When you’re looking for a Los Angeles property manager, it’s a good idea to do some research. You’ll want to visit the websites of local companies and investigate their online reputations. Read some reviews and take a look at their affiliations and associations.
You’ll also need to conduct an interview. Schedule some time to talk with a potential property manager so you can get a feel for who they are and how they work. Take note of whether they’re listening to you or diving right into a sales pitch.
These are the five most important questions you should ask a Los Angeles property manager before you sign a management contract.
1 – What is Your Leasing Process?
Most property managers will have similar leasing processes. They will market your property, show it to tenants, collect applications, and screen tenants. Once a tenant is qualified, they will collect the security deposit and other move-in funds, and they will conduct a walk-through before the tenant moves in to document the condition of the property.
None of that should impress you. What you really want to know about the property manager’s leasing process is how long it takes them to rent your property and what kind of data they use to settle on a price. These things affect your vacancy time, which directly impacts your cash flow. Long vacancies and frequent vacancies are not a good sign, so ask a property manager about their vacancy rate.
2 – How Do You Use Technology?
The property management industry is innovating to the point where technology can and should be used to make the management of your property more secure, efficient, and consistent. Ask about property management software and whether there is an online portal for owners and tenants. Can rent be paid online and will you receive an ACH deposit or do you have to wait for a rent check to arrive in the mail? Technology should be a driving factor in the marketing of your property and the documentation of its condition. You want tenants to be able to make maintenance requests online and applications to be available on their mobile phones.
3 – What Is Your Rent Collection Process?
Rent should be collected consistently and on-time every month. You want your lease agreement to spell out specifically how much is due, when it is due, and what the consequences are for paying late. It’s important that your property manager has a rent collection policy, and it’s even more important that he or she enforces the policy. Ask about the steps to collect rent that is overdue. Find out if there’s a late fee, when a notice will be served, and how the eviction process is started. You want to see a good process that’s based on experience.
4 – How Do You Stay Up to Date Locally and with the Property Management Industry?
This is important, because California has a lot of landlord tenant laws. There are also federal and local laws and regulations that need to be followed. These things are changing all the time, and your property manager needs to stay up to date in order to effectively manage your investment. Find out if the management company belongs to any associations or professional organizations. You want to know that you’re receiving all the resources and tools that can only be provided by a well-connected management team. Make sure your property managers understand the local Los Angeles rental market and the best practices in the property management industry.
5 – How is Maintenance Handled?
You need to feel comfortable with the way a property manager will maintain your home. You want to know what the process is for repair requests, and how both routine and emergency maintenance issues are handled. Discuss vendors and how they are chosen. You’ll want to be sure that only licensed, insured workers will be making repairs at your rental home. Ask about a property manager’s philosophy on preventative versus deferred maintenance. You want the condition of your home to be preserved.
These are only the first five questions you should ask a property manager. We have more advice to offer so contact us at Bell Properties, Inc.