Property Manager in Northeast Tennessee

6 Replies

Hello all, I am new to Bigger Pockets (and real estate investing in general). I am looking for suggestions for property managers in the Tri-Cities (Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City) area of Tennessee. Does anyone have any experience or insight they can share? Thanks in advance.

You can start by going to www.narpm.org to 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. Regardless of how you find them, try to interview at least three managers

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 addenda. 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, late rent, evictions, turnover, etc. 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.

7. Look at their marketing strategy. Are they doing everything they can to expose properties to the widest possible market? Are their listings detailed with good quality photos? Can they prove how long it takes to rent a vacant property?

This isn't inclusive but should give you a good start. If you have specific questions about property management, I'll be happy to help!

@Micah Doty

Here are some good questions to ask when interviewing your next property manager: 

How long have you been a property manager?
How long have you been a manager in this area?
How many vacancies do you have right now?
Out of how many total units under management?
What is the average length of time it takes to fill a vacancy?
What is your late rent policy? What percentage of tenants do you have to evict?
How does the eviction process work here?
What are your management fees?
What do you charge for recruiting new tenants?
Do you charge for monitoring and maintaining vacant units?
What are my guarantees? Do you also market properties as a broker?
If I decide to sell my property, do I have to list it with you?
Can I see some of the other properties you manage?(Of course you will probably not be able to see inside rented apartments or offices.But you should be able to see common areas and grounds.)
How do you market your apartments?
Do you recommend special incentives for tenants?
If I want additional marketing for specific vacant units, how would we arrange that?
How do you screen prospects?
How do your tenants contact you?
Let me know if you have any questions. 

Thanks! 

-Craig

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply.  These are fantastic points and address things I hadn't even considered. 

Constance, have you used either of those companies personally? I have seen a lot of advertising lately for Keller Williams. 

@Micah Doty I have used D&K and will recommend them. There are others in the market too. Blueridge properties are big in Kingsport and person I know there is a really nice lady. I wouldn't hesitate to get their service if my property was in Kingsport. D&K has more footings in JC. Are you looking for a property manager for SFR or MF? I would say stay away from T.C. Lewis. You can check out signature properties. Be sure to look into online reviews too.