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Top Ways to Improve Property Management

Ways to Improve Property Management - Real Estate property models
Cynthia Cline
Cynthia Cline
December 16, 2022

Property managers have a varied, complex job that includes overseeing a team of in-house office staff, maintenance workers, outside contractors, and more. On top of all that, they must continually look for ways to improve property management as it relates to profitability and other critical business metrics.

Improvement often means finding ways to streamline processes and reduce unnecessary work using software and other methods. Using the right strategies can achieve your desired results while reducing the amount of crisis management and other issues that typically crop up daily.

If you are searching for specific ways to increase profitability, work efficiency, and more, check out these top ways to improve property management.

Put Rent Collection on Autopilot

Charging rent for a property

Collecting late rent can be time-consuming, uncomfortable, and challenging. It's one of the most common landlord-tenant disputes, and while it might be due to forgetfulness, it's also a breach of the tenant's lease contract. While most tenants will pay rent on time each month, the property manager cannot pay bills on time if tenants constantly pay late. Additionally, late payments cost in terms of bank fees, collection fees, and court costs if the situation requires legal action.

To reduce late payments and the administrative burden of collecting, use a system that automates sending invoices before the due date, sends reminders once tenants fall behind, and triggers another message with the next steps on accounts that remain overdue. Software made for this purpose can save hours of personnel time while improving the timeliness of rent payments and keeping cash flow on target.

Improve Tenant Screening Process

Bad tenants cost money. Whether it's late rent payments, a damaged unit, constant repairs, or behavior that causes other tenants to become dissatisfied, every property manager can benefit from improved screening processes to find the best tenants. A bad tenant can keep units off the market longer, adding missed months of rental income to the damages.

A tenant screening checklist can ensure that all bases are covered with each prospective tenant. At a minimum, ask for proof of income to ensure the potential tenant can comfortably cover the monthly rent. Verify the individual's employment, run background and credit checks, and talk to any previous landlords to get a better feel for the prospective tenant's character and reliability. Follow up on any other references provided to cover all aspects of the tenant screening.

Keep On Top of Maintenance

Man changing the lightbulbs

Performing routine maintenance is the best way to keep up a property and avoid or at least put off more significant or expensive repairs. It costs much less to maintain a property proactively than to respond to emergencies.

To keep rental units in good repair, schedule routine checks with tenants to address issues and look for any other problems that could be brewing. Regular inspections can prevent unhappy tenants who may expect compensation for non-working items or move out because they couldn't get their needed repairs addressed.

Maintenance includes the property's grounds, building exteriors, parking lots, and common areas, aside from regular gardening and tree maintenance, schedule maintenance for stormwater drainage systems, and other maintenance for outdoor spaces.

For example, fallen leaf debris often ends up in stormwater systems, which clogs them up and causes property flooding during rainstorms. Scheduled maintenance that includes a stormwater cleanout service can keep the property's stormwater management drains and pipes clear year-round to prevent floods and related problems.

Improve Tenant Communications

Tenants feel important and valued when the property manager stays in communication regularly. This action reduces tenant turnover by making them feel appreciated and supported. Tenants will likely respond in kind, making the property manager aware of issues more quickly, making this a win-win for both sides.

Property managers can invest in software that provides a tenant portal to minimize the time it takes to answer questions and communicate. A tenant portal can also give the option to accept rent payments online, lodge repair requests, schedule unit maintenance, and provide vital information for tenants to access as needed.

Use Property Management Software

One of the highest-return ways to improve property management involves software.

Many companies have developed task-based software to take the load off, property managers. Aside from the aforementioned tenant portal, this software was designed with property managers in mind.

The utility of property management software could reduce the number of required administrative staff, which helps improve the bottom line. An automated system can help do the work of screening new tenants. It can also improve the ease of bookkeeping and the quality and accuracy of data.

Some software modules handle and track work orders and other maintenance, provide the tenant portal, and act as a concierge system to give benefits like package tracking and incident reports.

The software can be as simple as a free app with basic services or a more extensive (and expensive) package. Fortunately, the market has a variety of software solutions for all types and sizes of properties.

Document Routine Work

Documenting work routines reveals where the property manager spends most of their time and which tasks could be streamlined or approached differently to save time and energy.

Putting work routines on paper in the form of checklists, for example, also improves the quality and consistency of work tasks. It becomes much easier for any staff to fill in specific jobs if they have a documented process that the team follows consistently. Some examples include steps to screen tenants, do showings, schedule service calls with outside contractors, and set up listings for vacant units.

Retain Tenants Proactively

Landlord visiting the tenant

One of the best things a property manager can do is find effective ways to retain long-term tenants. Many factors are beyond the property manager's control, such as a tenant's job changes, family size increase, monthly income reduction, and other life changes. However, property managers have many different factors within their control to incentivize tenants.

It helps to keep ongoing tabs on the market prices for comparable units and charge fair market rents. Tenants also love quick responses to maintenance or repair requests. Offer amenities that tenants want, and solicit and respond to tenant feedback. Some property managers reward tenants and encourage lease renewals with a restaurant or movie gift card at six-month or 12-month rental anniversaries.

Put Your Stormwater System Maintenance on Autopilot

Property management involves a never-ending task list, and it's worth the investment to implement new ways to increase efficiency and keep tenants satisfied. Many tools exist for ways to improve property management.

If you are looking for storm drain companies to improve or take over your property's stormwater system maintenance, CatchAll Environmental has you covered. We offer a complete maintenance system and so much more. Call us to find out more today!