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Questions You Must Ask Property Managers of Short Term Investments

January 24th, 2007 by tisner

You must Protect your Investment be sure to ask these Questions when selecting a Property Manager to Protect your asset.

You must Protect your Investment be sure to ask these Questions when selecting a Property Manager to Protect your asset.

First I want to state that I am not a Property Manager and do not know all the ins and outs.  We sell alot of this type of investment and second home property and I feel it is important that our customers know some of the basics.  We want to see our customers recieving professional services before, during and after the sale.  So here are a few points you will want to consider.

property management responsibilities to protect your investment in orlando florida

Central Florida is home to many investors of short term zoned homes, condos and townhomes.  It is imperative to know how important selecting a property manager can be if you want to protect your investment.  It is also important to know what questions to ask before you purchase one.  That is another blog and we will touch on it briefly here but ask yourself some of the following questions and if you can’t answer these questions find someone that can help you.

                                      

First of all Property Managers of Short Term Rentals are not regulated by the Florida Real Estate Commission, they fall under the hotel / motel category and do not need to be licensed.  If this is important to you ask, there are exceptions and some fine managers that are not but really know the background and property management contract of the people you are considering.

Ask the Property Manager if they keep their deposits in an escrow account in this country.  They don’t have to and can comingle funds without recourse.  After all it is your money and should be in an escrowed protected account. 

escrow accounts in orlando florida for property managers

Next what type of license do they have individual licenses for each property where the homeowner is liable and totally exposed or do they operate under a group license and take the responsibility.

towels under sink can shut down your rental in Osceola and polk county florida

Do they know that towels under the sink can shut down a property in Polk or Osceola County.  An obsure law states that no linens can be near water sources.  You may want to ask if they keep towels under the sink and find out if they know the answer.  Would they ever be caught well who knows but a good property manager will know the answer to this question.

Do they have a good relationship with the county inspector and when was the last time they were inspected how did they do?
bbq grill rules in short term rentals orlando florida

What is their policy on BBQ grills this is a huge liability and in Polk and Osceola Counties it is against regulations to have those in a garage, and sometimes as the law changes on the pool deck.  If your guests want to BBQ the grill needs to be delivered and then removed.  One guest left the propane tank on and put the BBQ in the garage went out to start the car and the next day boom no more garage.  No serious injuries but believe me their deposit wasn’t returned.

What are the hidden fees like a hotel some services are 24/7 and part of the package but which ones aren’t and what are they?

How much do they charge to maintain a pool, lawn ( which is covered by most HOAs in gated communities) do they charge to turn on the pool heater?  As John Stossel would say "give me a break" 

What are the preventitive maintenance charges?  Do they caulk, change filters if so is this part of the service or an extra charge.  What about pest control again included in alot of HOA dues.

Now with all these services it might also be smart to ask how much staff do you have?  What kind of a team is there to support the services they charge for.

If your unit is missing a frying pan and they get called by a guest to go out and replace it at 11:30 at night will that be an extra charge or part of the service fee.

Many think the monthly fee a property manager charges is huge but believe me it is not.  Just the cost of gas these days has eaten away at profit margin.

Most important where do the bookings come from?  A tour company that will also charge the manager fees even before it gets to you.  Retail from the internet and then what is the cost of the ads there, and finally what are the fees if you provide a booking.  Usually there is an admin fee to keep the records but in the end the more bookings you can provide the better.

Last but not least what type of reporting software do you use to report the monthly statements to the owners?  Their record keeping can directly effect your bottom line.  If the proper forms are not filed monthly with the county it could result in a warrant against your property.

property managers software programs

Oh yes this brings me to the point of what to ask when buying one..be sure the title company knows that there are no warrants or liens owed the county for not paying the tourist tax.  This is usually included in the fee for the rental and paid by the guest, but if the property manager doesn’t report the new owner could be in for some unpleasant surprises and unexpected charges.  There are fines for not reporting monthly about $50 even if there is nothing to report a form needs to be filed. 

So you  can see it is important to know even a few basic questions that will protect your future investment.

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Teri Isner, CIPS, CRS, GRI
Keller Williams At-The-Lakes
66 Riley Road
Celebration, Fl 34747

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