For rental property owners in Georgia, it's sometimes easier to tell that you want help with your work than to tell who is the best option to help you. Not all Atlanta property management company options will treat you the same way, and it's important to find one that will make your experience better, not more challenging. However, all companies who are trying to win your business will put on a good look for those early meetings, so how can you find the right option for you? Here are some ways to find the property management company that truly stands out from the rest.
Ask Local Contacts For Someone Who Knows the Area
Start local: you want a property management company that actually operates in the Atlanta area and understands the many smaller communities within the Greater Atlanta metro area. Property management should be a somewhat personalized experience since what works to rent out a property in one part of town may not be effective in a different neighborhood. When the company is trying to operate over a multiple-state zone or doesn't have a deep understanding of the region, they will have a harder time helping you address location-specific needs for your rental property.
Use Referrals to Find Strong Reputations
Once you're looking for locally-operated companies, you'll start looking for referrals. Do you know people who have gotten into the rental property business in Atlanta? Talking to them about their property management experiences can really give you insights that meeting with the companies themselves may leave out. A landlord is likely to tell you what they really experienced and connect you to a high-functioning company. It benefits everyone if their property management company has plenty of clients and can pay all their bills because of their good reputation. You can get a better picture of the Atlanta property management company's real behaviors and narrow down your list of options using referrals, and it's a great way to start.
Ask About Policies and How They Interact With Owners
Once you've found some companies with strong reputations, set up meetings or free consultations to talk about the nitty-gritty of working together. One of the biggest places where you'll want to find a company that aligns with you is in the world of owner-property-manager interactions. Some companies will take the work you give them and run with it, only contacting you very occasionally. In contrast, others will be focused on running all medium and large decisions by you, keeping you connected to the process. A really great Atlanta property management company will discuss the options along the spectrum of interactions and let you set the tone, deciding how hands-off or hands-on you want to be. Having experience and policies in place that allow these companies to respect your interests is a key component of a truly great property management company.
Marketing, Advertising, and Vacancy Times: Let Them Show What They Know
One area where property managers add a ton of value is in the world of marketing your properties. Many property owners face long weeks between renters because they aren't sure where to advertise and get good candidates for their rental. They may accept a renter who has a spotty rental history simply because they cannot afford to wait for more applicants. This is a great reason to hire a property manager and a great talking point for a first meeting.
When you talk to a new potential property manager, ask them comprehensive questions, such as:
- How do you advertise new rental listings? How have you found the most cost-effective ways to advertise and find applicants?
- How long do properties tend to stay on the market when you list them?
- How long do properties remain vacant between the move-out of the last renter and the move-in of the next one?
Even if a property manager cannot give you exact numbers, these questions shouldn't surprise them or make them unwilling to talk. Instead, they should be an opportunity to tell you some valuable ways that they benefit the owners who work with them. They should know things about the neighborhood in which you own property, how they would competitively set a rental rate, and be able to point out how their advertising gets results. This is a concrete way that they can show their value to you, and offering that opportunity to you will allow some of the best to rise out of the pack.
You don't have to limit your discussion to marketing either: if you are interested in how they collect rent, what kinds of maintenance and repair structures they have in place, or how they handle challenging renters, talk to them about those aspects of their work.
We are ready to make your Greater Atlanta property management experience great, starting from our first interactions and a free consultation. Download our Make Ready Checklist to learn more about preparing your rental property well.