Today I started my research about what to look for (and look out for) when hiring a property manager and other interesting information about being a landlord. For example, the property manager's fee is probably tax deductible, as are the expenses for maintenance and repairs, property taxes and insurance, and travel expenses to periodically inspect the property.
So hey, renting the condo might end up being a better thing all around than we originally anticipated.
I also learned what to expect in service levels and what is considered a competitive fee and a set of pretty good questions to ask property managers during the interview process. And some really good, but complicated questions here. (These questions make me feel sneaky, though. If I've got to come up with convoluted questions to figure out honest answers, I should probably just move on to the next company.) And some important things to make sure we get into the Property Management Agreement before we sign anything.
And some good advice regarding tenant selection that we hadn't considered before. Initially I thought we'd have the property manager handle everything when it came to finding and selecting a tenant, now I'm think we'll come up with a list of base criteria for any potential tenants that the property manager will use to screen applicants and we'll have final approval.
I've also realized we need to start interviewing property managers, like, last month. I don't think I know anyone locally that uses a property manager so I don't really have a list of referrals to start with, and it's a fairly large pool of potential property managers to begin sifting through.
It has occurred to me that we could possibly use the same property management company that our HOA here uses. It might help streamline things. Then again, we haven't exactly been thrilled with how we've been treated by them and I expect that's how a tenant would feel about them, too.
But, I do believe that's my next step—contact our current property management group. If there are any special or specific requirements we need to meet when renting our unit, it'll be better to know that up front.