30+ Questions to Ask A Property Manager Before Hiring Them

Hiring a property management company is a big deal. Your investment is being left the in hands of other people to operate and help ensure your life is a little less complicated. Typically, once you’ve hired one, most likely you’ll be working with them over a prolonged period, so you want to make the right choice before being locked in.

Fortunately, there are ways to decipher whether or not a property management company is the right for you. The following questions will cover everything from the basics to the legal aspects of the hiring process, allowing you to make the best-informed decision.

 

The Basic Questions 

 

questions to ask a property manager

1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

Though there is nothing wrong with young, new businesses, some customers may feel better knowing that the property management company they choose has some years of experience under its belt. Experienced property management companies should know the industry inside and out. They are actively involved and willing to give you expert advice about your investment.

2. How Many Employees Do You Have?

More established and experienced businesses often have a significant number of employees, making this an important question to ask. If you require extra service, help, or care, a company with more employees to go around will certainly be the better choice.

3. How Many Locations Do You Have?

If the company has multiple locations, chances are they may have an office near you or your rental property. If any issues arise that can’t be handled via email or phone, you can make your way to their nearest office and get things sorted out.

4. How Many “Doors” Do You Manage?

Knowing how many “doors” the company manages can help you reason how efficient they will be. Though the company’s job is to take on clients, they can be overbooked with too many “doors” and customers. Knowing whether or not your company of choice is overbooked will help you in your decision.

5. How Many Single Families Do You Manage?

Single-family management in a property management company may make a difference in whether or not you want to hire them. Managing single-family properties compared to multiple family locations differs drastically. Therefore, you’ll want to know how many of each property type their team manages to make sure their services apply to your property.

6. What Is Your Service Area?

Again, having a property management company that is far from your actual residence is a little counterproductive. Make it necessary to know each company’s service area! Also, if you plan to purchase more properties in the same region, it’d be best to find a single capable company to manage all your rental properties.

 

The Money Questions 


questions to ask a property managemer

1. How Much Is Your Monthly Management Fee?

For your budget management needs, asking how much the monthly management fee is, is important. You don’t want to pay too much, or even too little, as this can mean you aren’t getting the best service.

2. How Much Do You Charge to Place a Tenant?

If you are looking to place a tenant on your property, your property management company can help. Some companies have a charge when it comes to placing a tenant. Therefore, it’s nice to know if it would cost more (or even be necessary to use this service) by first knowing their price. You can then compare prices or make other arrangements.

3. Do you offer a Placement Guarantee?

Some companies provide a Placement Guarantee, meaning if a renter is evicted or moves for any reason, they will cover the placement fee of the new tenant for little to no charge. This builds trust as the churning of bad tenants to collect placement fees is avoided.

4. How Long is Your Placement Guarantee?

Even with this helpful guarantee, there can be stipulations. Ask about time frames and constraints before making your final decision.

5. Do You Do Repair Work in the House?

If you own and rent out a property, it is your responsibility when repairs are needed. However, your property manager may be able to handle this for you, saving you money and time.

6. Do You Mark Up Vendor Invoices?

If the property management company is responsible for repairs, they will hire a vendor to complete the job at the regular rate. After the job is completed, some management companies will markup what you will be charged by a certain percentage. Knowing this beforehand will leave little to no surprises when you’re billed.

7. Do You Charge Serving Notices?

Typically, a serving notice is information about rent increases, notices of entry or termination of the lease given to a tenant via personal service or delivery. If a company charges for Serving Notices, you may be paying more than you bargained for.

8. Do You Charge for Service Calls?

A service call usually means that the customer has called the property management company to come out and repair a part of the property. Such service calls can be expensive initially, but even more so depending upon the needed service.

9. Do You Charge a Re-Lease Fee?

When a current tenant’s lease reaches its expiration date, you may have to pay the property manager a fee to have them sign a new lease. It takes very little time and hassle, and usually, companies who do this are more likely to ensure that your tenants stay put and are happy.

10. Who Gets the Late Fees Collected?

Knowing who in the property management company gets late fees collected may help you while planning out your finances month to month. Of course, you want to avoid late fees, but knowing who to pay them to and when is important.

11. Do You Charge for Safety Inspections?

Many properties will need a safety inspection before and after a tenant moves out. Ask whether or not your property manager charges for this so that you can include it in the budget.

