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Jacksonville Property Management: 7 Tips For Selecting The Best Property Manager

Jacksonville Property Management: 7 Tips For Selecting The Best Property Manager

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There are lots of Jacksonville property management options available to landlords wanting help managing their Jacksonville rental properties.

How do you choose the best Jacksonville property management company to manage your rental home or investment portfolio?

At Navy to Navy homes, we get questions like this A LOT.

So, our company owner, Mario Gonzalez, created a quick video to help answer some of the top questions we get related to this question. 

Choosing a property management company in Jacksonville may not be as simple as you think. 

Many folks will simply start out by creating a social media post asking “Hey, do you know anyone or have a recommendation?”

While you will get honest answers (which is great!), there are some limitations. Many people who answer will have had only one experience, renting one home, with one company. Which may not be information for you to make an informed decision. 

In this post, Navy to Navy founder, Mario Gonzalez, will give you seven things to look at when reviewing property management companies in Jacksonville to make sure you choose the right one. 


#1 LICENSE AND QUALIFICATIONS


Q. Is this person or company licensed and qualified to manage homes?


A. All real estate agents are not qualified to manage homes, but every property manager should be a licensed real estate agent.

Ask questions like,

"What qualifications do you have? 
How long have you been managing properties? ,
How many employees do you have?
How many people will you contact? 
How many homes do you currently manage?
Do you offer tenant placement services? 
Do you handle tenant evictions?
Do you offer collections services?"

Know and understand the scope of the services they offer, and what they’re qualified to do (commercial/residential/HOAs). You want to ask all of those questions.

Other questions to have on your interview list include:

"What are your management rates? 
"What kind of vacancy rate do they have? (Usually a percentage)"
"What kind of eviction rate do they have?" 

They may have been doing this a long time, but if they’re evicting one of every four tenants, that’s not a great thing. Another great clarifying question, 

"What kind of credit selection do they use?
What does your tenant selection process look like?"

Ask all those questions to really qualify and make sure that the company you're considering is properly licensed.

Another thing you can do is to research the company online to review their certifications and professional designations. 


#2 PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATIONS

To identify companies and people that are certified property managers or have been designated as certified property managers, look for the following abbreviations after their name: 

CPM - Certified Property Manager
RMP - Residential Management Professional or
MPM - Master Property Management 

Master Property Management is the highest certification you can actually get in the property management realm. Look for those people and companies who have a Master Property Manager designation. That’s going to be your top tier in Jacksonville property management companies.


#3 INDUSTRY AWARDS

Also check for industry awards.

A professional property management company should have their awards posted on their website, in their About section or bios, in their email signatures, or even on their walls (if you decide to stop by the office for a visit).

Look for award titles like "Property Manager of the Year Award" or "Property Management Company of the Year".

Awards will tell you not only is that company licensed and designated to serve as a property management company, but they are also being recognized and awarded in their industry for how well they perform. 


#4 PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Professional Associations are another piece to vetting your property management company. 

You'll want to know answers to questions like, "Where are they getting their information? Where are they getting their continual education?"

For residential property management companies, look for an association or affiliation with NARPM - The National Association of Residential Property Managers.

For the commercial side, look for IREM - the Institute of Real Estate Management.

Both of these associations deal with topics like, "What’s changing in codes? Regulations? Laws? Policies? Directives? Governing Directives?"

These associations work to constantly educate those professionals that are affiliated with those organizations.

If a property management company isn’t associated with one of these two associations, then they’re really kind of managing properties in the dark, and will have blind spots when it comes to managing your property, putting you more at risk as the property owner.  

To lower your risk as the owner, choose a property manager that values continuing education and is associated with one or both of these two large association. 

That company will work to stay on top of policy and regulations changes to protect your assets. 


#5 ONLINE REVIEWS

In part five, you’re looking at the reviews.

What do other people, not just one person, but what are other people saying across the internet on this company?

When looking at reviews there are two things you should focus on.

One is a property owner review. The other is a tenant review.

You want to know, "Hey, are the owners happy." That’s the main thing.

Keep in mind that a tenant, often times, when they’re held accountable, they’re not so happy.

They’re not so happy when they move out and leave the home wrecked and the property manager says, “You know what Mr. and Mrs. Tenant, you’re paying for all that”.

The tenant may very well go online and leave that negative review. That's okay.

That's the property manager doing a good job for you, the homeowner, who they work for. They don’t work for the tenants.

So look at the reviews, but differentiate from the tenant versus the owner. Expect there to be a few negative reviews in there.

Places to check: Google ReviewsFacebook Reviews, and Yelp Reviews are top spots to read through comments.

Take a minute to click on the "See More Reviews" links on these sites to get a solid feel for how this property management company operates.


#6 POLICIES, PROCEDURES, & AFFILIATIONS

If the property management company you have selected has passed the first five criteria, you're ready to get into the nuts and bolts their business and how they'll protect your assets.

Questions to ask include:

What kind of policies, what kind of procedures do they have, for tenant placement? For evictions? For maintenance and repairs? 

Do they rent a home before it goes vacant or after it goes vacant? (After vacancy is easier to show, but you’re paying for it. You’re paying the lights, you’re paying the mortgage, without any money coming in, so you need to ask that question.)

What do they charge for? What does their fee structure look like?

Are they linked with lawyers and title companies and vendors that are all licensed and insured?

Who’s doing the work on their home? Do they use the same vendors for their personal home that they will be using on your home?

Policies and procedures are created to manage risk, and that's what your property management company should be doing for you - manage and reduce your risk. It is important to understand the policies they have in place, and how they will affect you as a property owner. 


#7 PRICING & FEES

The final thing, and this is the smallest thing in your list of consideration, should be the price.

Be very weary of those companies who say, “Hey, we’ll manage your home for a ‘teeny tiny’ price” without thoroughly looking at the scope of services.

I’ve been managing homes for a long time and I will tell you if there is a ‘teeny tiny’ price then they’re most likely giving you ‘teeny tiny’ service that’s not going to match with the policies and procedures of the companies that are professionals, companies that are invested in protecting your assets, helping your property be profitable, and limiting your risk and liability. 

A lower-fee service company may collect the rent for you, but that’s it.

You need to ask if they have “boots on the ground” in your area.

Can they go out and see that home, can they answer tenant questions directly without referring your tenant to a 1-800 number?

What about their employee turnover rate? Will your tenants be upset because the "Joe" who showed them the property is no longer there and they can't get ahold of anyone at the property management company? Will your tenants (and you) get the runaround? A company that charges a "teeny tiny" price may not be able to keep excellent staff on hand to service you.

These are considerations you really need to think about to determine if that company is right for you. 

And of course, price is going to increase with the level of services that you get. That’s just natural.

But look at all companies comparatively. You don’t have to look necessarily at the highest priced company out there, but look at companies that are offering a good deal of services in their policies and procedures for an equitable price.


CONCLUSION

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell… the seven things.

  1. License & Qualifications
  2. Certifications/Designations
  3. Awards
  4. Professional Associations
  5. Reviews
  6. Policies
  7. Price

Use this guide to help you find a property management company that is the best fit for you. 

And if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

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