In property management, professionalism and courtesy are the bare minimum expectations for a functional partnership. But to limit disappointment on both sides of property management, trust is key. It’s foundational to a shared perception of quality between both the property manager and the property owner. Here’s how both parties can emphasize problem-solving over procrastination.
Make Sure Your Personalities Fit
In a property owner-property manager relationship, each party’s standards and their reputation for how they enforce those standards will make or break everything. Especially profits. For the property manager, a negative reputation could limit the growth of their portfolio. For the homeowner, it could mean being fired as a client by a property manager and having a negative reference trailing behind you.
Start off with transparency. Property managers should have a deep understanding of why the homeowner wants a manager in the first place and why they’re coming to you now. For example:
- How successful were they at collecting rent on time in full? Are they lenient?
- Did they previously employ a property manager? Who ended that relationship and why?
- Is it the homeowner’s first time renting out a property? What is their understanding of legalities and ethics?
- Did they live in or inherit the home? Will emotional aspects affect their respect for or interference with your business?
Outline the homeowner’s concerns and which of your services will be most helpful. For example, the homeowner should list their tenant’s responsibilities and how they want maintenance handled. The property manager can then lay out their standard processes. Beginning with the end in mind, you can determine whether you’re a match.
Agree on the Value of the Property
You both need to do a walkthrough of the property together. The property manager will witness the expectations for how well the property is cared for, gauge how successful they’ll be at finding tenants, and estimate how easy it will be to manage a potential resident’s stay. For example, will tenants have constant maintenance requests? Will the residence represent your property management company well? Consider how time-consuming management will be.
The walkthrough is important for the homeowner because they’ll learn their property’s approximate market value, including what can and should be done to improve their property’s livability and the likelihood of rental. They’ll also provide any HOA regulations that the property manager will have to adhere to. At this point, a homeowner should weigh whether the property manager has experience with the property type.
When you both agree on the state of the property, the property manager can summarize what they typically include in a lease and the homeowner can supplement what else they want to be put in. A homeowner’s financial health will predict their reliability, but also influence how much they want to charge for the property. This means the property manager needs a general idea of the homeowner’s disposable income from the get-go. A property manager should know if/how the homeowner will make mortgage payments during potential unit vacancies, so there’s a realistic financial timeline in the event of tenant turnover or an eviction.
Align Your Responsibilities and Expectations
At a base level, the property manager needs to keep units full, find reliable residents, handle resident concerns, and pounce on legal issues such as damages and missed payments. The homeowner just needs to be responsive.
That being said, a property manager should never promise more than they’re capable of providing. Most importantly, they should never make strong claims without even seeing the home or meeting the homeowner. It ruins trust and opens the manager up to lawsuits. Here’s how a property manager can start a solid budgeting, planning, and approval process:
- Be honest about how much you expect to charge for rent, as well as any trends in market value. Back it up with data.
- Chart how soon you can lease a property, and stay in constant communication about any cause for gaps.
- Clarify how much your maintenance crews or vendor partners can cost.
- Explain how the homeowner can access documents for up-to-date financial records, applications, and maintenance requests.
Reinforce a Positive Relationship With Tenants
It’s important that both property managers and homeowners maintain their relationship for the sake of the tenant. When there is tension or miscommunication between a homeowner and property manager, the tenant suffers. Customer service increases satisfaction more than any other aspect of a rental agreement, so it’s important the homeowner and property manager are on the same page about responsiveness and efficiency.
With trust and seamless communication, a positive renting experience will encourage tenants to feel a sense of pride and ownership in caring for the property. They’ll have more incentive to make full payments on time and it will increase the likelihood of renewal.
Being a homeowner and property manager can both can be hectic, but they shouldn’t be stressful. Start with the outset that it’s a two-way street. Real Property Management Spokane County is the trusted leader in property management. We prioritize integrity to ensure that our property management partnership is a mutual success. Contact us today to make the rental process of your investment property as smooth as possible.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.