Define "BEST" Property Manager
Hi guys! I am super excited to share my life as a property manager with you. I'll be posting how I started in property management, how I got to where I am and general fun facts about rentals.
But first I want people to know the importance of having the BEST property management company looking out for your property. The most common question I get is - how are you the best? Well in all fairness by industry standards I know we (my entire team) are pretty awesome! However, this doesn't mean we're THE BEST for you. When I tell someone this they look at me like-wow you suck at marketing, didn't anyone ever teach you how to sell yourself?
Here's the lovely truth about property managers and how to find the best one.
First, you need to determine what kind of landlord you are. Are you an investor? -looking to start with maybe one and eventually build an empire portfolio. Are you a Landlord by default? -you inherited the property and just waiting out the period of probate. Are you a time is right Landlord? - need to move for work, etc but timing just isn't right to sell or you plan to come back to this amazing Summerville SC area and live out a beautiful life some day.
You may ask why it's important to recognize what type of Landlord category you fall into. It's because you will need to know where you stand to answer the next few questions. For starters take a good deep and honest dive into your finances and figure out just how much rent you need to cover all your expenses. I don't mean just your mortgage and property management fees. Think about it all and put it all on the table. HOA dues, maintenance allowance, deferred maintenance, capital improvements and turnover. Make sure to look at the next year, 5 years and 10 years of your investment. Real estate is not a get rich quick scheme, this is a long term investment but if done right you will get amazing returns. Amazing returns of not just future income but relationships you build through the process.
That last part is your third task to getting the BEST property manager. Once you have set your financial expectations it's time to chat. By this I mean chat, chat, and chat some more. Unless you've determined that your only goal is to have costs covered and make you a little extra - don't go looking for a property manager that gets right down to business and only wants to get you to sign on the dotted line as quickly as possible. This means they are just as concerned about the bottom line as you are, but their concerns stops there.
What you want to look for is a property manager who provides compassion and a relationship for you to enjoy. Look for someone who provides industry standard pricing but above standard benefits to offer their clients. I usually tell clients when your shopping around there are 2 very important things to compare/contrast in property management. The first is understanding you want to have a long term relationship with your manager. This means personality and trust matter! Interview multiple property management companies and if you have the chance to meet, grab a coffee and really just chat. Make sure that not only are they great and knowledgeable about their industry but they have a personality you love to work with. This is almost like a marriage, you don’t want to go in on a mindset that it’s temporary-turnover is your worst enemy in costs. After you’ve decided that this this person in another world could be your best friend, look at the total benefits package!
Finally, make sure you compare apples to apples. Many “free things” upfront come at a VERY high cost in the end. Don’t be fooled by the lower numbers that offer no value. Again, if the bottom line is all that matters you may get away with a matter of fact, business only type of property manager but if you want growth and prosperity look for more. The initial bank roll may come at a future high price. Just like you, your tenants will need a relationship. Lack of relationships means higher turnover equal to hard costs to absorb.
The key is to remember what is good for the goose may not be so good for the gander. Keep an open mind and look for personality, many other things can be negotiated but you can't change or negotiate someone's personality.
Finances can change, situations evolve. The best property manager is one with personality, most importantly a personality that fits well with you and can adapt to your needs and growth.