Managing Your Property

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Nate Shields
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Fort Collins, CO
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Interviewing property managers in Lexington

Nate Shields
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Fort Collins, CO
Posted Nov 14 2022, 11:54

Hey all! Looking to interview a few property managers in Lexington, KY for a multi-family property. Thanks in advance!

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Nathan Gesner
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
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Nathan Gesner
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
ModeratorReplied Nov 15 2022, 05:41
Quote from @Nate Shields:

Hey all! Looking to interview a few property managers in Lexington, KY for a multi-family property. Thanks in advance!


You can't ask all these questions, but maybe there are some nuggets of wisdom you can use in the search: 

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!

  • Property Manager Wyoming (#12599)

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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
Replied Nov 15 2022, 08:55

@Nate Shields

Even if someone give you a referral, what meets their expectations, may not meet yours.

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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Mohammed Rahman
  • Realtor
  • New York, NY
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Mohammed Rahman
  • Realtor
  • New York, NY
Replied Nov 15 2022, 08:59

Hey @Nate Shields - good luck with your interviewing process of property managers. A good rule of thumb is to stick to PM that have experience with the assets/portfolio size you're working with. 

For example, you might think that a PMC that handled apartment buildings will be a great fit for your 4 unit multifamily since they're used to managing bigger projects - but that's not always the case. Most PMC will charge a higher rate if a project falls outside of their regular scope of work. 

Additionally, if you have a large enough portfolio and are looking to bring on a PM for all properties - I recommend requiring references from different PMC as that will help you filter out the good from the great. The last thing you need in your corner is a PM that advises you for her own best interest, not yours.