It’s no surprise that more people are looking to get into third-party residential property management. The field itself is growing, with a predicted 10% increase in employment, and becoming a property manager without the financial investment associated with actual property ownership appeals to many. That said, if you’re just starting out or are struggling with knowing how to grow your property management business, there are some mistakes you’ll need to watch out for. By working with property management consultants and avoiding these pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful business.
Mistake: Failing to Screen Properly
Tenant screening will be among your many responsibilities as a third-party property manager. If they feel they can trust their instincts or simply don’t want to go through all that trouble, property managers will choose not to conduct a full screening process, despite the risks. Unfortunately, assuming tenants will be honest on their rental applications can end up costing you big time. Therefore, you’ll need to run a criminal background check, confirm their employment status, and run a credit report to do your job properly. Otherwise, you may end up with a tenant who refuses to pay rent or who could present a safety risk.
Mistake: Letting Bias Impact Tenant Choices
Yes, you definitely need to screen potential tenants. But when you do, you need to follow all laws that are in place. Federal fair housing laws dictate that you cannot base housing decisions on someone’s race, religion, gender, marital status, age, disability, or whether or not they are pregnant or have children. This applies not only to your screening process but also to your advertising. You cannot target ads to only a specific demographic (i.e., like a specific religion or gender). You also cannot make certain applicants meet more restrictive guidelines than others based on bias, nor can you treat tenants unequally in any way.
Mistake: Putting Off Maintenance
Even if you’re not acting as a “DIY landlord,” you may still need to complete some basic maintenance tasks to save money for the property owner. Maintenance can cost a lot of time and money, depending on the scenario, but keep in mind that fixing it sooner rather than later will save on both. You’ll also need to remember that quick response to service requests will help ensure tenants stay on (and have incentive to pay their rent on time) and will help you with future property listings. Your property management consultants may be able to help you come up with a plan to help you manage all of the residential properties in your care to meet tenant standards without sacrificing in other areas.
Mistake: Incomplete Ad Listings
When you’re trying to attract tenants to a vacant property, your property management consultants will tell you that your advertising tactics matter. Most likely, you’ll need to have a mix of paid ads with free listings to reach the widest audience in your area and stay on-budget. But in order to be effective in your listings, you need to show and tell. Vague listings for residences simply won’t cut it anymore. In the digital age, most people won’t give much consideration to a property listing with bad photos or descriptions with no wow factor or missing information. Your property management consultants can help ensure that you know exactly what to include in your listings right from the get-go. That way, your vacant properties won’t stay that way for long.
Often, being an effective third-party property manager means knowing what to do and what not to do. Whether you’re brand new to property management or you simply need some guidance to take your business to the next level, we’re here to help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Rent Bridge today.