Property managers have a long list and various tasks on their plates on any given day. Burnout in this job happens often, so the more tools a property manager (PM) can leverage to accomplish essential tasks, the better the property and the job turnover result.
The best property management tools range from software to outsourcing partners to advanced education and anything else that can reduce labor costs, increase occupancy, and generate additional profit. The right tools for the job vary based on the property's size, clientele type, and other characteristics.
While not an exhaustive list, many useful tools fall into two general categories: Software and outsourcing partners. These methods help manage a myriad of tasks. They also share a common thread of taking work off the project manager's list so they can spend more time managing the overall effort instead of being stuck in the trenches.
Best Software Tools for Property Management
Software packages and apps designed specifically for property managers can make workflows more efficient. The software can take the load off whether you manage a commercial or residential property, hundreds of units, or a handful.
Some of the best property management tools, such as apps for specific tasks, are low-cost or offer basic features in a free version. There are too many offerings to name specific products, but the following list identifies how these tools can help reduce your workload.
Automated Accounting and More
With a limited staff, property managers must ensure that all financial transactions are correctly recorded. This financial information forms the basis of the annual budget, financial statements, and financial performance indicators.
Accounting software for a standard business can work, but several companies offer software explicitly tailored to the needs of property managers. In addition to storing financial information, running payroll, and formulating reports, this specialized software can track vacancies, tenant details, units, and information on property maintenance.
One software package can reduce the administrative staff needed to track and manage this data while improving the accuracy, visibility, and timeliness of financial reports and insights.
Property owners are always looking to maintain a steady pipeline of potential tenants since unoccupied units mean less rental revenue. This challenge keeps property managers looking for ongoing ways to proactively market the property while maintaining a high retention rate for existing tenants.
Proactive marketing means the property is actively promoted to build relationships in the community and referral sources so that the PM has candidates available as soon as a unit becomes available.
Popular social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram have become cost-effective ways to manage a solid marketing campaign successfully. PMs can update the property's pages with news on renovations, technology updates, and other features that attract a fresh stream of potential tenants.
A Simplified Leasing Process
Some PMs work with leasing agents, and keeping the lease process simple makes it easier for all parties. A simple shared online document can list all the relevant details for your property's current openings. You can also upload a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) with answers. Otherwise, you will likely lose agents or clients if it takes a long time to get answers. With all the necessary information, a leasing agent could sign lease contracts in a few days.
Property managers can also use software to track all the details of existing leases. The list of trackable items includes rental rate increases, critical details of lease contracts, and expirations. These functions may exist as part of a more comprehensive software package that handles communications with tenants, tracking late and on-time rent payments, the status of lease applications, managing maintenance requests and activities, and maintaining accurate property details.
Specialized Software Resources
Whether you manage a large or small property, they say, "there's an app for that!" Some offer pay-as-you-go services for conducting background checks, eviction reports, and income estimates. Other software app tools offer tracking, checklists, and more for property inspection, rent applications, lease templates, and tenant screening.
A property manager can only be in one place at a time, and software and apps increase their ability to respond faster to tenants and prospects. These tools keep vacancy rates low and real estate owners and investors happy.
Best Non-Technology Tools for Property Management
Not all of the best property management tools are technology-based, as some aspects do not lend themselves to automation. Instead, outsourcing the tasks to various firms can keep costs down while receiving the benefits of an on-call workforce, specific expertise, depth of knowledge, and a reduced workload for the PM.
Upgrades, Technology, and Renovations
Tenants love newly upgraded properties that have all the latest features. Trend-conscious flooring and countertops, upgrades for kitchen appliances, motion-detecting light switches, and other smart technology make a difference. These features could attract a whole new demographic and justify rent increases.
These improvements can also increase retention since existing tenants will feel they're getting more for their money rather than having to relocate to enjoy upgraded features. Happier tenants increase the positive reputation of your property, which can help secure more tenants. It's a win all around.
Outsource Routine Maintenance
More PMs are outsourcing maintenance work than ever before. Tenants are much happier when their maintenance requests get addressed quickly and effectively. However, property maintenance involves many other tasks aside from keeping the units in tip-top shape. The grounds and property infrastructure also require specialized, knowledgeable care. These needs include services from gardening and landscaping to professional arborists to maintain the trees.
Outsourced maintenance also includes stormwater drainage from the property and emergency service providers for urgent issues such as a flooded parking garage or a plugged-up storm drain threatening to send water into bottom-floor units. If the property needs plumbing services such as pipe jetting, it's unlikely they will have the equipment or knowledgeable staff to do the work.
Maintaining the right personnel to do these types of work is often expensive, challenging, and unwarranted because the maintenance does not happen with enough frequency to warrant keeping specialized staff on the payroll. Outsourcing is an excellent tool for PMs to hire the expertise they need only when needed.
Take Time to Train Your Employees
Well-trained employees are a great tool for any PM. Whether it's staff or contract workers that perform work on an ongoing basis, training and good communication set the workers and the PM up for success. Training programs can include receptionists, maintenance professionals, and administrative personnel such as bookkeepers.
Providing your staff with proper and adequate training enables them to work more effectively and independently. Many PMs are so busy that it feels like a burden to take time out and invest in training. However, cleaning up messes from employees who needed help understanding their assignments is even more time-consuming.
Software and outsourced solution providers continue to offer new and improved ways to manage real estate rental properties. While property management work can be done in-house, many successful property owners and managers have seen improved tenant retention, higher rents, increased cash flow, and more robust profits by using better tools like those mentioned here.
Outsource Your Maintenance and Take Advantage of Our Expertise
Catchall Environmental has you covered if your property needs to automate its maintenance, such as its stormwater management system. Need to stay in compliance with your municipality's regulations? CatchAll Environmental has experts who understand regulatory requirements and can complete the required paperwork.
Take advantage of the company's complete stormwater maintenance program to help put your stormwater system maintenance on auto-pilot. We use a client portal and proactive communication to keep you informed. We even add to your bottom line by helping you to qualify for any available maintenance credit programs in your area.
Keep your property from suffering the effects of a poorly maintained stormwater system. Free up your time, add peace of mind, and call Catchall Environmental to discuss your stormwater system maintenance today.