We stumbled upon this article by Jennifer McCready of Netintegrity that is definitely worth a read!
Try as we might, let’s face it – we all make mistakes. Add to this fact the fast pace and multi-faceted nature of the property management industry and your risks increase tenfold. The good news is, while we certainly can’t provide a magic formula to eliminate all errors, there are certain mistakes that are more common, and therefore easier to plan for. Here are five such mistakes and some helpful tips on how you can avoid them.
Ignoring Maintenance Requests – Of course, some issues that pop up don’t require immediate action, but maintenance requests, no matter how routine, should be addressed in a timely manner. Not only does this help in terms of keeping property owners and tenants happy, but it can also help prevent future problems that might develop down the road. A leaky faucet, for instance, could result in a costly flood if not addressed. Property and maintenance management software can help you stay on top of incoming requests so they don’t fall through the cracks, leaving you with an even bigger problem.
Hiring Unskilled Contractors or DIY to Save Money – Contractors that know what they’re doing don’t come cheap – but if you try to cut corners by hiring someone that doesn’t have the experience and know-how to get the job done right, you’ll probably end up spending more in the end. Doing it yourself may also seem like a good idea, but remember – time is money. Even if you know what you’re doing, the time you’re wasting fixing up your properties could be better spent on other important tasks, like growing your business.
Failing to Screen Tenants – We’ve all faced that crunch where we want to get our vacant properties rented as quickly as possible, but rushing someone in without doing the appropriate background and credit checks could result in a much bigger nightmare down the road. As tempting as it might be to cut corners, thorough tenant screening is well worth the time and expense, and will help you find qualified, loyal and long-term residents rather than fly-by-night renters or worse – an eviction waiting to happen.
Allowing Tenants to Handle Their Own Repairs – This is another temptation that many property managers give in to – to their detriment. Even if the tenant happens to be skilled at whatever maintenance duty they’re tackling, if something were to happen and the tenant injured themselves in the process, you could be on the hook. You also run the risk that the tenant does a shoddy job, ultimately causing more damages and an added expense for you down the road. Stick to hiring professionals.
Not Keeping Adequate Records–Record keeping plays a very important role in successful property management. Without it, you or the property owner could face fines and penalties for a number of reasons should you face an external audit. And remember – record keeping is about more than just accounting and finances. You should also be properly recording things like service and warranty history, so you can stay on top of all of your property maintenance tasks. The right property management software solution can help with this.
Keeping up with the chaotic role of property manager can be a challenge, and unfortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes to occur. By knowing what to watch for and planning ahead, you will be much less likely to succumb to these mistakes, thereby improving your success rate in the long run.