Hiring a great property manager to oversee your apartment community is easily one of the most significant choices you can make when it comes to your investment. A property manager makes critical decisions on your behalf, so it is imperative to do your homework during the hiring process. Never hire based on fees alone, but rather take the time necessary to fully understand what unique qualities each candidate brings to the table—and decide which personality and leadership style is right for your community.
When you find a property manager that takes pride in offering residents the best maintenance, administration and community services possible, your community will thrive. To get started, here is a list of necessities to find the ideal property manager that can garner success for your investment.
Check their licenses and certifications.
Check if they have undergone training to earn licenses and certifications in the field, such as the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the National Association of Rental Property Managers (NARPM). By earning these certifications, they show the commitment and desire to stay updated and relevant in their line of work. However, keep in mind these certification and licenses are expensive, so it is important to not necessarily rule out someone who doesn’t possess them.
Research their current and past work experience.
As with any other job, past experience is extremely important for a potential new property manager. You want someone who knows what they’re doing and has demonstrated success on the job. Conduct thorough research on what each candidate has done in the past and what projects they are currently involved in. There are several ways to go about this—beyond the resume. First, visit properties under their management and evaluate their state. You can also research where and how they advertise their properties and the platforms they use to get the word out. What you find from this deep-dive can be extremely revealing of a candidate’s work ethic and professionalism.
Inquire about the number of properties they manage.
When you’re in the interviewing stage, be sure to ask how many properties or units they manage and how many employees they have. Analyze if their leadership experience matches your needs. If they’re only accustomed to managing two to four properties, you might want to think twice about hiring them to manage 15 properties. Likewise, if you’re looking for a property manager to oversee one community, someone with vast experience managing communities across the country may miss the challenges associated with greater responsibility, increasing the chances of them quitting early on.
Ask for several referrals and references.
Referrals and references can sometimes be biased, which is why we urge you to seek out several for each potential property manager or firm. It is always extremely helpful to utilize your network for a better understanding of your candidates. Reach out to others in the real estate industry to ask about past and present property managers they have worked with, digging deep into why they were satisfied or unhappy with their work. Additionally, conduct follow-up calls with their references in order to get supplementary information on their skills.
Pay attention to how they evaluate potential residents.
A major duty of a property manager is to screen and evaluate potential residents. The way they do this can be revealing about their attention to detail and professionalism. Make sure they are thorough and detail-oriented. Some of the things they should screen for include employment, salary, gaps in rental history, and of course, background checks. Inquire about their screening process before hiring, and make sure it meets your criteria.
Hiring a property manager is no easy feat and is not to be taken lightly, which is why we suggest conducting thorough research prior to making your final decision. Also, it is important to have clear goals in mind when on the hunt for a property manager. Aim to find a manager that strives to maintain the highest possible standards in professionalism, maintenance, administrative efficiency and resident services, and you will be on your way to success.
Lynn Edmondson is responsible for the day to day operations of Wendover Management. With more than 40 years of real estate and property management experience, Edmondson has overseen portfolios in both Texas and Florida exceeding more than forty properties and over 10,000 units, as well as overseeing the successful redevelopment of numerous assets. Edmondson’s strength in marketing, physical maintenance and systems, management and allocation benefit Wendover Management’s outstanding portfolio of properties.