6 Questions to Ask Your Rental Property Management Services Team in Rockville, MD

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Markets can fluctuate and tastes can change, but real estate is still a solid investment

Renting out properties is a great way to make passive income and gives you assets to work with in case you ever find yourself in financial trouble. Managing a rental property or two on your own can be simple, but things get complicated when you start to invest in more properties. 

If you want to invest in more properties but worry about managing them, consider using rental property management services teams to help you keep things on track.

Rental property management services have helped countless real estate moguls make their fortunes. Hiring a team of expert property managers allows property owners to focus on making the right investments, as these managers handle the day-to-day tasks of managing both the properties and the renters who call them home. 

The 6 questions you should ask your rental property management services team in Rockville, MD are:

  1. What Kind of Properties Do You Manage?
  2. How Do You Screen Renters?
  3. How Do You Manage Disputes with Residents?
  4. Can I See an Example of Your Monthly Reporting?
  5. Who Handles Maintenance Work?
  6. Do You Have Any References?

But before we will go over the benefits of utilizing rental property management services and the best ways to find one that can meet your needs.

The Benefits of Rental Property Management Services

Some people see rental property managers as people who collect rent and contact plumbers when there’s a pipe leak. The truth is that a great property management service is worth its weight in gold because of all the good it can do for you. Here are some of the best benefits of hiring a rental property management services team to help you manage your rental properties.

1. You Competitively Set Your Rents 

How do you currently determine how much you charge for rent? Some people simply charge a little more than their mortgage rate, while others may look at a few listings in the neighborhood to get an idea of what they should charge. 

A good property management company won’t just collect rent, but will help you determine the best rental rate for your property. They’ll study the market and be able to suggest a rental rate that can appeal to renters and help make you money. These services can come in very handy if you’re just starting to expand your real estate holdings. You can learn a lot about proper pricing, the local real estate market, and other helpful business tips from the right management service.

2. You Get Expert Marketing Help

Digital advertising has changed the way people rent out properties. Aside from traditional real estate listing websites, you also have the option to advertise on social media or in search engines. You can create virtual walkthroughs, do video tours, and more. 

Managing everything you’ll need to properly market your property can be difficult when you’re busy trying to focus on making new investments. Luckily, this is where a rental property service can help. Modern and effective property management companies know exactly what they need to do to market your home, condo, or apartment to the right renters. They’ll be able to focus on getting the word out about your property and you can focus on finding more investments.  

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3. You Expand Beyond Your Current Area

When you first start out renting properties you have to be relatively close to the properties you own. You have to be able to manage any problems with tenants and the property quickly and efficiently, after all. This can work out fine  if you have just one or two properties, but you’ll want to get a foothold in different markets if you want to truly invest in real estate. 

Business-savvy real estate buyers use property management services to beat this problem. These owners are free to invest in other areas regardless of how close they are to them because they no longer have to be close by to manage everything. 

4. Truly Manage Tenants 

Managing tenants goes beyond making the occasional repair and picking up the rent. If you want to keep your tenants happy and in your properties, you need to be able to manage their needs. One tenant may want to replace the carpet in the house or paint the walls a different color. Another could be thinking about moving in with their significant other or could be interested in learning more about other properties you manage. 

Landlords who can’t be found to answer questions or manage tenant needs are landlords who won’t have tenants for long! A property management service can ensure your renters stay happy and are well taken care of — no matter what their needs or questions might be. 

Six Questions to Ask Rental Property Management Services Candidates

Now that you know some of the great benefits property management services have, you’re probably feeling eager to start finding a firm you can start using ASAP. Rental property management services can be very helpful, but only if they manage things the right way. Picking the wrong company to manage your properties could be a costly and annoying mistake to fix. 

You need to ask the right questions if you want to ensure that you’re getting the best property management services possible, and some are essential for determining the right fit. When you’re talking to rental property management services companies, remember to ask these six important questions.

Guy using Rental Property Management Services

1. What Kind of Properties Do You Manage?

Managing a block of apartments or a few condos is very different from other commercial properties. Before you bring on any rental property management services firms, make sure they specialize in residential rental properties. Bringing on a property management company that doesn’t understand how to deal with residential needs can cause a lot of problems for you.

There are so many laws that come along with renting residential property in the state of Maryland, for example. Rules need to be followed around charging application fees, drafting leases, and taking deposits, among other aspects. Not understanding the proper way to handle them can cause paperwork problems for you at best — and potential legal problems at worst.

This is especially true when you’re dealing with evictions. If you bring in a rental property management services company that doesn’t understand the legal way to evict someone, you could find yourself in a lengthy court battle. 

