Once you've decided you want your rental properties to be handled by a property management company, you're going to find that there are a lot of different San Diego property management companies to choose from.
However, not every property management company is the same - you'll want to make sure that you hire a company that puts forth their best effort or else you could end up losing money. All too often we talk to property owners who have been burned by other companies. It’s shocking to hear about instances in which rent checks weren’t sent or HOA fees go unpaid.
Before going into how you can identify a good, trustworthy property management company, let's go over why you should hire a property management company in the first place.
The Benefits of Hiring a Property Management Company
The following are a number of benefits for hiring a property management company instead of attempting to manage your rental property on your own:
- Find better residents - Good property management companies have more reliable screening processes to find more reliable residents that will stay longer, keep your property in good shape and pay on time.
- Boost your occupancy numbers - Property management companies know how to market rental properties and will have an extensive network of professionals that will make it easier for them to fill a vacancy faster.
- Take care of legal issues - If a resident doesn't pay, has damaged your property or needs to be evicted, a property management company will take care of it. They will also take care of other potential legal problems, from licenses and permits to leasing disclosures.
- Navigate state and federal regulations – There are many rules surrounding housing in California and the U.S. on a broader level. Property management companies have a deep knowledge of laws such as the Fair Housing practices and can help you comply with all the regulations within.
- Handle collections efficiently - They will make sure you are being paid rent on time and will handle the collection of late rent payments, late fees and more so you don't have to worry about doing so.
- Reliably maintain your property - Property management companies have existing relationships with licensed contractors that are bonded and insured. Not only can you save money through these relationships, but it means you won't have to worry about hiring contractors to do routine maintenance or repairs yourself.
Finding a Trustworthy Property Management Company
When comparing different property management companies, be sure to use the following tips in order to identify which ones are trustworthy:
- Speak with each company - Interview each company to get an idea for how they will treat you. Look for managers who communicate clearly what they will do for you and listen carefully to your concerns and questions. You should work with a property management company that is willing to communicate with you and listen to your needs.
- Find out if they own rental property themselves - You'll want to avoid property management companies that own their own rental properties. Some people will think this is a good thing. However, they are basically in direct competition with you and will prioritize their own properties over yours. Not only could this result in them neglecting the needs of your property to focus on their own, but they could even draw potential residents away from your property by recommending their property instead.
- Check their vacancy and eviction rates - High vacancy rates are a sign the company does not put the proper effort into marketing the properties they are managing. High eviction rates mean that they either aren't doing a good job screening residents or are doing such a poor job maintaining the property that residents are simply leaving.
- Make sure they are fully licensed and certified - Make sure the company has the proper license to show vacant apartments. You should also check to see if they have been certified with any trade organizations, such as the NAA (National Apartment Association) or the NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers).
There are a large number of benefits to hiring a property management company, so be sure to use these tips in order to identify one that is trustworthy.