I am the owner of a professional property management company between Cleveland, OH and Akron, OH. Our property managers provide residential property management services for single family homes, duplexes and just about any other type of residential unit. You can read this information with that in mind, but as someone who has been on both sides of the fence, as an investor and as a property manager, I feel my knowledge and experience may be of some value to people with interest in the residential rental property market.
1) Some property management companies hide fees. There it is. I said it. It is sad, but it is also true that some companies intentionally obscure their fees to get you to sign a management agreement with them. At times, I am embarrassed for my profession. I have watched property owners from Bay Village to Medina fall for a low price professional property management service they found on google. Eventually they will pay for expensive charges that reputable companies view as essential to property management and therefore include as part of their management service fee. In short, be sure to make an “apples to apples” comparison when you shop for property management services. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2) Beware of “in-house” repair and maintenance services. Some property management companies in and around the Cleveland, OH metro area have found a nice profit center for their business model. Unfortunately it is at the expense of the property owner. These property managers are charging you upwards of $60 per hour for labor plus the cost of materials so their employees can work on your property. Imagine each time your tenant moves out, a team of $60 per hour laborers are rushing over to your rental unit to get it ready for the next tenant. Cost effective? I think not. Find a property management company that uses their volume of service requests to secure you the best possible rate for the task at hand. Why pay someone $60 per hour to paint a kitchen in Cleveland when the going rate is only $12 per hour?
3) Beware of management fees on vacant units. Believe it or not, some property management companies charge owners a management fee while the unit is vacant. What incentive does the property management company have to find a tenant for your investment? Answer: None. Find a company that only gets paid when you get paid. Makes sense to me.
4) Beware of management fees when the tenant does not pay. It does seem like it would be common sense, doesn’t it? If your tenant doesn’t pay the rent, then you should not have to pay the management fee. The pain of not receiving a check for that rental unit in Youngstown gets a lot worse when you are handing over additional fees to your property manager. As mentioned above, be sure you property management company only gets paid when you get paid.
5) Sales commissions are included. Many property management companies are also real estate sales offices. Consequently, your management agreement may require you to use the property management company to sell your property whenever you wish to get out of the market. Regardless of your desires, you may be stuck in an exclusive listing agreement with your property management company for the sale of your property. So even if your property manager does a bad job of managing your 6-plex in Canton, he or she is now in charge of selling your property and receiving a fat commission check at your expense. Always make sure you have the ability to sell your property as you see fit.
All County® NEO Property Management property managers are licensed real estate agents, members of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, Ohio Association of Realtors and the North East Ohio Regional Realtors Association. Our team of professionals offer unparalleled rental property management services in the following areas: Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown and their surrounding communities.