I read the following post http://activerain.com/blogsview/134449/Property-Managers-Help-Meand wanted to respond to Sara on her property management quandary. I find many landlords have the same questions and lack of understanding on property management.
I would be confused by the answers her "interviewed" property managers gave to her as well. My experience with "most" property management/managers is a lack of knowledge (to be kind) and/or professionalism. Property management takes a separate set of skills apart from listing or selling a home. May I suggest some qualities to look for in a property manager for your valuable income property.
First, what are your expectations of the property manager? Do you want them to list your home, find renters, do background checks and make certain the paperwork is completed properly? Do you want them to make sure the tenants know what the CCR's are for the HOA (if the home is in a planned community) and make certain that they know they are now responsible to follow the guidelines and pay any fines assessed?
Second, what are your expectations after the tenants move in? Do you want the property manager to insure that the tenants are following the guidelines and obeying the regulations. Do you want routine and unexpected visits to your valuable asset to see if it is being taken care of properly? Do you want the manager to collect the rent, charge for late fees, take responsibility for evictions if necessary?
Third, what about repairs, minor and/or major? Do you want the property manager to get the call at 2 AM in the morning when the heater or air conditioning isn't working and do you want to handle that yourself? Do you want them to get bids from qualified repair people and let you know what it will cost to fix the problem or do you want to do that yourself?
Fourth, does the property manager or their company specialize in listing and collecting rents and nothing else? Do they have a background or experience in minor repair items, cleaning and landscape issues to be able to help you with these items? Is that important to you? Again, what are YOUR expectations from the property manager you want to hire?
I believe in most cases that a qualified property management person will negotiate the fees based on YOUR expectations. If you want a rent collector then most anyone can do that and the fees that Sara describes are way out of line. However, if you want to really maintain the quality of your investment property and insure that it will remain in excellent condition then you need to find a property manager that can provide you with what you want and expect.
As I have experienced, the problem with property managers is that they don't deliver services to the owner. As I stated before, most are set up to list the property and then collect rent. The owner gets the monthly checks and is happy until a problem arises and it can't be handled by the current management company. HOA fines are a big problem in Arizona because the tenants don't follow the rules and the property management company doesn't do anything to insure this is happening.
In Surprise, Arizona a new ordinance was passed by the city council about rental property's and the inspections that will take place. See: http://activerain.com/blogsview/242555/City-Targets-Rental-Homes My advice, if your property manager isn't delivering the type of service you want then find someone who is qualified to do what you want and make your expectations clear and negotiate the fee for their services.