What to Ask a Prospective Property Management Company

Property owners and property managers (PM) each have many expectations of the other. For this reason, both parties should ask many questions of the other before working together. A PM is going to take care of many time consuming tasks over the years saving the owner hundreds of hours of effort. We would recommend all owners research prospective PM’s using the following questions:

Updated: March 5, 2019

  1. Is your brokerage licensed with the State of Ohio?

  2. Does your brokerage provide services other than Property Management?

  3. How many units do you manage?

  4. Are your services an all-or-nothing approach or more of an a la carte approach?

  5. In what ways could an owner be involved with the management of the property?

  6. How often will the property be visited by your staff?

  7. What will be checked at property visits?

  8. What geographic area is your brokerage experienced in managing?

  9. Where are prospective tenants looking for rentals and do you advertise there?

  10. When they arise, how are maintenance needs handled?

  11. When they arise, how are capital spending needs (long lived improvements) handled?

  12. What is your process for handling lease violations other than non-payment of rent?

  13. When will I, the owner be contacted?

  14. Are your prospective tenant screening criteria the same across the board?

  15. How many weeks of vacancy should I expect between tenants?

  16. Can you provide me some examples of common repairs and their associated costs?

  17. When was the last time your lease template was updated in a major way?

  18. What kind of process refinement to better manage my property is taking place at your company?

  19. Can I handle maintenance repairs while my units are occupied?

  20. Do you support “Home Warranties” and if not why?

  21. How do you minimize the chance of a bad outcome with a tenant (unpaid rent, lease violations, legal trouble, general strife)?

  22. What “after hours” maintenance work could actually happen and who will the tenant be talking to after-hours?

  23. Do you care how long I own the property?

  24. My property is part of an association, who will deal with association issues?

  25. What steps are taken to “renew” the tenants lease?

  26. How do prospective tenants schedule showings at my units with your company?

  27. Who determines what work needs done to the unit between tenants?

  28. What is your occupancy rate now and on average?

  29. Do I have access 24/7 to all invoices for expenses at my property?

  30. Why might my unit not lease quickly? If leasing is slow, what are we going to do?

  31. What percentage of your tenants receive a 3-day notice?

  32. What is explicitly excluded from your services?

  33. Other than your 2-3 main fees, what other expenses might you charge me?

  34. As an owner, how often will I have to send you money?

  35. How do you ensure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in place and working?

  36. What is your pet policy?

  37. How will utility transfers and billing be handled while the unit is vacant?

  38. How do you check for lease violations and which lease violations do you check for?

  39. How do you ensure the furnace filter gets replaced?

If you are looking for residential property management services in Franklin county Ohio, please reach out to us. We’d love to chat and see if our services (which are designed for reliability and performance) are a good fit for your needs.

Investment Property Red Flags - What to Look For

In this video the RL team walks a rental property in Columbus, Ohio to identify some issues you might consider with a rental property you currently own or are looking to purchase. Each of these issues, although seemingly minor at quick glance, can result in substantial costs for the investor.

In this video we identify several areas for consideration including:

  • Carpet - Prospective residents are going to notice and be turned off by:

    • Worn carpet

    • Unsightly carpet

    • Stained carpet

    • Odors from the carpet

  • Windows - These can present many issues for the investor:

    • Quality and function of the windows

    • Tenants do look for more modern, more energy efficient windows

    • Do they open/close/lock easily and properly. There are many components that can go bad on a window

    • Are all Screens installed - Housing code typically requires them

  • Doors - A common maintenance request and issue:

    • Do they open/close/latch properly

    • No Rubbing or dragging

  • Neighbor problems:

    • Unsightly adjacent properties both next door and on the street will present issues with leasing

  • Construction short-cuts:

    • A shaved down door that was not painted afterwards. What other shortcuts exist in the property?

  • Ceilings:

    • Evidence of roach waste

    • Previous leaks or other irregularities. Prospective residents will notice and you should address before they do

  • Bathroom:

    • Dated flooring, vanity , toilet, medicine cabinet, light fixtures

    • All fixtures including sinks and toilets working,

    • Plumbing looks OK, shower stall loose head piping, valve piping secure, tub spout secure and divertor working

  • Kitchen:

    • All knobs and pulls tight, cabinet shelves and hinges in order

    • Cleanliness, grease on cabinet doors and drawer fronts

    • Range functionality, all parts present

    • Refrigerator functionality, all parts present

    • Sink, sprayer and dishwasher functionality

    • Plumbing in order

    • Wiring and GFCI outlets proper

    • Appropriate finishes (no carpet on floor)

  • Main living spaces:

    • Appealing layout

    • Fireplace brick troubles (expensive!)

    • Non-durable but inexpensive laminate flooring

  • Basement:

    • Air sealing of windows, installing glass block windows for security

    • Breaker panels, avoid or replace push-o-matic and pacific breaker panels

    • Water intrusion, sometimes challenging and expensive to fix (A common reason to “dump” or sell a rental property)

    • Do not provide washer/dryers to residents

    • Check that hookups for washer/dryers are working and properly set-up

    • Electrical all terminated and installed correctly throughout

    • Hot water tank (HWT) - Just replace if over 12 years old, it’s not worth the risk

    • Furnaces - easy filter changes should be possible for best results

    • Main water meter - good working main water shut-off valve, proper support for piping and meter, water service line age and freezing and clogging and flow capacity

    • Main drain piping stack and sewer lines - Problems with clay pipe, galvanized piping, have main sewer line camera-ed and cleaned.

If you are looking for a team that has several decades of experience identifying and dealing with issues like these, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

RL Property Management Group, the only property management company in Columbus started and run by engineers. Our clients enjoy a premium property management experience without paying a premium price. RL Property Management is designed for reliability and performance.