If you’ve recently built a multi-unit rental investment property, one of the first things to consider is hiring a property manager or property management company. Hiring a third party to help with day to day gives you time to focus on other aspects of your business, particularly if the multi-unit property in question is large and requires a lot of attention. Managing multi-unit properties takes a lot of work. Below are some important things to consider when hiring property managers.
Having Systems in Place
In order to have a good working relationship with your property manager, having agreed upon processes across all areas of managing the property is crucial. This means setting up things like accounting software to keep track of income and expenses for the property, as well as online payment portals for tenants so you can easily access rent payments should you need to. Having regularly scheduled meetings or calls with your property manager to discuss issues and updates is also smart as it not only ensures accountability, it also establishes a routine.
Maintenance and Renovations
Ensuring your property manager is on top of maintenance and renovations is one of the single most important areas of concern. Since this directly affects the quality of life for both the tenants and the property itself, it is a key aspect of taking care of your investment. Not only does responding quickly to maintenance keep tenants happy and reduce tenant turnover, making steady renovations to your property over time instead of allowing things to pile up, also may pay for itself as it allows you to raise rents incrementally and justifiably.
Late payments, failure of tenants to pay, and evictions are all realities of owning rental properties. While they hopefully do not happen often, having a property manager who is experienced and well versed in the legal aspects of property management is extremely important as they are often your representative in housing court. Making sure they work with lawyers who are experts in property law and landlord/tenant law is also important, as is having procedures in place before legal action needs to be taken with issues like evictions, collections, or court hearings.
At the end of the day, your property manager represents you and is the day to day point of contact for your tenants, particularly if they live on site. This is why having a good rapport with the community and dealing with issues in professional but compassionate ways is crucial. Most issues that come up between tenants can and should be dealt with personally, without having to resort to anyone taking legal action - things like noise complaints, garbage or personal items left in common areas, cleanliness etc. According to real estate consultant Theresa Bradley-Banta, asking for reviews can also help with community relations. She suggests, “If your manager (or you) receives a compliment from one of your residents ask them if they would be willing to share it online. And let them know you plan to share it with the rest of the management team.”
Furthermore, having your property manager set up an online portal or page for tenants to share concerns, ideas, and plan neighborhood events is an excellent way to foster community relations. It also creates a sense of pride and responsibility among the community. Multi-unit properties can be very rewarding when managed properly.