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Ian Hutton
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Lansing Michigan Property Manager in need

Ian Hutton
Posted Oct 17 2022, 13:34

Hey everyone!

My dad and I are at the final stages of purchasing our first rental and are in need of a Property Manager.

If anyone has any recommendations/ someone that is available, Let me know! 

Thank you in advance and hope to hear from you soon! 

Nathan Gesner's profile image
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Nathan Gesner's profile image
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Nathan Gesner
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ModeratorReplied Oct 18 2022, 05:44

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's profile image
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Drew Sygit's profile image
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Drew Sygit#2 Managing Your Property Contributor
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Drew Sygit#2 Managing Your Property Contributor
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Replied Oct 18 2022, 06:30

@Ian Hutton contact @Drew Brown

We think the Midwest is a GREAT place for OOS investors to consider!

YES, we may be a little biased, but check out our blog here on BP comparing Detroit to other cities and Deep Dives on Metro Detroit cities & neighborhoods: https://www.biggerpockets.com/...

Your biggest question shouldn't be WHERE to invest, but HOW you will invest!

Many OOS investors set themselves up for failure because they don't truly take the time to understand:

1) The Class of the NEIGHBORHOOD they are buying in - which is relative to the overall area.

2) The Class of the PROPERTY they are buying - which is relative to the overall area.

3) The Class of the TENANT POOL the Neighborhood & Property will attract - which is relative to the overall area.

4) The Class of the CONTRACTORS that will work on their Property, given the Neighborhood location - which is relative to the overall area.

5) The Class of the PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES (PMC) that will manage their Property, given the Neighborhood location and the Tenants it will attract - which is relative to the overall area.

6) That a Class X NEIGHBORHOOD will have mostly Class X PROPERTIES, which will only attract Class X TENANTS, CONTRACTORS AND PMCs and deliver Class X RESULTS.

7) That OOS property Class rankings are often different than the Class ranking of the local market they live.

8) Class A is relatively easy to manage, can even be DIY remote managed from another state. Can usually allot 5-10% vacancy factor and same for maintenance.

9) Class B usually also okay, but needs more attention from owner and/or PMC. Vacancy and maintenance factors should be higher than for Class A as homes will be older, have more deferred maintenance and tenants will be harder on them.

10) Class C can be relatively successful with a great PMC (do NOT hire the cheapest!), but very difficult to DIY remote manage. Vacancy and maintenance factors should be higher than for Class A or B. Homes will have even more deferred maintenance and tenants will be even harder on them.

11) Class D pretty much requires an OWNER to be on location and at the property 3-4 times/week. Most quality PMCs will not manage these properties as they understand most owners won’t pay them enough for the time required and even then it’s too difficult successfully manage them.
***Only exception is if an owner has plan & funds to reposition Class D to Class C or higher.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/776/topics/960183-what-they-dont-tell-you-about-cheap-rental-properties?highlight_post=5562799&page=3#p5562799

Also, SERIOUSLY consider - do you really have the time to be a DIY landlord or should you hire a PMC?

Good luck with whatever you decide😊

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Angela Tod
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Angela Tod
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Replied Jun 11 2023, 10:32
Quote from @Nathan Gesner:

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!


 super helpful. thank you for outlining this!

Tina Ganong's profile image
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Replied Jul 14 2023, 14:02

Hey, Ian. What company did you end up choosing? We are hoping to buy our first rental within the next 6-12 months in Lansing. Most of the big name companies work around MSU, which isn't where we want to purchase. 

Thanks so much! 

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Tim VandenToorn
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Tim VandenToorn
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Tim VandenToorn
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Replied Sep 12 2023, 09:23

@Ian Hutton

How did your first property turn out?  Can you give us feedback on your property manager?