This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a local property management firm that specializes in residential real estate, commercial real estate and homeowner associations. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.
If, after reading our article on why it’s a good idea to hire a property management company, you decided to move forward on that, you might wonder what to look for in a property management company. The process requires a careful assessment of your needs, budget and goals as a landlord.
There are several factors to consider before choosing a property management company:
What are your needs and do the company’s services match them?
A property management company should be able to handle the entire rental process for your property — from advertising and marketing the unit to tenant screening and collecting rent once a tenant has been found.
Once a tenant has been placed, key tasks property managers handle include: preparing leases and enforcing the lease terms, inspecting the property regularly, overseeing all repairs, landscaping and other maintenance. A property management company should also have a sophisticated system to track rent collection, notify you of any property issues, document all financial transactions and provide you with regular reports of income and expenses. Because the company should handle all communication with the tenants, great customer service and the ability to maintain positive relationships with tenants are critical.
If you own a DC rental property, for example, but live here in Arlington, you are legally required to provide the city with the name and address of a resident agent based in D.C. Since the resident agent can be an individual or a business, you can use the services of a DC property management company, which can receive any communication on your behalf.
What is the company’s fee structure?
Ask for details about the company’s fees and what services they cover, before you sign a contract. This is an area where companies differ.
- Is there a flat percentage fee for an all-inclusive package or does the company charge different fees for separate services?
- Are there extra charges for specific services or items?
- For repairs, does the property management company add a percentage “mark-up” fee to contractor’s invoices?
- How often will you be billed for the fees?
- Who will be responsible for handling your property?
- Find out whether the company will designate a dedicated property manager for your property. If so, find out whether the manager is licensed and how much experience he or she has, including experience managing properties similar to yours. Find out the company’s procedures for handling issues that might come up when your manager is busy or on vacation.
How and when can you and the company communicate?
When you have a question, will the company answer quickly? The company’s availability and responsiveness to you and to tenants matter. Note their hours and learn how they respond to owners questions and how they handle urgent and emergency property issues that occur outside of those hours. Do they have 24-hour emergency service?
Some companies have sophisticated property management software that allows owners to securely view their property records and monthly reports online anytime. If the company doesn’t have that, find out when and how the issue reports.
Decide how often you want your manager to contact you with updates. In addition, it is wise to set limits on how much the company can spend on repairs without your approval.
Does the company have good references?
Request and call multiple references from the company. Has the company managed properties comparable to yours? How many additional properties does the company manage? How do they divide their time to address issues at different properties?
These questions can help you start the process of selecting a property management company for your rental property.
Take a tour of the Courthouse neighborhood and explore two local favorites of Sallie Seiy, your guide in the latest Neighborhood Spotlight.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
The Arlington County Board and the Human Rights Commission are at odds over whether commissioners had the right to request an investigation into possible human and civil rights violations at…
Expanded renovated 4 BR 3 bath with garage in Cardinal Swanson Yorktown pyramid
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Our current roasts come from prime coffee-producing regions of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. We will be adding new roasts soon. If you are local, there’s a good chance we can deliver to your door. Look for us at local farmers’ markets beginning this spring. In the meantime, check us out now for better coffee and good karma in a cup. You can use the code Community and save 10%.
🎉 Tonight, we invite you to the French Riviera, one of the most exciting places on earth – without ever boarding a plane! And celebrate Mardi Gras and the Carnival of Nice on French soil as we welcome you to a special evening at the Embassy of France!
From the elegance of classical French culture to the most celebrated Rivera nightlife of the 21st Century, experience a special evening of fantastic French food, wine, music, and ambiance.
Enjoy the flavors of Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez in the beautiful and festive Maison Francaise at the French Embassy.
🍽️ On the Menu: Delicious French food
Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting a free workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” at their office on Cherry Hill Rd. (formerly Lee Highway) in Arlington on Thursday, February 29 from 5:30PM-7:00PM.
Every great endeavor