Are you thinking about hiring a property management company to help with your vacation rental? Smart move! While some owners are content letting a friend or family member handle on-the-ground details, hiring a qualified property manager is the best way to ensure that your investment and guests are in good hands. But how do you know if you’re hiring the right one?
To make things easier for you, we put together a list of 6 questions to ask prospective property managers:
Question 1: How long have you been servicing vacation rentals in the area?
Whether you’re speaking with a manager who has been in business for 30 years or someone who is just getting started, be sure to get a good feel for their understanding of the local market. Ask for details on local regulations, seasonality, staff size and anything else that could impact the performance of your property.
Question #2: What are your fees and contract terms?
Vacation rental property management fees typically vary from 30% to 50% of the nightly rental rate for a full-service manager. That’s a significant percentage of your rental income! If you plan to book guests directly, or through a marketing partner like Evolve, be sure to ask if on-site services are available at a-la-carte rates.
Always be sure to determine how long the contract term commits you to a management company. Most property managers have contract terms that range from 6 to 12 months in length. If you’re unable to avoid getting locked in by a contract, ask the manager to include an out clause that’s based on performance.
Question #3: What services are included in your management fees?
Never assume that a property manager will take care of everything. Get a detailed list of what the management fees cover and make sure all the services you require are offered (e.g. repairs, walkthroughs, check-ins, maintenance and housekeeping).
Question #4: Are you willing to assist travelers who book directly through an owner or a marketing partner like Evolve?
Good property management companies should be willing to service all of your guests, especially if you’re only hiring them for on-the-ground tasks. Clarifying this up front will help you determine if you’re dealing with a flexible and service-oriented manager.
Question #5: How do you handle marketing and booking services?
If you’re thinking of making a property manager responsible for marketing and booking your vacation rental, be sure to hire an expert with access to the all the necessary resources. Do they cover the cost of listing your home of top vacation rental websites like VRBO and HomeAway? Does their staff respond to traveler inquiries instantly, 7 days a week? Do they have a mobile-friendly website that’s capable of accommodating online bookings via credit card? Your rental income is at risk, so take the time to ask all the hard questions!
Question #6: How often can we expect updates on our property’s condition?
You want to find a property management company that’s actively involved in making sure your investment stays in tip-top shape. Ask prospective managers if they perform walkthroughs after every guest departure, and try to get a good understanding for how issues like damages and missing items are handled.
Last but not least, always ask to speak with a few existing clients prior to signing a contract. Talking to other homeowners will confirm if you’re dealing with a solid property manager, and you’re likely to pick up some helpful tips for navigating the local market.
Need help finding a property manager in your area? Evolve has an extensive network of vetted on-the-ground partners who can help you with everything from maintenance to housekeeping. Click here to learn more, or call one of our Homeowner Consultants at 877.818.1014 (press 2).