Property management is often the heartbeat of a real estate agency, and property managers play a critical role in both looking after properties and landlords, as well as managing tenants.
The property manager often finds themselves in a position where they are working closely with both tenants and landlords to find solutions and ensure everyone is happy. This isn’t always an easy thing to pull off. But it all starts with knowing what your responsibilities are and then managing both the workload and the expectations of everyone involved.
Managing the Property
At the end of the day, a property owner hires a property manager because they are an expert in the field. Landlords hand over the responsibility to save them time and also because a property manager can do a better job.
However, the property manager is ultimately responsible for a range of different jobs.
Ensuring the Property Is Rentable
On the surface, any property is rentable; however, there are various laws that differ from state to state that the property manager must understand. They will need to know if a property is going to be compliant with these laws and regulations and, if not, what is required to get the property up to standard.
A lot of the regulations revolve around safety and making sure the tenants won’t be in any danger. Things like complying with laws around fire alarms, pool fencing, and fuse boxes are just some examples of what a property manager is required to know about. They also need to know all the laws around leases and tenant rights in what is an ever-changing area.
Marketing the Property
One of the key roles of the property manager is to make sure the property is marketed effectively to get the best possible result for the owner. At the end of the day, the property owner is the one who employs the property manager (or the agency), and they are tasked with the job of getting the highest rent and best tenant.
Some of the things that will need to happen include organizing a photographer to take pictures of the property. Understanding what a fair market rent might be and then listing the property on various listing portals.
They also have to show prospective tenants through homes and then come up with a shortlist of suitable candidates.
The property manager also needs to be able to screen the candidates and ensure they have a good track record as a renter, have the income or funds to rent the property, and generally be a good quality tenant for the property owner. This also involves running various checks on the tenant and contacting previous rental property managers to see if they were good tenants.
Finally, property managers are in charge of preparing the lease documents, getting them signed, and handling all the small nitty-gritty details.
Maintaining the Property
Looking after a rental property does take both time and work. Many owners outsource this work to the property manager so they need to effectively manage all the issues that come up with a property over time.
The most basic things include making sure the property is in good order and all appliances like dishwashers or air conditioners are working. They will also make sure there are no problems with things like plumbing or electrical.
If any issues arise, the property manager is tasked with finding the right trades to fix the problem, obtaining quotes, and then consulting with the homeowner on how they want to proceed.
Tenants will regularly get in contact with the property manager and ask them to deal with maintenance issues, so they need to be on top of the communication with the tenants and ensure work is carried out as soon as possible.
Another key element of property management is ensuring the tenants are maintaining the property well.
Typically they will conduct regular property inspections and will often ask the tenant to make sure they are looking after the property.
The property manager will regularly check in with the landlord to show them the condition of the property with the help of reports and photos taken during inspections.
Another key task of the property manager is to conduct inspections upon entry and exit. Tenants are required to return the property in the same condition in which they entered the property, and inspection reports can ensure this is done properly.
Property owners ultimately rent out their property to receive the rental income in return. Property managers are tasked with making sure the rent is paid regularly and chasing up tenants if it is not.
If a tenant falls behind in paying the rent, the property manager needs to communicate with them and find a solution on how they can get back on track. If they can’t, then they might be forced to evict the tenant and manage the legal proceedings. This can also happen if the tenants aren’t maintaining the property to the standard laid out in the lease.
Over time, the property manager should also be making sure that rents are staying in line with the market. They need to regularly review the lease and stay on top of changes in the market.
One of the frustrations of landlords is that tenants regularly move out. The property manager needs to make sure that this process occurs as seamlessly as possible. If the tenant is looking to break the lease, then they will need to find and screen a new tenant in keeping with the lease agreement.
At the end of a lease, the property manager must make sure the tenant leaves the property in the same condition they found it. If there are issues, the property manager might need to deduct costs from the outgoing tenant's bond.
Finding New Properties to Manage
A good property manager might also be required to help generate new properties to manage. This can involve liaising with the sales team and preparing presentations for potential landlords.
This requires that the property manager has a good grasp of the state of the current market, including finding comparable rental properties and devising a good marketing plan to help the owner find a high-quality tenant.
A good property manager is a valuable asset to any property owner. They make their lives easier. They also need to be good communicators and able to understand the challenges that life as a tenant can bring and be prepared to work with them.
While property managers do charge fees, good property managers will pay for themselves by ensuring rents are paid on time and at the market rate, that the quality of tenant will be far higher and that the property will be maintained to a higher standard.
A good property manager can be a win for all parties involved.