Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Fire Your Property Manager
The first question our acquisition agents ask when a homeowner calls to inquire about our services is “Why are you unhappy with your current property manager?”
This question alone has become invaluable in creating a professional client centric property management organization like Rental Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.
1. THE PRICE IS (NOT) RIGHT
If your rental has been sitting vacant for over 30 to 60 days, fire your property manager.
Something is dreadfully wrong and they are not fixing the issue in a timely manner. The likely culprit is the price. I have seen properties sit on a market for two weeks and rent immediately after a $50 price reduction. This is what a good property manager should know. The unfortunate reality is that we are in strange times. What a house rented for two years ago may not be what it can rent for upon renewal. Some homeowners have even negotiated with good tenants to stay in the property for another 12 month period by lowering the current rental rate. If not, the tenant may leave to the house next door that is priced $50 less per month and then the homeowner will be due to pay another tenant placement fee.
This is not rocket science. It is, however, hiring the right property manager with the right resources and staff that care enough about you and your property to guide you to make proper decisions.
If you notice that one of the hardest things to do is to get your property manager on the phone, just imagine how hard it is for the prospective tenant or the existing tenant with a maintenance issue or house question to get him/her on the phone as well. You are either good at what you do or you are not. Many managers are not good at communication. They only reply to text that they choose to reply to. They answer emails on their time when it’s good for them only and they answer a call when they are not busy doing something else. Finding a quality, responsive real estate professional is very hard but one of the most important allies that you should have on your real estate team. If you can’t get your property manager on the phone in a consistent manner, fire them immediately.
3. RENT READY SPECIALIST
When we take on a property here at Rental Partners, in Jacksonville, FL, the home must be in what we refer to as “Rent Ready Condition”. We have a checkpoint list that we give to our homeowners so that they know what our prospects expect when renting a home over the next year or two. In the long run, this makes the tenant happy because they are renting a place that they are proud of. It usually results in an extended rental period and thus the homeowner makes more money. A good leasing agent and manager will make sure the home is in compliance with the agency’s standards. A property manager who is not good, will look at your house (that has marks on the walls, smells like dog and has a few cracked tiles) and will simply say, yes, we can rent and manage this for you. But the reality is opposite.
They should be fired! They will only get you a sub-par rental rate with a sub-par tenant (those that treat places like trash) and then you will feel it financially in the end. Once that tenant moves out, the deposit they put down will probably not even cover the extent of damage to bring it back up to rentable condition. A homeowner needs a good property manager that will tell them what needs to be done to get it in rent ready condition in order to attract a quality tenant who will be proud of his/her surroundings.
4. AVAILABLE OR NOT?
If your current property manager is only open certain hours for specified agents in regards to prospective tenants calling in for inquiries, then fire them immediately.
Leasing agents should be available at all times of the day, especially late afternoons and weekends. This will guarantee a faster rental of your home. Rental Partners makes all agents put the office number and their personal cell number on all ads, signs, and cards that are generated. Having access to tenant inquiries is most important and should always be.
5. MR. FIX IT
This area has way too many facets to narrow down to one paragraph so I will highlight only the top few.
The manager needs to be keen on what is and what is not a true maintenance request. He/she must qualify each request. I’ve see way too many tickets go out that charge a homeowner for $50 in time because the tenant says the electric is no longer working…only to find a flipped breaker. A good manager would assist with this on the phone when the request comes through. And only send a tech after the tenant was informed how to properly trouble shoot the issue.
Consistent collaboration with local sub-vendors, techs, and contractors to negotiate better pricing, increase training and keep in compliance all help a good manager do their job in regards to maintenance. An even better agency would have qualified techs on staff that can fix minor electrical, plumbing, drywall and door repairs. All licensed and all under a workman’s comp plan. You, the homeowner, do not want to be charged for a new door install and new tile install if it’s done in a non-professional manner, of which I hear all of the time from disgruntled homeowners with others managers. You might pay a cheaper fee in the beginning but you’ll pay dearly when it has to be done again to correct the first time it was installed. It’s true what they say: “Do it right the first time, or do it again”.
6. COMMISSIONS TALK, RENTALS WALK
If you are trying to have your home rented and properly managed, then it would be best to make sure that your property management company has the same focus in mind. And even better scenario would be to only hire a real estate firm that property manages. This is getting increasingly hard as a majority of firms sell and only mange on the side. If your realtor agent actively sells homes, fire them now. They stand to make 3% of $200,000 (which is $6000) if they sell a home. This takes much more time and effort yet they benefit financially in the long run. And yet, they stand to only make $200 to $300 if they rent your home. Yet in both of these scenarios, the agent must show the prospect many places for them to choose. And time is money. Do you now see why your home will be the one on the back burner?
7. DON’T PAY TOO MUCH!
More than likely you have signed up to pay way more fees than what you should be paying. There should be no processing or set up fee charged to any homeowner for a single family home. This is like a transaction fee that the dealership charges when you purchase a car. Quite simply, it is bogus. If your property manager is trying to bill you for marketing fees, simply say no and fire them immediately. This is a fee that is standard practice and should be paid for by the management firm. Have you ever being charged an advertising tax on your purchase at Home Depot? No, it’s crazy.
And by all means, do not agree to pay for a tenant placement fee BEFORE The prospect has been found and turned into a tenant. This is a fee once the services have been rendered and should only be charged at that time. And on top of that, never sign a management agreement that charges a fee to get out of the contract. A simple 30-day notice should be enough to transfer to another property manager if you are not happy for any reason. Their poor services rendered should not be a cause for you to be penalized financially.
If you recognize any of these things then it’s time to think long and hard about the time and effort that you’ve put into your real estate investment and the best way to grow and secure it.
Contact Rental Partners today to find out why our client relationships last for years and if we are the right property management company for you.
Thank you for reading.
By, Christina Starmer—Instant Tenant, Instant Landlord