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Finding (and Keeping) A Good Apartment Manager

If you have rental properties, especially multifamily, then you need to have a good property manager. Any building with more than 16 unites requires an on-site apartment manager. Even if it wasn’t the law, these managers will free up your time and ease the stress of dealing with tenants and building issues. However, this is not a job to be taken lightly. A bad property manager can sink your investment. Here’s are my Ali Safavi Real Estate tips to finding and keeping an effective apartment manager.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Tip 1: Expect the Worse

Many apartment managers are bad. I don’t mean to denigrate the profession as a whole, but in my experience many start off great and then get lazy as the months and years go on. I only say this to encourage you to stay vigilant. Interview multiple candidates to feel out who you think is best. Make frequent trips to the building to make sure everything is up to par. Go on a walk through with them to get feedback from tenants. If things are falling through the cracks, it’s important to catch the problem as quick as you can.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Tip 2: Ask Smart Questions

Make sure to take your potential manager through a thorough interview process. Asking the right questions like “what is your tenant screening process” and “how many units are you typically used to handling” will give great insight into how much they really know about apartment management. This is one of those industries where, unfortunately, it can be easy to lie your way through much of it. The more specific your questions, the more likely you are to weed out the posers.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Tip 3: Communicate

In the end no one is going to care more about the financial health of the real estate property than you. For example, maybe a particular tenant keeps falling behind on their rent. Or worse, they are exhibiting destructive behavior within the building. Your property manager may have a higher tolerance for this than you. Weekly check-ins where you go over potential issues is a great way to catch these problems before they turn into nightmares.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Tip 4: Set Clear Expectations

As in any business, setting well defined expectations will eliminate a lot of potential headaches. This is probably a no brainer for many of you, but for those new to the game – make this a priority. Expectations can include: agreeing on tenant screening questions, when do you want to be notified about problems, what vendors to use, number of work hours per week, etc. The more you spell out what you want, the less your manager can use the excuse that they didn’t know.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Tip 5: Focus On Managing

If you have multiple investment properties chances are your days are pretty busy. You may get so transfixed on the finances you forget to manage the managers. These people are your gateway to positive cash-flow. I’m not recommending managing with an iron fist (you don’t want to scare the good managers away). However, you should look at them as part of your team – reward the good and get rid of the bad.

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