The topic of good property managers and bad property managers is obviously one that hits close to home. There are many good property managers in metro Atlanta and just like in every industry; there are those who are not so good. We are going to talk about some of the things that can help you discern who is good and who is bad so you’ll know what kind of property manager you should be working with.
The management agreement is a legal contract and something you should spend a lot of time reviewing. This agreement will usually tell you whether you are working with a good or bad property manager. They are going to know all the parts of that contract and they’ll especially know which parts of it are really good for them. Those are the parts that might not be so good for you. Take your time reading it. You’ll find it boring legalese for the most part, but please read it from start to finish. If necessary, get some legal advice.
Within the management agreement, look for hidden fees and costs. Most people don’t know that a lot of property management companies add a mark-up onto all the maintenance costs you have to pay. Not all property managers put that information into the contract, but some of them do. That additional cost does not necessarily make a company bad, but it does result in an extra expense for you.
Long term contracts can also come with risks to property owners. At Lighthouse, we have an easy-out contract. All you have to do is send us an email, and you’re done. We won’t charge you any fees to end a contract with us. The property management industry will often charge termination fees. It’s almost like a cell phone contract, where you have to pay to get out of it. A bad property management company will require you to pay the fees for the entire term of the contract, even if you are no longer receiving property management services.
Communication is always important. Good property managers will communicate on the front end and make it easy for you to determine whether the relationship is a good fit. Make sure your property manager is licensed, because it’s a requirement in Georgia.
Finally make sure property management is a specialty. You want a good property manager who earns a living doing property management. Find someone who specializes in collecting rent, taking care of your property and placing good tenants. Companies who are more interested in selling properties will not always have the best property management professionals.
If you have any questions about what makes a good property manager, please contact us at Lighthouse Property Management, and we’ll happily help you.