Managing a rental property can feel like going to Mordor, just barely slipping out of the frying pan and into the fire. After solving one problem, you’re faced with another that needs your urgent attention. After a while, you get used to having so many balls up in the air, dreading the time that you will no longer be able to juggle all of them.
Being a landlord or property manager shouldn’t be this hard. You should be able to get out of a steep learning curve and settle into smooth sailing waters after some time. But if you find that after a year or two of doing this job, you still haven’t learned the ropes, then you should revisit your management plan and recalibrate your tactics.
Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Learn how to delegate and learn tips and tricks from industry experts. Here are some tips that will help you simplify rental property management. Feel free to add your own learnings and use that to create a better, more executable plan for managing your property.
Hello, Goodbye, Hello again
Do you feel like a stopover for tenants? Do you feel like your property is the place they stay at before they finally find a home they prefer? Do you battle with constantly shifting groups of tenants? Do they move in only to move out a year after leaving you with a vacant rental property that you have to market as soon as possible? Are you constantly screening applicants and moving out tenants?
Don’t be the rental property manager equivalent of a revolving door where tenants keep constantly moving in and out. The first step to this is to have better and more efficient screening processes. Aside from doing the usual credit checks, you should request for references from previous landlords. Also, check criminal records and financial capabilities before you move forward with drafting a contract. This way you know what to put on the lease agreement and also help reduce the number of problematic tenants applying for a slot.
Regular Property Inspections are a Good Thing
As a rental property manager or landlord, you might have several dozens of property management activities going on at any given point in time. However, please make time to schedule a regular rental property inspection. Rental property doesn’t just have to be once a year, the more regular your rental property inspections are, the easier it will be for you to spot problems and issues in and around the property. While it might be easier for you as a rental property manager or landlord to schedule your inspections to coincide with a tenant moving out, you should actually schedule and inspection while there are tenants renting the property. This will give you an idea of the actual wear and tear your property undergoes under a tenant’s care and compare that to what the forecasted wear and tear should look like.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Nowadays, everyone knows how to use an Excel spreadsheet. You might be old school and still, keep a ledger, or make calendar entries for payments and collections. However organized and efficient this method is, it is not enough to count as bookkeeping. Single-family homes or one unit rentals are easy enough to manage, but once you have multiple units, the task of keeping track of finances gets harder. That task gets exponentially harder if you’re managing multiple units across different properties.
While your operation is small, you should invest in having a financial system that is easy enough to use but can scale when your business grows. Create a system for collecting rent and fees and for paying for licenses, services, and contractors. There is certain property management software available to help you with this. You can even enlist the help of a rental property management company to help you with financial services.
Who are the People in your Neighborhood?
When an emergency arises in your rental property, checking the listings after the fact is already a move too late. As a landlord and rental property manager, you can’t be calling locksmiths, plumbers, or furnace companies in the middle of the night in order to fix the emergency. And even if they do arrive in the middle of the night, you won’t know if they’re any good or if they will charge ridiculous prices just for coming out late.
Don’t leave it all up to chance. Create a list of your most dependable go-to guys – a list of reliable service providers and contractors that can help you and service your property in a pinch. These are guys you know have incredible service, great work ethics, and reasonable prices. Create a good working relationship with these go-to guys and you will have an emergency team ready to respond when your tenants have a crisis or if your rental property is ever in need of repairs or service.
You Make the Rules
As a rental property manager and/or landlord, you make the rules. You carry the burden of being both rule-maker and enforcer. Rules protect you and everyone living on the property. It will deter a lot of problems along the way like noise, trash, theft, misuse of space, and unruly pets among others. Under reasonable rules, tenants feel secure and equal. Make sure to create simple rules that can easily be understood and are not open to interpretation. Be clear about these rules and give everyone a copy upon lease signing and as part of their welcome kit. Make sure that the tenants understand that agreement to the rules is part of the lease contract. It would also help to have reminders of these rules every now and then in the form of memos, newsletters, or postings on the communal bulletin board.
Get Some Help
Your job as a rental property manager and/or landlord would be so much simpler if you learn how to delegate or ask for help. As your business grows, so do your responsibilities. You might be scouting other properties to grow your business but don’t have the time to pursue your interests, or you might love the idea of having an investment property but don’t have the time to deal with the ins and outs of property management. A simple way to reconcile this is to ask for help. You might need help with just one aspect of the job like tenant screening and on-boarding, or you even might have challenges with managing the financial aspect of rental property management. You might even need help to manage the whole operation. The simple solution is to consult a property management company and see if they offer services that can suit your needs.
Davis Property Management can help you manage certain aspects of your rental property or even help you manage the whole thing from onboarding, marketing, finance management, to maintenance. Give us a call today at 425-658-7471.
Davis Property Management
At Davis Property Management, we provide fast, friendly, and professional service tailored to your individual property management needs.