Vetting your property manager with Linda Liberstore
About Linda Liberstore
- Linda is the owner and founder of Secure One Pay.
- She is an active investor in single, multi and commercial and mixed use properties.
- Linda has written a book on daily inspirations to help you achieve your investment goals.
Nuts and Bolts
Linda got into real estate investing shortly after the birth of her second daughter while she was looking to get active and be busy. She became involved with another investor who helped her learn the ropes, so she did management activities during the day and at night she taught productivity classes. These classes were at large corporation like Motorola. When she became a full time investor she kept her portfolio broad across many different asset classes, however at the moment Linda believes that the safest class to invest in is single family especially for international investors. Linda has recently set up Secure Pay One, which is a virtual property management assistant, which can act as the middle ground between letting agents, investors and general contractors.
Hiring a property manager can be one of the most important decisions you make as a real estate investor, especially if you’re international or out of state. So, there are certain questions that you should be asking each prospective manager and comparing the results between applicants. Linda advises that the first question should be about what size portfolios they usually manage; are the largest and smallest portfolio’s that belong to their client. This will tell you if they would be bored or overstretched on your properties. The second question should be about client references and Linda really encourages you to call the references. Even if you’re not keen on the property manager, you should call the references and use it as a networking opportunity. The property manager should also understand you as the investor and so you should give them information about your financial status in this investment; for example is this a side project or your whole livelihood. The final important check is to ask about what technology they are using; this is because you want your property managers to be always learning and on the edge of new technology to make rent collection/eviction/late notices as easy as possible.
Another important vetting check to make with your potential property manager is how they would deal with evicting a tenant. This includes the legal and financial side and how comfortable they would feel doing it. In this process you need to ensure that the manager is au fait with the legal processes in your state from signing the lease through to eviction. This is because in some states if a mistake is made when signing the lease, this can backfire when it comes to eviction. So always check they know how to write and issue a lease correctly and that they have as many systems in place for early warning before an eviction. This system should be able to email or text prior to a payment or notify you to send a stamped addressed envelope or set up automatic debits. A manager should have a list of checks that they make on a tenant prior to signing and as an investor you need to check these screening questions. The first screening process should be to check online as so many people share information on social media. For example you might be able to check if the tenant has a pet, even though they ticked the ‘no pet’ box. The manager should also ask what will happen if the tenant can’t pay the rent, for example do they have family and friends who could help and if not the manager should have a list of charitable local organizations who can help with a one-off payment.
Linda is the founder and owner of Secure One Pay, which acts like a three-pronged tool between the investor, the agent and the local contractor. For example the agent will have found the deal for the investor and might have also found the tenants, but does not want to manage the day-to-day dealings. So Secure One Pay act as a communication center receiving the calls from the tenants or agent and dispatching the boots on the ground. Most of this communication is done through text so that it’s transparent and the investor can access the records at any time. This is also a good option for smaller investors who feel they don’t need a full time property manager and can use Secure One Pay along side their general contractor.
Top investing tips
- Most successful habit – Linda’s morning routine – exercise, education, journaling.
- Most influential person – Her dad who had strong work ethic, and the first investor she worked with.
- Most influential tool – Technology suite of Google apps
- Contact – email firstname.lastname@example.org