9 Biggest Mistakes in choosing a Property Management Company.
- Choosing a company that doesn’t inspect every home every month. How can you know your home is being taken care of if your Property Manager (PM) isn’t looking at it every single month? We inspect all of our homes every single month. We do interior inspections 6 months after a tenant moves in and then yearly after that. We are not aware of any other property management company that performs this crucial task.
- Paying a percentage (%) of the lease price as a Management Fee. Why do some companies charge twice as much to manage a $2000/month home as a $1000/month home? Are they harder to manage? No. In fact, low priced homes are the hardest to manage. Tenants in those homes are usually younger, lower income, and financially or emotionally vulnerable to life’s changes. As a result there are more job losses, break ups/divorces and surprise financial happenings that can easily affect the likelihood of getting rent on time (or at all). Renters Choice charges a low flat fee of $85 per month for any home we manage.
- Choosing a company that doesn’t offer MLS and Realtor.com to market your property. Using MLS (the Multiple Listing Service – how Realtors know what homes are available for rent) in association with Realtor.com (the world largest and most used real estate web site) to market your property is critical to find the highest quality tenant in the shortest time possible.
- Trusting your Management Company. Does that sound cynical? Yes. But after years of shocking stories of promises made and not delivered by other companies, not trusting your property management company is the wisest move a smart property owner can make. With Renters Choice all of our communications are documented and available to you. All repairs have invoices with photos proving the repairs were done. All inspections are documented and date stamped and continually available for your review so that you know that we have done what we have said we would do. Will you trust us? Of course. But we believe you should “Trust but Verify”.
- In-house agents showing your vacant property. Sounds like a terrific idea, right? Wrong. If you are a tenant looking for a house you are likely driving by areas that you want to live in. Once you find one that looks interesting you want to see it now. But it can easily take an agent 2+ hours to 2 days to arrive (assuming they are available at all). To solve that problem most companies use generic combination lockboxes and give the prospective tenant the code. However, that presents a security issue. Once a tenant has the combination what is to prevent them from coming back into the home and taking what they want? At Renters Choice we use an electronic lockbox that tenants must register to use (which includes supplying credit card information) that gives them one time access to your property. Since we have all of their information there is no security concern.
- Property Management company doesn’t use Realtor electronic lockbox. Not only do we use lockboxes with changing combinations, we use Realtor electronic lockboxes as well that track all activity from who showed the house to when. They also allow us to get feedback on all showings. With feedback we can quickly discover if your price is in line with other rentals in the area or if there is an easily curable condition that we can take care of quickly. That reduces market time and vacancy days.
- Choosing a company that has too many “active” properties. The easiest way to gauge a Management Company’s marketing success is reviewing their “Properties Available” page on their web site. In this market a home should never be on the market longer than a couple of weeks. If a Management Company has 20 or 30 properties available that is a sign that individual owners are being forgotten and thousands of dollars of potential rent is being lost.
- Not having Broker negotiated leases. A lease is an extremely important contract between you and the tenant. As with all contracts, they should be negotiated by skilled professionals. At Renters Choice, all leases are negotiated by our Broker who has been in real estate sales and leasing for well over 24 years. He also has been one of the Top 300 Realtors in America, the Top 100 Realtors in America and Top 50 Solo Producing Realtors in America. He has negotiated literally THOUSANDS of successful contracts.
- Choosing a company that has cancelation fees. One way to judge a company’s confidence in their service is reviewing their cancellation fees. If they truly believe they do a good job and keep the promises they make, then there wouldn’t be a need for cancelation fees. At Renters Choice, we are so confident that you will love our service that if you aren’t happy within the first 90 days you can cancel your service and receive 120% of your money back! If you want to cancel after that, there are no fee! It’s as simple as that.