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Surviving the Hell We Call Property Management

by Ali Boone on January 26, 2013 · 63 comments

  
Property Management

To invest out-of-state or to not invest out-of-state? That is the question. You mean I might have to trust someone else to take care of my property?

Have you lost your mind?

Yes, I have lost my mind. Welcome to the idea of professional property management.

Property managers don’t have good reputations (and rightfully so in most cases). I get it. I actually don’t argue the reputation because the majority of property managers I’ve dealt with have been horrible. However, you need to realize there are good managers out there who can completely change your investing experience. With good ones in place, you can invest anywhere! Talk about broadening your experiences and your portfolio.

Long Distance Investing

I love investing outside of my local area (I have to since I live in Los Angeles). Not only do I get the highest returns but I have so many options for diversifying and having a really cool portfolio of properties that investing really can be a blast. I am completely comfortable not being able to check on my property and quite frankly I prefer it for several reasons I won’t go into here. However, I know not everyone is like me and in fact most probably aren’t. However, if you are like me and are okay relinquishing control to a manager, here is my rundown of property management and managers for you based on my experience with them.

Favorite Quote about Property Management:

“I’d Rather Have an Average Property with an Excellent Property Manager than an Excellent Property with an Average Property Manager.”

I heard this from a seller I work with and he was absolutely dead-on when he said this. In my experience with rental properties, every major problem I have had I can attribute in some way to my property manager.

Property Management2This house is one of my properties in Atlanta. The house is amazing, great layout, great rent, cheap purchase price, but just in the first six months I owned it, it went through two evictions with the second resulting in $2400 worth of repairs. Two evictions back-to-back? How does that even happen? It happens when my managers move in any fool who applies to rent the property, that’s how. Their income requirements were way too low for starters. Oh and the second guy was a felon under investigation by local police. Man, I love when that happens. The $2400 was asinine in itself because I know most of those “repairs” weren’t even necessary.

I was in California when all of this happened. I wasn’t local to the property to be able to run in and stop the insanity, so what could I do in this situation? Easy. Fire the property manager and get a new one. Problem solved. Yes, I lost a nice chunk of money in that pile of chaos, and maybe even a little sanity, but the property is great now and I haven’t had a single late payment from the new tenant. Plus, the property cash flows so well that it won’t take long to recoup the lost cash and move on. One of the perks to investing out of your local area is the potential for significantly higher returns which can help offset any “oops” that may happen. Also worth noting is that the problems I just mentioned with that house could have just as easily happened if the property was local to me in Los Angeles. The only difference is whether I was able to drive by the house to see the mess in person or not. Did I need to go by the property during any of that? Nope. What would that have done other than just stress me out more than I already was? Nothing.

I tell this story not to convince anyone that investing out of your local area is what you should do, or to scare you away from having a rental property at all, but rather to emphasize the property management side of your investment should you choose to go the route of long distance investing.

Let’s get to it. What do you need to understand about property managers and their role? You need to understand how important they are in the success of your investment and you need to know what qualities to look for in a manager. Once you know these, you need to know what questions to ask while you are shopping for a manager. I’ll address these in order.

Potential Consequences of a Bad Property Manager

The property manager is in control of your property on a day-to-day basis. He places the tenants and keeps an eye on them while they live there, he makes sure repairs are taken care of and the house stays in working order, and most importantly he stays in communication with you about the property. If your manager doesn’t know what he is doing, or isn’t overly concerned with how he is doing it, here are some negatives that can result.

  • Higher Vacancy Rates: The property manager is the ones who select tenants. While no tenant is a sure thing, there are easy precautions to take in screening a potential tenant, such as their income-to-rent ratio, employment history, and their reason for renting. Credit scores these days have become horrible indicators of tenant quality, rental history can be easily forged when the tenant gives you their friend’s number who pretends to be their landlord, and criminal background checks often don’t show everything. All three of those are still worth checking, but they aren’t the big indicators anymore.
  • Higher Repairs Cost: If your manager only calls a contractor for any maintenance request, you are going to continuously pay an arm and a leg for repairs. If he hires a handy guy who is cheap but doesn’t do the job right, guess who has to keep paying for the redo? If the management company wants to squeeze extra money out of you they can charge a ridiculous hourly rate for their handymen or create repairs that weren’t really necessary in the first place, as with my property above.
  • Constant Stress: “Managing the manager” is horrible. I’ve done it, I don’t like it, and I can’t help but wonder what I’m paying a monthly fee for if I’m having to always be on top of my manager. There are plenty of managers that leave me stress-free and I definitely prefer that route. You may wonder how you will know if you need to be managing your manager or not. Trust me, you’ll know.
  • Confusing Invoices and Pay: I think the property management software out now is worthless. It’s confusing, I can barely read the things, and if there is any anomaly such as the manager charged me maintenance incorrectly, the statement rarely reflects the change because it was created by the same computer that received the maintenance request, versus being created by the person I talked to about the request. If that makes any sense. I prefer mom-and-pop style invoices in Word or Excel, personally.

The first two bullets are the most important because they directly, and quickly, affect your ROI. The last two don’t affect the money but they can affect your sanity which to me is in a close second place to the money.

What Makes a Good Property Manager (and Don’t be Fooled into Thinking These Managers Don’t Exist!)

Feel free to add to this list as you go about your experience with property managers, but these are the key things that will make or break my relationship with a manager.

  • Feeling of Trust: I want to feel confident that my manager will contact me if there are any issues.  I also want to feel confident that if I fall off the face of the earth for any period of time and my manager can’t get a hold of me that he will handle my property not only smartly but he won’t rack up ridiculous expenses while doing it either. This feeling of trust isn’t hard and isn’t something that needs analysis. You either have it or you don’t. Go with your gut.
  • Good and Quick Communication: Nothing gets under my skin more than if I can’t get in touch with my property manager or if I can’t get a question answered promptly. I’ve had managers I had to call daily for a week or more before I could get an answer to a simple question. My good managers however email me back the same day or by the next morning with a simple answer. What a concept!
  • Proper Maintenance Doesn’t Break the Bank: This is a big one for me. Calling a contractor out for every maintenance request is unacceptable. Surprisingly, this is what most property managers do. I can call a contractor from 3,000 miles away. Why pay someone to do that for me? I want to know that if my tenant calls and says the toilet is messing up that the manager will go adjust the floaty ball himself and not charge me for such a minor issue. What about compensating his time to do that, you ask. That’s what I pay a monthly fee for!
  • Knows the Importance of Tenant Quality: Any period of vacancy is stressful for an owner but being patient in finding the right tenant is key. My good managers may not place a tenant as quickly, but when they do finally place a tenant, the tenant is well-qualified and shows all the signs of holding up their end of the lease. In the long-run, having less turnover with good tenants will cost much less than saving vacancy time in the short-term and placing just anyone.

