Flat Fee Property Management Services = Limited Services?

16 Jul Flat Fee Property Management Services = Limited Services?

Recently I was searching for property management companies in Arlington, Virginia and stumbled upon a site that claimed personalized management services for a flat fee – a very low flat fee – per month. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good bargain as much as the next person but I was wondering how that would work in a very service-oriented industry. I understand why a company would make such an offer given how competitive the market in Arlington is for new management accounts.

Let’s first discuss what consumers expect when they employ a company to manage their rental property:

1. Regular inspections (some companies do as many as 4 per year)

2. Someone to oversee maintenance and necessary repairs (which could potentially result in even more    visits to the property in addition to regular inspections)

3. Handle any and all communications with the tenants, therefore acting as a buffer between landlords and tenants

4. Advise landlords in case there are disputes or issues with the tenant, therefore knowing state laws or having access to a real estate attorney is a must

5. Collect rent payments and hold security deposits in accordance with state laws and rental agreements (companies are required to have escrow accounts in each state they are operating in to hold security deposits)

6. Preparing owners’ 1099 statements and general tax ledger reports

This list certainly could go on and extend since most owners prefer a rather personalized service agreement. I think it’s safe to say that for a low flat service fee it’s pretty much impossible to extend all these services to owners and still run a successful and profitable business.

So remember, the best companies will ensure that every detail of the home management process is handled with the care it deserves and provide peace of mind to their clients while providing the service.  After all, this is to eliminate some stress in your busy life, not to add more.  One thing to keep in mind however: It’s the overall attention to detail which separates the great companies from the average ones not the low flat fee you’re paying.

Perhaps the old saying stays true: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

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