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Assisting your client in choosing the right property manager.

Pretty early in the game, investment property clients discover that there's more to owning investment properties than shelling out a down payment and collecting rent.

They realize that their portfolios have reached a level where they can't manage all of their properties alone.

Maintenance, taxes, zoning laws and other city and state regulations can create significant challenges along the way, and the challenges can grow exponentially as an investor expands his or her portfolio of properties.

All property owners have many other important responsibilities such as family career, and, as always, there just aren't enough hours in a day.

At some point, professional support in managing an investment portfolio becomes a worthwhile investment, and very often a necessity, and your clients are very likely to come to you for guidance.

Before taking this important step, there are several important issues you might want to encourage your clients to consider.

Guide your client through the process of finding a qualified property manager by asking the following questions:

* How many properties are in your portfolio?

* What sort of properties do you own and manage? Multi-family? Industrial? Office parks? Retail?

* How much personal time do these properties require? Are you spending more time with your tenants than with your family?

* Are you holding a full-time job and trying to manage your properties in what would be your spare time?

Hiring a property manager might be the way to take the stress out of owning investment real estate. The services a qualified property manager can provide can alleviate the burden of dealing with complaints, collecting rents, upkeep, building code issues, and much more.

Property owners searching for a property manager should look for a well-rounded individual with experience in several key areas: leasing, maintenance, vendor relationship management, operations, and budgeting.

A property manager should also have proven expertise in the following areas: collections, government compliance, leasing, facilities management, advertising other components of marketing, strategic real estate planning, tenant relationship management, and financial analysis and budget planning.

Fortunately, there are industry-established standards and designations that can help set search parameters. These credentials can help to ensure that the chosen individual is qualified and committed to keeping his/her knowledge and skills current through continuing education.

To achieve an industry certification, a property manager must prepare for and pass a series of thorough exams from accredited continuing education organizations, representing the highest degree of knowledge and competence.

Hiring a professional with one or more of these designations will benefit both owners and their tenants.

A property owner should look for a property manager with memberships or designations from any of the following:

* The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) offers three designations: Real Property Administrator, Facilities Management Administrator, and Systems Management Technician/Administrator.

* The Community Associations Institute has six designations available, including a special category for risk management.

* The Institute of Real Estate Management offers several designations through its online affiliation with Peirce College.

* The National Apartment Association offers designations including Certified Apartment Manager, Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician, Certified Apartment Property Supervisor, National Apartment Leasing Professional, etc.

* The National Association of Home Builders offers more than a dozen designations, including Certified Graduate Associate, Certified Graduate Builder, and Graduate Master Builder.

Fees will vary, depending upon the scope of services rendered, the size of the portfolio, and the size of its properties.

Owners should expect to pay the property manager a percentage of the gross income for the property. It is important that the landlord and property manager identify responsibility and establish payment terms at the start of the relationship.

Owning and managing rental properties is not problem free, but, as you know, it can be a very lucrative, satisfying endeavor.

Helping your clients identify and manage a qualified, professional property manager is just one more way you can help them maximize the value of their investments, expand their portfolios and achieve their long-term investment goals.
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Article Details
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Author:Chesler, Jacklene
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Oct 6, 2004
Words:649
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