I'm assuming that you have a house, condo unit, or maybe even some duplex apartments in the Sarasota - Bradenton - North Port areas that you want leased to good tenants who will pay the rent on time and not tear up the place. Sound about right? Maybe you've been self-managing and find it a hassle, or perhaps you just don't have the time, or expertise to manage your property yourself any longer. You might be brand new to owning rental real estate and want professional guidance in order to avoid the pitfalls that so many new investors find themselves stumbling into. All of these and more are great reasons to seek out the help of a professional property management company.
That said, you may not know how to properly evaluate a property management company if you've never had to do it before. Alternatively, perhaps you've hired a property manager in the past, but had a bad experience that you hope to avoid this time around. Whatever the case, here are my top three suggestions for evaluating a property management company:
- Select a company that knows the area well.
- Do a Google search and check reviews.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau.
- Make sure they are active N.A.R.P.M. members.
Select a Property Management Company That Knows the Area Well
In other words, don't pick a property manager based on the other side of the state! As an example, consider the service-area of Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee. As the name implies, Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee services communities in Sarasota and Manatee counties, Florida - Parrish, Ellenton, Palmetto, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Siesta Key, Venice, North Port, Englewood -- you get the idea. A company like this has its geographic area of expertise, and it sticks to it. It knows what the rents are in the area. It understands the local rental market trends. It knows which vendors and tradesmen are top-notch and which are to be avoided at all costs. In other words, this is a company that is much more likely to provide relevant, quality service than one from out of the area which is simply looking to sign another contract and collect another fee.
Do a Google Search and Check Reviews
There are pros and cons to the hyper-connected world in which we live, and one of the very definite 'pros' is your ability to get quick, reliable information within just a few mouse clicks. Far and away, Google Reviews are the best and most reliable. This is because real people, with verified Google accounts rate companies that they have done business with. You get to see the good, bad, and ugly on all of the property management companies you are considering. One caveat is a company that has no reviews or very few reviews -- this might mean that they are brand new and without a track record, or it might just mean that their services are mediocre at best and nobody is motivated enough to take the time to review them -- either way, too few reviews isn't a good sign. Look for a company with 25+ review and a ranking of at least 4 out of 5 stars. Follow this link for an example of types of information a property management company search on google will reveal.
Check With The Better Business Bureau
Everybody has heard of the B.B.B. They have been the go-to consumer resource for researching local companies, including Sarasota property management companies, for decades. A B.B.B. profile will give you verified and reliable information on such things as company location and contact information, years in business, as well as a history of complaints. The B.B.B. also rates companies on a scale of A+, A, B+, B thru F. I would recommend a company with at least an "A" rating (A+ is even better) and at least five years in business. As an example, here is a link that will take you to the Better Business Bureau company profile for Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee.
Make Sure They Are Active N.A.R.P.M. Members
The National Association of Residential Property Managers is a professional membership organization that sets professional and ethical standards, disseminates industry best-practices, and organizes educational events and conferences throughout the United States. If your property management company, and individual property manager are not actively involved in N.A.R.P.M. it is almost guaranteed that they are not properly trained and equipped to most effectively handle the myriad of financial, legal, and operational issues facing properties and property owners. Only hire an active N.A.R.P.M. member.
Your Next Steps
Once you've done your research and have narrowed down your pick, it's time to visit the company's website, contact them via phone or email, and get the conversation started to see if there is a good working fit. I personally like companies that provide transparent pricing information right on their website.
If you have a residential rental property in the Sarasota - Bradenton - North Port market area that you would like leased and/or managed professionally, please feel free to visit our website to learn a bit about who we are and how we do business. I'd be happy to schedule a call with you to discuss your individual situation and needs. Call me at 941-216-0005, leaving a voicemail works great as I do return calls promptly!
If you are interested in more helpful information for landlords, visit our landlord resource page with tips and tricks for landlord success.