When your car breaks down, you don’t take it to a body shop, you take it to a mechanic. Sure, both kinds of businesses deal with cars, but they have very different functions and require a very different kind of expertise. The same thing is true when you’re choosing a property management agent: both REALTORS® and property managers help people who own homes, but their jobs are incredibly different.

A good property manager is probably also a REALTOR®, but a REALTOR® may not be a great property manager. Why? Many of the same skills that make for a good real estate agent also make for a good property manager: a strong knowledge of the real estate market, an understanding of comparables and marketing. However, a property manager needs a much more specialized subset of knowledge besides general real estate know-how: an understanding of applicable rental laws, a strong network of maintenance contractors, processes in place for rent collection and eviction and a dozen other subsets that someone who specializes exclusively in home sales and purchases might not know.

When it comes to choosing a property manager for your home, make sure you’re asking the right questions: does the agent have experience as a property manager, or are they just jumping on the bandwagon? How do they handle emergency maintenance requests, eviction, new tenant acquisition, rental contracts? Make sure they have experience you need to price, rent and maintain your rental property.