Hiring a Property Manager: 15 Questions You Should Ask

Learn the 15 questions you should ask when interviewing a property manager for your PadSplit

August 04, 2022

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You’ve considered the pros and cons of hiring a property manager for your PadSplit, and you’re ready to take the leap. But how do you get started? Where do you find qualified vendors? What questions should you ask when interviewing prospective Property Managers? Use this guide to help find and interview property management companies for your PadSplit.

What does a Property Manager do?

Property managers are hired as a third party by a property owner to oversee and handle the daily operations of a property owner’s real estate investment. 

Most property managers will handle the day-to-day operations, including move-ins and move-outs, for PadSplit property owners. PadSplit’s marketplace handles marketing, resident applications and screenings, and payments and collections. Ultimately it’s up to the property owner and manager to determine what falls into the scope of their work. Everyday property management responsibilities for PadSplit include: 

  • Scheduled property inspections
  • Bill pay
  • Monthly cleaning oversight
  • Landscaping maintenance
  • Pest control
  • Member move-in assistance
  • Room turns (move-out processing)
  • General maintenance and repairs
  • Monitor utility usage
  • Additional preventative maintenance

Why should you hire a Property Manager?

Roughly 70% of PadSplit properties use a property manager to help manage their properties and provide a great Member experience. Some pros and cons that come with hiring a property manager, but your decision will ultimately depend on various factors. 

Whether you’re looking to onboard a property manager to relieve the stress of managing your property, take advantage of their industry experience, or scale faster as a PadSplit Host, we recommend interviewing multiple property managers to find the right fit. 

Here are 15 questions to ask potential property managers to determine if they’re the best fit for your needs.

15 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Property Managers

Are you accepting new clients?

You’ll likely know this answer before you schedule an interview, but it’s an important first question, especially if you’re reaching out to a referral. If a property manager isn’t accepting new clients for the immediate future or seems hesitant to commit to when they can accept new clients, it’s best to reach out to other vendors.

How long have you been in business?

Asking this question will give you insight into how established the property management company is and indicate their experience level. A newly-opened business isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, especially if the property manager started as an investor and self-managed their properties before earning the proper license and credentials.

How many properties do you manage today?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how many clients and properties a company should be managing, but it’s important to ensure the staff size can handle the portfolio size. A prospective property manager shouldn’t be coy with their client size and will be able to give you an exact number. If you feel like there is a discrepancy between staff size and portfolio size, you can ask their breakdown between long-term and short-term rentals, as short-term rentals can be more time-intensive. If not, it’s important to do due diligence with references to see if they’re satisfied.

What geography do you cover?

Find out what parts of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) their team covers to see if they service your property address. You’ll want their teams to have familiarity with the area and a book of vendors for a fast response time. If you plan to expand your real estate portfolio, it’s also important to ask if they cover the areas where you see yourself buying additional properties.

What makes you stand out as a Property Manager?

Managing a PadSplit can be challenging at times. Find out what sets this property manager apart from its competitors. A great way to do this is by asking them to describe a recent situation with a difficult tenant and how the matter was resolved. It will give you better insight into the property manager’s problem-solving skills and see how they talk about their clients and residents. It’s also good to ask if they’re managing any other PadSplit properties. If so, they’ll better understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the responsibility. 

What routine services do you offer?

Find out what routine services the property management company offers. Do they include monthly cleanings, yard maintenance, and pest control? Are those included in the monthly fee, or is there an additional cost? We recommend quality assurance walkthroughs regularly to ensure PadSplit properties are in proper working order. Find out if the company would be willing to do those at your desired frequency. 

What is your turnaround time for maintenance, room turns, and emergency needs?

Ask the property manager what their turnaround time is for responding to maintenance issues, room turns, and emergencies. Does their answer align with the PadSplit guidelines for turnaround times? Ask if they have any questions or concerns about addressing the issues within the recommendation timeframes. If they have concerns or can’t make guarantees, it may be time to look for another vendor.

