So, you've decided to hire a property manager. Congratulations—you've made a wise decision!
Before beginning the interview process, it's important to realize that not all property management companies are created equally. Levels of experience can vary widely, as can the rates that property managers charge. Some may leverage new technology, while others may operate the same way they did decades ago. Crafting specific property manager interview questions can help you understand the differences between certain companies and get the answers you need to make a decision.
Just as you'd do your due diligence before investing in a property, you should also carefully look into prospective property management companies. After all, they're who will be caring for your investment on a daily basis.
Here are 25 essential questions to ask in a property manager interview. By asking the right questions, you can be sure to find a property manager who is a good fit for you and your investment.
Read on to learn these 25 question and how to find the right property manager, fast. You can also download the full list of questions here.
A property management company's years of experience can indicate its stability and success in the industry. A company that has been in business for at least five years will likely have a proven track record and a more extensive network of resources and services.
Asking this question also allows you to check references from other property owners who have used their services. Ensuring the property management company has a history of providing quality service and positive outcomes for its clients is essential.
The property management industry continually evolves with new technologies, market trends, and industry best practices emerging regularly. A forward-thinking property management company should adapt to these changes proactively to stay competitive and provide better client services.
Inquiring about their business model changes over time will give you insight into their ability to stay updated with the latest industry trends. A company that embraces technology and innovative approaches is more likely to offer efficient and effective property management solutions.
Property management companies vary in the services they provide. Some companies offer a full suite of services, including marketing, tenant screening, maintenance, rent collection, and legal assistance, while others may offer only specific services.
Choosing a property management company that offers comprehensive services that save you money and align with your specific needs is crucial. Understanding their service offerings lets you determine if they can meet your expectations as a property owner.
The number of rental properties a company manages can indicate its size, expertise, and workload. While an extensive portfolio might suggest an experienced company, ensuring you’ll receive personalized attention for your property is also important.
Smaller property management companies may have more time to focus on individual properties, while larger firms have more significant resources and established processes to handle various tasks efficiently.
Familiarity with the local rental market is critical for a property management company's success. A company that already manages properties in your area will better understand local rental rates, tenant preferences, and legal requirements.
Choosing a property manager with experience in your location can be advantageous, as they will be better equipped to address the unique challenges and opportunities in the local market.
If you own properties in multiple cities or towns, selecting a property management company with a broad coverage area can be beneficial. Having a single company overseeing multiple properties in different locations can streamline communication and processes for you as the property owner.
However, ensure that the property management company can effectively manage properties across different areas without compromising quality and responsiveness.
The types of properties a company manages can influence its expertise and approach to property management. For example, managing single-family rentals requires different skills than managing commercial or retail properties.
Selecting a property manager specializing in your property type ensures they understand your investment's unique needs and challenges.
Determining the right rental rates is crucial for attracting tenants while maximizing your return on investment. A credible property management company should be able to conduct a thorough market analysis to inform rental rates based on factors such as local market conditions, property size, amenities, and historical rental data.
A well-researched rental rate ensures that your property remains competitive in the market while avoiding the risk of overpricing or underpricing your rental units.
Minimizing vacancy periods is vital for maintaining a steady rental income. A property management company's ability to attract high-quality tenants efficiently speaks to its marketing and leasing expertise.
Inquire about their marketing channels, tenant screening process, and strategies for tenant retention. A successful property manager will have a proactive approach to marketing and tenant management to ensure minimal vacancies and consistent rental income.
Compliance with Fair Housing laws is crucial to avoid legal issues and discrimination claims. A knowledgeable property manager should be well-versed in all local, state, and federal Fair Housing laws that apply to rental properties.
You can trust that they will handle tenant selection and lease management fairly and legally by ensuring their understanding of Fair Housing laws.
Understanding the structure of the property management team can give you insights into how they approach different aspects of property management. Some companies have specialized team members for marketing, maintenance, accounting, and tenant relations tasks, while others have generalists who handle multiple functions.
