Is it time to change property management companies?

Do you at times question some of the things your property manager does, does not do, or says? Is your property management company not focused on the same things you believe they should have on their priority list? Are you seeing questionable expenses on your owner report that once explained, do not make sense to you?

Then, it may be time for a new property management company. A good management company is one of your biggest assets, especially for multifamily owners. Having a company that makes the right decisions on the owners behalf is extremely important. Bad decisions will ultimately cost you more money than necessary.

If you are ready for a change, pull out your contract.

Understanding Your Contract:

Take a look at your beginning and end date. All contracts have a start and end date. Has the end date passed? If so, did your contract have language where it auto-renewed? If the end date is soon, do you have time to terminate the agreement?

There should be language within the contract that specifies how either you or the management company can call it quits. Most contracts specify notification within a certain number of days.

Before you cancel, decide if hiring another management company is worth your time, or will you now self-manage the property. If you plan to hire another company, make sure you have enough time to interview several companies prior to making your decision.

Having the right property management in place is crucial for your investment, the satisfaction of tenants and your sanity. After all, it’s the property management that is handling the day-to-day running of your properties. If it’s a weak point, it will mean calls in the middle of night from upset tenants, a dwindling occupation percentage and even dents in your value and wallet because of poor maintenance and slow repair response.

Naturally, if your current management company isn’t meeting your needs or is leaving the area, it’s time to shop for a new one. Before you sign on with anyone, there are certain things you must consider to ensure you’re making the best choice.

Know exactly what you want

If you don’t know what you’re looking for in something, it’s pretty hard to find it. Make a list of everything you like and do not like about the management you have now. Using this list, you can make another list that will cover everything you want the new property management to do. Many companies will want to meet your expectations, so the higher those are, the better off you’ll be in terms of service. You can also use your lists as a handy reference when you’re conducting manager interviews.

Speak to your current managers

Unless they are no longer doing business in the area or your relationship with them is strained beyond repair, you should take the time to meet with your current company before you make a change. Using your expectations list, go over what you want from them and what needs to be improved. You can then set a deadline, such as three months, for them to meet your goals. If they don’t, it is time to make a switch.

Do more than one interview

Even if the first company you interview seems perfect, there’s always a chance you’ll find someone else who is even better. Interview multiple companies so you have an idea of what the average rates are and you’ll be able to compare what you’re being told. If you’ve got one company promising things the other ones won’t, it is probably a red flag.

Be honest and direct when you interview about what your requirements and wishes are, and don’t forget to ask them clearly if they can live up to those expectations. Don’t skimp on the references, either. Get contact information for at least three current clients who you can ask about the service level they are receiving.

There are many places you can tap to find property management companies to interview if you’re having trouble coming up with names. If you’ve noticed another multi-unit property in your area that is well-kept, find out who their manager is and add them to your interview list if they’re available. Consumer resources like the Better Business Bureau can give you a list of management companies in your area with ratings and complaint reports, and area commercial real estate agents you’ve worked with are another potential source.

REI Women