Do you own a vacation home on the Oregon Coast? Have you thought about renting it out to vacationers when you’re not using it?

What’s stopping you? Maybe you’re not sure how to market your property or even what to charge, how to check guests in and out efficiently, or how to clean your home between visits from guests? Or perhaps you live in another city or state and just don’t want the hassle of managing a rental property?

A great property manager can be worth his or her weight in gold. He or she will make sure that your property is being rented out as efficiently and as profitably as possible. They’ll manage everything, from booking to housekeeping to marketing, and everything in between.

But how do you know you’re hiring the right property manager for your house on the Oregon Coast? It’s not easy, and making the wrong choice can cost you thousands of dollars a year in potential profit. Not to mention the headaches caused by problems that aren’t solved the way they should be.

I’ve been managing properties on the Oregon coast since 2003 and want to use my experience to help you. Today I’ll share a few questions I think you must ask before before hiring a property manager for your property on the Oregon Coast. I’ll also show you a few red flags you should watch for when interviewing potential property managers.

Tips for Making the Right Choice

First, make sure you interview more than one property manager and ideally at least 3 or 4 candidates. You can compare their answers and the services each provides to help make a more informed decision. If you only interview one property manager, you won’t have any idea of how they stack up against the competition.

Second, get everything in writing. You don’t want to rely on your memory when trying to make your final decision. Then make sure you (or your lawyer) review the final contract. If there are any points of confusion that need to be clarified, take care of that sooner rather than later.

Trusting a property manager to rent out your home is a serious decision, not one you should make lightly.

“What’s your commission rate?”

This is the first question many potential clients ask me when they’re looking for a property manager, and it’s one that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer.

My recommendation is to understand that a low rate isn’t necessarily better. The old maxim, you get what you pay for holds true for property managers.

A manager who offers a lower commission rate might end up nickeling-and-diming you for expenses that a property manager who charges a higher commission might bundle into his or her service. Or a lower rate could mean less attention given to the details of your property.

“What’s your pricing philosophy?”

This is an important question to ask, because it can help you find out if you and your potential property manager have compatible goals.

Some owners prefer a higher price point, even if that means they’ll miss out on a few bookings. But a property manager may prefer to price more aggressively or offer discounts to keep the property filled. You should know that neither philosophy is inherently right or wrong, but a difference of opinions can put strain on the relationship between a property owner and manager.

It’s important to find out if you and your property manager have similar pricing philosophies. If not, it’s possible to reach a compromise that works for both of you, but in some cases it may be an obstacle that just can’t be overcome.

“How will you generate revenue for my property?”

In my opinion, the answer you get to this question will tell you a lot about a property manager.

A great property manager will invest time and money to generate revenue for your property. Whether that means online advertising, attending local networking events, or another marketing method entirely, it’s important your property manager outline a plan for marketing your property.

Generally speaking, managers who charge a lower commission will generally invest fewer hours and fewer dollars into marketing your property.

“How well do you know the Oregon Coast?”

This is a great question to help you get to know a potential property manager better. It can lead to important follow-up questions like, “How long have you been in business?” and “How many properties do you manage on the Oregon Coast?”

Each of these questions will give you insight into the background of a potential property manager and can help you decide if they’re the right choice for you.

In general, look for experienced managers who who aren’t spreading themselves too thin. If a property manager does manage a large number of properties, ask how they balance their workload and what a typical day is like for them.

“Who gets the house ready? What’s provided to guests?”

Properties must be cleaned after a guest leaves and prepared for a new guest’s arrival. Some property managers handle these tasks themselves, others have employees who handle this work.

It’s important that you know and trust anyone who will be working on your property. They’ll be representing you, after all!

Ask questions about what cleaning supplies will be used, as well as what toiletries and amenities are provided to your guests. Be on the lookout for property managers who cut corners on the little things (low-quality toilet paper, harsh cleaning supplies, cheap coffee, etc.).

A great property manager will understand that it’s these little things that make all the difference in the world to a guest.

“Who handles after-hours emergencies?”

Accidents happen, often at the worst possible time. Who’s responsible? Is the property manager on call 24/7? If not, who’s responsible for maintenance requests and other emergencies that happen outside of normal business hours? Is there an emergency plumber or handyman available?

Look for a property manager with a plan in place for these situations. You’ll likely get a better answer from an experienced property manager who manages many properties and who has been through similar situations in the past.

“Do you have references I can contact?”

Don’t trust any property manager without references you can contact directly. And even though you’ll only speak with satisfied clients, ask them about any problems they’ve had or things they wish were done differently.
Yelp Reviews
Yelp reviews for my business, Starfish Luxury Rentals
Use online resources like Google+, Facebook and Angie’s List to look at other (perhaps less-glowing) reviews, too. Trip Advisor and other sites can let you know how guests feel about a property on the Oregon Coast.

Don’t be afraid to ask a potential property manager about negative reviews. He or she should be able to explain what went wrong and how the problem was solved or prevented.

A major red flag is a property manager who isn’t aware of a negative review (especially one left by a guest). This means that he or she isn’t paying close enough attention to the online reputation of their properties, something that can lead guests to choose other places to rent.

Making Your Final Decision

I hope these questions serve you well when you’re choosing someone to manage your property on the Oregon Coast.  Make sure you ask follow-up questions and don’t be afraid to keep pushing for more information.

You need to be 100% comfortable and satisfied with your property manager’s answers before you allow anyone to represent you and your property.

If you have more questions about hiring a property manager on the Oregon Coast, get in touch with me. I currently manage a variety of properties on the Oregon Coast and know what it takes to make guests and property owners happy.

So give me a call at (503) 297-4090 or email me, I’d love to answer your questions and help you get the most out of your vacation home on the Oregon Coast.

Photo Credits: Erin