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by Ivan Widjaya
Running an apartment property or complex is a demanding yet rewarding occupation. You’ll often find property managers (also known as facilities management administrators or apartment managers) at the head of such enterprises. Apartment managers are tasked with managing a landlord’s obligation, sometimes acting as a landlord themselves. Their responsibilities include managing financial matters, enforcing leases, and preparing performance reports. Facilities management administrators find success by ensuring effective daily functions and meeting financial purposes.
People across the United States are moving to rental locations in larger numbers. Approximately 37 percent of renters live in apartment buildings. This is about 39 million people in total. As a result, managing property opportunities are rising with these growing numbers. Approximately 846,318 people in the United States are employed in the U.S. property management industry as of 2020. For those new to the field of property management, here are five best practices to follow.
1. Make sure your property is properly equipped with tools and hardware
With running an apartment complex you’ll want to make sure that you have the appropriate tools and hardware on hand for possible repairs. Your maintenance staff will need to be equipped with the best tools needed to get the job done in a timely fashion. Some emergency situations pop up which require that the work be done as soon as possible.
Having your workers equipped with the right tools in such cases is mandatory. Some common maintenance issues which crop up include leaks and water damage, HVAC repairs, plumbing issues, pest control, appliance repairs, door locks, window locks, toilet repairs, and hot water repairs. There are a variety of tools which you’ll need to provide your maintenance workers to take on tasks like these.
Some of these tools include hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, a tape measure, a flashlight, a utility multi-tool, duct tape, a wrench set, an Allen wrench set, and a toolbox. These essential tools are ones which you should provide to your maintenance staff on day one. In some cases, you’ll have some workers who might provide their own tools of the trade, but it’s best to have these items available just in case. In addition to this, you want to ensure that you have the best hardware for your apartment complex.
When people move into an apartment complex, they want to ensure that their location has been constructed with the best hardware available. This can include a set of commercial hollow metal doors leading to the onsite laundry facility and gymnasium, or automated security gates. For customers who might be paying the normal average rent of $962, they’d hate to see that any of these pieces of hardware aren’t working at the apartment complex. Having the right tools and hardware for your apartment complex or property is a good practice to follow when working and starting your career as a new property manager.
2. Incorporate new technology at your property
As with many other facets of life, technology is fast becoming a big part of the apartment living experience. If you manage a property that is older, new tenants are possibly going to want such new tech to be installed. Some smart apartments come replete with a host of features such as voice assistants, smart thermostats, smart locks, and smart lighting. Features such as these provide a renter a sense of security and ease of life which they might not be able to find at other apartments or properties.
Many smart apartment properties also include “on-demand” amenities through such services as Uber, Amazon, dog walkers, and apartment cleaners. One example of a helpful piece of technology that can be utilized by property managers is an apartment building intercom. This device allows a tenant or property manager to stream live video of people at the entryway of the building, and can also be used to open doors from any smartphone. Functions such as these allow a renter to get their deliveries on time, and not miss visitors.
Other pieces of technology that you can add to your apartment properties include online rental payments, a virtual doorman solution, property monitoring technology, and financial reporting technology to help you better run your property.
3. Be as communicative as possible and don’t procrastinate
Running a property can be extremely daunting at times. You want to do your best to provide your tenants with the best service possible, taking their needs and considerations into account with each matter that you take on. In order to do this successfully, you need to first do your best to communicate well with your residents.
Having openness when it comes to hearing your tenants helps them to realize that their concerns are being taken into consideration. Having a property manager who doesn’t seem to be listening can dissuade residents, and make them feel as if they aren’t being taken care of. This is customer service at its most basic level. You are in fact providing a service to the customer (a great living experience), which the renter is paying for.
Hear them out when they bring concerns to your leasing office. Listen when they bring ideas on how to improve the apartment complex or community. In-person visits can help with communication, but you can also utilize your property’s website to ensure that such interaction continues. Use your website to upload maintenance request forms and suggestion or feedback forms allowing residents to have another way to bring feedback to you.
When you get maintenance requests and feedback or suggestions about the property, don’t procrastinate on any type of needed actions. When you put things off, it doesn’t help anyone and puts a pall over your leasing office and you, specifically. As soon as you get a maintenance service request, send a maintenance worker out as soon as time allows. If you’re located in Oregon and need a home appliance (a Whirlpool dishwasher, or an indoor washing machine, for example) repaired by qualified professionals, send that request to companies like Oregon Appliance Repair as soon as you get a request to have this done. Procrastinating can hurt any chances of building goodwill with the tenants of a property that you’re managing.
4. Stay as organized as possible
Property management requires a lot of planning and scheduling. By doing this, you can make sure that you will be able to stay on top of everything that happens on the property, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. One way to do this is to make a schedule and create templates or playbooks to follow throughout your workday. Since you’ll need to tackle a lot of tasks throughout your day, it’s best that you do this sooner rather than later.
Create a database that stores your most important information. Follow that up by creating templates for activities that you’ll have to complete such as inspection checklists and rent collection. Since your property might have unique needs, it’s best to try to be flexible when organizing your property manager duties.
5. Don’t Panic
Living in this COVID-19 environment, there’s often a desire to look at the situation and panic. Evictions have become a bit more frequent as people are suffering through economic hardships. Your property has to enforce cleaning standards at properties to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t spread. These issues and a host of normal apartment management issues can make managing a property daunting.
When this begins to happen, take a deep breath and take a moment to relax. If you can afford to take a couple of days off, do just that. But remember, you have the training, the experience, and drive to perform exceptionally as a property manager. Assess what the issue might be, figure out a solution, and keep it moving forward. Things seem a bit brutish right now, but in the long run, you will be able to deal with whatever comes your way at the property you manage.