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Property management services for small investors

Real Property Management, which started in the United States more than 25 years ago, is increasin...

Real Property Management, which started in the United States more than 25 years ago, is increasing its presence in Canada.

House for rent - small investorsThe company manages some commercial properties but predominantly works with residential rental units, ranging from single family homes to small apartment complexes. Vice-president of operations Kap Hiroti said Real Property Management’s “magic spot” is in providing services to investors who own from one to four units.

“We do everything, including marketing, finding tenants, showings, screenings, tenant placement, move-ins and inspections, and then the full services for the tenants while they’re in the property. We’ll take care of the rent collection and any maintenance concerns that come up.

“It’s very much a hands-off investment for an owner. Once they bring it over to us, we take care of everything on their behalf.”

More than 300 North American offices

Real Property Management is the largest residential property management company in North America. It has more than 300 offices (with more than 90 per cent located in the U.S.) and manages tens of thousands of properties for individuals, investors and institutions.

“We take what the U.S. has and work with them very closely, but we’ve also developed and adjusted the models so they’re very Canadian-specific and people are served and supported by Canadians,” said Hiroti.

Real Property Management’s Canadian headquarters are in Vancouver and it has a presence in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Franchised offices just opened in Montreal, Windsor, Ont. and most recently in London, Ont.

“We identified it early on as somewhere we wanted to be,” Hiroti said of the southwestern Ontario city that’s nearing a population of 400,000. “With the university and the general demographics of the city, it made a lot of sense for us to provide property management in that area.”

Property management fees

While property management fees are suggested by Real Property Management’s Canadian head office, individual franchisees have the freedom to decide what they charge their clients. Hiroti said these fees generally work out to approximately 10 per cent of the rent collected.

Franchisees come from varied backgrounds and include people with real estate sales experience, engineers, mechanics, military people transitioning back into civilian life and those with experience in financial services, among others.

Real Property Management provides training that includes webinars, online courses and one-on-one individual coaching. Depending on the time committed per day, this training can take from 30 to 90 days. Franchisees have to go through the real estate licensing process in some provinces.

Professional property management advantages

Hiroti recommends that property owners use professional management services because the majority of them aren’t well-informed regarding the various rules and regulations involved in renting out properties, including human rights, discrimination, collecting security deposits and rents, and evictions. Property management companies may also be able to help eliminate potential tenant issues before they become a problem.

“A large part of our operation is focused on prudent screening of prospective tenants,” said Hiroti. “That’s the time when you have all of the power.

“Once you’ve placed a tenant, they have some of the power now because they’re suddenly in a position where they’re living there. The rules change a little bit once it becomes their home.”

Real Property Management considers both property owners and tenants to be its clients and tries to cater their needs equally.

“Property owners need tenants to insure that they have rental income generated and their asset is performing, and tenants need a place to live that’s well-maintained and looked after so that they feel safe to make it their home,” said Hiroti.

“If we can retain a quality tenant at a property for an owner over time, that’s a lot easier than finding, screening and placing a brand new one and creating a new relationship.”

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