We are all shaped by our experiences. Mine was owning a 48 unit apartment complex, Peach Creek Apartments, for 8 years. And prior to that, I owned a number of single family homes, a four plex and yes two Mobile homes.
Lets not talk about the two mobile homes, that was an experience. But for the homes and Peach Creek they were great experiences.
When I started looking around at other property management companies, what I found was a management style that I, many times, I did not agree with. What I found is that there are two main different types of management operations and one sounds great but has so many flaws.
Let me explain. Almost all companies I have found run their business as a asset based management company. Meaning that one person is responsible for all aspects of the property. Sounds good, but it is not.
This asset manager is many times responsible for hundreds of homes, some times as many as 250 homes. How can you get good quality attention when the asset manager handles 250 homes.
Second major problem of an asset manager approach is that in the State of Texas, we are controlled by TREC, Texas Real Estate Commission. (https://www.trec.texas.gov/). TREC requires that all showing of a property, where the person showing the property is not an employee of the owner, must be a licensed agent in the State of Texas, no exceptions. Meaning that if you hire a property manager, that person showing your home must be licensed. You can always show your home, apartment complex, but we must be licensed, and you want us licensed.
Meaning that for Asset based companies, the licensed agent, must understand marketing, contracts, maintenance, legal, finance to just name a few items.
A departmental approach is totally different. This is how I run Profit Realty.
We have someone who handles all of the front end, ie deals with applicants, and tenants during move-in. From there we have an accounting department who makes sure that tenants pay, and you the owners get paid.
Regarding repair and maintenance and rehabs of units, one of the things I hear the most is that the Asset based companies can take a long time to get units ready, or the costs are crazy, I do not know about you, but I want real maintenance folks managing maintenance and repair not real estate agents. Granted there are some folks who are great agents and understand maintenance, but not very many.
Asset based approach tend to present to the owners what seems to me to be the most expensive approach to getting things repaired. Sometimes contractors lie, not saying all contractors are lying or stealing but there is a real difference between different folks. What I find is that a contractor will give a great price the first time, and soon the asset manager picks that vendor, even though the price of the job was not bid, meaning that sometimes the price gets to be second to ease of managing the contractor for the asset manager.
If you have an experienced maintenance guy managing your property, then they tend to be always on the watch for raising costs.