 

The Accounting Questions

 

questions to ask a property manager

1. When Do Statements Go Out?

Accounting is a huge part of owning, renting, leasing, and the overall handling a property. When your property manager sends out statements, it means that your tenants are alerted when rent is due, as well as other expenses.

2. When Do Owner Statements Go Out?

Knowing when your owner statements come out each month can help you when it comes to clients with questions and concerns. Hopefully, the owner statements and regular statements come out at the same time or close together.

3. When Do You Pay Your Owners?

Just as it is important to know when statements are due, knowing when your property manager pays its owners is important for both your accounting and personal budget needs.

4. Will I Get Copies of All My Work Orders and Vendor Invoices?

You should keep copies and records of all your work orders and vendor invoices, making it easier to handle taxes when the time comes. If the company you’re interested in does not provide these, you may want to keep looking.

5. Do You Provide Year-End 1099s?

If your property manager does not provide end of year 1099s, you may be at a loss when tax time arrives. Of course, if you are paying your property taxes year round, it should not be an issue, but having the guarantee of a prepared 1099 may help put you at ease.

The Legal Questions

 

questions to ask a property manager

1. Are You a Licensed California Real Estate Broker?

For you and your tenant’s protection, working with a licensed property management company is important. They may not advertise whether or not they are licensed, so it is crucial to ask.

2. Do You Carry E&O Insurance?

E&O Insurance, or Errors & Omissions Insurance, is professional liability insurance that protects the companies and individuals, which whom may have claims against them by clients. Another layer of protection never hurts, so see if your preferred company has this feature.

3. Are Your Property Managers Licensed Real Estate Agents in California?

A property manager who is also a licensed real estate agent will have more skills, knowledge, and experience that could be beneficial to you and your tenants. Ask if your company has these exceptionally qualified employees before moving forward.

4. Do You Do Regular Safety Inspections?

If a home is found to have safety violations after a tenant or client has been injured, you could be in deep legal trouble. Of course, if you live far from your property, you won’t be able to get out there to do frequent or even routine safety checks. This is no excuse to leave it as is, however, especially if you have a property manager. Safety inspections are needed to ensure that the tenants, and by extension, you, are safe – so make sure your property manager does an inspection regularly.

5. Do You Use California Compliant Lease Agreements?

If your rental property is in California, or you’re a resident of the state, it is likely, all legal action will take place in the state or under the state’s policies and codes. Find out if your preferred company has California compliant lease agreements before moving forward.

6. Has An Attorney Reviewed All Your Documents & Forms?

Finally, having an actual attorney review the company’s documents, forms, and other papers will ensure that everything is as it should be. You won’t have to worry, guess, or be in for a negative surprise down the line. If an attorney has not reviewed your company’s documents, you want to think twice before hiring them.

 

The Misc. Questions                 

1. Do You Lock Owners Into a Long Term Contract?

Knowing there is flexibility in a contract may be important for you, especially if you find significant problems with the company you hired after the fact. Asking about their contracts and the typical time frame can help you avoid being locked into a weak customer/business relationship.

2. What is the Process to Sign Up For Your Services?

This information may be found on the company’s website, but you may want to ask directly as well. This will ensure you have not missed anything or lost out on a useful service.

3. Can I Talk With a Couple of References?

A company is always going to put their best foot forward when first talking with you. Therefore, if you’re looking for a real and unbiased glimpse at working with the company, you will want to speak with some references. If a company refuses access to references or won’t even provide them, it could be a red flag.

4. How Long Will it take to Find a Good Tenant?

You don’t want your property sitting empty for too long, but you don’t want just anyone in there either. Ask your company if they have a time a frame for finding a good tenant before getting locked into any agreements.

5. How Do You Market My Property?

You want a company that knows how to bring in the crowd and many potential renters, which means they should have a solid marketing strategy. Ask about how they plan to market your property, so you know whether or not they are doing all they can to get your property noticed.

6. How Do You Screen Tenants?

You don’t want just anyone living in your property, which is why a screening process is so important to weed out the terrible tenants. If a process is too lax, you may find yourself with an awful tenant that you are stuck with for the duration of their lease, which can be a total nightmare. Learning more about the company’s screening process should help you rest easy.

 

As you can see, many questions should be asked when looking to hire a reliable property management company. It may seem extensive, but knowing the answers to the above questions will help things go a lot more smoothly for you over time. Remember to cast your net wide and be thorough in your search and questioning.

