JC 021: Finding the Perfect Property Manager with Riana King
Everyone on your real estate team must share the same goal
Riana King is an Arizona native with fourteen years of experience in the real estate industry. For the past seven years, she has worked for Real Property Management (RPM), which has locations in Scottsdale, AZ and Tucson, AZ. Riana manages residential long-term, short-term vacation, multi-family, and commercial properties and her clients range from accidental landlords to clients with much larger portfolios.
According to Riana, the most important thing to look for in a property management company is a solid foundation. She warns against part-time property managers and one-man shops that might not have the time or resources to fully devote themselves to each client. A sign of a good company, she says, is the ability to call them and get a real person on the phone right away. At RPM, Riana prides herself on her own communication and reachability.
Landlords don’t have to be local to Arizona to take advantage of Riana’s services. Riana uses technology to keep out-of-state and even overseas clients in the loop and acts as their eyes and ears. If her clients need someone to go in-person to check on their properties, Riana is the one to do it.
Investment property is a business, Riana says, and you have to be able to trust the other people on your team so that you can use your own time wisely. Riana works to keep her strategies in line with her what her clients want. She says that the key is to find a property manager with the resources of a large company, but who treats you as an individual and helps you reach your specific goals.
Property managers like Riana spend most of their day “putting out fires,” which can be stressful for some but which Riana finds exciting and motivating. She lives by the words of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, “Discipline yourself so others won’t need to.”
5 Key Points:
- Communication is key. Good property managers bridge the communication gap between landlord and tenant. Beware of property managers who are difficult to reach on the phone or who don’t respond promptly to communications.
- Have questions for potential property managers. Have a list of questions ready when searching for a new property manager and prioritize the ones that are most important to you.
- Good property managers understand your goals. Don’t be afraid to cancel a property manager that isn’t right for you.
- Bad property managers will spend your money without you. Poor managers don’t abide by maintenance terms and will spend money without calling you first. Good property managers will always call you before spending your money.
- Good landlords recognize that real estate investing is a business. Be prepared to set aside your personal feelings, take reasonable risk and accept that incidentals happen. Even great tenants can be unpredictable and landlords have to understand that.
Favorite Athlete: Peyton Manning, former NFL quarterback
Favorite Book: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Thank you Riana for taking time out to share some great property management tips with us.
Thank you Riana for taking time out to share some great property management tips with us.
Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonline.com
JC 021: Finding the Perfect Property Manager with Riana King
Everyone on your real estate team must share the same goal
Announcer: Welcome to the, “Real Estate Locker Room Show” with John Carney. Did you know investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his guests as they explore the business of real estate and athletic competition. The goal for this show is to grant you direct access to the real estate pros that are closing profitable deals and growing their businesses. On the “Real Estate Locker Room Show” we are getting in the ring with successful investors, developers, operators, and all of the industry professionals to learn what it takes to achieve on-going success. Now it’s time to kick-off and level up with new ways to grow your real estate business.
John Carney: Welcome back everybody, to another episode of The Real Estate Locker Room Show. As always, I’m your host John Carney, coming at you today from Cleveland, Ohio. Joining me on the line in Scottsdale, Arizona, is Riana King. She is a property manager and she’s going to be talking to all the investors out there; she’s going to be addressing what you need to look out for when you’re including a property manager on your team. So if you’re a landlord, stay tuned because this is going to be a great episode.
As always, always grateful that everybody tunes in and thank you for the reviews we’re getting on iTunes. So without any further ado, we’ll kick this off by introducing Riana King, who was born and raised in Arizona, so she is a native in the Arizona market. She’s worked in the real estate game for over 14 years, specializing in many aspects of niche marketing and investment properties. For the last seven years she has used her focus to cultivate and grow one of the state’s most effective and proven property management companies, RPM, which stands for Real Property Management. Her client list ranges from accidental landlords to large portfolio owners and her property management services include residential long term rentals, short term vacation rentals, multifamily complexes and small commercial.
So, looking forward to learning a little bit more from you Riana. Welcome to the show.
Riana King: Hi. I’m excited to be here.
John Carney: Perfect. And I did get that correct, your offices are currently in Scottsdale, is that right?
Riana King: Yes, we are in Scottsdale, and then we also have a location in Tucson. So we’re covering both major metropolitan areas in Arizona.
John Carney: Awesome. Well, we like to kick this off with a — we’re in the real estate locker room, so just a quick sports question to get the conversation going. Do you have a favorite athlete?
Riana King: It would be Peyton, I think he’s a great role model and I love the way that he leads his team. So that’s my guy.
