If you rent property in Omaha, you need a great property manager. Even if you self-manage, you’ll benefit from their expertise. We explore what makes a great property manager that can help increase the value and income of your Omaha investment property.
Property managers can be a key part of your real estate investment team, but finding the right one can be surprisingly hard. How do you find one that will treat your tenants the way you want, care for your property, improve your income, and be responsible? There are big differences betwen individuals and firms. First, narrow it down by the services you need and their focus. You may need only basic tenant selection and rent collection, but some need a full-service team with repairmen. Remember that some firms focus on college students, professionals, or families. Read on to learn how to find the right property manager for your property in Omaha!
First Ask Friends for References
The first step should be to ask other investors. It’s a great conversation starter at investment groups, meetups, and networking events with other investors. You’ll likely get honest feedback from people with great stories about their experiences. Also, check out review sites to see if the tenants are happy or raging. Happy tenants mean less turnover and more profits.
Take Time to Research The Firm
You will spend far more time and money cleaning up the mess from a bad decision. Fortunately, you can learn a lot about a company before choosing them to represent you. Before you even talk to them, look at their public image and how they will represent your property.
- What do their ads look like? Is that how you would like to see your property represented? Are they using signs, websites, Craigslist, etc.?
- How do they answer the phone? Are they professional and courteous? Some firms treat owners very differently than tenants.
- Did you remember to check their reviews?
When you talk to them, you can start to understand their processes. There is much to ask them about property management before hiring them.
- How long does it take for them to place a tenant? How thorough are their background checks? How will they screen tenants? What software or process do they use?
- Do they hold the proper licenses and meet all of the requirements to legally manage your property. Do they follow the law?
- Ask them for referrals and recommendations.
If they pass the high-level reviews, you can dig a little deeper. Here are a few things to discuss with property managers in Omaha:
- The comprehensiveness of their landlord/lease agreement
- The systems and software they use to engage with clients, for their accounting, maintenance schedules
- Do they accept and encourage online or automatic payments?
- Who are their trusted contractors and how will repairs be cleared with you?
- How often will they inspect the property? And what do they look for?
- Do they take photographs (preferably 100’s) before and after each tenant?
- Will they handle evictions if needed?
- Are they well versed in rental laws, regulations, and tenant rights?
You will be trusting this company to represent your property and help you to achieve the highest profits possible. Their systems should be efficient and comprehensive. They should have proven success in handling similar properties. Doing your homework now will help to ensure you are hiring the best company for the job.
Interview Questions to Start
How many properties are do you manage?
If they are too small, your property might overwhelm them and yield a poor tenant experience. To big and they won’t be concerned with your property. Does the number of employees make sense for the properties they manage? Ensure the company has the time and manpower to properly manage your portfolio. You should also make sure that the properties they are managing have high tenant retention. Falling retention is a sure sign of a property manager who has lost their focus.
How do their fees work?
In most cases, you should expect to pay 7-10% of the collected rent to your property manager. You may get a lower rate, but you may also receive a lower quality of service (unless your property is unusually easy to manage). Before you sign an agreement, make sure this money is only due if there is a tenant in place. You do not want to pay a property management company for managing an empty unit. The price for services should be clearly stated ahead f time, along with exactly what that fee will include.
How is their reporting handled?
The quality of reports varies more than you would believe. Simple, clear reports make it easier for you to manage your property and cheaper for your accountant to complete your tax return. Ask to see example reports from other clients (with names blocked out) so you know if it makes sense. Also ask when to expect reports regarding and what these reports will cover. They should be comprehensive and tailored to your specific portfolio. Ask if the accounting is handled in-house or forwarded to a third-party accountant (this affects responsiveness to questions). Your property management team needs to exceed your expectations in a number of ways, this includes the numbers!
How are lease cancellations and renewals handled?
If a tenant leaves early, will they hold them to the lease terms and collect rent until a replacement tenant is found? Will they start recruiting a new tenant immediately when they receive a 30-day notice? Are they communicating proactively with tenants so everyone knows what to expect?
Consider At Least Three Firms
Once you have narrowed down your search to a few highly referred and well-presented companies, it is now time to shop around. Negotiate contract terms and let the management companies know you are looking for a long term manager who can deliver on service at the right price. You’ll be able to negotiate a better rate when you know what you are doing and what the competition is charging. Make sure you know exactly what you are looking for in a property manager so your needs will be put at the forefront from day one.
While finding the right property manager may seem like a lot of work up front, the benefits will be well worth it. Having the right person managing your properties will make a huge difference in the overall success of your real estate investment.