Questions I Ask When Interviewing Potential Managers

As you get more experienced with property managers, you will learn what things are most important to you in a manager and consequently you will have a better feel for what questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes (or your manager’s mistakes) in order to know better what you are looking for. Here are the big questions I always ask when talking to a potential manager.

  • How much do you charge for the following: monthly fee, tenant placement fee, re-leasing fee, maintenance labor?
  • How do you handle maintenance calls: send a handyman, call a contractor, do it yourself?
  • What are typical maintenance charges in terms of labor?
  • What kind of statements will I receive each month?
  • How accessible are you on email and/or phone? (not kidding, sad I even have to ask)
  • Are there any times you won’t ask for my approval for maintenance repairs?
  • How many properties do you currently manage? Do you have references?
  • What are qualifications do you look for in tenants?

At the end of the day, it comes down to you realizing that you are in control of the situation. If a manager does anything that seems out of the ordinary, or too expensive, or whatever else that can happen, understand that you have every right to fire that manager and hire a new one. Not all managers are bad. Yes, property managers tend to be at the lower end of the totem pole when it comes to trustworthy real estate connections, but good ones do exist. If you are willing to find them, they will change your investing life forever. Don’t forget, they work for you. You run the show. Bow up and do your thing and don’t be scared to fire someone.

If you use property managers, what is the worst thing you’ve seen happen? If you don’t use property managers, why not? Other than “no one will take care of a property as good as I do.”

Photo: Jonno Witts & Ali Boone

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick January 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

Hi Ali,

Great article but I have some questions for you.

I know that with large multifamily complexes, a property manager is absolutely a necessity just due to the sheer size of the property. I also know that they typically charge around 5-6% of income on these larger properties. My question is though, how do you make the numbers work with say a house or a small multifamily (2-4 units) when you have to pay a manager? I have seen some companies in my area that charge 10-12% to manage small properties so if hypothetically you cashflow at $300 a month before your management fees, how would a property like that support a manager?

I can easily see how large properties support a management fee but I am having trouble seeing how a sfh or small multifamily would.

Thanks!

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Dennis January 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Nick,

I can answer that for you; when buying a property figure 10-12% for management as an expense in crunching numbers. If you don’t, you have now volunteered yourself for the post.

In the bigger picture if RE is actually an investment vehicle as opposed to another job, property management must be calculated as an expense. If you leave this expense out, any future sale of the property must also be to one seeking to volunteer for the worst jobs.

The above mistake is one of the main reasons for investing in the stock market, I can buy a stock and do not have to volunteer to manage the company also.

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Hey Nick, you definitely bring up a good point. The good news is though that there are enough deals out there now that cash flow so well that there is plenty of margin to pay a property manager. A couple of my Atlanta properties are cash flowing close to $500 even after the $50-100 of management fees. The trick is just finding the properties that give enough margin. Let me know if you are having a hard time finding these and I can point you in a few different directions. Either way, with any property manager, they shouldn’t charge more than about 10% of the gross monthly rental, sometimes a little higher for some superb service.

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Jose Gonzalez January 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

Hey Ali,
Very nice pointing how important the management is.. and I preffer an average property with an exelent manager to!!
The first property management I used the had this software that I literraly had to study during weekends to figure out were my money was going since the rents were not comming completely. I saw then some unusual expenses of repairs like $150 for a toilet leak and $200 to fix a light and turn on the water heater… When I felt that I had to be checking on them, it took me only 2 months since I started until I fired them.
They really can be the reason of failure for many investors and potentially misslead new ones in how this business can be so stress free and profitable.
Great post!

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Hey Jose! Where have you been? You’re always my token commenter :) But yes, managers can absolutely break an investment. My star property had negative returns, the one I talk about in the article, and those particular expenses I absolutely attribute to the horrible management. Managers easily make or break an investment!

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Terry Hershberger January 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hi Ali,
Great article!
I also invest out of my area. In fact, over 2500 miles away. I currently use my mother to help me manage my properties since she lives in the middle of the area I am investing in. It works out pretty well, and my mom always has my back!

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Hey Terry. Man, I bet everyone who reads your comment is jealous! I know I am. But yes, family can definitely be a help if you aren’t local to check on the properties.

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Sharon Hiebing January 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I’m a property manager, and my clients value my service greatly because I get back to them immediately, they can trust me implicitly, and I keep their properties rented with good tenants. However, I am not a repairman or a handyman, and that is not one of my specialties.

Repairs and maintenance are an operating expense of the property that every good investor should factor into their ROI (I’m an investor myself, and was a customer of PM before I ever started my own PM company). Expecting your PM to do the repairs themselves as part of their fee is ridiculous. That is not part of their compensation. If I had to be out repairing the properties myself, I’d never have time to get back to clients promptly or perform my many duties, and I definitely wouldn’t be as great of a manager. You would never know what you were missing with a manager like me, however, since you expect your managers to step outside their areas of expertise and perform duties they shouldn’t.

It’s your property – you should pay for the repairs – not make your manager do so out of their fee, which they more than earn!

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Hi Sharon, I absolutely agree with you. I apologize if I made it sound like I expect my managers to do repairs themselves. I definitely don’t. What I look for is maybe not a full fix by a manager, but a manager who will at least take a look at what the problem is and see if he (or she) can have an idea of what is going on. Versus if a tenant calls and says “my toilet won’t flush” and the manager immediately calling a contractor. The contractor charges me $250 just to knock on the front door, only to have to wiggle the floaty ball a little and then the toilet is fine. Or if the manager can’t tell what is going on, having one of their handymen (versus a contractor) come out and investigate. The point is- if a manager simply calls a contractor, I could do that myself.

