What To Do – When You Don’t Know What To Do

June 6, 2023 0 comment

Written by: Eric Davis

Outsiders look at property management as an easy job. Little did they know that we face the pressure of dealing with tenants, owners, and vendors, sometimes all simultaneously. With pressure coming from several directions, we occasionally find ourselves at a dead end, a crossroads, or a path that seems to go nowhere and say to ourselves, “I don’t know what to do with this property or tenant….”

However long your experience is, or you are just starting your career, here at DPM, we advise fully looking at the situation to make the proper evaluation to get the results that perfectly suit the situation. There isn’t time to be remiss of any problem. 

This photo shows a property manager thinking about what to do.

Here are the five guidelines to assist you in action-oriented decisions:

1. Stay Calm and Don’t Get Emotional

Losing your temper is almost unavoidable with the ongoing and demanding responsibilities a property manager faces. The balance of managing owner expectations for their property goals under budget, coupled with the tenants‘ demands to meet their needs, can test a saint’s patience. Not to mention resolving conflicts across all parties (owner vs. tenant, tenant vs. tenant, and in the middle between), there will be days when you feel that being diplomatic is getting you nowhere.

Keep your cool when this occurs since that will work best. Do not get sucked into the drama. You’re not a player in the game; you have the information and experience to determine the outcome of any situation head-on. Try to look at the options without prejudice and emotion. This approach will make your decision easier to swallow for everyone involved, including yourself. And remember, an emotional person’s decision will always be considered biased and suspect.

2. Your Job is to Make the Problems Go Away

Answering questions is a big part of being a property manager. But knowing the history of the property you handle will address this issue head-on. The knowledge you earn by familiarizing yourself with the rental will allow you to make the right decisions. For example,  Maintenance is always needed to keep the property in top condition. Sometimes it’s the most basic, like replacing a bulb, and sometimes it’s major, like replacing a roof or plumbing line.

Knowing the right time to perform Maintenance will minimize interruption and overhead costs and keep your tenants happy. Your relationship with your tenant and the property owner will surge if you are on top of what is happening with your properties. You can answer their questions, concern, and doubt if you know what you are doing.

3. What Would an Expert Do?

This photo shows question marks.

George Pólya (1887-1985) composed the quintessential message for solving problems, titled “How to Solve It”. Here is the way he summed up the critical thinking process:

  • First, make sure you understand the problem. Look at the issue critically and unemotionally while reading between the lines. What is not being said is sometimes bigger than what is being shouted.
  • After understanding the circumstances, plan for solving the problem. This process will also usually involve strategically reviewing all appropriate solutions for the situation and weighing the pros and cons.
  • Execute your plan with full conviction while bringing the others involved along for the ride with strong communication.
  • Look back on your work and ask, “How could it be better”? A reflective review of the situation and your solution is the only way to learn and do better in the long run. Many Property Managers commit one enormous error that defeats their outcome and confidence. What is that mistake? They skip or glaze over the first step.

No matter the problem, only an amateur will assume the answer or solution without knowing what the problem is in the first place. They proceed directly to try different solutions and choose the one that provides the best result. That approach will bleed bigger issues in the future.

On the other hand, experts will generally invest more energy in understanding the root cause of the problem, comparing different scenarios, and then coming up with a plan once all the facts of the issue have been laid out.

4. Choose The Least Bad Option

There’s a saying, “When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.” It can be good advice, but it has time and place. Waiting too long becomes a decision, so letting go and acting is better. Any action can be better than no action at all.

Always remember that there is no good answer or a good choice. All you can do is pick the least terrible option because that is your best option. Sometimes we must make peace with this dilemma. Surveying other options and asking others for help are great tools too. Hesitancy can worsen matters, and sometimes we need to make a decision that will never feel right or good. Just do the best you can and pick the least bad option.

5. Describe What You Are Going to Do to Make the Problem Go Away

This photo shows a property manager explaining and listing down.

After determining the root of the problem or challenge, you should deal with your concerns and difficulties directly to defeat them. That is the main path forward. When distinguishing the root, you can decisively address it without managing side effects, rehashing, and repeating an issue because neglect of the root cause or an inability to tackle things head-on will only cause more churn. The goal outcome of this approach will surface unequivocally.

The steps above will help resolve any hurdles your Property Management career can present. Trust yourself and your knowledge of the property, owner, and tenants. They all have their nuances that breed their problems. Knowing the primary cause of the issue can help you determine the best solution.

Here at DPM, our representatives have the skillsets to bring creative solutions to complicated problems across all areas of property management. We respond swiftly and precisely to each challenge using the tools that give us our ultimate goal: client satisfaction. We work to innovate and enhance the tenant experience while also providing our owners with a profitable long-term management solution. Call us now at 425-658-7471 or send us an email at info@davispropertymanagement.com.

For more tips, please watch the video below:







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