It’s also important to ensure that they’re familiar with managing properties of your size. A rental company that’s used to managing a handful of houses may not be the best choice for someone who owns several condos or rows of apartments, after all

2. How Do You Screen Renters? 

One of the most important tasks your property manager will handle is screening rental applicants. Bad renters are difficult to deal with. Individuals who aren’t properly screened could be late with their payments, may cause issues with other residents, or could damage property. 

You’ll want to make sure the company you work with has a stringent screening process. Ask if they run credit and background checks. Learn about how they verify employment or how they determine a renter’s ability to pay month to month. Also, see where they stand on speaking with other landlords. It’s important that you also understand who makes the final decisions on approving renters. You’ll want to ensure you’re on the same page about how ideal renters look.

3. How Do You Manage Disputes with Residents? 

Managing rental properties involves a lot more work than simply collecting rent when it’s due. If anything, some people view managing rental properties as being more about managing people and relationships than about maintaining the property itself. 

Rent can become an emotional subject on both sides: It can be easy to become frustrated with a tenant who’s late on payments, and tenants can become frustrated because of their personal economic situations. Hiring a company with representatives who don’t have good people skills could make an already-tense situation even worse. 

It’s also important to note that other problems could arise around maintenance and care. 

Residents may become upset if they notice that snow isn’t shoveled, lawns aren’t maintained, or if resident services like gyms and pools aren’t well-kept. They may even demand a partial rent refund if things get too out of hand. 

Ask your potential rental property management services team to give an example of a difficult residential dispute they handled, including how it came about and how it was resolved. Another good question to ask is when they’d consider getting you involved in a dispute. 

4. Can I See an Example of Your Monthly Reporting?

Everything is data-driven in today’s world. The more information you can get from your property manager, the better business decisions you’ll be able to make. 

Reporting should be an important part of every property manager’s routine. The way they report financial data is going to be absolutely crucial for you to continue to make money off of your properties. When you ask for a sample monthly report, take things a step further and ask them to explain everything on it to you. A good property manager shouldn’t have any issue answering your questions. See how confident they sound when explaining things to you. 

Be sure to communicate how you’d prefer to receive reports, too. You may want a small update at the end of each week and a larger report at the end of the month, for example. It’s also possible that you’d be fine with a phone call every now and along with a large quarterly update. Regardless of what you want, make sure you figure it out early on. 

Also, make it clear if there are certain things you want them to pay close attention to. Some owners are more concerned about repairs and on-going property maintenance over other issues. Others may want to focus on renter retention, late payments, and new residents. 

5. Who Handles Maintenance Work?

It isn’t unusual for property management companies to rely on in-house maintenance crews, single contractors, or a network of specialists — electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc. — to handle maintenance work.

Unless you’re working with a very small rental property management company, it’s safe to assume the person you’re speaking with won’t be the one handling repairs. Regardless of how they delegate the work, you’ll want to make sure your property is in good hands. It’s important to note that certain steps may need to be performed by professionals with special certifications and accreditations. Other kinds may require permits or inspections by the city or town.

It’s okay to ask if you can talk to some of the maintenance specialists who will be working on your properties. Ask for reviews and about how they personally make sure the maintenance specialists with whom they work are qualified to do the required work. 

6. Do You Have Any References?

References are important for any business owner, and that’s especially true when you’re looking for property managers. You may have a great feeling about one company, but you should be sure to ask for references before making your final decision. Don’t just focus on other clients when you ask for references, either. Try to see if you can get reviews from important people with whom they’ve interacted, as these individuals will likely have honest, first-hand accounts. 

If you’re interested in eventually selling your properties, ask if they’ve worked with any real estate agents in the area. Other professionals like mortgage brokers and attorneys can give you insights into how responsible they are with financial and legal aspects of the business. Property owners who want to ensure their renters are in good hands may also want to speak with former tenants, as they can give you insight into how effective, responsive, and communicative the rental property management services team is. 

Find Your New Rental Property Management Services Partner Today

If you’re serious about investing in rental properties, rental property management services are the way to go. These teams will be able to handle your most pressing needs, can help you make smart investment decisions, and make it easier for you to maintain and grow your property investments. 

We’ve helped countless property entrepreneurs in Maryland manage their properties, and we’re ready to help you with yours. Do you have questions about the specific services we offer? Are you interested in finding a new rental property management services team?
Regardless of what you need, we’re here to help. Nomadic Real Estate can help you rent, buy, sell, or manage a property in Rockville, and the rest of the Metro D.C. area.Reach out to us today so we can start talking about the best way to give you the property management help you need.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.