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What Questions to Ask a Property Manager

Investors frequently call our office inquiring about our property management service. Most investors ask standard questions such as what are our monthly management fees and lease listing fees. Vacancy and turnover costs are typically the most costly expenses for landlords, yet few investors inquire about how we market rental properties and minimize vacancy periods.

Many prospective investors never ask some of the most important questions: How we market our properties? How do we minimize vacancy periods? Do we specialize in a specific area? Do we have dedicated leasing agents? Do we show property on weekends? What is our average vacancy percentage? Instead, many uninformed owners hire a property manager because his or her monthly management fee is 1% less than another property manager. Is it a good business practice to make a decision based on $10 per month savings? You would be surprised how many landlords do.

The internet has really changed the role in how agents sell and lease properties. Years ago before the internet evolved, the buyer’s agent blindly showed properties for sale to their clients. Now, most buyers direct their buyer’s agent to homes they want to see. Buyers are in the driver’s seat, and they check out property listings online in advance.

It is not as critical which agent you hire in selling your home. All agents have the same tools- MLS. If the property is priced competitively, shows nicely, is listed in the Austin MLS system, the seller will most likely sell the home regardless of who the listing agent is. The listing agent rarely procures the buyer and sometimes never even shows the home to a prospective buyer. Our office receives many more calls from prospective tenants for a lease listing than calls from prospective buyers for a sales listing.

Hiring the right property manager plays a much larger role in successfully leasing your property quickly. We have dedicated leasing agents who respond to calls and emails 7 days a week. Our leasing agents also live in the in Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock/Pflugerville areas. Having local, dedicated, and trained leasing agents ensure tenant inquiries are handled in a timely manner during the week and on weekends. When other property managers are returning weekend calls the following Monday, our agents are processing rental applications from weekend showings.

Because we manage more properties in Cedar Park/Leander than any other property manager as percent of our portfolio, we have relationships with outside leasing agents and other property managers. Other property management companies outsource our leasing services to rent their properties in the Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock areas. We frequently have outside leasing agents call our office about lease listings coming up that are not in the MLS system. They know we lease many properties in these areas. We leased two homes last month in Cedar Park without even putting a sign and lockbox on property. Two Realtors called to inquire about any properties not yet listed in MLS. We just received notice from two tenants and arranged for the leasing agents to show the property to their clients. We were able to lease both properties, and new tenants moved just a few days after current tenants vacated the property. Both owners had only a couple of days of vacancy. Specializing in an area and having relationships with inside and outside agents can really make a difference in leasing a property quickly.

We have tools that make it easier for agents and prospective tenants to do business with our company. Tenants can pay their app fees by credit card online at our website or call our office and give credit card information over phone or pay by check over the phone. Rental applications can be downloaded from our web site and faxed or emailed. We don’t require leasing agents to physically bring money orders to our office. This is costly, time consuming, and inconvenient both for the leasing agent and prospective tenant.

Of course, we do pay owners electronically through ACH disbursement and post monthly reports online and include copies of repair invoices. These enhanced services ensure our property owners receive their monthly funds in a timely manner.
In summary, if you are interviewing a property manager remember that vacancy periods are the most costly expense for a landlord. Make sure you partner with a property manager who is responsive and has a strong track record for leasing properties quickly and minimizing vacancies. After all, a $10 monthly management fee savings will not matter if you have a 30-60 day vacancy.

If you have any questions, please call us at 512-257-9836. Our office provides sales, leasing, property management, and mortgage services.

Posted by: smartsourcerealty on April 7, 2013
Posted in: Uncategorized