SELECTING THE RIGHT PROPERTY MANAGER
While the relationship you have with your property manager is a legally binding one, we believe most importantly it should be based on mutual trust and respect. After all, you are entrusting that manager with a very large investment. Take the time to interview before you select the property manager that is right for you. Below are some aspects of the property management business you will want to consider:
1. Ask the property manager if they own rentals as well.
Another investor/owner will understand your concerns about vacancy and costs. Your values and your property manager's values will be more closely aligned with one another.
2. Ask what professional affiliations the property manager belongs to.
Select a property manager that is licensed, is affiliated with a professional organization and who has been professionally educated in property management. Woodstock Properties, Inc. joined and has maintained membership in the Oahu Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) since 2004.
3. What type of property does the property manager specialize in?
Some companies specialize in single-family homes and other companies specialize in large complexes. Choose a property manager that specializes in your type of rental. For example, Woodstock Properties, Inc. does not specialize in large apartment complexes. Our portfolio consists of a combination of single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses.
4. How long has the property manager been in business?
Experience and a track record in property management are important credentials to consider. Woodstock Properties, Inc. has been helping owners manager their investment properties since 1980.
5. Why did they become property managers?
Are they offering property management services only as a temporary sideline while they build up a larger client base from and for real estate sales? Or is property management an aspect of the real estate business sector that they are dedicated and committed to for the long term?
6. Request a list of three current clients who you may contact about their property management services.
7. Request a list of three past clients who you may contact about their property management services.
8. How many staff members are in the company and what are their duties?
For example, Woodstock Properties, Inc. is currently a company of six. Linda C. "Dusty" Woodstock is the Founder, President, CEO and Principal Broker. Additional personnel on staff are a full time bookkeeper and 4 full time state of Hawaii licensed Realtor/property managers including a full time office manager. The organization is structured such that each property is assigned to one of our licensed property managers who develops indepth knowledge regarding all aspects of that property. This "portfolio management" structure assures continuity as well as excellent communication and responsiveness to our owners and tenants.
9. Ask how many properties are currently being managed.
To ensure proper staffing, compare the number of units managed to the number of employees.
10. What strategies are utilized to advertise and generate prospective tenant leads? What various advertising platforms are tapped into? Does the property management company have a website? Can prospective tenants apply on-line?
At Woodstock Properties, Inc. we employ a full array of advertising platforms, which including our website, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the internet including military websites, CraigsList, condo lobby bulletin boards, as well as on site “For Rent” signs. Our ads export to over 80 different websites!
11. What tenant screening procedures does the property management company use?
Some property managers screen prospective tenants more thoroughly than others. It is advisable that you select a property manager that checks credit, landlord references, social security ID, employment and salary verification. Find out how they collect their information. Do they use a professional screening company or do they do it themselves?
12. Ask what is the tenant Check-In procedure.
Woodstock Properties, Inc. thoroughly documents the condition of the entire property; walls, floors, closet, appliances - everything inside & out. We send a copy of the Property Condition Report to our owners. We also explain the proper use of appliances & provide a preventative maintenance guide to each tenant.
13. Ask what is the tenant Check-Out procedure.
Woodstock Properties, Inc.'s check-out procedure is just as thorough as the check-in. We carefully compare the condition of the property to it's condition at check-in, accounting for normal wear and tear as prescribed by law.
14. What is the management agreement termination procedure?
Woodstock Properties, Inc. is a very transparent company in that we have both owner and tenant forms, Agreements and policies posted on our website including the Property Management Agreement we sign with our owners.
15. What is the policy on returning phone calls from tenants and owners?
We suggest you call and leave a message and see how long it takes for the call to be returned.
16. Request a copy of the property management agreement and be sure you have a clear understanding of it; don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Woodstock Properties, Inc. property management agreement is posted on our website under the header: Management Services.
17. What kind of software does the property management company use?
Software specific to property management will help organize and develop systems for the property manager which will improve performance and efficiencies. In our opinion, QuickBooks is not the best software solution; it is too generic for the number of details that need to be tracked in order to deliver good service to owners and tenants.
18. Begin searching for your property manager as soon as possible.
Complete your interviewing of property managers well before you close on your property or decide to offer it as a rental. You will want the property manager that you have selected to help you prepare your property for a tenant in the most cost effective way.
19. Don’t select a "yes" person.
When interviewing prospective property managers, look for honesty and the highest integrity in their responses to your questions. Look for someone who is a good listener, a good negotiator and one who strives for a “win-win” solution when they resolve issues. This is where years of property management experience really comes into play.
20. Request a copy of the Rental Agreement or Lease they will use with your tenant. Does it address all of your concerns? Does it look professional? Does it protect you the owner and your investment property?
We recommend you read Woodstock’s Rental Agreement/Lease and Addendum A that can be found on our website under the HEADER: RENTAL SERVICES > TENANT SERVICES > TENANT FORMS. Our Rental Agreement is the standardized form provided by the Hawaii Association of Realtors. However, we feel it is not complete. Therefore we have an Addendum A that further protects you the owner.
21. Request a copy of a typical owner statement. Is it professional and easy to read? Does it address everything you would like to see?
At Woodstock Properties, Inc., our owners create their own password and access their statements on-line at any time, from the convenience of their home or office. Monthly income is electronically transferred directly into their bank account and notices of any new postings to their statement are sent as an email message. At year end, a statement is provided that reflects the entire year's activites for ease of tax preparation. We can also accommodate those owners who prefer paper statements to be mailed to them.
22. 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?
23. How often is each property inspected? Is there an additional charge for this service?
Woodstock Properties, Inc. has a strict policy that every unit is given a thorough inspection at Check-In and annually thereafter. There is no additional charge for this inspection; we believe it is part of our obligation in providing our owners with exemplary service and maintaining their asset..
24. Ask the property manager, how many of their owners have more than one of their properties being managed by that same property manager.
The fact that an owner would entrust multiple investment properties to be managed by the same company, speaks to a high level of trust and satisfaction in that property manager. Woodstock Properties, Inc. has several owners with multiple investment properties all of which we manage for them.
25. Ask the property manager, how many former tenants, who are now investment property owners, have turned their property over to their former landlord to now manage.
This situation may be unique among some other property managers, but at Woodstock Properties, Inc. it is a common occurrence. We believe there is no higher praise than to have a former tenant ask us to now manage an investment property they have purchased. At Woodstock Properties, Inc. we believe this is precisely when the seeds of honesty, integrity and our “win-win” attitude, planted earlier, have obviously bloomed into a long standing, trusting and mutually satisfying relationship.