Branching out into an apartment complex or multiple multi-family dwellings can increase your real estate income, but it can also make your work load more heavy. This is why you may want to consider hiring a property manager. They can handle the regular day-to-day operations of your properties and tenants so you can focus on the bigger picture. The following are a few questions you need to answer before hiring your first property manager.
Question #1: Do you need onsite help?
An onsite manager has an office and keeps regular office hours on the property. These are typically for apartment complexes where you have many tenants making demands on the manager's time. You don't need an onsite manager for small properties with only a few tenants. For these, an offsite manager that tends to several of your properties, or a management company that handles your property and others, is a better option.
Question #2: What do you expect from your manager?
It's up to you to define the job parameters of the property manager. Generally, they take care of finding new tenants, collecting rent, handling maintenance concerns, and dealing with tenant complaints or problems, such as an eviction. If you hire an outside management firm, they will likely offer you a package rate for these services or the ones that you desire. If you hire your own manager, you may determine what they are responsible for. As an example, you may prefer to interview new tenants on your own, so this will not fall under the responsibilities of the manager.
Question #3: What are your maintenance needs?
As a general rule, the property manager should have some independence when it comes to covering maintenance issues. The best way to do this is to give the manager a spending ceiling for calling in outside contractors to fix a problem. This way they can tend to minor issues quickly, but you also have some control so that spending doesn't get out of hand. Another method is to have your own contracts with local maintenance services, like plumbers and electricians. Your manager will call in the contractor needed, they will survey the problem, and then they will call you with a quote. This way you have service contractors you trust onsite so you don't have to worry about price gouging.
It's exciting when your real estate business becomes successful enough so that you don't have to handle all the landlord responsibilities yourself. With a little planning, you can find the perfect property manager (like those at MGR Property Management Inc) for your needs.