When Should I Fire My Property Manager?
Recently, I’ve taken a lot of phone calls from Indianapolis real estate investors that tell me a similar story. It goes something like this…
“Hello, my name is Joe Investor and I own some rental properties in Indianapolis. I’m just really frustrated with my current Property Manager and I’m exploring my options.”
In response, I generally follow-up with the same question each time…
“So, specifically, why aren’t you happy with your current management company?”
As you might imagine, I’ve heard A LOT of different scenarios. Some of the reasons aren’t very legitimate. For example, I’ve had many people complain about what seem to be very legitimate repairs, completed at very legitimate costs. In those cases, I’m honest and say, “I’m not sure we’re going to provide a different outcome for you. Maybe self-managing is your best way to go.”
But, there are a few different answers I hear most often concerning why investors are upset with their management company. And these reasons, I feel, are definite reasons to fire your property manager.
- Lack of Communication. Without question, communication – the lack of it – is the number one complaint I hear about Property Management companies. I’m still shocked when I hear investors tell me it sometimes take weeks to get a response from their PM. When PM companies have a hard time responding to their Owners, that likely means they also aren’t responding to your Tenants. And if that’s the case, you can almost be assured that the Tenant won’t renew. Good property managers should be easy to reach. They should have multiple ways available to contact them. And there’s no reason that your Property Manager shouldn’t respond to you quickly. If that’s not happening, it’s time to fire your Property Manager.
- Lack of Transparency. You should know every fee your Property Manager charges you up front. If not every fee is mentioned during your initial discussions, the fee structure should be clearly outlined in the Property Management Agreement. In addition, you should have access to every bill or repair item that hits your account. Let’s say you are charged $125 for an HVAC repair. You should have access to the work order associated with the repair, or even the invoice itself.
If your Property Manager charges your account and cannot produce any documentation, it’s time to fire your property manager.
- Lack of Quality Tenants. Evictions do happen. Even to the best property managers. Sometimes highly qualified Tenants are placed into a home, and life happens. They lose their job. They get sick. They go through a divorce. However, if your Property Manager consistently delivers poor-performing Tenants, they likely aren’t conducting proper screening – which is one of the most important tasks a Property Manager can perform, and it’s time to hire another Property Manager.
- Lack of Accountability. No Property Manager is perfect. All of us make mistakes. But when a Property Manager makes a mistake, they need to own it, apologize for it, and make it right. For example, let’s say your Property Manager bills you for a toilet repair. Two weeks later, you get another bill for the exact same repair on the same toilet. Obviously, the initial repair wasn’t a good one and the Property Manager should be accountable for that error and credit you for the second repair. If they fail to, it’s probably time to fire your property manager.
Again, while no Property Manager is perfect, there are reasons to decide it’s time to fire them.
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