Making the decision to enlist the help of a property manager in maintaining your business or commercial property is a great first step, but the actual hiring process can be intimidating to veteran investors and first time owners alike. It's important to hire a property manager that you feel comfortable with- and that includes aspects such as management style, industry experience, and cost.
The first thing you should do is determine exactly what you are expecting the property manager to do. It doesn't matter if you have the jargon exactly right, but be as specific as possible in regards to what tasks need to be performed and what the duties will be. You may choose to do this step before you even approach a management company about the position, or you may feel more comfortable using the company or potential property manager as a resource in specifying these duties. Some things you will want to consider include the process for securing tenants, collecting monthly rent payments, eviction (if necessary), tenant disputes, maintenance and repairs.
Research the potential management company or property manager to find out as much information about them as you can. Start with the company?s website, as well as using internet search engines to yield any newsworthy items. Feel free to ask friends or fellow investors about their experience with property managers and for recommendations and contacts. Come up with a list of questions to use when meeting with a potential property manager, which are a combination of general industry questions and requirements as well as items specific to your property and expectations.
There are going to be many items that will be important to consider when it comes to a property manager, some of which include: How much experience does he/she have in property management? What insurance, state licenses and credentials does the property manager have? Does he/she have experience in complying with housing regulations (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act)? Does he/she have proper qualifications and knowledge to handle booking and accounting information? What expenditures will be included in the property manager?s fee (such as advertisements for vacant properties)?
When it comes to the cost of employing a property manager, most fees are determined by a combination of property location, number of properties involved in management, and the services that will be performed on behalf of the manager. Some property managers charge a flat monthly rate, while others operate on a percentage of the property?s rent. Be sure that you are completely clear on the property manager?s cost structure, and that you and the property manager agree in advance on the financial treatment of any additional services.
Talk with a qualified attorney, as well as the property manager, to discuss safeguards that will protect you from misuse of funds and embezzlement. It?s important to sign a written agreement on all terms you have settled on with the property manager before any services take place. The paperwork should include the length of time that the property manager will be employed, including a date for renewal, as well as contingencies for a breach in contract.