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When you begin the search for a property management company to take care of the day-to-day running and maintenance of your property portfolio, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the sheer number of companies that seem to offer the earth at competitive prices.

However, not all property management companies are created equally and, as the old saying goes, if something appears too good to be true, it usually is. Here are five red flags to be wary of.

No knowledge of your local area

Many large property management companies have a presence in major towns and cities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have an insight into the needs and wants of tenants in your local area.

Operating from satellite offices from a considerable distance is fairly common and means your manager may not be as in touch with the local rental landscape as they should be. Prioritise management services with a physical address in the area your properties are located in for the best service coupled with local knowledge (our own area of expertise is Medway).

A lack of testimonials

Any property management company worth their fee will have a long list of happy clients. If there’s a distinct lack of references available this could be a sign of poor satisfaction rates or a lack of experience.

Poor communication

If you struggle to get hold of your property management company, how are your tenants supposed to report any issues or log any items that need repair?

The key to a solid relationship with a property management company is communication, so choose a company that is always on hand to talk and responds to any requests within a mutually agreed timeframe.

No professional networks

Your chosen property management agency will need to have connections with local builders, electricians, plumbers and legal representation to best serve your interests. Check if they have an approved list of suppliers and question the quality checks they’ve put in place to ensure that any works carried out on your behalf are of the best quality workmanship.

Clear, concise agreements

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure that any agreement between yourself and the property management company is clear, concise and offers you coverage for the services you actually require.

Some less than reputable firms will try to sneak in additional fees for services that you neither want nor need. As with any legal document, take the time to read the paperwork and small print before you sign.