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Property Management Blog

Published on Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How To Pick Professional Property Management

For newcomers planning to take up the duties of a landlord, it is best to seek the services of a provider offering professional property management that can streamline the management of their properties in addition to relieving them from a host of overwhelming tasks related to maintaining and running rental properties. These companies basically serve as an intermediary between landlords and tenants.

Management of property is a critical aspect of realty investment that can make all the difference between a well run property with positive cash flow and a poorly managed property with negative cash flow. So at one phase or another, every landlord has to make a decision to employ professional services or manage properties on his own.

A property manager must be able to follow and implement a well documented system of managing properties which includes showing people around vacant properties, managing applications, interviewing prospective tenants, deciding on the right tenants, supervising the move in process, responding to the issues raised by tenants and managing evictions.

Choosing The Right Management Company

Before choosing a company to take up management of properties, there are some important facts to watch out for. Here are some factors one must consider to ensure the best management services

Company history

The number of years that a company has been in business often indicates how reliable a provider offering professional property management is. Generally, a company that has been around for a while and is known for their consistently outstanding services would be a good one to partner.

Customer service

While communicating with a company involved in management of properties, closely observe the quality of their customer service. This is important since the landlord as well as the tenants will be dealing with the company on a regular basis. So, it is best to partner a company that sounds courteous, attentive, responsive and helpful. While evaluating customer service standards, pay close attention to the promptness of the agency offering professional property management in replying to inquiries and the friendliness of their customer support staff.

First impression

During the first communication with the company, enquire about their experience and expertise in handling the particular type of properties under consideration. This is an important aspect that would indicate how well the company will be able to carry out the targets set by a landlord.

Responsibilities involved

Different companies take up different levels of responsibilities in managing properties. Before finalizing a company, find out if they will offer full maintenance services, accounting information, tax calculations, property insurance claims handling and other services.

Cost of Professional property management

When a management company is to be hired to act as an intermediary between the landlord and tenants, the services offered by the company must be well worth the fees charged by them. While some companies offer an all inclusive package, others charge separately for each service. Regardless of the fee structure, all these fees must be included in the owner manager contract.

References

Seek the opinion of other landlords who have partnered a particular company for managing their properties. In addition, while communicating with the company, request for a list of credible references to contact.

Finding a good company for professional property management that suits individual expectations may seem an impossible task. However, with a little bit of research and by asking the right questions, anyone can find the perfect company for one needs and enjoy the expertise that only professionals can provide.

Onyx Management Group, Inc. is a full service property management company currently servicing residential and commercial properties throughout Greater PhiladelphiaBucks County, and Montgomery County. With our highly detailed approach to overseeing properties of any size, we provide our clients with the benefit of ownership without the burde
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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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