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Real Estate Investments: Things To Look For In A Property Manager

Nov 3, 2007
There are many situations in which property owners choose to use a property manager to manage their rental inventory. One is that the property owner does not have any experience in managing rental properties. Another is that the owner may not be familiar with the laws of the district where the property is located. In some cases, the property owner may own too many properties to oversee them all. Whatever the reason, there are a few things to look for when choosing a property manager.

Property Manager Duties

One bad decision regarding the management of a rental property can cost the owner more than what it would cost to hire a professional property manager. A knowledgeable property manager can help the owner avoid many of the problems associated with the ownership of rental property. The property manager maintains the rental property and upgrades the facilities as needed. They also act as the main point of contact for the property and acts as a liaison between the property owner and the tenants. In many cases, the property manager is responsible for finding and securing suitable tenants for the rental property.

Choosing a Property Manager

When choosing a property manager, ensure that they are a full time property manager and that they do not sell real estate as well as manage properties. In recent years, the tightening of the real estate market has caused some real estate agents to supplement their income by managing properties part time. While these agents have a wealth of knowledge about the real estate market and maybe even how to obtain renters, they are often inexperienced in many of the other duties that a property manager performs, such as scheduling maintenance and hiring contractors. Although in most states both the sale of real estate and the management of property require the same licensure, the professions are very different.

Being an effective property manager requires the ability to manage multiple projects at one time, excellent communication skills, good organizational skills, and a good head for numbers. The property manager must be good at handling crisis situations, such as a burglary or a flooded basement in the rental property, and being able to help the tenants in such crisis situations. They should also be adept in recognizing potential problems before they occur. A property manager needs to be willing to pre-screen potential tenants and use discernment. A property manager who will just fill your property with any tenant so they can collect their commission, is someone you could do without. The property owner should not hire anyone who does not possess all of these qualities to be a property manager.

The property owner should ensure that the property manager is well educated in current laws regarding rental laws, court practices, lead based paint disclosures, Section 8 housing subsidies, mold remediation, and fair housing laws. Effective property management requires ongoing education in these areas to ensure that their practices are current and legally sound. When it comes to property management, education and experience really do count. The mistakes of an inexperienced property manager can wind up costing the property owner thousands of dollars in litigation fees and settlements.
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