What qualities make an ideal Oakland property manager?
Surely you need someone who is smart and experienced. You need a professional who is detail-oriented, patient, and thorough.
You need someone who knows the local rental market.
There are a lot of qualities that make a great property management professional. We’ve created a list of some of the most important qualities that we like to see in the property managers that we hire for our team.
You have a lot of options, and finding the right residential management partner can seem overwhelming. If you know where to begin, however, you’ll find that you immediately gravitate towards those property managers that have the right qualities and are aligned with your specific needs and your investment goals.
Oakland Property Managers Must be Responsive and Willing to Communicate
Communication is critical for you as the owner and your tenants. You’ll want to be sure that you’re working with property managers who value transparent and responsive communication. Look for a company that has the capacity to answer phone calls, return emails, and respond to emergencies. When tenants have a leaking toilet or a malfunctioning appliance, they’re going to need to reach your property manager right away.
Property managers who prioritize communication can actually help you earn more on your Oakland investment home. When tenants feel like their needs are being responded to, they’re more likely to renew their lease agreements. This saves you a lot of money on vacancy and turnover.
Look for good communicators.
Oakland Property Management Expertise
Experience is an important quality when you’re looking for a property manager. You have to start somewhere, and there are likely a lot of new professionals out there who learn very quickly. But, you want to know that the management team you’re working with has already seen a lot of the mistakes that can be made and learned from them. You want to know they’ve managed properties like yours and they’ve taken the time to improve on all of their processes and systems.
Ideally, your property manager has been doing this work for years. You want to know how experienced they are, but more important than years of experience is quality of experience. You’ll want to work with someone who has managed properties that are very similar to those you are renting out.
For example, 20 years of commercial property management experience is great, but not if you’re renting out single-family homes.
Similarly, if you own several small apartment buildings around Oakland, a management company that specializes in single-family homes will not be your best choice.
Get an idea of how a management company handles the day-to-day tasks of marketing a home, screening tenants, and responding to maintenance. You’ll know they’re experienced if they have systems and procedures in place to address anything that may happen. You’ll know they’re experts if they stay up to date on the best practices in property management.
Property management experience is a critical quality, but you also want other types of experience. Property managers who have worked in accounting, construction, maintenance, or sales can also bring a unique set of skills to what you and your property need.
Property Managers Need a Good Reputation
Keeping a positive reputation even in a culture that loves to complain is an admirable quality.
Reputation is an important quality to consider when you’re looking for professional management, because it tells you what kind of experience other clients and customers have had with a particular property manager. Read online reviews and spend some time on the company’s website. Do they provide information that’s educational and valuable, or are they just collecting a management fee?
Those negative reviews can tell you a few things too, so don’t be put off by them. Read them. Are tenants complaining that late fees were enforced when rent was late? That’s actually not a bad thing to read. You want a property manager who will enforce the lease agreement and collect rent on time.
Reputation is not just about what owners and tenants think about a property manager. It’s also about how their peers feel about their work and their contribution to the industry.
Leadership is a very important quality for a property manager.
You should also take some time to research a company’s reputation within the property management industry. Talk to vendors who do work on homes managed by that company. Talk to other property managers, real estate agents, brokers, and business leaders. Have they ever heard of the property manager you’re considering? What do they know?
A commitment to professional development is another great quality to look for in a property manager.
It’s always a good idea to work with a property manager who is well-connected through professional associations and organizations.
For example, the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) is a great resource for Oakland property management companies. They hold their members to high ethical standards and provide endless tools and resources to help us manage homes better. Ask a property manager about their affiliations, designations, and trainings. How do they stay current in their industry? Who are they talking to when they want to know the best practices?
Early Adopters and Property Management Technology
A property manager should be curious, willing to try new technologies, and flexible. Adaptability is an excellent quality in a property manager.
That leads us to technology.
We strongly recommend you choose a property management company that’s willing to adopt and invest in the latest technology. A lot of processes can be automated, thanks to innovative software and digital platforms. This results in consistency, communication, and documentation.
A good property manager is no longer wasting time collecting and sending paper checks or conducting property inspections with a legal pad and a pencil.
Technology can be used for:
- Marketing your property
- Showing your property
- Screening your tenants
- Signing your lease agreement
- Collecting rent
- Receiving maintenance requests
- Sending invoices
- Sharing accounting reports and financial statements
Your property manager should provide you with an online portal, where you can see everything that’s going on with your rental property. The portal gives you access to your financials, your lease, maintenance invoices, and any inspection reports or correspondence.
Do not waste your time with property managers who are reluctant to accept online rental payments and maintenance requests. Over the last year and a half, we learned how important technology is to the effective management of rental properties. You should be receiving rent via ACH payments. You should be allowing tenants to see your rental home with self-showing technology like a digital key or an app that grants access to the home.
The property management technology that’s currently available is secure, convenient, and user-friendly. Look for a property manager who is excited about the tech that’s available and has learned to incorporate it into their personalized, custom property management plans.
Respect for and Understanding of California’s Rental Laws
In Oakland, the laws are changing all the time, and it can be risky for landlords to try to navigate a system that’s so focused on protecting tenants. You cannot check criminal histories during your screening process – only after an offer is made.
You need property management that understands the laws and the importance of complying with them. The Tenant Protection Act has delivered a lot of new regulations when it comes to rent control, eviction, and Section 8 applicants. During the eviction moratorium, you would have wanted a property manager with good tenant relationships who could help you get your rent collected.
You need a property manager who understands the way these laws impact your rental property. You want to know they’re staying current on any changes or legal challenges.
Legal expertise is an important quality in an Oakland property manager.
Does Your Property Manager Invest?
Another great quality in a property manager is that they invest as well.
When you work with a property manager who can lend personal experience as well as professional experience – you’re really getting a lot of value. The property manager who has faced all the same challenges and complexities as you will be a fantastic advocate for your rental property and your investment goals.
Not all good property managers own investment properties themselves. It’s not a requirement. But, when you find a property manager who likes to talk about rental property potential, market trends, and investment opportunities, you’re getting more than someone who collects rent and schedules maintenance. You’re getting a like-minded partner who can help your property perform at its best.
We love talking to investors and rental property owners about what makes our team stand apart from all the other property management companies in Oakland. We’re proud of the qualities that our property managers possess, and we know that our owners appreciate everything we bring to the partnership.
If you’d like to hear more about what it’s like to work with us and why you should, please contact us at California Pacific Realty.