How to 'Manage the Propery Manager'?

5 Replies

Howdy. New here and a newbie to RE with one SFH property. Had property for 4 years - Kingman AZ. I've had mostly negative experience with Property Managers. In four years had 2 PM's and three tenants. The property managers have been pretty bad with communication and bad with follow through for late rents and lease agreements, such as landscaping. I occasionally have to write to remind them that rent is due or yard work should be cared for etc. The problem is that this is such a small town (and everyone knows everyone) it's hard to find professional managers....because there are none.

So the question is - How do you manage the property manager in a small town?

Finding a good property manager is difficult in any area, but particularly in small communities. I'm managing 350 doors in a county of 25,000 people and I am the only professional manager in town. Not to brag, but if I didn't exist then this entire corner of the state would have nobody.

I think it's important to educate yourself on what a good property manager looks like before searching. Then set your expectations up front and "train" the manager in the same way you would "train" a Tenant. Lay out expectations in writing. When they fail, kindly and professionally point them to the agreement and correct them. If they are good people, they will make the effort to get better. If not, they'll repeat the mistake and then you should perhaps consider firing them and trying again. It's tough when you have limited selection.

Question: if you're using a manager, why not purchase in an area where good managers are available? I love my community and would like to invest here, but I would rather put my money where I know it can be managed properly. The point of property management is to protect my property, my income, and my time. If the PM is failing in one of those, what's the point?

Hi Nathan. This property was an inherited property from 2015. I wouldn't normally have purchased in this town. But since I have it I thought it a good way to practice and learn. And what I've learned is that the PM companies in Kingman (used 2) are more pretty talk than anything. The first tenants were found by PM 1 and they put in a "nice young mother" who wanted to be close to family. Turned out four people lived there and when asked about it they totally trashed the place, broke everything on the way out. Within hours the PM dropped me without a word. 2nd PM much better but still has problems with follow through. For example, lease says tenant takes care of yard. A friend of mine drove by 2 weeks ago and took pics. Yard was an over grown mess. Passed info on. PM said they would give tenant 10 day notice and send me invoice....today is day 10. And nothing. Last month rent was 10 days late. I inquired. said I will work with them on any financial issues (covid related). According to PM, notice put on door. Rent was paid. Stuff like that. They're not paying attention or managing very well. Big problem is...if they drop me there is no where else to turn. So I try to play nice. Short term I want to keep property to finish paying off Student Loans (almost there). Long term I would like to roll sell price/or euity if I keep it into small apt. building. That's why I'm here. Trying to learn.

@P R. What does your management agreement require of the PM? Also, how much are you paying them?

You may want to schedule a one hour call with someone in charge and have an open discussion about your concerns and ask how they can be addressed. 

A positive attitude and approach goes a lot further than the negativity of complaining and demanding:)

That sounds like a really frustrating position to be in. If you truly can't find another professional management company to work with, you could also try calling some real estate agents in the area to see if someone would manage your SFR for you as a one-off. I normally would not recommend this, but I recognize there are small markets with a total dearth of professional management options, unfortunately. Note, you'd probably have to negotiate your own contract terms instead of signing a form PMA.

"A friend of mine drove by 2 weeks ago and took pics. Yard was an over grown mess. Passed info on. PM said they would give tenant 10 day notice and send me invoice....today is day 10. And nothing."

I emailed on day 10 asking for the results. PM said she would send someone over to take pictures on Monday and let me know. Today, (Wed) still no communication about the yard.

"How to Manage the Property Manager" - ahh! crazy.