There are two sides to every story; anyone will tell you that. So, it’s not surprising that the relationship between renters and owners can be, well, a bit strained at times. The balance between managing your property efficiently and productively, and keeping a friendly relationship with your renters can be a fine line sometimes, but here are a few tips to help you keep the balance.
1. Keep detailed records on every transaction that you and your renters participate in together. I once had an apartment manager come banging down my door, claiming that I was three weeks late with my last rent. Well, I had paid and paid on time and I had the cleared check to prove it. On the other hand, if you manage several different properties and received multiple checks every month, it may difficult to keep track of whom sent you what and when. That’s where tip number two comes into play.
2. Hire a management company. If you own one four-plex, then it’s probably not that hard to keep track of everything. But if you own multiple buildings with multiple units, it may be in your best interest to hire a company to manage it for you. Management companies, for a fee, will do everything from collecting rent and filling vacancies, to scheduling repairs and taking care of evictions if necessary. For, say a 10% fee, you can ease your mind when it comes to your properties.
3. Keep your renters’ suggestions in mind. Like the cliche, “the customer comes first” your renters are your customers. They are the ones providing you with income to live in your properties, thus allowing you to actually have your properties. That doesn’t mean that, should the son of a renter implore you for a half-pipe in the back parking lot, that you need to acquiesce. But, keeping your properties rented keeps your headaches down, and your profit margin up. If your (trust-worthy) renters state, oh, I don’t know, that they would stay there for a long time to come if you would just invest in air conditioning, you don’t necessarily need to call an installation company right away, but you do you need to think about it. Ask yourself these questions: “Would it make my units easier to fill, should there be a vacancy?” “Will it entice my trust-worthy renters to stay?” “Will it make me appear as a renter-friendly landlord, thus creating trust between me and my renters?” The goal is obviously to entice good renters to stay put.
There are many ways to manage your properties and to manage them well, but it can boil down to a few user-friendly tips: Keep detailed records. Hire a management company if your properties are too much to handle and keep detailed records about. Keep the suggestions of your credible renters in mind, and decide whether they will be of value to you in the long run. Abiding by these simple guidelines will make the world of property management easier to live in.
James Orr is a professional real estate investor, marketing expert and founder of the LearnToBeRich.com on-line investment game.