If you are in the market for a property manager for your single family home, duplex, condominium, or small apartment you may want to read this article and next months article as well.
There are many factors to consider when looking for a professional property management company. I believe the first method to use to narrow your search is to see which of the various property management companies show up on the major search engines. I would not be too concerned if they show up using search terms like: property manager, or property management, or professional property manager in (your city). What I would care about is if the vacancies they have show up under searches like rentals in (your city), or houses for rent in (your city), or homes for rent in (your city). Think of search terms a prospective renter might use and see what vacancies show up. Note that the company's own web site may or may not show up. It is their listings that you want to see. They may show up in rentals.com, craigslist.net, vast.com, or oodle.com to name a few of the sites that carry property for rent. For my money I want a property management company that is all over the internet with listings, getting me the widest possible exposure. That will help keep my home rented, rented for more money, and hopefully to a better tenant.
Find a property manager that answers the phone during working hours. Some property managers have no provisions to handle problems while they are out of the office. What if you need an answer to your pressing question and no one is there to give you an answer? The important point is that your renter may need a water heater fixed on a weekday, at night, or a weekend. What does your property manager have set to handle such events? A good way to check is this out is to call after hours and hear what the procedure is. I would also suggest calling the property management company during the day to hear what the response time is. It may not be immediate, but is should be reasonable.
Does the property manager's website have a method for residents to report maintenance problems? As I mentioned in earlier, web presence is very important. 80% of renters are now using the web to locate rentals and they will continue to use the website if the property manager has an accommodation for them.
Another element in communication is the distance your property is to the property management company's office. The fact is, the farther your rental property home is from the property management office, the less likely your property will be shown to prospects and the less likely your tenant will receive great service. I suggest that you make sure that your rental house, duplex, condominium, or apartment is within 30 minutes drive time to the property management office, and the closer the better. More than this will most likely result in diminished service.