Tips for Managing Your Property
Being a property manager means you have multiple job functions, titles, and duties that range from tenant issues to contract negotiations and repair services. If this is your first investment property you know managing your property is essential to keep everything running smoothly for renters and landlords. However, small mistakes can add up. Ultimately, the goal when managing your property is to ensure the tenants are happy.
Tenants pay money to live in a place where they’re not required to do any maintenance themselves. However, tenants do not want to wait for repairs, and they shouldn’t have to. While property managers always try to do their best to make everyone happy, they can stretch themselves too thin. Here are tips for managing your property.
You should have a policy for everything, from tenant screening to how you deal with maintenance requests. Setting policies and protocols will eliminate miscommunication and help tenants understand what they can expect. All of the property rules should be in writing and provided during the lease signing. Depending on your policies, you may have tenants sign other contracts related to the property. For example, if your property has a pool, you can ask your tenants to sign rules about how to use the pool.
Policies aren’t just rules for tenants, though. Property managers must have protocols to help set expectations for tenants. You should let your tenants know about your protocols for handling lease violations, maintenance requests, and other problems that may arise. For example, if someone violates the parking policy, then you must follow through with your outlined policy, which may involve issuing a warning or making the tenant pay a fee before having the vehicle towed.
Hire a Bookkeeper
Property managers have a lot to do, so it can be difficult to keep up with the books if you have multiple units and tenants you have to manage. First, however, you must have organized financial records of rents, expenses, payroll, and other essential services to understand the money that’s coming in versus going out. Hiring a bookkeeper is the easiest way to keep your books and finances organized, allowing you to focus on keeping tenants happy so they’ll sign another year-long lease.
Perform Routine Inspections
Regular inspections will ensure the safety of your rentals, even though they can be an inconvenience for renters. Luckily, most renters will be willing to put up with a yearly inspection to ensure everything in the apartment is in proper working order, including:
Windows and Doors
You must inform your tenants that you’ll be entering their homes when performing routine maintenance. If your tenants have pets, notifying them ahead of time will give them time to put their pets in a different room to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. If possible, you can ask your tenants to schedule their routine inspections instead of showing up and entering their homes.
Maintain Office Hours
Whether you’re managing a single rental or an entire apartment complex, you should always have office hours that allow your tenants to come to talk to you about problems. Of course, office hours are for non-emergency situations, including rent disputes, questions and concerns, and submitting maintenance requests. Maintaining your office hours is important because you must be available for tenants throughout the day. In addition, regular office hours make it easy for new renters to visit the property and inquire about availability, so you must always have someone in the office during the day.
Have an Emergency Number
Some tenant problems can’t wait until morning to be solved. For example, someone’s in-unit washing machine could break and flood their apartment and the one below theirs, making unhappy tenants and creating an environment for mold growth that can damage your property. For this reason and many more, you should always have an emergency phone number for tenants to call after-hours for emergencies. Additionally, if you own commercial property, it is smart to invest in an injury lawyer in case an employee gets an injury while on the property.
You have so much to do during a regular day that it can seem easier to put certain parts of your job off. However, procrastinating on tenant problems, maintenance, and talking to prospective tenants means you could lose money. Your tenants should be your main concern, so you must be available any time there’s a problem. Of course, large apartment complexes will have many problems in a single day. If you get multiple maintenance requests daily, consider hiring a maintenance team to ensure these problems can be addressed promptly.
Your tenants are paying you rent, so they expect you to follow the lease just as you expect them to follow it. For example, if your rental agreement states that tenants have in-unit washers and dryers, those washers and dryers need to work. Of course, renters expect some delay in fixing their appliances, but they should not be expected to wait more than two days for you to fix an appliance outlined in the lease.
Have a Long-Term Strategy
Property managers need a long-term strategy for attracting new tenants and keeping their best renters. Of course, you can’t expect to keep them all, but many renters will be willing to stay in their rentals for many years as long as you can keep them satisfied. While you should reply to issues on time, there are other ways you can keep your best tenants, including reducing the amount you increase rent. While rent goes up yearly, you can keep your tenants by only increasing their rent a small amount and making unoccupied units more expensive.
Additionally, you can attract new tenants by making your rental stand out. For example, you can allow small pets in apartments to help attract pet parents and ask them to pay a non-refundable pet deposit to increase your revenue while attracting a wider range of renters.
Managing a property comes with many responsibilities, but the most important is addressing renter concerns and ensuring your current tenants are happy. Even if your tenants don’t plan on staying in your rental for many years, you still want them to be happy in hopes they’ll leave a review on your website or refer a friend to live there.
Article Written By Ellie Williams
Ellie Williams holds a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality with a minor in Marketing from Chico State University. She enjoys doing freelance writing on general business, wellness, and lifestyle tips. During her free time she enjoys catching up with friends and family or attending local events.
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Tips for Managing Your Property | Property Management | OutFactors – Dallas Fort Worth, Texas