1. How many residences do you manage?
It takes at least 100 properties to become efficient. Less than 100 properties indicate that property management is a secondary job, not a full time occupation.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Properties currently manages about 800 residential homes.
2. How many evictions have you performed in the past 5 years?
When you ask this question, some property managers will begin to brag about their eviction expertise look out! An expert in tenant selection is more valuable to you than an expert in eviction procedures. Divide the answer to this question by the number of properties managed (answer to question #1) and then divide again by 5 (years) to get the annual eviction rate. This percentage tells you volumes about the tenant screening skills of the property management company you are interviewing. The lower the percentage the better. If the result is 4% or less, you are probably dealing with a competent property manager. If the result is over 4%, you may want to terminate the interview at this point and seek a better management company.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management has enjoyed an eviction rate of less than 1% for 25 years running!
3. Do you specialize in a geographic location or a certain type of property?
Highly professional property management companies usually specialize in the kind of properties they like to manage. There is enough demand for their services that they no longer accept any and every property. Be sure that your property's profile fits with their area and type of specialty.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management specializes in upper end homes and owners that care for and about their investment.
4. How many people work for your management company?
It may be difficult to get an accurate answer to this question. Use fractions for part-time employees. The answer to this question, divided by the answer to question #1, will give you the total number of properties managed per person. More than 75 properties per person may indicate that people are being stretched too far and important details may slip through the cracks.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management is allocating about 60 properties per employee.
5. If you combined all the years of property management experience for everyone in your company, how many years would that be?
Many things in property management can only be learned by experience. Divide the answer to this question by the answer to question #4. That will give you the average number of years of property management experience for each employee. The average should be at least 5 years. It is common for good management companies to average 10 years or more per person.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management has over 230 years of total experience or 11+ years per employee.
6. How many of your employees have a real estate license?
Only employees with a real estate license can negotiate on the owner's behalf. Unlicensed employees cannot legally perform many important property management functions. In addition, licensed employees have a license to protect whereas unlicensed employees do not.
The Tiner Answer: All of our Property Managers and Assistant Managers maintain a California Real Estate license.
7. Do you hire leasing agents that are compensated for each property they rent?
This is a very important question. Leasing agents who are paid a commission for placing a tenant have one main interest: place the first tenant I can so I can get paid and move on to the next house. Look for management companies who pay their employees to find the best possible applicant for your property, not the first possible applicant.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management's Property Managers and Leasing Agents are all salaried.
8. How many property management related educational classes or seminars have you attended in the past year?
Competent property managers need to attend several classes each year in order to stay current with new laws and recent court decisions that have changed the meaning of old laws.
The Tiner Answer: Our employees continually update their education and training.
9. How many applicants do you turn down for every one you accept?
Even when prospective tenants are pre-screened on the phone prior to showing, professional property managers will, on average, turn down at least 3 applicants for every one they accept. The higher this number, the more selective the property manager is.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management declines 4+ applicants for every one we accept.
10. How long is your management contract with property owners?
Expert property managers do not need long term contracts to keep their accounts. Avoid any property manager that wants you to sign a long-term management agreement.
The Tiner Answer: Our owners may cancel at any time with 30 days notice.
11. What was your vacancy rate last year?
The answer to this question should be a percentage, not the average number of days a property is on the market. A vacancy rate takes into account how often properties become vacant as well as how long they stay vacant. Good management companies know their vacancy rate and are proud to share it. Statistics show an average vacancy rate for Sacramento County as high as 9% for all types of rental housing. Expert residential managers should be under 4%.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management is under 2%!
12. Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau and what is your rating?
It is always a good idea to do business with an accredited member of the BBB. They also keep track of how many complaints have been made against a business and how they were resolved. They provide a rating for businesses that range from A+ to F.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management enjoys an A+ rating with no complaints on record.
13. How many times have you been to court regarding deductions from a tenant’s security deposit and what were the results?
If you have to wait very long for the answer to this question, you can assume the answer is, “Too Often”. Property managers who keep good records and maintain good communications with their tenants should not need to defend more than one security deposit withholding per year per one hundred accounts. Property managers should be able to defend their security deposit deductions in court so long as a Move-In-Condition Report was completed in a thorough manner and receipts for all work are provided.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management is averaging about 3 to 4 times per year, managing 800 residential properties. In almost every case, results are favorable for the owner.
14. Are you a member of NARPM?
Most expert property managers in the Sacramento area are members of NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers). NARPM news letters and business meetings are an important way for property managers to stay current with the latest trends and new laws. NARPM members must comply with a strict code of ethics and standards of professionalism.
The Tiner Answer: We have several employees that are members of NARPM including our CEO, John Tiner, Jr.
15. What is your system for inspecting rentals?
There are several good ways to handle property inspections. The key is to find a property manager that has a system to ensure that the property is being checked regularly. If they have a system, they will begin to explain it right away. If not, you can safely assume that they have no system.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management has a multi-faceted system for inspecting rentals on a regular basis.
16. What are your management fees and what costs are included?
Be very careful with this one. Many property management companies bury fees in their contract. They charge extra for inspections, account set up, legal notification and cancellation just to name a few.
The Tiner Answer: Tiner Property Management will provide a full explanation of our fees and services upon request. Email John Tiner, Jr. at Johnjr@tiner.com.