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How to Screen Residential Property Managers

Choosing the right residential property managers for your business is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Even though it takes a significant time investment, it’s more than worth it in the long run.

Think about it- these are the people that will:

  • Market your property’s vacancies
  • Screen potential tenants
  • Collect rent
  • Deal with most maintenance issues
  • Handle tenant complaints
  • Take care of contract paperwork

The whole bit. They do a ton of work for you, so you want to make sure you pick the right one.

Now, I don’t want to talk about questions for interviewing a property manager. We’ve already covered that a few times on this blog. Instead, I want to talk about a different aspect of this search.

The Most Important Factor in Successful Residential Property Managers


If a property manager told you they have thirty years of experience, does that impress you? Maybe.

What if someone told you they have every certification under the sun? Does that mean they’ll do a great job for you? Could be.

How about their appearance? Are they well-groomed and professional, clearly taking their job seriously? If so, does that make you think they’re a great fit?

All of these things are nice. Don’t get me wrong- someone with a lot of experience has a good idea on what types of problems to expect and how to deal with them. Certifications for property managers are always nice, as they show the person has a drive to constantly improve themselves. And if you find someone who is very professional, that’s something you can never really look down upon in this business.

But at the end of the day, one thing stands above the rest – a drive to make caring for your property and your tenants their top priority. 

This doesn’t mean you’re their only client necessarily. Nor does it mean you want a brown-noser who will never give you the answer you need to hear.

In fact- it means the opposite. You want someone who is willing to contradict you and put their job on the line if they know it’d be best for your investment. Even if it makes them less popular with the boss (you.)

Why? Because what you’re looking for is a person who cares about their job so much that it’s not a job. It’s a calling. Most residential property managers don’t necessarily feel called to the job. Sure, they may like it, but at the end of the day it’s for a paycheck.

But some of them have a strong passion for what they do. They know it’s important to all parties involved, so they put in their best effort all day, every day to keep you and your tenants happy.

It’s not easy to find this trait in PMs. But if you can, you’ve stumbled onto a winner.

There’s another important thing to seek out, too.

You Want Residential Property Managers that Look Forward


Let’s say you were looking for a new accountant for your business. After a few phone calls you narrowed it down to two.

  • One has a lot of experience with small businesses. They’ve been in your area a while and you were referred to them by a good friend. They don’t like using software though, they prefer to do everything by hand.
  • The other has a few years of experience, but not as much as the first. They also have a good reputation, and were also a reference from a friend. They use the latest accounting software.

Which would you choose?

Yeah- probably the second one. Because this is clearly someone who realizes that things change, and they need to stay on top of that curve (if not ahead of it.) Because they use software, they’re less likely to make mistakes and won’t take as long.

The same goes for residential property managers. Try to find one who already uses quality property management software. That way you can more easily stay up-to-date on what’s going on with each property, plus it shows the PM isn’t stuck in their old ways, but trying to give the best service possible to their clients.


Carnahan Property Management Services Woodland Hills,West Hills,Bell Canyon, Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Tarzana, Reseda, Topanga, Encino, Northridge, Van Nuys, North Hills,Chatsworth, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, North Hollywood, West Hollywood, San Fernando Valley, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, Simi Valley, WestLake Village, Agoura, Toluca Lake, Valley Village, Burbank. Call us at (818) 884-1500.

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