Property Management 101 (short version)!
I think it makes sense for this to be our first blog. Lets face it, we are all property managers. Yes you read this correctly, we are all property managers. If you live in a habitable unit and you take care of the space then that makes you a property manager. Now of course some do it as a profession, some do it because they own rental properties, and some do it because they are realtors. So lets dive in.
There is no short cuts here...
When it comes to managing properties as a professional there are no short cuts. A property has to be listed either on MLS or other popular rental websites, it must be shown in a professional manner, accept applications, do proper screening of the candidates, pick most suitable tenant and lease the space. It sounds really simple and I think it is if you stick to the basics and do the basics really well. I have met some property managers that like to skip some steps and always end up with more problems then its needed. For example, you have tons of applicants and are showing tons of units. You decide to go based on your "gut feeling" and give it to applicant named Sally. Sally moves in and after a month rent is late, other tenants complain about garbage left in the common areas by Sally and she also smokes in the unit. Potentially if someone would have checked into Sally's references and background you would have found out that she also had problems smoking in her last unit and was often late on rent. Don't get me wrong background checks are never bullet proof but it does give you a better idea and help you make better decisions. Stick to the basic and not skip over anything.
Circle of Trust...
This is something that makes or breaks a property management business. You need a team of professionals that you trust and you know their work when it comes to maintenance and repairs. That is actually one of the reason why investors should always have a professional property manager because it is expected that you have a list of trusted professional to call on for most repairs and emergencies.
Just like spending your time to find a suitable candidate you want to make sure that you take you time here and do a walk through with the tenant that is moving in or out. This way everyone is on the same page, there are no surprises for anyone, and your tenants know that you are a professional who has certain level of expectations. Always take pictures and everyone should sign a document or if you are using a good software you can do the inspection on your smart phone.
Its not personal but you have a duty to the property owner to ensure notices are given in time and expectations are set properly between yourself and the tenant. Here again I see a lot of tenants who should have been given an N4 (in Ontario it is the form to end the tenancy early due to lack of payment of rent) months ago but the property manager did not want to upset them or thought it could be worked out. When you issue notices you are still able to work out the issues but issuing notices in the proper and expected time frame is extremely important especially if the matter needs to be addressed by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Below is the example of the proper N4 documentation for your reference.
I am not just saying this because I feel we have the best software but get yourself organized and professional from day one by using a good software. A good software will have a tenant portal, an owners portal, it will allow you to see what rents are past due or what to expect on the first of the month, you can store or create all the lease documents, and all the expenses in relation to the property. I cannot stress enough why it is so important to get yourself organized. You will grow your business more if you are not searching for a invoice that you need to email to the property owner.
Build Your Business
This is the key to any business and especially property management. You will need to network and help investors understand why it make sense to have you and your organization looking after their portfolio. The first client is always the hardest. Once you have your first client then your confidence will increase and you will get your method of acquiring clients down. You will get tons of rejection and that is good. From the rejection you will learn the lessons, make better presentations and become a better closer.
Lets bring EZ back to Property Management.
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