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Real Estate Investing: Apartments - How to Find a Good Property Manager

How do you find good property management? After all, youíll pay if you donít have a skillful, competent, honest property manager.

How do you find good candidates for property management? The secret is referrals, lots of them. I speak with a lot of property owners about the possibility of my company buying their property, regardless of whether they are interested in selling. I ask them who currently manages their property and whether they are happy with them.

I ask other property managers who manage other types of property Ė retail, for example - if they know of a good multifamily property manager. I ask everyone else I come across in related businesses, including attorneys and insurance agents. I like to get several referrals to the same property manager.

Make sure your investment focus matches your property managerís expertise. Donít have a luxury class A property manager manage your working class C properties. Do your needs match the skills of the property manager? Do you need rehabilitation managed? Match the size of your properties with the size and capacity of your property manager. You donít want to be your property managerís smallest property. Calls get returned quickly when you are one of the largest customers.

Interview your property manager, inspect one of the properties the manager currently manages and ask to see a rent-ready unit. Is their definition of rent-ready the same as yours? I remember one prospective property manager stepping over some trash on the ground outside a managed property. They just didnít care. Find out who their favorite contractors are for plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc. What are the reputations of those contractors?

Does the property manager know whatís going on in the rental market and how to react to it?

Make sure your contact and discussions set the groundwork for a constructive business relationship. Make sure you are clear about your property managerís repairs expense limit. Make sure you are on the same page about handling non-paying tenants and evictions.

Monitor and verify. What do your monthly financials look like? Is it clear what your expenses are? How quickly are vacant units being made ready? How quickly are they being rented? How does the property look compared with similar properties in the area? When something doesnít go as planned, what corrective action is being taken? One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Is that what your property manager is doing to rent your vacant units?

In one market, I have a college student who takes pictures of potential property purchases. If I havenít recently been by a property I own, Iíll have her go take pictures of it for me.

Patrick Leblanc is the president of Reflex Investors Inc. and has been investing in real estate since 1991. Reflex Investors buys multifamily properties by offering investors a fixed 10% return in private mortgage notes. Patrick can be reached at http://www.Reflex-Investors.com and http://www.Solid-Return.com

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