Property management articles frequently extoll the benefits of effective resident screening for preserving property value and managing cash flow. Identifying best-fit residents is definitely important. But, have you ever wondered what owners consider when vetting property managers?
Here’s what savvy property owners expect.
Property Manager: Reliable Partner
First and foremost, owners want confidence their property management team has their best interest at heart. That means the team is willing to do “whatever-it-takes” to ensure owners know that any resident issues are resolved quickly.
Just being willing to enforce rent policies isn’t enough. Property managers must have the tools and skills to follow through. A willing and able management team:
- Understands local, state and federal laws surrounding leasing and occupancy.
- Trains all staff members to respond properly to resident inquiries.
- Has the skill to negotiate with contractors for volume discounts.
- Values owner input, but is capable of making informed decisions quickly to mitigate property damage and limit risk exposure,
- Participates in trade associations to stay abreast of industry trends and ahead of the competition.
Property Manager: Customer First or Competition
Keeping the owners’ interest in the forefront should be obvious, but what if you own rental property, too? While some small property management firms tout experience managing their own rental holdings as an asset for owners, not all owners think this is a good thing.
Does your leasing policy put you in direct competition with owners? If you have a vacant property that is similar to a managed property – similar floor plan, square footage, amenities – how do you determine which one to offer a prospect? Explaining how you “guide” residents to an individual property is imperative to building client confidence.
Property Manager: The Eyes and Ears On-the-Ground
One of the benefits of engaging a property management team is confidence your property is well maintained. How often does a member of your team inspect rental units? Do you schedule quarterly or annual inspections? Does your lease include acceptable notice-to-resident policies that allow access in an emergency?
Even more important than frequency is whether or not you include these routine inspections as part of the standard management fee. If you charge extra for these services, some homeowners may opt for another agency.
Property Management Style: Technology Rich or Stuck in the 20th Century
Today there is an abundance of technology to streamline operations and facilitate property management. From online owner and resident portals to maintenance check lists and inventory management tools, property managers have access to a plethora of tools.
If you’re not using state-of-the-art technology to share information, collect rents and communicate with owners, you run the risks of losing some clients. There are many positive operational benefits to using property management technology. When meeting with prospective clients, you can make a great first impression by demonstrating how easy it is to share revenue reports and follow maintenance request progress.
Property Manager: Efficient, Effective, Engaged
Demonstrating technology with samples won’t keep clients happy. Put those tools to good use. Does your team consistently forward rents on the same date each month? Are you emailing statements and offering printed alternatives? Are you providing detailed income/expense reports to support your payments?
Consistency is imperative. Clients hire property management firms to ensure they have a steady, predictable cash-flow. Transparency solidifies the client/business relationship.
Demonstrate your dedication to running an efficient operation with paperless work orders that reduce errors and save both time and money. Explaining how you vet contractors is another transparency strategy to boost client confidence.
How does your operation measure up? Before you start looking for new clients, take a look at your company through an owner’s lens. You’ll be glad you did.