Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to Spot a Good or Bad Property Manager - Before You Move In!

When choosing a rental home or apartment, there are several aspects of the property that you want to examine critically. 

Most important is that the management company does a great job caring for the property, handling any issues, and dealing with you professionally to ensure your rental period is enjoyable. 

In this post are important tips to find you a great property management company before you make the big commitment to move in.

What to Look for in a Good Property Manager

Finding a great property management company is not too difficult; ask for referrals from people you know and read online reviews. Look for positives and negatives and get information from a range of sources so you are sure it’s not biased.

Take your time to research your potential home in detail and identify any red flags. This will save you wasted time in the future if you learn about the bad habits of your property management team when you've already entered a lease agreement with them.

Finding an ethical property management company should always be your goal. This means you’ll have a certain level of trust that they will handle any problems and deal with you fairly throughout your lease term.

Learn our best questions to ask during your property screening...

Interview Questions When Meeting a Potential Property Manager

We hope the following questions will assist you on your search for the best property manager in Boston. Bring these questions with you to ensure a property screening.
  • How long have you managed this property? Or, how long has your company managed properties in general? Look for a company with experience managing properties.

  • What kinds of property do you manage? You want a management company that works specifically with the kind of home you want because different properties have different management needs. 

  • What insurance do you carry as a management company? Expect a good property management company to carry general liability insurance that would cover anyone who is hurt on the property. Also, a legitimate property management company should have errors & omissions (E & O) insurance. E & O insurance covers the manager in the event of a claim of negligence, and can keep the community solvent. 

  • How many property managers do you have, and how many units does each manage? Less than 50 to 60 units per manager is best to ensure the management company has the capacity to handle any repair issues and customer service for tenants. 

  • Can I see a copy of your lease? Read over the blank lease, with an eye toward any issues that you might not have already discussed. Likewise, look for any phrasing that appears to conflict with what you've heard from the property manager. Actively ask questions!

  • How often do you have to evict someone? Hopefully, the answer here is very seldom. Good property managers don’t typically have to evict well-screened tenants.

  • How do you screen tenants? A criminal background check is the most vital, but speaking to previous landlords is often telling as well, as is a credit and employment check. Fully employed, responsible adults make the best tenants and neighbors.

  • How can I pay my rent? Can I drop it off at the office, even when closed? Is there a dropbox for checks? Can I pay it online via the company website? Having a number of options makes it easier for you overall, and the best property managers know that keeping their tenants happy is crucial.

  • When is the rent due? Is there a late fee, and if so, when is that due? Understand your responsibilities, and what the management company expects, so that you comply with your lease.

  • What do you do for routine maintenance of the property? Do you perform regular inspections? Pest control service? Lawn, landscaping or snow removal services? Know what is and is not included in your rent so you can estimate your overhead accurately.

  • What is your repair process? How quickly can I expect a problem to be handled? Their answer to this should not be vague, and they should be able to commit to a certain timeframe, such as “Within 24 hours”.  

Watch Out for Red Flags of a Bad Property Manager

Drive by some of the properties the company manages; you can tell by looking at a complex whether you could expect a clean condominium in many cases. If they are not in good shape and well-cared for, that’s a definite red flag.  

Likewise, if talking to current tenants gleans less than glowing opinions of the management company, that’s another red flag.

In particular, if they talk about things not being fixed, noise at night, dirty common areas, trouble getting your security deposit back, and finding somewhere better to live when their lease is up - red flags!

    How Can I Find the Best Property Manager in Boston?

    Are you looking for the best property management company in the Boston area? Well, look no further, because you have found Premier Property Solutions.

     We manage properties all over the area, so no matter if you prefer close to the action at Fenway Park, or in the Back Bay area, we have you covered. 

    Give us a call at 617.345.0045 and let’s find your new home, today!

    Monday, August 1, 2016

    Making the Right Choice: Condo vs. Apartment

    Whether you're already live in Boston or want to move into the city, it's important you understand the difference between a condo and apartment.

    Although there has been something of a condo building development craze in Boston in recent years, you'll still find a lot of great choices for renting apartments in Boston.

    In this article, we'll consider some of the advantages of each, and why you might choose one over the other.

    What's The Difference Between Condos And Apartments?

    Apartments are units contained within buildings owned by a company or a person, who often serves as the building manager and handles maintenance for the grounds.

    Either this person or a manager is responsible for renting out individual units and supplying them with appropriate appliances.

    Condos are individual units that are owned by the occupants, similar to owning a house. The difference is that there is shared property with other condo owners. Owners can decide to rent out their condo to someone else.

    As far as the common areas of a condo building, a single condominium corporation (e.g. a property management company in Boston) usually owns and manages all of them, and then charges individual condo owners for that service.

    Advantages Of Renting An Apartment

    One of the biggest advantages of renting an apartment is that you have the flexibility of securing a lease.

    This is especially useful if you're uncertain about the future and do not want to commit to one place for a long period of time

    Since you don't own anything, you're not responsible for any of the maintenance. When something breaks, all you have to do is inform the landlord to get it fixed.

    You'll also spend a lot less renting an apartment than you will buying a condo. Your upfront expenses will only involve a security deposit and the first month's rent, as opposed to the down payment on a condo and paying for closing costs.

    Disadvantages Of Renting An Apartment

    Every month, you will be sending your landlord a check to pay for place you do not own, which does nothing to secure your future.

    You are also subject to monthly or annual rental increases, which you have no control over.

    You will also be subject to whatever restrictions are in place for the apartment complex, and you'll have to accept the apartment furnishings as they are. It's even possible that you could lose your residence after the expiration of your lease, if the landlord declines renewal.

    Advantages Of Buying A Condo

    Buying a condo is not as expensive as buying a house, so if you really want the thrill of ownership without the massive expense of a house, a condo might be ideal for you.

    Your monthly payments on a condo will not be subject to increase as they would be in an apartment, and each one of those monthly payments does actually accumulate as an investment.

    Ownership also carries the benefits of tax breaks and asset appreciation. Even though you own a condo and must recognize the importance of cleaning your condo, the condo homeowner's association usually will handle things like landscaping, snow removal, leaky roofs, and faulty plumbing.

    For questions about specific responsibility, check with your homeowner association, or the Boston property maintenance and emergency support.

    Disadvantages Of Buying A Condo

    As a condo owner, you automatically become a community member in a shared facility, which translates to paying homeowner association fees monthly. These can be fairly significant, so make sure to include them in the total cost of ownership.

    You also are responsible for the shared space. You have no choice, but to respect the other owners in the complex because they pay the same fees you do. We aren't saying be a bad neighbor, but in a condo you were there for more than just a year like an apartment.

    Another significant disadvantage of condo ownership is that when it comes time to sell, these units typically do not move as quickly as single-family units would.

    Since their value appreciates more slowly than a house, you probably won't receive a big profit from the sale of your condo If it becomes time-critical that you sell, it's entirely possible that you will absorb a financial loss.

    Deciding Between A Condo And An Apartment

    Ultimately, your decision on whether to look for a condo or an apartment will probably be influenced strongly by your financial situation and your goals in life at the time.

    If you want to become a property owner, a condo is the way to go - but if you don't want the responsibility of maintaining the place, an apartment setting would be better.

    Should you have any questions about living in an apartment or owning a condo in Boston please contact Premier Property Solutions for expert advice and personalized recommendations.