There is no cookie-cutter approach or ‘blueprint’ that property managers can follow to become successful at their job. But there are a few basic habits that are common to all successful property managers and landlords.
We’ve rounded up our list of the most powerful habits that will ensure optimal profitability and efficiency.
Being Proactive About Communication
This is a huge one and it's fairly obvious why.
All property managers must develop a two-way communication channel with their tenants. They must follow common sense rules about professional communication.
Failure to communicate with tenants can result in problems for both tenants and landlords. It also goes without saying that you should provide updates to your tenants about new developments in a timely manner.
Communication plays a big role in maintenance as well. Once the tenant moves in, you should provide them with instructions on how to submit maintenance requests. Once they have filed a maintenance request, you should keep them informed about the contractor’s schedule to prevent any confusion.
Maintaining Proper Documentation
Effective property management boils down to how good you are with paperwork - and there will be lots of it. Stay organized by creating a file system for every document you obtain during a tenant’s lease. From maintenance receipts to lease agreements, these documents could come in handy in the future.
Besides, the paperwork will serve as proof if you ever face legal trouble. Moreover, the documentation can also come in handy when you need a good deal on insurance.
Running Tenant Background Checks
Renting the unit to the wrong tenant can result in loss of income, time and even property damage. The key to success in property management is to always screen potential tenants before signing the lease agreement.
Screening can involve a number of steps. The most important is to verify that your tenants are making enough to afford the rental payments. As a general rule, tenants should be making at least 2.5 times the rent amount.
So if the rent is $2000, make sure the tenant is making at least $5000 per month. Next up is the tenant’s rental history. You should call the tenant’s previous landlords to learn about their habits - such as keeping the unit clean, paying on time, and being neighborly.
State, city, and local laws keep changing with time and in response to new developments. As a property manager, you have to stay on top of these updates when rolled out. Legislation in the rental market covers things like security deposits, rent, as well as the responsibilities that landlords and tenants have.
Consider downloading a copy of all relevant laws from the Department of Housing and Urban Development website.
Respecting the Privacy of the tenant
All tenants have the right to privacy in the rental unit. This means you cannot, by law, barge in on your tenants unannounced.
Most states require landlords to issue an advanced notice before they can enter the rental unit. Moreover, the reason for entering the rental unit should be valid and justified. Indeed, breaking into the rental unit could result in violating the law.
Besides, informing your tenants and obtaining their approval before entering the rental unit is the ethical and responsible thing to do.
Knowing how to Draft an Iron-Clad Lease Agreement
For obvious reasons, you need an iron-clad lease agreement to protect your property and your tenants. The lease agreement should be properly written and cover basic things like:
- Names of all adult tenants living on the property
- The terms of the tenancy, including when it will expire.
- The renewal strategy of the lease - whether it’s month-to-month or yearly.
- Limits on occupancy
- All the details related to the rent, including the rental amount, deadlines, and penalties for failing to pay on time
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