So you’ve decided to hire a property manager to take care of your investment property. That is a good call! Rental property owners who self-manage often find themselves making mistakes that cost time and money, lead to property damage, and even open owners up to risk and liability. Hiring a trustworthy property management company should allow you to relax knowing your property and tenants are being taken care of by industry experts. But when you’re ready to hire an Atlanta rental property management company, how do you know what to look for? And more importantly, how do you know you won’t get stuck with a shady property manager who deals unethically and puts your investment at risk? Learn 6 warning signs your property manager isn’t doing their job, and how to find one that will, in our guide below.
Warning Sign #1: Lack of Communication
As a property owner you should be aware of everything that goes on at your property. No, we aren’t talking about invading your tenant’s privacy. We are talking about weekly updates during the leasing process, and regular updates after that. If your tenant has a maintenance issue, such as a leaky pipe or broken window, you should know. If your property manager does not provide updates that is a red flag.
In addition to providing regular updates, your property manager should be easy to get a hold of. Missed calls happen, but they should always be followed up with a call back within 24 hours. Property managers who are challenging to get on the phone, or difficult to communicate with in person, will not be able to handle the interpersonal nature of residential property management in Atlanta. You should never be left in the dark when it comes to what is happening at your property. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta, there is always someone on call when you need to reach us. During the leasing phase, we provide status reports, so you are kept up to date with the progress. After that we provide regular updates, inspection reports, pictures, and accounting documents you can access at any time from your online owner portal.
Warning Sign #2: Failure to Respond to Maintenance Requests
While this warning sign is related to warning sign #1, we felt it was so important that we needed to give it its own bullet point. The fact is, tenants cite failure to respond promptly to maintenance requests as one of the top reasons to move out at the end of their lease. If your property manager is slow to respond to maintenance requests, it could mean a higher turnover rate. In addition, your property manager should be taking good care of your property in order to keep your property value up and costs down. Failure to respond to maintenance requests means your home may fall into disrepair, and may not meet the requirements for a “safe and habitable” space for your tenants.
Warning Sign #3: Inadequate Atlanta Rental Property Management Services
Many property management companies claim to be full service, but not all of them are. If your property manager does not handle every aspect of the leasing cycle, chances are you are not getting your money’s worth of services. Specialized Property Management Atlanta provides a full range of services including:
In short, we take care of every aspect of the rental cycle, so you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your investment. Don’t hire a property manager only to get stuck doing the hard work of managing on your own, hire Specialized Property Management Atlanta and know you are getting what you paid for.
Warning Sign #4: Poor Tenant Placement
Part of a property manager’s job is to screen tenants to ensure they are a good fit. Proper tenant screening means your tenant is responsible and able to pay their rent. One of the biggest mistakes residential property management in Atlanta can make is to place a tenant who is unqualified. Placing an unqualified tenant can lead to problems such as missing rent payments and failing to maintain the property. In extreme cases failing to screen a tenant can result in criminal activity, severe property damage, and eviction.
How do you know your property manager is placing qualified tenants? Strict tenant screening should include:
- Criminal background check
- Credit check
- Rental history, including landlord references
- Employment and income verification
If your property experiences a high rate of turnover or evictions, that is a sign that your property manager is not screening tenants closely enough.
Warning Sign #5: Infrequent Property Inspections
How often does your property manager inspect your rental property? If they only visit during the initial walkthrough and when your tenant moves out that is not enough. Mid-lease property inspections are necessary to ensure your property is being taken care of, and your tenants are complying with the terms of the lease. Our Atlanta rental property management company performs regular inspections and provides inspection reports to owners. Inspections can be scheduled quarterly or biannually. To learn more about what happens during a routine inspection visit this page.
Warning Sign #6: No Experience in Residential Rental Property
If you own a single-family rental property, duplex, triplex, or fourplex, your property manager should be an expert in these types of residential real estate. Property managers who primarily manage larger apartment complexes, condos, or short-term rentals will not have the expertise needed to manage your property. Knowing the ins and outs of residential property management means a property manager is less likely to make costly mistakes. The team at Specialized Property Management Atlanta has nearly 30 years of experience managing residential real estate, focusing on single-family homes up to fourplexes. Our property managers’ hard-earned knowledge and experience benefit both property owners and tenants.
What to Look For in Residential Property Management In Atlanta
Now that you know the warning signs of a bad property manager, how do you know when you have found one you can trust? Follow these steps when interviewing property management companies to make sure you hire the right one.
Positive Online Reviews
Online reviews, particularly those on Google and the Better Business Bureau, can give you an idea of how a property management company relates to its clients. Look up management companies in your area and make sure they have a solid rating and history. Property management reviews can be tricky though, because they deal with the basic human need of shelter and rely on interpersonal relationships. To learn more about how to read reviews for property managers, visit our recent blog post.
Find a Team of Experts
Some property management companies are actually just a single person managing every aspect of the rental cycle. Other companies have two or three managers, but each manager is expected to handle everything that happens at your property. The problem with each of these approaches is that no one can be an expert in everything. Our Atlanta rental property management company has a team of experts with knowledge in specific areas. Our leasing experts know the local rental market, price your rental competitively, and ensure your rental listing is posted on the best websites. Accountants keep track of expenses and provide up to date reports so you can make data-driven decisions about your property. Our maintenance team answers requests quickly, and coordinates with outside vendors when needed. To learn more about our team of experts, visit our team page.
Ask About Services and Guarantees
The last thing you need after hiring a property manager is to hear them say “that’s not my job.” Hiring a property manager means you can take a step back and focus on other areas of your life, whether that is work, family, or other investments. When you are looking for a property manager, take note of the services they provide. If they are not a full-service management company, they probably aren’t worth your money.
Before interviewing residential property management in Atlanta, make a list of services and guarantees that are non-negotiable. Here are a few ideas of questions to ask:
- Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
- Do you adhere to strict tenant screening guidelines?
- Are my fees set, or will they go up?
- Do you provide monthly and year-end accounting reports?
- Do you guarantee any repairs that are made?
- Does your company use the latest technology to drive decisions?
You should never settle for less when it comes to property management. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta, we offer 7 Specialized Guarantees, so you know you are always getting the best service at the best price. To see all our guarantees, and a complete list of questions to ask potential property management companies, go to our Guarantee webpage.
Don’t Settle For Substandard Service
Your property and your tenants deserve a property management company with experienced professionals and proven processes. Specialized Property Management Atlanta has the expertise you need to make your investment successful. To speak to an Atlanta rental property management expert and schedule a professional management quote call 404-862-8980 today.