How to Choose a Property Management Company

As hard as qualifying for a loan to buy your first investment property is, making that investment profitable is more than twice as hard. Over half of the equation for succeeding with any investment property is about how you manage the property.

Poor management is the number one reason why property investors fail. Yet this is often the last thing people think of when buying an investment property. Most newbie property investors assume they can easily manage their investment until they try to do it.

That is because there are at least four dimensions to managing a rental property effectively:

  • You must have the skill to oversee the maintenance and repairs of its physical structures.
  • The competence to manage every aspect of the finances is essential.
  • It requires a level of interpersonal relationship skills to find and keep the best tenants.
  • You should have a fair amount of marketing savvy to promote the property successfully.

Owning an investment property is not just about buying a property and collecting the rent every month. There is a lot that goes into making that investment work. Because of this, many property investors opt for the easier option of hiring a property manager.

Why property investors hire property managers:

There are several reasons investors feel like they need to hire a property manager. Common ones include:

  • To avoid the hassles of dealing with tenants and employees.
  • They do not want to be involved with maintenance issues.
  • Their portfolio of rental properties has grown beyond what can be managed by one person.
  • They want more time to do other things.
  • They live at a far distance from the property. As such, overseeing it becomes a rigorous task.

They are having challenges wading through rental property laws and regulations.

But whatever the reason a property investor has for hiring a property manager, the goal is always the same. The investor wants the property manager to maintain the asset more efficiently, reduce the property’s operational costs, improve its market value and stabilize earnings.

It is necessary to have a process for assessing managers’ competence before hiring them. That is because not all property managers possess the know-how to oversee a profitable investment property.

As an investor looking to hire a property manager, what are the criteria you should use for qualifying property managers before you hire one?

1. Keep it local

Restrict your search to local companies. Effective property management requires a property manager to visit the property at short notice and odd hours. You may have the temptation of looking for a regional company, but that is not a good idea.

2. Categorize according to services offered

There are different types of property managers, and not all of them have the know-how and tools to manage your specific property. Look for a property manager with experience handling your type of property.

3. They must have proven experience

Choosing a manager who has been around the block for a long time is vital. Mastering several aspects of managing an investment property requires time. For instance, it takes constant exposure to different types of tenants to master tenant screening. As a part of gauging the manager’s experience, you want to know how many properties they have under management.

4. Check license, permits, affiliations, and insurance

The manager should be licensed, and licenses should be up to date. They should also have affiliations with recognized property management organizations in Canada. We recommend that you also look at their compliance with relevant laws and regulations governing the administration of rental properties. Most importantly, it should include the property manager’s insurance status. 

5. Examine the property management agreement

A sample of the company’s property management agreement will give you an idea of their fees, owner’s responsibilities, contract duration, significant clauses in the agreement, and other details of how the property manager operates.

6. Check how their properties are performing

If they are profitable, a property manager will have no problem with letting you review the statistics on the properties they are managing. Crucial statistics to look at include; vacancy rates, tenant turnover rates, percentage of rent delinquency, the average length of occupancy, etc. It should also include data on taxes.

7. Check their reputation

You can obtain this information by looking for online reviews and asking the company for references. References should include old tenants and some of the property manager’s current clients. Checking employee reviews can be helpful too.

8. Look at their marketing processes and tenant relationship

You can get a lot of insight into their systems and level of thoroughness by looking at vacancy postings, brochures, and marketing materials. Also, check the materials they give to new tenants to gauge their level of professionalism. Another place to look is their systems for attending to tenant complaints.

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Liliam Vasquez

Liliam is the owner and creative mastermind behind The Staging Place. She earned her certification as a Stager and Colour Expert through Home Staging Resources (HSR) after more than five years in real estate investment. Being from a family of fine artists, Liliam inherited an eye for creating stylish, wowing spaces. This, combined with her attention to detail, contagious energy and commitment to clients, makes home staging a natural progression for Liliam.

Whether preparing a property for a quick sale or transforming a client’s home into their perfect haven, Liliam uses her passion for design, colour, art and home décor to bring out the best in any type of space. Her goal at The Staging Place is to combine her expertise, education and passion for good design to create impactful spaces that buyers are attracted to and homeowners never want to leave.

Liliam holds formal real estate education, a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a certificate in Adult and Continuing Education. Liliam has been a recognized leader in education since 1995. She has taught and managed various educational programs ranging from higher education to corporate training. Before coming to Canada Liliam was co-owner of the largest E.S.L. Training Academy for children in Eastern Venezuela. During her free time, Liliam enjoys traveling with her family, spending time with her dog Romeo and exploring ways to create financial independence.
  • Member of the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA)
  • Member of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners
  • Member of the Collaborate Real Estate Edmonton Team

Rolando Davila

Rolando moved to Canada from Venezuela in 2004. He studied Civil Engineering at the University of Andes in his home town Merida and proceeded to work in large-scale capital projects in the Oil and Gas industry. Passionate about Project Management, Rolando completed a Project Management Certificate at McGill University in Montreal and completed his PMP designation in 2010. After 25 years in construction management, Rolando and his wife Liliam defined a different vision for their family and started Davas Real Estate  in 2014. Through it, they help home buyers and other investors find sound quality investments that gets them closer to achieving their financial ‘why’.

Before devoting his work full-time to Davas Real Estate Inc., Rolando fulfilled different managerial roles from Technical Services Manager, Project Manager, to Manager of Construction Services at different Engineering, Construction, and Oil & Gas companies including: Hatch Engineering, Suncor Energy, Aecon-Lockerbie, WorleyParsonsCord, and Williams Energy.

In his free time, Rolando loves to travel and enjoy fine dining around the world with his wife and daughter, Claudia. He and his wife also run a coaching and mentoring company that helps people set goals and create a game plan in pursuit of financial independence.

Claudia Davila

Claudia provides part-time support as photographer and Social Media Manager and is the newest addition to our team. Claudia recently graduated from the University of Alberta and received a BSc. in Civil Engineering. She also has a strong skill set in Social Media, videography and photography. Her unique and versatile skill set will help us grow our social media presence and help us capture the beauty of the homes we stage or style. Her passion for capturing places and making them as beautiful as they are to someone who cannot see them live will for sure be a great asset to our company and our clients.

In her free time, Claudia loves to travel and enjoy fine dining.

Amelia Bracamonte

Amelia provides part-time support as assistant stager and gift basket designer. She has a background in fine arts and attended school at Western Kentucky University. Her love for flower arranging, Her eye for design and attention to detail give our staging vignettes and gift baskets the perfect touch!

During her free time, Amelia likes to paint, read and spend time with her friends and three granddaughters.