Steve Shwetz

Managing Broker

Steve, the Managing Broker and Founder of Mesa Properties Inc. & Mesa Real Estate, began his real estate career buying, fixing and reselling distressed properties in Southern California. Seeing the long-term opportunity in a buy and hold strategy, Steve began acquiring residential real estate to build his own real estate rental portfolio. As a 10 year owner of an international service franchise, Steve saw an opportunity to take his experience in customer service and developing systems and processes and apply that experience to the world of property management and real estate. Prior to starting his own businesses Steve held various senior and advisory level sales positions with IBM Corp., B. Braun Medical, Insight Direct & Reach Local. Steve is a licensed real estate broker and holds a Bachelors in Business from the University of Southern California.

Sheryl Shwetz

General Manager, Administration

Sheryl helped to establish Mesa Properties Inc. with Steve. Today, she serves as the backbone of all things administrative for the company. Sheryl oversees all the details of running a property management company including on-boarding new owners, converting applicants to tenants, and paying all vendors. After earning her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, Sheryl worked for a software development company running the support and training department and writing user documentation. Sheryl also gained experience at an advertising agency servicing non-profit organizations where she drafted vendor instructions for merging customer data with various fundraising campaigns. Sheryl has 3 sons and home-schooled them through various stages of their K-8 education. Each one is now thriving in adulthood.

Sam Shwetz

Business Development Manager

Sam is the Business Development Manager at Mesa Properties Inc. focusing on engaging both new and existing owners of residential and commercial properties.  Sam is a U.S. Navy veteran having served in the Nuclear Field on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

After his military service , Sam worked for a lighting control company as a field service engineer on various projects including extensive work on Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino California.

Sam and his wife Sydney are homeowners in Ontario, CA where they live with their golden retriever.

Verenice Alvarado

Lead Office Administrator

Verenice is the office administrator to our Mesa Properties Inc. Team. She is also licensed and manages properties in the high desert. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College and used her skills working in customer service. Previously, Verenice worked 4 years with Target where she trained sales associates and developed strong communication and teamwork skills. Through her position at Mesa Properties Inc., Verenice strives to find the right tenant for each owner and the right home for each tenant.

Mark Parmenter

Property Manager

Prior to joining Mesa Properties Inc., Mark worked in the construction industry as a member of the carpenters union. He holds an Associates degree in Business, he is a licensed agent, certified in property management and enjoys the unique challenges of property management. Mark is a homeowner himself and experienced with on site multi-unit management. He understands the delicate balance of working with tenants as a landlord, owner and neighbor.

Joshua Long

Property Manager

Joshua is a property manager to the Mesa Properties Inc. team. With a background in sales, Joshua gained the strong communication skills necessary to be an effective problem solver when handling any situation he is faced with. Growing up, Joshua watched his mother work as an apartment manager for over 20 years. Now, as a property manager, Joshua focuses on addressing the needs of both renters and homeowners. He is a focused hard-worker who ambitiously seeks to become better in his position and to gain more knowledge at whatever task is at hand. Joshua is an Upland area native and is a licensed real estate agent. He currently holds 2 Associate’s Degrees and is working towards gaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from CSUSB.

Bridget O'Gorman

Property Manager

Bridget is now a property manager to the Mesa Properties Inc. team. She currently resides in Victorville with her daughter. In 2014, Bridget obtained her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA. Prior to working for Mesa Properties Inc., she has held various customer service jobs, where she gained better understanding of how to handle different situations and how to work with each person on an individual level. In addition, Bridget worked as a safety manager and recruiting assistant for a transportation company, giving her experience in processing applications and completing safety inspections. Bridget enjoys working for a company where she is able to assist others and to work in a changing environment, which is always giving her a chance for a new experience.

Julia Morrison

Property Manager

Julia is a property manager to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! Julia currently holds an Associates degree in Criminal Justice. She is currently enrolled at CSUSB with plans of going to law school after. Having worked 4 years in a customer service field, Julia has gained much experience in working with difficult situations and learned how to be a team leader. Prior to working in customer service, Julia worked for an HOA, where she gained computer & phone skills and learned how to handle an overflowing stack of paperwork! She enjoys working with people and assisting them in finding a home that they love. Julia became a homeowner in 2016 and currently resides in Upland with her fiance.

