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What Qualifications You Should Seek in a Property Manager

What Qualifications You Should Seek in a Property Manager

When you own real estate investments and rental property in the Lehigh Valley, you recognize the many benefits of also bringing in a professional property manager to help. The benefits of having someone to manage operations, schedule vendors, handle marketing, vet potential residents, and collect rent are exponential. 

But beware. Not all property managers are created equal. And to have the best investment partnership experience, you’ll want to be thorough about evaluating each potential property management firm before making a selection. These are the qualifications and characteristics to look for specifically before considering any new partnership.

Knowledge and Understanding of the Lehigh Valley Market

The first characteristic to look for in a property manager is direct experience and knowledge of the Lehigh Valley real estate market. Make sure anyone you consider has all the tools and resources to stay on top of market fluctuations, buying, and selling. They’ll need to effectively be able to provide valuation processes to determine which properties are great to buy, which should be sold, and how much potential revenue a property can earn. Finding a rental, listing a rental, exploring portfolio improvements, and tapping into methods for increasing value should all be second nature to your property manager.

Communication Skills and Availability

If a property manager brags about having lots of clients, it might at first seem to be a champion endorsement. But it could also indicate they’re too busy to manage yours. Ask specifically about a property manager’s communication and availability. What methods or channels can be used to reach them? How quickly do they respond to emails and voicemails? What is the process for communicating updates with you about the property? Anyone who can’t outline with absolute precision just how available they are and what communication strategies work best will probably not be a great fit partner.

Organizational Process That Work

Anyone who claims to be successful in property management will also be able to share proven processes for every layer of operations. Ask potential partners about their methods for collecting rent, managing repairs, and pre-screening residents. And ask to see examples of record-keeping processes, digital forms, and documentation. The best Lehigh Valley property managers will be able to share with you detailed roadmaps for how they manage operations on your behalf and have success stories to back up those proven methods.

Understanding of Real Estate Maintenance and Repair 

One of the most important and financially impacting aspects of protecting your real estate investment involves property maintenance, condition improvements, and repairs. Make sure you work with a property manager who has at least a basic understanding of such efforts. You’ll need someone who knows when it’s time to call a local handyperson contractor and a specialist plumbing technician. They’ll need to be knowledgeable about reading an inspection report. And when you work with someone who knows their way around property maintenance, they’ll be able to negotiate great rates on your behalf for those service calls.

Relationship Building Skills and Customer Service

The best resident experiences are made possible with top-notch customer service and ongoing relationship building with them. A property manager will be the first line of defense in handling complaints or concerns. They’ll be responsible for rent payment reminders and issuing late fee warnings. You’ll want someone who’s friendly, professional, approachable, and quick to respond. Your resident relationships will need to be prioritized, and it’s the property manager’s ability to connect with your residents that will determine whether or not you’re successful in creating those meaningful and professional relationships.

Impeccable Time Management

When you decide to work with a property manager, you should know they probably have other investor clients and properties in their schedule to manage. This is why vetting a potential partner’s time management strategy, and skills is imperative. In addition to asking about communication and availability to you, ask about a manager’s time-management process for all the operational tasks they’ll be responsible for overseeing. If they miss a contractor appointment, don’t have time to schedule walk-throughs, or take too long to follow up with a repair request, it won’t be a good fit.

Tech-Savvy Problem Solvers

While you’re inquiring about time management, ask specifically about apps and software solutions the property management firm uses to streamline processes. You’ll want a tech-savvy professional who leverages every available tool that makes sense to make everything more efficient. Maybe it’s digital key management, digital payment channels for collecting rent, or online scheduling tools. If they’re still using paper forms and an outdated flip phone, it’s probably not a good sign they’ll have the tech knowledge necessary to keep up with innovation.

Financial and Investment Competent 

A strong property management partnership extends beyond managing the operational tasks of the property. You’ll want someone who has a general understanding of financial investment and portfolio management, too. When you want to grow or improve your portfolio bottom line, you’ll need someone who can provide advice and best practices to help you increase cash flow, decrease expenses, and scale your portfolio growth. Find a partner who can manage the day-to-day details but who also thinks about long-term success like an investor.

Continuous Professional Development

The Lehigh Valley real estate market and rental property investment are constantly changing. And you’ll need to stay ahead of every trend to be successful. Adaptability and flexibility with your strategies will ensure you’re always moving towards improvement, no matter what the market’s doing. Your chosen property management partner should be just as keen to ongoing professional development and learning. Before officially hiring a rental property manager, ask what steps they take to stay on top of the latest Lehigh Valley market trends and nuances. Are they networking often? Do they explore every opportunity to learn and develop better ways of managing the property? How do they stay ahead of major shifts in the market or potential investment pitfalls?

Likable Traits Matter

Here’s a big one. Because you’ll be working with your rental property management partner closely, sometimes with daily and weekly contact, you’ll need to choose someone you like. The likability factor matters. Even those professionals with top-notch resumes and experience won’t be great to work with if you aren’t feeling comfortable with them. You should welcome calls and emails from this person and be comfortable asking questions along the way. Before deciding which management firm to choose, add some weight to how likable they are and ask yourself how willing you are to work with them regularly.

Axel Property Management Checks All the Boxes

What you’re really looking for is a Lehigh Valley property manager who delivers the best customer service to property owners and the best living experiences for residents. You want all of the aforementioned characteristics and a true partner who can work with you and your portfolio through a lens of asset preservation and growth. You need to talk with our team at Axel Property Management. We’ll share our strategies and processes and can answer all your partnership questions. Axel Property Management will check all the boxes!

Axel Property Management is the Lehigh Valley property management partner you can trust from a one-on-one perspective through strategic planning and execution. Before you hire any rental property manager, consider all these qualifications and characteristics specifically. Then call our team and work with the best!