Reader Question: Best Property Management Companies?

A reader wrote in with the following question about Seattle-area property management companies for the rental of their home:

I’ve been able to save up a sizeable down payment to buy a bigger home, and rather than selling my current home I plan to rent it out. Since I have no interest in being a landlord and will happily pay someone else to deal with those issues for me, that means I’m in the market for a good property management company.

Do you know anything about the reputations of local property management companies? My own research tells me that Windermere sucks, and all the others are mean to tenants but generally good for landlords.

Unfortunately I don’t have any experience yet with renting out a home, so I have no basis to make recommendations on property management companies. However, there’s a good chance that some of the readers here do, so I’d like to open the question to you: What property management companies have you had experiences with, good or bad? Is there one that you would particularly recommend?

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Erik says:

    I used ACER NW. I paid them to find a renter for a place in Everett.

    The agent working my case and looking for a renter left the company during the process of finding a tenant. The new agent found some navy guys that trashed the place and paid late frequently. All these rental companies usually do is check credit and don’t read into other things. I felt like she wasn’t really looking out for my best interests. I found the renters the next round and they were much better.

    I recommend looking yourself. Nobody really cares as much about the renters as the person renting. In hind site, I would have done it myself and saved the first months rents ($1200).

    Acer was knowledgeable about how to evict these clients for a fee of course. I would use them if I ran into a problem.

  2. 2

    RE: Erik @ 1

    Yes Erik

    I’d add you can get a friend to serve the eviction papers with affidavit to save some eviction costs; but bear in mind too….once that process starts the tennant knows they have like 60-90 days left in the unit and let’s put it this way, my friend, a recovered landlord that won’t do it anymore….had water left on, appliances left on/destroyed, animals/visitors destroyng the rugs/place and rotten fish in the fridge to greet him when he finally got the vermin out. One tennant was cooking chemicals [crack?] and contaminating the place too….

    He makes more money leaving it empty.

  3. 3

    I know folks who are very happy with the property management services of Verra Terra in Mill Creek.

  4. 4
    David Losh says:

    Erik is right, if you only have one unit to rent it is best to that yourself.

    Run credit, and back ground checks, but also meet the people, and check references. Good renters would like to know you also.

    Remember though that this is your business, and these are your renters. Be wary, but in most cases you can trust your instincts.

  5. 5
    Toddius says:

    I agree with Erik and David. I have heard lots of stories of management companies not really caring about your investment. Also, being a landlord for a SFR will likely be less work than for an apartment where you would expect annual turn over. With a house you will typically have a family move in and they will stay for a while.

    The Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound ( has a lot of excellent resources including an excellent lease that is reviewed and updated regularly. Membership costs about $100/yr. They also have all the tenant screening services you need and are very knowledgeable folks. I am very happy with my decision to start using them. They’ve make being a landlord easier for me.

    If you want to save yourself work then hire someone to take care of the yard and find a handyman you trust before something breaks and you are desperate.

  6. 6
    Peter Witting says:

    Windermere Property Management depends on the office and individual property manager. Speaking as both a renter and a landlord, the WRE in Everett was not-so-good, but the Roosevelt office has served me well for 5 years.

  7. 7
    ARDELL says:

    It really depends where the house is.

    The going rate is one month rent for finding the tenant and 10% of the monthly rent for ongoing management. Saving the up front one month rent is usually easy to do and a good idea, depending on where the house is. BUT saving any portion of the 10% per month for management has led to some pretty bad experiences, from what I hear.

    If the rent is $1,200 a month and the monthly is $120 to the property manager, it’s not worth the $20 you save to get a lesser manager or company. Almost every real disaster I have heard has involved this penny-wise and pound-foolish decision.

    By all means find your own tenant via Craig’s list to save $1,200 up front. By all means be your own property manager to save $1,500 a year. But never take on an 8% per month vs 10% per month operation to save $20 bucks a month. Often does not work out well.

  8. 8

    I’ve been happy with Apple Property Management, located on the southeast corner of 15th and Dravus in Interbay. My family’s been using them since the 1980s.

  9. 9
    jonathan says:

    Larissa at North Pacific Properties is the BEST! I’ve been with her for years and wouldn’t trust anyone else.

    contact her here:

  10. 10
    Henry Hall says:

    It’s best to shop around. Here’s a great site that let’s property managers make proposals to you. And its free:

    (Shameless plug. It’s my company and we’re the largest matching service on the web with over 1 million users.)

    Here’s out blog as well:

  11. 11
    ray pepper says:

    Rent it Yourself and use Land Lord Solutions for everything else. Simply nobody better: Jim Henderson 866 523 8428 or 253 396 0010

  12. 12
    Rob says:

    One way I’d recommend to find a reputable property manager is through the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) at NARPM is the national industry group that emphasized education, certifications and a code of member ethics; managers who are members of NARPM are well qualified with expertise and knowledge. Their site allows you to dearh for member managers by city/state.


  13. 13

    […] reader who wrote in a couple months ago with the question about finding the best property management firm in the Seattle area wrote back with detailed notes from their selection process and who they ended […]

  14. 14
    JR says:

    I’m giving your website a shot. Kudos on creating your own company and filling this niche. Hopefully I’ll get a response to my quote request from the four property management companies that matched my criteria.

    RE: Henry Hall @ 10

  15. 15
    Andrew says:

    Using the comments above, I found a nice listing of seattle property management companies that will “compete” for your business. Might be worth a peak if you’re still looking.

  16. 16
    Jerry says:

    What does it mean if a property management company in Bellevue has an F BBB rating?
    It says “unaccredited” they also have a one star Yelp rating (all complaints not only from renters but homeowners) not good…
    How does a company like this stay in business in a competitive market?
    I have an out of state friend who owns a home in Seattle and just wants the house to be maintained and looked after. They’ve already had nightmare experiences with former property management companies who did not do what they promised and failed to communicate with tenants. I suggested renting directly themselves but much more difficult from out of state.
    Suggestions? :)

  17. 17
    Bill says:

    “What does it mean if a property management company in Bellevue has an F BBB rating?
    It says “unaccredited” they also have a one star Yelp rating (all complaints not only from renters but homeowners)”

    It means look elsewhere! Is this by chance Acacia P.M formerly of Bellevue you are referring too?
    I would really caution that they are a very small company with a not so flattering
    reputation of extremely poor communication and maintenance. If you don’t care about your home and just want a monthly rent check at the cheapest cost, I will simply say this “you get what you pay for” In the long run you may well regret the decision. Do your due diligence and run background checks on these companies if you can. Keep in mind Google,Zillow,Yelp reviews can be deceiving as it is very easy to fake multiple posts to make your company look good to the public. I personally would not trust a non accredited property management service with a 10 foot pole. Companies like that one just make the whole property management service industry look shady and bad as a whole and that’s a shame because there are ones out there who would gladly take their undeserved business and treat both homeowners and renters with equal respect. Good luck :)

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