After five months of sitting vacant, I have fired my property management company and moved to a new one. Hopefully, this one will be able to get some tenants for me.
The contract I had with the old management company specifies I have to give them 30 days notice to terminate the contract, but I think they will waive that since they aren't getting paid anything while it is empty. The new management company is allowing me to just start with a leasing contract with them and I won't have to sign a management contract until they actually get someone in the place. I've instructed the old management to turn over all keys and deposits to the new management.
I must say, I am disappointed in the old management company. I spoke with them almost three weeks ago about lowering the rent to $750 a month, yet when I checked their website today, the rent was still listed at $800. The link to show a map of the property does not work and there are no pictures of the property. I should have fired them three months ago. Anyway...
I did find out some more info about the property, thanks to a fresh set of eyes viewing the property. The new management company sent someone out to look at the house. Their report is a tad disconcerting, but it does perhaps explain the problems faced by the old PM and highlights their shortcomings as well. The property is in gang land. I forget the exact name of the gang, but it is a latino gang. There is no doubt it is in gang land because the gang has spray painted their gang sign on my porch! (Why did the old PM not know about this or tell me?) It's not entirely a bad outlook though. This is just a little island of gang land and there are very nice homes and neighborhoods a few blocks away on either side. The PM thinks if I can hold on to the property for 5 years or so, the good areas will take over the bad and I'll then be in a good position. The question is can I hold out until then?
So the new PM has a marketing plan. The old PM has a sign up in the yard, but that is probably all the advertising they have done, apart from listing it on their website. The new PM is going to place ads in the Latino newspapers and local markets, written in spanish. They are also going to post flyers at the nearby hospital, which employs a large blue collar workforce and is within walking distance. They will advertise that they will not run credit checks or charge applicants an application fee (although they will still run criminal checks). They will also send over their maintenance guy for about 1 hour a day for a couple of days, so he gets some exposure and people see someone is there working on it. Painting over the graffiti could be done in less than a day, but by spreading it out several days, he has more visibility.
If the property is still not rented in 30 to 45 days, it will be put on the market and will most likely have to be sold for a loss.
The new PM is quite a talker, but based on the conversations I've had with her, I think she knows the area much better than the old PM and is much more savvy at marketing properties. I am mildly hopeful the place will rent soon.