Hiring a property manager for your Orlando rental property is a huge decision. Whether you are renting out just one property – perhaps one that you once lived in yourself – or you have an entire portfolio of investments to put on the rental market, you need to find a property manager you can trust. Real estate is a huge asset, and there are some key factors to consider when choosing an Orlando property management company that will work for you the way you need and expect it to.
Evaluate a Property Manager’s Experience and Expertise
Property management experience is key, and you want to make sure you are looking into a management company that has the necessary experience with maintenance, accounting, and leasing. These are important areas that are going to generate success with your rental income and your long term ROI. A property management company should specialize in the type of property you own, and they should have a proven success rate.
You want more than experience. You want expertise. A property manager can lease 1,000 properties to tenants, but that experience doesn’t necessarily mean they are leasing properties the right way. It doesn’t mean they are finding the right tenants. It’s easy to be impressed when a property manager tells you he or she has 10 or 20 or even 30 years of experience in the property management business. That’s great. But, what has that experience done for their clients? Experience counts, especially when it comes to professionally managing a rental property. But, you also don’t want to hire a property manager who is still doing things the way they were done 30 years ago. That experience isn’t going to get you the best results.
So, when you’re asking about experience, ask about expertise as well. What does that property management company do really well? What do they do differently than other companies? You’ll want to hear about their failures as well as their successes because it’s through mistakes and failures that property managers learn how to do things better. Ask about the most challenging properties they have ever managed. Find out how they learned to do things differently. Dig into that experience that they claim they have, and find out where their expertise lays. If a property manager can tell you more about expertise than experience, you’re talking to a good company.
Look for a Manager who Hires the Right People
Having the right people is crucial to the effective management of your property. Get to know the company’s culture before you sign a management agreement. Ask if you can talk to some of the employees you’ll be dealing with. Your property manager will be your most important contact, but you’ll also have someone handling your accounting and your maintenance requests. You want to get to know them as well.
It’s important to trust the property management team you’re working with. These are the professionals who will be in charge of your property and the finances associated with it. Therefore, you’re looking for an ethical team that is willing to partner with you to maximize your property’s full potential.
In additional to hiring the right staff, you need to make sure your property manager is working with the right vendors. Whether there’s an in-house maintenance team or a list of preferred vendors who are used when more complicated maintenance projects are needed, it’s a good idea to ask about your property manager’s requirements when hiring vendors. You want only licensed and insured vendors and contactors working on your home. Otherwise, you’re inviting a lot of liability in addition to the chance that the repairs will be sloppy or incorrect. Ask about the property manager’s method for choosing vendors and deciding who will complete work at your home.
Communication is an essential function of a property management. Whether it’s keeping you updated about your vacant property or getting your approval before completing a large repair, you’ll need to know how your property manager communicates. You should expect communication to be as frequent as necessary. You don’t want to wait days and weeks for return phone calls or emails. You want to have a property manager who is available and accessible. You need responsiveness.
Dive Into your Property Manager’s Processes and Procedures
A good property management company in Orlando will be able to show you well-documented processes that are designed to protect your property and increase the value of your investment. Property managers need to think quickly and be flexible, but you want to know that there is a procedure in place for anything that might come along. Whether it’s a tenant who isn’t paying rent, a dispute over security deposits, or a maintenance emergency in the middle of the night, you need to know exactly you’re your property manager plans to respond.
Having specific processes is going to streamline what is going on with the investment property, and it’s also going to allow for quick and effective communication. Those tried and true processes are going to ensure you are generating as much return on your investment as possible. This should start on the day you list your home with your property manager. Ask to see or hear about processes for:
- Move-in and move-out inspections.
- Collecting, holding, and returning security deposits.
- Negotiating and signing lease agreements.
- Screening applicants to find high quality renters.
You’ll also want to know about their approach to customer service. It’s important that you’re treated well, but it’s also important that your tenants are treated well. Customer service throughout the entire process means dealing with the tenant, the maintenance aspects, the HOA, and any and all inspections with the city. If your property manager isn’t responsive to tenants, you’re going to have a lot of turnover, and that’s expensive. If your property manager is late paying maintenance invoices or unable to post legal notices the right way, you’re going to run into problems with future repairs and legal compliance.
Talk about the process. Ask for examples. Look for evidence that your property manager is prepared to handle anything that comes up at your property, whether it’s a vacancy or a tenant who moves out before the end of the lease, or an unauthorized pet. Ask about pet policies and late rent polices and what they do if they feel a tenant needs to be evicted. It’s important to talk about specific polices and to ask them to cite examples that show you exactly how they will manage your property.
Weigh Your Orlando Property Management Options
Everyone wants to save money, and as a real estate investor, you’re completely focused on your bottom line. That’s smart.
However, going with the cheapest property manager you find is not always going to be the best idea for your investment. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is absolutely the same in this situation. A property manager will a ridiculously low management fee will either cut corners and deliver terrible service or will have a bunch of hidden fees that you don’t know about until they show up in your accounting statements. You should be skeptical of a property management company with fees that are remarkably lower than the other fees you have encountered.
When you’re evaluating your options for Orlando property management, consider the services you’re receiving in exchange for the fees you’re paying. Check out online reviews and find out what current and former customers have to say about their experience with certain companies. You can also check the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They BBB will be your most reliable source for information about how a company conducts business. It will verify every review and make sure it comes from an authentic place.
Working with a high quality property management company will save you money and in the end, earn you more. A good property manager will ensure your property is priced correctly, which will reduce vacancy times. A good property manager will choose and screen the best tenants; ensuring rent is paid on time. A good property manager will respond to maintenance needs, which protects the condition of your home and keeps your tenants happy. This results in your asset growing in value and it also allows you to keep your turnover rate low, because your tenants will be happy with the service they are receiving, and they will renew leases.
Think about your property management fees as an additional investment you need to make in order to realize higher returns. You don’t want to settle for just any property manager. Take your time, do some research, and talk to a number of different management companies. Then, you can compare and evaluate the prices and services.
If we can help you in any way – whether it’s to provide more advice to tell you more about our own services – please contact us at Specialized Property Management in Orlando.