There are some basic steps you really need to follow when trying to pick a property management firm. Whether you are a renter looking for a residence to lease or a property owner or investor seeking someone to help you manage the day-to-day, this checklist will help you make the right decision:
- Check the Better Business Bureau: By visiting the website for the BBB, you can enter a company’s name and see whether any complaints have been filed and view the rating the company has been given. It is in your best interest to deal only with companies that are BBB members. Only then are they liable for complying with the BBB’s regulations that protect you and keep them accountable.
- Verify its Certification: You of course only want to do business with a company that has the proper certification. A great resource that will allow you to verify this information is the website of the Institute for Real Estate Management. The link is provided below.
- Perform General Searches: In general, people want to talk about their experiences. They want a forum to share their news and to have other people listen. The Internet has provided a wonderful outlet for this sort of information sharing. All you need to do is Google the name and location of the company you are considering and see what sort of results appear. If the company has a questionable reputation with unhappy past clients, you will likely see forums and posts to this effect.
- Ask a Friend: Just like people want a place to post their experiences online, your friends and even friends of friends, are going to be happy to share both good and bad company experiences with you. If you know someone who rents, then ask if they deal with a property management company, and if so, what there experience has been.
- Take a Drive: There is very little that will give you better idea of how a property management company handles their business than to visit their current properties. Take an unannounced drive around to their apartments and/or houses to evaluate neighborhoods, building condition, lawn maintenance, and other features you view important.
- Get the Contract: Yet another great way for you to tell how a company represents its owners and investors, and handles business with its renters is to take a look at its rental contract. Remember to consider the required rental term, deposit amount, pet regulations, guest restrictions, etc.