Hiring property managers in Bexar County or anywhere really is a lot like hiring a lawyer or a financial advisor. These professionals must not only be good at what they do but be appropriate to your particular objectives and circumstances both now and over the long-term. With that in mind, let’s examine a series of questions to ask a property management company representative.
Begin your interview by learning what a company is or who the manager is. How long has that company been in business? Ask about what types of real estate they manage. Do they have a specialty or area of focus, and how experienced are they with the particular property type they’d be managing for you?
Licensing and Insurance
Learn about their licenses and certifications. Be mindful that Texas doesn’t require managers be licensed, but a top property management company in Bexar County will usually have one or more licensed real estate professionals on staff. Request documentation of insurance. Management companies should at least have general liability and errors and omissions and perhaps be bonded.
Services and Plans
Determine precisely what services the firm provides and what your options are in terms of personalizing your particular plan. It’s important to know that you and the manager are a good fit. You may want a company that can market your home, fill vacancies and so forth, but some smaller companies may not provide services beyond maintenance, collecting rent and light management of the books. You should also ask about what you’re paying for and when. An a-la-carte approach is preferable so that you can choose the specific services that make sense for your properties and your goals.
Hand in hand with the above questions about what the company charges and when. It’s pretty standard for managers to charge a flat fee based on the rent, and that fee usually ranges from 5 percent to 10 percent. At the low end, you need to be concerned about whether the company is charging enough to do a good job. At the high end, you need to consider whether the property in question requires that level of service and whether you’re getting what you’re paying for. It’s also important to ask about any fees above and beyond the basic cost. There can be charges for account setup, marketing, handling evictions and so on and so forth.
If a management company will be providing your lease, then you need to see that lease or at least the basis from which it will be derived. The questions to ask a property management company representatives should center on how that document protects you and stands up in court. Has the document been tested in court? Have there been rulings made against? Have there been tweaks to it over the years? Finally, lease law can be very complex, and unless you have a legal background in this area, then you should consider taking that document to a real estate attorney for review before making a decision.
Responsibilities and Staff Size
These questions to ask a property management company representatives center on understanding how well said a company can serve you. If you hire a sole manager or a small company, you want to ensure that they’re not taking on more than they can handle. If you’re considering a large firm, then you want to ensure that not only can they scale to meet your needs but that you’ll get personal attention.
Marketing and Vacancies
If the company will handle marketing on your behalf, then you want to know what their approach is. There are numerous property managers in Bexar County, and many have different ideas about evaluating property value and marketing rentals to prospective tenants. What is your average fill time? This is a crucial question to ask and gives you an idea of how much downtime you can expect in worst-case scenarios. You should also understand what your responsibilities are when the property is vacant. Many companies will waive or significantly reduce fees when a property is vacant on their watch.
Tenant Screening and Selection
One of your core goals when selecting a property management company in Bexar County is ensuring that vacancies aren’t a regular occurrence. Good property managers choose good tenants, and good tenants pay on time and occupy your property for a long period. So, how does the company go about vetting tenants and selecting them? The process is important. Furthermore, what is their track record? What is the average time tenants they select remain tenants? How often are tenants evicted? What experience and resources do they have should an eviction become unavoidable?
The Maintenance and Repair Process
Other important questions to ask a property management company representatives concerning the maintenance and repair process as well as the renewal of appliances and even furniture if applicable. How soon are repairs made? Do tenants contact the manager directly? What is the threshold for when you need to be contacted. Managers will often have agreements, for instance, that state they’ll repair at their discretion for jobs under $200 and at your discretion for anything above.
Payments and Monitoring
Property management has changed a lot thanks to the Internet, but many management companies still have a traditional setup. The top companies provide tenants the means to pay online. What are the rent payment options? How often do you get your money? Is that money directly deposited? Do you have access to the books online? Many management companies provide remote access so that their clients can monitor repairs, payments, vacancies and so forth.