What have been your main issues with your current PM?

37 Replies

Good morning everyone! Hope your day's off to a fantastic start!

Right to it - even if you are satisfied with your current PM, what don't you like? What would you change?

If you have the 1 in 100 rockstar, what are they doing to keep you satisfied?

Any terrible stories that made you switch? What are some things you feel like you "put up with" but really hate?

Please be specific if possible, i.e. saying "we get monthly updates, someone gets back with us same day," versus just, "communication has been great."

Backdrop:

I'm in charge of the PM arm of our brokerage, and have gone from 12 to 70+ units in under 12 months, commercial and residential (we've placed bars, PNC recently had us take over some space in their building from JLL - things are going fast and furious).

@Justin Polston we recently took over PM for a property that had a slack manager. The complaints from the owner stemmed from inaction by the previous PM.

-PM is responsible for scheduling lawn care. Owner got a fine from the town due to talk grass.

- Tenant contacted the PM repeatedly for pest issues and a leaking sink. No response so the tenant called the owner directly to have it repaired.

- No scheduled inspections and no reporting on the current condition of the property.

My philosophy as a PM is that I manage the property as if I owned it personally. I want my owners to stay with us and that means communication and cash flow. The unit needs to stay occupied and the owner needs to have a stress free experience with me. It’s really that simple for us and it guides all of our decisions.

We no longer use a PM; when we did I had a couple of pet peeves. 1. She did not do enough inspections. 2. She heavily upcharged work. Not 10-20% more like 100%. 3. She did not qualify tenant applicants very well and she would show a unit to anyone who was interested-and of course charge us even for no shows. 

My wife volunteered to take over and she is doing a great job! Between BP and the WA State LL Association we ger all the support we need.

Originally posted by @Justin Polston :

@Bjorn Ahlblad you were charged for showings??

I'm OK with being charged; showings take time...........my objection was showing a property to someone who has not been qualified-that is a total waste those are usually the no shows. Today we only show to people who pass everything right up to credit and background.

My PM never gets to work before 10am, takes a lunch break at 11, quits at 3 and takes as many days off as he works. He takes twice as long as a good handy man and usually breaks a 2nd thing while fixing the 1st thing.  He is free though.

Originally posted by @Justin Polston :

@Terrell Garren how many units do you take care of?

I have found some want truly passive income and take it literally, while some are definitely hands on. But our focus is growing with OOS investors.

19 SFHs.  I've found it to be an enjoyable business that cash flows life.  Disclaimer - By blind luck, I started in 2008 when the village idiot could make money buying RE. 

 

@Justin Polston

It's all about having the right systems and team. I know someone with 200 properties who self manages. I know another person with 70 who self manages and another with 50 that self manages.

@CJ M. Definitely when you get to that threshold, it makes sense to take everything in and pay out salaries.

I'm simply looking for criticisms of those that do hire out.

@Justin Polston

Understood. The biggest criticism from investors that I know were that PM's:

1. Took too long to fill vacancies (owners felt they could rent them quicker)

2. Charged too much for repairs

3. Sometimes made repairs that were unnecessary

4. Didn't communicate well

5. Every dollar they spent with a PM was a dollar out of their own pocket

@Justin Polston

My wife and I recently went from using a PM to self-managing. By far the biggest issue was communication. I ran my own comps, however, we were told prior to renting we could get X rent per month come to find out it was being advertised for $150/month lower than the price we were advised without as much as a phone call. Needless to say this was red flag number one.

Then, about 1-2 months into our year-long contract :((( I needed to address a concern with the PM “managing” the property. When I called the phone rang and then went to “the person you are trying to reach has no memory left in their mailbox goodbye!”. There were more issues than just these two but this was the final straw. If I can’t leave you a message, then how on God’s green Earth is a tenant going to reach you and God forbid it’s something emergent like a water leak.

I realize there are good PM companies out there, however, obviously this was NOT one of them. Thankfully we were able to get through it and learned some valuable lessons. First and probably most important be quick to fire, slow to hire. Second, the importance of communication and being upfront with people especially in terms of expectations is vital.

Jared Wonders

@Justin Polston

My main issue with my current PM is that he works WAY too hard, does an incredibly great job, saves me a LOT of money, does everything including fixing the kitchen sink and doing tax return very accurately.... WOW!! He is a super PM!

(BTW.... I'm the PM as well as the Investor!)

@Justin Polston not reimbursing me for paid utilities for tenant, slack communication (last communication spanned 12 days and then only responded because I copied a bunch of people in the office and noted that it's been 12 days without a response), lots of small assurances that fail to deliver (ie - I was charged errantly for landscaping I never requested, someone likely erred in my file making it recurring, they never reimbursed me, but promised to "take care of it" multiple times).

I am definitely not a high maintenance type, and have been very patient, they seem to be less than attentive.

@Jared Wonders wow, it just surprises me that "companies" stay in business when they operate that way. Hate to hear you went through that.

Was this a company or a one man band? Or more of a contractor? How did you come to choose that particular outfit?

@Andre' Arceneaux definitely not cool, it's a shame. We ourselves cringe a little if we get handed a property that includes utility reimbursement (just one more thing to do) - but doesn't mean we mismanage...

So did they use a software to keep you updated mostly like with the landscaping for example?

What's something you would look for in a new company?

@Llewelyn A. If you can do it yourself, usually best, absolutely. My original intent of the thread might be geared more towards those that are OOS investors. But I've still seen those that can pull it off from a few states away.

I have always self managed my properties. Currently have 87 active SF doors. Across the entire year, I maybe spend 10 hours/week managing them and most of that is handling maintenance calls and collecting rent. I have 3 full time maintenance guys who, when not doing the maintenance calls are either turning over properties or rehabbing new ones. I strategically focus on Section 8. 80% of the rent comes in automatically, I have no issues finding tenants, and once they are in a home almost never move.

I'll give it to you from the other side. I own a property management company that services Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties in New Jersey (Central New Jersey). I actually created the company a few years ago because I didn't see anyone who could do the job effectively.

The most important thing is to communicate with clients. We speak to them at least monthly by providing monthly financials and we'll have quarterly reports that detail the condition of the property (it also details if the tenant breaks something).

Transparency is another big one and it's the biggest disconnect between owners and PMs. Can an owner find a cheaper guy to make a repair? Oh sure, I'd guarantee it. But I don't know a PM that is hiring Carl from Craigslist, with no insurance and no background check to go into the home and replace a leaky faucet. That kind of stuff always makes me laugh when on-boarding a new client. We explain to our clients that everyone we use has either passed a background check or has insurance and a license if the job requires it. People don't think about these things because they only see dollar signs, but I personally knew a "handyman" who was in prison for 10 years working on properties for people. Oops, he didn't mention that to you?