How to Choose the Right Rental Property Manager

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If you’re anything like me, you probably LOVE the idea of “passive income.”

It’s okay to admit it.

It’s a buzz word we’ve all been hearing about for years now, and let’s be honest… who wouldn’t want several large paychecks to finance their lifestyle? Would it be so bad if those paychecks kept coming in month after month, year after year, for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you kept working?

Yeah — passive income sounds like a dream come true alright, but we’ve all had people try to sell us on this before.

Back when I was a new investor, I heard the same sales pitch about all kinds of new business opportunities, investment funds, real estate courses and multi-level marketing schemes. Everyone talked about it like they had the “keys to the cash flow kingdom,” but when you hear this much hype about something, it’s easy to grow a thick layer of skepticism toward the idea. Obviously it sounds great, but come on, is this really possible?

Most of us have a hard time believing in things like passive income. We understand it conceptually, but when you’ve never seen it or experienced it firsthand, it’s just hard to know whether this stuff is a myth or a reality. It definitely looks good on paper, but is it really that simple? Can anyone actually show me the money?

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Dealing With Reality

When I was in college, I was fascinated by the idea of buying rental properties. Like most of us, I had read all the Rich Dad Poor Dad books, seen all the late-night infomercials and spent hours scouring the internet for answers. All the books made it sound like the smartest thing you could do with your money, and everyone on TV made it look like candyland… but whenever I talked to the REAL landlords I knew in my life, I heard quite a different story.

businessman questionMost of them would tell me how difficult it was to deal with tenants, describing one horror story after another. It seemed like they were constantly feeling burnt out and disillusioned with the foolish dreams they once had of being a landlord. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were miserable!

You’ve probably heard some of the horror stories too, am I right? Maybe you’ve even experienced some of them yourself. Perhaps you know exactly what it’s like to deal with irresponsible renters, exploding toilets, bug infestations, leaking pipes and evicting the “tenants from hell.”

When I heard these kinds of stories, rental properties sounded more like a nightmare than a dream come true. It always left me wondering, why are so many landlords willing take this kind of abuse? If passive income is really attainable from real estate, why does everyone have such a hard time finding it?

Related: Hiring a Property Manager vs. Self Managing: What’s Better?

Nevertheless, I remained cautiously optimistic that I would find what I was looking for.

The Dream Becomes Reality

When the day finally came for me to take the plunge and buy my first rental property, I was pleasantly surprised to find that passive income really did exist. It’s wasn’t just a sham after all! I was able to find some for myself, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same.

The truth is, there was only one reason I ever got to experience this phenomenon firsthand. It happened because I found the right property management company.

Without question, my property manager has had a MASSIVE impact on the success of my rental properties. If I didn’t have a good, competent property management company running the show, I never would have survived in this business. It’s just that simple.

Get to Know Your Rental Property Manger

As I eventually learned from my conversations with other rental property owners, I apparently got lucky with my property manager because they’re not all created equal. Even though some of them are EXPERTS who are very good at what they do, others are quite the opposite and represent all that is wrong with the industry.

Finding the right rental property manager is a big deal! After all, these people are going to be your eyes, ears, hands and feet on the street. Their actions will have a major impact on whether you own a profitable and efficient portfolio of rental properties or a business that is constantly struggling to keep its head above water.

If you decide to hire a property management company, you need to understand who you’re working with BEFORE you give them the keys to your property. When I went shopping for property managers on my first duplex, I used a series of questions that helped reveal just how experienced and competent each candidate was and whether it made sense for them to manage my specific property.

The questions worked astoundingly well. In about 30 minutes, I was able to establish a reasonable level of trust (which was a lot better than gambling with my life’s work just to “test them out” in the real world).

Here’s what I asked them…

Regarding Their Experience:

  • What kinds of properties are you most experienced in managing? (i.e. single family homes, multi-family, apartments, commercial, etc.)?
  • How many rental units do you currently manage?
  • How long have you been active in the property management business?
  • How many rental properties do you own personally?