If a manager only calls contractors for every maintenance request, collects the monthly rent, and that’s it, what am I paying for? I want the fee I pay to go towards keeping costs down. The manager doesn’t necessarily have to fix it himself (or herself), but go a cost-effective route versus not. You know?

But I will say, I’ve had managers and know of managers who can do the most basic things themselves. I had a washing machine go out and the fix only required a $0.10 washer from Home Depot and a little of that sticky stuff you squirt on there (I’m no mechanic myself). So for a grand total of less than a dollar, the washing machine was fixed. It’s pretty handy when things like this can get done for little to no money. I pay extra for a couple of my properties so any maintenance item that takes less than 90 minutes to do, labor is free and I only pay for parts. Last year I think my repairs expense was a grand total of $6. But even outside of labor, this manager finds parts cheap, gets things done very cost effectively, and ultimately that’s what I care about.

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Melodee Lucido January 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Hey Ali,
As a serial entrepreneur I think I hear a future biz niche we could take on. We could do a McDonalds style SYSTEM that is based on integrity and efficiency. We’d have more business that we’d know what to do with :>

But we’ll save that for one of the days we’re bored . . .

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Oh yeah Melodee, because you and I both are bored so often. Ha! I just laughed out loud. Some days I wish I could be bored! ;)

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Melodee Lucido January 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Hey girl, yeah, a bored day is on my wish list. But then I’d just be feelin guilty for being a slacker LOL.

Hey, I got something I’m going to email you from Hotlanta. Talk soon.

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Ha. You said Hotlanta. Us Atlanta folk would definitely know you weren’t from ’round dem parts if you tried to say that name with a serious face! :) Standing by for email.

Alex Craig January 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Good article, but it seems you need a Property Manager, not a Property Management company. I manage about 250 properties and if I had to go fix all the issues myself, I would never get anything done and service would most certainly be effected. We charge 8% of the monthly rent collection and 10% maintenance charge over repairs. We often get asked why the charge of 10% on maintenance? The simple answer is that as a Property Management company, we are essentially a maintenance company too. With that comes being liable for the individuals we send out to the houses we manage in the form of Workers Compensation insurance. That bill alone was us $15,000 a year. One of the owners of our company has a accounting degree and we have done the cost accounting on what it cost to employ maintenance individuals and the 10% maintenance charges barely covers our cost. So what does the 8% cover? Monthly office rent, leasing of copy machines, 1 full time office employee, office supplies, software we use, commercial car insurance, 3 tanks of gas a week checking on houses, general liability insurance, legal cost, (one tenant a year always files a bogus lawsuit) and tax filing just to name a few off the top of my head. Also, being a Property Management company means we must have a brokerage license which cost about $3,500 a year. We also carry the maintenance cost for our investors so that we are not having to bill them mid month for repairs; we pay ourselves back from the rent collection. All investors like this and carrying cost should come with some sort of fee (which is part of the 10% maintenance charge). Notice, I have not included paying ourselves yet. Running a legit, licensed and insured business is not cheap. Most investors whose properties we manage truly get this. But some want us to all of what I just included in this post, but do not want to pay for it. We also own 25 properties, so we truly get what maintenance and vacancy does, but it is part of being a landlord. Just like anything else, you get what you pay for. If your Property Manager runs their business out of their house, does not carry insurance, is not a licensed real estate agent, does not carry your cost, etc, then 8% with no additional fees other then a lease fee is reasonable. But, is this what you want, a pretend business cutting corners to manage your investments? Would you hire someone to manage your financial portfolio if he ran it out of his house, was not licensed, etc.? I wouldn’t. Property Management is not the area to cut corners. I would want my Property Managed to be a professionally run business and most important, I would want my Property Manager to actually own rental properties. Concerning placing quality tenants, our Property Management company loses money if a bad tenant is placed. We get paid when we collect rent; if no rent is being collected, then we collect 8% of ZERO. Even though we get a re-lease fee, it is still more profitable to have a tenant stay in a house and pay their rent. When we lease out a house, we have to pay leasing agents $350. Our lease fee is a one months fee. If the rent is $800, then after paying a leasing agent we have $450 gross profit. If the re-lease takes 2 months, then we only come out ahead $322. That is a lot of work for $322 to be accused of placing bad tenants for the lease up fee. The $322 does not include advertising cost, so it is actually lower then that. Just like any other business, reducing the complexity of a business will increase profits. Property Management is no different. While everyone wants a great tenant placed and everyone says they are willing to wait, more often or not, investors get impatient after a while and point the blame at Property Management for not finding a qualified tenant. Property Management is a pretty thankless job. When the tenant is paying and the house has minimal maintenance, the Property Manager is considered a hero, but as soon as a few things start happening to the house that is in no way the Property Managers fault, all of a sudden they turn from hero to goat.

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Alex, very good insight into what it takes to be involved with a property management company, from the other side of the fence than what a lot of us investors are on. Everything you mention is understandable. Any business costs money to exist. And you’re right, I avidly try to stick with solo property managers over big property management companies. I personally can’t stand larger property management companies. I can never read the statements, I usually don’t get to talk to the same person twice, and to be honest I’ve gotten much less service out of the bigger companies than I ever have from an individual. I’m very much a mom-and-pop type shop person. But that isn’t to say property management companies are bad, I just have never had luck with them. My biggest beef, that may or may not argue your point with the expenses is- I get that the copy machine, the office space, the computers, and the printer paper cost money to have, but if the management company is ONLY collecting rent and giving it to me and calling contractors for every maintenance call, why would I have any desire to fund your printer paper when I could do those two things (collecting rent and calling contractors) myself? There’s no logic in that. So my point is, and what I was saying in my last comment to Sharon is- I don’t need you doing every single thing yourself as the manager, but as a manager you should have enough connections to get me some kind of bang for my buck. If you do enough volume, you should have some ins and connections to be able to get handymen at a cheaper rate, materials at a cheaper rate, etc. than a normal homeowner. If you can’t, then why should I spend money on your company’s bills? I can save the money and just do it myself.

The exception there is with evictions. I know good and well I can’t handle evictions myself, but I could easily just hire a manager or someone to do it on an as-needed basis rather than paying a hefty chunk of money each month just in case it happens. And with advertising, I could pay a manager just to place me a tenant as-needed.

Regardless of who is happy with what setup for management, I just want to see that I’m getting something for my money. If you can only tell me that your company is getting printer paper and an office space, and you can’t tell me how that in any way benefits me, I’m not interested.

