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If you’re a Jacksonville area landlord who is looking to go a little more hands-off with your properties, you may have a few good reasons. Maybe you’re a freshly-minted landlord who finds yourself a little overwhelmed with everything you're expected to manage—perhaps you’re a veteran in the industry who has reached a tipping point with the number of properties you own, and you can’t do it all yourself anymore. Maybe you own a couple of properties and are just tired of doing the work yourself. In all of these cases and more, reaching out to a good property management company can help you tackle it all! That task can be a little harder than it seems—you may be asking yourself how you can find the best property management company in the Jacksonville area. Read on for some helpful ideas.
Talk to Your "Neighbors"
It only makes sense: if you’re looking for good local service, you want to reach out to people that you know. Word of mouth referrals from reliable sources that you trust can be an excellent way to get a lead on an ideal pick of companies. Don’t neglect to reach out to a few different sources: limiting your questions to one person can mean that you might subject yourself to personal bias. Find a few friends or fellow landlords, ask for their input, and compare notes, too!
Utilize the Power of the Internet
Word of mouth is a useful tool, but the reach and scope can be limited. Searching online can widen your net and expose you to options that you might not have heard about if you’re only asking around in person. Additionally, you can get feedback on your potential candidates by reading reviews, checking out ratings, and taking the time to explore what a company has to offer you and your properties on their websites. The trade-off here is that a lot of the feedback that you’ll be getting is anonymous.
Analyze How Well They Know Your Market
Ultimately, how well a property manager will work for you depends on how well they know the area. So much of what a property management company handles depends on their knowledge of the local market, such as:
- Setting the right rental rate for your market
- Marketing to tenants
- Retaining tenants
- Handling property inspections
- Addressing maintenance issues
All of these items require knowledge of the market, local demographics, property and real-estate laws, and a working relationship with local contractors and maintenance workers in Jacksonville. When a property manager knows the area well, they can deliver these services more effectively, which ultimately benefits you! So take the time to feel out the acquired understanding that your potential picks possess.
Assess Their Management Style
When you think you’ve found a property management company that you like, take the time to learn about how they handle owner-property manager interactions. This knowledge is essential if you have a preference for being more hands-off or if you want to have more say in how a company will manage your investment. There is no right or wrong answer, but not all property managers will have the same set of policies or offer the same amount of flexibility. Doing this kind of investigation up front can save you from irritation or disappointment down the road.
Inspect Their Vacancy and Marketing Policies
Advertising (and filling) vacant properties are among the most fundamental tasks that a property management company does for you—after all, full properties with paying renters are the basis of your business! Some property managers will charge a fee for vacant units, while others may not, so it’s worth doing the research and learning how the company that you’re looking at will handle your property if it sits vacant for a while.
It’s also worth looking into how a property manager handles advertising and marketing and the length of time their properties remain vacant. Look into how they market properties and try to learn how adequate those efforts are: if they manage to turn over properties quickly, then you can probably guess that they handle that side of their business well. If properties sit empty or their marketing is uninspired and ineffective, then you may have your properties lying empty for longer than you’d like.
Compare Your Notes to Ours!
When you’ve gathered a few options, it’s time to compare notes—especially if you’ve found a property manager that you think you like! Equating their services to what others have to say will allow you to notice any weaknesses in what they have to offer and can confirm your initial impressions. You may also think of some new questions to ask. Meet with companies one on one so that you can explain your needs and get a personal feel for what they’ll offer you.
There’s a lot that goes into choosing and hiring the right property manager. When you’re looking for a Jacksonville area property management company to help you get the most out of your investment, download our FREE Guide to Hiring a Property Manager and see what you might be missing out on!