Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a Property Manager: Protecting Your Investment

Hiring a property manager can be a great way to simplify your life as a property owner. A good property manager can help you handle all the day-to-day tasks associated with running your rental property, from finding tenants and collecting rent to handling repairs and maintenance. However, not all property managers are created equal, and hiring the wrong one can be a costly mistake. In this article, we’ll explore some of the warning signs to watch out for when hiring a property manager.

property manager handshake

  1. Lack of Experience

One of the most important things to look for when hiring a property manager is experience. A good property manager should have years of experience in the field, as well as a proven track record of success. If you’re considering a property manager who is new to the industry or who has only worked with a few properties, proceed with caution. While everyone has to start somewhere, you don’t want to be someone’s learning curve.

  1. Poor Communication Skills

Good communication is key when it comes to managing rental properties. A property manager who is unresponsive, hard to reach, or who doesn’t communicate clearly and effectively is a warning sign. You want a property manager who is easy to get in touch with, who responds to emails and phone calls promptly, and who is able to communicate effectively with tenants, contractors, and other stakeholders.

  1. Lack of Organization

Managing a rental property requires a high level of organization. A good property manager should be able to keep track of important dates, such as lease renewals and rent due dates, and should have systems in place for handling maintenance requests and other issues. If the property manager you’re considering seems disorganized or scattered, it’s a red flag.

  1. No Referrals or References

Before hiring a property manager, it’s important to do your due diligence. Ask for referrals from other property owners or managers who have worked with the candidate, and make sure to follow up with these references. If the candidate is unable or unwilling to provide references, or if the references are unenthusiastic or unresponsive, it’s a warning sign.

  1. Lack of Transparency

A good property manager should be transparent and upfront about their fees, policies, and procedures. If a property manager is reluctant to provide clear and detailed information about their fees, or if they seem to be hiding something, it’s a warning sign. You want a property manager who is transparent and honest about all aspects of their business.

  1. Unprofessional Behavior

Professionalism is important in any business relationship, and it’s especially important when it comes to managing rental properties. If a property manager is unprofessional in their behavior or demeanor, it’s a warning sign. This can include things like showing up late to appointments, using unprofessional language, or failing to dress appropriately for meetings.

  1. High Turnover

If a property manager has a high turnover rate, it’s a warning sign. This can indicate that they have trouble retaining clients, or that their clients are unhappy with the level of service they’re receiving. Make sure to ask the property manager about their turnover rate, and follow up with previous clients to see why they left.

  1. Lack of Local Knowledge

A good property manager should have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, as well as the laws and regulations that apply to rental properties in the area. If a property manager seems unfamiliar with the local market or laws, it’s a warning sign. You want a property manager who is knowledgeable and experienced in the local market.

  1. Lack of Availability

Managing rental properties requires a high level of availability, especially when it comes to handling maintenance and repair issues. If a property manager is unable or unwilling to be available when needed, it’s a warning sign. Make sure to ask about their availability, and what systems they have in place for handling emergencies and other urgent situations.

  1. Poor Financial Management

A property manager is responsible for collecting rent, paying bills, and managing the property’s finances. If a property manager has a history of late payments or other financial issues, it’s a warning sign. Make sure to ask about their financial management practices, and follow up with references to ensure that they have a good track record when it comes to managing finances.

  1. Lack of Technology Adoption

In today’s digital age, technology plays an important role in property management. A good property manager should be up-to-date with the latest technology and software solutions, such as online rent payment platforms and property management software. If a property manager seems technologically behind, it’s a warning sign. Make sure to ask about their technology adoption and how they use it to improve their services.

  1. Poor Tenant Screening Practices

Tenant screening is a critical part of the property management process. A good property manager should have a thorough tenant screening process in place to ensure that they are selecting high-quality tenants who will pay rent on time and take care of the property. If a property manager has a history of renting to problematic tenants, it’s a warning sign.

  1. Lack of Maintenance Standards

Maintaining a rental property requires regular maintenance and repairs. A good property manager should have a system in place for handling maintenance requests and should be proactive about keeping the property in good condition. If a property manager seems lax or uninterested in maintenance, it’s a warning sign. Make sure to ask about their maintenance standards and how they ensure that the property is always in good condition.

  1. Unwillingness to Provide Reports

A good property manager should be able to provide regular reports on the property’s financial performance, including rent collection, expenses, and other important metrics. If a property manager is unwilling or unable to provide these reports, it’s a warning sign. Make sure to ask about their reporting practices and how they keep clients informed about the property’s performance.

  1. Lack of Empathy and Customer Service Skills

Managing rental properties requires a high level of customer service skills, including empathy and the ability to communicate effectively with tenants and property owners. If a property manager seems cold or uninterested in the needs of tenants and property owners, it’s a warning sign. Make sure to ask about their customer service skills and how they ensure that tenants are satisfied with their living experience.

TL;DR Hiring a property manager can be a great way to simplify your life as a property owner, but it’s important to do your due diligence and choose the right candidate. Watch out for warning signs like lack of experience, poor communication skills, lack of organization, no referrals or references, lack of transparency, unprofessional behavior, high turnover, lack of local knowledge, lack of availability, poor financial management, lack of technology adoption, poor tenant screening practices, lack of maintenance standards, unwillingness to provide reports, and lack of empathy and customer service skills. By keeping these warning signs in mind, you can find a property manager who will help you maximize your rental property’s potential and protect your investment.


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