How to Select the Ideal Property Management Company
So, you’ve purchased your Destin investment rental and have decided that you need to hire a property management company in order to have a well-managed investment. After all, your goal is to sit back and enjoy a passive income stream from your property. There are plenty of companies to choose from, but how do you know they're trustworthy? How do you know if they'll do what they've committed to?
Ideally, a recommendation from a friend or colleague for a company they've employed is a good place to start. But, no matter how you choose that first candidate, you shouldn't make your final decision until having a personal interview. There are questions you can ask to ensure you’re hiring an experienced, honest, effective management company.
Background & Qualifications
Begin by asking about their background, qualifications, and about the properties they already manage. This will help you to decide if they will be a trustworthy and honest partner in the management of your property.
Here are some specific questions to ask:
- How long have they been in operation under the current business name?
- Have they operated under other business names?
- Have they been managing properties, especially properties like yours, that entire time?
- Are they licensed to practice property management and what certifications does the company and its staff have?
- Does the company participate in continuing education?
These questions will help you gauge how serious and trustworthy the company is. Ideally you are looking for a company with at least five years of experience. A company that has changed its name, especially more than once, may be a red flag. Are they trying to hide something? You want a licensed company that pursues certifications and continuing education so you can be sure they will continue to be leaders in their field.
Experience & Portfolio
The next topic you should ask about is their portfolio of properties. This information is invaluable in deciding if they are a good and effective management company for your Destin rental condo or home. These questions will help you to gain that information.
- What is the coverage area for their management of properties, local, a specific region, or international?
- How far is the office located from your investment property?
- Do they specialize in one type, or do they manage multiple types of properties?
- How many properties does the company currently have under management and are they trying to grow or decrease their portfolio?
- How long is their average client relationship?
- Can they provide you some addresses to some of their properties so drive by, and maybe get a walkthrough?
- Will they provide client references?
This information should give you an idea of whether or not the company you’re interviewing has a good history of customer relations and efficiency. Preferably you want someone closer to your property. If the drive is more than 25 minutes the attention your rental receives could be lacking. A company that specializes in the type of property you own is a good choice. They won’t be spread too thin to keep on top of the latest trends and rules.
A company with too many properties could spell problems for your management and how responsive they are. What you’re looking for is a firm that seems well balanced in number of properties for the amount of staff they have. Long average client relationships indicate loyalty, which points to a property manager that is effective and treats their owners well.
The Staff & Customer Service
Next you should examine several aspects about their staff. You are interested in finding out about the size of their staff, their professionalism, and their commitment to customer service. Ask these questions to elicit that information.
- How many people do they have on staff?
- What is their staff turnover frequency?
- Who is the specific property manager that will be assigned to your property?
- Do they dress and act professionally and seem knowledgeable about their profession?
- How long have they been a property manager, especially for your type of property?
- What is their tenure at this company? What about the previous company, if any?
- What is their compensation structure?
- Who is their backup if they are unavailable?
- Does the office close on the weekends?
- Who handles calls when the office is closed?
- How quickly do they respond to calls from owners and tenants?
All things being equal, commitment to customer service is a key deciding factor. Property management is a 24/7/365 days of the year job and you want your tenants to feel well cared for at any time they call, especially if there are problems or issues. This type of service results in tenant loyalty, repeat business, and referrals. Backup is also essential! You don’t want to be called to solve issues because your property manager is unavailable or can’t be found.
First Impressions are Important
This Florida property management company reflects upon you and your Destin investment home. The above set of questions are very important in making certain your prospective tenants have a great first impression and a positive rental experience. High turnover can be an indication of issues, but is only significant when in comparison with other rental companies, as turnover is higher overall in the property management industry.
You want to meet the property manager who will handle your Destin investment property. Pay attention to how they act and present themselves. If the potential manager looks and acts like they just rolled out of bed, haven’t been a doing the job long, or don’t seem to connect with you, they aren’t likely to make a good first impression on your tenants.
Keep in mind that choosing property manager is similar to interviewing candidates for an important job, because it is. Pay attention to everything going on in the office as well as the person with whom you are speaking. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable it is likely prospective tenants will feel that way too. With a little detective work and listening to your instincts these questions will help you to find the project manager to keep your Florida investment rental rented and earning a nice revenue for years to come.
Be sure to check out "Why Hire a Property Manager", the first article in our series on Property Management for the Florida Investor.
Search listings for Destin & 30A Investment Properties:
Tim Shepard, Broker/Owner
Destin Real Estate, LLC
Cell: (850) 259-4133
Toll Free: (866) 678-SOLD
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