Marchant Property Management Blog

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Property Manager

Hunter Hughey - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

We understand how difficult it may seem when trying to decide on the right property manager. If you make the right choice, you will be happy, and your investment will prosper. If you make the wrong choice, you will be constantly frustrated, and you will likely lose quite a bit of money in the process. If you have taken the time to read the information on our website, you are off to the right start.

When I first started investing in real estate in 1995, it was an overwhelming experience to say the least. I learned a lot from that experience and was able to eventually increase my portfolio to over 40 properties. While owning these properties, I had the opportunity to work with several different property managers. Quite frankly, I was never able to find a property management company that was competent enough, available enough, or simply cared enough to effectively manage my properties and produce a positive return. I really wish that I would have known to ask these questions when I was looking for a suitable property management company, although I am not sure that company existed before Marchant Property Management.

We have learned a lot over the past 20 plus years and all these experiences have helped shape us into the company we are today. We are committed to being better property managers every day. Hopefully, the list of questions below will make your decision easy when deciding on the best choice for Greenville property management.

  1. How long has your company been in business?
    This question will help you understand this property manager’s level of experience. You don’t want a property manager who has only been in business for a few years. They will still be struggling to figure out how to effectively run their business. Look for someone who has been in business for at least 10 years, at this point they will know what they’re doing and will have gone through several real estate cycles.
    Marchant’s Answer: The owners of Marchant Property Management are lifelong residents of Greenville and our team has over 75 years of combined real estate experience. Our property management company was formed in 1995. Our Owner and President, Hunter Hughey, joined Marchant in 2005 and took over the management of our 25 properties. Through hard work and our dedication to our clients, we have been able to consistently grow our business each year. We have managed thousands of properties in the Greenville area over the past two plus decades.
  2. How many properties do you manage?
    Too few rental units and they are either inexperienced or have lost clients due to poor service. In addition, typically smaller companies do not have the necessary systems in place to effectively manage property. Too many rental units and you will get lost in the shuffle as most larger companies are often understaffed. Look for a property manager with 200 to 600 rental units.
    Marchant’s Answer: As one of the largest property management companies in Greenville, we are currently managing more than 400 residential properties. We manage single family homes, condos, townhomes, duplexes, triplexes, and smaller apartment complexes. We are always looking to grow our portfolio with great owners and quality properties.
  3. What areas do you service?
    This will help you answer two important questions. One, do they understand the area with your rental property? Two, is their office close enough to your property to allow for ease and convenience for property showings, tenants paying rent, and vendors servicing your property.
     Marchant’s Answer: Our office is conveniently located in downtown Greenville, which is the center of Greenville County and within a 30-minute drive to all our service areas. We currently serve the Greenville, Easley, Fountain Inn, Greer, Mauldin, Piedmont, Powdersville, Simpsonville, Taylors, Travelers Rest, Anderson, and Spartanburg areas of the upstate of South Carolina. 
  4. Do you personally own rental property?
    The company’s leadership should be investing in the real estate market themselves. Period. If they don’t invest in your market, then they lack the understanding they need to help you excel.
    Marchant’s Answer: We have personally bought and managed over 50 properties in the Greenville area over the past 20 plus years. All of our property managers own multiple rental properties. We believe that it is critical to work with someone that is also knowledgeable about investing in the Greenville market. As an investor, I have owned over 40 properties that were managed by other property management companies in the past. Work with someone that has knowledge and experience in all sides of property management.
  5. What are your fees?
    Don’t be fooled by companies that are promising you low monthly fees or low flat fee pricing. It is imperative that you factor in ALL fees associated with hiring a property management company. Don’t be nickeled and dimed by various hidden fees that should be included in management.
    Marchant’s Answer: We offer three different management plans for you to choose from, depending on the level of service that you need. All our fees are clearly listed in the Pricing section of our website and fully disclosed in our management agreement.
  6. How much can my property rent for?
    A property manager should be able to complete a comparable market analysis of all the other available listings near your property. They should use properties that just went off the market and properties that are currently on the market to determine the highest possible rent. They should also have the expertise and experience needed to factor in the unique aspects of your rental property, like an updated kitchen or a 3-car garage.
