properties do you manage?
  4. What property management/accounting systems do you use?
  5. What are your fees and what is included?
  6. How are they licensed and insured?
  7. Do you manage or own properties in the area and if so how many and where?
  8. How many property managers do you have and how many properties do they manage?
  9. How long have you been in business and do you have references? (make sure you call them)
  10. What is the average length of time you have managed your client’s properties for?
  11. What type of information and reports do you provide your owner on a monthly basis?
  12. What is your marketing plan for the property and how do you typically market similar properties?
  13. How do you charge for repairs and maintenance?
  14. What is your average vacancy?
  15. Do you have a copy of the management agreement that I can review?
  16. What are your tenant qualifications and how do you screen them?

Having a recommended list of property managers to interview and asking them the right questions is a recipe for success. A good property manager can be the most important decision you can make in the operations of your investment property.  Picking one doesn’t have to be like picking a chocolate from a box of chocolates.

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