Property Manager Referral

12 Replies | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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!

Hey @Daks B. I just followed a very similar process to the one @Nathan G. just described to find a manager and found quite a few good ones. I was most impressed with DelVal Property Management, RentWell, and TCS management. TCS is the biggest at roughly 2100 units according to them, followed by DelVal, then RentWell. There are some other smaller ones as well but I was not as impressed with them, but they may fit your needs better. I brought this list of interview questions with me and wrote down the answers: 

  • 1.Do you have in house handymen/maintenance people? What is their hourly rate for repairs?
  • 2.How many properties do you currently manage? How many employees work for the company?
  • 3.Do you use a software program? (Appfolio and Buildium are the biggest I have seen)
  • 4.How do you collect rent?
  • 5.Do you use a “boiler plate” lease, or are they flexible? (Often in PA its the PAR lease with their custom addenda. A fully custom lease indicates to me an experienced company that has dealt with the big problems)
  • 6.What are the commitments we make to each other? (i.e. how long are your contracts and how long of a kick out clause?)
  • 7.Where do you market listings?
  • 8.How do you handle evictions and legal fees?
  • 9.Can you send me some referrals?
  • 10.How long does it usually take you to fill a vacancy?
  • 11.How often do you inspect units? Do I get a report when you inspect?
  • 12.What is your monthly rate? Do you charge leasing fees? Are there any other fees?

Hope this is helpful!