    Marchant’s Answer: We have a paid subscription to several rental comparison sites such as Rentometer, RentRange, and Zillow. We also use MLS to compile data for active and previously rented listings. We use these reports along with our professional expertise and years of experience in the local market to give you an expert rental price recommendation that will allow us to rent your property for the highest amount in the least amount of time. Be leery of the property manager that promises you above market rates just to get your business, as this will likely cost you thousands waiting on someone to pay above market rates. We can often cover the cost of hiring a property management company by simply increasing your rents to market rates.
  7. How will you market my property?
    Your property manager should be advertising properties through a variety of channels. If they are still just placing newspaper ads and hoping for the best, then you should steer clear.
    Marchant’s Answer: We use powerful marketing tools to connect with local renters. We syndicate listings to all the top websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads,, and more to get the most exposure possible. We also list our properties on MLS, Craigslist, Facebook, and other social media sites. We offer professional photography, video tours, and our branded and highly visible For Rent signs. Most importantly, we have a call center that answers all our leasing calls 14 hours a day, every day which gives us an incredible advantage in leasing homes faster than anyone else.
  8. How will you make sure I get a great tenant?
    Every property manager should have a plan in place that strategically works to obtain the best tenants for you and your property. This should include marketing the property in a variety of ways, setting certain income requirements (usually 3x the monthly rent), and executing a background check that examines credit history, criminal history, and prior evictions.
    Marchant’s Answer: First, we require anyone 18 years or older to safely apply online and we require driver’s license copies and proof of income documentation. We have an extensive screening process that includes employment and income verification as well as a Nationwide credit, criminal, sex offender, and eviction check by a 3rd party vendor. Most importantly, we also verify at least three years of rental history to make sure that they gave proper notice to vacate, paid rent on time, were never evicted, did not cause any damage to the property, didn’t have any lease violations, and did not leave owing a balance to a landlord. We also check social media accounts for any suspicious activity or undisclosed pets and more. We require tenants to have income of at least 3 times the monthly rent.
  9. How do you handle maintenance?
    There should be a clear and effective way to handle maintenance requests. In addition, it is critical to keep owners informed on all maintenance activity, so they are not blindsided with high repair bills. Also, you will want to work with someone that is not using maintenance as a profit center for the company.
    Marchant’s Answer: First, we always attempt to troubleshoot issues over the phone with tenants, which significantly reduces the amount of work orders and saves our owners money. Whenever we receive a maintenance request, it gets logged into our software system where we can assign a vendor and fully track the progress from start to finish. In addition, when a work order is created, our system automatically emails a copy of the work order to the owner and the owner has the option to approve the work order, reject the work order, or simply ignore and let us handle for them. We consistently follow up with both tenants and vendors to make sure that the repairs are addressed as timely as possible. Tenants also have access to our 24/7 emergency repair hotline. We typically save our owners around 40% because of the trusted relationships that we have built with our vendors. Again, we do not mark up or profit from repairs and maintenance in any way.
  10. How often will you inspect my property?
    I am sure that you have heard nightmare stories where tenants have completely trashed the property and caused thousands of dollars in damages. Don’t make this mistake with your tenants. Your property is at risk if your property manager doesn’t conduct inspections. This should require a small fee and it will be one of the best investments you can make. It ensures you catch problems before they spiral out of control.
    Marchant’s Answer: We provide move in and move out inspections. We also highly recommend optional routine inspections to be conducted every 6 months while a tenant is living in the property. The inspections are performed by an independent 3rd party vendor and owners will receive a copy of the report along with any recommendations from your property manager. These detailed inspection reports typically contain between 50 – 200 color photos that document the condition of the property and point out any recommended maintenance items.
  11. Bonus Question: Can you just find me a great tenant if I want to manage the property myself?
    So, you think you have this property management thing figured out? The most critical aspect of property management is selecting the right tenant. Selecting the wrong tenant can cost you thousands of dollars in damages, vacancies, and turnover costs. If nothing else, you should trust a professional for your tenant screening.
    Marchant’s Answer: We can certainly help you find a qualified tenant if you would prefer to manage the property yourself. For a fee of one month’s rent, we will provide quality services that include professional marketing, property showings, extensive tenant screening, provide a 22-page attorney drafted lease agreement, and collect the security deposit. In addition, if you decide later that you would prefer to spend your time with family and fun activities instead of managing the property, we are always happy to take over the day to day management for you.