1) Ask the property manager if they own rentals as well?
Generally that indicates more of an “owner’s mentality”. An Owner’s Mentality is cautious about costs and always analyzing return on investment.
2) What professional affiliations do you belong to?
Washington does not require our property managers to be licensed nor is there any regulating body? So unfortunately, most property managers have very little training or guidance. Select a property manager that is licensed, is affiliated with a professional organization, and who has been professionally educated in property management.
3) What type of property do you specialize in?
Some companies specialize in single family homes and other companies specialize in large complexes. Pick a property manager that specializes in your type of rental. Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. does not specialize in large apartment complexes. Our portfolio consists of 50% single family homes, and 50% multi-family, such as duplexes, triplexes, and four plexes.
4) How long have you been in business?
Experience and track record is important. Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. has been in business since 1985.
5) How did you become a property manager?
Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. came about because our owner, Eric Bessett, was purchasing his own rentals as well as working for a large property management company and saw a need for professional management of single-family homes and small multi-family units (duplexes, tri-plexes, four-plexes).
6) Request a list of three clients who you can contact about their property management services?
Please e-mail Info@MadisonSpokane.com and Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. will gladly provide a list of references.
7) How many people are in your company/office and what are their duties?
The average employee to property ratio is 1 employee for every 100-125 properties. The lower this ratio, the more care you can expect. Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc.’s current ratio is 1 employee to every 73 properties.
8) How many properties do you currently manage?
In general, the larger the company the less the personal service you can expect. However a lot of this has to do with how sudden and recent the growth has been. Over the past three years, Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. has kept its growth less than 10% per year. Recent and rapid growth can be a red flag.
9) What areas (if any) are you limited to?
Markets vary from area to area and it is important to find someone that specializes in the area in which your rental resides. Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. specializes in Spokane and surrounding areas within a 20 mile radius of our downtown office. However, if you have a property outside of our area, we can provide you with a referral to another professional company.
10) Can tenants apply online? Can tenants pay rent online?
Simply, the answer to both questions is… YES!!! In order to rent property faster, keep tenants longer and get you rent payments faster, we are miles ahead of the competition in our technology. Applying online is simple, easy and secure. Paying rent is all three as well, but in addition to that it is FREE to the tenants. Many companies add an additional charge to pay rent online. At Madison Real Estate, our tenants love the fast, easy and FREE ability to pay their rent online at their convenience. Faster occupancy and happier tenants mean more money goes to your bottom line each year through reduced turnover.
Additionally, tenants are able to submit work orders for maintenance online via their tenant portal. Once a work order is submitted, it goes directly into our property management software and an e-mail is sent to the maintenance staff alerting them to a new tenant request. Quick, easy and effective. Response times are cut down, tenants stay happy… and happy tenants mean longer term tenants that reduce rental life-cycle turnover costs dramatically
11) What is your advertising and tenant lead generation procedure? Who pays for advertising? Do you have a website and can tenants apply on-line? Do you have virtual tours?
Often Owner’s think that advertising is paid by the management company, when in actuality it is most likely charged to the Owner. You will want to know what a full month’s worth of advertising will cost you and what different areas does the manager use. For example, Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. posts our listings onto our website and over fifteen other websites. Our GOOGLE and YAHOO search engine placement is very high. Additionally, we advertise on Craigslist and will place ads in the newspaper.
12) What is your tenant screening procedure?
Some property managers do little screening. Many owners are very tempted to go with these companies, because they also boast higher rents. Unfortunately that tends to be a short term gain, as the damages, eviction costs, and re-rent costs are much greater. It is advisable that you select a management company that checks that utilizes a professional screening company to verify: credit, criminal background, Landlord references, social security ID check, and employment.
13) What is your tenant move in procedure?
Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. conducts a thorough move-in inspection and annotates damages and concerns in writing. We also take multiple photos (an average of 250 per property) to visually document the condition of each and every area of the home. Additionally, our lease, property condition report and other forms protect our owners.
14) What is your maintenance and repair policy? If you have internal maintenance, what is the hourly rate?
Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. performs routine maintenance up to an agreed upon dollar amount through qualified and legitimate vendors. We request a copy of their liability and workers compensation insurance policies as well as a copy of the contractor registration prior to any work being performed. We do not have an in-house maintenance staff as we feel our job is to run a property management company to the best of our ability. It is our opinion that running other in-house businesses distracts from our core business of managing property. Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. utilizes a state-of-the-art work order system that tracks all maintenance requests. Our owners receive copies of each work order via email. We have an on-line system making it easy for our tenants to trouble shoot problems and request repairs.
15) What is your move out procedure?
Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. conducts a thorough move out inspection after the tenant has vacated the property. We compare move-in to move-out inspections and photos. Proof of any damages and the collection of funds are rarely challenged due to our impeccable documentation.
16) What is your management termination procedure?
Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. requires a 60-day written notice prior to the end of the contracted period. We will work with owners in special situations (moving back into their home, selling the home, etc.) to bring about a fair and equitable resolution.
17) What is your policy on returning phone calls from tenants and owners?
Most of our correspondence with both the tenant and owners are via email. This allows for written documentation and reduces the chance of any errors on our part. E-mails and phone calls are returned in order of urgency and importance. All calls are returned within 24 business hours.
18) May I request a copy of the property management agreement?
Absolutely. Please e-mail Info@MadisonSpokane.com and Madison Real Estate and Property Management, Inc. will gladly provide a copy of our management agreement.
19) May I request a copy of proof of insurances?
Yes. These copies will come from the carrier directly, not the property manager. Please provide contact information that we may pass along to our carriers.
20) What kind of software do you use?
Generally speaking, property management software will help organize and develop systems for the property manager, which will improve performance. QuickBooks is not a good solution and a company running property management from an accounting-only software should be a red flag for you as an owner. We use one of the most advanced and cutting edge solutions in the industry. It is called AppFolio and can be seen at the following website: http://www.appfolio.com/
21) Begin searching for your property manager as soon as possible.
If you are buying a property, don’t wait until the property closes to select your property manager. If you are looking at changing property managers, do so before you have a vacancy. Give yourself plenty of time to pick the right company.
22) Don’t select a “yes man” Look for honesty and quality of the responses to your question.
Every property manager knows that the owner wants high rents, low maintenance, and immediate attention. Select a property manager that can provide data that supports their rent recommendation.
23) Request a copy of their lease.
Does it address all of your concerns? Does it look professional? Does it protect you the Owner?
24) Request for a copy of a typical owner statement.
Is it professional, easy to read, and address everything you want it to?
Our Owner’s access their statements on-line and our notices come to you in a form of an email. If you are not a computer, internet, or email “kind of person,” our system is probably not for you.
25) Request a list of vacant units.
Call and schedule appointments to see them. Was the person showing you the property professional? How did the unit show?