20 Questions to Help You Find a Top Property Management Company
Residential Property Management

20 Questions to Help You Find a Top Property Management Company

Selecting a property management company can be a daunting task, but asking the right questions can help you find the perfect partner.

The time and effort invested in finding the right company will save you money and headaches in the long run. We recommend interviewing at least three companies and asking these 20 key questions to help ensure you are hiring a highly qualified management company. We have included our answers to the questions so you can consider whether Gordon James might be the right fit to manage your property.

1. What is their tenant screening process?

A thorough tenant screening process is crucial to minimize the risk of problem tenants and protect your investment. A comprehensive screening process includes background checks, credit and criminal history, eviction history, landlord references, and employment verification.

Gordon James: We handle the entire screening process using a legally vetted, time-tested, and systematic process that includes all of the above checks for every applicant. Due to our comprehensive screening, we’ve never had to evict a tenant.

2. How many evictions have they had?

A low eviction rate indicates that the company has an effective tenant screening process and doesn't rush to fill vacancies with unqualified tenants. Evictions are costly and time-consuming, so minimizing them is essential.

Gordon James: We have not had a single eviction since we began managing properties in 2008. This is due in large part to our stringent screening standards. If the screening process reveals any red flags, they disqualify the applicant. Our structured screening process protects both owners and our company.

3. Do they have preferred vendors? And do they require that vendors add them as an additional insured?

Working with preferred vendors can result in faster service, repairs, and potential cost savings. Additionally, requiring vendors to add the management company as an additional insured provides extra protection for property owners.

Gordon James: We have worked with many vendors over the years and have formed relationships with licensed and insured companies that provide the highest level of service for a reasonable price. Our preferred vendors give us priority, so any issues that come up at properties we manage are dealt with quickly. We also receive preferred pricing, which we pass on to the owner. Our preferred vendors name us as an additional insured.

4. How quickly does the company pay owners?

Understanding when and how you'll receive your rental proceeds is essential for cash flow management. Look for a company that provides convenient payment options and an online system for easy access to your account.

Gordon James: Our company pays out all owners by the 5th of each month and electronically deposits rental proceeds into the owner’s preferred account within one business day. We provide online access to owners that allows 24/7 ability to view reports and records and update banking information.

5. Does the company require the owner to keep a reserve?

Some companies require owners to maintain a reserve fund, while others pay bills and expenses from rental proceeds. A company that doesn't require a reserve may be more financially secure.

Gordon James: We do not require that owners keep a reserve.

6. How much information will they provide about your rental and how will they keep you informed?

Regular communication and easy access to information about your rental are essential for effective property management. A good company will provide an online portal for you to view reports, records, and other essential information.

Gordon James: We believe in total transparency with our clients. All maintenance requests, income, and expenses are easily viewed 24 hours a day via our online portal. Our main priority is to make it as easy for you to access any needed information about your investment.

7. Does the company charge markups on contractors' invoices or have other fees?

Understanding all the fees a company charges will give you an accurate picture of their services' cost. Some companies add markups to contractors' invoices, while others may charge additional fees for various management tasks.

Gordon James: We’re committed to straightforward pricing, so our fee includes all our services. We don’t mark up invoices. In fact, we pass on the savings we get from our preferred vendors to our owners. Our job is to help you maximize your investment income.

8. How is the management relationship with the company structured?

Different companies use different structures for their management relationships. Understanding the structure will help you determine the level of involvement you'll have and the extent to which the company will manage your property.

Gordon James: At Gordon James Realty, we tailor our services to meet your needs, whether you want a hands-on or hands-off approach. Our management agreement outlines the scope of our responsibilities, and we work closely with our owners to ensure their satisfaction. We understand the importance of communication and collaboration.

9. What is their policy on maintenance and repairs?

A proactive approach to maintenance and repairs can extend the life of your property and help maintain its value. Find out how the company handles routine maintenance, as well as emergency repairs.

