If you are a Foreign Service officer here in Springfield, Virginia, you most likely understand the difficulty of owning a property Northern Virginia while being called to serve overseas. In most cases, you find yourself needing to rent your property out while you are gone for what could be months (or even years) at a time.
So, how do you go about choosing the right property management company to trust to take care of your property? It can be a pretty big decision. But we are here to help - here are five essential questions that we think you should always ask when considering a property management company when you are called overseas!
How many properties do you typically manage at once? And what types?
When hiring a property management company, you are going to want them to have the mindset of “quality over quantity.” Asking how many properties a company is currently managing can give you a great feel for how big the company is, how much experience they might have in the area, and if they might be a little stretched thin. You definitely want a management company that will have the time and capacity to put into your property - so ask the tough questions up front!
It’s also important to ask what types of properties they typically work with. Are they mainly leasing apartments? Single-family homes? Understanding where there business comes from will help you know if they are the right choice for you.
What services do you offer?
Depending on the company, they might offer extra services in addition to strictly managing the property. When you are called overseas, you are probably going to want to hire a management company that is going to take care of all the details for you. Some examples are rent collection, maintenance, screening tenants, evictions and advertising the property. This is also a great time to ask about fees and costs of services!
Are you licensed?
Depending on the state, some property management companies are required to possess a broker’s license. Virginia is one of those states! This is a great question to ask potential management companies because having a license proves that they are skilled and trustworthy enough to be in the business.
How do you market your properties?
Depending on the current condition of the real estate market, advertising might be a really important service that your perfect management company should offer. Do they have a social media presence? Do they list on big, customer-facing websites? Do they have an up-to-date website themselves? You want your property to be seen - so choose a company that will do just that.
How do you screen prospective tenants?
Having good tenants is a huge deal to anyone looking to lease a home - especially you, the owner. When you’re looking to work with a property management company, getting a feel for how they screen prospective clients can help you understand how they choose the right person (not just any person) to lease your property to. Background checks? Employment history? In-person interviews? These are all good things to ask about.
At the end of the day, you need a property management company you can trust. They will partner with you to manage one of the biggest investments of your life, so take the time to ask good questions at the beginning of the process. And whatever other questions you might come up with - we are here to help!