When an owner leaves management of their rental property to a property management company, they are freed-up to pursue other work, business interests and hobbies. For those who choose rental apartment management, it’s important to hire a reputable property management company with a solid strategy for managing rental properties.
Rental apartment management strategies that work
A sound apartment management strategy will have at least the following seven elements:
1. Revenue management policy
A property management company should have a sound policy that addresses how revenue is managed. The policy will outline how rent is collected from tenants, when it is collected, how late rent is handled, and how, when and where income is disbursed to the owner. Ideally, the company uses software that makes it possible for the owner to log in and check on revenue status at any time.
2. Allocations for repairs and maintenance
It is inevitable that repairs and maintenance requests will come in from tenants. Your apartment manager should have a policy that explains how the company creates a fund/bills for repairs and maintenance, how allocations for unexpected repairs and planned maintenance are made, whether you will need to approve all or some maintenance requests, and whether you have the option to use your own maintenance workers or will be using the property manager’s “in-house” team.
3. Risk compliance and reduction
Every type and size of business is governed by local, state and federal regulations. It is no different for real estate investments. Apartment management companies must be knowledgeable about local income property regulations and have a way to keep up with any changes. A property management company may satisfy this need by having a real estate attorney on staff or on call and licensed real estate employees.
4. Customer service
Customer service with a focus on tenant communication infrastructure is an important part of apartment management strategy. Existing and prospective tenants should be able to access the property management company with any questions, concerns, complaints or suggestions. This may be by phone or SMS or online chat through a portal. All incoming communication should be immediately received and responded to in a timely manner.
5. Tenant screening
Apartment blocks house people from various backgrounds. It is important that an apartment management company has a tenant screening process that is detailed to catch prospective problem tenants such as those with a criminal background or those who habitually default on rent payments. The process should be updated to capture new developments like existing tenants being put on an offenders list that they were previously not on. Large firms have an in-house tenant screening professional while smaller firms will outsource this work.
6. Financial management and reporting
Apart from giving an owner real-time revenue reports, an apartment management company should have software that makes it easy to budget and create forecasts and projections. This provides a way to crunch the numbers and plan for remodeling, acquiring new property and other projects. Software also ensures accuracy and accountability.
7. Expense handling
Different payment methods attract different charges. Ideally, a management company will choose the least expensive method and one that is most convenient when it comes to tracking charges. A good option to have is mobile or online payment methods that are always available and easy to integrate to existing software. Utility bills should be handled the same way.
Getting apartment management right
Even a single apartment block houses people from all walks of life. It is important that rental property is managed by a company that can handle tenants and tenancy issues with competence. Asking questions and reviewing apartment management strategies is a good place to start when selecting a property management company.
Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.