Last modified on June 22nd, 2020
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When owners feel you have the knowledge and skills to rent units quickly, maintain operations, and boost profitability, they will trust you to manage their properties now and far into the future. By building strong relationships with your current owners, you can attract new property owners and keep your business growing. 

Whether you tend to work with individual owners to maximize their real estate investment, or with larger-scale investors, it’s important to demonstrate expertise, accessibility, and ingenuity, especially during times of market disruption when they may be facing financial uncertainty. Here are 5 ways you can provide more value to your property owners:

1.) Provide Digital Tools

Just like today’s residents, today’s property owners expect to be able to do everything online. If you’re still sending paper packets and monthly statements to owners via snail mail, then it’s time to switch to mobile communication tools, like texting, email, and online portals. 

Self-service online portals, like AppFolio’s Owner Portal, make it easy for you to share important information online — such as work orders, inspection reports, financial statements, and 1099s — so your owners can view them at their convenience. In addition, the mobile app’s built-in texting feature allows you to quickly text your owners and record every communication. 

In times of uncertainty, it’s especially important to keep owners in the loop at all times. By proactively giving them access to the information they need, on-demand, you can demonstrate your expertise in the property management space and make them feel well cared for.

2.) Be Reliable & Accessible

If you oversee multiple properties with different owners, it can be a struggle to keep up with inquiries and respond in a timely manner. While some owners prefer to be hands-off, others want to be a part of the decision-making process, and to receive regular updates about their apartment complexes, individual units, or entire portfolios. Either way, your owners expect more than just regular check-ins, they also want to trust you’ll keep them informed.

If a new challenge arises don’t avoid mentioning it, work to overcome it by digging deeper into your property’s performance and proactively thinking of solutions. By having a comprehensive view of each of your properties, you can have the insight you need to provide proper guidance to owners and resolve issues faster. As always, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback frequently and honestly on ways you can improve your relationship.

Having a cloud-based technology platform in place can make it easier for owners to access documents and get in touch with your team quickly — from anywhere on any device. For instance, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambridge Management Group quickly pivoted to support their owners by using AppFolio to clearly communicate their plan, “We created contingency plans with them saying, ‘Hey, there are five options that we can do. Let us know if you want to take advantage of any of them. None of them, if you’re fine.’ We had some owners that chose to take advantage of delaying payments on some bills in order to make sure that they were floating their cash accordingly.”

3.) Make it Easy to Send & Receive Funds

Paying for fees and waiting for reimbursements are some of the biggest pain points for property owners. Having to manually keep track of property management invoices and send checks by mail can become a time-consuming monthly process, especially for owners with multiple properties. 

Streamline this process by adopting mobile tools that allow owners to quickly make payments and receive funds in just a few clicks. For instance, within the AppFolio Owner Portal, owners can securely send money directly to their property management company for emergency maintenance repairs, renovations, or reserves via eCheck or debit card. In addition, your team can quickly pay owners all in the same system, saving time and reducing frustration.

4.) Provide Real-Time Access to Performance & Financial Data 

Along with wanting to stay in the loop on repairs and leases, owners also expect to be able to see how their property is performing and what they can do to increase profitability. You can impress your owners and help them better understand their financial situation by giving them the tools they need to view their property’s performance and finance data instantly.

Property management software with real-time data and customizable dashboards can enable you to provide your owners with the insights they need to make faster, more strategic decisions. For instance, Sundance Property Management uses AppFolio performance insights within AppFolio Property Manager PLUS to quickly compare properties and actuals to budget. As a result, they can compare properties by metro, state, or region, in just a few clicks — and give owners a cohesive view of how each of their properties are performing and where there may be areas of opportunity.

5.) Look for Opportunities

Smart owners want to keep their properties as profitable as possible. By looking for ways to maximize operational efficiencies, you can help property owners grow their assets. One way you can boost profitability is updating your rental rates, a tool like RentMatch built within AppFolio can make it easy to analyze your rent rates compared to other units of similar size in the same geographical area.

Plus, you can also review maintenance and upkeep, checking whether any units or common areas are overdue for maintenance. Not only can owners claim tax deductions for making these improvements, but they can also improve the value of their property. 

Don’t forget to stay up to date on industry trends and technologies that could save money and increase your owners’ ROI. New innovations, such as fully automated utility management can help detect usage spikes to fix issues fast and keep costs down. In addition, unique marketing tools can help you speed up your leasing flow and fill vacancies faster. 

Fostering a good relationship with your owners is key to the success of your business. If owners know they can trust you to effectively manage their properties, they will be more likely to stick with your company and recommend you to others, which in turn can help you attract more owners. By providing them with convenient mobile tools, proactively communicating, and looking for ways to add value, you can strengthen your relationships and grow your business.

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