Checklist, photos, inspections, utility turn-on's and turn-offs... yeah it all adds up. Personally, we think everyone should manage their own property at least once to really get a true idea of what's all involved. It'll be a great learning experience you'll never forget 😉
Whether a professional company is doing this or you're a DIY'er, here's what needs to happen. Make any needed repairs, (possibly paint), a VERY GOOD thorough cleaning, carpet cleaning. THEN, comes the photos and videos of the property. Don't show images that aren't current. It makes ZERO sense to waste a solid interested prospect to only show up and realize the photo's were from 5 years ago and totally different from the now. After that it's time to MARKET the property for rent. Then (hopefully) comes a flood of emails and phone calls with interested individuals who want to see the property. After a showing comes the application and screening. Don't forget to verify all income, job and rental history, credit, criminal and sexual offender screening. If everything passes screening, great! Time for preparing and signing all the lease docs. If they don't pass the screening, be sure to follow Federal Laws and send the appropriate denial letters. Yea, fun stuff.
Communicate early and communicate often. Let's face it, the VAST MAJORITY of our problems in life come from a lack of understanding which stems from a lack or rather poor communication. SO... we treat our residents right. And by that, it simply means listening and hearing them out. It doesn't mean agreeing with them. But the reason over 60% of our residents renew each year is hopefully because we've done something right!
Who wants to be on call 24/7 to take that call? You don't think of it until it happens. The reality is THINGS HAPPEN. They do. It doesn't mean a tenant is destroying your property (but a deer jumping through the front window could).
City Inspections... a necessary evil in some jurisdictions (Grand Rapids, Allendale and others). But it's got to be done. A good manager will be on top of these for you. If you've got to beg and ask them to be on top of these... well then let's just say you should keep looking.
Maintenance happens. Whether we like it or not, things are going to continue to break and wear out. That's-just-the-way-it-is. Murphy's law at it's finest. Unhandled maintenance requests = unhappy tenants. What's not that important to you just may be a deal breaker for your tenant at lease renewal.
Yep. That's totally a part of what we do for sure. And honestly should be a huge relief off your shoulders. It really just comes down to treating people like human beings. That doesn't mean giving in or being soft; it means being engaged. That's who we are. Try it out for yourself, reach out to us with a question and see for yourself firsthand how we interact.
It's also about doing things right. Cutting corners is NOT what we believe in; if you're looking for that we're not going to be a good match. Sometimes doing the right thing isn't always in anyones financial best interest. It's just not. But by fixing things correctly when they do break and by treating our residents fairly and respectfully, it tends to foster really great long term residents.
We conduct 99% (or something really stinkin' close to it) of all our financial transactions electronically. Residents pay rent online via ACH or Credit Card. Property owners get their funds ACH direct deposited on the 10th and 20th of every month. EVERYTHING just happens FASTER.
First you acquire the property. Then you do the work to get it rent-ready. And hopefully very soon thereafter you have a tenant moving in. It's easy to forget about after that, but that could very well be an expensive mistake. Check-in on your property. Do periodic inspections. That's the best way to catch minor issues before they become much bigger problems.
One of the really cool things about today is the tech we all have access to. But what seems simple at first can all of a sudden become a much more intensive process than you expected. Craigslist, Hotpads, Rentlinx, ShowMetheRent, emails, SMS and on and on. Yeah, it actually does add up to a separate job in itself really quickly!
We're not attorneys, but man have we signed a ton of leases and other agreements over the past 10 years! Seriously, we're talking thousands and thousands of docs. That's why we have solid attorneys on our team who we reach out to whenever there's a new landlord related issue coming down the pipeline. HERE'S A TIP: Make sure you're leases and agreements are written to confirm to local laws. Yea, that generic lease you found online is cool until you have to try and defend it in your local court of law.
Ahh, the details. Six (6) month's of paying for a tenants water bills just flat out sucks. Don't do that. Water/Sewer, Electric, Gas and Internet all add up to a costly "ouch" if you don't see to it that the tenants have transferred these into their names. Let's reiterate that one more time THEIR NAMES. Not yours, THEIRS. Transfer the utilities and be dang sure to "Inspect what you Expect" and be sure the utilities have all been transferred. Yep, we've been bitten by this mistake for sure. When we screw up (not too often, but hey we're human!) we eat the cost for our clients. We think it's just simply the right thing to do.
What gets tracked gets done! Follow the numbers and the numbers will tell you a story ;). Clean, accurate financial reports are super important. It's your GPS on your route to your financial goals. Inspect what you expect.
Wether you're a tenant paying rent or a property owner receiving your rents, you want to be processing these electronically. Near instantaneous updates and notifications are the standard. Automate everything you can. What does it truly cost you to take a paper check to the bank and deposit? It's more than you think.
Worried about evictions? That's legit... or is it? Well it depends. For instance, we've only had 2, that's right 2 (out of well over 1,000+ tenants) so at Access, we feel REALLY good about the tenants we place into properties. HOWEVER, the reality is that LIFE HAPPENS. We get it. So that's why we offer an eviction protection plan that costs less than $10/mo but covers you in case the inevitable happens.
Aww Taxes. So not too many people talk about how sexy end-of-year tax documents are (um... because they're not) but they're a necessary evil as well. It's got to be done. A good property management company will have these documents to you in the first two weeks of January. Seriously, if you don't have all your tax documents by Jan 31, you should seriously question someone as to why. There's just no reason today.
So yeah, we're a little geeky and take this whole "Property Management" thing pretty seriously! We love what we do and we're pretty damn good at it too. Own Properties? Life is too short to struggle with doing it yourself or a bad management company. See how it could be.