What landlords need to worry about

Being a residential property manager is a satisfying career on many levels. However there will always be challenges to face, and usually on a daily basis! No surprise here as you must not only deal with the property itself but also with several different groups of people. Here is a summary of some of the challenges faced by a residential management service, and suggestions on how to handle them.

  • Ever Increasing Operating Costs: Directly, those utility bills just keep on climbing. Indirectly, you’re paying more for light bulbs, cleaning supplies, and fuel for lawn mowers and snow blowers – just to name a few. A strong maintenance plan/energy saving program for your heating and cooling systems helps – so does purchasing supplies and equipment in bulk.
  • Finding/Keeping Effective Staff: It’s one thing to find and train good customer-focused staff. It’s quite another to keep them motivated, and keep them, period! Start with good, personalized training and a competitive wage. Remind them regularly how they’re an important part of your team. Ask for and utilize their input in daily challenges, and note their contributions in your monthly/quarterly internal newsletter. Find special perks, like concert tickets, or gift cards, to reward exceptional work, consistently being on time, or putting in extra effort.
  • Retaining Good Tenants: Once you’ve found good tenants, hang on to them! Experts say it costs 5-8 times more money to find a new tenant, than to retain one. Focus on their comfort. Make sure the air conditioning works in the summer, and the furnace kicks out heat in the winter. Ensure all halls and stairways are clean – let them walk out onto a property regularly mowed, trimmed, and snow-ploughed property so they feel proud and secure. Don’t limit a building’s telephone or television hookups to a single provider.

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  • Unexpected Repairs: You never know when a pipe will rupture or a furnace will break down, so it’s best to be prepared. For these situations, you should establish a reserve account into which you put some money every month that can add up to cover costly emergency situations that can later be reimbursed by property owners. Regularly scheduling preventative maintenance can help eliminate a lot of unwelcome surprises.
  • Efficient Bookkeeping: There’s nothing worse than finding out your books are out of order, or that your accounting software wasn’t set up correctly. This nightmare includes expensive ‘end of the year’ reconciliation charges from your accountant, and the possibility of unexpected taxes to pay. Have a professional set up your software (don’t waste time doing books by hand!) and make sure to have them update it every year.
  • Resident Complaints: You don’t just manage property, you manage people, and complaints come with the territory. Lay out a detailed plan on how to handle these complaints, for the people at your residential management service. First, try to deal with it over the phone. If more attention is needed, have the tenant submit the complaint in writing. This could be done by email. However, if the resident has to come to the office to fill out a complaint sheet, you’ll quickly weed out the real problems from people who just whine and nit-pick. The bottom line here is to be up front and address complaints quickly. This way they won’t escalate and possibly become legal problems.

As you can imagine, there’s rarely a dull moment in the life of a person who chooses a career in residential management service! It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. But for the right people, it is both exciting and fulfilling. If you don’t feel your residential property management company is doing what it should be doing to safeguard your investment, then look around for another one. Your property deserves the best management available to enable your investment to grow!

Source: LatitudeLimited


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