The best property management companies in and around southern Maryland will be willing to answer any of the questions you ask about their experience and services. Today, we’re answering the top 5 questions you should ask a company before signing a management agreement.
Is Property Management Your Primary Business?
In Maryland, anyone can operate a property management company. There is no license required, and no training or insurance that’s legally necessary. So, a lot of people try to do property management because they think it’s easy money. They think they’ll have to do little more than collect a rent check. There are also a lot of real estate agents who focus on buying and selling but will do a little management when their business gets slow. This creates a mess because these people are not qualified to manage your property. Make sure you’re working with a company whose primary business is professional management.
Do You Have Insurance to Operate a Property Management Company?
A lot of companies are not legitimate, and one way to detect that is by asking about their insurance. You need a company with insurance to protect you, the tenant, and the management company if something happens. Realtors only have insurance that covers sales activities. You want to see proof of E&O insurance for property management. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a disaster if something happens at your property.
Do You Have In-House Maintenance Staff?
Maintenance is a big part of property management. You want to make sure the people you hire have the resources and connections to handle things. Our in-house maintenance team handles small jobs. It’s hard to find a contractor willing to just fix a door or a leaky sink for a good price. You want someone who can do that, and a handyman or in-house maintenance department will help.
Are You Licensed Realtors?
A lot of property managers are not licensed in real estate. That means they don’t have access to the MRIS and they don’t pay commissions. They’re simply posting listings online on sites like Craigslist, and that won’t help you find a qualified tenant quickly. Make sure you’re working with a licensed Realtor, and ask about the average number of days their properties usually spend on the rental market.
How Do You Screen Tenants?
Most real estate companies will run credit. That’s a good start, but the screening process requires a little more than that. You want a manager who will verify income and ensure prospective tenants earn at least three times the amount of your monthly rent. You want to check eviction records and criminal backgrounds. This is not something everyone can do, but it’s important. It’s the best way to ensure you’ll have your rent paid on time and your property taken care of. Checking credit is not enough. You could have a prospective tenant who lived in a property for three years and took care of the home and paid rent on time every month. That’s more important than perfect credit.
These are the best questions to ask property management company prospects. If you get answers like the ones we’ve provided, they’d probably be good to hire. If you have any additional property management questions, please contact us at Real Property Management Gold. We serve St. Mary’s, Charles, and Calvert counties around southern Maryland.