Regarding My Properties:

  • In your opinion, what are the best areas in town to own rental properties?
  • What are the average vacancy rates in these areas?
  • What is unique or special about these areas?
  • Do you think these areas are improving or declining?
  • When you look at my property (or the property I’m looking to buy), does it strike you as a good investment for the price I’m paying? Why or why not?
  • If you were buying a new rental property today, which areas would you focus on and what types of properties would you be targeting? Why?

Management Related:

  • How many people are on your staff?
  • How is your company’s work divided (i.e. how many units does each person manage)?
  • What portion of your maintenance work is contracted out vs. done in-house?
  • How does your tenant screening process work? What steps do you take to find good, long-term tenants?
  • How does your eviction process work? Tell me the timeline of events, starting from the first day rent is late.
  • What are the tenant’s responsibilities in your lease agreement (e.g. cleaning, furnace filters, yard care, etc.)? What happens when a tenant doesn’t handle these responsibilities?
  • At what point will you come to me for approval of expenditures? What’s your spending limit?
  • In what ways will you be able to improve the profit margin on my properties (e.g. increasing rent without losing tenants, sharing late fees, etc.)?
  • Are there any other ways you can add value to my overall operation?
  • How does your management fee structure work? What kinds of things are included or excluded (advertising, placement fees, etc.)?
  • Can I review a copy of your lease agreement?
  • Can I review a copy of your management agreement? (Note: it is very important to understand what’s in this document.)
  • Can you give me 3 references? (Be sure to call them and follow up.)

Other Things to Consider:

  • How often will you provide me with an accounting statement for my properties?
  • Will you deposit each month’s rent into my account via direct deposit or via check?
  • Do you have the appropriate license(s) to be a property manager?
  • Do your contractors carry their own liability and workman’s comp insurance?
  • Are there any regularly occurring times you’ll be visiting my tenants/properties?

While I was at it, I made sure to check out their website and drive by a couple of the properties they were already managing. This gave me a good idea as to whether their properties fell in line with my overall expectations and whether they were going to be a good fit with the types of properties I was planning to buy in the future.

They Will Make Time for You

I realize this list of questions is quite thorough, and in some cases you may run across a property manager who is just too busy to sit down and answer them for you.

I understand that property managers are busy people (I am too, believe me), but I also know that if they have any desire to grow their business and bring on new clients, they will set aside a few minutes and answer them for you.

Some property managers will be pretty obvious about the fact that that they don’t have time for this silly little interview (and that’s their prerogative). If you’re getting this vibe from a potential property manager, you can take this as their way of saying:

“We don’t have time for your business. Get lost.”

If a property manager doesn’t have time to answer your very simple questions in this interview, do you really want to put them in the driver’s seat? Do you think they’ll treat you any better after they’re controlling the fate of your business? Just speaking for myself, it’s not something I’d want to leave up to chance.

Pass the Torch (and Stop Micromanaging)

There’s one more dilemma that many of us have to wrestle with. It’s called micromanaging.

This challenge seems to be particularly difficult for those of us who have already been managing our own properties for years, but are trying to get out from under the burden of it.

If you’re well-versed in the management of your own properties, you probably know exactly how you like things to be done – right? You know how your properties ought to look, you know what kinds of tenants you want in each one, and to be fair, you probably do know what you’re doing — so there is some validity to your thought process.

The problem is, the whole point of hiring a property manager is to make your life easier, and part of this transition process involves you letting go.

I don’t always like to admit it, but sometimes I’m a downright control freak. I remember when I bought my first rental property, every dollar mattered, and I spent every waking moment watching my property manager like a hawk. I was constantly on the lookout for things that weren’t being handled the way I wanted them handled. It was an ongoing internal battle to keep from harassing them with questions like:

  • Why hasn’t that tenant been evicted yet??
  • Why is this unit rented yet?? It’s been on the market for 2 hours!!!
  • Why haven’t those repairs been made?
  • When am I gonna get my money?
  • Don’t tell me something else is broken!!

