3 Key Traits to Look For in Any Reputable Real Estate Turnkey Company

by | BiggerPockets.com

G’day, mates! How are ya?

Its Engelo Rumora here, your favorite Australian, giving you a post on what, in my opinion, are the 3 key traits that every true and genuine turnkey real estate company should possess.

Over the past 6 months, I have written over 30 articles and not one of them was about turnkey real estate, even though I own a business that mostly focuses on offering turnkey investments to out of state and country investors.

So here it is!

Every true and genuine turnkey company should always have the investors’ best interest at heart. All properties should be sold at market or below market value; otherwise, there is no point of the investors buying turnkey properties if they are paying more than what a property is actually worth. The only way you should consider paying more than market value is if you are certain that the quality of property management is so good that the promised return on paper can and will be achieved in real life for an extended period of time (3-5 years is a good timeframe).

Also, in my opinion, investing in turnkey properties should be a completely passive and hands off investment. You should establish trust and a relationship with the turnkey provider before a “buy” decision is made. The turnkey company should deliver a property that requires no work whatsoever, along with a strictly vetted tenant who is willing to stay and pay for the long term. The after service provided should also include assistance, if not compete control, with paying property taxes, insurance and any maintenance issues that might arise in the future.

Related: Turnkey Real Estate Investing: Can You Really Have Your Cake and Eat It Too?

You, as the investor, must trust the process and allow the experts on the ground to do their job. Words to remember here are trust and relationship.

DO NOT invest until those two traits have been established. Both trust and relationships are built over time and not over one email, phone call or meeting.

3 Key Traits to Look For in Any Reputable Real Estate Turnkey Company

1. Prompt Communication

The only thing connecting most out of state and country investors to their properties are the teams they have in place on ground. I remember when I was investing in the US from Australia, I would always feel at peace when I received a prompt reply from whoever regarding a query that I had about a particular property I owned.

Make sure that the entire team of the turnkey company is prompt at replying. The longest you should wait for a response is 48 hours. Excuses of “Sorry, we are just so busy” won’t cut it. If someone is too busy to respond in a timely manner, it means they are making a good enough profit to hire full time staff just to reply to emails or answer calls.

2. In-House Property Management

I don’t know of many well-known turnkey companies in the country that are successful without having in-house property management. Just think about it. Why would an outsourced property management company go out of their way for anything just to collect a measly 10% commission every month? Let’s assume they don’t rip you off with tons of “on top” monthly maintenance fees along with overcharging for new tenant placement. On the other hand, when property management is in-house, meaning owned and controlled by the turnkey company that sold you the property, it is in their full interest to make sure that everything runs smoothly and they hit the promised paper numbers. Why? Because you will buy more, or tell mum, dad, brother, sister, cousins, friends, etc.

Related: Turnkey Investing 101: What to Avoid & How to Know if It’s Right for You

Word of mouth marketing and referrals are the best and cheapest way to attract new business. Most of the biggest “cats” in the turnkey business know this. Another reason why is due to reputation. It takes a lifetime to build it, but only 5 minutes to lose it. Keywords once again are trust and relationships. Everything I am sharing with you today is assumed on the basis that time has been spent on establishing trust and a relationship with the key on ground people behind the operation.

3. No Pressure Sales Tactics or Gimmicks

Guess what? Where one door closes, another will always open. Don’t fall for those who say, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase these amazing discounted properties. Rumor is the market will boom tomorrow and you will miss out.”

What a joke. There will always be another deal around the corner. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I bought the “deal of the century,” only to find a better one come along two weeks later, and I couldn’t buy it because I tied up all of my funds in the first one.

As you can see from above, I focus on two key areas; Trust and building Relationships. This should also be the keys to your investment success.

I hope I haven’t ruffled anyone’s feathers out there, but hey, I’m not saying I am right or wrong — just sharing my perception and opinion.

Investors: What traits would you add to my list?

