The work of a property manager is never finished. There are always issues to be resolved, problems that need fixing, and regular maintenance never gets any less regular.
We’ve compiled a list of five important strategies that property managers need to get under their belt in order to do their job efficiently. But first, let’s answer the question – what are a property manager’s responsibilities anyway?
What exactly does a property manager do?
A property manager takes on a huge amount of responsibility.
They market vacant properties. They post the ads, keep them updated and answer prospective tenants. Having an ad posted means more work than first meets the eye.
Tenant screening. A property manager makes sure the tenants moving into a property have a good background and a sound record of timely payments. This is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of property management. A good tenant screening process ensures that no bad eggs get access to the property which can save everyone involved a lot of headaches in the long run.
A property management professional makes sure the lease agreements are properly spelled out and signed by every tenant. This is the legal guarantee that everything will be in order. On the flipside, if legal issues do arise, it is the property manager’s duty to take care of them.
A property manager collects deposits and rent payments. Without this step, everything would be kind of pointless.
Any request or maintenance issue a tenant has – it’s the property manager’s job to jump straight on it and resolve it. A happy tenant is a tenant that pays their rent on time, so this is also a crucial part of the job.
Every once in a while, a property inspection is in order. The property manager pays the tenants a visit and makes sure that the property is not being misused and having its value depreciated. This may be the most stressful part of the job, seeing as though no one likes to snoop around and no one likes to be snooped around on. It’s a tough racket, but it needs to be done.
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of property manager tasks. Here are a few tactics to make sure you stay on top of the workload as a property manager.
Being organized is key
There are a million different bits of information a property manager needs to keep track of. A property maintenance schedule.
A badly organized property manager means delayed maintenance, missed payments, and disgruntled tenants. It just makes being a property manager ten times more difficult than it should be.
Being digitally literate helps the cause very much. Spreadsheets, folders, documents, and lists can all be maintained and automated. An online calendar can be your robot secretary. Of course, you can choose to stay offline if you prefer. Just make sure you stay neat and carry your notebook with you at all times.
Another surefire way to become immune to the task build up is hiring a property manager virtual assistant. The 21st century carries with it many benefits, and outsourcing your assistant is an excellent way to get professional help with your job at a fraction of the price.
By being organized, you can make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that hang over your head.
Make use of modern technology solutions
Do you have a prospective tenant calling in from far away that wants to rent but can’t come see the property in person? A three-sixty virtual tour of the premises can mean the difference between a signed tenant and a missed opportunity.
Are you having trouble keeping track of rent payments? Online billing systems are a game changer. You don’t have to collect any checks. You don’t have to send out truancy notices. The software does all the grunt work, and you will have one less thing to worry about.
Expect the unexpected
Property management is never smooth sailing. It deals with people and the roofs over their heads, and if anything were to go wrong – it’s the property manager’s job to take care of it.
You wouldn’t believe the stories some property managers have. From shifty tenants that dodge payments to vermin infested properties laid to waste by miscare. There’s no end to the shenanigans people can pull and the unexpected circumstances some people find themselves in.
A good property manager is never caught off guard – they know that anything can happen.
Tenant screening is key
As we’ve mentioned before, a good tenant screening process will save you a great deal of stress in the long run. Here are a few tips to manage this part of the job effectively.
- Make the candidate fill out a rental application
Any new tenant should be made to fill out a form that has all pertinent details that a property manager needs to make a sound judgment. You can find residential rental application templates online. Find one, get to know it and always use it.
- Follow the FHA (Fair Housing Act)
The FHA protects tenants from discrimination based on religion, race or other traits. No one should be denied housing based on the color of their skin.
In order to circumvent potentially devastating discrimination charges, make sure to study the FHA thoroughly and know it like the back of your hand.
- Get background information
You can do a credit check on your prospective tenant. Call up their previous landlord. Ask for character references. Above all, make sure you get a valid proof of identity and meet the tenant in person before you make any deal final.
A thorough and effective background check is essential to keeping a well managed property.
Communication and openness are essential
Before you have a tenant sign a lease, make sure they are acquainted with the property rules. The pet code, the party restrictions, the hygiene requirements, everything you find important.
Write those out on a piece of paper and include it in the documentation.
When dealing with an existing tenant, make sure you hear out their complaints, be attentive to their needs, and try to make their time spent on the property you manage as comfortable as possible.
At the same time, don’t ever be afraid to voice your own concerns – be open and honest to your tenants about what you dislike, and especially what you like about them and the way they treat your property.
A property manager has a lot on their plate. From boring but necessary desk work to intricate intrapersonal relationship navigation.
Use the technology for desk work, or hire a virtual assistant. Use your empathy and intuition when dealing with people.