Q & A: What you should know about YOUR property manager.
Provided by Patrick Manza, Option Management Services, Inc.
- With over 20 years as a property manager, I have been interviewed countless times by potential clients about what a property manager does and more specifically what services we offer. This blog may answer many questions you have and perhaps guide you to questions that you should be asking. As always, we are available for further discussion via email, phone, or in person. Our staff, systems and network of professionals are built to maintain our collective mission as a property manager:
“To protect and enhance the performance of investment real estate.”
The Basic Questions (and our Answers) when interviewing a property manager:
Q: How long have you been in business? (Including this company name and prior experience)
A: 13 Years as an owner/practitioner with Option MSI and 10 years prior experience. (Our staff has another 40+ years of experience).
Q: How many doors do you manage and what types of units?
A: We manage 200+ residential single family homes and small residential units (townhomes, condominiums, and duplexes). We have capacity to add 50 units at our present staffing, our systems are scalable and we are selective in the homes we manage.
Q: Does the company have a niche market or area that it specializes in?
A: We specialize in a diversified single unit mix of homes throughout the city. We are especially skilled with acquisition services, student markets, and relocation services.
Q: What licenses are required by state or other jurisdictions? Is this company compliant?
A: We are a licensed Broker in the state of Missouri (as required by Missouri statute).
A: Kansas doesn’t currently require licensure for property managers, but we apply MO standards to our KS portfolio of properties under management.
A: Various municipalities in the Kansas City Metropolitan area require rental licensing; ask us for details or visit your local city/county websites for further information and costs.
Q: What professional associations to you belong and actively participate and education?
A: NARPM: National chapter and local chapter (Board of Directors); www.narpm.org
A: KCRAR: Property Management Chairperson KC Regional Association of Realtors (2016) www.kcrar.com
A: University of Kansas: Business Administration
A: University of Kansas: Masters of Urban Planning w/ECAS in Real Estate Development
A: KCRAR: Hispanic Real Estate Professional: (Laura Flores)
Q: With whom will I be working & how do you communicate? (Senior Staff breakdown, expertise & tenure)
A: Pat Manza (Owner) via phone & email
Founder: Option MSI 12 years.
Team Leader: Owner Liaison, Broker
A: Laura Flores (Director of Marketing & Leasing) via phone, text, & email
Option MSI 8 years
Team Leader: Rental Analysis, Marketing Director & Tenant Liaison.
A: Michelle Garcia (Business Operations & Business Development) via phone, text, & email
Option MSI 1 year
Team Leader: Business Development, Communications
A: Terry S (Book-keeping, Compliance)
A: Peter M (Business Manager, Vendor Relations)
Q: What property management software do you utilize and why?
A: Appfolio continually evolves and update services to build efficiencies and deliver accurate services and reports. Our clients (owners), customers (tenants) and vendors appreciate the consistent communication, dispatch, reporting and financial capabilities of Appfolio including online payments and disbursement and copies of work orders.
Q: Do you offer owners web portals to the software and ACH payments?
A: Absolutely, both are provided without additional cost.
Q: How do you handle maintenance issues for a property?
A: We gather inbound maintenance requests in writing and with pictures whenever possible. We screen the requests to get more details (and sometimes) remedy the issue without having send a vendor. If dispatch is necessary, we will advise the owner of the issue and the potential cost unless it’s an emergency. Typically, the cost for routine maintenance will be reduced from the current or next month’s rents proceeds otherwise we will ask the owner for a contribution to pay the vendor; details of which are spelled out in the management agreement. Typically, no “reserve” of owner funds is required.
Q: What information to you gather from potential tenants?
A: For all occupants age 18 and over, we run a credit check through one of the credit bureaus, run a criminal history, verify income/employment, check landlord references and home ownership history. With this information we can make an appropriate recommendation as to whether or not to proceed to lease signing. We also gather critical information like any requests (maintenance or improvements) with the application, along with proposed move in dates and lease expiration terms. We are always Fair Housing compliant.
Q: Vendor Qualifications & Can owner provide vendors or do their own work?
A: Any vendor who is to be paid by us needs to be approved by us and provide us proof of general liability & workers compensation insurance along with an IRS Form W-9. As the payee, we will issue them the appropriate tax forms for the work they perform and handle the insurance audits.
Q: What are the fees for management and leasing services?
A: For ongoing managed properties, we earn 7% of gross monthly rents collected, 50% leasing fee upon receipt of the first month’s rent, $150 lease renewal fee (including inspection), and we share equally late fees collected with the owner 50/50.
A: Our “Leasing and Placement” service is offered as an alternative to ongoing management at a cost of equal to one month’s base rent.
Q: How many owners do you work with and how many properties do the owners of the management company own as part of that portfolio?
A: We practice what we preach. The shareholders of the Option MSI have an ownership position of less than 5% of the properties under management; these homes and owners are managed consistent with the whole portfolio of homes under management. Roughly 35% of our owners are located in other states and foreign countries. We estimate 30% of our owners have more than 1 rental property under management with us.
Finally, help us understand you and your property
What are your goals for the property and what do you want a property manager to provide?
If someone else manages the properties presently, what are the terms of canceling the management agreement? What information will that manager provide (rent roll, lease, contact information, application, delinquency, move in inspection documentation, pending legal action, security deposits, keys, security codes, home service contracts, rental licenses, etc.)? When is the last time you visited the property or had an inspection completed? Do the tenants or current manager have any special circumstances which the next manager will need to maintain or immediately address?