How do you source and vet vendors? How quickly are your vendors picking up the phone when you call?

Does the company have an in-house handyman they use for most repairs, or are they contracting outside vendors? If they’re using an outsourced vendor, find out how they are sourcing, interviewing, and vetting their vendors. Any contractors hired by the property management company should be licensed, bonded, and insured.  Otherwise, you could be held liable for their work as the property owner.

What cost-effective strategies do you have to maintain a property?

As a property owner, reducing expenses directly affects your bottom line. While most property managers take care of issues as needed, it’s also wise to see if the property manager will actively look to cut costs and minimize repairs. Investing in a cost-reduction strategy helps you prepare for more significant expenses on the horizon. By planning, you can reduce your costs or eliminate them altogether.

Are you scaled to handle Member communications and assist with move-ins?

Is the team prepared to handle Member communications and maintenance requests and assist with move-ins? When a Member moves in, PadSplit opens a line of communication between the designed move-in manager and the Member to help answer any immediate questions about access to the property or room. Find out if the company is prepared to manage that communication. They may be able to on weekdays but unavailable for weekend move-ins. If that’s the case, PadSplit Hosts can turn off move-ins in their Host dashboard on certain days of the week.

How would you handle a holdover Member? Does your company handle evictions?

While holdover Members in PadSplit properties aren’t ordinary, it’s essential to understand if and how a prospective company handles evictions. Find out if the property manager has dealt with evictions in the past year. Don’t be afraid to ask how many. If so, do they manage removals in-house or hire someone? What is their procedure, and is there an additional fee?

How do you bill clients?

Property management fees may vary from one market to the next. While there’s sometimes a flat fee for services, it’s more common for a property manager to charge a monthly fee equal to 8% of the rent collected. There’s sometimes a start-up or onboarding fee when initiating a contract, so ask about that when inquiring about the fee structure. Miscellaneous fees for routine property visits or repairs are standard and to be expected, but pricing should still be transparent, straightforward, and easy for you to understand. 

How will you charge me based on my unique needs as a PadSplit Host?

While there are some similarities, PadSplit is different than traditional rentals, which means your needs from a property management company will be different than traditional clients. For example, your property manager won’t need to worry about marketing, resident applications and screenings, and payments and collections because PadSplit’s marketplace handles that. However, you will require room turns when a Member moves out of the property. It’s important to note your expected needs and understand how you would be billed for their work.

Can you provide an example of financial reporting you share with your clients each month?

Most companies use software that provides access for you to monitor the property performance regularly. Ask to see an example of the property manager’s financial reports to their clients each month. It should include a monthly and year-end statement, capital expenses report, and net cash flow. If not, ask the turnaround time for when you can expect to receive the monthly statements and answers to any one-off financial questions you may have.

What are your growth plans for your property management business?

Roughly 70% of PadSplit Hosts become repeat Hosts and add another property to their portfolio. If you have dreams and ambitions to expand your PadSplit portfolio in the coming months, find out if the property owner can scale and grow with you in the future. If you’re a larger property owner, increasing your unit count can materially impact a company’s operations, so be upfront about your growth goals in the beginning to save time and make sure expectations are aligned.

Final Thoughts on Selecting a Property Manager

Hiring a Property Manager can feel like a considerable financial investment in your PadSplit Host journey, and it’s vital to do your due diligence to ensure you find the right fit. 

Not sure how to find a great Property Manager in your area? Ask for personal referrals or tap into the PadSplit Vendor Network. Ask fellow real estate investors (ideally other fellow PadSplit Hosts) if they property management companies they’d recommend. Once you gather a list of prospective managers or companies, you can reach out and start scheduling initial phone interviews with them, using these questions as your guide.

Asking these questions to prospective Property Managers during your interview process will help you feel more confident when it comes time to make a final decision. A great property management company will be communicative and help you provide the best Member experience at one or all of your PadSplit properties.

Header Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

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