We focus on managing multifamily and commercial properties in the North County area, including in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, and Solana Beach. Today, we’re sharing the 10 most important questions you can ask a prospective Carlsbad property management company before you hire them.
1. What is your property management experience?
Understanding a management company’s experience is critical. You don’t want your investment properties to be used as training material. Keep in mind that the number of years of experience is important, but even more important is the type of experience a management company has. If your investments are all multifamily properties, using a management company that specializes in single-family homes won’t necessarily help you. Make sure it’s the right experience.
2. What is your leasing and screening process?
Placing good tenants is important. You’ll want to understand what a management company does to market your property, how showings are scheduled, and how long it will likely take to rent out your unit. Ask about what type of rental range your property would fall into, and what sorts of tenants your property will attract. Discuss tenant screening and the collection of security deposits and other move-in funds. A good manager will walk you through the process from the time the property is listed to the moment the lease is signed and the tenant moves in.
3. How do you handle maintenance?
Spend some time discussing routine and emergency repairs. Find out who is responsible for vendors, invoice payment, and inspections. Ask how maintenance is billed. You may need to have a reserve fund, and some companies will have a limit at which they get your permission before moving forward with a repair. Ask if you have to pay a mark-up on repair invoices.
4. What will you do to protect my property?
Make sure your property manager understands fair housing and other local, state, and federal rental laws. Find out what kind of insurance they carry and if they require renter’s insurance from tenants. Talk about inspections and lease enforcement. Get an idea of how tenant disputes and complaints are handled.
5. How do you communicate?
Good communication is very important. You’ll want to know how often you can expect to hear from a property manager. Will they call you only when there’s an emergency? Are there newsletters or email updates? Will you have an online portal where you can follow the performance of your property?
6. How do you collect and pay rent?
You should know when you’re going to be paid. Find out how they enforce their rent collection procedure and what they do if a tenant is late.
7. What kind of accounting can I expect?
Your property manager should provide accounting statements that are detailed, accurate, and transparent. Make sure you’ll receive one with every rental payment. Talk about taxes and what kind of access you’ll have to the income and expenses associated with your investment.
8. Do you belong to professional associations?
It’s important that your property management company stays on top of professional development. Find out if they are members of NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers. Associations like that will give your property manager extra credibility and access to resources and tools you may need.
9. May I see a management agreement?
Be wary of any property management company that won’t provide a sample management agreement.
10. How are your fees structured?
Every property management company’s fees is a little different for the services they provide. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way; just make sure you understand what you’re paying and what you’ll receive in exchange for that payment. You don’t want any surprise charges or hidden fees down the road.
You should have thorough interviews with any property management company you’re considering. Start with these 10 questions, and get an idea of how they do business. If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to contact us at North San Diego Property Management.