You Can Choose the Level of Service
You can hire a property manager just to find tenants to keep your property occupied, or you can hire a property manager to maintain your property, or you can hire a property manager to provide both leasing and management services for you. The choice is yours and will depend on your level of skill and comfort with the duties of each function. When you understand what each type of service entails, you’ll know which type of property management is best for you. Below you will find an outline of what is provided in each service.
With leasing services, you are using the property management firm’s expertise to keep your property occupied. A good property manager knows how to market a property and thoroughly screen prospective renters to find good tenants who will pay their rent on time and treat your property well.
Hiring a property management company to lease your property is similar to hiring a real estate agent to sell your home in that the agent is hired to get a result. The property management firm engages with you for as long as it takes to find a good tenant.
The leasing service includes advertising the property with good photos and a compelling, accurate description. It entails showing the property to prospective tenants and running background checks and checking applicant credit scores to weed out undesirable tenants. The property manager also draws up lease contracts and makes sure they are executed properly, so your investment is protected. (For more on leasing your property yourself, read How to Market Your Property and How to Choose The Right Tenants).
In property management, the property manager maintains the property on a day-to-day basis and represents the owner’s interest.
Property management entails conducting property inspections, before, during and after a property is rented to make sure the tenant is living up to the terms of the lease. Routine inspections also provide oversight of the overall condition of the property so the manager can proactively attend to service and maintenance issues.
The property manager also provides a financial accounting of income and expenses which includes collecting rent from tenants and tracking down late payments. Financial accounting can also include helping the owner to file taxes properly or filing them for him.
Perhaps most importantly, this type of property management is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They handle all the maintenance issues from clogged toilets to replacing AC units and everything in between. They provide customer service to the tenant which increases tenant satisfaction and keeps properties rented longer. (For more information on managing your own property, read What Maintenance Am I Responsible For as a Landlord? and Are You Cut Out To Be A Landlord?).
Which Type of Property Management Service Do I Need?
If you are comfortable with screening tenants and maintaining your property, you may find doing all of it yourself is a good fit for you. If you don’t mind finding and screening tenants, but don’t want the daily maintenance responsibilities, then working with a firm for property management might be best for you. And of course, if maintenance is easy for your but finding tenants is too difficult, then working with a property management firm that can just handle leasing your property is the way to go.
Whichever situation is right for you, make sure you screen the property management firm thoroughly to determine if they are the right firm for your needs. Read our article, Top 10 Questions to ask a Property Management Company to help you know what questions to ask and what to look for. For further information, read How Much Does Property Management Cost? Is It Worth It?