Are you a Realtor – or a ringmaster? If you’re a property manager, you probably feel like both at times. Whether you’re managing a big complex or several properties, there are some common issues all property managers face over time. Here are some of the most common challenges you’ll probably see in 2017, and some tips to address them.
Keeping a good staff of motivated employees can be a difficult challenge to address. Try to maintain good communication with your employees. Ask them about their concerns, listen to their successes and frustrations and try to help them find solutions to the challenges they face. In the office, look for ways to help them increase efficiencies, like investing in better software, or improving workflow through good design. Encourage ways to help staff continue to grow and develop, either through promotion in the company, continuing education, or learning a new skill that can help you in the business. For instance, if you’ve got someone who is artistic on staff, maybe that person could take interior design, graphic design, or photography classes to help with staging, marketing, or social media. The point is, find their talents and help them find a way to use them at work.
Effective communication with tenants
Similarly, maintaining good communication with your tenants will make everyone’s life easier. Be responsive and timely. You’ll be able to more readily access units for maintenance and inspection, and tenants will feel like you care about their living conditions and concerns. People want good customer service. If you give them the time and respect of good communication, you’ll be more likely to have a higher percentage of tenants who interact positively with you, the property and the staff.
Keeping costs under control is a constant battle. Finding ways to save money without reducing the quality of life or having a negative impact on the property value is always a balancing act. Start by looking at smart ways to save on energy and utilities. Often a good long-term investment is to hire an energy auditor to evaluate your property. The resulting report will likely include a long list of improvements which can save you significant money over time. Keeping a solid maintenance schedule will also ensure your investments last longer – clean and maintain HVAC systems, roofs, gutters, landscaping, plumbing, and siding. Interior maintenance is important, too. Don’t forget to replace caulk and grout in wet areas and worn fixtures or fittings as needed. A well-maintained property costs is less costly and is more attractive to tenants. Keep in mind that it’s not always in your best interest to replace something that’s broken with the cheapest model. If a dishwasher needs to be replaced, an energy-efficient model that gets good ratings for durability might be more cost-efficient on the whole than the budget brand. Hire licensed professionals to do repairs. Don’t let your tenants fix things themselves and deduct the cost from the rent. You don’t want the liability if the injure themselves performing the repair, or the damage they can cause if they don’t do the repair properly. Get it done right the first time, by a contractor you know and with whom you have a good working relationship. Have a few go-to contractors on speed dial rather than trying to find a new one every time something comes up. Good contractors are invaluable resources. Give them repeat business and nurture the relationship.