Preserving and increasing the value of your investment is one of the most important roles of a property management company.
Tenant requests should be addressed promptly, and owners should be provided with a transparent system for seeing how their money is being spent.
A competent management company accomplishes all of this with the assistance of both internal staff and its network of qualified, licensed vendors whom they’ve vetted for excellent and cost-effective service.
If you’re new to working with a property management company, here are 10 questions to ask to ensure you’ve enlisted the right partner!
Q: How do you track incoming resident property repairs and subsequent work orders?
A software solution should be in place here. You want to find a manager with a quality system that doesn’t allow maintenance requests to fall through the cracks and require multiple tenant requests before the work is done.
Ideally, tenants should be able to submit maintenance requests online.
Q: How are after-hours property repair requests and emergencies handled, and who handles them?
Make sure it’s someone qualified to handle the problem. The last thing you want is an answering machine, or someone saying you’ll have to wait until Monday to resolve the issue.
Q: What system do you have in place to practice preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is the mechanism a manager uses to maintain the value of your property and avoid letting small issues become larger and more expensive problems down the road.
This involves things like a predefined maintenance and inspection schedule, as well as promptly addressing known issues.
This assumes that owners are willing to make the necessary repairs when they come up. Slumlords may balk, but successful real estate investors know that when you’re in for the long haul, you have to engage in sustainable practices that maximize property values—not short-term practices that delay and multiply costs.
Q: Do you have your own maintenance crew?
If the answer is “yes,” are they covered by workers’ compensation, and are they licensed, bonded and insured? Additionally, are they available 24/7/365 for emergencies?
Q: What contractors do you work with?
Do the contractors carry workers’ compensation? Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
Does the management company oversee the contractors’ work for quality, code compliance and cost-effectiveness?
Some owners like to take the extra step of researching the primary vendors that will be used and make sure they don’t see any red flags.
Q: Do you have any conflicts of interest with your vendors?
Beware of relationships based on something other than good work and the best price.
Vendors reward management companies for their business, but this should be in the form of discounted rates (which benefit the owner) rather than “referral bonuses” that go to the management firm.
The management contract may state something to the effect that the management company may:
“… perform any of its duties and obtain necessary products and services, through affiliated companies or organizations in which Management may own an interest, and may receive fees, commissions and/or profits from these affiliated companies or organizations.”
If this is the case, make sure you get full disclosure on the nature of any pre-existing relationships where this applies, and that you’ll be notified when this comes up again in the future with new vendors.
One possible exception to this rule would be when the management company receives a small fee from vendors for guaranteed payment, meaning the vendors get paid by the management company regardless of whether the property owner has sufficient funds in their account.
Q: What rules do you have in place regarding contractors entering occupied properties?
Make sure they have an established policy here. Any time contractors and maintenance personnel enter occupied units, there’s a risk of trouble if the situation isn’t handled carefully.
Q: Do you provide itemized statements with receipts for work performed?
This adds accountability and transparency to the billing process. You don’t want to work with a management company that’s unwilling to provide solid documentation of where your money is being spent.
Q: Do you let tenants perform rental repairs?
Tenants perform inferior work, and their lack of insurance coverage, liability or workers’ compensation could leave you liable in the event of an accident or injury.
Why take the risk of having them accidentally fall off a roof or ladder, electrocute themselves or flood your home?
If they don’t allow tenant repairs, make sure this is written into the rental agreement. If you’re comfortable allowing them, at least have the tenant sign a waiver and agree that the repairs must be approved by the manager.
Q: Do you allow tenants to hire their own handymen?
This is also inviting trouble. The rental agreement should prohibit this. What recurring maintenance tasks (lawn mowing, etc.) do you expect the tenant to perform?
This is not considered a liability hazard, although providing these services eliminates the issue of tenant neglect and can improve tenant satisfaction, which helps with retention.
Q: What’s involved in your process for preparing a property to be re-rented after a tenant has vacated? How long does this process take?
The property should get the usual cleaning, paint job, re-keying, etc., but this is also a good time to consider strategic improvements that will maximize your rental revenue.
You want to find a property manager that will proactively offer this kind of feedback on an as-needed basis. Obviously, the quicker the turnaround time, the better. The best crew in the world can’t fix what they can’t see. Regular inspections are a critical component of preventative maintenance.
Property Repairs, Maintenance, and Support
Serving the Central Florida area, when it comes to professional maintenance and repairs, The Realty Medics are experts! We understand what will bring the most rental income for the lowest repair price. That’s why we always provide an estimate for the minimum repairs needed to rent the home, as well as a list of repairs that are recommended.
Every property investment is different. Trust The Realty Medics to assist you in receiving the maximum return on your investment.
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The Realty Medics are the nation’s leaders in “Rocket Science Renting”: Rocket Science Renting is about keeping your life simple by letting someone else handle the complex work of property management for you. It’s knowing that your property is running smoothly, with no hiccups or glitches. It’s hyper-responsive customer service that gives you property management peace of mind. It’s advanced technology that could only be designed by a former NASA engineer like our owner, Ben Sencenbaugh. And it’s knowing that you’re always getting maximum value and ROI for your investment.