Deciding to seek help from a property manager to maintain your business or commercial property is a great first step, but the actual hiring process can hinder seasoned investors and first-time owners. It is important to hire a property manager that you are comfortable with, including management style, industry experience and cost.
The first thing you should do is to determine what you want the property manager to do. It is not important that the jargon is exactly right, it is important to be as specific as possible in describing the tasks and duties that need to be performed. You may choose to perform this step before contacting the management company to apply for the position, or you may choose to use the company or a potential property manager as a resource to assign these duties. Things you will need to consider include: ensuring tenant safety, collecting monthly rent, evictions (if necessary), tenant disputes, maintenance and repair processes.
When it comes to the cost of hiring a property manager, much of the cost depends on the location of the property, the number of properties under management and the services that will be provided to the property manager. Some property managers charge a fixed monthly fee, while others operate on a percentage of the property’s rent. Make sure you are fully aware of the property manager’s cost structure and that you and the property manager agree in advance on the financial treatment of any additional services.
Research potential management companies or property managers to obtain as much information as possible. Start with the company’s website and use internet search engines to search for anything newsworthy. Always ask friends or other investors for their experience, advice and contacts in dealing with property managers. When meeting with a potential property manager, make a list of questions, including general industry questions and requirements, as well as specific items specific to your property and expectations.
There are a number of important questions for the property manager to consider, including:How much experience does he/she have in property management? What kind of insurance, state licenses and certifications does the property manager have? Does he/she have experience in complying with housing laws (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act)? Does he/she have the appropriate qualifications and knowledge to handle reservations and accounting information? What does the property manager’s fee cover (e.g., advertising of vacant properties)?
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