For someone investing in a multifamily property, it is a key question: You need someone to manage that property, but how do you find the right person or management company? You must be able to trust them to keep your best interests at heart, collect rent, maintain the place and stay in touch with you — whether you are across the country from one another or on the other side of town.

First, ask yourself what level of management you’re looking for. Will you be around and willing to be involved or not? How much are you willing to pay and what do you hope to get for that ongoing cost? Are you starting small or looking to switch your bigger operation to a management company? These factors will all influence the type of manager you should look for and thinking it through before you start interviewing will help you save time once you start interviewing.

Then, get referrals from multiple sources, check his or her references and look candidates up on the Better Business Bureau and the Real Estate Commission. Your potential manager should be licensed and it always helps if you know other people who have used the person or company as well. You can also do an online search at sites like AllPropertyManagement — some of your referrals may come up and you can see how they fare on these sites as well.

Take the time to interview your candidates and make sure the person you hire makes a good first impression, find out what their experience is and even check out their current properties and ads for yourself. Are these places clean and quiet? You can also speak to current tenants and ask what they think of the candidate. Are their complaints promptly and properly addressed? Do they anticipate renewing their leases? You can also scour social media since consumers know this is a powerful tool to express both positive and negative experiences.

Also make sure you come up with a detailed job description so your expectations are clear. Find out how the candidate handles it when tenants move out or don’t pay their rent on time and how they would fill vacancies. Make sure you understand your contract and review the manager’s contract with the tenants. Good management companies have no problem answering questions about accounting, maintenance, community relations, marketing and how to keep costs low and profits growing.

Your dream of passive income and sitting back and collecting rent from your properties can be a reality, but doing your homework and putting the time in up front to hire the best people to assist you is the key to success. Then you can relax knowing you have a partner in making sure your investment stays a profitable one.