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Choosing a Property Manager

Here are the questions to ask before you sign on...
Posted: January 08, 2021 by Anna Jotham

When it's time to hire a property manager to oversee your commercial rental property portfolio, you need and deserve the absolute best for the job. But what exactly are you looking for, what qualities are essential, and what questions must you ask to identify the ideal property manager? 
Finding the perfect choice can be complicated, and a hiring process where you don't get the answers you need can be wasted time for all involved. Putting careful thought toward the ideal questions beforehand can ensure you're able to whittle your list to the perfect property manager for your needs. 

7 Great questions to ask when choosing a property manager

Tell me all about the rental units you currently manage.
Determining how much experience a candidate has is key to ensuring you get a true professional. You want to make sure they have the right balance of clients; too many and your needs might fall to the bottom of the list. Too few, and they might not have the depth of knowledge you need for the role. You also want to get a sense of the types of properties with which they have experience. 

What is your process for determining what to charge for rent? 
Seasoned property managers should be able to detail exactly how they determine rent for tenants. You'll want a property manager who can conduct a comparative market analysis and adjust for the aspects of your property that are unique and desirable to tenants. 

What is your contract cancellation policy? 
Before you sign, it's essential to understand fully the nature of the agreement you're entering. If a property management company has extended a contract with no out clause, it's probably not right for you. You must determine under which conditions you can cancel your contract, and the best way to do that is to work with a trusted attorney to review the document before you make it official. 

What fees should I expect? 
Knowing your average monthly fee as well as any other fees is a must. Be sure you are clear on whether the property manager charges based on rent or has a flat fee and any other charges you might be expected to cover. These could include finder's fees, maintenance-associated charges, on-call upcharges and more. 

What's your marketing strategy? 
If you're hoping your property manager will also handle marketing, you'll want to know how they intend to keep your units filled. Choosing a property manager who has a robust understanding of the many marketing channels available and where your target audience spends their time is key. 

May I view examples of the documents you use? 
All reputable property managers should be willing to show you examples of the documents they use for various tenant needs, including rental applications, unit inspection reports, lease agreements and financial reports. 

What references may I contact? 
A proven history of property management success bodes well for future relationships. Ask your candidate if they have references you can contact who have worked with them in the past. Then, contact each and get the good, the bad and — as they say — the ugly. If your candidate is reticent to produce a list of references, proceed with caution. 

When hiring a property manager, do your due diligence
Hiring a property manager for your rental portfolio is a task that shouldn't be taken lightly. In the end, the property manager you hire can determine the success or resilience of your portfolio. Choosing one that has appropriate experience, a contractual agreement that works for you and the right marketing know-how will give you the confidence you need to trust your investment to their judgment.  

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