Owning rental property is not without challenges and complications. That is why many landlords choose to hire a property management company to handle such tasks as finding quality tenants, collecting rent, and scheduling routine maintenance. Though it may seem like property management and rental property maintenance are the same, they are two separate things. These entities, though different, work together to manage your property efficiently and effectively. So, join us as we examine the critical differences between property management and rental property maintenance for your rental home.
Property Management and Rental Property Maintenance, Aren’t They the Same?
The problem is, not all property management groups provide their customers a rental property maintenance staff. This means that as a landlord, all administrative tasks related to your property will be handled, but the maintenance issues rest on your shoulders. So, doesn’t this defeat the purpose of hiring a property management company? Well, this is why it is so important to research your property management company beforehand. Therefore, compile a list of questions to ask each company you are considering.
10 Questions You Should Ask a Property Management Company
- What are your fees?
- Does a real estate broker lead the company?
- Can I see sample documents, such as my owner contract and the lease agreement?
- What types of services do you offer?
- Describe your marketing techniques?
- How is the rental rate determined?
- What is your tenant screening process, and what are the standard qualifications?
- How many properties does each property manager oversee?
- Is there a penalty to cancel my contract? If so, what are the terms?
- Can you provide any current owner references?
What is Full-Service Property Management?
Property management companies manage every aspect of your rental property. Traditionally, they operate, control, and oversee your investment in a variety of ways. These tasks, when done correctly, add efficiency to your rental property and facilitate positive cash flow each year. So, let’s take a look at the primary responsibilities of a property management company:
- Tenant Screening – Finding great tenants is crucial to being a successful landlord. Therefore, hiring a property management company to screen potential tenants for your rental home is so important. Background checks should be performed for all potential tenants. Additionally, they will screen for prior evictions, liens, bankruptcies, criminal history, and creditworthiness while following federal, state, and local laws.
- Lease Agreement Drafting – A legally compliant lease agreement outlines all of the essential things a prospective tenant should be aware of. That said, this is where a property management company is incredibly helpful. Understanding all landlord-tenant laws and the importance of a comprehensive lease agreement, your property management company will take care of everything effortlessly.
- Rent Collection – Collecting and distributing rent payments on time each month is vital to your success. A property management company will efficiently collect rent from your tenants and get the payments back to you quickly. Collecting late rent payments is the responsibility of your property management company as well.
- Help with Legal Services – A quality property management company will also be responsible for starting the eviction process, handling lawsuits, and defending you as a landlord.
Additional Property Manager Responsibilities
Property management companies are also responsible for many of the administrative tasks involved in managing a rental home in the Parkville area of Baltimore. Here are a few other essential things that to look for in a good property management company:
- Rental property registrations
- Collect fees
- Monthly and yearly financial statements
- Routine inspections
- Move-in and move out reports
- Handle tenant complaints
- Pay contractors
- Arrange repairs and maintenance
- Property showings
What is Rental Property Maintenance?
When you own a rental property, you will eventually have to deal with maintenance issues. While property management companies are responsible for facilitating maintenance requests, that is typically where their responsibility ends. Most property management companies have their own separate maintenance group. These licensed contractors handle routine rental home upkeep, emergency repairs, and significant damage resulting from accidents or an irresponsible tenant.
Tasks handled by rental property maintenance staff include:
- Lawn and yard maintenance
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Electrical work
- Locksmith issues
- Common area upkeep
- Flooding emergencies
A responsible property management company will have a maintenance crew on hand 24/7 should your tenants encounter any issues— big or small.
In addition to maintenance staff, a property management company contacts when a maintenance issue pops up, your property manager should have relationships with licensed professional vendors. These vendors can handle the difficult problems beyond the scope of expertise of most general maintenance workers.
Additionally, it is the responsibility of the property management company to contact and schedule the repairs. From there, the maintenance staff is responsible for resolving the issue, invoicing the landlord or tenant—according to the lease agreement—and taking care of any concerns that may arise during the course of work.
Finding the Right Property Management Company
A great property management company is worth the time and effort to find. There are countless skills needed when it comes to effectively manage rental properties. The task of finding the right fit for your investment may seem daunting. However, keep these tips below in mind to help get you started in the right direction.
Steps to Finding a Property Manager
- Research and Research Some More – There are plenty of great options out there, but in turn, a fair share of illegitimate ones too. Online searches, as well as review sites such as Angie’s List, BBB, and Yelp, can offer a wealth of helpful insight.
- Make a Short List – Once you have researched available options, pick three property management firms you are most interested in.
- Interview – Now, it is time to reach out and interview companies! This is your chance to ask all the poignant questions that will help you make your final decision.
- Checking References – Interviews are essential, but equally (if not more) important are references. Any good company will be able to provide some current owner references for you to speak to. That said, be sure to ask open-ended questions to make sure the company is the right fit for your needs.
Lucky for you, if you own a rental property in Maryland, Washington DC, Philadelphia, or the surrounding counties, you have access to a premier property management company. Bay Property Management Group handles all property management tasks related to your rental property. They have licensed maintenance staff and vendors on hand to resolve any rental property maintenance issues you or your tenants might encounter.
Whether you are new to the rental property business or you have multiple properties, it is crucial to understand the benefits of hiring a reputable property management company. Therefore, take time to make sure that you and your property management company are in agreement about the tasks outlined in the contract as well as monthly management fees. If you need a full-service property management company in Prince George’s county, the knowledgeable and friendly staff of Bay Property Management Group is here to answer all of your questions. Give us a call today!