Top Three Pitfalls of Property Managers – Everywhere!
Last year we shared The Top Three Pitfalls for New York City property managers. This year, we’re reviewing common issues property managers face from coast to coast – click on the tabs for a deeper look at the issues, and how to prevent them!
Vendor communication channels
You need to adjust security guard shifts because of the extended holiday weekend. Your elevator needs to be inspected by a specific date in December, but you’re finding it difficult to track down your annual inspector. You have a last-minute heating and plumbing issue that needs to be resolved immediately, but your repairmen were unclear about the location where you needed assistance.
Think about how many members of your team need attention at one time. It’s your job to communicate and solve issues with your entire team, but if something falls through the cracks, your property may suffer the consequences. As the property manager, you’ll be left to clean up the mess of unhappy tenants, escalating repair costs for issues that weren’t handled immediately, and wasted time. It’s imperative to know exactly who is taking care of what, and when they’ve met specific milestones – and we’re here to help.
It’s easy to lose track of your staff and vendors. In today’s environment, where property managers are directly responsible for tenant turnover and tenant satisfaction, you can’t afford not to know what your extended team is working on.
Regularly meet with your team – external and internal – in person. Creating a routine enforces proactiveness, deadlines, and expectations.
Keep track of what your team is working on. Who is doing what and where? How much are you spending from your budget on routine or unexpected repairs, or yearly vendor retainers or contracts? Do you have updated insurance certificates for each vendor (we’ll get to this more in #3)? Always be on top of everything your team is up to.
Never lose sight of milestones. Unsure if your team is thinking about long term goals and deadlines? Keep milestones on track by sending out email reminders and scheduling regular check-ins to make sure all deadlines will be met
Tenant communication and relationships
You get a late-night email that a tenant in your building has an urgent issue.You go back and forth on email to schedule a time to repair something for a tenant. Tenant requests pile up and can easily slip through the cracks.
Sound familiar? Keeping up with tenants’ needs can be demanding, and when you have 1,000 things to do, you don’t want to create the impression that you’re not on top of their requests.
Making an effort to create positive and established relationships with your tenants can save you the stress of miscommunications later.
Meet with all of your tenants in person– especially when first introducing yourself! This creates a stronger, more authentic bond. In-person meetings also allow for you to get on the same page regarding expectations and how your tenants like to communicate (phone, email, text, etc.). Working the way your tenants work is key to keeping them happy, which means renewed leases (happy boss!) and fewer complaints (happy you!).
Establish protocols. It’s important to be transparent with your tenants about your expectations and procedures throughout the duration of their lease. Are there regular tenant/management meetings? Is there an online portal for tenants to submit requests? What is your SLA (Service Level Agreement) for how you will respond to requests? When is rent due? When are lease renewals sent out? Lay out tentative dates and expectations with your tenants ASAP to avoid miscommunication.
Create a request process. Creating a plan to handle tenant requests can ultimately save you time, money, and stress. A great way to handle complaints immediately is by using an automated compliance plan that updates you as soon as a complaint is filed. This will allow you to quickly streamline external communication processes with vendors, supers, and on-site staff who can handle it right away (or at least communicate that it is being handled).
Be sure to recap after an issue comes up. Could it have been prevented? How? Are there procedures in place to stop it from happening again? Ultimately, the faster you know about the complaint, the more likely you are to avoid tenant dissatisfaction or escalated repair costs
Shuffling through piles of paperwork will get you lost
Permits. Certifications. Insurance. Inspection Logs. Despite many teams’ ongoing efforts to bring property management into the 21st century, the massive amount of paperwork involved is still a big problem.
Having endless filing cabinets or storage boxes makes it nearly impossible to locate what you need at a moment’s notice. The last thing you want when an inspector comes around or a due date is approaching is a flurry of documents as you try to find the record document you’re looking for.
You’re dealing with a lot of information associated with your buildings. That information becomes useless when you can’t easily locate it.
Digitize your desk – scan and store critical paperwork in your company’s online network. There’s multiple benefits to this: first, critical due dates and expiration triggers are captured, and get sent to you ahead of time, as opposed to after they’ve lapsed; second, any member of your team will be able to access what they need at any time – even if you’re on a much-deserved vacation! You’ll no longer deal with stacks of paperwork, and everything you need will be at your fingertips.
Keeping important info on post-its, or creating recurring calendar invites is an outdated way of doing things because it’s not scalable, and takes up way too much of your time! We hear all the time from property managers that when “urgent” issues come up, it’s often because a due date slipped through the cracks, or they just found out that something expired and needs to be updated ASAP. Digitizing your desk keeps your information organized, easily accessible, and overall simplifies your life.