6 Tips to Help New Property Managers Succeed

Property management is a complex but rewarding job. Whether you aspire to manage an apartment complex, a smaller duplex or a series of rental homes for a client, you should be prepared to wear many hats each day.

Use these six tips to avoid burnout and succeed at your job.

1. Establish Clear Procedures

Property managers are responsible for a wide range of tasks, from finding and screening tenants to ensuring all maintenance jobs are completed and managing the property’s budget.

Without clear procedures in place, you’ll spend most of your day putting out fires ten different ways. Consistency is the key to success.

Policies and procedures should be established for:

  • Listing properties for lease or rent
  • Collecting rent
  • Showing properties
  • Tenant screening
  • Lease agreements
  • Tenant move-ins
  • Property inspections
  • Tenant management
  • Tenant move-outs
  • Vendor management
  • Owner packets and payments
  • Commission payment collection
  • Tenant late fees
  • Owner payments

Property management encompasses a wide range of tasks, so it’s important to have checklists, policies and procedures in place so that you know how to handle things that pop up each day.

If there’s a plumbing emergency in one of the property’s apartments, you should have clear procedures in place that walk you through the handling of the situation. This includes calling your designated plumber and informing the maintenance staff of the situation.

One of the most important procedures to have in place is for rent collection. A streamlined rent collection process allows for reliable monthly income. The lease should include rent deadlines and late fees. There should also be policies in place for the actual collection of funds. Will you accept cash, or will you require check, money order and/or online payments? If you allow online payments, ensure that you understand the fees associated with this method of payment.

Clients will also want to know how you will advertise their properties, so make sure that you have clear policies and procedures on this task. The more thorough and detailed your policies, the better.

2. Know How to Manage Your Time

Time is a property manager’s most valuable asset. With so many tasks on your plate, it can be a challenge to be meticulous while ensuring that all of the work gets done.

Strong organization and time management skills are a must for property managers.

Take the time to develop your own system of organization to ensure that you know exactly where to look and what to do when unexpected things come up.

3. Knowledge is Power

If you’re just getting started in this position, you may feel like there are so many questions that you don’t have answers to.

It’s important to understand the local laws when it comes to eviction notices and tenancy agreements. Take the time to research and learn as much as you can about this job and the laws that you’ll need to abide by.

If there are questions that you don’t know the answers to – and there will be – then don’t be afraid to ask the client to wait while finding the right answer. Guessing or giving an incorrect answer is not the way to go.

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Property management is quickly becoming a paperless industry. There are software solutions that can help you manage:

  • Building maintenance
  • Payments
  • Tenant ledgers
  • Lease agreements

Use technology to your advantage to streamline repetitive tasks and save you time. Many software solutions for property management can be used on smartphones or tablets, which allows you to do your work from virtually anywhere. No longer do you have to be chained to a desk.

5. Establish a Tenant Screening Process

Every property should have tenant screening, application and leasing processes in place.

Most clients will want a thorough vetting of tenants, which might include: a background check, a credit report, verification of employment, references.

The screening process should be the same for every applicant. The lease agreement should be standard for all tenants.

6. Create Report Templates

It’s the job of the property manager to develop monthly reports for clients. To be thorough, create report templates for:

  • Expense statement
  • Income statement
  • Annual budget
  • Current rent roll
  • List of all delinquencies
  • List of all vacancies

Having a template in place will allow you to simply fill in the most current information and send the report to the client.