Questions to Ask Your Property Manager Before Signing a Contract

System - Sunday, March 19, 2017

When you own an investment property, or find yourself a landlord by default, you want to enjoy returns — not the headaches of day-to-day operations. That’s why you’re on the hunt for a property manager.

Finding a good property manager isn’t as simple as it might sound. After all, you’re essentially entrusting the chosen manager with a significant personal investment. You can’t accept just anyone. To help you make the best possible choice, here’s a look at questions to ask before hiring a property manager.

Do You Have Local Experience?

Few businesses are as truly local as real estate. Things change, not just market to market, but also neighborhood to neighborhood. Therefore, in real estate, it is paramount to trust your success to a property manager who has a well-established operation and strong knowledge of the local market your property is located in. 

A good property manager will understand the influences in your market, and know the best and most affordable service providers in your area. A good property manager will also be able to speak to prospective and current tenants within the context of market conditions. It may not sound like a big deal, but having a property manager who knows your property’s neighborhood makes a world of difference in maximizing your return.  A good property manager will have a proven record and intimate knowledge of the local market.  

Can You Provide References?

A prospective property manager can make all sorts of promises, but what do those promises really mean? It’s best to go straight to the source and speak to someone who’s worked with a certain property management company before. Reputable property managers should have a list of clients past and present with whom you can speak and ask about their experience. If a property manager balks at the idea of providing references or outright refuses, that’s a good indication that you should pass on trusting that service provider with your property.

How Do You Handle Difficult Tenant Situations?

There’s a trend in corporate hiring called behavioral interviewing. Rather than simply asking questions of a candidate, the interviewer will ask the candidate to describe specific situations and how they handled them. For example, a behavioral interviewing question might sound like this: “Describe a time when you were faced with a difficult tenant situation, and how you led that situation to resolution with the best possible outcome for all parties.” 

It’s a tough question, and it should be. It gets your prospective property manager out of the mode of just saying what they would do in a certain situation, and it forces them to describe what they’ve done in the past.

What Services Do You Provide?

This question is far more important than it looks at first glance. Some property managers will sell you on their services and quote you a fee. Then you discover the contract does not include certain things you had assumed were included — and your manager wants even more money to do them. 

Don’t let this happen to you. Be comprehensive when explaining what you need and what your expectations are. Make sure everything is included in the contract. Don’t leave anything to chance, and never assume something’s included if it’s not expressly stated. Rather than wondering what to look for in a property management contract, let your manager know by clearly explaining what to expect in a property management agreement.

How Do You Communicate?

Communication is of the utmost important, especially if you don’t live in the same area as your property. Your manager should serve as your feet and eyes on the ground, and they should let you know what’s happening at your property — the good and the bad. Make sure you come to an understanding of the types of reports you expect and when you expect them, and make sure you hold your manager accountable for delivering those reports on the agreed-upon schedule.

Are you getting ready to hire a property manager in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area? Having a hard time with your existing property manager? At Harrisburg Property Management Group, we deliver the services you need and the results you want. We are among the best property management companies in Pennsylvania because of our experience, knowledge and commitment to helping you reach your investment objectives. When you choose to work with Harrisburg Property Management Group, you no longer have to worry about how to find a good property management company.

Contact us today about your property management needs.

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