If you have a property manager, they aren’t cheap, make sure you get your money’s worth by asking them these 7 questions about how they market YOUR home.
1. Where are you marketing and placing ads for my property?
This is intentionally meant to be an open ended question. They should be able to easily recite to you their marketing plan and where they have your home advertised. Write down their answers and CHECK THEM OUT! ESPECIALLY If they fumble their words or seem flustered at the question.
2. Can you link me to an ad for the home that I can review?
This question goes to the heart of the matter. Your property can be advertised in every publication in the world. If the property isn’t presented well, you won’t get the maximum number of renters to look at it, you will have fewer if any qualified applicants, the property will be on the market longer, and you may not get the most rent you could have.
- Check the ad for accuracy: Number of Bedrooms, Bathrooms, size, location.
- Check that all the amenities and extra features the house offers are mentioned: Have a community pool? Park? Gym, playgrounds, cable/internet or recreation facilities included?
- Make sure there are at LEAST 10 GREAT pictures of the home! Homes with at least this many pictures get more traffic, period. Also make sure the pictures look good! I see cell phone quality pictures all the time that simply don’t do a home justice. The home shouldn’t be cluttered, and the pictures should be taken with a wide angle camera.
3. Have you put my home on the local MLS?
MLS services aren’t cheap, so not a lot of property managers sign up for MLS use. However, this is the most powerful online marketing tool there is for your rental. If your home isn’t on the MLS you are missing out on a significant portion of the rental market.
Yes, a lot of renters use the services of other realtors to help them find rentals just like yours. These realtors exclusively use the MLS to find available homes for their renters and are compensated by the property manager through the MLS. I don’t care how big your property management firm may be, there is no greater leverage than hiring the hundreds of realtors that work with renters in your area to rent your home. If your Manager isn’t using the local MLS they are not getting your home in front of the best qualified tenants.
4. Are you advertising on Trulia, Zillow, Craigslist, or any other rental website?
96% of people look for rentals through the internet, and these website are “the big 3”. If your home isn’t on these sites, you are missing out on the majority of renters looking for properties without the assistance of an agent. And best of all, these websites are FREE, only requiring a little time to input the homes details. There is no excuse for a property manager to NOT be using all three of these tools.
5. Are you using a For Rent sign?
With the majority of people looking for rental homes online, a sign is not as important nowadays as it used to be. There are still many people that like to drive the areas they are interested in though, and making sure there is a sign visible on the property will help capture those people.
6. How often are you able to show my home?
If a potential tenant can’t get in to see the property when they get off work, over the weekend, or on a lunch break, they aren’t going to rent your home. Your property manager should have leasing agents available to show your property 7 days a week.
7. Are you or another licensed person there to show the property with EVERY potential tenant?
Ok, this question doesn’t have much to do with marketing your home, but is a very important question to ask. You want to make sure your home is available to show as much as possible, but you also want to make sure your home is secure and that not just anyone can go in and out of it.
You would think it is safe to assume your property manager would be there to show the home, or that a licensed agent is with the potential renter when they see it (licensed agents have to have gone through a background check and be registered with the state to maintain that license). But I have seen a disturbing trend with many property management companies giving out the access codes to the property directly to anyone that asks to view the home!!
Not only are strange people able to access your home at any time and could potentially walk away with anything not locked down or even vandalize the property….but it is just a bad way to show the home. Someone should be there to show what makes your property different from others, answer immediately any questions a tenant may have and be ready to take an application!
There you have it, 7 essential questions to ask your property manager. You shouldn’t be satisfied with anyone not doing what they should to get your home rented. A bad manager will cost you big over the long term and short term. If your manager isn’t doing these minimum standards, fire them! Changing managers is easier than you think!