Updated: Apr 12
You have decided to use a leasing agent or property manager to help rent out your investment property. Not all leasing agents are built the same. You should call around and speak to different agents or organizations to make the best choice. Bigger doesn't always mean better! Keep the following in mind and ask questions!
1) Do they offer a free consultation and free rent analysis? They should meet you onsite to check the property and make recommendations.
2) In today’s modern world, your agent must have a digital strategy. Ask them how they will find your next AAA tenants? Where do they list the ads? How much exposure will your ad get? Do they have a list of potential prospects already? Do they deal with executive search firms or have a referral system with real estate agents?
3) Ask the agent what they do to ensure the tenants are AAA. They should never tell you anyone is 100%; it’s impossible - they should sound realistic! Do they do credit and other background checks, confirmation of income, landlord reference (bonus if they can prove the landlord is real)? Anything else?
4) What rules do landlords need to follow during the leasing process? The agent should, at a very minimum, know what rulebook to follow! The most important ones are the Ontario Residential Tenancy Act (bonus if they are aware of it’s additional regulations), Ontario Human Rights Code, PIPEDA, Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and municipal codes and property standards. Ask them!
5) The agent should be able to answer your “What if?” questions or be able to refer you to the correct resources, i.e. a paralegal. The ability to answer a range of questions comes with experience.
6) Is the agent available when potential tenants are? Evening or weekends?
7) What fee do they charge? Are there any upfront costs? Admin Fee’s? Cancellation Fee’s? Refunds? The typical cost should between 5% and 10% of the annual rent.
8) Do they have rent, legal, or other guaranteed protections for you? Typically they won’t but this a great bonus to have!
9) Do they have Liability and Errors & Omissions Insurance? What if something happens?
10) Ask to see a copy of the lease they will use. In addition to the Ontario Standard Lease, there should be additional clauses written by a legal professional to cover a host of situations. Think about some situations you may get into and ask if it’s covered.
11) Do they have a full management service for landlords who want to be hands off? They should be able to manage the day to day tasks on behalf of the landlord. This usually cost extra.
Yes, I know that was 11 questions! Thanks for reading to the end!
These are just the basic questions to ask. Make sure you are comfortable working with the agent and that they seem knowledgeable. They should be willing to spend time to help you make a decision about them.
As always, feel free to send me your questions, comments and suggestions.
Brandon Gignac has been a local residential property manager and leasing agent for 20 years and is based in the Peterborough and Northumberland, Ontario area. He is focused on modernizing the property management industry, helping landlords increase their ROI and helping tenants find a great place to live. When he isn't busy saving the day, solving problems or buried in paperwork, he enjoys spending time with his wife Rachal, kids and the family bullmastiff.
You can reach Brandon by:
phone: (705) 243-4016