John Carney: So looking at the quarterback leading the football team and what a great competitor Peyton was. Do you see a correlation between that and what you’re doing to lead your team?
Riana King: Absolutely. I mean, you can’t have one person that is not part of the group, and isn’t brought into the bigger process. So he does a really good job of getting everyone motivated and helping them feel like they’re part of the team and understanding what the goal is, and property management you have to have that.
John Carney: I agree and believe that it doesn’t matter what product line you’re in, whether it’s single family or retail or industrial, if you’re not self-managing, the property manager is just a critical member of your team. For the people in the Phoenix and Tucson market that are lucky enough to stumble across your business, that is fantastic. Can you share with the audience what they need to be looking for in a property manager and in your niche?
Riana King: I would say you definitely want to look at what builds their company. We hear a lot of horror stories about people who are doing property management as a part time gig, whether they’re a real estate agent or just someone who decided they’re going to be a one-man shop. Those are where we get the biggest horror stories. We’ll get people who can’t get a hold of anyone, or unfortunately in our market we’ve seen just some really sad stories.
So look for those key things like what are they based off of? What’s their team look like? One of the things that we definitely pride ourselves on is communication. That’s one of the biggest fears with our clients is: can I get a hold of someone when I want to know what’s going on? And communication; can you call their office and get someone on the phone? That’s one of the biggest things.
John Carney: Yea, I would imagine that Phoenix, just being the real estate market that it is, you have a lot of opportunity there, especially over the last ten years, and ongoing with the growth and the price fluctuation. I would have to imagine you see landlords and investors coming from all over the world to the Phoenix market. Give me a little bit of background on your experience with your out of state and overseas investors.
Riana King: We have quite a large amount of experience working with clients that are out of state and out of the country, some of which who’ve never stepped foot in the United States, but realized the opportunities here. So we really hold their hand through the process and act as their eyes and ears for everything that’s needed. All of our systems are virtual; so their statements are online, we offer periodic inspections so they can actually see what the property looks like, up to every three months, if they want. And then of course, any time they want us to go look at the property we can do that as well. But everything’s very seamless for them, the portal, payment-wise, it’s all direct deposit. So the technology has really opened up so many opportunities for people who can look out afar and see an opportunity and be able to tackle it.
John Carney: So using technology for online systems and communication. As a lot of the listeners have heard, and as you know, since we’ve had a business relationship stemming back to my Australia days, in Australia, as a tenant, I was renting in Melbourne, our properties were generally inspected through some companies twice a year, and quarterly on some occasions, at the landlord’s request. So that was common practice. Is this becoming a common practice in America or is that a real point of difference that you offer your clients?
Riana King: I believe it’s starting to become more popular as there are more investors who are not necessarily in the back yard of their properties. And a lot of people now are looking at investment property as a business, and being a good entrepreneur is knowing that you have to trust other people to do things so that you can utilize your time. So with having eyes on the property whenever you want, that’s become a really big demand and I think that that’s going to continue to grow.
John Carney: So, the other side of the equation that you have to be good at as a property manager or management company, is bridging that communication between landlord and tenant, and hopefully not only retaining the tenant but increasing the rent, correct?
Riana King: Absolutely, yea. So having someone that understands your goals is going to be key. There are some management companies who will never increase rent, there are some who will increase without you knowing. We tend to operate a little more on the: what’s your goal? Some of our owners say, “Hey, you know what? This tenant has been in there for three years, they’re a great tenant, I don’t want to increase their rent, let’s just keep them. I don’t want to have to find another tenant if they decide not to.”
Having someone who has all of the tools of a large company but can still work with you on your individual goals, that’s really important and you’re not going to find that with every company that you talk to.
John Carney: I agree, when you have a number of different personalities involved in the real estate business, especially on the landlord, tenancy, management side of things, do you have any kind of good advice that you would give to someone who hasn’t found that right manager, who aren’t in Phoenix where you’re operating, but just might be in any town around the world and is really struggling to find that mix? Because I suppose I believe that you need to be able to — what you just said about understanding the goals, that’s important. But I think there’s a certain type of experience that someone should be looking for and flow with personality.
Riana King: Yea I agree and when you’re looking at property managers, have a list of questions ready to ask them. You can google, I’ve seen lists before of different questions to ask. They may not get every single question that you’re looking for the exact answer, but kind of prioritise within your thinking as to which ones are your major pain points. Where do you really want to be served, and look at those as weighted questions. And don’t be afraid to talk to a lot of different people.
