I’ve read a lot here on BiggerPockets about the pros and cons of using a property management company, but have you ever considered how property management companies view property owners?
Property management companies fully expect to maintain the properties they manage and manage the tenants who live in them. What you may not realize is how much managing of property owners is often involved.
Following is a list of some things homeowners can do to make managing their properties much easier for their property manager.
(This list is in no particular order of importance.)
10 Ways to Help Out Your Property Management Company
- 1.) Hand over the property to your management company in move in condition. Your property should be empty, clean, and ready to market for your first tenant. This shows both the property management company and your tenant how you expect your property to be maintained going forward. If the yard and the house are a mess, both the management company and the tenant know you really don’t care and, chances are, they won’t care as much, either.
- 2.) If it’s in the house, make sure it works. Your property doesn’t need to be prepared to the level it would if you were selling it on the retail market, but everything in the house needs to be in good working order. Light fixtures need to be properly installed and with working light bulbs. Sink faucets shouldn’t leak (or the tenant will call the first week to have them repaired). Dishwasher, disposal, any appliances that are provided in the unit all need to work or to be removed. Nothing is more frustrating for the tenant, the management company, or for the homeowner than to get a list from the tenant upon move-in of things that need to be fixed.
- 3.) Remove all personal items from the property. We are often presented with properties that have items left, especially in the garage, yard, basements and attics. This is not acceptable. When someone new moves into a property, they do not want to deal with items that are not theirs. And, your property management company does not want to be in the middle of conflict if you come back later to pick up the item you left only to discover it’s no longer there. All personal items should be removed before turning the property over to a management company.
- 4.) Your property needs to be clean. Sparkling clean is best. Tenants are fine with age on a property and fixtures, but they do want it to be clean when they move in, just as you would if you were moving into a new property. The carpets don’t need to be new, but no holes, and they should be professionally cleaned.
- 5.) Walls. Walls don’t need to be freshly painted, but the worse they look, the harder it will be to rent the house out. No holes, certainly. There are a lot of properties on the market and prospective tenants will take dirty walls and odd paint colors into consideration when choosing a home.
- 6.) Leave all utilities on. Many prospects will view your property in the evening so they’ll need lights. And, it’s important that the toilets flush and the sinks work. In the winter, you need a bit of heat on so that prospects feel comfortable. We keep thermostats about 60-65 degrees so it feels warmer inside than outside. In the summer, leave the air on so the house is not stuffy. We keep air conditioners set about 75-78 degrees so it feels cooler than the outside.
- 7.) Fill out entirely and return all forms and documents requested by your property management company. We have a rule in our office that we will not market any property until the owner has given us every piece of information we request. In the same manner, we will not rent out a property to a tenant until they have completed everything we request.
- 8.) Give the management company as much information as possible about your property. This includes things like where the water shut-off is located (we have needed this information more than once). What size air filters are needed. We had a tenant call recently after smelling leakage from a propane tank. The fact that the property had a propane tank was not indicated anywhere on the information we received from the homeowner. Any information that is provided up front saves unnecessary time and phone calls for all involved.
- 9.) Provide the management company with copies of your HOA rules and requirements. Copies of these should be passed on to your tenant. No tenant can be blamed for breaking the neighborhood rules if they don’t know what those rules are.
- 10.) Contact information. This one seems so obvious that I can’t believe I need to include it. I am including it, so what does that tell you? Be sure the management company has your complete current contact information including address, working phone number and email address.
The above items are actually a good way for you to screen your property management company as well as a way for them to get to know you. If the company is not thorough and efficient with you, they will probably not be with your tenants, either.
What can you add to the list?