It’s true… even with my fantastic property manager (who I still love to this day), I remember a brief window of time that left me wondering whether these guys knew what they were doing and whether I could do it better myself.

If you’re passing your keys off to a property manager, there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with your own paranoia issues at some point too, so I want you to remember this quote from Tim Ferriss:

“Develop the habit of letting small bad things happen. If you don’t, you’ll never find time for the life-changing big things, whether important tasks or true peak experiences.”

I’m telling you right now, there will be the occasional moments of inefficiency. It’s gonna happen no matter who your property manager is, so just plan for it.

You might lose a few weeks of rent here and there, there’s a good chance they won’t baby the property like you would and there may be some minor maintenance issues that get neglected for a few days longer than you would’ve let them go.

Related: How to Protect Your Investment Property Against Unethical Property Managers

Do you know why? It’s because they’re running a business and they know how to major on the majors and minor on the minors. It’s the same thing you should do if you want to focus on growing your business and enjoying your life. Your business will be FAR better served when you spend your time finding the next opportunity instead of figuring out how to take care of trivial things that have very little impact on your bottom line.

keep-calm-and-carry-on-8044Of course, if there comes a time when you’re getting repeat cases of terrible tenants, maintenance issues that are NEVER getting resolved and you’re losing a noticeable amount of money, you’ve probably got another issue on your hands. At the same time, keep an open mind to the possibility that you may be suffering from the same case of perfectionism that many of us have.

A rental property business will never operate at a perfect level of efficiency, even when you’re at the helm. Give it some time and keep your eyes peeled for patterns of unfavorable outcomes, but in the meantime, keep calm and let your property manager carry on.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in: What are your best tips on how to choose a rental property manager?

Leave a comment below, and let’s discuss!

About Author

Seth Williams

Seth Williams (@retipsterseth , G+) is an experienced land investor, commercial real estate banker and residential income property owner. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog providing real world guidance for part time real estate investors.

50 Comments

  1. Stephen S.

    Asking other landlords about the rental property business is a bit like reading internet reviews of a product or service: they tend to be bad – because happy people don’t complain.

    And, in the landlords’ defense; bad tenants make for way better and more interesting stories than do good tenants.

    When you ask me: I always remember and talk about my worse tenants – and for that exact reason. But the reality is that I have had many more boring long terms tenants who literally repaired their own houses and never called me for anything.

    (heard in my office) somebody named Andrew Harkins just left a message that he’s not renewing – anybody know who he is or where he lives?

    I rented a house to him and his brother for ten years and I couldn’t pick either of them out of a lineup with a gun to my head. But the woman and her daughter who beat me out of $20K ? I could right now make you a recognizable pencil sketch of both of them.

    Every time a landlord complains to me I say: Wow; that does sound bad – I don’t blame toy for being pissed off – you should probably let me take that crap off your hands so you can get out from under. How about that? Will you sell your properties to me?

    stephen
    ————-

    • Seth Williams

      Haha, those are all great points Stephen – you’re an insightful man! People generally do tend to scream the loudest about their pain rather than talking about what’s going well in their life. That’s a great lesson for all of us observers to take to heart. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alex Craig

    One of the biggest complaints I hear from other investors who own properties in multiple states is the lack of communication from their PM. When interviewing your PM, call the office and see how easy it is to get a live person. If you get voice mail, your call should be either be returned in a reasonable amount of time or acknowledged through a text or email. Send them a couple of emails and see how quick they respond. I always try to respond to all my investors very quickly and within the same day. Good chance if you send me a email by 10PM CST, you will get a email back.

    • Seth Williams

      I think that’s a great suggestion Alex. If I had to pick any single area where my PM could use some improvement, it’s probably this one right here.

