I have been with Bickerstaff since they were Waddell. The name doesn’t matter, as quality of service is and always has been the lowest. I am a homeowner and I have used these companies for property management for ~seven years. The most stressful thing about moving/PCSing/deploying is knowing that I am relying on Bickerstaff to take care of my home, and this shouldn’t be the case.
A few of my biggest complaints has to do with overcharging for maintenance/repairs, and the lack of involvement and/or monitoring the company has with your property. One of my examples is a tree removal. Due to heavy rains, a tree began to lean in my yard, and the tenants asked to have it removed so that it was not dangerous. My response was, absolutely. Whether my house was bought with the intention of living in it or as an investment, I would not want to ignore problems that could lead to bigger ones.
Bickerstaff tried to charge me ~$3k to remove a tree that was no more than 25 inches in diameter and about 30 ft tall. I thought this seemed a bit absurd, so I called around. Ultimately, I had the tree cut and carried away for $500. Another example was when my latest tenants broke the glass on my smooth-top stove. In order to replace the top, someone had to identify the serial number on the stove.
Well, Bickerstaff never sent anyone to the house, instead they asked the tenants to locate it, but the tenants were unable to see it from the front. I was then informed that to save the tenants money, they were going to remove the stove, and cut my granite counter-tops so they could fit a cheaper version of the stove in the space.
It was only after I raised hell that Bickerstaff informed the tenants that I was planning on replacing it with an equivalent version, that the tenants removed the stove and found the serial number. That’s right, Bickerstaff still didn’t send anyone over to locate the number. Then, Bickerstaff went as far as letting the tenants order the replacement top, and have it installed.
Bickerstaff never got involved or went to verify the work! They simply had the tenants send pictures of it! Now, luckily for me, I’m getting ready to occupy my house again. Good, right? No. After the move-out, my wife visited the house and took pictures. Bickerstaff also did a post-inspection.
When Bickerstaff sent over a list of what they found wrong, we learned that they didn’t identify half of the problems the tenants left behind. We compared the move-out inspection with the move-in inspection (which included photos), and it was obvious that many damages were not listed. Now I’m having to argue with them just to justify getting the proper funds to fix everything they didn’t identify (broken light fixtures, broken concrete picnic table, missing doorknobs, burns on counter tops, ruined carpet, etc.).
I’ve been back and forth with them all week and they are still refusing to withhold enough of the security deposit to replace/repair the damaged items. I have three separate quotes from businesses in Columbus and the average of the quotes (for one of the damaged items) is $150 more than what Bickerstaff trying to give me. Now I understand that as a reader, you know there are two sides to every story.
All I can do is offer you the most accurate representation of what I have experienced as a homeowner. If you are looking to be a renter, I can say that a lot of the time it is up to the homeowner to approve repairs. I cannot speak for every homeowner, but after I finally got Bickerstaff to be proactive and notify me of needed repairs in the first place, I typically approve repairs within an hour of Bickerstaff notifying me.
So if you are lucky enough to have a homeowner that raises enough hell to ensure they are notified of damages in a timely manner, and the homeowner actually approves repairs, you’re likely to have an okay experience with Bickerstaff. I will say, however, shop around. There has got to be better property management companies in the area. I’m moving back into my property.
Knowing what I know now, I will sell my house (with a different realty company) before I hire Bickerstaff to manage it again. If I choose to make Columbus my home for good, I may open up my own property management company. It wouldn’t take half of the effort to treat renters and property owners better than the alternative