Too many homeowners struggle to find and secure the right property manager, and often feel like they’re flying blind. The property in question is often a second home, or investment property in a far-off location, so they may lack the local connections normally used to pull together candidates. So what to do? No matter whether you find potential PM companies through Google, your local realtor, or the friendly guy at the hardware store, make sure they live up to these standards:
1) Professionalism: A PM company should have a quality, properly-designed website, promptly return phone calls and emails, have professional documents and contracts, arrive promptly for meetings, and present themselves well. These are the basics.
2) Good References: Ask the PM company for references from current clients and maybe some realtors, and actually follow through on reaching out to these people. It’s just a few minutes of your time to make sure you’re on the right track. Any PM company that hesitates to provide references… walk away.
3) Reputation: Ask around town, your neighbors, maybe that friendly guy at the hardware store, about the company and the principals who run it. In any smallish Michigan town there’s only one-to-two degrees of separation between anyone, so it won’t be hard to get valuable input.
4) Good Tenant References: Ask the PM company for some references from current tenants. This should give you the chance to talk to real tenants about the PM’s process and the level of service after being placed. Again, any property management company worth your time will gladly connect you with a few tenants.
5) Good Website and Multiple Marketing Channels: The PM company is going to become the main marketing vehicle for your property, and should have numerous tools at their disposal. First and foremost is their primary website. Does it display properties well? Allow users to sort and narrow their search? Offer a quick way for users to inquire about a particular property? In addition to the main website, the PM company should have other advertising channels in play: local and regional print, realtor connections, Google AdWords, Craigslist and other web property sites. These are all good channels through which they can market your property. Ask them what their plan would be for your property.
By working through this quick checklist of things to look for in a property management company, you should end up with a good fit. But of course if you’re already here at silverlakespm.com, maybe you don’t have to look that far…