Stop Asking About Fees

Listen, I’m as cost conscious as the next guy.  But it just drives me crazy, almost literally, when a real estate investors’ first question about our Kansas City property management services is “What are your fees?”

Can I give you a tip?

Stop asking about fees as the first question.

Seriously.  A vast majority of our 110+ owners are counting on their rental property (or multiples) to partially or fully fund their retirement incomes.  Essentially, these investment assets are more than just a rental property, they are a future.

To me, the first question is “How do you go about protecting my asset(s)?”

Here are questions I would ask before I got to fees. And, yes, I’d ask about the fees, as well.  But seriously, the value of your asset can rise and fall on the property management.  Get that right. It is every bit as important as the asset itself.

  • How long have you been managing properties?
  • If required by state law, are you licensed to manage rental property?
  • What are your money practices?  ie, How do you hold deposits? When are collected funds disbursed to the owners?  Are you subject to state or owner audit?
  • How do you go about selecting tenants? ie, What are your advertising practices? Do you show in person or do you do lock box showings? What are the credit and income criteria that you use to qualify, financially, the tenants?
  • How do you document the condition of my investment property when you take it over from me or my current property manager?
  • How do you document the condition of my investment property before and after a tenant moves in/out?
  • What are your best practices when it comes to legal challenges?
  • What is your vacancy rate?
  • What is your turnover rate?
  • How long does your average tenant stay with you?
  • What is your eviction rate?

There are more questions, of course. Those are what I’d start with, however. Spend as much time choosing your property manager as you do selecting your investment house.  You will be glad you did.


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4 responses to “Stop Asking About Fees

  1. How much are your fees ? Fees eat at your profit .Any one that does want to talk about fees should be warning sign something is wrong .

  2. I have no problem whatsoever discussing our fees with potential or actual clients. But I dare you to make your decision based on fees alone.

    To make the most money you don’t even use a property manager. You do it yourself. But if you have a full time job and a family and a life you will most likely hire a manager. Then you will want to talk about the details of the services not JUST the fees.

    In Kansas City, the “cheapest” guy in town (about 1/3 to 1/2 our price) is constantly losing clients to us (and others) because he does not maintain the properties, does not provide accurate accounting, does not communicate, almost NEVER answers the phone and often has great difficulty in paying the owners when promised…sometimes by weeks.

    But hey, his fees are less!

  3. Well said Chris. Fees should always be taken into consideration but should almost never be the deciding factor. At the end of the day you get what you pay for most of the time!

  4. Thank you for your comment Emaar.

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