Your property manager is your face to all your tenants, and whether that’s for better or for worse comes back to how well you’re up to speed with him or her.
The right property manager will keep tenants happy while keeping expenses down and staying on top of repairs, while the wrong one will cost you in one or more of those categories. In fact, in it’s 2016 American Renters Survey, Buildium found that of those tenants who don’t like their property manager, 58 percent say they are extremely or very likely to move in the next year.
While you can’t follow your property manager around all day every day, here’s what you can do to make sure he or she is on top of the game.
Get monthly reports
Your property manager should be able to give you comprehensive reports once a month that essentially provide a current snapshot of your property when combined.
Reported items should include rents received, money spent, money owed, tenant complaints, vacancy rate, complaint resolution details, and other information related to your property’s physical and financial condition. Gathering the information for the reports regularly will help your manager stay on the ball, and the information provided will keep you updated on your investment.
Perform periodic inspections
Your manager should carry out regular property inspections and provide you with a copy of the associated reports, but you should also do one yourself occasionally. If you’re relying solely on your manager’s inspections, you could be unaware of something seriously wrong in your property.
At the very least, inspect common areas, building exteriors, vacant units and any area of the building besides occupied tenant units on occasion. Don’t tell your manager you’re coming beforehand as you want to see your property as your tenants normally do. Tenant-occupied unit inspections do require a heads-up, as local and state laws likely require you to give tenants advance notice.
While you’re there, speak to your tenants. They can be a valuable source of information on areas where your manager is falling short.
Keep communication open
Strong, solid communication is the foundation upon which a firm owner-manager relationship is built. A manager who feels as if he or she can come to you with ideas or problems will perform much better than one who believes you don’t care. Make yourself available to your property manager as needed, and take their suggestions and concerns seriously should any arise.
All of these suggestions will help you monitor your property manager’s performance, but you should consider an immediate change if you notice some obvious red flags. If tenants are leaving in droves or you’ve had major repairs due to your manager’s inattention, it’s time to cut your losses and find someone else.
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