Choosing a property management company is a very important decision and with so many to choose from, selecting the ‘right one’ can be a challenge.
Property management companies basically all perform the same services: maintenance and upkeep of your home and marketing your home to rentals in order to help offset some of your costs.
Management companies range in size, from very small “Mom and Pop” companies to large ones with many employees and several hundred homes in their inventory. There are pros and cons to each and it depends on what you are looking for in regards to services and rentals for your home. A small company can offer a more personal touch and most likely will contact you often. They primarily focus on maintaining your home, but don’t expect as many bookings. A larger company can effectively and efficiently handle both maintenance and marketing your home. Another plus is they offer more services to owners and guests.
That depends. If you have plans to do your own bookings and marketing, then your best bet is a property management company that will simply maintain your home, clean your pool and provide a cleaning service. If you don’t have the time and the means to provide rentals to your home, and require a diverse range of services, then a large management company is the way to go. No matter what your choice, check to see if they are a member of the CFPMA – Central Florida Property Manager’s Association.
Typically, a large management company obtains rentals from outside sources and directly through their own reservation department. These two main forms of reservation sources are commonly referred to as 'wholesale’ (outside) and ‘retail’ and/or 'direct' (in-house). The 'wholesale' group refers to travel agents and tour operators in both the international and domestic market. 'Retail' and/or 'direct' are reservations made through guests calling the PM company’s reservation department. Be Aware: "No management company can guarantee you rentals".
Rates for your home will vary according to the time of year of the reservation and the source. As well, home rates are based on many other criteria: the category/standards, quality of furnishing and amenities, the number of bedrooms, location and amenities proximity.
Expect to pay monthly fees for administration, pool cleaning service and maintenance. You may also have to pay a monthly fee for lawn service and pest control if this service is not covered under your Homeowners’ Association. PM companies are competitive with their monthly fees, with the biggest difference being in maintenance services. Most companies also require a lump sum of money from which to manage your home, often referred to as “Homeowners’ Reserve”. Your monthly management fees and utility bills will be withdrawn from your Reserve each month.
This is a common concern of homeowners and understandably so. You will have ‘wear and tear’ damage to your home, but sometimes deliberate damage from a guest does occur. ‘Wear and tear’ is a scratch on your countertop; deliberate damage is your door is off its hinges. Wear and tear is caused by ‘normal use’; deliberate damage is a malicious action. Most PM companies have someone inspect the home for damages after the guest departs. They also take either a security deposit or credit card swipe from guests upon check-in to cover for damages. Items that come up missing generally do not fall under ‘deliberate damage’. PM companies have their own individual guidelines when it comes to missing items and you’ll want to inquire as to how they handle it.
Do NOT attempt to do this yourself – even if you are an interior designer! A vacation home has to be outfitted with everything from cooking utensils to pool furniture and it will cost you an enormous amount of time – not to mention more money by the time you’re done. Instead, it’s highly recommended (and most homeowners do) that you choose a furniture company that specializes in vacation home furnishings. They’ll work with you on your furniture selections, coordinate delivery with your PM company and set up everything in one day. Most PM companies can recommend a reputable furniture company to you. www.furniturepackagesusa.com