Looking For A Good Property Manager? Ask The Right Questions

There often comes a time in a real estate investors career when managing his or her own properties isn’t possible. As a result, I am often asked if I can recommend a great property manager.

Of course, I can.

My criteria, however, may not be the same as either the property owner’s or, most certainly, that of the tenants.

To me, in addition to the usual jobs of a property manager, the most important qualities I look for is the understanding that their fiduciary duties are to the property owner (not the tenants) and knowledge of landlord/tenant law.

A fiduciary has a legal or ethical responsibility to act in the best interest and sole benefit of the property owner at all times.

Over the years, I have interviewed a number of property managers to see if they are good fits for my clients. Time and again I have been told by these individuals and companies that they have great relationships with their tenants. It is rare to hear they have good relationships with their owners. And those are the very people they have a fiduciary duty to!

Of course, when it comes to access to properties, evictions and even tenant screening, knowing the letter of the law can be the difference between success and failure, both as an investment property owner and as a seller.

That’s why I always ask prospective managers a trick question. It is, quite simply, if a property owner decides to sell, what kind of notice are we required to give residents for showings?

Of course, if the answer deviates from Minnesota state law and isn’t detailed specifically in the property’s leases, I can’t recommend them.

So what is Minnesota law?

I’ll give you a hint. There’s no such thing as a 24-hour notice rule.