Leave a comment below, and let’s discuss!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora, a.k.a.”the Real Estate Dingo,” quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at the age of 18. From there, he began to invest in real estate. He now owns real estate all over the world and has bought, renovated, and sold over 500 properties. He runs runs Ohio Cashflow, a turnkey real estate investment company in the country (Inc 5000 2017 & 2018) and is currently in the process of launching a real estate brokerage called List’n Sell Realty. He is also known for giving houses away to people in need and his crazy videos on YouTube. His mission in life is to be remembered as someone that gave it his all and gave it all away.


  1. Hi Engelo,
    Great post – one more thing I would chip in – with dealing with you and the team at Ohio Cashflow is not only responding in a timely manner it’s actually doing what you say you are going to do.
    Will introduce you to that person – it’s done. I will send you that form – it’s there promptly . I will check over those figures – done quickly and confirmed. This is so key for me – it shows you care and strengthens the trust and relationships, especially for overseas investors.The small things done well means the big things go smoothly. Thanks again.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment.

      What you mention is one of the key reasons we turn down more investors than we take on.

      Keeping Ohio Cashflow boutique and exclusive can allow for “perfection” in everything we do.

      We honestly have no intentions of working with more than 25 investors in any calender year. The investors we do decide to work with WILL SUCCEED. There are no questions there 🙂

      Thanks mate and see you soon.

  2. Vania Castillo

    Hi Engelo,

    Thank you for another great post! Right on point. I needed this article as I have been considering this type of investing, but have noticed those three key points you suggest missing while trying to stablishing a relationship with prospective companies.

    My assumptons about first point is:
    If the company is not responsive to me, as a prospective client, there are not going to be reponsive to my tenant when they need something. I can’t take that since that company is representing me and that is not a good image of me.

    I agree why the price has to be way above market value? That has been the other sticky point while trying to find a turnkey property.

    Keep the articles coming!

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Vania,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Prompt communication is a starting point to every relationship. I also don’t feel comfortable moving forward with individuals or companies that take to long to reply. As you mentioned regarding the tenant. Same thing can be said for any other issue that could arise. Prompt communication could quickly rectify any of these potential mishaps.

      The only way to justify a purchase price above market value is if you can be very confident that the promised paper numbers will be achieved in real life. Please keep in mind that in lower end markets IMO there is no true value. Its very hard to estimate so hitting those paper numbers if vital.

      Thanks and I hope the article and my comment assist you further.

      Have a great Sunday.

  3. Roy N.


    In our local market we buy distressed properties and breath new life into them as rentals. This approach brings us to the landlord starting gate with forced appreciation and an property we know to be energy efficient and a healthy place to live.

    We have attempted this same strategy remotely (New England) with a partner. The rehab process was a little bumpy as our partner was reluctant to engage in some of the energy efficiency improvements we wanted to make – In part due to not having done them before and, in part, do to a latent attitude of “its only a rental”. We made it through the rehab and, halfway through the second winter, the partner has conceded that the building is easier to heat than his other properties (score one for the crazy Canuk).

    As an alternative to undertaking such rehabs in other markets, we have been entertaining the idea of turnkey properties. Thus far in our survey of turnkey offerings we have noted two things – one we see as an opportunity, the other as a better alignment of the interests of the provider with the investor:

    1) Opportunity: Energy efficiency
    We have yet to find a turnkey provider who make energy efficiency a pillar of their rehabilitation process. There are a few who make small gestures – put in LED lighting or low-flow fixtures – but its more greenwashing than a genuine dedication to energy efficiency – when you ask about the building envelope there has been no air sealing, enhancement of insulation, Energy Star rated windows and doors, etc.

    Now, I understand turnkeys are a business and, like most things in N.A. commerce the underlaying premise is lower prices which, unfortunately leads to mostly cosmetic renovations. I do believe there is a missed opportunity here, particularly for those turnkey operators in places where there are four seasons.

    2) Alignment of Interests
    You glanced of this in your blog post above. Many turnkey providers will sell you the rehabbed property (predominately SFRs) along with property management services (often bundled at no additional charge for the first year). Several providers have started offering various flavours of a satisfaction guarantees as a marketing tool.

    On the property sales portion, the turnkey provider interests lay in selling properties at the best possible margin, while the investor is looking to acquire a safe, healthy, efficient and solidly renovated rental property at a good value for money. No doubt there is a portion of the investor population who, as products of the societal messages received in the past two generations, will want the lowest possible price – period. The few guarantees & warrantees I have read thus far seemed mostly aimed at the real estate transaction – kind of the turnkey version of a new home warrantee.