      Of course, I can’t think of any specific negative consequences I’ve ever suffered due to their slower response time (because most of my questions aren’t urgent in nature), but I can definitely understand the client’s desire for faster communication. This kind of thing is a BIG plus if a property manager has got it.

  3. Chris K.

    Seth — Your post contains some good points for us to mull through; thanks for taking the time to share it with us. I’m certain a lot of us will benefit from your wisdom during our careers.

    I’m going to dovetail a selfish question into your article: I am in the process of financing my first investment (a duplex that my family will live on one side and rent the other). I do plan to make local small multifamily homes my niche. At what point do I consider hiring a PM? I spent a couple years working for a remodeling company and I have some project management experience, so I’m comfortable doing/overseeing some maintenance myself, and I’m going to be next door to my first tenant. In your opinion is it (*early on in an investing career*) better to sink a large chunk of cash into PM to free up time, or bank the cash and spend the time?

    • Seth Williams

      Hi Chris, this is a GREAT question (and I’ve actually got another blog post coming out next week that will talk about this in much more detail).

      I think it depends on what your goal is. Do you want to grow a massive empire and make significantly more money from your rental property business, or do you want to be a smaller operation and maintain full control over everything? Both routes have their pros and cons and come with certain limitations.

      I think it’s fine to manage it yourself in the beginning. Just be prepared to pay for your property management in the form of your TIME rather than money (the cost is always going to be there, it’s just a matter of who is going to do the actual, hands-on work). I always found that my time was far more valuable than the 10% management fee I had to pay my property manager, so I chose to outsource this work from day one (and I’ve never regretted it).

      Again, keep an eye out for next week’s post. I’m going to dig into this question a lot further.

  4. Curt Smith

    There’s 2 gorillas in the PM room that aren’t mentioned in this article. I can’t image how they got left out?

    Gorilla #1: What incentive does the PM have to place a long term trouble free renter. In Atlanta one of the most expensive locale’s in the country for PM pricing, it’s typical to pay 1st months rent for every placement. I feel the landlord should nix this clause. Only pay a fee (8% is your goal) for rent collected. No placement fees. Else you’l get nothign but constant placements, right? You get what you compensate someone for.

    Gorilla #2: fake, trumped up, larger bill than reality for repairs. Fake repairs are so rife in the PM business its…. Makes me both sick and mad. I’m open to contractual solutions to get fair and honest repair charges? Have the renter sign the work order? But the worst rip offs happen on turn over. Carpet replaced that never was replaced etc.

    It’s true that a very good PM can save you money over you handling the repairs yourself. Since they have a full time maintenance team who works cheaper than you can hire on a one off basis.

    My solution was to buy in top high school districts, fix to a high standard and yes then I never hear from renters since I use erentpayments.com and they change their own furnace filters. I have no reason to ever visit the houses, nor worry about fake repair bills.

    Remote landlords will need to deal with the 2 gorillas after they try to ignore them or before hand.

    • Michelle L.

      @Curt Smith – As a property manager, I have to respond to your comments:

      #1 I can’t speak for everyone, but I very much prefer to put in a long term, trouble free tenant, instead of dealing with turnover every few months, or even yearly. The 1/2 month’s rent that I charge to place a tenant just reimburses me for all the time I spent working on it (and that is a lot of time). I’d prefer to skip the extra work and have happy, long term tenants.

      #2 It’s easy enough to just require that the PM give you a copy of the repair invoice. If they do the repairs in-house, require that the tenants sign off on it. If your PM is gouging you for repairs not done, kick them to the curb immediately. During turnover, you can either be there to see what needs to be done, or have the PM photo and document everything.

    • Chris Clothier

      I don’t personally view either of those issues as “gorillas in the room”, and I do think that Seth addressed both with the questions that he suggested a landlord to ask a management company.

      If a landlord asks those questions and truly pays attention to the answers – then neither of those issues come up.

      I know you have invested for a while, not sure if you have used property management or always managed yourself, but as a property management company owner, I can tell you that if you strike that clause in an agreement (first months rent) we would politely inform you that we are the wrong management company.

