How to Keep a Good Property Manager
A good property manager makes renting out your unit much less stressful. A bad one will ultimately waste money and make your life a lot more difficult. So, once you find a solid one, how do you keep them around? Apply a little common sense and follow the ideas below.
Step 1: Make sure you hire good people
Okay, this isn’t exactly a way to keep a good property manager, but it’s important to ensure you start out with some who's a strong fit. When you interview them, ask yourself if they would work well under your management style. If the answer is no, don't hire them — this will save you a lot of time and stress later.
Step 2: Keep communication open
Communication failures are the main reason that any business venture starts to fall apart. Make sure your manager sends you regular reports (preferably monthly) regarding your property. If there’s a problem, you'll want to know about it right away. If a miscommunication takes place, resolve it right away and set up a solid process to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Step 3: Pay well
Yes, you want to shop around for the best deal you can get, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. If you’re not paying your property manager fairly for the work they’re doing, they'll have less motivation to do their best job. This may also prompt them to find another client who pays better.
Step 4: Offer opportunities and incentives for improvement
If most of a property manager's work is mundane and tedious, work closely with them to make things more interesting. Playing a more active role can help the manager feel like they’re doing more than just watching someone else’s house while they’re away.
Step 5: Give them chances to correct mistakes
Or put another way: don’t yell and threaten to terminate the contract the first time they make a small mistake. Be reasonable and give them a chance to correct a problem before making a big deal about it. They'll have a real chance to learn from their mistake and do better next time.
Step 6: Negotiate when there are problems
Finding a new property manager is difficult, time-consuming and incredibly disruptive to your life. If a big issue comes up, start by trying to negotiate a solution with your current manager. Any creative solution you can come up with is up for grabs, even if it involves changing part of the existing contract.
Step 7: Always remain professional
This is a business for both of you. These are business deals, not arguments with a friend, even if you know or are close with your property manager outside of work. Keep a professional demeanor at all times and don't get personal — this will help keep disagreements from turning into arguments.
A good property manager is worth all the money you pay them and more. If you have one, make sure to do all you can to keep them around.