Ampersand logo

Choosing a Property Manager in Billings, MT

Billings has a number of property management companies. Choosing one to look after your real estate investments shouldn’t be a shot in the dark. You did your due diligence on your properties; you should do your due diligence on your management options. Ideally, you should contact each company with some questions so you can get a feel for the management style of each. Since there are several companies, you can just send one email with your questions to each company’s email address. It saves you time and you’ll see who responds quickly.

Once you’ve done that, you can meet with your top picks to determine whether your personalities and investments priorities are a good match with the property manager. Since you’ve asked most of your questions already, this meeting can be shorter if you like, simply to gain a better understanding of them company and its policies as well as the employees and how well you mesh with them.

Initially, you’ll want to find out several things:

How many properties do you manage? You may feel comfortable with a property manager who already deals with several hundred properties, or you may be looking for something smaller. Finding out this number will give you a good basis for understanding the next question.

How many vacancies do you have? The fewer the number of vacancies, the better. If the company manages several hundred properties and has five currently vacant, it’s much different from if the company manages ten with five vacancies.

What’s your average time for filling a vacancy? This will help you get a feel for how long you may have to carry the property if a tenant leaves.

Do you have a list of people who want to rent? A renters’ list will help your property gain more exposure in the community and be re-rented sooner.

How do you advertise? You want a company with a broad range of advertisements so that your property is seen by as many potential tenants as possible.

What’s your fee structure when a property is vacant? Some property managers charge a leasing fee; some accept a reduced rate when there’s no rental income; others choose not to take payment when you’re not getting paid.

What is your leasing fee? Some companies charge a flat fee; others charge a month’s rent; some don’t have a leasing fee.

How do you qualify tenants? You want to be sure that the manager isn’t just filling the units so he gets paid. You want someone who will pay the rent on time and take care of the property.

What do you charge for rented properties? This can be a percentage or a flat fee.

How do you handle maintenance issues? Some companies have full-time staff who handle maintenance; others contract with local businesses and handymen. Small issues may be dealt with as a matter of course, and you receive a bill; sometimes the charge will be taken directly from the rental cashflow.

How often do you inspect the properties? There should be an inspection of both the interior and exterior of the property so that you’re confident that there’s no damage or lease violations.

How do you handle evictions? In a perfect world, you’d never need to evict a tenant, but occasionally it may be necessary, so it’s good to find out up front how the company deals with it.

When and how do you provide investment reports? This should give you a picture of how your investments are performing–the standard is once a month by mail or email.

You might also request that they attach a copy of their application and lease so that you can make sure the application provides sufficient information to qualify the tenant and the lease adheres to your standards. Add any other questions of interest to you, and you’re off to a good start.

If you’re interested in finding out more of Ampersand Property Management’s policies, click our “Property Owners” tab to read more, or feel free to email us at AmpersandPropertyManagement@gmail.com.

Be Sociable, Share!