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If vacation homeowners are going to change management companies, they usually wait until the end of high season or the beginning of the New Year to make a change. Here are a few tips if you are looking into changing property managers.
5 Steps to Seamlessly Change Your Property Management Company
1. Make a Wish List
Before you decide to make a change, write down everything you currently like about the property manager you have now and write down everything you do not like. Take these notes and make a new list of everything that you require your new property manager to do for you.
Remember, most companies will strive to meet your expectations (as long as they are within reason), so the higher your expectations, the better service you will usually receive. This list will be a great tool, especially when you start to interview new property managers.
2. Meet With Current Property Managers
I highly recommend that you meet with your current property managers. Explain to them what you like about their services and what you wish to see improved. Ask them if they can meet the level of expectations you are seeking — if they can, great! Give them a timeline (say 3 months) and set another follow up meeting to see if they have reached the level of service you are looking for. If they have, great; if not, then you know it is time to make a change.
3. Interview More Than One Property Manager
Here in Orlando, Florida, there are over 600 property managers, so I would highly recommend interviewing more than two, but in some places there are not quite as many. I would interview more than one; this way, you can compare what both companies are telling you.
Take your wish list and be upfront with the managers and tell them exactly what you are looking for. Ask them point blank if they can match up to the level of service you’re requiring. Ask for a list of references. Call these references and ask them about the service they are receiving from the company.
Good places to find recommended property managers to interview:
- Neighbors: If you like how your neighbor’s house is being kept up, ask them who their property manager is and if they are satisfied with them.
- President of Your HOA: HOAs really like good property managers, as they make the HOA’s job much easier. Contact your HOA and ask them who they would recommend.
- BBB or Message Boards: The Better Business Bureau is a great place to start a search for a new management company. You can sort the management companies by their BBB ratings or you can go on to websites such as Homeaway (click here to list your place for free on HomeAway—only pay when you get a booking) to see what management companies have good responses from previous guests.
- Your Realtor: If you still have a relationship with the realtor who sold you your house, you might want to contact them and ask them who they would recommend. Most realtors who deal in vacation homes know who the good property management companies are.
4. Inform Your Old Property Management Company
After you have chosen your new property management company, it is a good idea to write a letter (certified mail) to your old property management company to notify them the date that you are ceasing doing business together. If you owe them any money, pay them with a check and make sure you get a letter from them (on their letterhead) stating the check is payment in full and you owe nothing else.
5. Write a Letter to the State and Local Departments of Revenue
You’ll want to notify these departments that you are changing management companies. Most of the time each vacation home is linked to a property manager’s umbrella account so the State and Local Departments of Revenue can make sure they are receiving the proper tourist tax from each vacation home. If you are no longer doing business with a management company, it is best you have your house removed from their umbrella account.
Do a full inventory of your property before you hand over the keys to the new property manager. It is also recommend that you take pictures of your property to make sure everyone is in agreement of the shape the house is in when you switched managers. Both the homeowner and the new property manager should sign off on the inventory list and the condition of the house.
If you are looking to change property management companies, I hope these quick tips help you in finding the best company in your area.
Do you have experience changing management companies? What would you add to my list?
Please feel free to leave a comment below!