    The misalignment of interest I see is mostly on the post-sale services and is similar to the disconnect between property managers and property owners. This may because these services are modelled after traditional property management offerings – or even outsourced to a property management company.

    The turnkey provider, or property manager, to present a workable model in which they get remunerated for the smooth sailing of the property and share in the penalty of evictions and high-turn with the investor (rather than profiting from it) will have an advantage over their competition. A turnkey operator has more options and ability to make an aligned model work than a traditional property manager since they are responsible for the location, configuration, efficiency and condition of the property being rented.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Roy,

      Thanks for your detailed comment.

      I like your energy efficient concept and see it working with a higher end turnkey provider as there could be enough margin to go down the road of spending a few extra $$$ and getting a better and more efficient product.

      Also, I am pretty confident that we have mastered the after service part of the turnkey business. It is still early days tho but we have the capacity to scale at as much as we want with out current partners. We refuse to do so as I mentioned in an earlier comment to Mark. We want to keep it boutique and stress on perfection. Our version of perfection 🙂

      Thanks and have a great day.

      Thanks and have a great day.

  4. Eric Wales

    I’ve spoken with 3 prominent “turn-key” companies who single family houses suggesting I can make double digit net returns. Personally, I felt there was a lot of “trust us” versus “here is proof of past performance”. I asked for references regarding performance on the management side, but was never provided any. At the end of the day, anybody can pay retail price for a property; and anybody can take a chance with a property management company in hopes they will be honest and effective. And without question, property management will be the key to success or failure.

    And in my case, I’m considering investing with retirement accounts. These assets would be owned by the retirement accounts (via beneficial interest in a land trust). And since the retirement accounts are either tax free (ROTH) or tax deferred (qualified), I would not be able to take advantage tax deducting depreciation. And if I elect to use leverage (65% non-recourse loan) I would pay UBIT (unrelated business income tax), and this lowers the net return. Granted, it may still make sense to borrow 65% at 6% for 30 years while I’m making 10-15% (ideally). I don’t invest based on appreciation, but if this happens to be in my favor the 65% leverage could be beneficial. Especially in an appreciating market.

    If you’re considering using SDIRA and other retitement accounts take note of the tax advantages / disadvantages of doing so.

    I welcome further discussion, and please correct me if I’m off in my understanding of the tax laws.

  5. Alex Craig

    Engelo — I think those 3 are very important, especially communication. Like it or not, it today’s world, there are some many quick ways to communicate, that slow response times shows a lack organization. But I think there are some other key things a reputable turnkey company should be doing.
    1) Owning and buying property for themselves
    2) Actually owning the property they sell
    3) Some sort of warranty after the tenant moves in. Even with a top notch renovation and property inspection, there will often times be issues when tenants move into the home and start “using” the house, cycling switches, running multiple electronic items at once, multiple plumbing items at once, etc.
    4) Do what they say. You tell a investor a new Dishwasher is going to be installed–then a new one needs to be installed.
    5) Property Management has good online marketing — if they are not doing this, then they obviously do not understand marketing in general. Any idiot can throw a sign in a yard
    6) Be profitable — if the company you are working with is not profitable, it will make it more difficult to stand by their work or resist the temptation to cut corners
    7) Good website — most companies are found by searches on the internet. If the company that you are working with does not have a good site, then it shows a general lack of understanding of how to run a business, which often time means investing money into your business
    8) Well staffed — to run a high level turnkey company set up to give great customer service must be done by more then a 2 man staff. Would you invest your money into a IRA run by a 2 man office? No, real estate is no different.

  6. Timothy Trewin


    Late to the party on responding to this blog as I found it while researching your company Ohio Cashflow, but I agree with everything you say in regards to turn keys. I think the one trait more important than any other by far is building and maintaining trust between the client and the turn key. It’s easy to find a lemon of a house and sell it to someone and move on and another to take pride in what you sell. I feel that any property that a turn key would sell a client should be one that they themselves would purchase if they were the client and not the turn key. Great article.

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