Know Your Property Manager: 5 Questions You *Need* to Ask
Before you hire.
Is your investment property becoming a hassle? Tired of handling random repairs and tenant requests? Need help keeping up with all the new rules of being a landlord?
Have you considered getting help from a professional property management company?
A professional property manager takes care of your investment, to protect its long-term value while it earns you rental income. This means: finding you a qualified tenant, collecting rent, and dealing with repairs—all while saving you time (and stress).
A Google search will give you choice. Someone you know may even offer to take care of everything for an unbeatable price. But how do you know if you’ve found a true professional?
Ask these five leading questions to unveil everything you need to know about how your property manager works:
Q #1: Are you licensed?
Many so-called “property managers” are not actually licensed landlords. They’re not bound by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia’s Professional Standards and Real Estate Services Act. They’re not required to keep apprised of changing rules and regulations (e.g. Residential Tenancy Act updates). They don’t use audited trust accounts to collect rent and hold your security deposits. And their work (and your investment) may not be adequately protected by business insurance or the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation.
Q #2: How do you find qualified tenants?
An experienced property manager has strong relationships with large companies, business networks, and relocation consultants. A strong marketing platform will also showcase your property well, and attract a larger pool of applicants. While reference checks are standard tenant selection protocol, a conscientious property manager spends time with a tenant prospect prior to signing the lease, and establishes a strong relationship with him or her over time (improving the overall property management experience for both tenant and owner).
Q #3: How do you handle repairs?
Given the amount and variety of repairs—whether big, small, or in the middle of the night—this question is especially important. A professional property manager maintains a Rolodex of skilled (and bonded) handypersons who provide expedited and dependable service. Who do you call the one time you have a cracked toilet, broken washer or…rat infestation? A property manager knows who can help and at what reasonable cost—your property manager takes care of everything, so you don’t have to. Bonus question: does your property manager earn a commission or a percentage of cost on repairs? They shouldn’t.
Q #4: What are your fees? No, really, what are your fees?
A professional property manager clearly communicates the management fees required to maintain your property. Fees may vary depending on firm and services, but an honest property manager has no problem outlining their fees and providing a breakdown of your expenses. In other words: no hidden fees. We also recommend you check your management agreement to make sure all the fees have been properly disclosed to you.
Q #5: Can you cure my tax headache?
The short answer is “yes;” hiring a knowledgeable property manager makes the process seamless. Trying to understand how new taxes apply (or don’t apply) to you, whether it’s City of Vancouver Empty Homes Tax or B.C. Speculation and Vacancy tax? Are you moving out-of-country and need help with Non-Resident tax filings? Your professional property manager should have ample experience with the evolving tax landscape and new regulations to be a valuable knowledge resource.
If you’re looking for a property manager, use these five leading questions to differentiate between great from mediocre.
Here’s to you finding your perfect property manager hire.
Birds Nest Properties is a boutique rental property management company that specializes in serving owners of condos and houses in and around Vancouver.
Thinking about renting out your property?
Call us at 604.260.9955 to learn about how we work.