Congratulations! You are now a Landlord. Now, it’s time to start interviewing multiple property management companies and find the best fit for you. With the right questions, you will be able to reveal a company’s education and experience to make an informed decision.
Questions based on experience:
- How long has your company been in business?
- What types of properties do you manage?
- How many properties do you manage?
- Where are your properties located?
- Do you have the time and resources to successfully add my property(ies)?
You cannot replace the experience a company has with books. A good property management company is knowledgeable and up-to-date with current property codes. A GREAT property management company has the experience to back it up.
Questions about Education:
In the State of Texas, it is required that a Property Manager has a real estate license. There are continuing education programs specifically for the property management industry. There are trade organizations, such as and IREM as well as specific designations with the Texas Association of Realtors, such as TLS and TRPM. Just like sales, property management is constantly changing and you want to make sure the company has acquired the knowledge and training necessary to obtain the property certification.
Questions about Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Law:
- Do you know the city, state and federal laws for property management and dealing with tenants?
- What are the federal fair housing laws?
- Do you know how to properly evict a tenant?
- How do you store the security deposit?
- What is the timeline of releasing a security deposit and how does your company account for damages?
If they cannot answer the questions immediately, you should stop the interview. A property management company must have extensive knowledge of landlord tenant law. Since they are representing you, any missteps could result in lawsuits against you and your property.
Questions about Filling Vacancies
- How long does it take you to fill a vacancy?
- Where will you advertise my property?
- How do you determine the market rent value?
- How many tenants have you evicted in the past year?
A vacant property can cost you thousands in mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities, lawn care and more. When you hire a company to manage your property, you should expect them to fill the vacancy with a qualified tenant. Life happens. Vacancies happen. But it is their job to look out for your best interest and minimize turnover time.
Questions about Maintenance
- How do you handle after-hours calls?
- What repairs is the tenant responsible for?
- Are your vendors insured and bonded?
- Are you paid a referral fee from the vendor?
Good, qualified and inexpensive vendors are hard to come by. A Property Management Company should have responsive licensed vendors that are going to take care of your investment. If something were to go south, for example an electrical repair gone wrong, you need to have the insurance a vendor would have. If a company is using a vendor based on an incentive, it is 99% of the time NOT in your best interest.