How to Spot a Great—Not Just Good—Property Manager (with Video!)

How to Spot a Great—Not Just Good—Property Manager (with Video!)

3 min read
Matt Faircloth

Matt Faircloth, co-founder and president of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, N.J., is a developer and owner of commercial and residential property with a mission to “transform lives through real estate.” DeRosa creates partnerships to finance select real estate investments and has a proven track record of providing safe, profitable investment opportunities to their clients.

Experience
Matt, along with his wife Liz, started investing in real estate in 2004 with the purchase of a duplex outside of Philadelphia with a $30,000 private loan. They founded DeRosa Group in 2005 and have since grown the company to hundreds of units in residential and commercial assets throughout the East Coast. Under Matt’s leadership, DeRosa has completed tens of millions in real estate transactions involving private capital, including fix and flips, single family home rentals, mixed-use buildings, apartment buildings, and office buildings.

Matt is an active contributor to the BiggerPockets Blog and has been featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast three times (show #88, #203, and #289). He also regularly contributes to BiggerPockets’ Facebook Live sessions and teaches free educational webinars for the BiggerPockets Community.

Matt authored the Amazon Best Seller Raising Private Capital: Building Your Real Estate Empire Using Other People’s Money. The book is a comprehensive roadmap for investors looking to inject more private capital into their real estate investing business and is a must-read for anyone looking to grow their business by using private lenders and equity investors. Kirkus, the No. 1 trade review publication for books, had this to say about Raising Private Capital: “In this impressively accessible introduction to a complex subject, Faircloth covers every aspect of private funding, presuming little knowledge on the part of the reader.”

Matt and his wife Liz live in New Hope, Penn., with their two children.

Education
Matt earned a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Business from Virginia Tech. (Go, Hokies!)

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I’ve always felt that although you make your money when you buy, you don’t cash in on that until you initiate a great (not just good) management strategy.

We have managed our own assets for many years and learned what works and what doesn’t firsthand. Recently, we hired a manager for an apartment building we purchased that was too far for us to manage ourselves. Through the process of building our management team and then interviewing other management companies, I have realized that there are things that separate a good management company from a great one.

What It Means to be a Property Manager

The property manager acts as a liaison between the tenant and the owner. At times the property manager’s role is to be the voice for the tenant to the owner. This would be about things such as maintenance, general upkeep, switching over utilities when the tenant moves in, etc. At other times, the property manager’s role is to be the voice of the owner to the tenant. This could include things such as collecting rent on time, new leasing and renewals, complete work orders submitted by the tenant, etc.

Now that you know what a property manager does, let’s get into what separates the good from the great.

Related: 10 Tasks a Property Manager Will Take Off Your Plate (to Free Up Precious Time!)

What Makes an Exceptional Property Manager

1. Upholding Quality

real-estate-tenant

You might ask, “The quality of what?” This is the quality of living for the tenant. Besides completing work orders, the property manager goes the extra mile to resolve issues for the tenant, rather than cast them off as “not my problem.”

Say they manage a multifamily property and one tenant is constantly being disturbed by their upstairs neighbor who plays music loudly late at night. A great property manager will get involved and talk with the noisy tenant to ensure everyone is happy where they live. They’ll step in to mediate when they can to help a tenant.

2. Tenant Happiness

What do happy tenants do? They pay the rent on time, treat the unit like it’s home, and stay longer. Now don’t get me wrong, there are those people who won’t be happy no matter how helpful you are. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that. But you can do little things to make them feel appreciated.

For example, in one of my buildings I hold a raffle every quarter for tenants—who paid rent on time within that quarter—to win a $50 gift card. I also hold a raffle once a year for tenants—who paid rent on time that whole year—to win a flat screen TV. And I make my tenants aware of this so they have a chance to win.

By doing these raffles it shows that I have pride in the property, which may spill over to them to feel proud of where they live. It also rewards the tenants and shows that I appreciate them. And a little appreciation can go a long way.

Related: 6 Simple Tips to Help Keep Your Tenants Happy (& Paying)

3. Upholding Building Quality

painter at work with a roller, bucket and scale, from below view

This is more than just completing work orders. This is having foresight and doing preventative work to maintain the building. An example would be noticing a tree that’s leaning onto the building. A great property manager will do grooming or inquire about possibly cutting the tree down before it crashes through a unit during a bad storm. Doing this routine maintenance prevents what is called emergency maintenance.

Upkeeping the building also entails doing walkthroughs, roof inspections, testing smoke alarms, etc. By doing this, it prevents any major damages down the road. If the property manager isn’t doing these things, they’re failing to serve the tenant and owner.

There you have it. Remember that collecting rent and handling work orders is the baseline. A great property manager goes above and beyond that.

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What’s your worst experience with a property manager and what’s your best? And what would you say separates the good from the great?

Please share with a comment below!

When you're trusting someone to manage your valuable investments, you want them to be exceptional. Here's what to look for that shows the property manager will go above and beyond.