If you’ve recently made the decision to hire a property management company, it’s a good idea to sit down and draw up a list of questions you want to ask them before you pull the trigger. Property management companies handle a wide range of different tasks in a variety of different ways, so you’ll want to make sure that the company you decide to hire is capable of getting the job done. Getting those pressing questions answered will help you narrow down which Toronto property manager will suit you best, and will put your mind at ease. Here are a few of the most important things you should ask your prospective property management company.
How much experience do you have in the industry?
Your first question should be about industry experience – you’ll want to hire a property management company with a proven track record of success. Your investment is at stake – hiring a company with no industry experience carries too much risk. They should be able to point you in the direction of references, who you can speak with about their experience dealing with the company.
Is your company licensed and insured?
To ensure that you’re covered from a legal perspective, this is an essential question. A qualified property management company should be properly licensed and have liability insurance to ensure that you’ll be safe in the event that something disastrous takes place.
How many properties do you manage? How big is your team
Knowing how many properties are presently managed by the company will help you know how much of their time and resources they’ll be able to allocate to your property(s). This is also where you should ask about the size of their team. If their property management team is the right size, they should be more than capable of handling a large number of clients. In order to ensure that the service offered by your future property management company is nothing short of excellent, you’ll have to assess what their current workload is, and whether you think they can capably take on your property(s).
What kind of properties do you manage?
If you’ve invested in both commercial and residential properties, it’ll be important to ensure that a company will be prepared to manage both types. They’ll also be able to elaborate on their experience with managing different types of residential properties, including detached, semi-detached, duplexes, condominiums, and more.
How and how often do you communicate with owners and tenants?
Communication is key. Ensuring that your property manager keeps an open line of communication between themselves and owners/tenants is critical. Ask them about response times, hours of availability, and of course, methods of communication. A well-rounded property management company will be able to communicate via phone, text, email, and sometimes even through social media channels.
What areas do you manage properties in?
This is to gauge whether the company has had experience managing properties in the area where you’ve invested. The more experience they have in the area, the more familiar they’ll be with it and the better it’ll work out for you.
What is your tenant turnover like?
If the tenant turnover isn’t low, the company should be able to offer you a sound explanation. A low turnover rate means that tenants are satisfied with their experience, and that their needs are being well taken care of. It also means that your property more than likely won’t sit vacant for any significant amount of time.
What does your screening process look like?
Screening is the most important part of finding good tenants – a company should have a strict screening process that filters out potential bad tenants. Property management companies should perform credit and background checks, verify employment, and meet with tenants to ensure that they’re a good fit. The more thorough the screening process, the less likely they are to rent to a bad tenant. They also know the things you can – and can’t – legally ask a tenant during the screening process. Tenant screening is extremely tricky and this reason alone is a good one to hire a property management company rather than trying to do it all yourself.
How do you handle advertising?
It’s inevitable that a property will at some point be vacant. Asking about a company’s advertising and marketing strategies will inform you about how seriously they handle the search for new tenants. A knowledge of social media and internet advertising will be an asset here, as will any other type of high visibility ads. The company may also tell you how long it typically takes to fill vacancies, allowing you to prepare yourself for a temporarily vacant property.
How do you handle missed payments?
Missed rent payments are another inevitable part of owning a rental property. How your property management company goes about handling these situations will be critical. The company should have strict policies on missed or late payments, and should have an established legal process on how they go about holding tenants responsible.
What is your maintenance process like?
A qualified property management company should have connections with professionals like plumbers and electricians to ensure that repairs and general maintenance are performed safely, effectively, and in a timely manner. You may also ask about whether repairs need to be okayed by you before they can be performed, and how they’ll communicate with you throughout the process.
HighGate Properties is your one-stop shop for Toronto property management. Our experienced team takes pride in going above and beyond to offer clients the best possible service. HighGate handles commercial and residential property management, as well as renovations and maintenance, and buying, selling, and renting properties so that you can focus on the things that matter most in your life. For more information about the Toronto property management and real estate services offered by the team at HighGate Properties, contact us today.