What your property manager should be doing….
That’s right. I said it.
Managing your managers is kind of like being a diligent mother… because you have to keep your eye on them or they might try to get out of doing their chores!
Think about it for a minute.
Just like you want your kid to pick up after himself, take out the trash, take care of his room and belongings, and be polite to your friends and business associates… well, you want your property managers to do the same!
You want your property manager(s) to:
- Treat tenants and prospective tenants with amazing hospitality – There is nothing worse than a smart-mouthed, rude property manager who is showing your property or who is in charge of communicating with your existing tenants (that you want to continue renting for a very long time to come). Your managers need to have great (not just good) people skills. They are going to have to deal with awful tenants from time to time. They need to know how to interact with grace and diplomacy, not matter what. Otherwise, things can go wrong and you might even end up in court (with disgruntled tenants). While you will likely win the case, who needs that type of time-consuming hassle?
- Understand the importance of maintaining your property – You want your property managers to feel a sense of pride in what they do for you. That means they need to use their eyes and ears effectively. For example, does your manager walk past a broken fence or cracks in front patios without mentioning these issues to you? These things matter. It’s not just about depreciation of your property; it’s about what your tenants think every time they pass that broken thing. If your property manager doesn’t bring up all the little things that need to be repaired, you won’t know about them and won’t budget for the repairs. A good property manager walks the property with a clip board and takes note of things that need to be fixed. Tenants notice when repairs are consistently performed. They appreciate the effort and as a result are more likely to recommend your property to their friends.
- Collect rents on time and in a professional manner month after month – You have to keep an eye on this performance marker closely. The professional property manager doesn’t just collect rents on time for the first few months of his/her job. But that is what you might see in poor property managers. They perform really well just long enough to gain your trust and then things go downhill. Soon rents are not being collected, or they aren’t being reported accurately… or when you inquire what’s happening you start hearing excuses. That’s when you need to have a little chat with your property manager. Just like a kid in trouble, that individual may try to make excuses. You can give him/her a chance to correct the behavior, but make it clear that something needs to change. Stay within the rules of HR law, however. You can’t just walk in and fire the person. (Just like with your offspring, there have to be clear and well-established rules.)
- Keep in weekly communication with you – Call it a report card. Call it a weekly update. I don’t care what you call it, but your property manager has to understand that you’re going to need a weekly report about the condition of your property as well as the welfare of your tenants. You want to know about any and all issues, so you can come to a resolution together. You will be paying for the correction of those issues; the property manager needs to report them to you so you can triage what is most important. A good property manager will triage for you… telling you which is most critical.
Just like a good mother, a good leader grows and cultivates her “family”–by nurturing accountability, integrity and care. Success is so much more than checklists and chore charts! Implement these tips and watch how your managers grow into the best versions of themselves. (Now, go call your mother!)