"Oh I don't know. Pick that nice man, you know, that one you see in town with the little car. He seems nice."
"Or how about the company with the pretty logo that looks like a butterfly?"
"Oh! Oh! I know! Ask them all what percentage they charge, and then go for the one with the lowest rate. Makes sense really, when it comes down to it."
Or does it…..?
If you've used any of these clearly well thought out and incisive processes to choose a property manager for your rental, then you need your head looking at. Why would you hand over your hard-earned capital asset, over which you presumably have a large bank debt, to the nice butterfly man with the lowest fee rate?
So let's deal with these processes up front, and then offer you a strategy with some robust common sense and structure to it that should help you sort the bright from the shite.
Picking "that nice man" is probably not as bad as you might think, funnily enough. It's important that you can actually talk to your property manager, and that you get on with them when you meet them. It's really quite difficult to focus on the decision making process if your property manager looks exactly like your ex-partner or your old school bully. However, you will need more than one criteria for your selection process, and this one just doesn't cut it on its own.
Choosing the Butterfly company, perhaps because they drive around in funky little Smart cars, is also a pretty lame selection criteria on its own. Don't be dazzled by smoke and mirrors until you find out if there's any substance to their service other than the vinyl lettering on their vehicles.
Asking for a discount on the fee rate is a crushing disappointment, and an insult to any property management company, so just don't do it. I've lost count of the number of people that call us up asking what our management fee percentage is. If you're looking for a discount on fees from us, you'll be asked which part of our service you'd like us to exclude. You also want to ensure that you're comparing apples with apples. Some property management companies also have extra fees, hidden charges and added costs that are tacked on to your bill at the end of the month, so you don't want to go comparing apples with spanners.
What's the solution?
Here's 10 questions you can ask when choosing a property manager. You shouldn't need to ask them all unless you really think you've found a good one, and good answers to every question will mean you have!
1. Do you offer any kind of guarantee?
2. How often do you inspect properties?
3. Are there any other fees or charges - maintenance, inspections, etc
4. How do you select potential tenants?
5. How do you deal with rent arrears?
6. Do you work weekends and after hours?
7. Is it easy to reach you by phone/email/whatever?
8. Can I access my account online?
9. Do you own any investment properties yourself?
10. Can you give me references from some of your current clients?
Of course you could just get in touch with managemyproperty. Makes sense really, when it comes down to it.