As professional San Francisco property managers, we get a lot of questions from potential clients. Owners want to know how much we charge and how much their property will rent for. They ask how soon we can rent it and whether the management contract is negotiable.
These are all good questions. It’s important to have open and transparent discussions with any management company you’re thinking about hiring. Today, we’re sharing five common – and important questions – which you should ask a San Francisco property management company.
Ask About the San Francisco Leasing Process
Your priority is finding a property manager who helps you avoid vacancy and rent your property out to the most qualified tenant for the most money that the market will allow. Some of the specific questions you should ask around leasing include how a rental value is settled on, and what types of marketing strategies are used to get the attention of prospective tenants. You’ll want to know how showings are managed – whether they’re in person or if a lockbox is used. Ask about screening criteria and how move-in inspections are handles. Make sure your property manager knows how to handle the collection of a security deposit.
A good property manager will be excited to tell you about their procedure for leasing properties. They should be able to demonstrate that they have successfully rented great homes to great tenants throughout their career.
Ask About the Management Process
Now that you have an idea about how your home will be leased, you’ll want to know what happens after a qualified tenant is placed. What’s involved in the day-to-day business of managing your property? Ask about rent collection and lease enforcement. Find out what your property managers do to retain good tenants. You’ll need to ask about things like landscaping services and pest control. Get an idea of how the management company works. Do they have systems in place and consistent processes, or are things responded to on a case by case basis?
Tenant relationships are important. You’re looking for assurances that your manager will be responsive and available to you and your tenants. A good property manager will protect your investment and effectively manage the relationship with your tenant.
Ask About Maintenance and Repairs
Repairs are always going to be necessary. At any moment, a garbage disposal or a window could break. Your doorbell could stop ringing or your water heater could explode. If you’re renting units in a building, there could be a problem with elevators or common areas that impact your residents. You’ll need to know what happens when a tenant reports an issue.
You should always ask property managers where they find their vendors and contractors. You want to work with licensed, professional, and insured companies only. Not only does this guarantee you’ll have a high quality of workmanship, it also means your risk and liability is reduced.
Ask About Legal Knowledge
Renting out a San Francisco property is complicated. Legally, the laws are always changing, and in 2020, we’ve had some of the strictest rent control and eviction provisions written into law that we’ve ever seen. There are new requirements for screening as it pertains to Section 8 and income. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a moratorium on evictions in place that landlords are still struggling to recover from.
You need to ask about fair housing laws, rental laws, and how the property manager maintains compliance. Discuss any potential legislative changes that may impact you as an investor and find out how your property manager stays current in their profession. You’re looking for evidence of continuing education and professional development.
Ask About Accounting Statements and Technology
Good property management companies will use a software that’s designed specifically for rental management. Technology helps keep costs down and also protects you with outstanding documentation. You and your tenants should have portals so you can keep up on the things going on with your home. Accounting statements should be readily available and accurate. Transparency is critical, and you want to know you’ll always be able to see the income and expenses associated with your investment.
There are at least a dozen other things that you should ask, and we’d be happy to talk about San Francisco property management with you further. Contact our team at Leading Properties.