Managing Your Property

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Management Company Recommendations

Posted Aug 4 2022, 10:21

I'm looking into making an investment in Louisville in a multifamily property (5-10 units).  I'm not from that area and looking for property manager recommendations.  Also what questions or things I should be looking for or asking in a property manager.

Louisville, Kentucky

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Glenn MacRae
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Louisville, KY
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Glenn MacRae
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Louisville, KY
Replied Aug 4 2022, 10:56

Hi Eric, 

Check out this link for questions to ask your PM team - https://www.biggerpockets.com/... 


Also, I work with Black Key Club PM in Louisville and we would love to chat.  We currently manage around 50 units locally and we've rolled out the same systems and processes that made our sister company FS Houses successful in Indy (400+ units managed up there and Ryan Mullin used to be active here on the forums). Looking forward to hearing from you!

We also have 3 agents on the team that specialize in working with investors on the acquisition side - off or on market, from SFHs to larger multis.  Happy to share more info on that as well when we chat!

GM

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Nathan G.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
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Nathan G.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
ModeratorReplied Aug 4 2022, 21:06
Quote from @Eric Coats:

Remember: cheaper doesn't mean you'll make more money.

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. You can also search Google and read reviews. 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 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 6% management fee but the extra fees can add up to be more than the other company that charges 10% with no additional fees. Fees should be clearly stated in writing, easy to understand, and justifiable. Common fees will include a set-up fee, leasing fee for each turnover or a lease renewal fee, marking up maintenance, retaining late fees, and more. 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, particularly if you have a lot of rentals.

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 policies are 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 that a tenant is 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!

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Drew Sygit#2 Managing Your Property Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
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Drew Sygit#2 Managing Your Property Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
Replied Aug 5 2022, 09:21

@Eric Coats

In our experience, the #1 mistake owners make when selecting a Property Management Company (PMC) is ASSUMING instead of CONFIRMING.

It's often a case of not doing enough research, as they don't know what they don't know!

Owners mistakenly ASSUME all PMCs offer the exact SAME SERVICES and PERFORM those services EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, so price is the only differentiator.

So, the first question they usually ask a PMC is about fees - instead of asking about services and HOW those services are executed.

EXAMPLE: PMC states they will handle tenant screening – what does that specifically mean? What documents do they require, what credit scores do they allow, how do they verify previous rental history, etc.? You’d be shocked by how little actual screening many PMC’s do!

This also leads owners to ASSUME simpler is better when it comes to management contracts.

The reality is the opposite - if it's not in writing then the PMC doesn't have to provide the service or can charge extra for it!

We have a 14-page management contract that we've added our real experiences to over the years, with the intent of protecting both us AND the landlord. Beyond the Monthly Management, Placement & Maintenance fees, all other fees in our contract are IF EVENT -> THEN fees.

We don’t know any PMCs to recommend in the area mentioned, but since selecting the wrong PMC is usually more harmful than selecting a bad tenant, you might want to read our series about “How to Screen a PMC Better than a Tenant”:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/member-blogs/3094/91877-how-to-screen-a-pmc-better-than-a-tenant-part-1-services-and-processes

We recommend you get management contracts from several PMCs and compare the services they cover and, more importantly, what they each DO NOT cover.

EDUCATE YOURSELF - yes, it will take time, but will lead to a selection that better meets your expectations & avoids potentially costly surprises!

P.S. If you just hire the cheapest or first PMC you speak with and it turns into a bad experience, please don’t assume ALL PMC’s are bad and start trashing PMC’s in general. Take ownership of your mistake and learn to do the proper due diligence recommended above😊

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Jayson Cain
  • Lender
  • Manhattan Beach, CA
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Jayson Cain
  • Lender
  • Manhattan Beach, CA
Replied Aug 7 2022, 09:16

Hi, @Eric Coats I have started my out-of-state real estate journey in Indianapolis. Now, I have a portfolio of long-term rentals and STRs. I've also worked with other property managers and helped other investors with their DSCR loans and flip projects. Happy to share my experiences and chat with you more if you're interested.

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Replied Aug 8 2022, 09:39

Thanks Jayson. Would love to talk. How can I get in touch with you