Autumn Janda

Tenant Screening

Autumn gained her real estate license in 2011, but has been in the property management field since 2005. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from CSUSB in 2009. Prior to joining Mesa Properties Inc., Autumn gained much of her experience being an assistant property manager for commercial properties for six years! She also spent five years working in a company that worked with commercial, industrial, and apartment properties. Autumn enjoys working for Mesa Properties Inc. because she gets to work with new tasks everyday and likes meeting new people. She is currently a homeowner in Arizona, where she resides with her husband and daughter.

Donna Pulver

Receptionist

Donna is the receptionist to our Mesa Properties Inc. Team since November of 2016! Her tasks include answering calls, scheduling showing appointments, processing adverse action letters, assisting with applications, and assisting customers in the front desk. Having worked over 25 years for a real estate appraisal company located in Covina, Donna has gained much experience in providing great customer service. Donna currently lives in Victorville.

Carmen Franco

Administrative Assistant

Carmen is one of the newest members to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! Her tasks include showing available rental properties, assisting with phone calls, and completing inspections. Carmen graduated from University Preparatory High School in 2011. She has earned her certificate in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA. Getting to know the team at Mesa Properties Inc., Carmen has been inspired to pursue a career in property management. She is eager to learn more about property management and prides herself in bringing a positive and caring attitude to everyone and everything she does. Carmen resides in Apple Valley with her husband and 2 children.

Amairani Palacios

Transaction Coordinator

Amairani is the transaction coordinator to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! Her main role is coordinating real estate transactions for the real estate agents. Her other tasks include assisting the property managers with inspections, calls, and emails. Having been a member in the AFJROTC program for Victor Valley High School for 3 years, Amairani has gained experience in coordinating tasks and working with other team members as a Team Leader. Amairani has completed the needed real estate courses and is working on obtaining her real estate license.

Beau Cooper

Real Estate Agent

Beau lives with his wife and two kids in Hesperia, where he graduated from Sultana High School. After studying business at Victor Valley College, he focused on real estate classes at Allied Business School. A licensed agent, Beau has worked in real estate since 2006, having served as a property manager with a private investment firm before joining Mesa Properties Inc. in April 2012. Beau is an expert in asset-protection, which makes him a perfect fit for the Mesa team, where we recognize that most owners do not live in the area of their investment properties. So we make things easy by handling all of the legwork.

Michael Melendez

Real Estate Agent

Mike has been practicing real estate in Southern California since 2006. His family and friends have always been involved in home loans, new construction, and rehabilitation projects, deepening his knowledge of all aspects of the industry. As a Realtor, Mike’s service’s consist of helping buyers and sellers obtain property that best suits their interests. Finding his clients great deals, maximizing their proceeds and finding them the right home is what he does best. Mike understands that real estate is one of the biggest purchases and sales that can be made, and choosing the right agent is an important decision. He has both the experience and technology to help his clients meet their goals.

Sherree Stewart

Real Estate Agent

Sherree has worked as a licensed real estate agent for over 16 years. Her experience and dedication to the industry motivate her to excel as a property manager and Real Estate agent at Mesa Properties Inc. Working in the Inland Empire and High Desert, Sherree has gained a strong knowledge of both areas which serves her well as she works to add new homes to the property management program. Working in real estate has always been her passion and she enjoys tackling the daily challenges that come with the job.

Sonya Dod

Real Estate Agent

Sonya Dod has been a licensed real estate agent since 1989, Sonya is an agent who facilitates successful transactions for buyers as well as sellers, boasting a solid reputation for making deals with honesty and integrity. Since Sonya was raised on a Texas farm, she isn’t afraid of hard work and long hours. After her parents moved to California 40 years ago, they started buying investment properties. So she grew familiar and comfortable with the process of finding, fixing up and selling properties at an early age. Having served as an underwriter, processor and loan officer, Sonya has the knowledge and experience necessary to help sellers and buyers avoid wasting time opening meaningless transactions. What’s more, sellers are protected by her expertise as she requires buyers to provide written permission to speak directly to lenders. This unique approach fosters quickly closed deals and eliminates false representation.

Raymond Palacios

Administrative Assistant

Raymond is an administrative assistant to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! His tasks include performing inspections, showing properties, serving documents, and assisting with phone calls. Raymond holds a Bachelors in Business Management from California State University of San Bernardino. Having worked 4 years at a customer service field, Raymond has gained much experience in assisting and providing great quality customer service. Prior to working in customer service, Raymond volunteered and worked 6 years for a food distribution center where he gained the experience in efficiently coordinating important tasks within a company.