Keep the Profit, Lose the Headache

by : Jason Couillard

Maybe you don't need a property management company. You can take calls about the plumbing in the middle of the night yourself. You can spend your weekends mowing the tenant's lawn while yours gets overgrown and then drive across town at 3am to deal with an exploded water heater. No problem. You can also use up countless lunch hours in phone calls, classified ads, house showings and interviews as you try to replace the best tenants you ever had. You can refuse to regret the day you gave a set of front door keys to the deadbeat who hasn't paid rent in two months then steel up your courage to post the eviction notice. No problem. You can do it.

But if any of this sounds distasteful to you, you might want to find a good property management company to take care of the headaches for you. It's what they do. When you get a professional company to take care of the details, you can relax again and focus on the things you want to focus on.

Good property managers will find tenants for you, collect and return security deposits, initiate and end leases, evict tenants, maintain the property and respond to emergency phone calls from tenants. If you think you might like to find one of these gems, here's a list of what to look for:

A LICENSE: the company you hire should be a licensed property managment company. Ask about professional memberships as well. For instance, are they members of the National Association of Residential Property Managers?

24 HOUR MAINTENANCE: this service will give you enormous piece of mind. If your management company will field midnight phonecalls and service any emergency repairs, you will literally sleep better.

REFERRAL NETWORK: a good referral network that attracts quality tenants will keep your property rented to it's full potential so you don't face months of lost income.

GUARANTEE: does the company in question offer you a guarantee of any sort? Any business that stands behind their service is a good bet.

EXPERIENCE AND REPUTATION: does this company have experience with the type of property you are renting? Ask other property owners in the area and find out who has a good reputation or check with the local chamber of commerce

LOCATION: does the company have a nice office in a good location? If you are the owner of a vacation rental, this will be where they check in. Make sure it's welcoming.

COMMUNICATION: Meet with the people who will be managing your property. Do you like them? Relationships are important in this business and you want to hire people you can trust to represent you.

SERVICE: Do they care for tenants? Once you've attracted a good tenant, you want to keep them! Tenants are looking for good rental rates, nice buildings with the right amenities, solid management, reliable routine maintenance and prompt repairs. Will they get it?

FINANCIAL REPORTS: Does the company provide regular, detailed reports on your investment?