I am traveling to Jacksonville for my W-2 job at the end of the month and would like to meet with a property manager or two to discuss potential investment opportunities. I would appreciate any suggestions from the group rather than simply picking names randomly out of the phone book.
Cindy Morgan, Morgan Property Management
Eric Boyd, Step One Realty
Both of them are members of NARPM and know the business. These are professionals with additional training and a stricter code of ethics. It's no guarantee but it's a good place to start.
I would appreciate you letting them know I referred you. It may pay off some day.
Some guidance when searching for a property manager:
1. Ask how many units they manage and how much experience they have. If it's a larger organization, feel free to inquire about their different staff qualifications.
2. Review their management agreement. Make sure it explicitly explains the process for termination if you are unhappy with their services, but especially if they violate the terms of your agreement.
3. Understand the fees involved and calculate the total cost for an entire year of management so you can compare the different managers. It may sound nice to pay a 5% management fee but the extra fees can add up to be more than the other company that charges 10% with no add-on fees. Fees should be clearly stated, easy to understand, and justifiable. If you ask the manager to justify a fee and he starts hemming and hawing, move on or require them to remove the fee. Don't be afraid to negotiate!
4. Review their lease agreement and addendums. Think of all the things that could go wrong and see if the lease addresses them: unauthorized pets or tenants, early termination, security deposit, lease violations, late rent, eviction, lawn maintenance, parking, etc.
5. Don't just read the lease! Ask the manager to explain their process for dealing with maintenance or problem tenants. If they are professional, they can explain this quickly and easily. If they are VERY professional, they will have their processes in writing as verification that it is enforced equally and fairly by their entire staff.
6. Ask to speak with some of their current owners and current/former tenants. You can also check their reviews online at Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Just remember: most negative reviews are written by problematic tenants. The fact they are complaining online might be an indication the property manager dealt with them properly so be sure to ask the manager for their side of the story.
I hope this basic guide helps. If you have specific questions about property management, I'll be happy to help!
I've used David Carmack with River City Realty for over 10 properties for investors I work with and he's done a great job. I've also used Paula Givler with All County Complete and had a good experience so far with 3+ properties.
This year I've been growing my team and we're hoping to in-house management soon so I'd be happy to connect with you and let you know our experiences and help out in any way.