References aren’t Just for Looks
Request references and actually follow-up on them when you narrow down your hiring pool. Preferably, these references will be from reputable management companies. Cross check the phone numbers you’re given to make sure they’re connected to a real business. Everyone has to start somewhere, but it’s not wise to trust an inexperienced newbie with something as important as your property.
If you really want to slim things down, ask for letters of recommendation, too. Property managers will be asked to do a lot of things, and if someone wants the job they’ll comply with simple requests. If they can’t drum up a written recommendation, that may mean either they don’t have one (bad news) or they can’t be bothered to get one (also bad news). It’s still an employer’s market, so this is your time to cherry pick property management firm candidates.
If you simply plan to lease a residential home now that you’ve downsized in retirement, it’s best to hire a property manager with experience in that kind of property. Someone who’s only worked in apartment communities isn’t going to have the experience necessary for such a drastic change. This is why picking the right person is such an essential part of the process.
If at all possible meet with them in person, but of course that can be challenging if you’re hiring from a different city, state or country. You’re trusting this person, and ideally you’ll “click” with them on a professional level. If you’re not comfortable with them in an interview, maybe your gut is telling you something’s amiss. And don’t forget to check Google and Yelp reviews.
Play It Safe
Want to make sure the absolute best match and avoid endless sorting through resumes, checking references and time wasting interviews? Go with a reputable property management company-it’s their business to take care of your property and their managers are skilled, knowledgeable and have already proven themselves. What more could you ask for (besides a 100 percent filled property, of course)?
Albert Westbrook writes about topics of interest to the general public, consumers and small businesses.