What Do Property Managers Do?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Manage My Property

The following is a list of the tasks property managers commonly perform for owners. You may only need some of these services, and the property management firms you interview may offer more or less than what is listed here.

Evaluate the property and determine an accurate rental rate

  • Perform detailed documentation of the interior and exterior including photos
  • Offer recommendations on repairs and cosmetic improvements that maximize monthly rent while providing good ROI.
  • Gather data on rental rates in the area and work with owners to determine the optimal rental rate. Rent research will vary, but should include looking at the recently rented comparables according to size and type.
  • Discuss with owners the pros and cons of different policies such as accepting pets, allowing smoking etc.
  • Install a lock boxA clipboard describing the services property management companies can provide

Market the property for rent

  • Prepare home for rent
    • Clean home and optimize interior appeal
    • Manicure landscaping to increase curb appeal
  • Create ads tailored to the property and advertising medium. Some of the mediums commonly used are:
    • Paid and free rental listing websites
    • Print publications
    • Signs
    • MLS
    • Fliers
  • Work with other realtors and leasing agents to find a tenant
  • Provide a 24-hour hot-line where prospective tenants can listen to detailed information about the property
  • Field calls from prospects for questions and viewings
  • Meet prospective tenants for showings throughout the week and weekend.
  • Provide prospective tenants with rental applications that are legally compliant with fair housing laws
  • Collection applications with application fee

Tenant Screening and Selection

  • Perform a background check to verify identity, income, credit history, rental history, etc.
  • Grade tenant according to pre-defined tenant criteria
  • Inform tenants who were turned down

Tenant Move In

  • Draw up leasing agreement
  • Confirm move in date with tenant
  • Review lease guidelines with tenant regarding things like rental payment terms and required property maintenance
  • Ensure all agreements have been properly executed
  • Perform detailed move in inspection with tenant and have tenants sign a report verifying the condition of the property prior to move-in.
  • Collect first months rent and security deposit

Rent collection

  • Receiving rent
  • Hunting down late payments
  • Sending out pay or quit notices
  • Enforcing late fees


  • Filing relevant paperwork to initiate and complete an unlawful detainer action
  • Representing owner in court
  • Coordinating with law enforcement to remove tenant and tenants possessions from unit


  • Advise in the event of a legal dispute or litigation
  • Refer owner to a qualified attorney when necessary
  • Understand and abide by the latest local, state and federal legislation that apply to renting and maintaining rental properties.


  • Perform periodic inspections (Inside and outside) on a predefined schedule looking for repair needs, safety hazards, code violations, lease violations, etc.
  • Send owner periodic reports on the condition of the property


  • Provide accounting services
  • Make payments on behalf of owner (Mortgage, insurance, HOA dues, etc.)
  • Detailed documentation of expenses via invoices and receipts
  • Maintain all historical records (paid invoices, leases, inspection reports, warranties, etc.)
  • Provide annual reporting, structured for tax purposes as well as required tax documents including a 1099 form
  • Advise owner on relevant tax deductions related to their rental property
  • Provide easy to read monthly cash-flow statements which offer a detailed breakdown of income and itemized expenses

Maintenance, Repairs, and Remodeling

  • Provide and oversee an in-house maintenance crew
  • Establish a preventative maintenance policy to identify and deal with repair needs
  • Provide an network of licensed, bonded and fully insured contractors who have been vetted for good pricing and good work that is up to code.
  • Assign jobs to different parties (in-house employees, handyman and professional contractors) based on who will do the best job for the best price.
  • Maintain outdoor areas
    • Leaf and snow removal
    • Landscaping
    • Removing trash and debris
  • Maintain and monitor a 24 hour emergency repair hot-line
  • Larger renovation or rehab projects
    • Provide recommendations on how the project can maximize rental income.
    • Prepare preliminary cost estimates
    • Get multiple independent bids for the work
    • Act as general contractor overseeing the work

Tenant Move Out

  • Inspect unit and fill out a report on the property's condition when the client moves out
  • Provide tenant with a copy as well as estimated damages
  • Return the balance of the security deposit to the tenant
  • Forward any portion of the owner’s portion of the tenant deposit to the owner or hold in owner reserves for repairs.
  • Clean unit and perform and needed repairs or upgrades
  • Re-key the locks
  • Put the property back on the market for rent

This isn't intended to be a comprehensive list, but it should give you a fair idea of the scope of a property management company's activities

At this point you may be thinking, "Ok, so that's what what they can do, but how does all of this benefit me and relate to the big picture of my real estate investment strategy?". Keep reading to find out.

Next: What are the Benefits of Using a Property Management Company?

Originally posted on managemyproperty.com under, "Property Management Services - A Complete List"

Comments (9)

Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Wow!!!  Now I KNOW why I am so busy! Great Post!!

This is also the reason that I have a min 24 mo management agreement and I have a cancellation fee if the management agreement is cancelled after 12 months.

Many property managers are charging "account-set-up fees" and your list is a PRIME reason why.  The UP FRONT time and effort is very HEAVY when establishing a new property client account!!!

Oct 27, 2009 12:28 PM
Jordan Muela
Manage My Property - Austin, TX
Manage My Property

Agreed, this is why empowering owners with knowledge is a win win situation where everybody is more informed and aware of what to expect which helps eliminate unreasonable expectations and weed out unreasonable people.

Oct 27, 2009 12:33 PM
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL


Oct 28, 2009 03:46 PM
Tracy Lee Parker

Great list and this is exactly why I don't negotiate less in commission!

Nov 19, 2009 11:44 AM
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

Wow! When you put it that way, we do a LOT!

Nov 23, 2009 08:01 AM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Your post, while informative to would-be clients, should also be a lesson to property managers * we are not go-fers and we do not perform ALL tasks involving real estate WITHIN the fees outlined in our management agreements.

We should have an HOURLY fee clause or paragraph in our management agreements outlining BUT NOT LIMITED TO procedures where we are on the clock for hourly fees.....

To compensate AGENT at an hourly rate for services provided to the OWNER other than management services, including, but not limited to receiverships, garnishments, court appearances, audits, capital improvements, restorations, refurbishment, renovations and landscaping for the property. In addition, the OWNER agrees to compensate the AGENT at the rate of ten percent (10%) of the total claim for supervision of any and all insurance claims involving the property.

Nov 26, 2009 09:11 PM
Jordan Muela
Manage My Property - Austin, TX
Manage My Property

Wallace, I will be addressing this subject toward the end of this series. There certainly needs to be an understanding between both parties as to how those non standard services will be performed and billed.

Nov 27, 2009 04:34 AM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Jordan * I am REALLY enjoying your series.  It is very enlightening!!!  Thank you for participating in the group

Nov 28, 2009 02:21 AM
Jordan Muela
Manage My Property - Austin, TX
Manage My Property

Thanks for the positve feedback. I will start posting more frequently next week.

Nov 28, 2009 08:58 AM