Leasing a real estate property in Alberta is a financial decision for a property owner and often mitigation of expenses is part of that consideration in today’s market. Once the decision is made to lease your property, the next important step is to find a capable property manager who can handle the process from start through to completion. Property management is an ongoing process which actually does not ever ‘complete’ and continues long after the tenant is secured and moved in. If you need to find a property manager that can achieve your real estate goals, there should be several determining factors in whether the process will be seamless.
At Citysearch, we prioritize with providing information for property owners to make informed decisions. A few things to consider when evaluating a property management company include the following five items outlined below. Please note that, in our view, the decision should not be about ‘fees’ only, as the bigger costs are generally related to a non-paying tenant or vacant periods.
- Start by Researching the property manager’s Google Reviews – when clients are happy with their experience, they are keen to share why. Citysearch has more than 360 reviews from people who have used our services to lease a property, to manage their property, to solicit information on the market, to get statistics for setting relocation eligibility data for setting policies, and from vendors and contractors. A google review can be as powerful as a referral from a family member or friend. Many companies can provide a great sales pitch however the reviews can collectively be an important metric.
- It is important to weed out the reviews that are not relevant in the decision process. Most often for property managers, these are from a tenant not happy about a security deposit return deduction or from a past disgruntled employee. Some owners have actually engaged with Citysearch based on tenant feedback with the thought that we are carefully considering the condition at the end of the tenancy and deducting rightfully for damage and other tenant obligations pursuant to the lease agreement.
- Check the property management company’s available listings for lease, and see what properties have been leased by the company you are reviewing.
- Check vacancy and delinquency rates. In our experience, the biggest property management cost is not getting rent, either from vacancy gaps or non-paying tenants. It is critical to screen tenants carefully to ensure they are capable of paying rent, have the capacity to pay rent and will care for the property and the obligations as set out by the lease agreement.
- Confirm the property management company is licensed with the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA). If you hire someone to manage your properties, including finding tenants, signing leases, or holding deposit money, and you are compensating them for their work, that person has to hold a license with RECA. Property management is:
- Leasing, negotiating, approving or offering to lease real estate
- Collecting or offering or attempting to collect money payable for use of real estate
- Holding money received in connection with the rental of real estate
- Advertising, negotiating or any other act, directly or indirectly for the purpose of furthering the above acivity.