From the point of view of how they are managing your investment you are going to want to see examples of the types of reports they are going to provide you with. You are going to want to be able to tell how much money is coming in and how much money is going out in expenses.
Since this is a apartments, you need to also ask a few questions about the people who will be working on the property. Do they do criminal background checks on their managers and maintenance workers? This is a very important, not only to the safety of the tenants, but to your own potential liability.
Ask them about the type of insurance they carry. Some management companies don't have any insurance of their own and try to rely on the liability policy you have on your building. You should confirm that they have their own general liability insurance, as well as workers comp insurance for their employees. If one of their employees is seriously injured on your property, EVERYONE will get sued - including you... so you will want to make sure that there are more insurance policies in play besides just your building policy. Ask them to add you as "an additional insured" to their policy, this means that they will not only provide you with proof of their insurance, but that the insurance co will have to defend and protect you against covered losses just the same as the management company. With a certificate of additional insured, you will also get notice from the insurance company if the policy is going to lapse or has been canceled for non-payment.
You are right to interview multiple property management companies until you find one you are most comfortable with. These folks will be managing one of your most valuable assets, so don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. Also, if you see line items on your monthly statement that you don't understand, pick up the phone and tell them to explain it to you. This shows them that you are paying attention to the books, and that they had better have a good reason for any all the checks being written. Good luck!
Oct 22, 2008