A good property management company can keep your real estate investment in excellent shape and retain its value. A poorly run operation can let your property fall into disrepair, causing expensive problems, reducing your profits, and dropping your overall property value. That is why it is extremely important to ask the right questions to determine which company is right for your needs. Now that you have narrowed down your choices by following the suggestions in part 1 of this article, you need to know the right questions to ask during your persona interview.

Ask about their experience specifically managing properties in the great Las Vegas area. How long have they been in business? How long have they worked in the Las Vegas area? How many units do they manage? What types of rentals – commercial, office complexes, and/or residential property? Do they specialize a particular type of rental property? How many employees do they have on their permanent staff? Do their staff members work at the actual property locations or at the company’s home office? What days of the week and hours of the day are their personnel available to assist tenants and for property emergencies? Do they subcontract with any other firms? For what services?

You want to know that your property management firm has experience in the Las Vegas area. You want to know if they are established in the area, the types of properties that are their specialty, and if they have experience handling properties of your investments size. It is important to discover if their staff is large enough to handle the size of your property along with the rest of their rest estate portfolio. Does your property need on- site management or can issues be addressed off-site? Are they available at times when prospects typically view properties? Are they available when tenets have urgent or emergency problems? You need to know which sub-contractors they will use to carry out any work on your property

What community connections have they established? To which local and national industry organizations do they belong? Which business professionals are part of their network? Do they participate in any community programs or sponsor charity events ?

You want to see if they are well connected, both through industry organizations and local contacts. Companies who are serious about their businesses will stay on top of changes in their files by belonging to relevant trade associations. They will also take advantage of ongoing educational opportunities. Those that are well connected and involved in their communities will have developed good reputations. They will benefit by getting valuable information from their network also want your property management company to have a good reputation in the community, Companies with good reputations attract desirable tenants. They will also have good reviews with online review sites like Yelp, Google+ Places, CitySearch, and FourSquare.

What is their marketing plan to attract and keep good tenants? Ask why they have chosen particular advertising venues? What other activities do they use to attract good tenants? How long does it usually take for them to rent out a property? Ask their average % of vacancy to rented units. What kind of reports do they provide to verify their expenses on your behalf, as well as to give status reports regarding the general state of the property?

If a company does not have a comprehensive marketing plan, they will not be efficient in attracting new tenants. Your rental units will remain vacant for longer periods of time, and you will lose income. Not having a marketing plan is a good indication that a company does not have an adequate business or maintenance plan, and does not engage in “best practices” for administering your real estate investment. This should disqualify them immediately from your consideration.

How does a company screen prospective tenants? To avoid property damage, late rent payments, potential legal action, and community disruption, it is very important to thoroughly screen tenants. Does the property management firm provide carefully worded leases crafted to protect you? They need to conduct reference checks from former landlords, carry out a credit check to see if the people under consideration have a history of late bill payments, and get income verification to verify that the prospects have a good ratio of rental costs to income. If a tenant is accepted, they need to provide proof of rental insurance within a week to protect you from certain liability issues. If you allow pets, the company needs a photo of the pet, and a veterinarian report that the animal is good health and is current on all of its shots. The owner must also provide proof of compliance with local dog tag requirements.

Do they offer the services you need now, as well as those you may need in the future? How do they structure their fees? Are they inline with other Las Vegas property management firms? What physical property maintenance does the company provide? What is their schedule for carrying out routine structural and mechanicals inspection? Are they equipped to handle major repairs and replacements, or must they subcontract? Do they provide ground maintenance? Pest control? Trash and large item removal? How often do they inspect the actual units? They should enter the units at least once a year to conduct routine maintenance, such as fire alarm battery replacement, grout deterioration inspection, and the general condition of the units. If pets are allowed, what is the schedule for keeping supplies available for tenants to clean up after their dogs? Is there a way for tenants to reach someone 24/7 for complaints, help, or emergencies?

The time investment required to thoroughly research the companies that might manage your property is time well spent. The work that you do up front can save you thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands, of dollars in lost revenue, premature expensive equipment failure and replacement, property value loss through damages, time consuming tax issues, and even legal expenses. If you follow these tips for choosing your property management company, you will find a company that will provide excellent service, and you will receive the best return on your real estate investment.