Questions for a Property Manager

Property, such as a duplex, house, or apartment, is a hot commodity in many urban centers in the United States, since everyone needs a place to live, and some areas are hotly contested for living space. A rural Kansas town’s neighborhoods, for example, won’t see nearly the rush of prospective tenants as a trendy part of San Francisco or Boston. Managing your property can be tough business, between repair and maintenance of the building, coordinating with the leased tenants, receiving rent, and bringing in new people and terminating the leases of previous ones. Apartment property and houses alike can be tricky, so a landlord or landlady can instead outsource some of their labor to a property management firm or individual. Questions to ask a property manager can vary based on the property owner’s needs, and property management services should be happy to help.

The Work of Property Management

In the United States in 2016, there were about 317,300 property management jobs, and the average age of a management professional in this field is about 50. So, what to look for in a property manager? Communication, for one. In a study conducted in 2015, 90% of respondents who outsource property management said that communication skills are “somewhat” or “very important” when hiring a third-party property management company, and this should not be surprising. A landlord or landlady’s livelihood may depend entirely on renting out the property correctly, and there is plenty of paperwork to do in that dynamic field as renters move in and out. This business is growing, too, at a rate of 4.4% between 2012 and 2017.

Hiring a Property Manager

Questions to ask a property manager can be based on what that professional does, and what the landlord or landlady need in particular. As explained on The Balance, questions to ask a property manager can be oriented toward rent and tenant responsibility, maintenance and repairs, being responsible for taxes, and more. The property manager, for example, may set the rent according to profit margins as well as the area’s popularity; rent in San Francisco or Chicago, for example, would hardly be the same as in a rural town. Rent rates can also be adjusted according to need or municipal or state law.

Questions to ask a property manager can pertain to the tenants themselves, the human element. If needed, a property manager will advertise the property to attract new tenants, and make life in the building seem as attractive as possible. The property management firm can also handle noise complaints, help people move out, and screen prospective tenants to find people who are responsible about rent. This service can also prevent accusations of discrimination against some potential tenants.

More paperwork may be needed. A property manager will also, if required, set a budget for the building, especially in concern to emergency repairs as the need arises without breaking the budget. The manager can also handle record-keeping of the building and its tenants, such as income and expenses, a list of inspections, signed leases, and more. The manager can also handle tax information, such as how to file taxes for the building.

Hiring a property manager usually involves making phone calls and searching for them online, and checking them by interviewing previous business partners and other associates to get a clear picture of how well they operate. This can also filter out scam artists. Also, a landlord or landlady will reach out to different firms based on what sort of building they are leasing. A house is simpler to lease than a condo or apartment, for example, so this is factored into finding the right property manager for the job.

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