      You can find someone to manage your property for you at 8%, but the key word would be someone. Unlikely that they will be a full blown company and they certainly would not be able to answer 2/3 of the questions Seth listed. At the same time, the best management companies do not use this as a profit strategy. It is a revenue strategy. It produces revenue that enables them to institute programs to actually KEEP tenants longer. Just a quick note – we manage 2700+ properties in three cities and our average length of stay is approaching 4-years…and we charge the first full months rent as placement.

      As for the pump up of charges, you say it is rampant and I am not sure if it is or not. In your experience it may be and I know we certainly hear about it on BP. Again, ask the right questions on the front end and these are not gorillas….they are issues to be aware of and ask the right questions about. The best management companies out there are not using either of those ‘strategies” to build their profits. They realize that both of those are short sighted attempts to make money and not long-term ways to build a company.

      Great article Seth – I advise a landlord ask a long list of questions as well and your list is right in line.

    • Seth Williams

      Thanks for your comments Curt, Michelle and Chris.

      My property manager has a similar fee structure to Michelle’s and takes 1/2 of the first month’s rent (and I don’t even bat an eye at this). I think this kind of charge is more than reasonable because I know how much work goes into get a property rented or sold. I would much rather pay my property manager to handle this task than adding it to my workload. I also know it’s not in a PM’s best interest to keep shoveling tenants in and out just to get a placement fee. It’s not a sustainable business model – the money just isn’t worth it. Finding long-term tenants is a far better strategy from everyone’s standpoint.

      And to Chris’ point, I think you ultimately get what you pay for from property management. It’s important not to get ripped off, but there’s also more to the equation than JUST focusing on cheap and non-existent fees. You need to look at the value that is (or isn’t) being added to the overall operation. When I look at the work my PM does for me, I would probably pay them even more of a management fee if they asked for it. I can clearly see that my properties are better off in their hands than they are in mine and that kind of value is worth paying for.

  5. Josh H.

    This is a very timely article for me. I’ve only worked with one PM firm since I began acquiring rentals two years ago, and the lack of communication has always driven me crazy. Believe me, I have no desire to micromanage, but when a company can’t figure out how to even respond to a simple call or email, I begin to question its ability to manage anything. Thanks for the list of questions. I’ll definitely be using some of them as I reach out to new PMs.

    • Seth Williams

      That’s definitely a frustrating deficiency to deal with Josh – I feel for you. Are you still working with them, or have you kicked them to the curb?

      My PM typically responds to my emails within 24 hours (I don’t even bother to call, as phone communication doesn’t seem to be their forte). It’s not always as fast and prompt as I’d like it to be, but I am always getting SOME kind of helpful response before too much time has passed.

  6. Josh H.

    I’m unfortunately still working with them because I just began the process of reaching out to 3-4 new PM firms that might be a good fit. I hope to find a better one soon so I can begin making the transition.

    A response to email within 24 hours or even 72 hours would be more than enough to keep me happy. I often get no response, then follow up via phone or txt just to get nothing again, and then I just give up. Very frustrating. Of course, then I find myself becoming more and more paranoid about excessive maintenance bills, uncollected water bills and rent, etc. Does anyone who invests in the Baltimore, MD area have a PM they can recommend?

    • Seth Williams

      Yeah, that kind of communication (or lack thereof) would be totally unacceptable for me. I’d probably be doing the same thing you’re doing.

      I’m sure it’s annoying to go through these motions of jumping ship to work with another PM, but it’s one of those necessary tasks to make sure your business is on the right track for the long term.

      Hang in there!

