I am currently getting a lot of people asking me about rental management companies in the area. I can´t recommend any specific businesses, but I can give you a few words of advice from my experience .
Let me tell you a little story.
After a hard week at work, many years ago, sick of the cold UK weather, a trip to my apartment in Spain for the weekend would be just what I needed. I booked a flight for early Saturday. I thought, because everything was a bit last minute, I wouldn´t bother calling my rental management company, who were diligently looking after my apartment.
When I arrived at my place the following morning, I opened the door and was greeted by suitcases, beer bottles and overflowing ashtrays. I had tenants that I didn´t know that I had, if you catch my drift
Without going into the ridiculous chain of events that ensued, all I need say is I decided I would not be using that company ever again and promised myself that occurance would never be repeated.
Ok, horror story over. What do you do to circumvent rubbish like this?
Here are some points you should follow when selecting a company to fill this position of extreme trust.
Choose a company that knows the local market
Knowledge means that the they know what prospective tenants are looking for. If they are good, they will think of the property as if they were renting it themselves.
Making recommendations to you that will increase overall return while improving the property so that it becomes more desirable, will help increase rental rates, lower turnover and decrease vacancy. The company should be able to advise you on your pricing competitiveness. Always do you own research on price.
Set up a meeting with the company
If the rental management company you are choosing is a good one, they will set up a meeting with all new property owners and go through both parties expectations. Getting to know your property manager will help improve interaction and can give you a good idea of how they will work to improve the return for your property.
Ask your property management company to give you the references of three clients with similar type properties.
Get in contact with these people and ask them questions about all aspects of the service they are getting.
Make sure that every time you call that they answer.
Self explanatory, if they are not answering the phone before you have made an agreement, what will they be like when you have paid them some money?
Make sure your money spends time in your account, not the managers
Property management companies typically collect rents on the first of each month( for long term rentals ) or upfront at the time of arrival for short term. Clarify the timescale for payment and make sure the management company sticks to it. Earning interest on the rental revenue can really add up over time. Some companies will try and keep the revenue in their account as long as possible so that all interest earned is earned in their accounts, not the yours.
Find a company that understands accounting
Accounting for revenues and expenses with investment property can be a difficult task. Organization and great accounting skills will ensure your management company is accounting for your property correctly.
Find a property management company that good relationship with the tenants
Tenants are the lifeblood of your rental income and should be treated accordingly. Satisfied tenants mean referrals.
Make unannounced visits to your property when it is vacant from tenants
This is the true acid test and will give you a clear picture of exactly what is going on.
Hopefully through careful selection you can avoid any unpleasant experiences.
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