10 Questions to Ask Your Property Manager
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Hiring the right management company is extremely important. In most cases your investment property is the single biggest investment you have made. The wrong management company can cost you thousands of dollars by putting in the wrong tenant or by not hiring the right maintenance company. Even worse, hiring the wrong management company can have you sued by not knowing the law!
Before you talk to someone from the management company, spend a few minutes looking them up on the Internet.
- Do they have a professional website?
- Do they have any reviews online?
- How quickly do they respond to your phone call or email?
Before you call on a property manager, determine if they have a professional website. Image and professionalism matter.
You will be amazed at how many negative reviews property management companies have.
If the property management company does not respond to you quickly when you are a prospective client, it is a sign that their communication will be awful when you become a client. It is also a sign that they do not communicate well with their residents. Communication in this business is extremely important.
10 Questions to Ask Your Property Manager
1. Do you belong to any professional organizations or hold any designations?+
This is important because this determines who is running their property management company like a business and who is doing it part-time to make some extra money while they are being a realtor buying and selling homes. You want a professional management company that specializes in property management.
At Empire we are not just licensed real estate agents, we are members of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) who have served on the board of directors and we hold the Certified Property Manager designation from IREM. Pete Neubig is the President of the Houston Chapter of NARPM.
2. Do you or have you owned any properties?+
Do you want to work with someone who does not know what it is like to be an investor? You want to work with someone who understands investing and has built their company with the investor in mind, not themselves. Most management companies are built by agents not investors.
The owners of Empire Industries have owned apartment complexes and have owned over 50 homes in the greater Houston area. Empire was built out of a need, see “Our Story”. Empire was built “By Investors for Investors”.
3. What are your setup fee’s, are there any other fees?+
Some management companies may charge a lower management fee but they charge a setup fee, they upcharge on maintenance, charge for sending you money, going to the house, etc. Make sure you understand all of the charges.
Empire does not charge a setup fee. Empire charges the owner a management fee, leasing fee and lease renewal fee. Empire does not charge for sending money, does not charge for administration fees such as sending letters, going to the property, etc.
4. Do you have a guarantee?+
What is the company guarantee? What happens if they do not live up to the guarantee?
Empire 7-Point Guarantee
- No hidden surcharges. Any and all fees that Empire Industries will charge is clearly stated in our management agreement and discussed prior to any signing of our agreement.
- All correspondence response in 1 business day. Empire Industries staff will always attempt to contact the owner or resident within 1 business day after message has been received.
- 100% of property bills reviewed and confirmed. All invoices or bills will be reviewed by appropriate staff personnel to verify price structure is as agreed upon prior to owner viewing bill.
- Delinquent tenants evicted; court costs prepaid. All delinquent tenants will be sent proper eviction notification as per Texas Property Code and laws followed to remove tenant through the court system. All costs are pre-paid by Empire Industries.
- Minor maintenance costs are pre-paid. Any minor maintenance cost will be pre-paid, after the owner approves the cost of the repair, prior to any work being started.
- 24 hour maintenance request’s. All tenants are able to place a maintenance service request via our Toll Free Maintenance Hotline System, plus be able to reach someone 24 hours a day in event of an emergency. Tenants also have access to our online system via their Web Portal.
- Money wired to your account on time – every time. At Empire Industries expense, we provide wire transfers directly into your bank account.
5. When do they send your owner payment?+
Empire pays owners starting on the 10th of the month - 10th, 15th and 20th.. We send an owner report with each payment.
6. Do they have an owner and resident portal?+
Technology is very important. Property managers that do not invest in technology have a more difficult time keeping a good account of their records, including payments from tenants and payments to owners, do not respond to owner and tenant questions in a timely fashion, and do not have invoices available for the owner.
Empire Industries has both an owner and resident portal. Payments can be distributed and can be taken in through the portal. All documents are uploaded to the portal. Access to reports and work orders are through the portal and conversation’s with our property management team is made through the portal.
7. How transparent are they?+
Does the management company show before and after photos on all work orders and make readies? Does the owner have access to the utility bills, work orders, home depot invoices and maintenance invoices?
8. Do they know their numbers? +
Just a few key indicators that any management company should track:
- How much does a typical work order cost?
- How much does a typical make ready cost?
- What is their vacancy rate?
- What is their collection rate?
- What is their eviction rate?
- What are their average days on the market?
Does your management company truly act like a business and know their numbers or are they a mom and pop shop that fly by the seat of their pants.
Not only does Empire know their numbers, but we publish the numbers on our website, Empire by the numbers.
9. How do you advertise my property?+
Ask about the marketing strategy and what they do to ensure your home is leased quickly.
10. Are you insured?+
Your property management company should have the following insurance, Error and Omission Insurance (E&O), General Liability Insurance (minimum of $1,000,000 policy) and Workers Compensation (real important for management companies with on staff maintenance).
Empire Industries carries all three of these insurances.
Inquire About Our Services
In conclusion, hiring the right property manager is paramount to your success. The right property manager will save you time and money. The few dollars per day to hire a professional manager will ensure you do not make a mistake with paperwork or putting in the wrong tenant. They will save you money on maintenance with volume discounts and will save you money on rent by setting the rent correctly and marketing the property efficiently. They will hold more of the security deposit from a resident because of good record keeping, which is more money in the owner’s pocket. They will keep great records to give to your accountant. They can save you money on your insurance. Some insurance companies give a discount to properties managed by management companies with a CPM designation. Most importantly, the right property manager will keep you out of the court system.
Good luck in finding the right partner. We hope that you would consider Empire Industries Property Management.