Specialized roles may indicate that the company has experts in each area, while generalists may offer more flexibility in handling different tasks. Consider your preferences and needs as a property owner when evaluating the team structure.
Insurance coverage is crucial for protecting your property and mitigating potential risks. A reputable property management company should carry liability insurance, such as a $1 million general liability policy, to cover accidents and injuries on your property.
An errors and omissions policy also covers mistakes or negligence in property management services. Request to see proof of insurance before hiring a property manager.
Property management fees typically range from 8% to 12% of monthly rental revenues. However, costs can vary depending on the property management company's range of services.
Consider the fees in conjunction with the services offered to determine the overall value and return on investment you can expect from their services.
It is typical that property managers waive management fees during vacancies to incentivize them to find tenants quickly. Charging fees during vacancies may indicate a need for more motivation to prioritize tenant placement.
Ensure the property management company follows industry norms and aligns with best practices to optimize your rental income.
Flexibility in contract terms is essential in case the property management company fails to meet your expectations. Avoid companies that try to lock you into long-term contracts with hefty penalties for early termination. Switching management companies if the service is subpar allows you to make changes without financial repercussions.
In addition to monthly management fees, some property management companies charge additional fees for specific services, such as marketing, eviction, unit turnover, or maintenance coordination.
Understanding these potential costs in advance will help you budget effectively and avoid any surprises in the future.
A good property manager knows thorough tenant screening is critical for finding reliable and responsible tenants. Preparing your property, reviewing recent tenant experiences, and considering local amenities are essential. An experienced property manager may mention that you must fix any issues before taking photos and promoting the property. Then, advertise the property through various platforms like Zillow, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. When selecting a final candidate, you've got to set clear expectations for long-term tenants, such as noise reduction and pet acceptance.
Listening to a property manager’s answer to this question will help you gauge their commitment to selecting high-quality tenants who will respect and care for your property.
A lower vacancy rate suggests that the property management company is effective in marketing and tenant retention, resulting in fewer empty rental units and higher overall rental income.
Comparing their vacancy rate to the area average will give you an idea of their performance relative to other property management companies in your location.
Reducing the time it takes to prepare a unit for rent and finding a new tenant is crucial for maintaining a consistent rental income.
A property management company that can quickly turn over units and have them leased again within 30 days is likely to have efficient systems in place for maintenance, marketing, and tenant placement.
Clear communication and prompt response to maintenance requests are essential for keeping tenants satisfied and preserving the condition of your property.
Understanding the property management company's service request process will give you insights into their responsiveness and efficiency in addressing tenant needs.
Receiving regular updates on your property's performance and status can help you stay informed and aid in making decisions as a property owner.
Reputable property management companies leverage technology, such as online dashboards, to provide real-time information and insights into your property's financial and operational performance.
Effective communication is important in order to maintain a successful working relationship with your property manager. Understanding their preferred method of communication ensures that you can stay in touch and receive updates promptly.
A property manager who aligns with your communication preferences will help facilitate a smoother partnership.
Established relationships with local vendors, such as contractors and maintenance providers, can benefit your property regarding reliability, quality, and potentially discounted services.
A property management company with a network of trusted vendors can help ensure timely and cost-effective repairs and maintenance for your property.
An experienced property management company can provide valuable insights into the real estate market and help you make informed decisions about your investment portfolio.
Listen to the PM's answer to see if they tick any of these boxes:
Expert advice on market trends, property acquisition or disposition, and strategies for maximizing rental income can be invaluable for property owners seeking to grow their investment portfolios.
A property manager with experience as a real estate investor is more likely to understand your perspective and objectives as a property owner. This firsthand experience may indicate a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities of owning and managing investment properties.
Asking these 25 property manager interview questions will help you find the perfect fit for your investment property needs. Remember, the interview process is critical in choosing a property management company that aligns with your goals and values.
Always meet with potential managers in person to get a better feel for their approach and professionalism. APM can help you quickly find the best property managers in your area to kickstart your search for the right fit. Happy interviewing!
Download the full guide here.