Property manager in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
I have only one rental property, a single family home in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. The house was bought for cash & my son lived in it while he went to graduate school. The grand plan was to sell it after he graduated, but then things happened --- as you are all aware. Rather than sell it for a whopping loss, I decided to keep it and rent it. So I am a reluctant landlord, but stuck with it for a while! Also, son may eventually go back to school there, so we may need it again in a couple of years.
Since I am in Georgia, I hired a property management company, who fairly quickly found a tenant, who got behind on her rent, and ultimately broke her lease by leaving without giving notice. She also stuck me for a utility bill. I will be pursuing her in court for this. I feel that this could have been better handled by the management company, who were not quick to let me know how far behind she was.
The management company found another tenant, again fairly quickly, at a slightly higher rent, and so far things are going well.
However, I have been having a problem with the management company arranging for repairs at what I believe are very inflated prices, and the 15% management fee appears to be very high. Because of the high repair bills, I have sent the tenant a letter asking him to call me before the management company for thins that need to be fixed. We have a homeowners warranty that covers the appliances and HVAC. If I were in Grosse Pointe Farms, I would just manage it myself.
Do any of you have management companies in the Detroit area you could recommend? The company I hired was the only one I could find over the internet at the time that would manage a property in Grosse Pointe Farms. I probably made a mistake in not negotiating the fee, but I was kind of in a bind to find someone.
If I am going to field repair calls, that leaves the management company doing nothing but collecting the rent. Should I just fire them and try to do it all myself --- long distance? If I could find a reasonable, competent, reliable handyperson, I could probably do it. The house is an older one, but it has a new roof only a few years old and has been well maintained and is in a good neighborhood.
Your thoughts, kind folks?
Google REIA (real Estate Investors Association) or for a local LL group in the area. Ask them for a recommendation on who to manage the property for you. This group is a group of LLs, real estate agents, and managers. Someone in the group may manage property, or they could refer you to their PM company to interview. Negotiate all aspects of the contract - fees for each item, who they contact for repairs, insist that it is in writing that they contact the warranty company before anyone else. It is standard to charge a flat fee to obtain and sign a new tenant and a fee of about 10% of rents to do normal management. There may be fees beyond this for other jobs (like readying the unit for a new tenant.) Good luck.
Thanks OHlandlord. Will do!