Many landlords who use a property management service hire the least-expensive company in their area. This often is a single individual, who doesn't have the overhead that larger companies do but also lacks their resources. If you're looking for a property management service, a company that employs a team of individuals could help you see a greater return on investment (ROI) than a single person can -- even if the company's fee is higher. Here are the team members you should look for in a property management company, along with how each will help you earn more money.
A Licensed Real Estate Agent
The requirements for becoming a property manager vary from state to state. As All Property Management's list shows, 40 states require property managers to obtain a real estate broker license. The remaining 10 states and the District of Columbia have lower standards, ranging from no requirement in Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont to a property management license in South Dakota, South Carolina, Oregon, Montana and the District of Columbia.
Even if your rental units are in a state that doesn't require a real estate broker's license, you should seek out a property manager who has one. Anyone can post a listing on generic websites and put a sign in a property's front lawn, but only licensed real estate agents and brokers are able to list your available units in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Listing your rentals in MLS puts them in front of real estate agents, who are the most likely people to know of someone looking for a place to live. Your property manager should still list your available units on their website and put up a "for rent" sign, but this is another way they can promote your vacancies.
An Assistant, or Several
Your property management service should have a licensed real estate agent, but they may not be your primary contact at the company. Assistants, who don't have real estate licenses, are able to take care of day-to-day operations, like collecting rent, performing inspections and arranging repairs. While a licensed manager might be busy with other tasks, assistants can expedite routine communications. Whenever there's an issue with one of your properties, they can make sure it's quickly resolved, keeping your tenants happy and in your units.
Assistants provide an additional benefit if you're hoping to grow your rental portfolio in the future. According to WikiHow, a manager who has the right tools and efficient processes can look after 35-40 properties. By hiring assistants to work under a licensed real estate broker, a company can increase the number of properties they can manage yet still be able to list any vacancies on MLS. As you (and other clients) purchase more properties, a management company can simply hire more assistants to maintain the same level of service.
Few property management companies are large enough to employ a full-time certified public accountant (CPA), but they should have someone who is familiar with tax laws and finances on their staff. Your property management company should have someone who specializes in bookkeeping, though, even if they aren't a licensed CPA. In addition to helping you keep track of tax-deductible expenses, this person should also be able to help you decide when to make major improvements, which may affect your taxes for several years. They will help you keep your tax bills, which can be sizeable, as low as possible.
If you're considering hiring a property management service like Harland Property Management, look beyond the fees they charge. Ask about the people who work for each company, and select the one that has a licensed real estate broker, an assistant and an accountant. Together, these people will keep your units occupied, communications prompt and tax bills minimal. In short, they'll help you maximize your ROI.