In Ohio, there is a big difference between owning rental property as a source of passive income and managing that rental property on a day-to-day basis. One can be relatively hands-off if you want it to be. The other is quite the opposite.

If you’re considering hiring a property management company to free up time and energy spent on your rental unit, it’s important to ask good questions right away so you can identify if the business’s services and philosophy align with your goals.

What to Ask a Property Management Company

Property management companies are responsible for both the physical rental property itself as well as ensuring that the resident’s and owner’s needs are met.

Generally, this falls under three major categories: leasing, rent collection and maintenance. For more about what property managers do, be sure to read this post.

As you interview potential property management companies, be sure to ask them these important questions:

How many employees does your company have?

Bigger is not always better. Conversely, you might run into problems if the company is too small. You want to hire a well-established business that has enough staff members to provide a high level of service to all of their clients.

How long have you managed investment properties?

Again, this speaks to the kind of quality and service you can expect from a property management company. Inexperienced businesses, though they may be highly motivated to do right by you, simply haven’t had time and experience to refine their processes and learn from their mistakes. Admittedly, we’ve made our own share of mistakes too, which we’ve talked about here and here, and while they’re never fun to make, each one has taught us new lessons and served as learning opportunities to better serve our clients.

Is your property management company licensed?

You should only work with a property management company that holds a real estate brokerage license and is insured.

How many units do you currently manage?

When you hand over property management responsibilities to a third party, you’re doing more than just offloading things like maintenance and repairs. You’re also entrusting them to manage the relationship with your unit’s residents and thereby your investment. This is important. You want high-quality tenants, which means you also want a management firm that can provide this high level of ongoing service. Businesses that are established and managing several hundred units have the systems, processes and – importantly – staff in place to offer this type of elevated service to you and your tenants.

What services do you provide as part of your Property Management Agreement (PMA)?

While leasing, rent collection and maintenance are the three major categories a property manager handles for you, there are a lot of other things you may not realize a property manager is responsible for.

To see a full list of those items, it’s important to review the property management agreement. Examples include things like carefully tracking all financial transactions and providing a monthly accounting statement and annual report for your review and tax use.

Do you personally own investment properties?

Property managers who have their own skin in the game know what it’s like to be a property owner. They can understand what it’s like to be in your shoes because they also have the same pair (though maybe in a different size). This puts them in a good position to offer advice and service that they also would expect as an owner.

At RL Property Management, we offer full-service property management services for single-family and multifamily investors in the greater Columbus, Ohio area. With us, your tenants can expect exceptional service and owners can expect a high level of return. To ask your questions, please give us a call at 614-725-3059.