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25 Questions You Should Have at the Ready When Selecting a Property Management Company

  1. Ask the property manager if they own rentals as well?
    Generally, that indicates more of an “owner’s mentality.” An owner’s mentality is cautious about costs and is always analyzing return on investment.
  2. What professional affiliations do you belong to?
    Virginia requires each property management company to be licensed and the Virginia Department of professional and occupational regulations is the regulating body. Most professional property managers are associated with the NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Management). Unfortunately, this means most property managers just dabble in property management for extra income and have very little training or guidance. Select a property manager that is licensed, is affiliated with a professional organization like NARPM, and who has been professionally educated in property management.
  3. What type of property do you specialize in?
    Some companies specialize in single-family homes and other companies specialize in large complexes. Pick a property manager that specializes in your type of rental. Real Property Management Hampton Roads does not specialize in 50+ unit apartment complexes. Our portfolio consists primarily of single-family homes, and smaller multi-family, such as duplexes, triplexes, and four-plexes.
  4. How long have you been in business?
    Experience and track record is important. Real Property Management has been in business since 1985 and we have been managing properties ever since. Additionally, Real Property Management is part of the Neighborly family of over 3,000+ franchisees. As a whole, RPM manages 10s of thousands of single family homes, duplexes, and apartments worth several billion dollars for homeowners, and small and institutional investors. The brand has also been on Inc. Magazine’s 500 lists of the fastest growing privately held companies in America for the past 4 years. And although we are the largest management company in the nation, each office is locally owned, meaning we can offer the best of both worlds to our clients with world-class systems, training, and technology coupled with local knowledge and experience.
  5. How did you become a property manager?
    Real Property Management Hampton Roads came about because we saw a need for professional management in our local market that had been traditionally served by real estate sales agents moonlighting as property managers.
  6. What does everyone else have to say about your property management services?
    Always do your homework before choosing a property management company. We recommend not only browsing their online reviews (whether that be through their website, Google, or Facebook) but taking the time to read both positive and negative reviews along with the replies from management. You are welcome to contact us for a list of references or simply Google us to check out our online reviews.
  7. How many people are in your company/office and what are their duties?
    The average staff to property ratio for the traditional property manager model is 1 staff for every 100 properties. The lower this ratio, the more care you can expect. Real Property Management Hampton Road’s current ratio is 1 staff member to every 33-50 properties.
  8. How many properties do you currently manage?
    In general, smaller and larger companies have their pros and cons, the larger the company the less the personal service you can expect and the smaller the company the less predictability and consistency you will see with systems and processes. However, a better question might be “How many properties did you rent last month?” This will give you a clear indication if there are systems and processes in place to handle one of the key components of property management, leasing! A solid company will rent between 15-30 properties every month and be able to SHOW you their average days on market (Anyone can tell you anything, make them show you).
  9. What areas (if any) are you limited to?
    Markets vary from area to area and it is important to find someone that specializes in the area in which your rental resides. Real Property Management Hampton Roads specializes in the local market areas. However, if you have a property outside of our area, we can provide you with an introduction to another professional company.
  10. What are your advertising and tenant lead generation procedures?
    Who pays for advertising? Do you have a website and can tenants apply online? Do you have virtual tours? Owners often think that advertising is paid by the management company when in actuality it is most likely charged to the owner through a marketing fee, tenant placement fee, or start-up fee lease up fee or some combination of the above. You will want to know what it is costing you to procure a tenant, to shorten vacancy times an all-out effort on the marketing front is valuable and warranted. For example, Real Property Management Hampton Roads posts our listings onto our website and over 50 other websites while boosting those listings’ power with a healthy organic online presence. Additionally, we advertise on local websites targeting the most sought after residents in our area as well as Facebook and other social media.
  11. What is your tenant screening procedure?
    Some property managers in our area do little screening, they are happy to have applicants thus approving the one they get. Many owners are very tempted to go with these companies because they also boast higher rents. Unfortunately, that tends to be a short term gain, as the damages, eviction costs, and re-rent costs are much greater. It is advisable that you select a management company like Real Property Management Hampton Roads, that utilizes a professional screening company to verify: credit, criminal background, landlord references, social security ID check, and employment.  Here at Real Property Management we only take the best of the best applicants, approving just 52% of all applicants.  Our marketing blitz generates increased interest in all of our properties often giving us multiple applicants to choose from.  This allows us to choose the most qualified applicant for your property.
