How to Find a Good Property Manager for Your Houston Property?
February 21, 2022
Your Houston property is an important investment, so hiring a property manager to look after it is important. But how do you choose a residential property management company that will offer the best services at the best price? Read below for our guide on how to find a property manager that is trusted and cost-effective.
Any investment property you have in the Houston area is important to you. That same property can involve a lot of responsibility, however. Hiring a residential property management company can help you get a handle on things, but how do you find a good property manager for your Houston property? Knowing how to balance the right services at a good price means finding the best value. You want someone who is as cost-effective as they are trustworthy.
1. Ask for Referrals
Ask around people you know if you want to find a skilled property manager. Anyone from friends and family to coworkers and professional colleagues might be able to suggest property management professionals who can handle maintenance requests and other matters for you. Be grateful for any referrals you get, but don't take their word for things blindly. You still need to do research of your own before you hire anyone to be a rental property manager for you.
2. Do Online Research and Read Reviews
If you want to find the best property managers in Houston, Texas, then you need to do thorough research and read as many reviews as you can. This helps you narrow down your search and vet any referrals that you have been given. You can find extensive online lists of potential property managers based on the size of property they manage and the locations that they serve. Once you pick a few, you can visit their individual websites to learn more about them or check their reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and similar resources.
3. Check Portfolio and Examine Track Record
Look over the portfolio of any property management company in Houston, Texas. This is something that they should display on their website so you know what types of property they usually manage. You need someone that can work with what you have, and different options might specialize in certain areas, be it commercial properties, multifamily residences, condos, or single-family homes.
See how long they've been in business, and ask them for references. Take to a real estate agent you trust about their reputation and how they perform. Be ready to contact them and ask how they handle particular tasks, such as evictions, marketing, and maintenance needs. How they've done things in the past usually points to how they'd do in the future.
4. Interview Several Property Managers
Once you have multiple possibilities, you need to interview between three and five residential property managers when looking for someone to take care of your rental properties. You can meet them or call them. In either case, have a list of potential questions you can ask them to get to know them better so you are comfortable with them.
- How big is your business staff?
- What are your management fees like?
- How about your other fees that might apply?
- Do you have the right certifications and licenses?
- How do you comply with local, state, and federal laws regarding landlords and tenants?
- How do you handle marketing?
- Do you screen tenants?
- Is there a cancellation fee or minimum agreement term?
- In the worst case scenario, how are evictions handled?
- What are your other services?
Ask some of the above questions with your own, and record the responses you get from each interviewee. You can compare these later to see who might work best for your situation.
5. Set Clear Expectations
Even if you find the right property manager to handle your lease agreements, you need to set clear expectations with any residential property managers you hire. They can't deliver the results you want unless they know what your expectations even are.
Let them know if you intend to have them handle rent collection, showings, tenant screening, marketing, maintenance, and evictions. If you only intend to have them handle some things instead of all that, then let them know what you will do and what you expect them to handle. Responsibilities need to be delineated from the very start.
6. Review Terms of Rental/Lease Agreement
Knowing how to find a property manager in Houston, Texas is important, but another crucial part of the process is reviewing the terms of any rental or lease agreement. You need to make sure that the terms set are both reasonable and fair. This is just formalizing the delineation of expectations already set and putting them into a legal contract. Have a lawyer review your contract before signing it, be sure you get monthly reports and verify all parties involved are compliant with housing laws and have appropriate insurance coverage.
7. Evaluate Property Manager's Performance Annually
Once you find a good manager, other property owners might be looking to you for referrals and references they can use in Houston, Texas. That's helpful to them, but you need to do yourself a favor and evaluate your property manager at least once a year to make sure they're keeping you satisfied.
How are they dealing with situations no one saw coming? How are they handling evictions? You have to make an ongoing decision to stick with a company. Make sure they're keeping up with yearly increases in fees and rent. These need to be talked about with tenants before they go into effect.
5 Questions to Ask a Property Management Company
The above list of questions is a good starting point for your interviews, but it's also good to know why you should ask certain questions. These six should be included in any conversation.
1. How Familiar Are You with Your Local Market?
Both residential and commercial real estate is hyper-local industries. Test the knowledge of any property management company by asking about average rental and vacancy rates for properties such as yours. What is turnover like? How long do comps sit vacantly? What sort of tenants would be an ideal match for your property?
2. What Kind of Properties Are You Currently Managing?
This is looking into how well they know how to handle your particular kind of property. No matter how great any property management company is, their reputation might mean nothing if they don't have actual experience in managing assets similar or identical to yours. For example, hiring someone who primarily deals in industrial warehouses might not be a great fit for your residential properties.
3. What Services Do You Offer?
Whether you use a property management company's services a la carte or you expect them to cover everything, you need to make sure they offer the services that you need. We offer the following property management services:
- Property Marketing: We advertise using photos on more than 200 websites to attract prospective clients and qualified tenants.
- Leasing: We know the Texas Property Code and use a real estate attorney to write and review our residential lease agreements.
- Property Inspection: We keep your property in high-quality condition and make sure tenants honor their end of the lease agreements so we can identify and resolve issues quickly.
- Tenant Screening: Our 14-step screening process looks for reliable, profitable tenants with background checks, employment verification, and income documentation.
- Rent Collection: We offer an online portal for rent payments but also receive paper checks.
- Accounting Services: We'll take care of everything from tracking expenses to vendor requests, and we give you a monthly statement for each property.
- Property Maintenance: We offer tenants 24/7 property maintenance for unforeseen circumstances through our network of reliable vendors and professionals.
- Property Turnover: When tenants move out, we get quotes for the work necessary to get a property ready for the next tenant.
- Eviction Assistance: We're proud to keep this under 3% of our portfolio, but we handle the whole legal process when needed to protect your property.
4. What's Your Typical Customer Acquisition Cost?
If you want to know how to find a good property management company, then ask them about how much they spend on filling a rental property with tenants. They need to know what their average cost is for tenant acquisition. They should also know their average attrition rate. A turnover rate of 10% to 20% is common, but anything more might indicate substandard management and business practices.
5. What Is the Current Vacancy Rate of Your Portfolio?
A good property manager knows their vacancy rate, but a great property manager will also know the market vacancy rates by asset class. They'll either be performing at that level, beating it, or taking concrete steps to get in line with the market. Doing so can be done by pricing units competitively, making screening a streamlined process, and using technology to make showings and leasing's an expedient process.
Even owning one Houston, Texas property can be a handful to manage. The right property management company can take some or all of that burden off of your hands, which is very convenient. If you are a remote owner living somewhere else or you have more than one property, using property management services becomes even more essential to consider. Contact our team at Keyrenter Houston right away to see how we can help.