Questions that we are frequently asked as property managers in South Florida:
Why should I pay someone to manage my rental property?
Maybe you shouldn't. If you have the time, the necessary experience, access to competent legal advice and are local you could and should manage your own property. If you don't maybe you should hire someone who does. It won't cost as much as you think.
What does a property manager do?
A property manager gets involved in many things other than collecting rent and enforcing the terms of the lease. Hiring competent contractors, making sure they do the job right and stand behind the job, and ensuring that the tenant is happy is a big job. Deciding who to "give the keys" to and when to take legal action require a sense of judgment that comes from years of experience.
How do I find a good property manager? How can I tell the difference between a really good property manager and someone who is just getting by?
As far as I know, there is no list of "good" property managers. There are, however, some characteristics of a property manager that would be common to all property managers who would be considered as “good". Experience alone is not the most important factor. A "good" property manager will not only have a wealth of experience but also will possess a mature sense of judgment which comes from actual time spent in "hands on" management. None of this matters if the property management team isn't dedicated to outstanding customer service.
Do you manage any home or condo or do you only select certain properties?
We are selective in the properties we are willing to take on responsibility for. We look for an owner who is willing to maintain the property in good condition. Not all properties are "new" or "upgraded" but there is no reason why any property should be offered in less than clean and in good working condition. Good clean, well maintained properties always attract the best tenants.
How much experience do you have actually managing property? Is experience necessary?
I personally have been a "hands on" property manager for over 35 years. In that time I have learned what works and what doesn't work. Like most professionals I got most of my "experience" from the things I tried that didn't work. Needless to say we don't waste our time or your money on things that don't work.
Besides managing property, can you also lease my property and help me to find new rental property investments? How do you find tenants?
Leasing to the right tenant is job one. If you don’t get that right, nothing else seems to matter very much. The leasing process is about pricing the property properly for the market (and the time of year), exposing it properly so the “right” tenant has an opportunity to find it, and being patient enough to let time do its work. I advise people to consider owning rental property for long term investment and wealth building. But, like any other investment process you need to investigate before you invest. I am a Realtor as well as a property manager and can help you with these ideas and make them work for you.
What do you do when a tenant doesn’t pay the rent? Also, how do you handle problem tenants?
When the tenant doesn’t pay rent on time we contact them to find out why. The law is very specific about what steps you need to take and how to take them. We are advised by the premier landlord/tenant law firm in the State of Florida (and we follow their advice). Most tenants do not want to be evicted, but they may need help solving their problem. This is where experience and judgment come into play. The same thing goes with “problem tenants”. There is no way to accurately predict whether or not an otherwise good tenant with a good prior history is going to become a problem. This is another situation where experience and mature judgment are valuable assets to have on your side.
How do you screen new tenants? How do you know who to pick?
We screen tenants for their Personal Character History in the areas of credit (how many and how do they pay their obligations), criminal (have they ever been charged with a crime – and do they confess it when asked), eviction (have they ever had an eviction filed against them or refused to pay rent for any reason), registered sexual offender status (have they had problems in this area in the past). Once a prospective tenant has demonstrated that they have good character traits, we assess their prospects for how reliable they will be going forward into the future. It is more art than science.
Are you familiar with the local area?
I have been managing property in the local area for over 35 years. Each city in the South Florida market seems to have its own dynamics as well as limitations as far as rental prices and expectations of the type of tenants that choose to live there. As long as you don’t confuse yourself as what an area is capable of producing, the actual managing process should be the same from area to area.
If I hire you as my property manager can I check my account online? Can tenants do the same?
Yes. We currently use a rental property management software product that supports our efforts to collect, account for, and distribute funds in the way we want to accomplish that. This software is for landlords and tenants who are both able to check their accounts online. In addition the tenants can pay online and owners can receive their distributions by direct deposit.
What are the three most important characteristics for a property manager to be labeled as a "professional"?
First they must have enough experience to do the job. Second, they must have mature judgment enough to handle the toughest problems. And lastly, they absolutely must have the passion to deliver the high level of service that everyone expects.