  12. What is your tenant move-in procedure?
    Real Property Management Hampton Roads conducts a thorough move-in inspection documenting every inch of the property with a video or written report prior to a new tenants move-in documenting the condition. The tenant has an opportunity to annotate prior damages and tenant concerns in writing and by photos within 5 days of move in.  Additionally, our lease and other forms protect our owners.
  13. What is your maintenance and repair policy? If you have internal maintenance, what is the hourly rate?
    We highly discourage owners from being their own handyman, due to increased liability, and tenants attempting to circumvent management for all future request. Owners that have their own preferred maintenance professionals can be accommodated with additional documentation. Our internal maintenance is limited in scope with reasonable rates based on the service.  We have a crew of professional and preferred vendors in all service areas that offer some of the best service rates for professionals in their respected industries.  Real Property Management requires a copy of the vendors’ liability and workers compensation insurance policies as well as a copy of the contractor and/or business license.Real Property Management Hampton Roads utilizes a state-of-the-art work order system that tracks all maintenance requests and communication. Our owners receive copies of each work order via email. We have an online system making it easy for our tenants to troubleshoot problems and request repairs.
  14. What is your move-out procedure?
    Real Property Management Hampton Roads conducts a thorough move-out inspection via video and/or written report, with or without the tenant within hours of move out. We compare move-in to move-out video and/or written inspections. Proof of any damages and the collection of funds are rarely challenged due to our impeccable documentation.
  15. What is your management termination procedure?
    Real Property Management Hampton Roads requires a 30-day written notice to cancel at any time. There are ZERO termination fees, NO long term contracts, we guarantee if you are not happy; you can fire us at any time.
  16. What is your policy on returning phone calls from tenants and owners?
    With a staff dedicated to answering the phones, we answer 92% of all calls live during business hours, Call and leave a message and see how long it takes for the call to be returned. Most of our correspondence with both the tenant and owners is via email or text messaging. This allows for written documentation.
  17. Can I request a copy of the property management agreement?
    Be aware that some management agreements use verbiage that ties the length of the management agreement to the then current lease agreement; so while you may have signed a one-year management agreement, the lease term of 3 years may have you tied to that particular management company for 3 years. They call this caveat emptor (buyer beware) Real Property Management does not employ these deceptive practices. You can always request a copy of these agreements at any time.
  18. Can I request a copy of proof of insurances?
    These copies should come from the carrier directly, not the property manager. While not always practical when you are in search of a management company, this is an important step.  Professional property management companies have E&O (errors and omissions) as well as general liability, and workers compensation insurance.
  19. What kind of software do you use?
    Software/platform usage varies from company to company, with some using third party vendors, some purchasing white-labeled software, and others building a custom system in-house. At Real Property Management, we use Appfolio. Generally speaking, Appfolio is the leader in single-family, and small multi-family property management software space, however, any legit property management software will help organize and develop systems for the property manager, which will improve performance.
  20. When should I begin searching for a property manager?
    If you are buying a property, don’t wait until the property closes to select your property manager. If you are looking at changing property managers, do so before you have a vacancy. Give yourself plenty of time to pick the right company.
  21. What kind of communication habits should I look for and/or expect from you?
    Every property manager knows that the owner wants high rents, low maintenance, and immediate attention. Select a property manager that can provide data that supports their lip service.
  22. What does your standard lease look like?
    Does it address all of your concerns? Does it look professional? Does it protect you the Owner? Click here to view our Lease Agreement. To date, this lease has not lost in court yet.
  23. What does your typical owner statement look like?
    Owner statements should be professional, easy to read, and address all concerns that may commonly arise. Our owners access their statements online and our notices come to you in the form of an email. We have the ability to create custom reports from a robust database of reports that can be sent to you every month, just ask us for more information if the standard statement does not answer everything you desire. If you are not a computer, internet, or email kind of person, our system is probably not for you.
  24. What is your protocol for showing a rental property?
    When doing your homework, check out the property management website in question and search their available listings. Take it one step further by calling and scheduling appointments to see them. Did they answer the phone?  Was scheduling a showing convenient for you?  Was the person showing you the property professional? How did the unit show?
  25. Why should I choose Real Property Management Hampton Roads?
    Owning rental homes can be costly.  The right property management company can make all the difference.  Our goal at Real Property Management Hampton Roads is to protect your investment, minimize your costs, and maximize your income—without interrupting your daily life. If you have a single rental home or hundreds of investment properties, trust the professionals at Real Property Management to manage your property. Professional guidance and rigorous processes help you get the best rental rate, with quality tenants who stay longer and take care of your property.For more information, contact us today.

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