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Jose Gonzalez January 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

Wow Ali,
We have been talking about major benefits of management companies for a while. I am a business man and always like to analyze things in a financial perspective… let me tell you that if you have over 200 Units, and you charge 8 to 10% of rental income that makes $20,000 a month depending of the properties, but more likely to be over 20k.. If you lease the properties inside the company thats a whole extra adding that only 25% of the houses need to place new tenants per year and the other 75% renew their contracts, that is an extra of 50 properties that bleed a lease comission, which lets say that 50% are leased through MLS with other realtors and 50% on site… thats another $37,500 per year. Plus the business you make with 3% comission of investment property acquisitions.
I wouldnt have an excuse to charge a percentage of the repairs, I mean then why you are paying the 8% of the rents in the first place?!?!? just collecting checks and making phone calls if they dont pay? they usually charge the late rent collection fee for themselves anyway!
It is just ridiculous to mention printer rental and office lease… who would lease a printer machine if you have a well established company? I mean I got an great printer HP that saves ink, scans, fax and everything for less than $300. And for office lease? I am renting next month an office space of 3,000 sqft and 5,000 sqft warehouse for $3,000 per month.
I am sorry if I got a little disturbed but when the numbers just dont make sense I LOVE to argue the basic fundamentals of the management company itself.
I cant agree more with you, and thank GOD we have found such management companies which we can be proud to be working with.
Great article again!

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Alex January 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm

That sure does sound like simple math, but owning a property management company, it comes no where close to that. If a property rents for $1,000 a month, on a lease up, we get 1/2 of that, to which $250 to $350 goes to a leasing agent. Out of 250 properties with a 8% vacancy, we rent out about 25 to 30 a year. That brings in a whopping $6,000 or so a year–very far off from your #. Over the course of a year, maintenance and getting properties rent ready brought in $200,000 in cost to our investors (which we carry and get paid back out of rents). So that is a whopping $20,000 in maintenance fees; that barely covers workers comp insurance of $15,000 a year. So that brings us to the management fees of 8%. 250 properties x on average $900 a month with a 8% or so vacancy brings in about $193,000 a year. So we have $193,000 in 8% rent collection. $20,000 in maintenance fees and $6,000 a year in lease up fees. Total estimated gross revenue is $218,000 — let’s just call it $220,000. Now lets deduct expenses.

$15,000 Workers Comps
$18,000 Rent
$35,000 1 Office individual
$1,000 a month office overhead
$2,000 a year commercial vehicle insurance
$6,000 a year in fuel (good PM owners are always in the car making sure the maintenance has been performed as billed)
$2,000 legal (tenants love to have bogus lawsuits)
$1,000 a year in dead beats investors stiffing us with bills
$3,000 broker licenses
$5,000 technology (phones, cable, internet, software, etc)
$1,000 CPA

This is just cost off the top of my head and all of a sudden that $220,000 is now $130,000 before taxes. That is a pretty fair wage for a good Property Manager of 250 properties who manages properties all over the world and makes themselves available all the way up until 11PM on most nights. Also fair for a Property Manager who carries the monthly maintenance cost for their investors ($16,000 a month)….so 10% maintenace cost is fair for not having to require investors to hold money in a escrow account.

I wish it was as simple as having a PO box and collecting a check and sending the proceeds back out. If it were, I would have no reason to have a full time office employee or work 60 hours a week.The most of whack thing you said was if the tenant does not pay, all we do is pick up the phone. That is what bad Property Managers do. A good property manager will go out to the house and knock on the door .

Property Management is a thankless job, it is amazing how easy people who think it is. It is hard work, but well rewarded if done well. I own properties and used to pay 7% with no maintenance fees. It was the worst PM experience and the reason we opened up our own PM company. Just like anything else in life, you get what you pay for.

Alex January 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Nevermind, the most amusing thing I heard was getting a $300 HP printer is the way to go over leasing a copy machine. Considering we print 10,000 copies a month (leases, maintenance tickets, For Rent flyers, maintenance contracts, investor statements, etc.), we would be spending all our time waiting on a $300 HP printer to print out all the copies, not to mention how many cartridges we would be going through (which is not cheap). When I was in the corporate world for a 350 million dollar company, all of their copy machines were leased.

Most be nice running a company in bizarro world.

The bottom line is every market is different, our market is very labor intensive, with about 15% of the tenants paying late each month. We call the 5th the monthly shake down.

Dennis January 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Thank you for this timely article, I am in the next month or two going to retire from managing most of my multi rental units to focus on buying a few more single family houses.

My properties are in top condition so I am figuring they will be easy to manage, but have been seeking some guidance towards selecting a management company that is a good fit.

I am curious how you did your due diligence in selecting an out of area management company, how did you begin the process?

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Hey Dennis, great question actually. I didn’t think to put that in the article but it’s kind of a big question! To be honest, I started with Google. I looked up property managers in the area and just started calling them. I first ask them if they are taking new properties and in that area, and my next question is how they handle maintenance. That is one of my biggest sticking points. As you can tell from my other responses, I’m very anti-contractor (unless one is truly necessary, then I’m fine with it of course). Then I just kind of talk to the person in general and get a feel for them. You’ll live and learn with managers and realize more and more what you do or don’t like, so that makes asking the questions and understanding the answers easier. But like I just mentioned in response to Alex, my biggest thing is I want to know I’m getting something for my money. And “less stress” counts as getting something for my money. So figure out what will make you comfortable with the whole thing.

To start, I would Google managers in your area and call each one and just ask them all the questions you can think of. Write down all the answers from each and pretty soon you’ll be able to see a pretty picture of who offers what and decide what you like the best.

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Edita January 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Great article Ali! As usual!
I went through hell with my Vegas property management company, but eventually, after hours and hours of research I hired a really good one :)
I created an Excel file of questions to include when interviewing the property management company.

Have a productive day!
Edita :)

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Joshua Dorkin January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Edita –
Why don’t you share it with everyone via our BiggerPockets FilePlace? I’m sure many people would find something like that to be valuable.

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Edita January 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm

ok!

