1) Ask the property manager if they own rentals as well?
Generally that indicates more of an "owner's mentality." An Owner's Mentality is cautious about costs and is always analyzing return on investment.
2) What professional affiliations do you belong to?
Idaho does not require our property managers to be licensed nor is there any regulating body? So unfortunately, most property managers have very little training or guidance. Select a property manager that is licensed, is affiliated with a professional organization, and who has been professionally educated in property management.
3) What type of property do you specialize in?
Some companies specialize in single-family homes and other companies specialize in large complexes. Pick a property manager that specializes in your type of rental. First Rate Property Management does not specialize in large apartment complexes. Our portfolio consists of 50% single-family homes, and 50% multi-family, such as duplexes, triplexes, and four-plexes.
4) How long have you been in business?
Experience and track record is important. First Rate Property Management has been in business since 1994 and Tony has been managing properties since 1990. Combined, FRPM staff has over 50 years of property management experience.
5) How did you become a property manager?
First Rate Property Management came about because our owner, Tony Drost, MPM®, RMP® was purchasing his own rentals and saw a need for professional management.
6) Request a list of three current clients who you can contact about their property management services?
Click here for a list of our references
7) Request a list of three past clients who you may contact about their property management services?
8) How many people are in your company/office and what are there duties?
The average employee to property ratio is 1 employee for every 100 properties. The lower this ratio, the more care you can expect. First Rate Property Management's current ratio is 1 employee to every 65 properties.
9) How many properties do you currently manage?
In general, the larger the company the less the personal service you can expect. However a lot of this has to do with how sudden and recent the growth was. Over the past 5 years, First Rate Property Management has kept its growth less than 5% per year. Recent and rapid growth can be a red flag.
10) What areas (if any) are you limited to?
Markets vary from area to area and it is important to find someone that specializes in the area in which your rental resides. First Rate Property Management specializes in the Boise, Meridian, and Eagle areas. However, if you have a property outside of our area, we can provide you with a referral to another professional company.
11) What is your advertising and tenant lead generation procedure? Who pays for advertising? Do you have a website and can tenants apply on-line? Do you have virtual tours?
Often Owner's think that advertising is paid by the management company, when in actuality it is most likely charged to the Owner. You will want to know what a full month's worth of advertising will cost you and what different areas does the manager use. For example, First Rate Property Management posts our listings onto our website and over forty other websites. Our GOOGLE and YAHOO search engine placement is very high. Additionally, we advertise in local rental magazines, as well as the classified section of the local paper.
12) What is your tenant screening procedure?
Some property managers in Idaho do little screening. Many owners are very tempted to go with these companies, because they also boast higher rents. Unfortunately that tends to be a short term gain, as the damages, eviction costs, and re-rent costs are much greater. It is advisable that you select a PM that checks, that utilizes a professional screening company to verify: credit, criminal background, landlord references, social security ID check, and employment.
13) What is your tenant move-in procedure?
First Rate Property Management conducts a thorough move-in inspection with the tenant and annotates damages and tenant concerns in writing and by photos. Additionally, our lease and other forms protect our owners.
14) What is your maintenance and repair policy? If you have internal maintenance, what is the hourly rate?
Request a copy of their liability and workers compensation insurance policies as well as a copy of the contractor registration. First Rate Property Management utilizes a state-of-the-art work order system that tracks all maintenance requests. Our owners receive copies of each work order via email. We have an on-line system making it easy for our tenants to trouble shoot problems and request repairs.
15) What is your move-out procedure?
First Rate Property Management conducts a thorough move-out inspection with the tenant. We compare move-in to move-out inspections and photos. Proof of any damages and the collection of funds are rarely challenged due to our impeccable documentation.
16) What is your management termination procedure?
First Rate Property Management requires a 30-day written notice after an initial one year term.
17) What is your policy on returning phone calls from tenants and owners?
Call and leave a message and see how long it takes for the call to be returned. Most of our correspondence with both the tenant and owners are via email. This allows for written documentation.
18) Request a copy of the property management agreement?
Read these and be sure to understand all fees and termination clauses. Click here to view our management agreement.
19) Request a copy of proof of insurances.
These copies should come from the carrier directly, not the property manager.
20) What kind of software do you use?
Generally speaking, property management software will help organize and develop systems for the property manager, which will improve performance. QuickBooks is not a good solution.
21) Begin searching for your property manager as soon as possible.
If you are buying a property, don't wait until the property closes to select your property manager. If you are looking at changing property managers, do so before you have a vacancy. Give yourself plenty of time to pick the right company.
22) Don't select a 'yes man' look for honesty and quality of the responses to your question.
Every property manager knows that the owner wants high rents, low maintenance, and immediate attention. Select a property manager that can provide data that supports their rent recommendation.
23) Request a copy of their lease.
Does it address all of your concerns? Does it look professional? Does it protect you the Owner? Click here to view our Lease Agreement. To date, this lease has not lost in court yet.
24) Request for a copy of a typical owner statement.
Is it professional, easy to read, and address everything you want it to?
Our Owner's access their statements on-line and our notices come to you in a form of an email. If you are not a computer, internet, or email kind of person, our system is probably not for you.
25) 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?