Property Management 101: Philosophies
The past year has been challenging in property management to say the least! But through challenges we learn and grow, and we certainly have. We would like to share some things with you that we learned.
It should be obvious, but many times responsiveness is not properly practiced. What is responsiveness?
• Answering phone calls.
• Responding to emails.
• Responding to text messages.
• Returning voice mails.
• Completing tasks.
• Responding to guest inquires.
• Showing up on time.
Each of these items is as important as the next. We will take a deep dive into all these aspects in a future post, but for now remember that 33% of customers (owners and tenants) expect a response within an hour. That doesn’t seem like much until you factor in that over half of customers will go somewhere else if they don’t get a response within 6 hours of their inquiry. Bottom line: lack of responsiveness will cost you real money.
ADAPTABILITY - FLEXIBILITY
If managing during the past year taught any of us one thing that stands out, it’s being able to adapt to the situation in front of us. This doesn’t mean that you are the only one that has to adapt. Remember, you are the advocate for the Owner and the Tenant. Some of the ways we practiced adaptability are:
• Work together with the owner and the tenant.
Keeping in mind the owner’s goals is an important aspect here. Speak frequently with the owner to get a good idea of their goals. Help them define their goals. Then make sure that when presenting anything to the tenant you are in line with those goals. While it’s not realistic that you will make everyone completely happy, it is possible to help both sides understand the situation and come up with the solution that’s acceptable to both.
• Think of what you can do and then determine what you will do.
As the advocate for the owners and the tenants, you want to make it work for them and keep your job. Ultimately, you have contracts with both to back you up. Flexibility is great, but establish just how flexible you are willing to be. Critical thinking and problem solving are the best attributes to practice here.
• Adjust to timelines.
Consider with both the owner and tenant signing a shorter term lease, changing the rental price, removing some fees, changing the due date, or early lease termination. Make sure that everyone knows that this is a one time thing, it won’t be beneficial to have this happen every month or with every tenant.
• Have empathy.
Kindness and empathy go a lot further than hellfire and threats. This is not to say that you have to accept every excuse, every bad luck story, or feel bad about doing your job. Moreover, listen to your owner/tenant and understand where they are at and what they are asking for. When you listen to them they will feel validated and more open to different solutions, even if the solution isn’t what they are asking for.
• Beware of recurring issues.
Keep in mind that all of the above practices are necessary in property management, but beware of the monthly ‘sob story’. If you have a tenant that needs something every month (partial rent payments, changing due dates, waiving fees), it might be time to help them move on to another rental. Being flexible, adaptable, and empathetic is important and will make you a better manager, but don’t let it jeopardize your job and income.
These are a few practices that we constantly encourage our managers to adopt, and they have never been as important as they became in the past year. Property management is always a challenging endeavor as you are dealing with many different personalities, feelings, and situations. While there is no universal way of managing properties, we have found that practicing the things we’ve outlined here make a big difference.