Hiring a property management firm to manage your property investment is a big decision — you’re essentially giving the staff at a company a large portion of the responsibilities for making sure your properties are successful. Everything from the maintenance of the property, leasing, collecting rent, marketing apartments for rent, managing tenant disputes, and much more. When a property manager is so involved in your business and can directly affect how well or how poorly your property is doing, you want to make sure that the company is experienced, knowledgeable, and can provide service you can trust.
Hip Realty offers professional and reliable property management services throughout the Lincoln, Nebraska area. We provide our clients with both commercial and residential services and will do everything we can to ensure that your property is successful and that your residents are happy. We understand that there are a lot of property management companies in the area that you can choose from, but we’re also confident that we can provide superior service. As you’re talking with potential firms, keep these things in mind.
What Are Their Services?
At a very basic level, you want to know that the company offers the services that you need. There’s no point in interviewing a potential property management service if they don’t do what you want. At a minimum, they should offer tenant screenings, they should handle maintenance on the property, market open units, and handle any disputes that arise. But you may also want a firm that offers asset management, conducts training and education, offers financial planning, and who has an in-depth knowledge of advertising and marketing.
Tenant Screening Procedures
Finding a tenant for a property is one thing, but making sure that the tenant will pay rent on time, won’t cause any disturbances in the community, and who will take care of the property while they live there is another. Landlords are also putting a significant amount of trust in their tenants, ensuring that the property is still in good condition if or when they leave. A thorough screening process can weed out any tenants with a poor credit history or a criminal background. On the other hand, landlords do not and cannot discriminate against any race, religion, or gender. Make sure that there are established anti-discrimination policies to protect your investment.
When you are giving so much responsibility to a single property management service, you don’t want to hire a firm that doesn’t know exactly what they are doing. There is no on-the-job training in this case. Look for a company that has experience with a wide range of types of properties, both commercial and residential, and who can make decisions based on prior experience. The firm is also handling the financials, so when the firm hires an electrician to do some minor repair work, they may have saved some money by simply hiring a handyman.
Short Vacancy Periods
When there is a vacancy in your property, money isn’t coming in for that unit. If you have a property with enough rental units, it may not be the biggest hit financially; however, the longer the unit sits unoccupied, the more money you’re missing out on. A proactive property management company will do what they can right away to fill the vacancy. Look for a company that is able to boast short vacancy periods, ensuring that you are making as much money as possible.
A good way to recognize an inexperienced or unreliable firm is when they don’t have a large base of clients, or clients who have only been working with them for a short period of time. A great firm will be able to effectively manage multiple properties for long periods of time and keep everyone satisfied. When you’re interviewing potential firms, ask them how long they’ve been in business, how long they’ve been working with their oldest client, and when possible, ask to speak with current or former clients. Getting a list of references and talking with them about their experience is a great way to see how effective they are at their job.
An established company will have no problem providing written contracts for a variety of purposes. Whether it’s a tenant agreement or the contract between the firm and a landlord, having these materials readily available will show that they are running a reputable business. The property management agreement should clearly show all terms and conditions, pricing, and fees so that everyone is in agreement and understands the specifics of the relationship and the responsibilities of each party.
- Services: An agreement will typically list services provided, including managing tenant needs and requests, maintenance, marketing, filling vacancies, collecting rent, move-outs, evictions, and more.
- Fees: The contract will also outline costs and fees and can be customized with specific amounts based on the landlord’s budget and needs.
- Owner Responsibilities: When a contract is put together, there is also an opportunity to include owner responsibilities as well. If there are any tasks that the owner does not want to do, they can be delegated to the property manager.
- Duration and Termination Clauses: Contracts should have a specific start and end date, typically on a one-year basis. An agreement will also include conditions in the event of a breach of contract or when a party wishes to terminate before the specified time.
Licenses and Certificates
It’s possible in some areas for property management services to only have a real estate license, but a property management service often requires specialized training in order to offer the best possible service. Check to see whether their license is current, and ask if they have any professional certifications that can show they do provide thorough services.
Hiring a property management service is an investment in the success of your properties, but it’s essential that you work with the right company. Hip Realty offers superior, hands-on services with professional certifications and licenses to back it up. Michael Holroyd, founder of Hip Realty, holds a Nebraska Real Estate Broker’s license and is a Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). We have experience working with both commercial and residential properties and have a proven track record of success for our clients. Get in touch with us today to learn more about what we can do for you and your properties.