There’s no denying that using a local property management company to help with your Boston rental property makes life a whole lot easier. After all, you want to enjoy the benefits of being a property owner without all the added hassles.
That said, choosing the right property management company in Boston can be tricky if you’re not sure what to look for.
There are no two property management companies that are the same. Because of this, you must know what it’s going to take for you to say yes and hire a property manager. That’s why today, we’ve rounded up the best tips and tricks for choosing a property manager to fit your needs.
How to Choose the Best Property Management Company in Boston
1. Double Check Experience
There’s no shortage of property management companies out there. And to top it off, a whopping 47.3% of property managers hope to build their business this year.
The thing is, if you don’t look into a property management company’s experience, you could end up selling yourself short on services and overpaying.
When it comes to picking a good property manager, the key is to choose one that has a proven track record. In addition, you’ll want to look for property managers that:
- Manage rentals as their full-time job, not as a side gig to make extra money
- Can handle the type of investment property you own
- Have had specialized training and understand the federal, state, and local landlord-tenant laws
- Have been in business for a while but are not overworked and spread too thin
The more experienced your property manager, the better. However, there’s a lot more to think about than just the numbers being shown to prove a company’s worth.
2. Know the Services You Want
Not all property management companies in Boston offer the same set of services. So, know what you want before you start your search to stay focused and make informed decisions.
Here is a list of some of the most common property management company services:
- Rental property advertisements, showings, and tenant screenings
- Market research and rent rate setting
- Legal lease agreement drafting
- Collection of security deposits, first and last months’ rent, and monthly rent
- Tenant relations
- Legal issues such as compliance, regulations, and eviction proceedings
- Routine property inspections
- Emergency and routine maintenance and repair
- Financials related to the property, tenant, and property owner
- And so much more
Don’t overpay for services you don’t need or miss out on having the tasks you dread not handled for you. Instead, take the time to know what you really need in a property manager and then vet your options.
3. Understand the Fee Structure
Again, overpaying for services you’re not receiving (but you think you are) is the worst. To help you with choosing the right property management company, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about common property management fees.
Many companies will charge either a percentage-based fee, a flat fee, or a billed per project fee.
Also, you can expect to possibly pay for fees such as:
- Leasing Fees: this is to cover the cost of advertising and showing your rental property. There is also the processing of applications, tenant screenings, and move-in preparations.
- Monthly Management Fees: though expected, this fee can cut into your profits if you’re not careful. Management fees cover services such as rent collection, property inspections, and maintenance requests.
- On-Boarding Fees: this is usually a one-time setup fee to establish yourself as a client. It includes your account set up and any paperwork that needs processing.
- Maintenance Fees: you can expect to pay for property maintenance and repairs. But know that sometimes property management companies mark up these costs to generate more money for themselves. You must choose a property management company with an affordable on-site maintenance crew or Rolodex of trusted contractors.
- Lease Renewal Fees: you might pay a lease renewal fee if your current tenants want to stay renew their lease.
- Eviction Fees: evictions take a lot of time and money to process. Your property manager might represent you in the case of an eviction. But don’t expect to get off without paying a dime.
When choosing a property management company for your Boston rental, make sure to ask about the fee structure. It’s always a good idea to have a property manager take some of the load off your plate. However, if you’re paying too much, it ends up not being worth it in the end.
4. Verify Licenses and Certifications
Some states only require a real estate license to be a property manager. Others don’t require anything at all. But licensure and certifications signal to you that the property management company is dedicated to being the best.
Any time you can find a property manager with a current real estate broker license, additional training, and certifications, you know you’re getting a knowledgeable person to handle your rental.
Not sure which organizations or certifications to look for? Check out these top ones:
- National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). Members focus on single-family homes and small residential properties.
- Residential Management Professional (RMP). A designation that helps with initial property manager vetting and training.
- Master Property Manager (MPM). This designation is the result of demanding training that property managers seek out to hone their skills.
- Preferred Residential Management Company (CRMC). This designation is given to those with high levels of professionalism.
In the end, property management companies in Boston should be able to back their expertise claims with proper licensing and professional certifications. This is what will set the best property managers apart from the others.
5. Look to Reviews
Reviews that others leave about local property management companies can go a long way in helping you choose the right one. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends.
Of course, not all reviews can be trusted. There will be those that felt betrayed by a company. In response to these right (or wrong) feelings, they may feel the need to drag them through the mud. But if you look to reputable review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, you can get a good idea about a property management company by seeing what others have to say.
You can also look to websites like Glassdoor.com to see what past and current employees say about the company. How a business treats its employers is a direct reflection of how they’ll treat you and your tenants.
In addition to reading online reviews, it’s a good idea to check with a prospective property management company to see if they have current client and tenant references. From there, talk to both and see what their experiences have been like with the company. People love to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you feel the property management company has dropped the ball with either their clients, tenants, or both, it’s time to look elsewhere for help.
6. Check the Insurance
To protect you and your asset, it’s important you use a property management company that has the right insurance policies. Without these, you could find yourself losing out on a lot of money should something happen. Worse yet, you could end up facing your tenants in court.
Another thing to look for while vetting property management companies in Boston is whether they require tenants to have renters insurance. Sure, homeowners insurance covers property damage. But renters insurance takes it one step further.
Should something happen to your property, your tenant’s renters insurance will cover the cost of damages, injuries, and personal belongings. Even if your homeowners insurance covers all this, this takes some of the financial burden off you. Plus, it helps you avoid nasty landlord-tenant disputes over coverage.
Are you in need of Boston property management? Then contact us today and see how we can help take the stress out of being a rental property owner.
At Charlesgate, we offer a comprehensive set of property management services tailored to fit very specific needs. From 24-hour emergency maintenance responses to thorough tenant screening, budgeting and performance tracking to cleaning services, we have everything you need to be a successful landlord without having to lift a finger.
With our hospitality-driven approach, property owners and tenants alike enjoy stellar customer service. And since we can handle any size property type, we know that our experienced Charlesgate property managers will not only impress you with their expertise in leasing and property management but also the high ROI they help you generate each year.