Talk to any successful real estate investor, and they’ll tell you that one of the keys to their success is effective property management. Building a portfolio or even renting out one property requires a lot of time, effort, and expertise. When you’re looking for your own Golden, CO property management team, you want to make sure you’re getting the best partner for your property.
How do you know you’re hiring a great company?
Well, you can start by investigating their reputation. Before you even get to the stage where you’re calling with questions or scheduling an interview, spend some time checking out their website, any social media posts, and the reviews that current and former customers have left for them online. This will give you some idea about who they are and how they work.
You might find it beneficial to ask other property owners and investors for referrals. If they’re working with a great management company, they will be willing to tell you about it. Once you’ve decided on a few potential management partners, schedule some time to talk with them.
You’ll know you’ve hired a fantastic company when your properties are earning money, your tenants are staying in place, and the condition and value of your investment are secure.
Here’s what to look for when you’re on the hunt for that perfect property manager.
Property Management Communication & Responsiveness
Consider how easily you can reach someone at the property management company when you’re interested in talking about doing business with them. If it takes five days or a week for them to return your call or message, that’s not a great indication that they value communication.
Responsiveness is essential. You’re going to want to be sure all of your questions are answered and needs are met. Everyone has different communication expectations. Maybe you don’t want to hear from your property manager unless something’s wrong. Maybe you’d like to review a statement and a summary every month.
You’ll want to know your management partners can communicate the way you need them to. If you can’t get them on the phone when you’re trying to give them new business – you likely won’t have an easy time getting in touch once you’re already working with them.
When there are several channels set up for communication and an effort is made to answer the phone and return messages in a timely manner, you know you’re working with a great team. Everyone is busy, so it’s unreasonable to think that your property manager will be available to you every minute of every day. But, you do want to know that they prioritize communication with their owners and their tenants.
Investment in Property Management Technology
Take a look at the type of technology a Golden property management company uses. A great company will invest in the latest property management software in order to deliver high quality leasing, management, and maintenance services. You aren’t going to have the best experience with a company that still sends out paper checks and conducts inspections with a legal pad and a pencil.
Technology has become increasingly important, as we quickly realized during the worst of the pandemic. Contact-free self-showings are still popular, and that requires a digital key or an automated lockbox. Tenants want to pay rent online and they want to complete applications and sign lease documents electronically.
With the right technology, you’ll save money and improve the performance of your investment property. During the leasing process, your management team can syndicate your listing to dozens and even hundreds of rental websites. Tenant screening is more detailed and the reports come back faster. Inspection reports can be created immediately, with detailed notes and photographs that document the condition of your property.
Ask your potential property manager how they utilize technology before you hire them. You’ll want to know that they understand its importance and know how to balance the automated functions that are available with the need for maintaining personal relationships.
Solid Property Management Systems and Processes
You can’t have a great management company without great management systems.
When you’re talking to property managers that you may hire, ask them to explain how they handle:
- Marketing and advertising
- Showings and applications
- Tenant screenings
- Tenant correspondence and relationships
- Rent collection and delinquencies
- Maintenance requests
- Preventative maintenance
- Accounting statements and financial reports
- Vendor screening
- Evictions and lawsuits
A great management company will have a process in place for everything. While those processes will be standard and consistent, you’ll also want to be sure there’s room for customizing what they do to meet the unique needs of your rental home. Maybe you need special attention to landscaping, for example. Find out what kind of systems they have in place for that. Perhaps you’re nervous about pets – ask about pet policies.
Having consistent and effective systems in place demonstrates a management company’s experience. You know they’ve been in business long enough to have run into every possible situation that would require a step-by-step process for resolving the issue or managing the situation. It’s about peace of mind just as much as it’s about property management services.
Focus on Serving Golden, CO Owners AND Tenants
Customer service is a big part of delivering great property management, too.
When we talk about customers, we’re obviously talking about you – the owner. You want to know that you’re going to be a priority for your management team. You should expect resources and market updates that explain why rents are what they are. If you’ve noticed maintenance costs are rising, a great management company will tell you what’s happening with the price of labor and materials. They’ll put a plan in place for preventing expensive emergencies.
Customer service is also about your tenants. A good property manager will make sure your tenants are feeling like their needs are being met and their problems are being solved.
Tenant retention is a critical part of your rental income and your ROI. If you have turnover year after year, you’re going to spend a lot of money on vacancy, maintenance, and out-of-pocket costs like utilities, landscaping, cleaning, and security. Keeping good tenants in place will increase what you earn. Tenants are only going to stay in place, however, if they’re having a good rental experience. So look for a management partner that’s dedicated to positive, professional tenant relationships as well as strong owner relations.
Excellent Network of Maintenance Vendors and Contractors
Maintenance services are especially important when you’re working with Golden property managers. You’ll know you have a good team in place when there’s a plan for emergency maintenance, routine maintenance, and preventative maintenance.
To have effective maintenance plans in place, your management company will need a reliable team of vendors and contractors who can quickly and reliably respond to the needs of your rental property. Whether it’s a plumbing emergency or a simple garbage disposal clog, you will need access to licensed, insured individuals who are good at what they do and offer competitive rates.
During the hiring process, talk to your property managers about how they decide who to use for specific repair work. You’ll need to feel comfortable that they have relationships or resources for:
- Electrical work
- HVAC services and inspections
- Appliance repairs and replacements
- Pest control vendors
Some companies have an in-house team and others contract the work out. Make sure you understand how these repairs work and what you can expect from the vendors who will respond to the needs of your property.
Staying Up to Date on Laws, Regulations, and Best Practices
Finally, a great Golden property management company will value ongoing education. They’ll be especially invested in learning more about the ever-changing legal landscaping. You’ll need to rely on your property managers to keep you compliant.
Find out how the management company stays up to date on fair housing laws, discrimination laws, security deposit laws, and habitability standards. Talk about service animals and how they’re different from pets. Discuss the way rent was collected during the eviction moratoriums. Ask what they do to stay current in their profession.
This is important because you’re hiring a property manager to bring you tools and resources as well as best practices. Yes, you want someone who will collect rent on time and take care of your home. But you also want a team that knows things you don’t about the law and the requirements of renting out a property. Ask about experience with evictions.
There is a lot involved in finding the right property management company, and you want to be sure you’re getting a great team of professionals who understand leasing, management, and maintenance. Do all the research you can early in the process, and spend some time talking to the people who will be responsible for your rental home.
We’d be happy to tell you more about our own services. Contact us at Laurel Property Services, Inc. In addition to providing property management in Golden, we also serve Wheatridge, Morrison, Lakewood, Arvada, and Genesee, CO.