  7. jen kurtz

    I absolutely love this article. As a manager myself, I do not want to forever manage my own properties. I know what my expectations are for myself and for others- but this helps me really discover those things in others. Things that I expect may not always be common sense to other managers, so these questions allow everyone to be on the same page before any further agreements! 🙂

    • Seth Williams

      Thanks Jen! My property manager actually owns a few properties in other areas of the state and he hired a different property manager to handle them for him. He says it gives him a great opportunity to be on the other side of the fence and identify what kind of things he does and doesn’t like as the property owner. Not a bad way for a PM to get into the minds of their clients.

  8. Greg Kubitz

    Great article Seth! I appreciate the insight. I am looking into purchasing my first property and am planning to hire a property manager. (At this point in my life, I need it to be “passive” income.) I will definitely be using your list of questions as a guide!
    Thanks again!

  9. Drew Sygit

    Great article! Hopefully it helps investors avoid our bad competitors! Can’t believe how many investors contact us about problems with our competitors — then take months or NEVER switch!

    Here’s another screening tip: Contact the Rental Departments of the cities they do business in. You have to ask the right question(s) as the city employees can’t give you a direct answer, but long pauses and other verbal ques will tell you what you want to know:)

  10. Magdalena Pawlik Solipiwko on

    Worth doing before handing keys in.
    I wish some of my clients took their time to do the homework before purchasing a property. Do your market research, read management contract, lease agreement etc. Be familiar with changing practices and regulations. Property Manager will manage your property but can’t be held responsible for making a bad investment. Make sure that you have some spare funds to pay for necessary maintenance without simply relying on a rental income.

  11. I like your point about inquiring as to what kind of properties they have managed. If you have a large apartment complex, for example, you may find a qualified property manager who has dealt with duplexes. This person may be very capable, but ideally, you would be looking for someone with more experience managing many units.

  12. Thanks for the information. My husband and I just purchased an apartment complex near our home, but we just don’t have the time or energy to manage it. Like you said, finding the right rental property manager to do that work for you is a huge deal and a long process! That’s why I want to make sure we choose the perfect property management team. Do you have any special tips for me as to how to do that?

  13. As a renter, I understand the value of a good property management company. The last apartment I lived in, they took care of the yard and any plumbing or electrical problems right away. It must be nice for the owners not to worry about those things. In the place I rent now, I need to hassle our landlords to get anything fixed.

  14. It is really important for you to find the best property manager to work with possible. I definitely agree that it is a good idea to get to know your property manager really well. That way you can better be able to trust them, and learn their skill set. You really want to make sure that you take your time to do research and find a manager that you really trust.

  15. It makes sense that finding the right rental property manager would be a huge deal. If I’m going to be hiring someone to take care of a rental property for me, then I’d want to be absolutely sure that they’re the best for the job. You really can’t just blindly hire someone and hope for the best with this sort of thing.

  16. Curt Smith

    Has anyone posted the flip side? How to build a portfolio of rentals that doesn’t need a PM? So far it seems most folks have rolled with the view that one needs a PM.

    I’ve proven from our experience that it is possible to use business rules to guild building a portfolio that has very very low effort to manage. Thus no need to loose untold percent to a PM.

    A terse discription does start with BEFORE you buy each rental. Some rules do apply to post purchase in a less than great area.

    – Find the best school districts then the cheapest homes in that district. For very low management effort, buy great schools 7 or higher. For ok management effort stay above 5.

    – over fix. Laminent floors, black appliances, nice paint, recent bathrooms and kitchens. No need to go top shelf, just “nice” for the area.

    – Marketing is key. Put the school and great schools rating in the subject. Then cull applicants for good jobs and young kids and you’ll have no turn over for 5 yrs or longer and never hear from them.

    – Another filter is find applicants who want to move near family members. Good jobs, good credit report, you’ll not hear from these folks either.

    If you don’t personally _believe_ it’s possible to have a low management effort portfolio, then guess what? You’ll end up with a high effort portfolio and you’ll just hate managing it. Then this topic is for you. 🙂

    Challenge yourself: how can I improve my business? Reduce costs and effort? Then make changes. Delegating at an expense may not be the only choice is my point.