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Edita, yes, sharing that would be awesome if you are interested! I know I didn’t hit all the questions that could be ask in the article, so any input on those would be great. Thanks for offering to share that! Even better, I’m glad you found a good manager! If I invest in Vegas I’ll hit you up for that manager’s name :)

Page January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

This post got me thinking about my investment goals. I’ve been focusing on areas I know well, but if I reach out of my comfort zone even just a little bit to a few towns away, the prices drop dramatically.

My hesitation to invest in other locations lies primarily in my lack of confidence in understanding the rental markets. But, if I use a quality property manager that may allow me to move past this obstacle. Thanks for some good head scratching moments.

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Ali January 27, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Hi Page. Ahh, awesome! Glad I made you scratch your head. That means I’m doing my job well. But you bring up a really good point here that hasn’t been brought up yet, is that you don’t always just have to talk to property managers about having them manage your properties. You can absolutely call up some managers and talk to them about their particular market. What do they see happening, is it growing, declining, how are vacancies, how is demand, etc? They may even be a better resource than Googling statistics and just reading numbers. I’m a big fan of real world feedback myself. You could ask several managers in one market so you can compare what they say too.

What market do you live in versus where you are looking?

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Melodee Lucido January 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm

:> Ali, Hotlanta wasn’t said with straight face—it’s always made me crack up. Back in 2001 that was a popular name—don’t even know why—except it was a hot place to do crei.

Email incoming. Thanks for another great article!

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Bryan Scott January 28, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hello Again Ali. Like your last article concerning investment property returns, this is also a very appropriate article, which dives deep into operations and management after the purchase.

Sorry in advance for the length of this post. It was very difficult not to write a short novel on the topic. The following is my “Readers Digest” version.

So, now that we have purchased a rental that cash flows and provides a decent return (leveraged or not), we have to secure a renter who will hopefully care as much about the property as we do… Oops!! And, we need to trust a PM to act in our stead?!?! Oops cubed!!

As a long-term PM of my own rentals, I have a couple of points to share that are important to me: 1) Spend some real quality time with your Real Estate attorney and carefully craft a lease w/addenda that is specific vs. the standard generic types you can purchase in pad form at the local office supply store. If you haven’t revised your lease over the past couple of years, you are more than likely not in compliance with issues related to Habitability Laws of your state, or things like CO detector installation, etc. 2) As a result of item one, I find that most Landlord’s lease docs are way too generic. Just like raising kids, if you are not specific about what you expect from the Landlord/Tenant relationship, you will get pretty much what you asked for in the generic version.

What does this mean? A few examples follow, but some background to start… When I turn over a rental, I go through a multi-point, pre-lease, maintenance checklist to make sure that my next tenant is not inconvenienced by the usual wear issues — heavy emphasis on safety and preventative maintenance, including planned obsolescence. This also helps ward off any expensive, one-off, nuisance-type maintenance requests that are fielded after the tenant moves in. Once I am done with my checklist, I have a comprehensive, acceptance list that the new tenant receives at lease signing. My new tenant then moves in, occupies and uses the property for the first 2 weeks. During this time, as part of the acceptance process, I encourage my tenant to make a list of all the things I may have overlooked. I then schedule one appointment to come over and resolve any/all these items. Upon completion, the tenant formally “accepts” and signs off on the premises “as is.” After this point, my Lease stipulates that the tenant will then repair (at their expense) anything under a previously agreed-to dollar amount for the remaining term of the lease. Usually, this amount is about $300, which is high enough to avoid nuisance calls, yet low enough to not impose unnecessary and undue burdens on the tenant.

OK, so what about specifics?

If the property has a nice yard and you wish to keep it that way, offer landscape maintenance for a fee on-top of the rent. If this is not workable for your tenant, make sure they know what you expect from them so far as proper landscape maintenance is concerned. If you require the lawn to be no more than 5″ tall at any time, then so state in your Lease Addendum. If you require 4 applications of weed control and fertilizer, then so state and require back-up from them. Do you allow wall hangings? If so, specify hanging hardware no larger than 1/4″ by way of example. Do you allow the tenant to paint without permission? Mistake! If you do allow painting, do you require that a professional do the work? (Ever seen paintwork and drywall repair done by a novice?) If so, do you allow any color, including dark colors requiring 2 coats of primer to cover and get you back to a starting point? If not, so specify. Do you allow trampolines and playsets? Careful here! Check with your insurance carrier. You will find that they have an opinion on such issues. Oh, don’t forget about the above-ground kiddie pool. And, definitely don’t forget about dangerous dog breeds, MMJ red cards, including home grows, etc. Pest control? In dry climate Colorado, not a real big issue compared to the more humid climates. In any case, who pays to inspect and mitigate? You, or your tenant? If you gave your tenant a home free from vermin and insects, how will you insure they don’t return? Will you require your tenant to provide this service, or will you simply stipulate in your lease addendum that you will handle it and include it in their rent?

Anyhow, being specific, firm, but fair is a pretty big deal in my humble opinion. You can prevent a bunch of heart-ache, misunderstandings, expense and damage by dealing with it up-front and you and your tenants will enjoy a better experience as a result. If you deliver a nice property to your new tenants, you definitely have a right to get it back in similar condition. Your Lease and accompanying Addenda are like living documents. As the laws change, so will your Lease. And, as you experience one tenant after another, your Lease Addenda change to reflect new experiences. Being specific is more defensible in court. Then, what gets measured (and inspected) gets managed and done. Whether you do it, or you have a hired gun do it, the theme is the same.

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Ali January 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Hi Bryan, great add here. You really bring up some excellent points on things to be sure to focus on with tenants. The ‘less obvious’ things that need to be taken care of or dealt with when it comes to having tenants in a property, but still very important things.

One thing you brought up here that I forgot about as something to ask a property manager, is the idea of requiring a tenant to be responsible for any repairs under a certain amount of money. This one is a tricky one and one that I think I know my opinion on, but it’s debatable too. So, as you mention, a common rule for a manager or landlord to have for the tenants is to require them to be responsible for any repair under (say) $300. The reason this is done is to prevent tenants from calling for every single tiny “problem” they have because it can be over the top in terms of need and reality of a problem. I totally get that. There are definitely some tenant hypochondriacs out there. Now here is the other side of the coin about that rule, and the side that I currently sit on. I see two problems with that rule: 1. if there is a legitimate repair needed in the house, but a tenant knows they will have to be responsible for it, I believe it is likely they will sweep the problem under the rug if at all possible. That can cause mega problems for the owner later. 2. I’m not positive I want a tenant to do any of the repairs on my house. They could do a really ghetto job themselves or they could hire a horrible cheap handyman to do it. Either way, they open up the door to making the original problem worse, eventually making it more than a $300 problem and then I have to pay for it to get fixed.

