In my book, I discuss the ins and outs of working with a property manager. I am of the belief that if you are truly looking to make your rental properties a viable business, having a property manager on board is crucial. Some may opt to go it alone and try to assume the tasks otherwise done by a property manager on their own. Keep in mind though, especially if you are new to real estate, this job can be time consuming and force you to expend a lot more of your resources than anticipated.
I have found my property manager to be incredibly valuable to my team. However, it didn’t necessarily start out this way. I actually had a couple of bad experiences with past property managers, and as always, I took away important lessons from such experiences. The most important one: communication is key!
Staying in the Loop with Your Property Manager
Lesson #1: Demand that you are kept apprised of everything going on with your property. When you start to give a property manager unlimited control, to the point where they just go ahead and schedule work or hire contractors without your knowledge, this is when you can certainly get in trouble. Let’s say there is a major repair required. And without interviewing at least 3 contractors your property manager—thinking they are doing the right thing—just hires someone who’s price is obviously quite high. All that will happen in this scenario is that you will become frustrated and even resentful of your property manager and the relationship will inevitably sour.
Lesson #2: Do your homework before hiring any property manager. I don’t care if they’ve overseen fifty houses. You want to know firsthand what they’re like and what type of job they will do. Talk to their past employers—even talk to past tenants. The more you find out beforehand, the smoother your eventual relationship will be.
Lesson #3: Meet regularly to review all details. This is a critical one. Setting aside a specific time whether it is once per week or every other week will ensure that you and your property manager are on the same page. Things get hectic. You live your daily life and sometimes the details might slip away from you. A good property manager is always on top of things and ideally will even prepare reports for you, illustrating any and all activity that has taken place within a given time frame.
The important thing to remember when working with a property manager is to be honest with them. If something concerns you, vocalize it. If you are frustrated in regard to something they are doing and/or not doing, tell them. They work for you; you thus need to be straightforward and direct in your communication approach.