Self-managing a property is not the right decision for some investors. For many, hiring a property manager is the best way option to avoid unnecessary heartache. Dan Hines is our guest today. He is Regional Manager with Mynd Property Management, and is here to share with us the best ways to choose a property management company, particularly in a market like Elk Grove.

Alex Osenenko: Boys and girls, Alex here with Mynd Property Management. Today, we’re talking about Elk Grove, investing in real estate. How to win, how to have a healthy investment. How to love your life because you’ve done good when you have a rental property in Elk Grove. I have a guest today who will help me unpack some of this wisdom and hopefully throw some nuggets back at you to help you out. His name is Dan Hines. Dan, how are you?

Dan Hines: Doing great. Thank you for having me. It’s good to be here.

Alex Osenenko: Dan, that’s awesome. Well, so Dan has managed 1400 units for a decade in Sacramento and Elk Grove. He’s got a lot of depth and expertise. And today, we are talking about a specific question. How would you go about choosing your property management company, Dan?

Dan Hines: So personally, I’m a very heavy user of review sites—so, Yelp Google reviews, things like that. It provides a platform for people to share their real experiences. And oftentimes, you get a very candid look at how companies operate and how they solve problems. So, my first step, I’m doing research, I’m checking out review sites and looking at how they respond to reviews, either positively or negatively. Yeah, I’m just calling as many people as I can try and narrow it down.

Alex Osenenko: Can I ask a question on this particular one? So, in property management side it’s like, okay, so if you have a sushi or steak or you are on a guided fishing trip, there are outcomes. Steak is, delicious. It’s not dry. It has a nice bark, whatever. Fishing is, you caught some fish, you had a good time. What is a good time in property management, brother? Do people taste property management? How do they go and review you?

Dan Hines: So property management is one of those tough things, in that very, rarely do residents think, “oh, I just had a great experience with my landlord. Let me go leave a review.” Right? But as our society is changing and people oftentimes feel like they want to have that platform, they want to have that soapbox to tell people about when things go wrong.

That’s where there’s a lot of really bad property management companies out there and you will find that they have a ton of one star reviews. And something that a lot of people say is, “I would give them zero stars if I could.” Right?

Alex Osenenko: If I had $1 for every time I heard that.

Dan Hines: Yeah, so there are people to want to talk about positive interactions. There are people that are very pleased when they receive quick, prompt, quality service. And, typically with property managers, the types of things you will see is, there’s a lot of residents who will talk about their maintenance experience, how quickly will the landlord respond to maintenance requests? How easily do they make processes? Is it difficult to pay the rent? Can I communicate with someone? Are they listening to me?

You know, one of the biggest complaints, in the resident realm is, what happens with security deposits? There’s always a lot of talk about, don’t go as such and such company if you ever want to see your security deposit come back to you. And all of those things point to how that particular management company operates. What is their North Star, so to speak? So, I would try to steer clear of some of those things.

Personally, for a number of years, I was the guy that, when something did go wrong, when had a negative review come in, I was the guy that would leave a comment, that would respond back and get in touch with the resident and explain that this is a service industry. And if something doesn’t go right, how is that company going to respond to make it right. I think that’s really what separates the bad from the not good to the good.

Alex Osenenko: So look at responses. Look at engagement. Make sure the owners are in the conversation in the review site. So that’s good. Alright, so the passed that that particular yardstick for you. Let’s say they’re four-and-a-half stars, four stars. You know, whatever. Good. What are you looking for next?

Dan Hines: I’m wanting to know the full breadth of services that they offer. So, I’m wanting to speak with someone and ask them questions about, on average, how long does it take them to rent a property? I’m asking questions about their delinquency rate, their overall eviction rate. How many similar units they have in my particular area? So, if I have a single-family home in Elk Grove that is really close to the Franklin side, I want to know how many properties within a mile radius or two-mile radius of mine do you manage? When it comes to pricing, especially if you’re dealing with a vacant property, making sure you accurately price that thing from day one and make sure you gain traction. It’s huge. So, how intimately does this company know your floor plan or your actual stats of the property? So, I’m asking questions like that.

I’m asking about their technology and their reporting. If something goes wrong and I have to send some money to the property manager to fix some big-ticket maintenance item, do I have to drive a check to their office? Do I have to mail it? Can I do things electronically? A lot of residents, now, are choosing property management companies to rent through because they like the ease. They like online pay. They like having portals. They like the convenience. And if I have some management company that isn’t quite with the times, so to speak—everything’s paper—that means it’s going to be slow. It’s not going to create or provide a great service to my resident. Those are the types of things I’m looking for.

Alex Osenenko: Gotcha. Well, that was a lot. That was a lot there to follow. Good advice, Dan. Thank you very much for your time. Those of you who are still watching, if you’re with us and you want to know more about Elk Grove and all the intricacies of that market and how to invest there, then go to Mynd.co, M-Y-N-D dot CO. Hit resources or just search for Elk Grove. A bunch of my interviews with Dan will come up and hopefully, you can learn more and become a more successful rental property owner there. Dan, thank you for your time.

Dan Hines: All right, thank you.

Alex Osenenko: Cheers, guys. Thank you for watching. Until next time.

Technology has made choosing the right property manager easier than ever. With online review platforms like Yelp and Google reviews, investors have instant access to feedback left by other property owners and tenants to help paint a picture of how a particular company manages. This can also give an investor a better understanding of how a company charges for their services and exactly what services are provided. Building this profile can make choosing a property manager the easiest and best decision an investor can make.