Your new prospective property management company will wield a large power over your return on investment.  Ensure its the best return on investment with our 32 Questions for your new property management company – Part 2.

17. Do you perform property inspections?

This is important as a lot can happen in a year, property inspections are always a good idea.  Make sure your property manager does more than the check-in day inspection.

It is also a good idea to have a pre-move out inspection.  This way you ensure your tenants has the adequate time to clean and fix before the final check out date.  Allowing your tenants the opportunity to try and recover as much as they can from their security deposit.

 

18. What is your eviction timeline and experience?

You want to make sure that your property management company has gone through several evictions at the very least, as this is always a possibility.  Make sure they know the process and have the expertise.

19. How many evictions have you had this month and over the last 6 months?

This will give you a very good idea about the property management firm on how they conduct themselves, as well as their average tenant quality.  This number needs to be low in comparison to the amount of properties they manage.

 

20. How long is your average vacancy period?

This number might differ from area to area.  But it is good to have an idea of what to expect and also to realise when you are not receive the return on investment as expected or promised.

 

21. Who holds onto the security deposit?

Some property managers keep the security deposit and others ask the owner to hold on to it.  Be sure to know how often the security deposit is refunded to tenants if the property manager keeps it.  This will give you an understanding of the type of property management company you’re dealing with, one that are fair and pay the tenants their due (most tenants should get a section of their deposit back) or one that uses security deposits to catch up on lost profits.

22. How do you handle late payments?

It’s important that you know you have a property manager that will be tough when needed.  Late payments aren’t accepted in the bizz, make sure your property manager keeps to that.  Many property managers also ask a late payment fee of around 10%.  You should inquire to whom receives this extra fee.

 

23. What is your rent ready cost and definition?

You need to know how much you will need to pay (on average) every time your property manager finds you a new tenant.  Most properties get a new lick of paint and a carpet wash, these are expenses coming out of your pocket, know the cost.

You should ask what your property manager sees as rent ready, is it a lick of paint and a carpet clean, or is it more, or is it less….

 

24. What is your repair process?

It is vital that you know in what manner your property manager will handle repairs.  Will all repairs be run past you, will they find the professional in house or through multiple bids?  Be sure you understand what happens when you have minor and major repairs in your property.

 

25. Do you provide monthly statements?

Monthly statements will break all the income and expenses down of your property, making it a very desirable benefit.

 

26. Do you have any references?

As with any job interview you will ask for references, in this case it should be no different.  A good property manager should at the very least have a few references they can guarantee on.  Make sure to give these references a call.

Other than references you can also check out their reviews and testimonials on their website and social media.

 

27. What do you expect from me as owner?

Some people like to be micromanaged and others don’t.  Be sure to know what your property manager expects from you.  You should also make it clear what you expect from them.

 

28. Do you provide the tenant with my (the owners) contact information

Many owners get property managers because they don’t want to be bothered with the tenants.  This is a good enough reason, but I have found that those property managers that do give out the numbers tend to perform a tad better.  Simply because an unhappy tenant will inform the owner.  Also some property managers have a policy where by they forbid the tenants and the owner to every talk to each other, you should be careful of these property managers.

 

29. You break it you buy it

Some property management firm has this concept in their lease agreements.  Making it clear that any damages beyond wear and tear will be charged for extra to the monthly rent.  This principle works well with a more questionable tenant groups, such as students and entry level workers.

Consider “you break it, you buy it” concept, there can be real benefits like leaving the deposit for its purpose, not just a deductible expense account.

 

30. Do I pay any fees when my property stands empty?

Many landlords feel that they shouldn’t have to pay any fees for an unoccupied rental property.  In principle I agree, but you should also remember that your property management firm still has salaries to pay.  I would however expect a reduced monthly charged.  Also there should be a limit to how many months your property can stand empty.

 

31. How do you handle off hour emergencies?

Who will be contacted and what will happen.  You should know the response time for emergencies.  Also it good to know what your property manager considers as an emergency.

 

32. Last but not least, how do I get paid?

You want to be sure to how and when you can expect payment.  You also want to inquire if you don’t get payment, what will be done about it.

 

As with any job interview there are several question to be ask.  Don’t be shy, ask your property manager the questions you need to know.  Any good property manager that is worth your business will appreciate it, willing and able to answer any of your property managment related questions.

Take a look at last weeks questions, part 1 of  32 Questions for your new property management company

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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