The property management industry alone amasses a whopping $88.4 billion each year. If you want to contribute to this overall revenue, it’s essential you learn some valuable tips to improve your property management skills.
Whether you’re a first-time landlord or an experienced property owner, it’s important to understand all the basics of property management. From tenant selection and maintenance to marketing and record keeping, there are many components that make up successful property management. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started on the right foot. Educating yourself is the first step to becoming the best property manager you want to be.
Read on for these must-know tricks to increase your success.
Goals as a Landlord
Before doing anything else, it’s important to determine your goals as a landlord. Do you want to focus on long-term tenants or short-term rentals? Are you looking for a steady stream of income or a one-time rental payment? Answering these questions early on can help you set realistic expectations and develop a plan that works for you.
Have a Deep Understanding of the Law
Once you have your goals in place, start by understanding your legal obligations as a property manager. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with local zoning laws, Fair Housing laws, landlord/tenant regulations, tax requirements, safety codes, etc. Make sure all your paperwork is in order and keep accurate records of any agreements made with tenants or contractors.
Being ignorant of the law is not an excuse when any laws are breached. As a property manager, you need to have a deep understanding of the laws in your area.
This is to ensure you, landlords, and tenants are aware of the guidelines everyone must remain within.
There are several laws that cover everything you will handle as a landlord. This includes maintenance repairs and the methods you use to resolve issues with your properties.
From time to time, you need to refresh yourself on any new changes that will affect tenancy contracts or the process of eviction.
If you outsource certain parts of your property, such as maintenance, to an outside contractor, take the extra steps to check for licensing. Without the proper licensing and insurance, if a mistake is made, you will face the consequences as the property manager.
It’s because it’s your job to screen everyone before hiring them to perform any type of job at your property sites.
Selecting & Screening Your Tenants
Next comes tenant selection – arguably the most important aspect of any successful rental property management strategy. Screening applicants is key; look for renters who have good credit scores, no criminal background checks, sufficient earnings capacity (i.e., at least three times the monthly rent), verifiable references from past landlords/employers, etc. A clear lease agreement should also be established outlining rules regarding issues such as late payments or pet policies before signing anyone on as a tenant.
Evicting a tenant from your property can cost on average $10,000. This is precisely why you need to take the time to screen tenants and find the right ones to lease each property.
Finding the right tenant will help to set you up for success, because it means you won’t have to deal with issues like:
- Unpaid rent
- Property damage
Before you approve a person to move into your property, take time to check their previous renter history thoroughly. When you screen a potential tenant, you’ll find information on their standings with previous landlords.
This includes any missing or late payments and any other concerning disputes between themselves and the landlord.
You should also require the potential tenant to provide a deposit you can use to conduct a thorough background screening. Your screening process should also assess the tenant’s credit history.
After all, if the tenant isn’t able to pay their rent, you don’t want to rent your property to them because it will leave you without a source of income.
Be Ready For Repairs
When it comes to maintaining the rental unit itself, having reliable contractors that can serve as 24/7 emergency repairs is essential. You’ll also need to manage regular upkeep tasks such as mowing lawns and cleaning gutters; develop a schedule that works best for both tenants and yourself so everyone knows what should be done when and how often it needs to be completed. Not only will this ensure your investment is well protected but also helps build trust between tenants and yourself which makes it easier if any problems arise down the line.
Rental Property Marketing
Marketing your rental units effectively so they attract quality tenants quickly is essential. There are plenty of ways to do this such as placing ads online (like Craigslist), creating flyers or postcards targeting potential renters in nearby neighborhoods, joining local real estate groups/forums online – just be sure whatever method(s) you choose fit within your budget constraints while still reaching out far enough into the public sphere so people know about available vacancies in their area! Additionally take good photos of each unit showing off its best features – this will make them more appealing visually too!
As you market your properties and work with potential landlords, you must be personable yet professional. The last thing people looking for a place to rent want to deal with is someone who doesn’t know how to provide quality customer service.
Whenever you contact someone concerning your rental property, be confident in the information you’re sharing. And always show respect to the person you’re speaking to.
If you’ve hired a landlord, be a good boss and determine their needs before having them.
If they have issues with the screening software needed to fill the properties, upgrade your current package. Or find one that makes the overall screening process more manageable.
If tenants have issues with the property because things are breaking, ensure you take the necessary steps to upgrade each property.
In the long run, doing these things will help you remain successful and keep people occupying your properties year-round.
Know Your Stuff
Real property management means doing more than sitting behind a desk and answering the phones. You’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty and jump in to help whenever it’s needed.
Take some time to learn different trades in areas such as maintenance or sales. This way, you can monitor your assets and spot when someone’s trying to take advantage of you.
Becoming a jack of all trades will also help you reduce some costs because you can jump in and complete tasks rather than calling someone to do it for you.
Set the Policies & Stick to Them
If you change your policy for one tenant or property employee, you’ll have to make the change for everyone. Before you begin onboarding people and accepting property tenants, create policies and procedures you expect to follow and abide by.
For example, if a tenant has something in their apartment break, they need to know the process of submitting a maintenance request and the timeframe it will take to have their message answered. With a procedure like this in place, it reduces the number of calls to the office, which can deter the repairs from being completed in a timely manner.
You should also have routines for things like paying rent. Instead of speaking with each tenant to collect their rent payments, find ways to streamline the process.
For example, you can provide an online payment system for tenants to submit their rent and set up an account to send notifications before rent is due.
As the commercial property management provider, this is another way to foster the relationships between yourself and the tenants.
Property Management 101: Setting Property Management Companies Up for Success
When you work in property management, it’s crucial that everything you do helps to improve your property standings. With the tips and tricks we’ve provided, you’ll increase your occupancy rate by taking the time to understand the property laws in your area and find the right tenants.
Speaking of finding the right tenants, do you have a screening process yet? There’s no need to worry, contact RentSafe and let us help you find the right tenant every time.