A condo management professional in San Bernardino, CA

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What does a property management company do?

Property management companies manage the rental of residential homes, apartments, condos, commercial spaces and retail spaces. Property managers can oversee just a single unit or many properties, whether those sites are inhabited full-time or are vacation rentals. A property management company helps a property owner or landlord find tenants; collects rent; takes care of accounting, property maintenance and repairs; handles on-site management; and manages vacation rental check-in and checkout tasks. Although many property owners or landlords successfully manage their own rental real estate, a property management company can help you handle tenant issues and maintenance problems, especially if you are not located in the same city or state. Most property management companies deal with tenants directly, and their tasks include:

  • Marketing the rental property
  • Collecting rent
  • Handling repair problems
  • Responding to tenant complaints
  • Evicting tenants  

A property management company may be a good choice for property owners who have several investment properties, live far away from the rental property, or don’t have time for hands-on management.

How do you find a good home inspector?

A home inspection should tell you the true condition of a home. A competent home inspector closely inspects your home’s structure and foundation, looks for termites and signs of problems like mold, checks the wiring to ensure it’s in good condition, and investigates the HVAC system, among other items. To find a good home inspector, first research whether home inspection is licensed in your area; not all states require licensure.

If there is no regulatory body that licenses home inspection in your state, there are other ways to make sure you are hiring a trustworthy professional. Carefully look into the person’s reviews and ask for references. Ask if they are committed to continuing education, and whether they are active members in any reputable home inspector organizations. Some organizations that recognize and/or certify home inspectors are the American Society of Home Inspectors, National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, and American Home Inspectors Training. Don’t be shy about asking to see credentials and licensing.

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a visual inspection performed by a trained professional to determine the condition of a home’s main elements. The inspection usually takes several hours, during which the professional takes multiple photos and notes, tracking information for a final report. After the inspection, the pro will create a printed report, complete with photos and detailed information, summarizing the condition of the house. A home inspection is often used by potential home buyers prior to purchase to determine if there are larger issues (such as dry rot or a faulty foundation) that are not immediately visible to the untrained eye but that would cost a lot of money to resolve. Home inspections are also used by real estate agents and home sellers to address any concerns before putting a home on the market. Longtime homeowners can also schedule a home inspection to get a snapshot of their current home condition and identify any issues that need to be addressed. A home inspection is not a legal document that can be used for divorce or estate settlements, nor can it be used to secure loans or mortgages.

How much does it cost to get a house appraised and inspected?

Home appraisals and home inspections both assess your home and provide a report summarizing the condition or value of your home based on key measurements. Unlike a home inspection for the sale of a property, a home appraisal is used for loan applications, property value assessment for sales or settlements (divorce, estate, etc.), and taxes and insurance. If you’re having your home appraised for lending purposes, you’ll likely need a state-certified appraiser, so be sure to your research their credentials. Nationally, the average cost for a home appraisal is $340.

If you’re buying or selling a home, having a professional home inspection can be an invaluable tool for price-setting and negotiation, as well as learning what repairs are necessary. The national average home inspection cost is $310, ranging higher or lower depending on the inspection company, your location and the size of your home. Other factors that can affect cost are additional inspection services and pathogen testing. Here are some examples of average home inspection costs in various parts of the country:

  • Home inspection in New York City: $425 or more.
  • Condo inspection in New York City: $200 or more.
  • Home inspection in Central Texas: $250 for homes up to 2,000 square feet.
    • $275 for homes from 3,001-4,000 square feet.
    • $300 for homes from 4,001-5,000 square feet.
    • $325 for homes 5,001 square feet and up, plus 10 cents per additional square foot.
  • Home inspection in Los Angeles: $199-$299 or more.

Do property managers need to be licensed?

The licensing requirements for property managers vary from state to state, but many states require property managers to have a real estate broker’s license and in some cases be a legal resident of a state. Property management may not be specified in a state real estate statute, but according to the Institute of Real Estate Management their activities may include advertising the availability of a rental property, discussing a property management agreement with an owner, negotiating leases, showing a rental property and collecting rents.

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