  17. Lots of good stuff to learn here. I’m not personally the guy that is going to make any final decisions as to what property management system we’ll use. I like to learn so I can help. This situation seems like it could get awkward, and I’d like to be able to consult on the matter. Thank you for sharing this with us Seth!

  18. This is some great advice! I had been looking into finding a rental property manager for a little while now, and this is a big help. A lot of those questions I hadn’t even thought to ask. I’ll make sure I at least sort of get to know my manager before I hire anyone.

  19. I try and pick people who have the best levels of experience. Sure, there might be more qualified people with higher education, but nothing is a substitute for actually doing something. This way, I know that whoever I hire to manage, they can hit the ground running. Thanks for the great info Seth!

  20. My wife and I have been looking at turning to a property management firm. We needed help understanding all of the benefits involved with it, and this article did the job! We need to go meet with a manager to see what can be done for our situation!

  21. I have quite a few rental properties, and it has been difficult to maintain them on my own. It would be so nice to get a property manager, but I definitely want to be sure that I get the best one. These are all really excellent question to ask as you’re looking for someone. It is especially important to me that I find out what they will do with my properties and how they want to improve things. Thank you so much for sharing this post!

  22. Seth, what an interesting tip that you mentioned about getting to know the right property manager by asking them questions. It\’s something that came to my mind after I myself have been looking at certain property managements. My plans so far is to find the right one that would be able to successfully run the apartment that both my friend and I have built.

  23. Haha! Your questions that ran through your head over your first property? Yeah, I\’m there now. My wife and I just bought a house that we\’ll be renting out, and we\’re saving the proceeds for our retirement. The thing is, it can be a stressful endeavor, working with a property manager. However, we\’re also planning on getting a few more properties, and we\’re confident that it\’ll work out anyway. Thanks for sharing!

  24. I really liked how you emphasized how finding the right rental property manager is a big deal. I agree that they will be your eyes and ears on the street. My wife and I currently own a few properties and would like to expand even more. We started doing some research to find some external help and advice on how to do things right. Does anyone know what is the best way to raise rent on current tenants?

  25. These are the exact questions to ask when considering a property manager. I think there are a lot of people who go with the first one recommended to them, but it\’s really important to get to know the options and find the best fit. Great advice in this article, thanks for posting it!

  26. Benton Cotter

    I like all the points and comments. One question I continually tell my clients to ask is whether the actual property manager visits my rental or some $10/hr employee. A lot of companies will use college kids to go look at my property and then report back of what needs to be done to get it ready for market. I’m sure there are some find young college kids out there but I would rather have an experienced PM look at my property. I especially recommend that when the tenant moves out. I don’t want to leave anything to chance when a security deposit is involved.

  27. That is interesting that finding a good property manager can be so important. I would agree that asking the right questions to your property manager can potentially save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run. Asking questions to current or previous tenants as well is a great way to see if your property manager is trustworthy. Thank you for sharing the importance of finding a good property manager!

  28. Great post! Thank you for helping me understand how to choose the right rental property manager. I really like how you said that “If you decide to hire a property management company, you need to understand who you’re working with BEFORE you give them the keys to your property.” My parents hired a property manager to take care of their other rental properties and he has really helped my parents when it comes to taking care of and maintaining the properties.

  29. I was surprised that rental property business will never operate at a perfect level of efficiency. As a control freak myself, I tend to worry a lot about how my properties are being handled. When something goes wrong I tend to flip out at the manager or at the renter. Neither party is to blame for the momentary problem but they tend to be my way to vent my frustration. I like the idea to just let go and not allow the micromanaging to intervene. Only by letting each person play their part correctly will I be able to receive a profit from this experience.

  30. Thanks for the tip to ask a rental property group what kinds of rental properties they are most experienced with. You also suggest asking how many rental units they are currently managing. I also think it\’s wise to find a rental property management group that has a good track record of responding to renters in a timely manner so that you are keeping your renters happy when a problem arises.

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