A popular topic among prospective clients of ours at HomeQwik is when it’s appropriate to fire your property management company and look for someone else. This is a hard thing to talk about because we don’t want to throw other companies under the bus, but we see the same things over and over again when we talk to clients who are unhappy with their current managers.
Nickel and Dime Tactics
Clients get upset when there is an extra surcharge or penalty or markup on every little thing that happens. For example, there’s a local statutory registration charge that costs $10 in Maricopa County and takes maybe 30 seconds to complete online. Some companies charge $25 to $50 to do that. Look out for extra charges when you’re working with a property management company.
We also hear a lot of complaints from people who can’t read or don’t understand their accounting statements. Make sure that before you hire someone, you’re comfortable with the software they use. Ask if they have a dummy account you can use to log on and play around with. Ask for a copy of a sample statement. You want to make sure you understand your monthly accounting. It’s very frustrating to not be able to figure out where your money is going.
If your home is taking a long time to rent, you need to ask some questions. Find out how hard your property manager is advertising the home and whether they are showing it and using a lockbox or listing it on the MLS. Find out if you’re getting the exposure you need online. Check out how the yard sign looks. Many times, property managers will not pay attention to the amount of traffic you’re getting. Your marketing has to work. There should be trackable statistics that show you how many hits the ad gets, how many times it’s being shown and what the feedback is. If the house is in good shape, it might simply be priced too high. You need the right advice.
You have to feel comfortable with the price you’re getting for routine repair and maintenance work. Anything you do yourself will seem cheap and when you hire someone else to do the work, you’ll need to be prepared to pay a little more. Just sending a maintenance guy out to fix a doorknob will include paying for travel time, materials and labor. Make sure the price is fair. If your property manager sends someone to do the work and you’re able to find prices that are a lot cheaper without a whole lot of investigation, something is wrong. Ask your property manager about standard costs associated with things like paint and carpet installation because those are inevitable expenses when you’re turning over a house.
The number one complaint we hear from people who are shopping around for a new property manager is that communication is really poor with their current management company. Emergencies are one thing, but even getting a call back on a simple accounting question should not take days or weeks. Your property manager needs to be paying attention to you. There should be indication that they care about you and your investment. It’s not hard to get right back to you when you have a question.
Hopefully these tips gave you some insight on when you might want to consider another property management company. If you have any questions or you’d like to hear more, please contact us at HomeQwik.