Hiring someone to take responsibility to care for and oversee the management of your rental property is a major decision. Getting the right property manager is essential for both your financial bottom line as well as your peace of mind. Choosing the wrong property manager can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and not all property managers are equal in knowledge and experience.

While you are going through the process of selecting a property manager, keep the following points in mind:

  • Find a property manager who is also a licensed real estate broker. Ask to speak directly with the broker or a California licensed property manager. If you are unable to speak with the property manager when you are a prospective new client, chances are that you are not going to be able to communicate directly with the property manager or broker when there are problems at your property. See a Word of Warning below.
  • Ask the property manager how many years the brokerage has been managing properties from that location. Your goal is to find out how long that brokerage has been in the property management business in your local area and how familiar they are with local laws. California is unlike other states and it has many separate and different city rent ordinances in addition to county, state and federal laws. APM has been in the property management business since 1985.
  • Ask the property manager about their application screening process. How do they qualify applicants? Are the applicants subject to the owner’s approval? Some property managers do not contact the property owner to go over credit, employment and rental history and simply select and approve applicants. One of the property manager’s difficult duties is to guide a property owner through the screening process while ensuring that the property owner abide by fair housing laws. This duty is time consuming and is the reason why some property managers take shortcut and shortened the process by not involving the property owner in the screening process. For more information on our screening process please click here.
  • Ask the property manager for the number of tenancies the brokerage has independently assisted from that local office. What you are trying to determine here is the experience of the property manager and broker who are running the office at a certain location. At APM, we have assisted over 10,000 San Francisco Bay Area tenancies over the years. We are your local property manager. Also, ask the property manager how many hearings, depositions and trials the brokerage attended on behalf of their property owners. Your goal is to find a qualified property manager in your local area who can guide and assist you when needed.
  • Ask the property manager for the number of trusted local contractors on their vendor list used for assisting owners with repairs and maintenance. Many property owners will eventually realize that management fee is very minimal and is a fraction compared to maintenance and repair costs. Find out how the property managers handle repairs. For example, you can save $50 on the management fee but lose thousands on repair costs. Some property managers have handymen working for them. Their profit center is more focussed on repair costs. One way to find out is to ask for a written estimate on a repair or make-ready then call and find out directly from the contractor whether he or she is an employee of the brokerage or whether the brokerage receives a mark up or kickback from the contractor. Many property managers advertise that they do not have an in-house contractor and they do not mark up the cost of repairs despite they do. We learned from property owners who switched over to APM from other property management companies that this has transpired.
  • Ask the property manager for a breakdown of all fees. Most property managers in our service area charge between 6% to 10% of the monthly rent to manage your rental properties or they may charge a leasing fee plus a flat monthly fee. We also notice a few property management companies that have a LONG list of add on fees and they do not disclose unless you ask for it in writing.

It is difficult to tell when you are a new landlord seeking to find an experienced real estate broker specializing in property management in your local area. Hopefully, these quick tips shall facilitate and assist you in investigating and selecting the right property manager for your rental property. We are here to answer all of your questions about our property management services. Please call us at (510) 487-2583.


Several property management companies in our area are not operated by a real estate broker although that is a requirement by the Department of Real Estate in California. Many companies are simply hiring a broker of record and pay a fee to use a broker license to run the company. This practice is notorious and very common with property management franchises and national corporations. These out of state startup companies were also opened recently in our service areas but claimed that they have been in business for 30 to 35 years. This is misleading. Their outsourced staff from other states and oversea is not familiar with local laws which is a huge liability to landlords. Real estate is local, and property management is hyper-local. This is the main reason why a couple of these startup companies went out of business after a few years. Visit this link at https://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp to examine how long the property management companies have been in business in California. The department website lists the year and the name of all the real estate businesses they have affiliated with since they were licensed in California.

What Our Owners Say…

Good people, great customer services, takes care of my property and tenants as their own. For all the wonderful professional services I have received; I am going to be with Affordable Property Management  for a very long time."

Ellen H.

Affordable has been managed our properties for over 15 years. We are very happy with the service they provided. They are professional, responsive and trustworthy. They screen the tenants for us, fix things for us and always pay on time.

Joanna C.

All repairs or concerns from the tenants were acted upon immediately, with the health and safety of the tenants always in the forefront. When any repairs were needed, the contractors you provided were fast and reliable, with costs and our best interest in mind.

Bill M.

Thank you for your support over the years. With your professional help I can consider early retirement. Eventually I will need to move back in my rental. Thank you for your professional support over the years I’ve been truly blessed by your company.

Alex C.

They were diligent in responding to applicants that had applied to rent my property. Management was great at consulting me on my options. This would be property management that I would recommend.

Melissa W.

APM could not be better. I use 3 other property management companies in other areas, none of them are half as good as APM.

Beverly F.

I used APM for the first time and I was very impressed with the level of service they provided. The staff are friendly and professional. I highly recommend them.

Ahmad H.

I’ve had a rental agreement with APM for over 10 years. The staff handled any problems I had with a professional manner. I would recommend, and HAVE recommended APM to anyone who is looking for rental property.

John S.