Jul 27, 2020
It’s essential that you learn how to manage property, whether you own one or are just looking to make money through real estate. It's not just about fixing things when they break. The process can be a bit difficult, especially for first-time homeowners who are forced to wear many hats.
Property management either makes or breaks your chances of success in the real estate business. It involves handling many jobs like tenant issues, negotiating tenant contracts, garbage disposal, unit maintenance, and janitorial services. With effective property management, everything runs smoothly.
Here are the key ways to make sure you manage your property successfully:
- Know Your Home
Knowing your home well should be the first step after purchasing it. You should embark on knowing your property well, as well as all the systems that your home comprises of. Each of the systems in your home has an individual service interval and lifespan.
The last thing you want to happen is one of your systems failing after you've leased out your property because of lack of service and maintenance.
Several online services allow homeowners and property managers to track their home systems effectively and take care of preventive maintenance. Some property management companies have even created their proprietary system for their properties.
- Consistent Communication
Communication of policies and protocols efficiently to your tenants goes a long way in preventing miscommunication and other potential problems. Communication skills are a must-have in property management.
This skill can make or break your real estate business and relationship with your tenants.
Make sure that all the policies are clearly written and provided before leasing. Also, property managers need to have protocols in place for different situations. For example, if a renter breaches parking policy, the property manager should know exactly what to do.
Also, if you’re going to outsource, make sure you know how the property management communicates. For example, if you prefer communicating via email, but the company sends text messages, you won't enjoy a strong relationship built on clear and concise communication.
[caption id="attachment_2486" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Businessman as a property agent or investor calculating growth of return on investment in real estate before signing contract at the office[/caption]
- Proper Documentation
Proper documentation is also essential in property management, and this should be practiced by all property managers in their interaction with tenants.
Documenting everything you do is one step to improving your efficiency. Don't simply write a general statement of what you do, but include how much time you take for each project. This includes time spent setting up a listing, answering client calls, showing tenants around, and communicating with contractors.
It can be a pain initially, but once you've done it consistently for a while, you begin seeing the results.
Things always wear and tear, and that's a normal part of life. It’s your job to make sure that you resolve all maintenance and inspection issues according to the lease terms. For example, if the contract states that you're responsible for plumbing maintenance, then you'll have to get a plumber when your tenant's sink starts to leak.
Items that you should inspect regularly include:
- HVAC system
- Fire and smoke alarms
- Emergency door access
- Roof and downspouts
- Water lines for the laundry areas
- Windows for cracks and sealant issues
Another rule of thumb is to occasionally walk around the property for an inspection to detect any potential issues.
Moreover, even the most experienced professionals may miss some minor details. Because it can be difficult to see anything off in your work, it’s advisable to get a secondary inspector. You can have them overlook things and test all the systems before a tenant arrives. This ensures that everything is perfect.
- Know The Relevant Landlord-Tenant Laws
All tenants and property owners turn to their property managers when they have real estate-related queries. Thus, every property manager must have in-depth knowledge of real estate and tenant legislation.
Imagine the kind of disappointment your tenants would feel if you can't answer their inquires confidently. Also, laws and legislation are dynamic. They change from time to time. It's up to you to remain up-to-date on the legal and regulatory aspects of property management.
Remember that, sometimes, it’s okay not to know the answer. As a good property manager, you should look for the information and come back with an answer. You can check https://www.rooftoprentals.net to know more about property management services that can help you in this regard.
- Hire A Skilled Real Estate Agent
A realtor's knowledge of their property is often limited. Some know the basics, and others know nothing.
This is why it's important to work with a knowledgeable property manager. Your expertise might be limited even if you can offer property management tips. However, an agent who understands the business will help you, especially in the early stages of your real estate business. These stages include finding, buying, and managing your rental property.
- Outsource Tedious Tasks
Sometimes, it’s good to outsource repetitive tasks that take too much of your time. For example, you can hire a bookkeeper when paperwork becomes overwhelming. Also, you can decide to outsource certain repairs to be handled by specialists.
There are two strategies to outsourcing your tedious tasks. They are:
- Half outsource, half do-it-yourself - In this approach, you handle the tasks you’re confident and experienced in. You then outsource those you feel not confident in or don't have the desire to manage. For example, you can find a lawyer to handle your legal issues. This could include drafting your lease agreement so that it complies your state's laws and regulations. It could also involve handling your tenants’ evictions.
- Completely outsource all management - This is the best strategy when you own a property but have no desire to be a hands-on manager. This strategy involves hiring a property management company or property manager to handle tasks such as tenant screening, rent collection, maintenance and repairs, and tenant eviction. This strategy is best if you live far from your property, own many rental units or if you have diversified investments.
- Lease Terms
A lease agreement refers to a vital document in property management. Note that a lease agreement is a legally binding document between you and the tenant. It should be exhaustive in its contents.
A lease agreement should include property policies, rules, expectations, and policies to resolve disputes. Though there are many generic lease agreement templates online, you should modify yours to meet your property’s specific needs.
If you choose to outsource your property management to a management firm, ensure that you have read and understood their lease agreement. You should be sure that it meets your needs.
However, if you plan to do everything by yourself, have a lawyer go through your lease agreement. Also, use similar lease agreements with all your tenants. The only information that should change are the specific details such as the tenant's name, house number, date of lease commencement and termination, and monthly rent, among others.
Additionally, even when you use similar lease agreement for your clients, ensure it’s conversant with the relevant laws and legislations. You and your tenant should each keep a duplicate of the lease agreement for the entire lease term.
- Use Property Management Technology
In the modern world, all businesses regardless of industry leverage on technology. Luckily, you are spoilt for choice as there are many property management tools and software options. These software options allow you to automate your administrative tasks and save time and money.
With a good property management system, you can optimize your online visibility for your listed properties. This helps you market your vacant property and attract tenants.
You can create a checklist of preferences to settle on the best property management software. Some of its features can include:
- Financial record management tools
- Property marketing tools
- Rent tracking tools
- Tenant vetting tools
- Lease management
- Record-keeping tools
With such a combination of tools, you can accomplish most of the responsibilities that come with property management. Also, make sure that the software you choose is suited for the type of property you own. For example, if you own vacation rentals, you should find software for vacation rentals.
Some of the software also allow you to communicate with your tenants via emails, text messages, public announcements, and the like.
- Try Not To Involve Your Lawyers Every Time
Some minor issues and disputes can be addressed by directly meeting the tenants. You can follow all protocols first before involving your lawyers.
Some of the issues that can be solved informally include late rent payments, noise violations, and not being able to access the property for maintenance repairs. Also, you don't have to threaten eviction all the time.
Your rental property business may fall in shambles if not managed properly. This is why you need to implement various strategies to make sure you're managing your property well. Some tips for managing your property well include knowing your property inside-out, communicating efficiently with your tenants, and proper bookkeeping.
Also, you can outsource some or all of your property management functions. This allows you to save time as you focus on what you're more confident on doing. Come up with clear and concise lease terms that contain everything about your property. Make sure you also understand federal and state tenant-landlord laws.