Property management sounds easy to some people because they don’t understand the amount of work that goes into it. Good property managers make it look easy because the same competency and calm manner that helps them be a success at their job also make them seem to be relaxed.
In fact, property managers balance a wide array of tasks and thus, need a wide-ranging set of skills to be effective in their line of work. They have to be effective communicators, good at mediation, and able to whip out a toolkit and fix an issue. In the same way that the toolkit must be able to handle a wide array of situations, property managers must also be primed to react appropriately to the situation at hand.
This is mainly because property management involves a lot of interacting with people. Some may hear the word ‘property’ and think this is a good job for doing fun maintenance tasks and not having to be a people person. But actually, being a people person is one of the innate skills that can make you very good in this field.
If you are in property management and seeking to improve your abilities in the job, there are some key areas where you can easily improve processes. Some may seem intuitive when you read them, but this is because it is all about taking your natural organizational ability and applying it in creative ways to the job.
Forms for Everything
Make a form for every common inquiry and issue that you face during a normal work week/month. This will make it easier to streamline responses and solutions. It will also greatly free up you and your staff from having to personally interview each person. The people who require services will also appreciate being able to submit a form instead of having to make time to come in person and wait in a long queue.
If you can give access to the forms online and accept them via email, you will be able to manage the requests even better. This will make it easier for staff to put the tasks in order and send out repairmen in an order that allows them to be the most efficient.
Always stay in communication with a tenant who has an issue. The issue may not feel like a big issue to you, but that is because you do not have to live with it. Empathy and communication are key to ensuring that the tenant stays calm and helpful throughout the process of finding the right people to fix the issue.
Rules and guidelines and expectations change all the time. The way properties were managed even just ten years ago was very different from the way they are managed now. Ensuring that you keep up to date with information about regulations, rent rates, and trends in renting and subletting will help you to anticipate the market.
In many ways, the pandemic-led housing crisis has made it clear that property management is not a business where one can maintain a clinical distance at all times. You must learn to use your judgment and experience to make decisions on tenants who may be going through a hard time. If they have always been reliable to date, then they are well worth taking a chance on.
If not, then there are other ways to deal with them. The freedoms allowed to you as the property manager in dealing with difficult tenants is a constantly evolving area of regulations as well. Keeping up with changes gives you more tools in your arsenal to deal with difficult situations and reduce drama in your workplace.
Maintain a Balance
Disputes between the landlord and the tenants are going to happen. People will clash over any number of issues and you will find yourself in the middle. Worse still, is if you are managing your own properties and find that your relationship with a tenant is getting increasingly contentious. It is very important that you stay calm in both scenarios. You have a job to do and while your first instinct may be to prioritize the landlord or yourself, you need to realize that balance is key in resolving these situations. Your tenant is relying on you for a very necessary need of human existence.
A good property manager will seek to resolve the issue by seeking compromise. If the tenant is a good one that you want to keep on, you may even need to negotiate a resolution that puts you at a slight disadvantage. This is still a worthy way to handle the situation because, in the long term, you gain by keeping a reliable tenant in your property. It is not easy to find new tenants who can be relied on to never miss a payment.
The real estate field is evolving, and the way the economy is changing, your business is going to see some changes. This means that staying profitable is going to require you to seek new ways of doing business or refine the most effective parts of your business to take the forefront. Technology and digital solutions can make management processes easier. It can do the work of streamlining and leave you more time to focus on creating value for your tenants.
If you find that your tenants are very responsive to your customers’ service team, or always report satisfaction with a particular contractor, then you may want to ensure that these services are available consistently. Give the customer service staff more leeway and creativity in dealing with tenants and following up on inquiries and requests. Offer the popular contractor a better long-term agreement so you can ensure that the same great service will always be available and on-call for your tenants. It is this type of adaptive and strategic management that will not only make your business better but also make you successful in a changing economic landscape.