Good KC property management is more than a google review. KC is a large market area with lots of PM firms to choose from. First suggestion is to find a PM firm that specializes in the area which your property is located. Our firm only accepts 25-30% of the KC market area. It's the area that we know and understand. Next, Google is a great resource, as I use it every day. It also is typically a compilation of those that are frustrated with their service, more so than those that are thrilled. You go to a great restaurant and have a good dinner, you might post it on Yelp. The same isnt always true for a service that is like an attorney. The attorney may get your job done, but rarely are you perfectly happy with the results. PM companies mediate everyday between owners that want to increase revenue and minimize costs versus tenants that want a well maintained home without cost pressure. Last item to consider on reviews, some businesses will review themselves with glowing reviews to boost their ratings. We do not. We have below average ratings because we have mediated for the benefit of our client and the tenants weren't thrilled with the results.
My suggestion is to interview PM firms in the market area of your property. Don't just ask if they are in the area, as too many will take all listings to increase revenue. Look at their online listings to validate. If they cover the entire city (larger than 9 times SFO), are they doing a good job? Next, There is a great questionnaire floating on BP that is a valuable resource. I keep one answered to share. Ask questions far beyond what the management fee is. Add-on costs for maintenance, as an example, is what drives many PM company profit lines. The PM business is an ancillary business line that we offer our clients, not the main focus of our company, which is the development of investment properties.
Best wishes on your investment property.
I am an agent with Keller William Realty Diamond Partners inc in Olathe. Our team lead is actually an owner of his own property management company. Here's his profile on BP - https://www.biggerpockets.com/users/kcinvestments
No property manager is going to be that great on any review site... simply put it's impossible. You're paying them to be the bad cop in a sense, they have to make the difficult decisions/actions that are in the best interest of the landlord. This will work against them (at times) in review sites.
With that said, you need to find a property manager that is able to work with your personality. The PM is a buffer between you and the tenant, remember this. Issues will still come up no way around this, it's how the PM fixes the problem that makes them good.
When talking to PM ask them how long it typically takes to place a tenant, what their screening looks like, how they handle service calls. If a PM relies on outside companies to do the work and passes on the costs to you it might not be a good fit. Some can handle more stuff in house then others etc... Walk through a potential scenario and go from there. Ask for a sample of an owner statement etc, get a feel for what billing looks like. If you can understand who gets late fees, commissions, etc... then you likely won't have a surprise when your statement comes.
COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY PART OF A GOOD PM! I can't stress this enough, their management style needs to mesh with YOUR personality. If you can find someone that fits this need, then you're likely good to go.
@William Robison I really appreciate the feedback and what you've suggested makes complete sense regarding internet reviews. Self-reviews and abnormally disgruntled customers can certainly sway ratings. Sounds like from you @Lee Ripma and @Matt K. having a comprehensive understanding of their business model and if it jives with what you're trying to accomplish is critical. Knowing this will help to establish expectations when talking with different PMs. Thanks for the help!