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How to Choose a Property Management Company

how to choose a property management company

Choosing the right company can be a game-changer for real estate investors and property owners. A good property manager can protect your investment and free up your time. But there are a ton of property management companies in Orange County. How do you choose the best one for you? In this guide, we will give our expert recommendations on what to look for in a property management company.

Understanding Property Management Services

If you’re a landlord, you know that managing a rental property is a lot of work. Your real estate investment might not feel passive when you have to carve out time to screen tenants, collect rent, and fix repairs. This is where a property management company comes in. A good property management company will take all of that work off your hands so you can relax and enjoy the benefits of being a landlord. Here are a few things that your property management company should do for you:

  • Screen tenants to make sure they’re financially stable and reliable
  • Manage lease agreements and make sure they’re fair to both you and the tenant
  • Oversee maintenance and repairs to keep your property in good condition
  • Collect rent and disperse funds to you
  • Market your property and find new tenants when you need them
  • Handle all the day-to-day tasks of managing a rental property, so you don’t have to

Comprehensive Tenant Screening Process

Finding the right tenants is like laying a strong foundation for a building. It is essential for long-term stability of any property. A strong property management company understands this well and has a thorough vetting process. For example, a good property management company should run background checks, examine credit scores, and call references. To learn more about what a tenant screening process should look like, check out our application process.

Maintenance and Repair Management

Responsive maintenance and repair management is essential for any reputable OC property management company, as this directly impacts the longevity of the property and the satisfaction of your tenants. A proactive approach to maintenance not only preserves the property’s value but also prevents minor issues from escalating into major, costly repairs. A reputable property management company should conduct annual inspections and have a 24/7 phone service for tenants to report emergencies.

Legal Compliance and Lease Management

Your property management company should be well-versed in California state laws, Orange County laws, and individual city laws. Since laws are complex and ever-changing, it is important to have a partner who is up-to-date on the latest regulations. Taking legal precautions early on can help you avoid costly mistakes down the road.

Here are some specific examples of laws that your property management company should be familiar with:

  • California Civil Code – This code governs landlord-tenant relationships in California, including issues such as rent control, security deposits, and evictions.
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – This law prohibits discrimination in housing, including discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and disability.
  • Orange County Property Maintenance Code – This code sets forth the minimum standards for the maintenance of residential and commercial properties in Orange County.
  • Individual City Laws – Each city in Orange County has its own laws that govern things like noise levels, parking, and trash disposal.

A good property management company will have a system in place to monitor changes in the law and to ensure that their clients are in compliance.

Here are some tips for finding a property management company that is familiar with California state laws, Orange County laws, and individual city laws:

  • Ask potential property management companies about their experience and knowledge of the law.
  • Ask for references from other landlords who have used the company’s services.
  • Read the property management company’s contract carefully to make sure that they are committed to complying with all applicable laws.

Rent Collection and Disbursement of Funds

A reputable property management company should handle all aspects of rent collection and financial management for you, including collecting rent from tenants, sending out monthly rent statements, following up on late payments, enforcing late fees, and depositing rent payments directly into your bank account. This eliminates the need for you to manually collect and deposit rent checks.

Additionally, the company should keep track of all financial documents related to your property, including rent payments, expenses, and maintenance costs, which should be easily accessible for tax purposes.

Evaluating the Company's Track Record

A solid reputation speaks volumes about a company’s trustworthiness and client relationships. In this section, we’ll give you tips on how to evaluate a company’s credibility.

Read Reviews

When searching for a reliable property management company, evaluating their reputation and experience is crucial. Online reviews provide valuable insights into the quality of services offered. Seek companies with positive reviews from current and past clients. Also, be sure to check various review platforms, like Yelp, Google Reviews, TrustPilot, etc. Sometimes companies can buy positive reviews for one platform, but it’s hard to fake a good reputation across all business review platforms.

Years in Business

Another important aspect to consider when choosing a property management company is their experience in the industry. Companies that have been in operation for at least five years have demonstrated their ability to navigate the challenges of property management, develop effective systems and processes, and build a solid reputation. Even though new companies can be good options, companies that have stood the test of time are often a safer investment.

Transparent and Fair Pricing

A good property management company won’t hide their pricing. If a company’s pricing is not readily available on their website or they have a reputation for hidden fees, it’s best to look for other options. A reputable property management company will be upfront about their fees and will not surprise you with unexpected charges.

Responsiveness

Good property management companies pick up the phone when you call. To test if a property management company is responsive, give them a call or shoot them an email. Then see how long they take to get back to you.

In conclusion, choosing a reliable property management company can significantly streamline your real estate investment experience. By handling tasks such as tenant screening, maintenance management, rent collection, and financial reporting, a reputable property management company can provide peace of mind and allow you to enjoy the benefits of being a landlord without the hassle. By considering factors such as experience, reputation, transparency, and responsiveness, you can find a property management company that aligns with your needs and ensures the success of your investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percent do most property management companies take?

Most property management companies typically charge a fee based on a percentage of the monthly rent collected from the property. This fee usually ranges between 8% and 12% for single-family or multi-family homes. For information on Good Life Orange County Property Management, check out our pricing page.

Does a property manager need a real estate license in California?

In California, a property manager typically needs to be licensed as a real estate broker or work under the supervision of one. This requirement is in place because property management activities often overlap with real estate tasks, such as leasing properties, collecting rent, and soliciting tenants. There are some exceptions, however, such as when a property owner manages their own property or when an individual is performing property management duties under the direct supervision of a licensed real estate broker. These exceptions allow for certain property management activities without the need for a broker’s license, especially for on-site managers of apartment buildings or employees of licensed property managers who perform specific tasks set by their employer​​​​​​.

What is the biggest responsibility for property management?

At the core, property managers ensure the integrity of your property, occupancy, and tenant satisfaction so you can enjoy the passive income from your rental property.

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