When you are ready to hire a professional Charlotte property management company, there are specific questions you should always ask.
Hold Off on the Fee Question
The first question you should ask is not about fees. You can always find someone who is cheaper and someone who is more expensive. That’s not the point. The point is to find out exactly what services you can expect and to make sure you are confident that your property is being managed well.
Talk about Expectations
You should always ask about expectations and how you are going to be treated as a client of that firm. Expectations are important. You need to know when and how you are going to be communicated with and how often. You need to know when you are going to receive your money as well. All of these things are very important so you can have confidence and know your property is in good hands. You need to get the feeling that they really care about you and really want to do a good job for you. You need to feel comfortable that they are going to follow up with you and follow through on what they say they are going to do. Something to consider too is asking for references. A good firm will not hesitate to provide references.
Ask About Communication
Communication is vital. At times, firms do not communicate with their owners in a timely manner. It is important to know what is going on with your property. If there’s a repair or an issue, you should be kept informed about it and told what the solution is. Make sure they have an owner portal you can check. This keeps you informed so you know when your funds have been released and when monthly statements have been sent.
Discuss the Frequency of Inspections
It’s important to know if the firm does property inspections and how often they are done. You should ask what type of report you will receive in regards to these inspections. Will it have photos and explanations? And how exactly will the report be sent to you? At RE/MAX Gold we do three inspections for a one-year lease. We do an initial move-in inspection and after six months we do another inspection. At the end of the lease, we do a final inspection on the property. The security deposit is processed within 30 days of the tenants moving out. All of these will be done in writing with photos provided to your owner portal.
Reports and Payments
Find out how you’ll be paid and where you’ll see a list of your income and expenses. We send owner payments on the 10th of the month by ACH direct deposit to your bank account. The full financial statement goes directly to your owner portal. Rents are due on the 1st and they are late after the 5th.
How are Repairs Handled?
Repairs are important to cover. We have a full-time maintenance technician on our staff that can handle 90 percent of the repairs on our properties. This helps us to make the repairs promptly and efficiently. If there is anything he cannot handle, we have relationships with contractor partners who do HVAC, plumbing, and electrical repairs. You’ll also want to ask if a management company has a repair limit. In our management agreement, it states the limit is $250; otherwise we need written approval from the owner to do those repairs. We try to make the process for repairs as easy as possible. Normally the repairs are covered by the next month’s rent. You will get a detailed statement showing the rent that came in as well as a detailed statement showing the repairs that were made.
Ask about Property Numbers
An important question to ask is how many other properties does the firm manage? Bigger is not always better. At RE/MAX Gold, we manage 160 properties currently. We don’t want to be the biggest but we do want to be the best and be the most responsive. Be sure to ask, not only how many properties the firm manages, but ask what the tenant turnover rate is. Also ask what their owner retention rate is. What is their average review score? How many eviction properties did they have in the last year? Those are all vital statistics that you should never be afraid to ask about.
Trade Organization Memberships
There are some great trade organizations for property management. A sign of a good property management company is that they belong to one of these organizations. This assists with additional education and knowledge. RE/MAX Gold belongs to the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). We have been a member in good standing for over seven years. They’re a great source of education and provide training as far as changes with the market and with laws. This helps us to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. Another great trade organization is the Better Business Bureau. Find out what their score is. RE/MAX Gold has an A+ rating.
Investment in Technology
Ask about how a management company uses technology. With a software like Appfolio, we can do online payments for our tenants, send ACH payments for our owners, send statements electronically, and keep up with maintenance and repair issues. These requests can be sent to our mobile phones so we are always connected and always know what is going on with your property.
Discuss the Screening Process
A vital key to property management is upfront tenant screening. Ask the firm what they screen for and what they use for screening. Find out how they report it and what information will be shared with you. This is extremely important in trying to make a decision on the tenant. A lot of property management companies do not allow the owner to have any input, and they make the decision for you. At RE/MAX Gold, we look at this as a team effort. It’s our job to provide you with options and information and a recommendation, but you make the final determination on the tenant occupying your property.
These are just a few of the questions we recommend you ask any of the firms you may be considering during your Charlotte property management search. We would love to answer any additional questions you may have, so please contact us at RE/MAX Gold.