Shopping for a property management company should be treated just like shopping for anything. There are many options to choose from including small property management teams, large property management companies, and privately owned property management companies. Determining the right one for you and your investment property should be done by interviewing each company. Just because you walked into a property management company first, does not mean you have to sign a contract with them to rent out your home in Orlando. Shop around. Do your due diligence. Picking the right property management company for your investment can make or break you in the real estate investing business.
Licensing and Certifications
First things first, make sure that the property management company that you are interviewing has proper licensing to be operating. Business licenses are issued by the state and must be displayed in a visible location. Operating a property management company in the State of Florida differs from other states in America because it does not require a business license for real estate management companies. Instead, the Florida Real Estate Commission requires that a property management company or individual property manager that is hired to rent out your home in Orlando acquire a Real Estate Sales Associate license. The requirements to obtain a real estate sales associate license includes being over the age of 18 years old, having a high school diploma or GED, taking a 63-hour real estate sales associate pre-licensing course, submitting an application form to apply for a license, a $105 fee to submit the application, acquire an FREC electronic fingerprint, and finally take and pass the exam to become a real estate sales associate. Applicants must score a minimum of 75 percent on the exam to pass. The real estate sales associate license takes 7-10 business days to receive in the mail. While interviewing a property manager, ask to see that they have proper licensing to be operating as a property manager. Additional certifications or licensing helps as well to prove that they are knowledgeable in their field. Remember: first impressions are not just for dates. Pay attention to the “vibe” that you get from the property manager. Notice if he or she is friendly, professional, knowledgeable, properly and appropriately dressed, organized, and has the proper presentation of documents to rent out your home in Orlando.
What Types of Properties Do They Manage?
Not all Orlando residential property management companies manage all types of properties. Some may specialize in condos, while others focus on large apartment complexes or single family homes. Depending on the type of property that you need to be managed, you should select a property manager who has years of experience managing that type of property. While it may seem that any property manager should be able to manage any type of property, the truth is that different property types require different care, marketing, maintenance, knowledge, and experience. Different property types have different laws, codes, and regulations. You need a manager who is knowledgeable and stays up to date on all federal, state, and local laws. Ask a property manager how many years of experience they have managing your type of property and how many properties they are currently overseeing and managing. A manager who is hired to rent out your home in Orlando should make sure she has enough time and energy to focus on your investment, just as much as the other properties she is managing.
References and Reviews Speak Volumes
Have you ever noticed when looking at Google Reviews or Yelp Reviews that people either really love or really hate the service or food that they are reviewing? The same is true with property management companies. Usually, only people speak up on review boards if they have had a stellar or miserable experience. Nevertheless, many times online reviews or word-of-mouth references can be very telling, especially when comparing multiple property management companies. Just keep in mind that if you find an awful review, it may be from a disgruntled tenant who was evicted. Listen to people who you trust that have worked with certain property management companies. Often, referrals from current customers can get both parties a slight discount on services or a credit towards the property management services. It is also wise to inquire about the rent out your home in Orlando company from the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce to learn about any complaints or issues that have been reported to them regarding an Orlando residential property management company.
Handling of Money
Everything from rent collections, to security deposits, application fees, property management fees, disbursements, and maintenance costs must be in good accounting practices. See that you choose a property management company that has an automated rent collection system that automatically alerts the property manager and tenants if they fail to pay rent on time. Ask if the property management company utilizes Automated Clearing House Deposits. ACH deposits are Direct Deposits from one bank account to another bank account. It eliminates the paper check and allows for money to be transferred electronically, allowing for faster processing times. This means that property managers and property owners hired to rent out your home in Orlando will see that rent has been paid almost immediately after a tenant has paid rent. Property management companies that allow for automatic rent payments or online payments provide tenants with convenience, and increase the amount and likelihood that tenants will pay rent in full and on time. It also eliminates hours of work for the property manager, doing away with paper checks and a trip to the bank to deposit the rent checks allows for the focus and time to be spent on filling vacancies, fulfilling maintenance requests, marketing the property, and property inspections.
Ask Questions to Those Hired to Rent Out Your Home in Orlando
Ask questions to the property manager to find out about them and how the company operates. Treat the experience like going out on a date with a new love interest. Just as you would ask questions to find out information about your date and determine if you have an interest in the person, you should ask questions that matter for a property manager to determine if he or she is a good fit for your investment property and investment strategy. Of course, the questions will differ from a date versus interviewing an Orlando residential property manager. Some of the important questions to ask a property manager include how the company or person handles rent collections, late rent, how they determine market rent during vacancies, strategies for aggressive marketing and advertising, maintenance requests, property inspections, tenant screening requirements, tenant and owner funds, property management fees, and property management contracts. Hiring a locally owned and run property management company to rent out your home in Orlando, like Specialized Property Management Orlando, has benefits when it comes to determining market rent. Property managers that see and live in a community that they manage are valuable to investment property owners on many levels. Locals have information regarding transportation, clear understandings of market rent rates, knowledge of how one property differs from another, a knowledge of which neighborhoods rent better than others, which ones are safer than others, and demographics. Many property managers also have preferred vendor pricing from multiple vendors in the area, which saves property owners time and money.
Read and Review All Documents
Any lawyer will tell you to read every word of a document before signing it. Specialized Property Management Orlando is in agreement with this recommendation. Review the tenant lease agreements and make certain that you understand what the property management company is asking of your tenants. You can negotiate and make changes to your individual lease agreement to cater it directly to your property and to your needs as an investor. Make sure that the wording is clear and concise. Ask the property manager if he/she explains the lease agreements to tenants who rent out your home in Orlando prior to signing to ensure that each tenant knows what he/she is responsible for under the contract. Know the lease terms offered by your property management company. Too short of lease terms results in high turnover. Lease terms that are too long can deprive a property owner of rent increases if the market shoots up and a tenant is locked in by a two year lease. Specialized Property Management Orlando generally recommends a twelve-month lease agreement. Review the owner/property management company contract. Look to see that it clearly outlines who you should contact and that the phone number or email address is correct. Look for any hidden fees. Find in the contract what the monthly property management fees will be as well as the fee for placement of a tenant when the property is vacant. Make sure that it clearly states these numbers in the contract as well as information regarding how maintenance will be handled and the amount of money that the management company requires to be set aside for maintenance. Carefully read every word of the agreements that you and your tenants will be signing. Know your responsibilities and the responsibilities of the property management company hired to rent out your home in Orlando.
Do Your Research
Talk to multiple competitors in your area. Interview many property managers and determine the best fit for you and your property. Choosing the right property management company for the right property can turn your investment into a cash cow. Picking the wrong property management company can leave you with big regrets and costly mistakes. Do your research and call Specialized Property Management Orlando today at (407) 682-3355 to rent out your home in Orlando.