The fifth factor to consider when hiring a property management company is their responsiveness not just to the owner, but the tenants and vendors. Since many people won’t complain in writing about the quality of service they receive, your firsthand experience should be a strong indicator as to the future service you will receive.
If you call a property management company to inquire about their services, and they don’t pick up the phone, that could be cause for some slight concern. If they don’t return your call for 24 or 48 hours, that could be cause for great concern. Here is what I have learned: people in general, and property management companies in particular, don’t become more responsive over time. They will be on their best behavior and the most responsive before you sign a contract. After you sign, their incentive drops dramatically.
The same holds true for their responsiveness to tenant issues. If a management company is not quick to address their problems one of two things will occur: a small problem can become a big problem or the tenant will tire of their delays and when the time comes for them to renew, they won’t. The cost to an owner when a tenant does not renew can be quite high: lost rent, tenant acquisition fee to be paid and the cost to prepare the property for the market. This can run into thousands of dollars. It is better to have a property management that responds quickly and competently to tenant problems and that tenant will be more inclined to stay in your property.
In property management, timing matters.