4 Key Things to Look for in a Property Management Company
Are you thinking of hiring a property management company? Qualifications, systems and accounting procedures can vary widely from company to company. Here are some strategies for finding and evaluating a property management company.
Although we recorded the “Listen and Learn” interview above more than a decade ago, our advice on how to find a good property management company still holds true – and we have more to say.
4 key things to look for in a property management company:
- A company that specializes in – and has plenty of experience with – your asset type
- Licensed staff and a commitment to ongoing training
- Expertise in property management accounting
- Industry-specific software and systems
Read on for the strategies and tips that will help you find a property management company that’s a fit for your business.
1. Hire a property management company that specializes in your asset type
Ask to see a list of the buildings under their management to see if they are similar to yours in terms of complexity and asset class. For example, if you own commercial rental property, don’t hire a company whose primary business is residential strata. The training and service approach are different, as are the required systems, accounting practices, and legal knowledge.
With a commercial property, the property manager is dealing with business tenants and must understand the implications of leases. With a strata, they are dealing with homeowners and strata councils, and must have knowledge of the Strata Property Act, strata regulations and bylaws. Both are specialties within their own right. Learn more about the benefits of hiring a company that specializes in your asset class in the two blogs below:
- Commercial vs. strata property managers: who manages rental properties best?
- Is your property manager contributing to your bottom line?
2. Ensure that managers are licensed and receive ongoing training
During their licensing course, property managers cover crucial topics such as the Real Estate Services Act, leases, budgeting, insurance, professional ethics, and a broad spectrum of legal issues. A professional property management company, like Transpacific, will also ensure that their staff stay up-to-date on legislation and best practices.
There are real estate agents who offer property management as part of their services, but they must be licensed to manage property, (in addition to being licensed to sell it). If they aren’t, they are performing the service illegally. We explore the topic further in this blog:
3. Look for a company with property management accounting expertise
Sloppy accounting and reporting practices are the most common reason Transpacific gets business from other property management companies. Whether the previous company has failed to collect arrears and recoverable expenses, prepare budgets, submit invoices, or is late with payments, they aren’t looking after the money side of the business in a timely fashion – and that hits landlords where it hurts, in the pocket. At a bare minimum, check that the property manager provides:
- Dedicated trust accounts for your rents, so that they are secure
- An effective arrears collection system, so that overdue rents are collected quickly
- Monthly financial reports that track your income and expenses
- Annual budgets and an ongoing review of your costs, so that they are controlled
- Long-term accounting records required for building sales and loans
4. Look for industry-specific software, systems and programs
Technology has transformed property management, from the features in “smart buildings” to software that ensures accounting, maintenance, and tenant relations run smoothly. Check whether the company you are considering offers:
- Accounting software that delivers financial data in real time
- Maintenance scheduling and tracking software to help extend the lifespan of your building components
- Warranty tracking programs to address equipment issues before warranties expire
- Monthly operating reports that keep you updated on the status of your building
- Tenant services software with features like online rent payments and service requests
Bonus tip: Check for strong references and prompt response times
One of the most common customer complaints in our industry is that clients can never reach their property managers. At Transpacific, we make it our policy to respond to calls and email by the end of the next business day.
Ask for references from the property management company you are considering, and within those references, look for evidence of their service quality and response times. With every major proposal we submit, we include letters of reference – and within those letters we offer proof of how well, and how quickly, we respond to requests and emergencies.
Find a property manager who can give you “peace of mind”
A professional property management company will have all of the trained staff, systems, software and programs in place to properly look after your building – so that you never need to worry about the details. When you’re searching for a company, use our checklist to find one that’s right for you – and if you’re curious about how Transpacific might be a fit for your property, please give us a call at 604 873 8591.
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If you’d like to see what a client-focused property management company can do for you,
please contact our office at 604 873 8591.