Is Your Property Manager Doing the Most?
Whether you own a single rental unit or an expansive real estate portfolio, there’s a reason most property owners opt to hire a dedicated agency to maintain their properties and deal with tenants. Property management is hard work, requiring resources, constant attention, and an ability and willingness to adapt. As the number of renters increases nationwide and the rental economy grows, the market for property management grows with it. In such a crowded marketplace, a property owner may find the number of options intimidating. How can you determine which property manager is right for you? A great property manager will display these qualities:
In renting and maintaining properties, detail is key. This applies to all aspects of the profession, client- and tenant-facing alike. Management staff should be able to listen, observe, and react appropriately to any situation. They should be able to assess a problem and quickly determine what must be done, how soon, and who to call. It’s not just about precision — it’s about cost effectiveness. While it’s useful to look at the big picture, sometimes the little things are the difference between one hundred dollars and one thousand, and when attention to detail is part of management philosophy, it becomes common practice for the entire staff.
Questions to ask yourself:
Does your property manager not only fix maintenance issues promptly, but also undergo regular property checks and preemptively replace important appliances and systems?
Do they offer suggestions for property improvements to keep the rental updated and attractive?
Beyond offering reliable methods of communication with tenants, do they regularly check in with tenants and request feedback on their rental experience?
A property manager answers to two parties: the owner, who has entrusted their real estate investment, and the tenant, who pays hard-earned money to satisfy the terms of their lease. When dealing with tenants, a property manager should be able to balance their needs with the financial and professional limits set by the client. In the age of information, an unsatisfied tenant has a myriad of opportunities to damage the reputation of both the manager and owner of a property, and it’s up to management to respond to tenants’ questions, requests, and grievances in a courteous and effective fashion.
Conversely, the right property manager will know when to be aggressive with tenants on behalf of the property owner. A tenant may exhibit inappropriate behavior that disturbs the experience of their neighbors or fail to pay rent in a timely fashion, or at all. Property owners should always be proactive in resolving these issues. The most efficient management agencies operate with well-defined protocols for even the most frustrating situations, and are never afraid to react appropriately to uncooperative tenants, whether it means delivering an email or an eviction notice.
No two properties are the same. Even two apartment blocks of identical construction, built in the same year, by the same firm, and in the same neighborhood, will have their own unique needs. The ideal property manager should be able to adapt to all situations in the interest of serving the property owner best. This extends past the basic functions of management, such as collecting rent and conducting repairs; a property manager should be able and willing to perform background screens on prospective tenants, actively market and advertise vacant rentals, and guide less experienced property owners through drafting and processing a lease.
Just as different properties require different kinds of attention, each client will have their own standards and expectations. Property managers should expect to put in work before, during, and after a unit’s occupation, and should be open to adjusting their regular operating procedures on a per-property and per-client basis.
The importance of adaptability extends to the widespread lifestyle changes we are witnessing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now commonplace that a property manager offers at least one method of virtual property showings, such as a video tour or a 3D interactive tour. Additionally, their adaptations to social distancing guidelines need to be clear and thorough. This not only shows that they value your health and safety, but it shows potential and current renters that you value their security as well.
Questions to ask yourself:
Does your property manager utilize technology to improve services like tenant interaction and property marketing?
Is your property manager open to hearing feedback and suggestions from you? Are they willing to make changes based on your advice or requests?
There’s nothing more stressful than being on your own during an emergency. A property manager should always be in touch and ready to respond to an emergency situation, whether it calls for the immediate scheduling of contract work, the involvement of law enforcement and other emergency services, or simple-but-integral advice. When you’re suddenly in hot water and your real estate investment is at risk, the last thing you need is your property manager ‘ghosting’ you.
One of the most important qualities of a good property manager is experience. Even with limitless resources, technical expertise, and top-notch presentation, a property management agency is nothing without the experience that comes with operating through changing times.
Experienced managers will be familiar with local real estate regulations, consumer quality expectations, and market dynamics, and will know how best to respond and adapt to a constantly evolving real estate environment. Whatever daunting new obstacle rears its head, your property manager should see it as a welcome challenge.
Questions to ask yourself:
Does your property manager have long-term relationships with trusted maintenance companies?
Can they offer investment consultation concerning local real estate?
We at Utopia Management have been performing our duties to the satisfaction of clients and tenants since 1994, and we look forward to continuing our tradition of excellence in service no matter what new developments the future brings.
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For Ramona California Property Management Contact Utopia Management today by calling us at (800) 294-4656 or click here to connect with us online.