What To Look For In A Rental Property Manager

by Hank Coleman

Has the struggling housing market left you with no other options than to rent out your home? Many professionals in America have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many need to move on to new jobs but find themselves unable to sell their home for enough to cover their mortgage or the closing costs. Many people want to wait before they sell until they believe housing prices return to appropriate levels. Either way, many homeowners are finding themselves as reluctant landlords.

Are you moving so far away that you cannot find your own tenants? Do you really want to be woken up in the middle of the night to fix a broken toilet? Many reluctant landlords find themselves having to turn the dream home over to a property manager to rent out for them. So, how do you find a good property manager to help you with your new rental real estate?

Things to consider when looking for a property manager to rent out your home…

Property Management Fees. Most property management firms charge homeowners between 7% and 10% of the monthly rent charged to a tenant. So, for example, if you charge your new renters $1,000 per month in rent, a property manager could change you as much as $100 a month for the privilege of watching your humble abode, finding new tenants, and calling the plumber in the middle of the night.

Forgotten Tidbit – If your mortgage is $1,000 per month on your home, then you really need to charge a tenant, $1,112 per month in order to cover the 10% property manager’s fee and still have enough in the bank left over for your mortgage payment. (Not including maintenance, taxes, & insurance)

Where To Find A Good Property Manager? This is like the $64,000 question of rental real estate, and it is a question that should not be taken lightly. Like finding a financial planner or a tattoo artist, you should not just pick the first company name you find in the phone book. Ask your friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for recommendations. A coworker of mine recently moved, and his property manager locked in a tenant on a three year lease before my buddy’s moving truck pulled up to his door. You had better believe that I got that companies name! Wow! Other great resources to find quality property managers are the National Association of Residential Property Managers and the Institute of Real Estate Management.

Ask The Right Questions. Check out several property managers thoroughly by visiting them in person, checking out their web presence, and conducting an interview. Make sure that you have a list of detailed questions to ask your future property manager. How much experience does he or she have in the property management field? Is he just a realtor trying to make an extra dollar or two during a down economy? What insurance, state licenses, and other credentials does the property manager have? Does he or she have experience complying with housing regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Making the decision to hire a property manager may be a tough or emotional one. But, then again, you may find that you do not have much of a choice if you live very far away. Knowing what to look for, how to find a property manager, and the key questions to ask can make all the difference between a nightmare and a profitable side income that solves your housing problem.

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