Today we are talking about what you should be looking for when you are choosing a property manager in Birmingham, Alabama.
There are three specific criteria that I would suggest that you look for. Those are competency, integrity and communication. Let’s take each one of those individually.
Competency You want to know whether the property manager is running a property management business or simply doing property management as a side job. How do you know the answer to that? Ask them questions like, “What are your vacancy rates?”; “What are your collection percentages?”; and “How many houses do you manage?”. If a property manager can’t answer some of these simple questions about their portfolio, he or she is probably not a very good manager.
Integrity Find out if the property manager you are considering works with a reputable company. You can check places like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Birmingham Bar Association, the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and even Yelp.com. There are areas of designation that property managers get, and these organizations can help you understand how qualified and reputable they are. Your property manager’s image becomes a reflection of your home. One thing I always do is to take a look at the company’s website and marketing materials. If they can’t do a great job selling themselves to you, how can they sell your house to a potential tenant?
Communication Communication is vitally important to the relationship you have with your property manager and to ensuring that your investment remains profitable. Ask them about their systems and processes. Find out about the feasibility of their communication with you, the owner, as well as their vendors. Ask how they handle work orders and how they explain things to tenants. There should be simple systems and procedures in place that they can easily demonstrate, so you know how they will handle certain issues. Don’t be afraid to ask to see these systems!
Remember that talk is cheap and that you want execution. Here’s an example of a system that we have at gkhouses.com. We have an owner-only phone extension. When an owner calls that number, they will be directed to the operations department. We know when a call comes from that extension that we need to answer it right away. This allows us to communicate quickly and effectively with our property owners.
If you have any questions about this, or you’d like more information on what to ask a potential property manager, please contact us at gkhouses.com, and we’d be happy to help you.
Matthew is the CEO of Evernest. He is a student of the book Good to Great and is passionate about building the best property management company on the planet (and maybe even the universe if Elon Musk will hurry up). You can usually find Matthew at the baseball field with his son, at a dance recital with his daughter, or at his favorite restaurant with his wife, when he’s not in the office. And if you can’t find him in any of those places, it probably means he’s traveling.