With so many companies offering property management services now, it won't be difficult for you to find an affordable property management company. Keep in mind that not all companies are the same and the old saying " You Get What You Pay For" holds true most of the times. Whether you are a landlord or a property investor, Things tend to go smoother by hiring an expert. the first thing I would look for or ask is if the property management company is a member of National Association Residential Property Managers and National Association of Realtors. If the answer is no move on. Also don't expect the manager to do everything. Remember, it is your property and you should take some part in certain decisions. Let go over a few areas.
In a property management, there are legal, forms and contracts that you will have to signed. The property management company will handle some of this for you once a management agreement is signed between you and them. The lease is just one of these forms and we highly recommend that you receive a copy of lease once all signatures have been applied to the lease. In today market, e-signatures documents is more commonly used in professional management companies. This eliminates the need for everyone to sign at one time or bring the parties together. This creates a stronger bond between your property manager and the tenant from the beginning.
Monthly Financial Report
The meat and potatoes of property management. Your financial reports should come to you once a month. Understanding that not all owners are financial analyst or accountants, if you don't understand what you are looking at call the management company and ask or hire an accountant who can explains them to you. These reports should show income, expenses, work orders and copies of all invoices. Also you should expect that your management company will provide you year end reports for your tax preparer.
Property Renovations OR Maintenance
A property Manager understands that this is an investment and has a duty to maintain the value of the investment well at the same time keep costs down. While some owners want to do the work themselves or use someone they know. We strongly recommend against this as this could create liability for the owner. Is the contractor (friend) licensed and insured? One mistake could cost you a fortune and everything you own. Normally the management company and you will agree to a set amount that the management company is authorize to spend on a repair. This helps in the timely repair of the problem and maintaining the property condition. Some owners request to be notified before any maintenance work is done on the property or without their permission or approval. These decisions should be spelled out within the management agreement.
What going on at Your Property
Owners that own properties other then multifamily units should expect a quarterly/semi annual report letting the owner know that everything is ok. Some companies charge for this, others don't. Some provide written reports only if something is wrong, some provide one even if everything is ok. I think the important issue here is to know sooner then later that the property is still in good shape and don't find out later that the tenants have been destroying the property for months!