Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How to Find the Right Property Management Company

Your holiday home is valuable to you, not just in a monetary sense in what you paid for it, but in the endless hours of pleasure and ongoing revenue it could generate for you. Therefore finding the right management company or housekeeper is essential, they need to be reliable and provide you with a high level of service.

Do Your Homework

Start by investigating the local area where your holiday home is located, find out about local services and amenities and talk to other holiday rental owners to get an understanding of the types of guests you can expect bookings from.  This will help you to define what it is you require a management company to do for you and demands your guest may make on them. 

Once you understand the local marketplace, start to research potential suppliers in the area. Many will advertise in local newspapers or on specific holiday rental websites and forums. 

Another good way of finding reputable companies is ask other holiday home owners in the area who they use. Those who come highly recommended should be on the top of your list for consideration. However just because others are satisfied, does not mean they will be able to meet you exact requirements so be prepared to shop around. 

Set Expectations

Once you have your list of prospective management companies, draw up a list of cleaning and maintenance duties you want them to take responsibility for and set expectations on how frequently you expect certain services and to what standard. 

Although it is advisable not to be guided on price alone, I would recommend setting yourself a budget on how much you are prepared to spend on services. You can work this out to be monthly, yearly or even based on per individual guest stay; however it will help you to stay on track when negotiating and will hopefully stop you receiving an invoice for an unexpected amount. 

Along with your budget and your requirements, compile a list of questions to ask potential management companies when meeting with them. This will help you to stay on target and ensure you have covered everything you need to know before making your final decision.

Its All in the Detail

When discussing services it is always best to meet with potential management companies face to face.  Ideally you should meet with at least several different companies so that you can compare the quotes and level of services offered and always have them meet you in your holiday home so that they can review all areas when compiling their quotes. 

Review the list of requirements you have and discuss any questions or concerns. Once agreed you are then able to schedule your check-in and checkout times for guests allowing sufficient time for the management company to carry out necessary work in between. 

You should also discuss the ownership of your holiday home keys, ideally have a duplicate set for the management company to hold and find out how they like to work with regards to guest’s arrival. Many may offer a meet and greet service, however this can be deemed an additional extra so be careful charges don’t mount up. 

Ask them for a full and detailed explanation of what services they offer, who will carry these out and the cost implications involved. Make sure you full understand their cost structure, especially where emergency repairs or responses are involved as these can sometime hold hidden charges and question them about any fees or penalties that you may incur. Some management companies will charge inflated interest on late invoices or have late payment charges. Others may charge you for overseeing skilled workman and for obtaining quotes they have authorised without your prior consent.  

Take references from each management company you meet and ask for contact information so that you can confirm these with the referee. 

Make It Official

Once you have chosen which company you wish to go with for the management of your holiday rental, make it official to safeguard yourself from any come back later on. 

A number of management companies will have a standard contract that they offer to all clients, however review this carefully to be sure all services you require are included. If not, have a lawyer draw up a contract on your behalf and present this to the management company.
Be sure to review any legally binding document carefully before signing and if in doubt have your lawyer review it for you and make sure that the contract has a clause allowing you to exit the agreement in the event certain areas of the contract are not upheld.

Once signed make sure that both parties hold a copy so that it can be referred to if necessary  and finally keep lines of communication open with your management company. Ensure they have your home, mobile and work contact numbers along with your email and postal address so that they are able to reach you in the event of an emergency to gain consent and discuss required actions with you. 

Responding promptly to all correspondence will result in you being kept up to date on your holiday rental when you are not present and ensures you are always kept in the loop.