Don’t be afraid to cancel your property manager because they’re not doing their job. A lot of times we’ll get people that will call us and they’ve been with someone for a lot of years and they have had a lot of bad service but thought it was just going to be too daunting to change. And they’ve suffered because of it. In our state, the lease stays with the property not with the property manager, so when someone transfers, there’s no interruption to the tenant except they have to change where they pay their rent. All of the terms are still the same when they transfer over, so there’s really no reason why you should stay with someone if you’re not getting the service that you are looking for.
John Carney: So would bad service leave clues that a new or even a seasoned landlord that might just be distracted with their life or their other business, are there some clues as to hey wait a minute, this is a red flag, I really need to be going out to the market and spending some time researching alternative property management companies?
Riana King: Absolutely. One of the biggest ones, and biggest fears that I get on a regular basis is people worried about maintenance costs. That’s a huge pain point. If your property manager is not abiding by the maintenance term in your management agreement and charging you funds without approval, I get that all the time and I just shake my head. You need to cancel them because that’s not correct, that’s not what’s in the law. There’s something wrong that they’re not talking to you before they’re spending your money. Our agreement, our standard is $350, so anything over that we will call you, absolutely every time. Anything under that we would take care of because it’s just easier that way. So that’s one of the biggest things that I would say: don’t let them spend your money without your approval if your agreement says that.
The next one is going to be communication. If you’re calling, emailing, you’re not getting responses, that’s an issue. That’s not acceptable. Our company, our rule is within 24 hours, even if we don’t have an answer for you we want to reply and say look, we’re researching this, we will get back to you. At least that peace of mind. But I would say those two things are going to be your biggest flags and your most common things that people will struggle with.
John Carney: So that really — thanks for addressing those two, sort of, maybe, items that keep a landlord that needs to be strongly considering switching over their property management to taking some action. On the flipside, wearing the property manager hat and having the ideal client walk in through the door, talk a little bit about what you look for in a landlord that just makes the relationship grow. Because real estate investing is a business, businesses exist to grow, and you want to multiply that portfolio, right?
So when you see someone walk in the door and you quickly learn that, yea this is a great client, can you maybe shed light on a few of those characteristics to maybe help people make good decisions or reevaluate their systems?
Riana King: Yea, absolutely. So with investing in real estate, you have to look at it as a business, you have to take the personal feelings out of it. You need to prepare yourself for incidentals. I get a lot of people that ask, “Does a property manager pay for the maintenance?” Well no, it’s your investment, you have to pay to take care of it. Or why doesn’t the property manager pay the rent if the tenant leaves? Or can you guarantee that the property wont’ get trashed? We can’t guarantee that stuff, we do our best to prevent it, but in the end, again, it is an investment and there is a risk with investment.
So having that basic understanding that it is an investment, there is risk involved, but someone who is prepared and knowledgeable and, look I’ve got this amount of money set up outside just in case the air conditioning breaks, or something happens. Those things are going to happen and unfortunately, we are dealing with people’s lives and lives can change. So even if we find a tenant who has got an amazing job, amazing credit score, perfect rental history, there’s no guarantee that that person’s life isn’t going to change drastically and they’ll have some issues and pay late every now and then or something. So just don’t expect perfection, we are kind of in the middle, we’re the middle man, so we are working on behalf of the owner, and I think as long as you understand that, that is very helpful for everyone involved.
John Carney: Thanks for explaining that, because I believe that property managers — probably this is the third time I might be saying this — but it’s such an important part of making it all work, and making it all profitable. And it takes just a real special personality to do it, right? I mean there’s an attention to detail, there’s a constant —
Riana King: But you have to have thick skin, very thick skin.
John Carney: Right, and I mean not everybody goes through their entire day, waking day at work, just putting out fires, and that’s how I look at the role property managers play. Building relationships is a big key part of it, but I mean there’s generally fires that need to be put out. So how do you train for that? How do you stay motivated, knowing that that’s coming at you day to day after seven years?
Riana King: You know, I enjoy it because it’s never the same day. There’s always something new and that in itself, I kind of thrive off of. But in the end, we’re helping people. It’s seeing a new tenant who is just getting their first house and they’re so excited and in love with it, you know, and knowing the owner who is really excited to have that first tenant in their property. Those highs definitely help cover the lows. And there are lows. There’s a lot of, like you said, putting out fires and you really just kind of have to have thick skin and know that it’s all relative at the end of the day and there’s always going to be something new.
John Carney: Right, never a dull moment on the property management side, or on the ownership side, I suppose, for that matter, trying to build the portfolio. Talk a little bit about your day to day in RPM and how people looking at the Phoenix Market can find you and what to expect.