The stance I have always taken on that rule is to start out allowing the tenant to do nothing. Then, if you start realizing you do have a hypochondriac tenant, only then will I start considering putting some rules down about the calls they are making. So far I haven’t even had that problem. I just don’t think I want to trust my tenant to make fixes. As much as I preach about getting something for my money and not wanting to pay an arm and a leg for repairs, I would rather take on those small expenses myself to ensure that the job is done right.

Definitely a debatable topic, but no matter what you stance on it is, it’s definitely a question for your property manager interview!

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Bryan Scott January 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Ali, Understood on your concerns. Regretfully, it is difficult to impart the full concept in a short message board post. In practice, the process it is much more involved, but fairly easy to understand. Since I implemented this policy years ago, I have yet to run across anyone who doesn’t completely understand and agree, but then again, my rentals are always in superb condition, which causes them to rent quickly and for top dollar. Most tenants appreciate the concept and love to get a home that doesn’t look like a rental. When I run across one that doesn’t subscribe to the process, well, as with most things, we all reserve the right to choose.

In any event, my addenda are very specific, yet encourage total interaction when in doubt, or when clarification is required. As always in any business deal, understanding and empathy are critical, communication is key and the road must be two-way. I will just leave it at this — “skin in the game” encourages participation and cooperation, whereas, no skin in the game doesn’t.

As for the concern over quality of the repair, this too is covered in the addenda and the closing transaction discussion that preceded it. The last paragraph on the particular addendum includes, “… when in doubt, email if NOT an emergency, or call NOW if it is.”

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Ali January 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Bryan, you sound like you have an excellent handle on managing properties. I would definitely put you in the running if I were looking for managers in your area. (what area is it you manage?).

Bryan Scott January 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Ali,

I was not given a “Reply” link to your last comment, so will simply reply to my last reply to answer your question.

Thanks for the sentiment. Again, wish I could be more complete. To do so would be long and boring and not appropriate for BP. Anyhow, I have been a landlord/investor/owner since 1981. Though I am a licensed RE Broker (Realtor) in Colorado, I have never managed property for 3rd parties as an associate broker, because many/most Employing Brokers simply don’t want the liability. As such, the area I manage is Denver/Colorado Springs Metro, but only for my own properties. This may change some day, but I doubt it.

I enjoy your topics and your enthusiasm! Best regards,

Karen Rittenhouse January 28, 2013 at 10:02 am

Wow. Passionate discussion.

I had 56 properties when I’d had more than enough of dealing with tenants! I started seriously searching for a property management company I could turn them over to. The search was a huge eye opener. I found no one I would trust my properties and tenants with and I was extremely disappointed.

So, I opened a property management company. Because you are not allowed to manage properties you don’t own without a real estate license (including properties for family members), I had to hire licensed real estate agents and open a real estate brokerage. This was only the beginning of the costs involved in owning and operating a property management company.

I agree. Check them out, find one you’re comfortable with, fire any that don’t work out. There are great property management companies and I count ours among the great ones. One of the reasons we’re at the top is because we are investors and know what we want from a management company.

But, believe me, we earn our fees. For starters, we have a huge intake with property owners including collecting all the details and legal documents on their properties and making sure they have landlord insurance. These owners don’t think like typical investors and most have no knowledge of property management so we have to teach them. We set them up with automatic communication and payment methods. Just taking on a new owner and new property involves quite a bit of time and documentation.

We market for, screen, sign contracts with, and train tenants. We babysit them the first 4-6 weeks as they adjust to their new home. You know how the phone calls are with new tenants – “This squeaks. That leaks. This doesn’t shut properly. I don’t know where this turns on.” And, no, the property owners don’t want to be bothered with all that, but someone has to go out to the property and figure it all out. For tenants, we send monthly invoices, monthly newsletters, collect payments, chase non-payers, keep track of fees and deal with all thing pets (some owners allow/some don’t). Not to mention what’s involved when/if they don’t pay….

I could fill pages of what owners get for their 10% per month and I know we’re worth it because we get it. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t. I fought taking on property management for 2 years because I thought a person would be crazy to take on someone else’s headaches for only 10% of the monthly rent. I still believe that so I hired staff to handle it. Would you manage someone else’s property for $100 per month? Sure, if all you had to do was cash the rent check and mail the owner $900. Those are the gravy months.

Ok, I could go on and on but I’m exhausting myself thinking about all that’s involved. But, you get the idea. Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes…. Fire the bad ones. Interview for the good ones. The good ones earn their money. If all they have to do is collect rent and mail you your payment, they’re doing what they’re supposed to do and everybody wins!

Thanks, Ali, for another great post.

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Ali January 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Good insight, Karen. The more perspective into the fees and what kind of work is really involved in property managing the better! Most of us never experience that side. I definitely agree that the fees are well-earned and it some cases aren’t enough when it comes to having a good manager. Paying that fee just so I don’t have stress is justification enough. That doesn’t even count the actual work that goes into the property by the manager, so to get both the work done and the stress reduction is well worth it!

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Bill Briscoe January 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

If the toilet float is loose or the furnace needs to be turned on or a light bulb needs to be changed, can’t the tenants usually do most of that themselves? On my last property, I set a $50 minimum on repairs – where the tenants had to fix it themselves or pay a handiman themselves if the repair was under $50, and pay the first $50 on any other repair that wasn’t a major structural or mechanical issue.

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Ali January 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Good question, Bill, and you would certainly think so. Lightbulbs, probably everyone can do, but I have had tenants who honestly couldn’t wiggle the toilet and most likely couldn’t have figured out how to turn a furnace on. Not to call myself out as stupid, but I don’t think I’d know how to turn a furnace on actually.

