Before you purchase your San Francisco investment property, you need to consider whether you have what it takes to manage the rental unit yourself, or if a property management professional should handle it for you. While many owners spend a considerable amount of time researching the rental market, they often forget or do not know the positive impact a property manager can have on their property and the return on their investment.

Property managers are professionals and ultimately have the expertise and knowledge a landlord needs to maximize income and preserve a property’s value. Owners sometimes assumes that to be a landlord one simply collects monthly rental checks. However, the responsibility of being a landlord can be much more complicated then it appears. To be a successful property owner one must find qualified tenants, understand San Francisco’s rent control ordinance, handle tenant’s complaints, maintenance requests and be available at all times. If you don’t have the time to handle day-to-day operations then it’s time to hire a property manager to facilitate these issues for you.

Property managers make it their priority to not only provide these services for you, but do it professionally and intelligently. Property managers handle every aspect of managing rental properties including maintenance, accounting, leasing, and all other tenant needs. Additionally, property managers act as mediators between landlords and tenants, which means better communication and less possible conflict for owners. Be sure to choose someone who will represent you in the best way possible.
Consider these 4 factors when looking for a property manager in San Francisco:

  1. Size of the Company

Smaller companies may offer your more one-on-one time, but they may not be able to provide you as much staff coverage  when employees are out of the office as a mid-sized or larger firm. On the other hand, a large company may have multiple departments all staffed with qualified experts, but you could get lost in the shuffle and not receive personalized service. It all depends on what your wants and needs are for yourself and the rental property.

  1. Fees

Most property management companies in San Francisco charge a percentage of the gross monthly income as their fee. Management fees typically cover the costs of regular maintenance, unit evaluations, and accounting services. However, some companies tend to have hidden fees and it’s important to talk with them about all possible costs. For instance, many owners don’t know that some property managers charge maintenance markup fees. This means if a property manager sends a vendor out to your property, the property management company may mark up that charge.

  1. Portfolio Management / Departmental Management

Portfolio management generally includes a property manager and their assistant facilitating all the rental property needs; whereas departmental management includes a bookkeeping, rental, and maintenance departments for the entire company. Both of forms of management are internal systems within the property management company, so depending what you require portfolio or departmental management may be right for you.

  1. Trade Associations

Property managers who are involved with trade associations are usually fully acquainted with existing, new, and changing landlord-tenant laws. Landlords can search for property managers with the Professional Property Management Association of San Francisco, or the nationwide  trade association the National Association of Residential Property Managers. Both organizations educate property managers on current practices and in San Francisco, on its rent control ordinance.

Choose your property manager wisely because the person you hire will affect the potential success of your investment property. By following the given guidelines, you can be confident that your rental property will be cared for and looked after well.