South Jersey Property Management Needed

6 Replies

So three years after my first real estate purchase, I am ready to become a landlord.  I'm looking for a property manager in Southern New Jersey, (Lindenwold), to manage my single family home.  I'm looking for recommendations of who to talk to and interview for the job.  I'll be living on the West Coast otherwise I would manage it myself. 

Thank you in advance!

Hello Janelle! I don't have any specific recommendations for PM companies in your area, but I did write a blog post on how to find a PM as an out of state investor, and what to look for! Hopefully there are some tips and tricks you can pull from it, good luck with your move!

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Where to begin?

1. Location

Of course the management company you're looking for will need to be in the same area as your investment property, so do a Google search on management companies nearby. Remember, the first one is not always the best one, just because a company pays to be at the top of the listings, does not automatically mean that they're the best fit for you!

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2. Response Time

If you are unable to get a timely response via email or phone from a property management company, this is likely how they'll treat you down the line, and how they treat tenants and prospects as well, keep looking for a company that will be quick to respond!

3. Cost

Contact a few management companies and ask what their associated costs are, below are some good costs to know and what to ask:

- Management fee | typically a percentage, ask whether it's based on charged rent or collected rent. Often the percentage will lower if you have multiple properties, so ask them if that's the case if you are thinking of doing more investing in this area

- Maintenance costs | ask for an hourly rate for general maintenance, any routine maintenance that you should be aware of, and if they have an in-house maintenance team or if they use third party maintenance. If they use third party, try and find out what they charge on top of any vendor bills that come through

- Placement fee | placement fees are charged when a new tenant is found and placed into the property. These fees can vary from a flat fee to a percentage of the rental amount.

- Renewal fee | when a current tenant renews, the property management company still has a significant amount of work tied up into this renewal, so often they will charge a fee or percentage for a renewal. It can be the same amount or lower than the Placement fee.

- Miscellaneous Fees | What do they charge for pets? Do you receive that fee or do they keep a portion of it? Do they charge a cleaning fee? What portion of that fee is coming to you? Utility charge? Late Fees? Make sure that you know where the money goes once it's received from the tenant.

4. Information

You'll want to see what kind of capabilities the property management company has for providing your investment's information, how will you get financial data, vacancy data, and maintenance data? Several management companies are able to automate specific reports and will work with you on what you'd like to see and how often you'd like them to send this data, other companies may have an online portal designed for investors so you have all of that information at the tip of your fingers at all times.

5. Reviews

Of course it's wonderful if the property management company has excellent reviews by both tenants and investors on Google and Facebook and other venues, however keep in mind that in property management, there are going to be a number of upset tenants. Whether it's losing a security deposit (most of the time rightfully so), or a late charge being added to their account, or a maintenance request that wasn't dealt with immediately, etc..., these are often arbitrary personal opinions that should not reflect poorly on the entirety of the management company.

6. Property Management Company

Ask the property manager what sets them apart from other companies in the area, how long have they been in business? How many units do they have under management? Have they worked with an out of state investor before? What is their typical turn-around time? What is their current vacancy rate? How do they market their units?

7. Website

Check out the management company's website, is it user friendly? Would potential tenants be able to navigate the site with ease?

8. Property Classes

Is your property a B class property? A? C? Check out the other properties that are under management of the company you're vetting, see if they're in the same class as yours. Most management companies will manage a couple of different classes, however if you are seeing class C-D properties on their website, and your property is in class A, you may want to keep looking. It is important to ensure that the management company knows how to manage properties in the class yours is in, and that they're able to get the highest rental amount possible.

9. Management Contract

See if you can secure a copy of a blank management contract, find out how long their contract term is, are you going to be signing up for a year? A month? Do they offer trial periods? What is the minimum reserve required per unit? Go through the contract thoroughly, make sure that you agree with what you're signing up for!

In conclusion, there are many factors to finding the right property management company, the key is to do your research, make the calls, and to go with the company you think will be the best fit for you and your investment!

Originally posted by @Janelle Green :

So three years after my first real estate purchase, I am ready to become a landlord.  I'm looking for a property manager in Southern New Jersey, (Lindenwold), to manage my single family home.  I'm looking for recommendations of who to talk to and interview for the job.  I'll be living on the West Coast otherwise I would manage it myself. 

Thank you in advance!

 You should reach out and connect with @Chad Gallagher . His company is expanding into Philly and Jersey and he had a pretty fantastic business model. 

@Account Closed gave some good advice. Allow me to piggy-back:

You can start by going to www.narpm.org and search their directory of managers. These are professionals with additional training and a stricter code of ethics. It's no guarantee but it's a good place to start.

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!

Janelle - Feel free to ping me directly, happy to connect this week.  We manage 3000 units and are also investors.  Happy to talk any questions you might have.