Gordon James: We perform regular inspections to identify and address potential maintenance issues before they become costly problems. We also have a 24/7 emergency maintenance hotline that tenants can call if there's an urgent issue. Our preferred vendors are on standby to resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

10. How do they handle rent collection?

Rent collection policies and procedures should be transparent and effective. A good property management company will have a system in place to ensure timely rent collection and minimize late payments.

Gordon James: Our rent collection policy is simple and effective. Tenants are required to pay rent electronically through our online portal, which ensures timely payments. Late fees are applied if rent is not paid on time, and we handle any necessary collections or legal actions on behalf of the owner.

11. Do they have experience managing properties similar to yours?

Experience managing properties similar to yours is essential, as different property types require different approaches to management.

Gordon James: We have extensive experience managing a wide range of property types, from single-family homes to multi-unit complexes. Our team is knowledgeable and skilled at handling various properties and can cater our services to meet your specific needs.

12. What is their tenant retention rate?

A high tenant retention rate indicates that the company keeps tenants happy, which reduces turnover and helps maintain a stable rental income.

Gordon James: Our tenant retention rate is consistently above 85%. Our focus on providing exceptional service and addressing tenant concerns quickly and efficiently helps to keep tenants satisfied and reduces turnover.

13. What is their management fee structure?

Understanding the management fee structure will help you determine the overall cost of their services.

Gordon James: Our management fee structure is transparent and all-inclusive. We charge a flat percentage of the monthly rent, with no hidden fees or markups. Our goal is to provide value for your investment.

14. Do they have a lease renewal policy?

A lease renewal policy can help maintain stability and minimize vacancies.

Gordon James: We have a proactive lease renewal policy in place. We contact tenants 60 days before their lease expires to discuss renewal terms and negotiate any necessary rent adjustments. This process helps minimize vacancies and ensures a continuous rental income for our owners.

15. How do they handle tenant disputes or complaints?

Effective conflict resolution is essential for maintaining a positive tenant relationship and reducing the risk of legal issues.

Gordon James: Our team is experienced in handling tenant disputes and complaints professionally and efficiently. We work with all parties involved to find a fair and reasonable resolution while protecting the interests of the property owner.

16. Do they have adequate insurance coverage?

A property management company should carry adequate insurance to protect both themselves and the property owners they represent.

Gordon James: We maintain comprehensive insurance coverage, including general liability, professional liability, and worker's compensation insurance. This coverage ensures that our clients and their properties are protected.

17. What is their average vacancy rate?

A low vacancy rate indicates that the company is effective at marketing Prolonged vacancies can have a significant impact on your rental income.

Gordon James: Our average vacancy rate is under 3%, which is well below the industry average. We work diligently to market vacant properties, conduct showings, and find qualified tenants quickly to minimize the time your property sits empty.

18. How do they market vacant properties?

An effective marketing strategy helps to attract quality tenants and reduce the time your property sits vacant. A good property management company will have a multi-faceted approach to advertising and promoting your property.

Gordon James: We use a combination of online and offline marketing strategies to reach a broad audience of potential tenants. Our marketing includes professional photography, detailed property descriptions, and listings on major rental websites. We also use our network of industry contacts to promote your property to the right audience.

19. What is their policy on pets and smoking?

Pets and smoking can cause additional wear and tear on your property, but also have the potential to attract a larger pool of tenants. Understanding a company's policy on these issues can help you make an informed decision.

Gordon James: We understand the importance of accommodating the needs of potential tenants while protecting your property. Our standard lease agreement includes a no-smoking policy. As for pets, we work with property owners to determine their preferences and establish appropriate pet policies, such as pet deposits or pet rent. 

20. Do they provide references from other property owners?

References from other property owners can provide valuable insight into the company's performance and help you determine if they're the right fit for your needs.

Gordon James: We are proud of the relationships we've built with our clients and are happy to provide references upon request. We believe that our track record of excellent service and satisfied property owners speaks to our ability to manage your property effectively.

By asking these 20 questions during your interviews with property management companies, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and find the best fit for your property management needs. 
Reach out to us at Gordon James Realty today to discuss your property management needs and discover how we can make a difference for you and your property. Contact us here.
Property Management
Gordon James Realty
Investment Property

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