Raleigh, NC has been receiving plenty of accolades in recent years, touted for its climate, jobs, and quality of life. One of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., it’s also a hot market for real estate, but if you’re a first-time owner of investment property, you may find yourself a bit lost once the dust settles on your closing papers.

Choosing the right property management company is essential to ensuring your investment decision works out in your favor. Why?

The number of things to consider in renting a property can be daunting.

Utilizing a property management company is a wise choice, providing you with the advantage of professionals with expertise in the nuances of the process and keeping the relationship between you and the tenant strictly professional.

First gather a List of Companies

While you’ll probably conduct an online search for a list of companies in the area, you’ll want to follow up by gathering quality referrals from people in the know. Start with your real estate agent and friends with similar investments, and check with the BBB and the Real Estate Commission. We’ve made this really easy by creating a complete directory of property management companies on our website.

Schedule a meeting with your top candidates, and gauge your first impression. Are the offices well-kept? Is the staff professional and welcoming? Do the number of people working there match the number of properties under management? Ask about their background, qualifications, and portfolio.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list even more, you’ll want to delve deeper into their business practices by looking at some other things:

How do they handle advertising, vacancies, and tenants?

You can’t make money if your property sits vacant. Look for a low vacancy rate and minimal time to place a tenant. Know how they advertise their properties and look for a professional, up-to-date website with easy-to-find information on available rentals. Understand how they screen potential renters and what their process is for delinquencies.

What are the fees?

For some first-time property owners, the fees can be surprising. Expect management, vacancy, leasing, advertising, and maintenance fees, as well as lease renewal fees, eviction fees, and bill payment fees to name a few.

Ensure you understand exactly what fees are involved, when they are likely to kick in, and how much you’ll have to pay for each.

Maintenance and Repairs

Because maintenance fees can add up quickly, know how maintenance issues are handled. Does the property management company have its own maintenance crew or do they rely on outsourcing? What’s the turnaround time for repairs? Are you notified if a repair is needed? What reserves are required? Can you negotiate repair costs?

Changing Companies

If you’ve conducted due diligence but find yourself unsatisfied with your choice, know how much notice is required if you decide to terminate the relationship and what fees are associated. Some companies charge a single fee while others require the balance of the contract.

Be clear about the timeline for receiving remaining funds – you may have to wait a few months for reconciliation of expenses and income before receiving a final payment.

Hope this helped you define how to pick a property management company. Please connect with us if you’d like to discuss your rental property needs.

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