1. How long have they been in business?
Longevity can be an important factor to consider. Companies that have been in business for many years have already proven their sustainability and, hopefully, earned a good reputation in the community.
2. Do they have references?
The best way to gain insight into a business and their performance is to ask current or past customers about their experience. Granted, there will always be people who can never be satisfied, but if there is a pattern of complaints, take this as a red flag!
3. Are they listed with the BBB or other organizations for ratings?
This is another way to get references on your own. There are many organizations that collect data on various companies and have consumers fill out detailed reports.
4. How do they charge for their services?
Compare the rates of various companies to be sure they are in the same ballpark. If a company is charging a rate three times the amount of other businesses, that is a good sign they are not the company you want to hire.
5. Are there any additional fees?
A lot of unscrupulous companies will draw you in with a very low management rate, but beware! Oftentimes, there are hidden fees that suddenly pop up on your billing statements.
6. What are the standard office hours?
It is important to have a company that is reasonably accessible. You might even want to call a few different times to see how quickly someone answers, how quickly and if you are put on hold, or if your call goes straight to voicemail.
7. What happens if there is an emergency after-hours?
Unfortunately, this is something most people do not think about until it happens. A tenant calls at 3 A.M. because the basement is flooding. A timely response to such emergencies will not only protect your investment but your tenant’s trust in you as a landlord.
8. How do they handle evictions?
This is one of the most uncomfortable subjects, and part of the reason you want a management company is for this very reason. Make sure the business has the proper knowledge and experience to handle this situation.
9. What kind of marketing do they provide?
One of the worst things that can happen to your investment is for it to sit empty. Not only can that negatively impact the overall value of the property, but it obviously affects your bottom line. Companies with good marketing strategies will keep your properties rented!
10. Do they have leases that are legally binding?
This is probably the most important answer to have. There are many housing laws that apply to the tenant-landlord agreement and often vary by state. A good company will likely have an employed attorney or at least one on retainer.