Tired of handling your day-to-day landlord responsibilities on your own?
If so, you’re likely considering hiring a property manager to help make your rental property business much less demanding. But if you choose the wrong property manager, your decision could backfire, making your job as a landlord even more stressful.
Don’t let that happen. Instead, ask every property manager you interview the following questions so you can correctly determine whether or not they are equipped to take over your responsibilities in a way that will allow you to get the best return on your investment.
Questions Landlords Should Ask When Interviewing a Property Manager
1. Do you have a lot of local experience?
This questions is necessary because working with a local property manager can make a huge difference in the results they are able to achieve for your rental property business. That’s because property managers with lots of insight into the local market know about:
- Local attractions that appeal to tenants
- Local rent rates and property values
- Local laws and regulations
If you’re a Maryland landlord, be sure your property manager has experience handling properties in the specific county where your property is located. Since tenants living in rural Maryland areas like Harford County have different needs and wants than tenants living in more urban areas like Prince George’s County, this is a key step to successfully placing high-quality tenants in your properties.
2. Exactly what services do you offer, and what are your terms?
When you hire a property manager to take over your unwanted landlord responsibilities, you need to make sure they can handle all of those responsibilities for you. Here are some of the services you may want to ask about:
- Tenant screening
- Rent collection
- Rental registration
Of course, if you have concerns specific to your rental property business, ask about those as well. Also, make sure you ask the property manager’s terms and conditions so you know exactly what the property manager expects from you as well as what you can expect from them.
3. How long have you been a property manager?
When you choose a property manager, you want to work with someone you can trust to get the job done right. To make sure the property manager you’re considering is capable of doing so, ask them how long they’ve been in business and determine whether or not they have a long track record of successfully managing properties.
You’ll also want to do some investigating of your own, so visit the property manager’s website and look for testimonials from past landlords. If you see lots of positive feedback there, you can feel more confident about the property manager’s abilities.
4. Can I see a sample lease and the management agreement documents?
You need to look over these two documents because they set the parameters for your experience working with the property manager. The lease is what your property manager will provide to your tenants, and the management agreement is what the property manager will give you to define your business relationship.
Read over both documents carefully, and come up with a list of questions to ask about each of them. If you don’t, you could end up in conflict with the property manager later on due to a misunderstanding about either document.
5. How will you advertise my rental property?
As you probably already know, your marketing efforts as a landlord can make or break your rental property business. That’s why, when you hand those marketing tasks over to a property manager, you must make sure they know how to market your properties effectively. Here are some questions you can ask to determine whether or not they are well-equipped to do so:
- What would your timeline be for marketing my property?
- What advertising methods will you use to find high-quality tenants for my property?
- What metrics do you use to determine the success of your marketing efforts?
- Can I, the landlord, find tenants myself? If so, what are the main marketing strategies you recommend?
Once you hear the property manager’s answers to these questions, you should have a better idea of how they will use marketing to boost the profitability of your rental property business.
6. What is your tenant screening process?
The right tenant will treat your property with respect, consistently pay rent on time, and make your job as a landlord easy. A difficult tenant, on the other hand, may damage your property, neglect to pay rent, and overwhelm you with unnecessary responsibilities. So it’s easy to see how a bad tenant screening process could negatively affect your rental property business.
That’s why you should always make sure the property manager you’re considering has a thorough tenant screening process. They should screen for:
- Prior evictions
- Criminal history and terrorist activity
- Sex offender registry
- Credit worthiness
Also, make sure the property manager verifies the tenant’s income, checks their references, and follow the necessary federal and state legislation to make sure your rental property business is compliant.
7. What percentage of tenants you place get evicted?
Any property manager can say that their tenant screening process is effective, but the only way to know for sure is to ask how many of the tenants they place get evicted. Ideally, you should look for a property manager with evictions as less than 10%. The lower the percentage, the more confident you can feel that you won’t end up dealing with the costly eviction process.
8. What are your fees?
Like many other things, you often get what you pay for when you hire a property manager. So, don’t expect to find one for cheap – just look for one who has reasonable rates within your budget.
If you’re in Prince George’s county or a nearby Maryland area, consider Bay Management Group. Not only are we experienced and responsive – we also have an 8% monthly management fee, which makes us one of the most affordable property management groups in the Baltimore and Washington metro area.
9. Do you have any special guarantees?
Some property management companies may offer special guarantees to provide you with additional peace of mind about working with them. For example, at Bay Management Group, we offer a 12-month tenant warranty. In other words, if we place a tenant in your property and they are evicted within the first year, we release the property to you for free. We’re that confident in our ability to place high-quality tenants for the landlords we serve.
Keep in mind that this list of questions isn’t comprehensive – think about your business goals and how a property manager can help you meet those goals and come up with your own additional questions to ask based on what you need.
If you’re interested in learning more about how property management services could benefit your Prince George’s County rental property business, contact us today.