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Property Management Blog

Published on Saturday, March 24, 2012

Things To Look For In A Property Manager

References - It's important to speak with the company's previous clients to determine how the property manager will work, this is a critical part in the hiring process. There is no other way to figure out what your working relationship will be like without input from other people. If they are unwilling to provide names and contact details, or if they try to distract you from this part of the process you should really consider using a more reputable company.

Experience - There is a difference between poor experience and little experience, and it's important to know the difference between the two. You may come across an excellent property manager that has a glowing record full of great customer testimonials but may have only been in the business around a year or so. On the other hand there may be a potential manager who's been working in the property business for the majority of their career and may not have any proven ways of securing rent payments, carrying out routine maintenance, or complying with regulations. Don't be afraid to ask questions, ask them about them how they keep on top of legal changes and how the stay up to date with trends in the industry. These are very important factors that should be closely followed.

Treatment - You need to take note of how they treat you during your meetings, it's important that they are genuinely interested in your property, did they take note of your or your special requirements? And are they aware of your needs? How engaged were they when you discussed the goals you wish to achieve. Look out for someone who interrupts you, this means that they're more likely not to give your property the right amount of attention.

Expense - Get quotes from more than one company, you don't want to be over charged but then again you don't want a company that will do the job for cheap, because a cheap job usually means a half hearted job.

Resolving a problem - Go over the method that the company use in order to resolve a dispute. If a PM claims that his record is free of tenant disputes then you should reconsider him/her for the job. It's very unlikely that any property will be problem free.

Schedule - If the company is only prepared to do a Monday to Friday 9-5 job of looking after your property then that isn't good enough. Property management is a time consuming job and one that doesn't take holidays. If a toilet starts leaking at 3am Sunday morning and they are not on call to deal with the problem you will be the one being called out!

Read the small print - Always consult your lawyer before you sign anything or you could find yourself being locked into a contract that isn't beneficial to your investment.

Pressure - If the property manager is pressuring you to make a decision about a potential agreement on the day, they may be hiding something. You should allow yourself plenty of time to have a look at references, and to shop around for other potential property managers.

Lack of paper licence - One of the main benefits of having a licensed PM is that you can file a complaint is their not doing a good enough job. If they don't have a licence then don't hire them!

 

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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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