There’s no doubt being a property manager requires patience and commitment. Communicating with tenants and staying on top of repairs takes up a lot of time, but it can also be very rewarding. Like any industry, mistakes can happen. Unfortunately, some of them can end up costing you a significant amount of time and money. Today we’ll be looking at several common mistakes that property managers make – and how they can be avoided.
- Scaling Without Systems in Place
Scaling your property management business can be challenging. As managed property volume increases, it becomes even more essential to have solid systems in place. Many property managers fail once they reach a certain scale, so it’s critical to make sure you have a plan on how to deal with growth to avoid losing money. All property managers should be vetted, so you understand their ability to deal with expansion. In addition, it’s essential to create organizational systems that will be sufficient for any number of properties.
- Choosing the First Tenant
The application process can feel daunting, and it may be tempting to select the first applicant who applies for the property. The problem is, you want to find the RIGHT tenant; this is more important than getting someone into the property right away. To do this, you’ll need to attract them. Make sure you take care of all repairs and maintenance on the property, so it’s in excellent shape when applicants start viewing it. By showing that you take pride in the property, you’re more likely to attract tenants that will show it respect. All tenants should be screened to make sure that they’re responsible and a good fit. Utilizing our tenant screening services will help you select the best candidate for the property, as well as save you a significant amount of time and money.
- Being Unaware of the Condition of the Property
As a property manager, one of your responsibilities is to know the property you manage. This means being aware of repairs or maintenance that are needed. A general lack of awareness about the property can result in systems failures or high capital expenditures. In many cases, small repairs and regular maintenance can save a significant amount of money if dealt with early on. To keep on top of the property’s conditions, it’s recommended that you hire a third-party inspector for an annual property visit. You may also want to develop a system for reviewing work orders to see if there are any trends in what’s needing consistent repairs.
- Reactive, Rather than Proactive Maintenance
Many property managers tend to be reactive about maintenance. This can cause them to neglect property maintenance until it becomes an absolute necessity. Being proactive with maintenance can save you money and ensured that your property is consistently well-maintained.
- Not Checking the Contractor’s References
Many contractors look great on paper, but this doesn’t mean that you should automatically hire them. It’s recommended that you always call a minimum of two references. This will prevent wasted time, money, and frustration if the contractor isn’t qualified to handle the project effectively. It’s also not a bad idea to take a walk around a previous job site to make sure that the contractor’s work meets your expectations.
- Imprecise Accounting
Owners and investors must be able to rely on accurate accounting to make informed decisions about the property. Property managers can ensure that they’re providing accurate reporting to investors by using accounting software to manage their books. While many property managers still rely on legacy software, cloud-based software may be a better option. Cloud-based software prevents the risk of losing important data in a computer or hard drive crash, and the software is kept automatically updated.
- Failing to Prepare a Vacant Unit Properly
When you have a vacant property, it must be adequately prepared for a new tenant to move in. All surfaces should be cleaned, including the inside and outside of windows. Walls should be uniform, with holes patched and a fresh coat of paint if necessary. In general, if you attract a tenant that’s fine with an unkempt unit, they’re more likely to keep it that way. A clean unit is also more likely to generate interest and won’t be vacant for long.
- Poor Property Management
It may seem obvious, but poor property management can hurt you. Property managers should be responsive to tenants and quickly handle any problems that are brought to their attention. Ignoring repairs can cost you more money if left unaddressed. Even worse, it can cause frustrated tenants, high turnover, and vacant properties.
- Installing Smart Devices
Many property managers are eager to install smart devices in new apartment buildings. Unfortunately, hardware often becomes rapidly outdated, leading to malfunctions or simply a loss in your investment. Most buildings don’t have an in-house team with the expertise to handle technical issues, so it’s best to leave the smart devices to homeowners.
At the end of the day, property managers are running a business. By avoiding these common management mistakes, you can save yourself headaches, hassle, and unnecessary costs. Small changes in operation can mean significant changes in profit and customer satisfaction.