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Lisa Herendeen January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I am a Investor and a licensed property manager and I really enjoyed this article – so much in fact that i’m going to print it out and keep it in my office! That is exactly why I decided to enter property managment – companies do outrageous things these days. My favorite example that I give owners is the AC. 95% of companies will immediately charge the owner a service call if the tenant calls and the AC isn’t working. They don’t even bother to see if the thermostat is battery operated and perhaps it is just a simple battery – they don’t care – many don’t own property and many charge a percent of maintenance. The old motto do onto others as you would have them do unto you should prevail in this industry but it doesn’t. I know as an owner I would not want to pay that fee so I try hard not to charge it off to those I work with. Lucky for me i’m one of the good ones so I find my services in demand

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Ali January 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Hey Lisa! Well I can honestly say that hearing someone is going to print my article out (you aren’t going to charge me for the printer paper, though, are you? Ha!) and put it on their wall is about the best compliment I can get!

What market do you manage in? You sound amazing! I’ll keep your name in my books in case I ever end up with properties there.

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Jose Gonzalez January 28, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Lisa,
I am so glad to hear that there are property managers like you! Some times its hard to find them…
As Ali, I am interested to know in which area you work in!

Jose

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Lisa Herendeen January 29, 2013 at 6:09 am

I’m in Florida – Brevard County – if you don’t own here – buy here – LOL. Great opportunities right now – Palm Bay is listed as still the most distressed area and hit the top 10 places to watch for foreclosures in 2013. You can buy a newer house, build 2000 and after for under 100k and cash flow it with property management in place. Lisa

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Ali January 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm
G.Darwish January 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Ya, you are one of kind.
Hands on management is difficult and can not be for very long term , definitely finding good property manager is a must.
Where to start searching for local property manager for your small # of properties?
Realtor could collect rent but clueless about repairs so that will cost us a lot of money.
Realtor might charge fee whe he sign a new lease and possible at renewal of the lease, some MGM companies eve want chage flat fees even if the unit I vacant. Some want 10% of the gross rent.
The best way in my opinion is to find few handy men to do necessary repairs in the local area, also find contractors …..call them when you have a problem but e tenan bill call you direct, screen it if you want, vist your investments every quarter.
Establish rent collection acct where tenant depdi the rent or mail it to you, no rent received by the 10th call you local attorney to file eviction, send your handyman to change lock and start conditioning the property for new tenant.

chukwudi January 28, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Ali,

I’ve read 3 articles that have jumped out to me within the past week, and all 3 have come from you. Keep up the good work. I’m checking out your website today because of the excellent articles you’ve posted

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Ali January 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Wow, thanks! I appreciate the compliment. Although don’t set your expectations too high about checking out my website. I have blogs on there but I end up putting my best ones on here instead! I’m a bit behind on that site, but I hope to catch it up this week actually. Thanks again!

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Samantha January 29, 2013 at 7:04 am

I have a few rentals here in Atlanta and have been on the fence about hiring a property manager for additional rentals. This is a GREAT article with valuable insights. Thank you for sharing!

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Ali January 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Samantha, you’re in my stomping grounds! Sounds like you live there too? I just left there a couple weeks ago after being there for 4 months working with investors. It’s a crazy market right now. Get properties while you can! Inventory is getting slimmer. Thank you, hedge funds. My favorite property manager ever is in Atlanta actually. If you decide to use one, I can recommend.

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Andy Teasley February 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Samantha,

I have 33 doors and have used my property manager since my first 4 plex. Find a good one and you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

Andy

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Mark January 31, 2013 at 2:43 pm

The information you have provided is very beneficial to anyone investing out of state with lousy property managers that don’t do what they should. I agree that in order to fix the issue there needs to be a certain degree of management and customer service on the other end for the Property Manager. I think this is a great way for those to understand their options for situations such as this. Thanks for the insight!

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Ali January 31, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Thanks for the compliment, Mark! I really appreciate it!

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Andy Teasley February 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Ali,

I have 33 doors now with 6 more in escrow. I have always used a property manager and will until I have at least 100 doors then I will bring that inhouse. I and my crew do almost all of the maintenance and my tenants think I’m just Andy the handyman. I can walk onto any of my properties and do a non announced interior inspection by merely changing batteries in the smoke detectors. The tenants don’t try to hide things from me because I’m not anybody important. If they ask me to do something unreasonable I tell them “I can’t bill the property manager if the property manager didn’t call me to do it”

The property manager can always say she’ll take it up with the owner so she can’t be backed into a corner.

I have purchased many homes from “investors” who tried to save the 10% but didn’t have the skills or patince to manage their tenants. I know I don’t have the patience, I would have killed one or two of them by now.

For 7% I get the tenants screened, rents collected, notices sent, evictions when needed and a book keeper who pays all the bills and mortgages. I could spend half of that on book keeping.

Oh and I won’t own a rental I can’t reach by bicycle so my furthest rentals are 90 miles away from home. (I’ve got to be able to collect the rents after the apocalypse)

Andy

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Darin Cleveringa June 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

My property manager just informed me that my renter of a year and a half has moved out and left my house in a total state of disaster. His cats used the entire house for a litter box, used my patios as rabbit cages and destroyed my pool. Every single floor covering has to be replaced, the cabinets are trashed and the house now has mice and fleas from the rabbits. Renter has told property manager that he can not afford to pay the cost of damages, deposit doesn’t even make a scratch in the cost of damages. Was my property manager expected to check up on my property or was I just throwing the 10% or my rental payment away.

Darin

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Joshua Dorkin June 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Hey Darin –
We do typically encourage owners to make sure they or their property managers are checking up on your property. Unfortunately, as you’re bearing witness, not doing so can lead to massive problems. I’ve been there before, so I definitely empathize with you on this one. The other issue is going to be collecting from the former tenant — you can certainly try. Talk to a real estate attorney and see what your options are, but you know the saying about drawing blood from a turnip.

This may be a tough lesson that you have to eat and move on from.

Definitely be sure to go through the many articles here about property management and how to best work with managers. For more feedback, you may want to consider posting your question in our forums, as you’ll likely get a lot more visibility there, and may get other feedback or suggestions that makes sense.

Lots of luck and I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through.

Josh

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Ali June 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hey Darin. Definitely sorry to hear that one. Been there done that as well! Joshua has good advice tho, check out the articles on here about property management and it is incredibly unlikely you’ll collect anything from the tenant but your manager should at least file the papers against him and try. But don’t put a lot of money into anything for it because you won’t ever see it again.

