Posted by Richard on July 19, 2007 at 24:45:03:
It seems you have a basic issue of trust to resolve. This is something you should do prior to signing a management contract…not after. Assuming the Property Manager is duly licensed by the local Real Estate commission, It should be a simple matter to determine if he has prior complaints. If not, it is not likely a Professional will risk his license, and more, by committing fraud.
Again, assuming this PM is actually experienced, and ideally his primary focus is PM, you are likely to shoot yourself in the foot by demanding estimates for every routine job, and confirmations from tenants. These types of reactions only serve to drive UP the true cost of doing business, which ultimately WILL be paid by you. It’s called “overhead”. Additionally, these items slow down the entire repair process, which means the tenant will be even more unhappy.
I am again assuming your PM manages numerous properties, and as a result deals with these routine service calls on a daily basis. He has likely established a relationship with several vendors based on consistent and reasonable pricing; quality of workmanship; responsiveness; and a proven track record of standing behind their work. This is not something you can ascertain simply by picking a vendor based on the cheapest bid, and in fact these intangibles create REAL value.
OTOH, if you just picked any old sales agent to “manage” your property, and they don’t have thousands of unit/months property management experience, then you have every reason to be concerned. Similarly, if you are talking about a $5000 job, then of course you should expect at least two proposals from known vendors, for the same SCOPE OF WORK.
You should expect to get the actual receipts for all work done, along with your monthly financial reports. These should be reviewed by you in a timely fashion, and promptly discuss any questions with your PM. It is easy enough to check material prices to see what is “reasonable”, and you can pick up an estimating manual to calculate reasonable labor costs, if you know enough about the actual work involved to figure it out.