How to Spot a Great—Not Just Good—Property Manager (with Video!)
I’ve always felt that although you make your money when you buy, you don’t cash in on that until you initiate a great (not just good) management strategy.
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We have managed our own assets for many years and learned what works and what doesn’t firsthand. Recently, we hired a manager for an apartment building we purchased that was too far for us to manage ourselves. Through the process of building our management team and then interviewing other management companies, I have realized that there are things that separate a good management company from a great one.
What It Means to be a Property Manager
The property manager acts as a liaison between the tenant and the owner. At times the property manager’s role is to be the voice for the tenant to the owner. This would be about things such as maintenance, general upkeep, switching over utilities when the tenant moves in, etc. At other times, the property manager’s role is to be the voice of the owner to the tenant. This could include things such as collecting rent on time, new leasing and renewals, complete work orders submitted by the tenant, etc.
Now that you know what a property manager does, let’s get into what separates the good from the great.
What Makes an Exceptional Property Manager
1. Upholding Quality
You might ask, “The quality of what?” This is the quality of living for the tenant. Besides completing work orders, the property manager goes the extra mile to resolve issues for the tenant, rather than cast them off as “not my problem.”
Say they manage a multifamily property and one tenant is constantly being disturbed by their upstairs neighbor who plays music loudly late at night. A great property manager will get involved and talk with the noisy tenant to ensure everyone is happy where they live. They’ll step in to mediate when they can to help a tenant.
2. Tenant Happiness
What do happy tenants do? They pay the rent on time, treat the unit like it’s home, and stay longer. Now don’t get me wrong, there are those people who won’t be happy no matter how helpful you are. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that. But you can do little things to make them feel appreciated.
For example, in one of my buildings I hold a raffle every quarter for tenants—who paid rent on time within that quarter—to win a $50 gift card. I also hold a raffle once a year for tenants—who paid rent on time that whole year—to win a flat screen TV. And I make my tenants aware of this so they have a chance to win.
By doing these raffles it shows that I have pride in the property, which may spill over to them to feel proud of where they live. It also rewards the tenants and shows that I appreciate them. And a little appreciation can go a long way.
3. Upholding Building Quality
This is more than just completing work orders. This is having foresight and doing preventative work to maintain the building. An example would be noticing a tree that’s leaning onto the building. A great property manager will do grooming or inquire about possibly cutting the tree down before it crashes through a unit during a bad storm. Doing this routine maintenance prevents what is called emergency maintenance.
Upkeeping the building also entails doing walkthroughs, roof inspections, testing smoke alarms, etc. By doing this, it prevents any major damages down the road. If the property manager isn’t doing these things, they’re failing to serve the tenant and owner.
There you have it. Remember that collecting rent and handling work orders is the baseline. A great property manager goes above and beyond that.
What’s your worst experience with a property manager and what’s your best? And what would you say separates the good from the great?
Please share with a comment below!