If you only have one or maybe two rental properties you’re probably leaving the property management duties to yourself or your spouse or anyone who can take care of the property and collect the rent for you if that’s all you really need done.

Yet after the first or second rental unit, lending guidelinesfinding a property manager make it incredibly easy to buy and finance subsequent rentals. That often means a real estate investor soon finds they own multiple units and the management is getting a little out of hand and it’s time to find a good property manager. But if you’ve never needed the services of a property manager, how do you find a good one?

You might at first glance think that a good property manager is someone who thinks like you do and also owns rental properties. You know, great minds think alike, right? But that might not be as good of an idea as you think. If your tenant and his tenant both call at the same time saying the plumbing is backed up, who do you think will be taken care of first?

Another way to find a good property manager is finding out how many properties are currently being managed. Some property managers boast about how many units they manage and if they weren’t very good then why would so many investors use them? That’s a great point but at what stage are there simply too many units to manage? 10? 20? There is probably some hard data out there regarding capacity but if you’re in their offices and the phone is ringing like crazy, messages going to voicemail and the staff seems a little frantic, you might want to do more research.

Finding someone that is personable, level headed and committed to your properties and not their own is someone to begin a relationship with. If you’re not sure then spread management of your units among two or more companies and test them out. You’re not in a lifelong contract with them and you can switch when needed. Get a couple of referrals from real estate agents and other investors, meet with them during business hours at their offices and go down your list. At some point you will need a property manager and there’s no reason not to start now finding one.