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How to Choose a Property Management Company
Have you decided yet whether you are going to manage your property by yourself – or hand over the running to a property management company?
We’ve found here at Property Loop that by far the majority of landlords go down the property management route. That’s because many are full-time employees in some other sector and simply don’t have the time to attend timeously to tenant repairs, or to ensure annual gas checks are carried out and that the neighbours are happy (important with a student rental).
A property management company, on the other hand, has plenty of time. It will also have an address book of repair and maintenance men it can call at a whim, and staff will be well-versed on what to look for when doing an inventory check etc. Naturally, though, they’re not going to do all this work for nothing. You can expect to pay around 10 to 15% to your letting agent for their property management expertise, alongside their initial marketing activities.
Is It Worth It to Use a Property Management Company?
As well as carrying out regular inspections of your property, attending to maintenance issues and even collecting the rent on your behalf, your property management company acts as the buffer between yourself and your tenants. That means the company will deal with issues such as repairs, chasing up rent etc and give you a report at a later stage. Some online companies even have a dashboard you can log in to and where you can see what’s happening with your property in real time.
How Do I Choose a Good Property Management Company?
To make sure you get a property management company you can trust you’ll want the one you choose to be accredited with an appropriate trade body, such as ARLA Propertymark here in the UK. Certainly, at Property Loop we always recommend this.
A good way to find one would then be to ring ARLA Propertymark or check out their website to find registered property management companies. Another way to pinpoint a good company is simply to ask around. Being a landlord yourself you may have the opportunity to meet other landlords at local meetings or in online landlord forums. If so, ask them who they use and whether or not they would recommend them.
A ‘must’ is to find a local property management company. Too far out and they won’t be as familiar with your area as you’d probably like them to be. It also means it may take them longer to attend to repairs. It’s particularly important that your property management company has access to local tradesmen in case of an emergency, such as flooding in your rental flat.
What to Ask a Property Management Company
Always ask what the company charges and if their fees seem high, there’s no rule against negotiating with them. And, in fact, this can often prove quite successful.
Ask if you’ll have one point of contact ie an assigned property manager (which, ideally, is what you want). Find out what their time policy is in attending to tenant’s requests. Also ask how you will be notified of any work they have done on your behalf ie in a monthly report or by logging in to their content management system?
After a repair on your property you might want to speak to your tenants too. That way you can find out how well your chosen property management company is doing their job. After all, as we always say here at Property Loop, “a happy tenant tends to be a long-term tenant…”
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