How to interview a property management company

Posted by Jordan Muela in Property Management Articles

Thoroughly interviewing a property management company before making a hiring decision is absolutely critical and will radically increase your odds of choosing the right property manager.

The goal is to make contact with enough companies that you are able to conduct at least three interviews with property managers in your area. This is a critical and yet sometimes overlooked step that allows you to compare and contrast what each property management company tells you.

It is always best to interview the property managers you talk to in person as this will give you additional insights that may not come out over the phone. Things such as if they dress and carry themselves in a professional manner. It may sound quaint, but you can tell a lot about a property manager based on how important they think it is to dress in a professional manner both to meet you as well as represent you when interacting with your tenants. Even more important than how they dress is how they act. Do they have a positive attitude and are they attentive and able to answer your questions or do they blow off certain concerns of yours?

Remember that the interview process is the honeymoon stage where prospective property managers are putting their best foot forward so don't cut them any slack as things are not likely to get better over time.

Before you even get into discussing how they perform the core tasks involved in property management, find out about their companies background and qualifications.

Ask the prospective property manager interview questions on the following:

  • # of years in business
  • # of years managing your type of real estate
  • Are they licensed?
  • Certifications they posses
  • # of properties they manage
  • Size of the area in which they manage properties
  • Length of average client relationship
  • Address of some of their properties (Ask for a walk through if possible)
  • Distance between their office and your property
  • Size of staff
  • Staff turnover rate
  • Office hours (are they closed on weekends?)

During the interview you should plan on asking about how they handle the major tasks such as tenant screening, tenant marketing, rent collection, maintenance etc.

Lastly, you will want to talk with them about their property management fees and review their management contract.

Remember that while the management fee may be the largest, it is almost certainly not the only fee that you will pay. Even after you verbally talk this through, it is critical that you read through the management contract in its entirety so that you have a full grasp of the various circumstances in which you find yourself being charged a fee.

Other things to look our for in the agreement would include the list of services the management company will provide,  what obligations you are placed under (section is usually titled "Owner responsibilities or duties"), how long contract will last for, and what happens in the event either party would like to terminate the contract prematurely.

You can find a more comprehensive list of interview questions for property managers in our "Guide to Hiring a Property Management Company".

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