Riana King: So, my main role is working with owners who are looking at our market and possibly looking at hiring our company currently. So I am, on a regular basis, putting different lists together to help pinpoint specific areas that will yield a high return, looking at comparables for properties for people who are looking to purchase, and also I’m talking to people who are accidental landlords, who are maybe being relocated and kind of walking them through the process of onboarding.
And I can be found on Facebook, through our website actually, we have two different websites based off of our markets. But those are the best places to go and get started. We actually even have a quiz that is on there that talks about: how well do you know landlord laws? It’s pretty cool. You can take it and it’ll tell you like, “Hey you’re pretty good.” Or “nope, don’t even try.”
John Carney: That sounds like a fun way to let people learn about the rules and regulations in Arizona, but also kind of if they aren’t getting the passing marks, make an easy decision that they probably are in over their head, right?
Riana King: Yea, definitely.
John Carney: Well cool. When you were growing up did you play any competitive sports? I believe that you learn a lot about team work and you work in a business that has a team in place, so could you just talk a little bit about that experience going back?
Riana King: Yea, so I was a cheerleader and I loved it and I loved being part of a group and a team and it really was exciting for me. So that was my sport.
John Carney: Harder than it looks on television, right?
Riana King: Yea, definitely. It’s not as easy as it looks, for sure.
John Carney: I have no rhythm, so I wouldn’t be able to do that. Okay cool, are you are a reader? We’re putting together a pretty significant booklist through this podcast so I ask what our guest’s favorite book is that you’re currently reading that’s generally geared towards either sports or business.
Riana King: I actually just finished reading Girl Boss. So it’s a little different from sports or real estate, but I think just the motivation in it was really good to read through, and I love just stories of successful women, it’s encouraging for me. And if you’re listening and I guess if you’re a guy you could read it too, but it’s a good read.
John Carney: So is there a quote — I see them on social media, it seems to be that motivational quotes are in quite a few feeds that I follow. Is there a quote that keeps you motivated? Doesn’t have to be something a famous person said, we get plenty of quotes from our friends and family. But is there one that kind of keeps you motivated when the fire is raging at the office?
Riana King: Absolutely. So, I heard this quote when I got out of college and it was: “discipline yourself so that others don’t have to.” Which is kind of simple but it kind of lights a fire under you whenever you’re thinking, “Oh, do I really need to get this done today?” Yea you do. Yep, get through it.
John Carney: I really like that, and when I go to write the show notes and I plug that in, I wonder if we’ll come up with a source for that, interesting.
Riana King: Yea it was just on the back of a business card I picked up somewhere and I actually still have the business card, because I had it taped at my desk for years.
John Carney: That’s pretty cool. Alright. Well is there any come from behind victory you can think of lately where — I don’t know — whether it was dealing with a landlord or whether it was dealing with a tenant, that you were able to put your years of experience, effort and focus on and solve the problem for a happy ending?
Riana King: You know, I have kind of a funny one. We have a tenant who is in a property, it’s a condo complex, and she kept telling us that she’s having rodent issues, and this is kind of bad, but we get a call — we’ve been dealing with it for a while and it ultimately came down to her responsibility, and she kept saying it’s the HOAs. Well we get a call from the HOA and she sent a dead rat to the HOAs office. So we, as a team collectively, have dealt with her and soon she will successfully be exiting our rental property and no dead rats were sent to our office.
John Carney: No dead rats sent to your office. And potentially no rodent problem, correct?
Riana King: Oh yes, definitely no rodent problem. Because after that the HOA decided they were going to help her out. It’s just kind of some of those odd stories that you hear about and it’s like, is this real? Yes those are some of the fires that we get to put out on a regular basis.
John Carney: Never a dull moment. Well thanks again for joining us today in the locker room Riana. I know that you mentioned that we can find you at the RPM website and you’re on social media, and if you’re happy we’ll post those links in the show notes so that our listeners who want to carry on the conversation with you to potentially learn a little bit more about property management advice, or have you look after their investment properties in either Phoenix or Tucson, will be able to track you down.
So there you have it folks. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice today from Riana King.
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The post-game report show notes that I just mentioned, and links and additional content related to today’s episode will be available on my website: johncarneyonline.com/podcast.
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Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun and stay in the game. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy day Riana, to have a conversation about property management with our audience. Anything else you want to say in closing?
Riana King: No, thanks for having me, and any questions, whether it’s in my market or not, I’m happy to answer for anyone.
John Carney: Awesome, thank you
© John Carney 2017
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