Interview Questions to Ask Your Potential Property Management Company

A is for Access
Image by Ben Zvan via Flickr

 

1) Confirm that the Property Management Company belongs to a local Apartment Association.

2) Ask them to show you their application, rental forms and leases along with credit reporting forms used when leasing an apartment.

3) Confirm what types of marketing media do they use in the local market to expose any vacant units? Look to see  that the ads are correct and updated frequently.

4) If your apartment building does not have an on-site manager how will they show the units to perspective residents?

5) What are their sources for rental surveys to determine the best possible rental amount and required time to turn a unit?

6) What local businesses, universities and hospital contacts do they have to expose your units to potential residents who will need housing?

7) What are their current vendor contracts and have them show all costs for turning a typical unit with just painting and cleaning.

8) On more extensive work for a apartment turnover how are they prepared with vendor contracting and appliance costs to best turn a unit efficiently and cost effectively.

9) Ask for references so you can check their credibility and always survey the market to see if they have competitive pricing.

10) Drive by a few of their existing properties they manage and always look in the carports to see how well maintained and clean they are during the day and at night.

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My Team Approach & Successful Steps To Turning An Apartment Home

There are certain criteria and steps to follow when renting apartments when the economy is strong as well as in transition.

Stay in contact with your tenants when leases are coming up and ask them if they will be renewing their lease. If they were planning to move you would arrange with them to schedule their initial move-out date usually two weeks prior to the actual move out date.

At that time you would decide if you are just painting and cleaning the apartment home. If you as the owner want to add amenities or upgrades you would start to schedule the vendors ahead of time and upon the day of move-out they are ready to go. Any new appliances, window coverings etc.can be purchased ahead of time.

Two great ideas that are fairly reasonable and add value is built-in ovens and new lighting. Dishwashers may be more costly but usually will get a higher rent and in a difficult market will set you apart from the competition.

Having vendors as part of a professional team allows you to quickly turn units and rent the units with very little loss of rents. These vendors are familiar with your paint colors, the type of appliances, and upgrades to bathrooms such as new vanities, lighting and have everything down to a science to turn the apartment quickly and efficiently.

If the apartment is going to just be cleaned, painted and floors cleaned you can have the apartment ready in one to two days. The next step is to pre-market the unit prior to move out and test the market at your new rental rate. If you get calls great, if not you can always lower the price within the two weeks.

Internet sites are very successful and allow you to post all the data with amenities and pictures that also help pre-sell units. Floor plans if available are very helpful to show area and square footage. These are very common asked questions by potential tenants.

Another very successful approach to showing the unit once it is vacant is to advertise a tour date and time and ask that they call to confirm.

These steps work and you just stay with the plan on every rental.

City Utility Companies & City Requirements Are Creating Havoc In Our Daily Business Lives

It appears that in every city we are currently doing business in we are seeing real life domino effects when a city changes and enforces new policies.

 

One example recently was a client requesting me to find him commercial space in another city due to a very hefty water usage surcharge that was having a negative financial impact on his daily business. The result was to move out of that city and change the location he conducted his daily business and thus having to lay off several employees.

 

Another city is thinking of adding a business license tax and although most cities already have this requirement it will bring added cost to business owners who are currently feeling the economic crunch. If approved the tax will be a fee-based type of tax with surcharges according to the number of employees, units if an apartment building and square footage if a commercial business. Even the large non-profit organizations will be charged per employee if this business license tax is approved.

 

The other day I observed the closure of a government office two-days a month due to budget cuts thus slowing the process and ease of doing business in that city.

 

Another city has imposed extra costs associated with garbage pick up A local apartment owner had to incur added charges as a surcharge was being placed per garbage can to come on the property to remove. This was in addition to the regular garbage bill that the residents are paying. The resident would have to pay the surcharge or remove the cans to the curb each week. The owner did not want to impose this surcharge on the residents and then have to police whose garbage can was assigned to what unit and then expect them to bring the cans curbside.

 

Property Management Success Story In A Challenging Market

Real Estate will always be a great investment here in the Bay Area.

 

When you have an “A”, location with a well-maintained apartment building you can rent in these difficult times.

 

People are very educated and know what they want and often it is the reason they come here to California and especially to the Bay Area.

 

With a building just a few miles from Stanford University we see very intelligent people from all over the world who come to learn and work here locally.

 

Flexibility and good common sense says that when the market you are in demands creativity because of the individuals in your market having creative work schedules you to must meet their demand.

 

Our conventional leases have always been One year with an option to renew for another year if both parties are happy with the lease.

 

We now find a very interesting situation that worked out extremely well at one of the properties.

 

The unit was beautifully remodeled and we had multiple offers for people who wanted to begin renting in early July. Instead of remaining vacant and without income for two months we decided to approve the tenants for a shorter time period.

 

The applications were taken and everything checked out house according to our house rules and we rented the apartment.

 

Our success story is that going out of the box and meeting the requirements of your target market you to can be very successful in a challenging economy and rental market.

Ten Important Practices To Follow For The New Property Owner

#1. Join the California Apartment Association or Your Local Apartment Association in your state. Order CAA’s Managing Rental Housing Encyclopedia Book.

#2. Sign up for an Education Course in your area.
 
#3. Have available all the up to date required forms for prospective tenants who will be leasing your property and new housing laws as they are updated. Understand the instruction sheets and be well informed of your rights and the tenant’s rights.
 
#4. Have a contact person at the Apartment Association that you can call with any questions and concerns, networking is very important.
 
#5. Have your business polices in place and have them documented in writing when you provide an applicant with an application. Be specific to your income requirements etc.
 
#6. Advertise in various mediums that you will be comfortable in managing and always be consistent. Successful ideas have been Craigslist, Rental Portals such as Apartments.com. Renters.com, local newspapers and College Community Housing Sites.
 
#7. It is very important to understand the local housing requirements in the city that your property is located. For example, in the city of Palo Alto owners are required to offer good residents the option for renewal of their leases.
 
#8. Have an updated lease with a complete move-in move out form so both you and the tenant has a complete understanding and agrees to the condition of the property.
 
#9. Be advised of the correct items such as a copy of a driver’s license and birth dates in order to run a credit check.
 
#10. It is important to remember that the first month’s rent and security deposit upon move-in should be in the form of a cashiers check or money order. Always be accessible by giving tenants your contact office and cell numbers.