Congratulations on earning the keys to your very own investment property!
You’re all set to rent it out for extended stays lasting weeks or even months at a time, and deal with the challenges of maintenance and upkeep.
Better still, you get to do spot inspections, interface with guests, chase down payments, and deal with the mountain of work that comes with renting out a home or apartment.
If that sounds more like a headache than a privilege, don’t worry –it’s supposed to. Whether this is your first property or your fifteenth, the there’s a very real chance that you’ll find yourself lacking the time manage your property day in and day out.
This is where a property manager comes in: a good property manager is someone you pay to take on the responsibility of keeping an eye on your rental property for you. They’re organized, efficient, and they can be excellent at resolving your guests’ needs should the situation call for it. In short, a good property manager saves you time, effort, and stress.
So just how can you find a quality property manager? Read through this quick and easy guide on finding a good property manager. We’ll show you the best places to start looking, and the best features to watch for.
1. What Can a Property Manager Do For Me?
The first step in finding a property manager is to understand just what a property manager does. Once you know what responsibilities you can expect to pass on to your property manager, you’ll be better equipped to find the right candidate to take care of your investment property.
Traditionally, property managers have been tasked with everything from collecting rent to scheduling maintenance, and even handling a property’s marketing. Many roles have changed along with the rental industry, but you should expect a quality manager to be punctual and organized –while everything else on that list may be subject to debate, maintenance is timeless.
Of course, taking care of your property is only half of the picture, and you’d want your manager well-equipped to take care of your guests as well. If you’ll be renting out your investment property for an extended stay, then your property manager will be in charge of handling any pressing issues concerning your guests, whether it be a noise complaint or a power outage.
Your property manager will have a role to play before, during, and after your guests’ stays. They’re in charge of any preventive maintenance to make sure that your home or unit is in order before anyone comes in, and they’ll have to check on the space after your guests have left.
2. What Should I Look for in a Property Manager?
Now that you’re ready to go out and find a property manager, there are a few qualities that you’ll want to look for in the wide list of potential hires.
The first thing to look for is experience. Someone who has handled an investment property (or many) at some point in their career would be a much better fit for the job than a novice. Not only would their experience help work quickly and independently, but a property manager with a background in the field could potentially help you navigate real estate law, regulations, and other details you might have missed –especially if this is your first investment property.
The second thing to look for in a property manager is patience. With the many problems that can pop up over the course of your business, it pays to have a manager who can act with grace under pressure, especially when that pressure comes from a guest. Whether you’re having trouble with guests or dealing with repairs that needed to be done yesterday, a cool head is an asset when handling something as stressful as a rental property. Find someone with the disposition to get the job done without burning out.
Finally, make sure that your property manager has organizational skills (as we’ve mentioned a few times throughout this article). Your property manager will need to handle a ton of documents, schedules, and money, which is why it’s critical that you find someone who thinks and works systematically. A manager with a cluttered mind only cause you more problems, and might leave you losing money on your investment property.
3. Where Can I Find A Property Manager?
Once you know the nature of the job, and the skills needed to perform it, it’s time to start looking for your property manager. We know this is easier said than done, of course, which is why this section will cover specific places you can look.
The first place you can start, as with almost any job, is in your address book: look for referrals. If you have any friends in the real estate industry, try asking them if they’ve ever worked with a property managers who you could trust with the job. Likewise, you can try asking the previous owner of your investment property if they had someone running the show for them –that way, you’d wind up with a manager who knows the quirks of your home or unit. Try asking as many people as you can, so you can prioritize candidates with good reviews.
Now, if you want to make a broader search, the you can turn to the internet. Several websites help you find a property manager based not only on your location, but also the size of your investment property. While we recommend referrals as the golden standard for finding new hires, you never know when you might luck out on an online listing.
On a closing note to this section, try checking with your state’s local Real Estate Commission, who are bound to have information on property managers in your area. The Better Business Bureau will have similar records to help you scope out candidates and do background checks.
4. How Do I Screen Potential Property Managers?
One of the most important steps you can take when searching for a property manager to care for your investment property is to screen prospective candidates. This allows you to test the waters for the professional relationship that you might be entering into with a new hire, and test what they’re good for beyond their listed qualifications. Moreover, it gives you a bit of an idea of how well you can communicate with them, and ultimately how much you can trust them.
When screening multiple candidates, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to confirm your candidate’s credentials. Check their claims by calling former employers, digging through the relevant records, and exercising general diligence in vetting them.
When all their claims check out, ask them about their experiences in managing other investment properties. See what problems they’ve encountered, how they went about solving them, and what attitudes they keep about their former employers. The more critical, professional, and good-natured your candidates turn out to be, the better.
You’ll also want to ask if they’re managing any other investment properties. Managers who have a lot on their plate can be tough to gauge: it’s a toss-up between very functional, and very distracted. Don’t let your priorities get lost in the shuffle, and be sure your candidates have the time to devote to you and your guests’ needs.
5. How Do I Manage A Property Manager?
Now that you’ve selected a candidate best suited for the job, you’d do well to learn how to maximize their potential. At the end of the day, they’re still your employee; keeping them skilled, motivated, and communicative is the key to a successful business.
One feature of the workflow you share with your property manager is a clear schedule. Since they carry a number of time-sensitive responsibilities such as scheduling maintenance work and attending to repairs, you have be sure they’re up to every task.
Likewise, it’s important that you keep open lines of communication between you and your property manager. Remember that while they’re there to save you time, you need to stay in the loop as regards your investment.
If you ever find yourself without an idea of how happy your guests are, or how your property is faring, then you have a major problem. Encourage your property manager to inform you of any problems relating to investment property without hesitation. Get on top of things, and stay there.
The bottom line is this: the search for a good property manager doesn’t stop when you sign a contract. Invest in putting together a working dynamic that lets them realize their talent and experience.
Hiring a property manager might be one of the best choices that the owner of an investment property can make. A qualified, trusted, and efficient property manager can do a lot to take care of your guests during their extended stays. In doing so, they save you a lot of time and effort.
Take your time when looking for a candidate that fits your needs. Find someone you can work with, and then work with them –not above them.