What to Look for When Choosing a San Antonio Property Manager

San Antonio rental property owners need to choose carefully when they’re looking for someone to professionally manage their homes. It doesn’t matter if you’re an owner with one property or an investor with 100 units; you need someone who is going to effectively care for your property, your tenants, and your finances.

There are a few things to consider when you’re choosing a San Antonio property manager.

San Antonio Property Management: Look for Experience and Education

You should look for a professional property manager with the necessary proficiency managing rental properties in the San Antonio market.

Experience is important, but make sure you look for the right type of experience. This will make a difference.

Choose a property manager with the knowhow that matches the investment property that you own. When your rental property portfolio focuses solely on single family homes, a management company that works primarily with commercial properties or apartment complexes probably won’t be your best choice. Look for local expertise that matches your property and your needs.

You also need a manager who is practiced in solving the sorts of problems you’re most often trying to solve. If you’re having a difficult time placing a tenant who stays for more than a one-year lease, look for a management company that’s great with long term tenant retention. If you’re an investor who needs help understanding how much rent you’ll earn on a potential acquisition, talk to a property manager who works with other investors in the buying stage.

A company with 50 years of experience has a lot to offer. But, make sure they have the type of experience that you need.

Education is also critical. In San Antonio and even all over the country, the property management and real estate industries are changing all the time. Your property manager must be up to date on all the things involved in this business, including:

  • Landlord and tenant laws
  • Local, state, and federal fair housing regulations
  • Best practices when it comes to managing rental properties
  • Local market rates, tenant needs, and property trends

Property managers have the opportunity to achieve a number of designations and certifications through local and national associations and organizations. Before you hire a management company, ask how they stay current in their profession. This will tell you how seriously they take their work.

Local San Antonio Rental Market Knowledge and Leadership

A management company with local knowledge of the San Antonio market is vital, but you also need a company that’s involved in the property management industry as a whole. Look for property managers who actively network with other professionals. When you have a team of people with the tools and resources to expertly manage your home, you’ll be a lot more successful as an investor.

Find out if your potential property manager is involved in any local, state, or national associations or professional organizations. These professionals will be good at what they do, and they’ll have access to a lot of information. It contributes to the better management of your rental property. This will help you to attract tenants, develop relationships with vendors and contractors, and keep your costs down.

Talk to potential property managers about the trends they see in the rental market, locally and nationally. This should help you understand what they know about the tenant pool, the investment opportunities that may be available, and current market rental values. You want to have a good discussion about what your property can earn in the current market, and how long it will take to rent your home out to qualified tenants.

Property Management Reputation in San Antonio

Don’t be afraid to do a little digging into a company’s reputation.

A property management company’s online reputation will tell you a lot about the services they provide and how they manage properties.

You can access several different review sites to get this information, including Google + and Yelp. Read what the company’s current and former customers have to say about their experiences. You want to see owners who are impressed with tenant screening and tenants who are pleased with how quickly maintenance issues were resolved.

It’s also important to visit a company’s website and social media sites to understand what exactly they do. You’ll find testimonials there, too. Use all of the online resources available to you, and if the company you’re considering doesn’t have a website or much of an online presence – you should reconsider working with that company. Technology is a critical part of effectively managing properties today, and if a company isn’t using the internet to advertise, screen, and share information, you might not get the best service.

It’s always good to work with a company that supports its community. Many good property managers see themselves as providing a valuable service to you as an owner and to the greater San Antonio community as well.

Property Management Systems and Processes

Talk about the systems that property managers are using to deal with day-to-day operations and unexpected emergencies. A good management company will have consistent procedures in place for things like:

  • Marketing and advertising rental homes
  • Showing the property to tenants
  • Applicant screenings
  • Move-in and move-out inspections+
  • Rent collection, security deposits, and late fees
  • Property inspections and evaluations
  • Emergency repairs and routine maintenance
  • Accounting and owner statements
  • Managing vendor relationships
  • Evictions and legal procedures

Property managers need to be prepared to enforce your lease agreement, manage tenant disputes, and respond to emergencies. You need a professional who is prepared and knows exactly what to do. It’s why you hire a property manager – they have the plans in the place so you don’t have to worry.

Property Management Accounting and Bookkeeping

You’re trusting a property manager with one of your most valuable investments. You’re also trusting them with your money and your financial information. Even the financial information of your tenant is at stake. It’s essential that they can protect your privacy and your financial security.

A good property manager will provide you with financial statements every month. These statements should give an accurate and transparent look at what was spent on your property and what was earned. Talk about their process for documenting and accounting, and whether you’ll have an online portal where you can view statements. It’s also a good idea to find out when and how you are paid.

At tax time, you’ll need your property manager to provide you with a 1099 that covers all of the financial activity associated with your rental property. Your property manager needs to be a financial partner who can make the accounting part of rental property ownership easy and efficient.

Ask potential management companies if there’s a full time bookkeeper or accounting professional on staff. With smaller companies, a property manager or administrative team member may be responsible for managing your finances. That’s okay if there’s a good system in place. Just make sure you know how your money is being managed, and who is responsible for the oversight.

Property Management Pricing: San Antonio Standards

You’ll want to know how much professional management in San Antonio is going to cost. It’s a typical question to ask, and you should discuss this when you’re choosing a property manager.

Just remember a few things:

  1. You get what you pay for.
  2. The lowest price doesn’t always mean the best service.
  3. It’s important to compare prices and services when shopping for professional management.

Professional property management is not a commodity or something that you want to buy on sale in a store. It’s a valuable service that helps you earn more on your property. You are searching for value. You don’t always find value in the lowest fees. You find value when you are able to access reliable, professional services for a competitive rate. Be willing to invest in professional management.

Always ask to see a copy of the management contract before you agree to work with a management company. It’s important that you understand what you’re reading and feel comfortable asking questions. You want to know how much you’ll be paying, whether there are any additional fees on top of what’s been explained to you, and how to get out of the contract if you find yourself unhappy with the management services you’re receiving.

Every property management company has its own business model and method of getting paid. Some companies will take a percentage of the monthly rent that they collect, and others will charge you a flat fee. Some companies will have different service levels, and others will charge a separate fee for every single thing that’s done for you. You don’t need to focus on fees when you’re seeking the best management, but you do need to understand what you’re getting in exchange for the money you’re paying.

Personality is also important. You want to be able to work well with these people. Spend some time with your potential property managers and make sure they’re a good fit for you and your business. You are relying on these professionals to know things you don’t know. You’re counting on them to keep your investments profitable, and perhaps to lead you to new opportunities.

If you’re struggling to find the right San Antonio property management company, or you’re still unsure of how to find the best one in our area, contact us at Specialized Property Management.

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