Renting, as opposed to owning, can alleviate some stressors, like yardwork or maintenance, but as a renter you not only have to find the place/space that feels like home, but a property manager that understands your needs. And not all rental management companies are created equal.
Ideally, you want a responsible organization that helps you live your best life in their community. Here are five surefire signs that you’ve found a good apartment and good people to trust with your new home.
1. Your interactions prior to signing the lease were professional
It may not be foremost in your mind, but when you are taking a first look at a rental unit, you are also looking for a good listener, not a salesman. Ask yourself these questions:
- Did the leasing agent get right back to you when you first called, texted or emailed about the apartment?
- Are they listening to you and truly attempting to meet your individual needs and preferences?
You want to rent from a management company that genuinely seems to care about you, as a valued customer, as their future resident, and as a person. When you tour the community, pay attention to whether the leasing agent is a good listener. Tell them a little about yourself, your hobbies and pastimes. A good leasing agent will take your information and give recommendations about related features of the apartment. The best leasing agent will answer your questions honestly and will work with you to find the best fit for you.
The best management companies make you feel better about making your home with them. They take time to thank you for choosing them, because like any business should, they appreciate their customers.
2. They leave you with a sense of good customer service
Your contract, or lease, is a business agreement between you and your management company. As in any industry, their staff should pride themselves on a good customer experience. As the customer, you have an expectation to have pleasant interactions with their staff when it’s time for repairs, inspections, or maintenance.
A good Maintenance Supervisor will ask if it is okay to enter when you are not at home or will request a time that is convenient and do their best to accommodate your request. When they request entry, they will be clear and communicative with timelines about that access to your home, and will clean up their work space when finished. They will also communicate that they entered your home, addressed the issue, and inform you of whether or not it was resolved or awaiting parts, etc.
3. They communicate events that affect you in a clear and timely manner
A huge part of renting your home is putting responsibility for repairs and maintenance in someone else’s hands. Ask the Leasing Agent the following questions when you tour the apartment about maintenance requests:
- What’s the process?
- What’s the expected timeline for maintenance requests?
- Will they communicate timelines for planned repairs, maintenances, outages, fire alarm testing, etc. with reasonable notice?
- Do they offer 24/7 emergency maintenance?
No one can anticipate an emergency situation, but for planned events like closing off a portion of the parking lot, annual testing of emergency systems like fire alarms or window washing, your need to be informed ahead of time is important. A good landlord will also respond quickly to any notice of an unsafe or concerning state in your home. The best Maintenance Supervisor will also follow up after the repair has been made, to make sure you are feeling safe and secure again in your home.
4. They’re happy to answer questions and concerns
Whether you’re taking the first walk-through of the apartment or on year two of your lease, the staff of a good management company is always happy to answer your questions or concerns. Asking questions in the beginning will also help show them that you care about the space, which makes you a more attractive renter.
The best Property Manager is approachable, and you consider them a resource when you have a new question about your building, like:
- Am I allowed to have a Christmas tree?
- Where can I park the moving truck?
- Is smoking allowed in or around my building?
- Can my mother visit with the family dog?
Any and all of these types of questions should be met with courteous and informative responses.
5. They are honest and you feel you can trust them
When looking for a new apartment, take the time to talk to your leasing agent or property manager. Get to know them, let them get to know you, and trust your instincts about whether or not it’s a good fit. Finding the perfect apartment isn’t worth it if the management company is making repairs every weekend that require you to vacate your home or endure the sounds of power drills during your downtime.
Once you have found a great management company, keep them! You might outgrow your first rental, but a great relationship with their staff is worth preserving. See if they manage other communities that fit your new needs.