10 ways to find a great property manager in Yucatán
1. Cover your bases
Most property managers offer three basic services.
- They will oversee your home and ensure it is clean, tidy and well maintained at all times while providing you detailed accounting of issues, expenses and income.
- Promote your home to prospective guests or tenants and manage the inquiries, bookings, and payments that ensue.
- Provide access, support and oversight to guests during their stay in your home.
You don’t necessarily want all these services, or even need to find them all in a single company. You may use one manager for maintaining your home while another more specialty company to rent it.
While most companies perform most of these services, each can excel at different things, so consider each facet of service you need when weighing your options.
2. A manager you can depend on for peace of mind
Every manager will advertise that they are trustworthy and dependable and tell you as much when you contact them. How do you know it’s true?
Quiz a prospective manager about their regular reporting to owners. Ask to see samples of the account statements and regular reporting sent to clients. Scrutinize these documents for details. Does the reporting tell you what happened in the home, why it happened, how much it cost? For issues that were fixed, is there detail of how it was done? For ongoing issues, can you see what is happening now and what will happen next?
When you are away from your home, this is the kind of detail that will give you peace of mind, so make sure your property manager can provide the detail you need.
3. A manager that makes you money or costs you dearly?
One question almost everyone asks a new manager is how much they charge per month. This is the worst question to ask as it tells you nothing about how much their management services will cost you over the course of a year.
A good manager will cost you nothing. In fact they will save you money by doing a good job and make you money by renting your home well (calculate how much).
A bad manager can cost you a small fortune. Poor supervision and irregular inspections can cost you thousands in extra repair costs. If you are renting your home, a manager that does not properly vet, contract and supervise tenants can cost you even more in lost rent and legal fees. Finally, a property that is not marketed effectively nor offers a good experience to your guests is income you’ll never receive.
A good manager will charge a fair and competitive price for their services. However, this should not be the most important consideration in deciding between managers.
4. Establish the ground rules with solid contracts
Good contracts make good business relationships and your property manager should have a good one that clearly outlines how each facet of their service is structured. You need to know upfront how they charge to refill the gas tank, who holds keys and supervises repairs and what exchange rate will be given when you provide money for repairs in pesos.
A good contract will spell these kinds of thing out in addition to detailing all the standard fees, extra charges, markups and other terms of service. Also, for it to be enforceable in Mexico, it must at minimum be in Spanish.
If you will be renting your home to guests, you also need to ensure your manager has enforceable contracts in place for tenants. These contracts are your essential safeguard to ensure that guests respect your home, pay when they should and leave when agreed.
5. A good manager is excellent at sales and marketing
In Yucatán, especially in Mérida Centro, many homes are listed as vacation homes and a good manager will know this market well.
If you are listing your home for rent, outstanding photos and a great description are essential to getting your home booked. Look for a manager that knows how to make your home shine. Without this, you won’t be able to tell your home’s unique story to guests nor get the bookings you deserve. It’s easy to know who has the best photos by simply comparing the rental listings posted by each manager you are considering.
A great manager is also good at selling your home to guests that inquire. How quickly do they respond? How is their customer service? How do they woo guests? These things all affect the amount your home gets booked and your bottom line. Do a little “secret shopping” by posing as a guest and inquire about a home or two. It’s a great way to spot a manager who’s at the top of their sales game.
6. Knowing how to please your guests
The vacation rental market is competitive, and a good manager knows what guests want during their stay. In-home amenities, responsive customer service and friendly advice and information are all things that attract guests and encourage bookings.
How do you know a prospective manager has this covered? Read the guest reviews and see what guests are saying. Who do they like and what really wows them? A great place to start looking is AirBnb, where guests post extensive reviews that are the bedrock and key to their popularity. And remember, a manager that knows how to look after guests, probably knows how to look after you, too.
7. Increasing your occupancy rate
It’s easy to get your home booked for Christmas week, but a good manager will get you booked all through the year, even in summer when it’s traditionally quite slow in Mérida. Ask a manager about their annual occupancy rate and how they achieve it.
Everyone wants a deal when they travel, and the key to solid bookings is a good mix of flexible pricing, special offers and targeted promotions. Ask a prospective manager what strategies they use during slow periods to keep your bookings high.
If your bookings are low or slow, you might want to consider using an additional property management company who can focus on getting your home booked. Check with your existing manager first, as they may not be set up with online availability calendar sharing or even allow other parties to book the homes they manage.
8. Work flexibly based on your needs
Maybe you live in Yucatán part time, maybe full time. Maybe you like to use your own housekeeper, rent long term vs short term or handle your reservations yourself. With a flexible manager that works well with you and others, you should be able to get a package of services tailored to suit your needs.
Many management companies will also have flexible ways to pay for their services in a number of currencies. Being able to pay by check or direct deposit, in your local currency can save you big on international wire transfer fees. Ask your manager how they handle payments from you and your guests.
9. Does your manager have a plan?
It’s an ever-changing market and you want to know that the service offered by your manager is going to adapt, grow and get better over time. How is your manager adapting to the changing social media landscape to maximize occupancy? How are they embracing technology to track and streamline the organization and maintenance and cleaning of your home?
A manager with a plan is going to deliver an ever improving service and return on your investment. Hearing about such a plan is also a good way to know whether the manager intends to be in business a year from now.
10. Working well together
Your home is your castle. It is a personal thing and you need a manager who shares your vision for how it should be cared for. If you are cost conscious, you need a manager who is equally so. If details are your thing, you need a manager with stellar accounting and communication skills.
Find a manager that cares about what you want and wants the same thing. If your goals align, you’ll both win together and success is assured.
by Stanley Kahng, founder of Remixto.
Making great stays at remixto.com
10 ways to find a great property manager in Yucatán.
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