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Rental Property Management - Ten Questions

Why hire rental property management? Because doing it all yourself is the surest way to make your real estate investment experience a bitter one. You also have more time to find the next deal when there is someone taking care of the details for you. Hire a good property manager, but first ask the following questions.

1. How much is the fee? Fees vary around the country from as low as 4% of gross rents for larger buildings, to as high as 12% for single family homes. Be sure the fee is clearly stated and understood.

2. What other properties do they manage? It is best if they handle rental properties that are similar to yours. It is also helpful to drive by their other properties to see how they are maintained.

3. Who will actually handle your property? It is best if one person handles your building all the time. They should also have some experience. Get their name.

4. What costs extra? Is it extra for showings? Do evictions cost extra (beyond the legal fees)? Any other extras?

5. How is the fee collected and when? Will you be billed, or will it be deducted from your account directly? Monthly? Quarterly?

6. What type of advertising? How do they advertise the units and what does it typically cost you?

7. Cost and time to prepare units? What is the typical cleaning fee on a vacancy, and how long will it normally be before it's rented out again?

8. What needs owner approval? What dollar amount needs your authorization, and is this negotiable?

9. Hours of operation? What are their business hours, and who takes weekend calls?

10. Accounting? What reports do they send? How often? How are accounts set up?

There are probably other questions you'll have as well, based on your particular needs and the particular property. Ask everything up front, and you'll have fewer misunderstandings. With good rental property management, real estate investing is a lot less stressful.

Steve Gillman has invested real estate for years. To learn more, and to see a photo of a beautiful house he and his wife bought for $17,500, visit

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