How to Look for a Property Manager in Kansas City : KC Property Management Advice
Tom Sedlack - Monday, November 6, 2017
Picking a property management company in KC is probably one of the biggest decisions you can make. It’s even more important than picking tenants. There’s a lot of trust in handing your property off to a management company. This is a multi-hundred thousand dollar asset, and you’re handing over more than the keys. You’re also handing over your bank account information for rent collections and distributions, and you’re handing off personal information like your social security number and information on your W-9. You have to be careful and hire a property manager who is honest and embraces integrity. You’re also looking for great service.
Choose a Property Manager Based on Service
When people look at property management companies and pick them as if they’re commodities, it’s a big mistake. There are lots of management companies out there that will charge a low management fee and do nothing more than collect rents. As soon as there’s a problem, they will either cancel their management contract or they won’t provide the service that’s necessary or even respond to an owner’s phone calls. You need a high level of service that can sustain your property and serve your tenants.
Interview property management companies and find out what they’ll do for you. Ask what they’ll do in a situation that is perhaps not favorable. It’s easy to manage when things are going right. But when things go wrong, having a great management company will really help you out.
We believe that 33rd Company® is one of the finest companies nationwide. We are CRMC Certified from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), and that credential speaks for itself. We have jumped through all the hoops and validated our processes. We had to go through a complete certification audit, which tells you we are ready to address any issue that comes our way.
Property Manager Kansas City (KC): Who Signs the Lease?
One of the first things to ask a potential management company is: who signs the lease? A lot of times, it’s the owners. Management companies don’t want to be the agent of record. They want the owner to assume all the risk. That means you’re signing a document with the tenants that binds the two parties together, and the manager is not a consequential party. That’s not a good arrangement. If there’s a sign of trouble, the manager can run and doesn’t assume any liability. So, it’s important to find out who signs the lease.
I would not do business with a company that doesn’t put their own name on the lease. Many Realtors will do lease-ups, and you have to remember they are not property managers. Realtors are very good at what they do in sales, but with leasing, property management is a service business not a sales business. The only way to get experience is to manage every detail from inception to application to tenant placement and then the disposition of the security deposit at the end of the lease. Experienced property managers need to understanding screening criteria and keep tenants happy. These are day to day functions that can only be done by professional managers. We don’t recommend you have a Realtor lease your property for these reasons.
Property Management Certifications
Look for certifications. We mentioned our CRMC designation, and there are also personal designations like the Residential Management Professional (RMP) certification and the advanced Master Property Manager (MPM) designation. These are also earned through NARPM, and you should look for them when you’re screening managers. You can look for designations from other organizations including the Institute for Real Estate Management (IREM), Community Association Institute, and local multi-family and multi-family industry associations.
Communication and Property Management
Communication is another thing you should talk about. Find out what their priorities are and how they respond to issues. At 33rd Company®, we respond to emergencies right away and take care of urgent issues the same day. Our policy for handling non-urgent issues is to respond within 24 hours. It’s helpful to have a policy like that in place to manage expectations. People want to know when they will hear from their manager.
Another good communication tool is an online portal. These are wonderful, and can provide monthly statements for your accounting as well as day to day activities at your property. You’ll see work orders and the status of repair work. They are integrated with the management company’s software package. Sometimes, management companies can also do blast emails and notifications. They can send out automated reports. Our software allows us to do blast texting which is a nifty new functionality that we use. Communication is important. If a management company doesn’t return a call for three days, find someone more responsive.
Property Management Success and Statistics
Find out how successful a management company is. Ask for statistics. Talk about their delinquency rate and their renewal rate. As an example, our delinquency rate at 33rd Company® is less than a half a percent, out of 500 properties under management. Our renewal rate is 80 percent with first year tenants. That means we have good customer service. Our tenants like their homes and their service. Our average tenancy runs in excess of three years. Some discount management companies will have tenancies that are no longer than a year. That’s bad. It contributes to a lot of vacancy and turnaround costs, and they may not have qualified tenants for the property in the beginning.
It’s important to screen a management property and get the best service for your property. Remember that your management fees are tax deductible. You aren’t saving money when you use a low budget management company. It only puts your company at risk.
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