July 27, 2016
By Nick Mertens
VP Property Management, Atlas Real Estate Group
Choosing the right property management firm can be tough. To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask potential property management firms when interviewing them. We hope this helps. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. How many investment properties do you/your firm personally own and manage?
2. Do you think your Property Manager is paid in a way that aligns your interest with theirs?
3. What is the structure of the personnel in your organization and what type of support staff do you offer the actual Property Manger?
• Examples: Is there an Accountant? Is there a Regional Manager? Handyman? Who/what do you use for a system of checks and balances to make sure that your Manager is on top of renting/quick turns/collections?
4. What is your average turn time on repairs and replacing a new tenant and how long are your units typically down?
5. What is your annual renewal rate?
6. How long does your average tenant stay?
7. What are all of the hidden fees and costs associated with this?
• Examples: The company/representative may state or advertise that they only have a 5% management fee, but this is typically just a small part of the equation as they are actually more like 7-9% of total gross income. Do you have additional charges for maintenance and, if so, how much? Do you have a per unit monthly fee? A new lease fee? A renewal fee? A resident manager fee? A janitorial fee? An accounting fee? A split on late fees? Marketing/Advertising fees?, etc.
8. Do you require inspections on a regular basis from your staff? (They should perform at least a quarterly inspection.)
9. How do you handle capital improvements?
10. Do you charge me a monthly fee for a unit that is not collected and/or occupied?
11. What reserves do you require per unit?
12. How will you be transferring funds to me?
13. What property management software do you use?
• Examples: Yardi, Buildium, Quicken, Rentec Direct, AppFolio
14. How do you market the units to residents?
15. What does your website offer? Is there a resident portal or third party site for online payments or maintenance requests? Are there tools, reports, or other resources for investors?
16. What do your tenants say about your property management services/have you ever done a survey to your tenants on your PM services?
17. What kind of lease do you use and what are the addendums? Please send it to me.
18. What is the eviction process like in this state? Timelines?
19. What attorney do you use?
20. What do you believe sets you apart from your competitors?
21. What does your monthly statement look like? Please send an example.
22. Are you a CPM (Certified Property Manager)?
23. Please send me a copy of your contract.
24. What do you look for when screening a new tenant and what is the tenant screening process?
25. What do you charge tenants for an application and what is your cost? Who captures the rest of the money?
26. Can you provide references – names and numbers of other investors who work with your company?