The 5 Worst Questions To Ask A Property Manager
#1 Worst Question: How Much Do You Charge?
On a daily basis our office receives calls from prospective property management clients and without fail the number 1 question typically, and usually even before we finish our company greeting is, “How Much Do You Charge?”
It’s understandable that cost plays a role in purchasing any service or product, but should cost be the main determining factor when providing professional property management for likely one of your most expensive asset?
Personally, I think not.
The better question to ask would be “What type of value do you provided for your management fee?”
This allows the management company to explain their fee structure and the services they’ll be providing for those fees. It allows you to interview the management company based on their value proposition rather than an arbitrary number and most importantly understand what you’re actually exchanging a percentage of your monthly rental proceeds for.
Average Rental Rate in San Diego is $2,000/Month
The Difference in Property Management Fees from 6% to 8% is $40/Month or $480/Year
Based on the service provided that $40 may be the difference in having a 5 Star Google Company managing your property rather than a 3 Star Company. The better play is to make your decision based on value, not price.
#2 Worst Question: How Many Properties Do You Manage?
The truth is, the amount of properties a property management company handles is really not that relevant. I’ve seen poorly run companies with 50 properties and poorly run companies with 5,000 properties.
When a company is poorly run, it really doesn’t matter how many properties they have; the issue is that something isn’t working properly, hence the “poorly” run part. The company’s online reviews will always tell the true story: make sure to check them.
A better question to ask is, “How many properties do you manage in my area?”
This will give you more insight on the company’s ability to properly service your property, allowing you to make a more informed decision. Should this be a deal breaker? Not always, but more information is always better and asking how many properties are managed in your specific area is a far better question.
#3 Worst Question: How Long Have You Been in Business?
At one time a company’s longevity was an example of strength, security and experience. You’ve seen it before, slogans like “Since 1950” or “Over 50 years Experience”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that being in business a long time or having experience doesn’t matter, but honestly, it’s not what it once was.
Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Uber have only existed for around 20 years or so and are pillars of their industry. They’re using technology and innovation to continually replace antiquated companies while providing better systems and more value. A prime example, “pun intended,” would be the rise of Amazon compared to the demise of Sears and Kmart.
My point is that technology changes everything. Newer companies may be poised to provide better value based on better systems, resulting in less negative baggage due to antiquated systems, ala the blue light special.
A more effective question might be, “What is your online rating?”
This question may be the most significant question of all to ask a property management company. It’s no secret that in today’s social media environment, 5 Star Google, Facebook, & Yelp reviews (in that order) are considered an extremely valuable resource for any aspiring company.
Companies that don’t take online reviews seriously or are aware of their current review status should draw a red flag. They either don’t understand the nuances of a very competitive industry (property management) or have less than stellar reviews, unworthy of sharing.
#4 Worst Question: How Many Employees Do You Have?
Once again, not a very relevant question pertaining to the ability to manage your rental property. In actuality, if you were seeking a response that boasted of a large number of employees, you might be surprised to learn that the most successful property management companies actually do more with less employees.
Many larger companies that still use antiquated corporate titles and positions fall victim to overstaffing, redundancy, and disorganization. Thus, they usually lag behind companies that provide more value through technology and systems.
A more prudent question would be inquiring info the property manager who would be overseeing your property and their qualifications.
💡 Here’s Two Great Questions Hardly Ever Asked! ⤵️
👉 How many units are they tasked with?
👉 How long have they been with the company?
#5 Worst Question: How Will You Market My Property?
I know, I know, I know. This sounds like a perfectly legit question to ask and one that just might be pretty important right? Yes, but let’s dig deeper.
The better question is, “What are your top 3 social media platforms and their handles?” The gold star response would be something such as: Facebook, Instagram & Twitter along with their aforementioned handles.
A puzzled response should immediately disqualify that company. This may sound harsh, but honestly, if the property management company in question doesn’t have a social media presence or know how to guide people to that presence, then the likelihood of that company successfully marketing your property is slim to none.
If the company does have a social media presence, then take a moment to review the platforms. Social media platforms are a great way to peer behind the curtains and see what’s really going on within the company: the type of properties being managed, client reviews, office culture, and marketing strategies.
We hope you enjoyed reading The 5 Worst Questions To Ask A Property Manager. Please take a moment to check out the following ⤵️
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Written by Salvatore Friscia, owner of San Diego Premier Property Management a full service residential property management company offering Worry Free property management to the greater San Diego area since 2004 and TenantFinder.com.
I like how you mentioned that a good question to ask a property management company is how many properties do you manage in my area. My uncle really wants to find a company to help him with his rental properties. I think finding a company that has fewer properties would be pretty smart.
Deb, Thank you for your comment. The important factor is not the amount of properties a property management company manages, but the concentration within an immediate area in regards to your property location. This shows familiarity of the area; including rental rates, rental trends, tenant pool, etc. We’re glad you found value in the article and hope it helps with your uncle’s property management search.
Well said! Cost should not play a role when selecting a property management company! The reason is simple, property management does not cost it pays. And, for those who think they are saving a buck going with the less expensive option, you have to ask yourself, where are you losing. Or simply stated, something is being sacrificed… Make sure you understand what you are getting for the money you are paying for, do your research, interview companies, and above all… make sure you are comparing apples to apples, not oranges to figs!
That’s very true, Thanks for your comment.