Toronto’s real estate market remains an attraction to investors looking for properties with promising ROI. Many have actually been lucky to find great residential and commercial properties, but not without some challenges.
Becoming a landlord is great, and soon enough, you’ll realize there’s a lot of hard work, commitment, and sacrifice involved in managing your property. At this point, you’ll want help, and that’s where a property management company comes in.
However, putting all your trust in someone and hoping they will manage your property well is not a decision you should rush into. Take your time to look for a firm with a great track record, reasonable rates, and incredible services.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you should look for in a good property management company, both residential and commercial.
If you’re looking for the best residential property management companies in Toronto, here are the top 5 things you should be looking for.
Find out if the firm has a well laid out comprehensive fee structure that explicitly states what’s included in the figures, including things such as repairs, tenant screening costs, or any additional expense. This will help you know right away the total fee for managing your property and the services you will be getting in return.
Most reputable property management firms in Toronto typically charge anywhere between 5% and 20% of your annual rental revenue. Remember, high management fees can have far-reaching negative effects on your long-term net returns. So, limit your selection to firms that combine low fees and quality services.
2. Good Services
Good services are important because they enable you to enjoy a safe and stress-free investment that will continue to generate income for the long term. Maybe you have a list of things you want or expect the property manager to do for you. Great Toronto property management companies offer a wide variety of services designed to match your different needs.
- Rent collection
- Cash flow and property asset management
- Management of the building budget, including condo fees, utilities, and other necessary expenses
- Seasonal or yearly inspections
- Accurate bookkeeping
- Proactive maintenance
- Ongoing maintenance and emergency repairs, including basement floods
- Tax remittance on income collected for international investors
- Resolving tenant disputes and managing tenant communications
If you are asking yourself, “Is that all property managers can do? How do these services benefit me and fit into my real estate investment strategy?” I would recommend that you ask to meet your prospective property management company in Toronto. Chances are they offer a lot more that could be of great value to you as their client.
3. Value Proposition
Even though this is not a compulsory requirement, you will want to work with a firm that goes the extra mile to deliver extra value to clients who choose their services. A great example is Buttonwood Property Management Company.
Let’s consider the free tenant placement fee and two-months free trial the company offers. Maybe you’ve once enlisted for a service that you later on deeply regretted choosing and wished you had a chance to test before making the final decision. You can avoid such frustrations by opting for a firm that will waive your property management fees for the first couple of months.
Also, who wouldn’t love the idea of leaving the tenant placement work to a firm that will do it free of charge?
4. Tenant Screening Services
Bad tenants could easily be your worst nightmare as a landlord. A great property management company should have in place a thorough tenant screening process that has stood the test of time. Things like reference, credit, and background checks should be part of it.
Cases of potential tenants alleging unfair treatment are common and could be another nightmare. So, make sure the process adopted by the company is fair and just.
5. Accessibility to Accounting Records and Other Portfolio Records
Transparency builds trust. This quality should be evident in the firm’s operations. At the very least, you should be able to access your records anytime.
Available details should include things such as invoices paid, inspection reports, management agreements, leases, monthly and yearly statements, among other relevant documents.
Toronto’s reputable firms such as Buttonwood Property Management have taken the lead in this by investing in advanced systems that only require you to log into your online account. Once in, it only takes the click of a button to retrieve any detail you want.
6. Company Culture
Company culture includes a variety of aspects such as their mission, value, goals, expectations, work environment, and so on. All these elements matter because the success of a company majorly depends on them.
You can tell a property management firm has a strong company culture if they:
- Have a clearly articulated set of values
- Have a code of conduct for their staff
- Embrace teamwork
- Adapt to change
- Are committed to timely communication
Not forgetting to mention the relentless pursuit of continuous improvement in areas such as customer service, relationship with clients, value propositions, and so on.
Even before arriving at the advertising part, a great residential property management firm will, first of all, inspect your property and make sure it’s rent-ready. After that, they will take pictures and/or videos for advertisement then proceed to assess fair rental value.
Once that is done, they will come up with a compelling advert, then list your property on relevant platforms for renting. What should accompany that is following up with the leads and the screening of potential tenants.
8. Policies And Procedures
Great property management companies often have different policies in place that cater to specific needs and concerns. For example, at Buttonwood Property Management Company, there’s a policy that ensures your rent gets paid on time every month, even if the tenant defaults.
Go ahead and find out what your potential company’s policy and procedures are when it comes to after-hour emergencies, property maintenance and repair services, setting and collecting rent, handling tenant and owner funds, and so on.
Now, if you are wondering if there are great residential property management firms in Toronto that check off everything we have just discussed, the answer is yes! They do exist.
That aside, I understand that your desire is to work with a firm that is not just well-known but also flexible in tailoring their services to meet your special needs or one with irresistibly good value propositions and policies, like the ones I mentioned earlier. Not many property management firms do that often or as good as Buttonwood Property Management Company.
What’s more, this is a boutique family-owned business trusted by many in the Greater Toronto Area for managing all sorts of residential dwellings and offering investment consulting services.
Add on to that their fair fees and strong company culture and you have a greater contender for the best property management company in Toronto. Of course, the list is long. You will run into lots of other great and equally capable property management companies in Toronto reviews.
Best Commercial Property Management Companies
As a landlord, there’s a lot to gain when you work with a commercial property management company. But there’s a catch. Those great benefits may never be realized unless you seek the help of a great commercial property manager. And to help you land one, I’ve prepared a list of questions you will want to have compelling answers to before deciding which firm is the one.
- How many properties do they currently manage?
- Do they screen their tenants?
- What is their fee structure?
- How do they advertise properties?
- What kind of investors does the firm serve?
- Do they provide regular statements and reports to clients, all accessible online?
- How quickly do they respond to emails and phone calls?
- Do they carry out repair and maintenance work or they outsource them?
- Do they have sufficient knowledge of the real estate market in Toronto and beyond?
- What does their insurance cover?
- What services do they provide?
- What kind of property does the firm manage?
One more thing: Be open to begin developing trust with your prospective property management companies in Toronto. Call them. If possible, ask to meet them, and then begin establishing a relationship.
If you feel it’s safer and right, pursue that opportunity further. If they end up as your chosen property manager, you will have given them a good foundation to know how to respond and treat you.
As a property owner or agent in Toronto, chances are you will have to work with a property management company at some point. Don’t let the reviews on online platforms discourage you completely. Remember, the quality of what each Toronto property management company offers varies from manager to manager and building to building.
You will know you’ve found the right person for the job when they are able to save you money, effort, and time by taking great care of your property, keeping the tenancy vacancy period low, and seeing to it that your cash flow is maximized. Above everything else, this is still an investment and there should be great ROI on it.