For property owners who manage their own property, learning the ropes is never easy. From the outside looking in, one might think that managing rental properties only entails finding tenants, moving home in, and collecting rent after. However, there are a lot of nuances in between that make this role slightly tricky. Experienced property managers and owners know that property management is a journey full of negotiations, troubleshooting, and problem-solving. As a property owner, you’re probably in the game to earn a steady amount of income and not to look for a daily source of problems.
Owning and managing one property can be pretty challenging. Owning multiple properties can be overwhelming and present multiple challenges as well. The number of problems to address on a daily basis multiplies with each unit you rent out. This can be compounded if you live far away from the property or if there are multiple properties situated away from each other. To be fair, not all of your properties require the same amount of work as some may be easier to manage than others. But they would all require the same care and attention. Here are some tips on how you can make rental property management easier.
Find out what’s working and do that!
First of all, you have to set yourself up for success. There are plenty of resources in this blog and on the web. Get some tips and find out what works for others…then go do that. There’s no harm in copying what’s already working, you can always improve on that. With that said, you have to start by getting all your affairs in order. Make sure you are following fair housing laws. Have your property inspected and certified. Make sure your property is all prepped and ready for rental. Then go and do the most important part…you have to find the right tenants.
Having the right tenants will dramatically affect the difficulty level of property management for you. The right tenants will make your role so much easier, so be sure to pick the right ones from the beginning. Take your time with the screening process. Go through interviews, credit checks, and ask for references. You can never be too sure. Find a tenant who will treat your property as their own home and will make every effort to take as good care of it as you do. Find one who fits in well with the other tenants, if you can. That will reduce problems with the neighbors.
Always keep communication lines open.
From the start of the application process, make sure you have strong communication systems in place. Your relationship with your tenants start when they sign the lease, so make sure everything on the lease is clear, well within state rules and regulations, and mutually agreed upon. Make and keep copies of legal documents and make sure your tenants have copies as well. Make sure you have clear designations on your responsibility as a landlord and their responsibilities as a tenant. For example, cleaning responsibilities are always up for discussion. You may have to specify that regular lawn care (like mowing the lawn) is your tenant’s responsibility, while bigger projects (such as cutting overgrown branches and landscaping) are your responsibility as a landlord. Make sure your tenants know how to contact you in case of an emergency and know when you are free to discuss regular rental issues. Specify your business hours. Be sure to let your tenants know about upcoming inspections and regular maintenance schedules.
Set up systems in place to help you manage your rental properties.
Here are some systems that you should have set up so that you can have things up and running smoothly as you manage your properties:
● Advertising – you will need to fill vacancies from time to time. So instead of just looking for places to advertise when a tenant moves out, you should have a go-to advertising system in place that you can tap when the need to look for potential tenants arise.
● Screening processes – this should be a streamlined system. It’s hard to make this up as you go because there are some legal implications such as credit checks and references.
● Maintenance routines – well-scheduled maintenance routines make your life as a property manager/owner easier. Maintenance checks catch small things before they become huge problems and give you time to plan and allot funds for repairs.
● Regular property inspections – the law requires that you should give at least 24-hour notice to tenants when entering the premises. This gives them time to adjust and work with your schedule.
● Rent collection processes – Clarify with your tenant how you prefer to be paid for the rent. You can give them options to pay in cash or via post-dated cheques.
● Invoice tracking – you will have to deal with repairs and service payments on a regular basis. Collecting receipts or saving expenses on your phone will not cut it, especially if you manage multiple properties. Have a reliable invoicing system in place for easier budget management, auditing, and taxation.
● Document management – paperwork is bound to pile up when you have multiple tenants. A good document management system can help you track records and can come in handy for legal purposes.
Have a list of ever-reliable go-to guys.
Property managers/owners should have a list of reliable contractors and service providers on speed dial. Know who to call when pipes burst, windows break, roofs leak, and trees fall. These go-to guys should come well recommended, have good reviews, and are basically industry experts. Make sure you have reputable, reliable, and trustworthy contractors on your go-to guys’ list. Build a good working relationship with them.
Work With a Property Manager.
If all of this is too overwhelming for a first-time property owner turned property manager, then you should enlist the help of a trusted property management company. A property management company worth their salt would already have these systems and lists in place to help you manage your property like a well-oiled machine. They can help take the load off having to do this from the start of the tenant onboarding process to moving out day. They can help you with screening, inspection, paperwork, and even with extra services like records and bookkeeping and other financials. They know reliable contractors who can help you maintain and repair your property within your working budget. Property owners turned managers don’t have to do it alone. Ask for help. Call Davis Property Management on 425-658-7471 today and let’s discuss how we can help you manage your property.
Davis Property Management
At Davis Property Management, we provide fast, friendly, and professional service tailored to your individual property management needs.