In general, to answer your question, yes the manager should have been checking on things. However, most don’t do regular inspections. Make sure you have that as a stipulation in your contract with any manager and when you interview managers (I’d say it’s safe to say you can go ahead and fire this one) ask if they do regular inspections. Mine does monthly inspections. He tells the tenants it’s to check on the house- filters, plumbing, etc.- but it’s secretly to see what they are doing. It’s worth paying more for a manager who will do this.

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Amy December 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Hi There,
In Illinois, does anyone happen to know if you have any recourse with a property manager who messed up a lease?

Our property manager neglected to put dates on the lease for our tenant, and the tenant left. At that time the tenant left, we were receiving the rent we we asked. It is now December, and the house has been vacant for 2 months due to the time of year, and we are asking much less that what is was rented for.

Any advice would be great!

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Ali March 14, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Hi Amy, shoot sorry for the late response, i just saw your comment for some reason. Eeek! I have no idea? I would contact a real estate experienced lawyer and just ask them what they think. One option, and probably the most simple and the cheapest would be to take the PM to small claims if the loss fits the range to qualify (less than $7500 in CA, not sure other states). Take the PM to small claims and at least try it. Can’t hurt and shouldn’t cost more than $100 to try.

Let me know if you worked it out already and if so, what happened, or keep me posted on what does happen. I’ll be curious.

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Oliver Overton-Morga. March 13, 2014 at 7:15 pm

As a property manager reading your story of a felon being moved in, is application, application, APPLICATION! Why oh why do so property managers nowadays still not run thorough background checks. There are so many companies out there now who actually do all the checks for us. It makes me laugh how property managers offer people a “same day approval”, which is a joke because there is no way you can run same day approvals on every tenant when you are checking criminal records, evictions, past residency references, employment and income verifications, etc…

Also, I wanted to ask if there are any property managers that can weigh in on the software-created statements? We were using Buildium and now use Appfoilo and find there statements pretty easy to ‘decipher’. Anyone dealt with any other good softwares?

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Ali Boone October 22, 2014 at 2:58 am

Oliver were you ever able to find anyone who could help with that info on software?

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Tom July 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Hi, I was wondering if one of you honest and good property managers can answer some questions for me. I am a renter of a home in Seattle owned by an out of state owner. The property management company they use is small but ABSOLUTELY useless when trying to get a response about anything. They don’t return calls,emails etc. I’ve been here three years, paid my rent on time, taken care of the home and the huge yard as if it were my own. I’ve never had any major issues that I could not take care of myself, but I’ve lost all faith in this company. They have nothing but bad reviews on Yelp,BBB etc. Maybe it’s my fault for not doing a thorough check on them first, but I have to believe the owners would not be happy that they are completely unresponsive. The house has been completely neglected in my opinion.
Is there a way to contact the owner of the home and just to voice some of my concerns? All I have is the owners name on the utility bill but no address. Maybe they could care less but I would at least like to talk to them. As a longtime loyal renter I should have some rights I would hope?
thanks
Tom

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Ali Boone October 22, 2014 at 3:00 am

Hey Tom did you ever figure out how to contact the owner? Man, I wish I had you as a tenant. I would be totally appreciate a tenant reaching out to me telling me my PM was horrible! (I just reread that sentence when I typed it and realized it could come across as being sarcastic… it’s not meant to be, I’m dead-serious. I would love it!)

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Brad September 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Any advice for a new, out of state property owner that suspects their property manager is living in the house for a couple months while “getting it ready” to rent again?

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Ali Boone October 22, 2014 at 3:01 am

Oh wow, Brad, really?? What makes you suspect that? I’d first ask the PM directly, maybe sternly stating I know he was living there rather than passively asking (to try to get him to confess?). Then if not, maybe call the cops to go over and check it out. Do you think the PM just lives in wherever is vacant?

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Darlene October 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I wish I had read this information last year. I had a year from HELL. I have rented out properties since 1987. Ones from out of State and in another Country. Yet the first time I hire a Property Management Company, they cost me more money and stress then I have experienced since 1987. Property 4 sides brick, 3600 sq ft, 3 B and 4 BR. Basement and dual stair case and stainless steel appliances.

1) Property Management Company rented my home to the FIRST person who viewed the home.
2) First 3 months I had to replace Hot water Heater , Furnace and A/C ($4500)
3) Plumber installed smaller water Tank and used two soda cans as pipe with foil wrapped around which could have caused house to burn down or kill tenants. (Insurance would have not covered and I would still have to pay off mortgage.
4) Property Manager asked on week two if I would replace carpet, counter top and kitchen tile for tenant. – I said No. They still wanted to send me samples of wood for kitchen floor.
5) Property Manager handy man recommended to me before I rented the home – All work had to be redone (Installed new French doors, replaced bathroom lights and fixed screen on porch.) Terrible work done by PM Handy Man. I had to get him back 1 years later to fix his work.
6) Tenant wants to get out of lease with refund – I said no.
7) Tenant is late with rent on 5th month.
8) Tenant stops paying rent on 6 month and abandons property.
9) Property Manager have never gone by the home to check on tenant or property.
10) Property Manager tells me I cannot go by the home to check on things
11) Two Months later I get upset and I o by and the front door is secure. Full access
12) Property Manager finally checks on my home
13) Tenant painted all the beautiful Oak Wood in Family Room, Painted the brick fireplace red, painted the room. Painted wood mantel and all wood trim white. Total Damage between 10,000 – 15,000. Holes in walls, fixtures removed, electric wiring screwed up.
14) Move out inspection had $2800 worth of damages – no mentioned of the beautiful wood, window broken, fireplace mantel and brick painted….etc.
15) My lawyer requested an estimate and now they increase it to $8,000.
16) Property Manager will not provide legal ID so I can go after tenant for damages.

This is the real killer. I googled the tenant and she has 7 liens prior to renting my property. The 7 was put on 3 weeks before the property manager out them into my home.

Any good PM in Atlanta? I have not found any to date.

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Ali Boone October 22, 2014 at 3:04 am

Ohhhhhh no, Darlene! So this was in Atlanta. Don’t say the name of that PM on here for everyone, but if you are okay sharing it with me privately, I would like to make sure this is someone I don’t ever work with! I can give you a couple different names of Atlanta PMs if you still need them. (no, BP, I won’t make a referral fee for that). Just shoot me a message.

I am SO sorry to hear about all of that!! Is your insurance covering any of it?

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