April 10, 2013
Contacts and care are key to property management success
Recommendations are vital for your property management company to move forward. Build good relations with existing property owners and tenants and, hopefully, you will be able to show future clients some glowing testimonials. You will need to ensure that your present customers – both owners and tenants – are fully satisfied. And they need to advertise their satisfaction volubly.
If you manage an apartment community, you could follow up any comments in the past from dissatisfied customers. If their opinion of a previous property company was less than complimentary, then you could stress that you hope you can work together to make a fresh start. If the people who left comments are no longer residents, you could encourage them to stop by and visit your office. Address clients by name, show an interest in their grievances and you will be rewarded in the long-term.
Always take care to show your tenants that you care about their living area. All seasons bring their challenges but spring is a good time to clean round the apartment community. Make sure that all common parts are accessible and well lit. Discourage burglars by installing communal lighting and video cameras. Criminals, it goes without saying, will prefer to operate under cover of darkness! You could also offer 24-hour security or surveillance. All this will help you to get compliments from existing clients and assist in your expansion.
Selling your company to new clients
For your business to grow, you will also need to attract new property owners, both individuals and businesses. Many owners may be convinced that they can manage their properties on their own. You need to persuade them that they would be better off with your company managing their property and that they will derive financial benefits from so doing. Robert Stockdale, a retired businessman who contributed to our discussion on Quora, believes that proper financial management and supervision are the keys to success:
“If your occupancy rate is sufficient for the owner to make a profit and it is stable over the long-term, that implies that your management practices are sufficient to retain current leasees or quickly replace them with new leasees. To do that, you have to have fair lease rates and terms, good maintenance practices, be responsive to your tenants, and otherwise manage the property in an appropriate or better manner.”
You can also offer some labor-saving tools that will make clients realize the benefits of hiring your company. At Property Vista, for example, there are web-based tools such as ApproveVista to screen tenants’ reliability and perform credit checks. Other services like PayVista can assist owners to ensure tenants pay for the right services, either through direct withdrawal or online payments or credit card.
Raising your profile
Satisfying your current clientele is one thing. But you will also need to forge contacts with mortgage brokers, real estate investment brokers, local businesses and other property managers in the same field in order to expand.
Canny self-promotion and publicity, especially on the internet, is vital if your property management company is to make progress in such a competitive field. Your website should be well illustrated and have a good ranking on Google. Research shows that well-thought out images, maps and designs impress more than words. Facebook users should be aware of recent design changes with more emphasis on photos and visual content, giving users more control over the topics or stories they see.
Another good way to boost your profile is to participate in trade events throughout the year. In so doing, you will be able to liaise, and swap advice, with other trade professionals. Membership of NARPM – The National Association of Residential Property Managers – is very advantageous. Applying for professional membership is a straightforward process. Not only does NARPM host events throughout the year, the organisation also offers webinars and conferences. It also offer ample and informative reading materials. Training courses offer tips on everything from how to create a paperless office through to the basics of property management, human resources and ethics as well as tenancy management.
Another great portal for property management professionals to share experiences is the Let’s Talk Property Management Site which contains information on everything from marketing your rental property through to simple SEO for property management companies.
Care and multitask
Take care to hire the right employees and remember to address clients politely and by their names. In addition, a thorough knowledge of the law related to tenancy agreements will give you an edge over competitors. To excel in property management you need to be a versatile multi-tasker, skilled at man-management, counselling, web design, photography, sales and problem resolution. You also need to be a canny financial manager.
Clients can have a myriad of problems. Sometimes the answers will not come readily to hand. In such instances, people will be grateful if you tell them that you need time out to formulate a considered response. As long as you get back to them, of course!