Thoughts When Looking for a New Property Manager


A friend of mine is looking to rent out her house, and asked me for advice in finding a property manager for her place. Here's what I suggest when hiring a property manager.

Is the communication good?

Property managers need to communicate effectively and timely with you.

Even on the initial call expressing your interest in hiring them can give insight into their communication styles. Do they respond in a reasonable time? How are they with follow up questions?

Will they communicate with you how you want? Phone, email, text, your choice.

I had a property manager that never answered the phone. All calls went through an answering service, and were often not returned. Tasks were done, but the communication was strained.

My representative at another company was the son of the owner and, well, had such horrible communication skills that I asked to have another person assigned to my account.

What are their after hours procedure?

Pretty much, you want to know your tenant has access to them in emergencies.

What does the renters / owners website / portal look like?

These days, property management companies have websites for both renters to contact the managers, and owners to receive documents and

What "extras" is the property management going to charge you?

One charges me for quarterly property walk-throughs but doesn't actually do the walk throughs. Quarterly I call them up and ask them to refund the charges.

What services are they going to provide?

One management company refused to handle an AC unit repair.  Another management company put in a new driveway for me.   Clearly you want the latter if you need a new driveway.

How are their online reviews?

Take with a grain of salt, because the people who post are the ones upset. Happy people rarely post reviews. However, see if there's a pattern to the complaints.

One property management company "loses" rent checks, then charges the tenants a late fee. They did this with one tenant before said tenant called his bank and me, and told us what was up. The company stopped with him, I don't know that they don't still continue the practice with other houses.

How large is the property management company?

If it is too big, I am ignored as being too small. They might let a property go unrented for months, asking for too high of a rent.

If it is too small, the tenant or you may not have good communication.

Best luck with a company more than 6 employees, fewer than 20.

How long have they been in business?

Short isn't bad if the members have experience. Shorter is also okay if the company is a new franchise of a larger property management company like Real Property.

What is the property management company going to charge you?

Rates should be no more than 10% of the monthly rental income.

Watch out for initial fees. Most are $500 to get you into the system, sometimes they charge a full month's rent, to "get you into the system," without guarantee of rental.

Check referrals.

A good property manager will be happy to provide referrals, as they'll have many to give, so ask to talk / email with satisfied customers. Ask questions to these about their opinions of the property manager. Do they communicate repairs and issues to you?

Ask about any unexpected fees the property manager charged. Ask about any problems encountered and their resolutions.

If you have an HOA, ask the referral how well the property manager communicates with the referral's HOA.

What are the property manager's expectations for you?

How soon do they expect a response to authorize a repair, for example?

If you'll be inaccessible, what would the property manager do?

When I talk with them, do I like them?

You're giving money to someone for a service. Do you like them?

Yay for Running Again


I went for a run this afternoon.

Recently, I've been on my treadmill daily, walking for 60-75 minutes on a 10% grade at a slow 2 mph pace so that I can both walk and work. After about a month of this, my heart rate never goes above 115, and drops back to under 80 bpm within a minute of stopping, so I've clearly begun adapting to the treadmill workout. Talking with Zeb about my mountaineering training preparation resulted in his strong suggestion that I up my cardio to some movement more strenuous, given I've begun adapting. So, running it is.

My runs have not been particularly long. I worry about injuries from adding on too many miles too quickly. As a result, I'm not increasing my mileage more than 10% a week. Which is to say, I'm not running very much.

And yet.

And yet.

The injuries have begun, beginning with my old hamstring injury. Which is nominally fine, I'm not going to be playing ultimate as far as I know. I'd rather not be in pain every step, but here we are.

Today I was all of about 40 meters into my run before I realized I had left my earphones back at the house. Returning to the house would have been simple enough, and yet, I didn't. I kept running, wondering how the run would be with only my thoughts for company. How long has it been since I just ran, alone with my thoughts, no distractions, the road in front of me.

I am happy to report, I am fine company when running slowing on an empty street. I'm enough out of shape that even my short runs induce a mild runner's high.

Mask and all.

Commence Emotional Control in 3... 2... 1...



My dad makes no sense to me. We started down another scream fest over Cheetoh's disinfectant comment "Yes, Dad, he said inject disinfectant into your lungs," when he said, "Trump is the best president in my lifetime!"

I hate these conversations. I hate them with every cell in my body.

So, I started listening.

"What makes him the best, Dad?" and didn't respond to anything he said (with one exception). Turns out, he became all riled up and started yelling about everything Trump had done "right." We disagree on "right," but I didn't interrupt. At the end of his rant, instead of my being upset, he was. He angrily said, "Okay, what has he done wrong?"

"Facts are not going to sway you, Dad. I can tell you that Obama increased the national debt in a recession, but Trump increased it even more during a hot economy, but you won't listen to facts, so I'm going to just listen. Thank you for sharing."

"But what did he do wrong?"

"Thank you for sharing, Dad."

He calmed down. We might have restored balance. The rest of the conversation was nice.

Alone on the Wall

Book Notes

Antarctica Peeps Catch Up, Part One of N


All the days blur together.

Carolyn pinged me last week and said, oh, oh, oh, how about a group call with Ana. I said, oh, god yes, yes, please. Today, the three of us jumped on a chat and talked for about an hour. To say my spirits lifted is an understatement.

We virtually met Cody, Ana's dog. Heard about Ana's Galapagos and Amazon adventures from earlier this year. Carolyn told us about her Florida adventures. The three of us planned our Melbourne food adventures, which include crashing at Ana's place for a while, and a six month tour of Australia. I so loved catching up with the two of them, delighted my heart!

How the Post Office Created America

Book Notes