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How Do You Know if a Property Management Company Has a High Capacity?

December 7, 2016 / by Brent Silberbauer

man-looking-up-and-thinkingIf you’re in the market for hiring a property management company, you should know that one of the key factors for the kind of service you’ll get is how much the company is capable of taking on – or can handle. Learn why a property management company’s capacity should matter to you here. Now that you’re aware that capacity matters, there are some indicators to help you determine if a management company is beyond its capacity.

How is the communication?

Granted, your manager doesn’t need to have long talks with you all the time about every little detail, but they need to be responsive. At Hignell Property Management our managers have a 24-hour rule that we stick to. Every person who contacts us, be it a resident or owner, gets a response back to them within 24 hours. If it takes a company days to respond, you may have a problem. This is especially true when you’re calling around shopping for a property manager. 

Does your property go vacant for extended times?

This is huge. Getting and keeping your units filled is one of the primary duties of your manager. Unless you have a high-end luxury property, anything over a month – two months at most – could be an indicator that the property manager is overextended. This can be an even longer period during the winter months  because many people are not looking for properties during this time. 

How is the service? 

This is a great indicator because you don’t have to have a management contract to know if a company has good service. As you’re shopping around it will be evident what kind of service a management company will have.

Does the manager have time to walk your property before giving you a market rent estimate? Do they seem to rush you? Do they pick up the phone right when you call? Do they have time to listen to all your questions and thoughtfully respond?

Use your discernment. Typically, just by a phone call, or the first few interactions, you’ll be able to tell if the company has a capacity to bring you on as a new property to its portfolio. 

Does it seem to have the lowest rates compared to other companies?

Ok, so you’re a property owner. You’re a master of shrewd business practices. Don’t forget that you get what you pay for. Your investment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and you must have a good manager for it to continue to be profitable. 

Typically, the business model that charges the lowest rates operates by loading a high ratio of properties onto one manager. Either that, or a reasonable amount of properties are assigned to an under-paid manager. Either way, there’s a market rate for property management, and when you start to see a company undercutting the market, it's cutting something somewhere. Be wary of the lowest priced management in your area. 

Do managers show properties in person? 

Does the company show properties in person, or does it just give the keys to prospective tenants to show the unit themselves? This is a good question to ask. Most owners wouldn’t want people viewing their income property without a representative showing it with them. They don’t want keys to units being passed out to strangers, and they hire a manager to sell the property. This means sharing the benefits that the property offers to residents. This type of presentation could make the difference in them choosing your property over another. 

What you’ll find is that a good manager with the capacity to fully manage your property well is worth their weight in gold. These are just a few signs to help you determine if a property management company has what it takes to do the job well. 

Ultimately, you won’t fully know until you work with them, but keep this in mind – once you see these warning signs popping up, it’s not too hard to switch management companies. Most companies have a 30-day notice, and can make the switch easily.

If you find that you’re in a position to switch management services, please don’t hesitate to contact Hignell Property Management.

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Topics: Residential Property Management