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Improving Property Management

Improving property management affects much more than just the maintenance of a building. The ripples can be far reaching encompassing everything from occupancy levels and rental rates to employee turnover ratios. Obviously, the stakes are high, and the pressure is real. The bottom line is owners want to see improving profits without hassles. Managers need to keep the owner happy and costs down. The challenge is maintaining this balancing act, while improving tenant satisfaction. The whole scenario can become overwhelming. However, by incorporating a few basic strategies into your processes, improving property management and profits will be a breeze.

Tenant satisfaction is crucial! This may seem obvious, but it is one of the most overlooked areas of property management. 100% occupancy is the goal of every manager and owner. If you keep space rented, you avoid the expenses associated with finding new tenants. The majority of renters dread moving. So why is turnover so high in some buildings? The answer is simple: customer service. Courtesy and respect should be the anthem of your office. This is a policy that should be upheld for tenants, as well as employees. Complaints and maintenance requests must be dealt with on a timely basis. One way of improving customer service is providing a warm body that is always available during the day and can be reached after hours to handle potential emergency scenarios. Although the response might not always be what the lessee would like to hear, if handled properly the relationship will be strengthened. Miscommunication is the cause of many tenant problems. Policies and procedures regarding property management issues should be clearly stated from the beginning with reminders posted on a regular basis. This will help to alleviate any misunderstandings.

Improving property management should begin before the building is in your care. This may sound ludicrous, but it is the most important issue facing managers. Owners, who are new to rental real estate, are unaware of the requirements needed to maintain the building. Prior to being awarded a new property, the management team should clearly state the suggested budget for marketing, personnel, along with regular and unexpected maintenance. Property management companies are sometimes concerned about spelling out all of the expenses upfront. However, if the owner understands that upkeep maintenance will include quarterly visits to all buildings to check for potential problems, the amount can be budgeted and everyone wins. The owner should be told that this type of maintenance avoids more expensive repairs down the road. In addition, tenants will be happier, because the living conditions are constantly improving. This will translate into superior occupancy rates.

Skyrocketing rental amounts have a negative impact on occupancy. Of course, increases may be unavoidable, but proper budget controls and preventative maintenance will reduce the likelihood. Along with quarterly inspections within the building, exterior checks should be made of areas, such as roofs. These minor repairs will prevent major budget overruns. It is inevitable that a large maintenance problem will occur at some point. When this happens, work closely with contractors to ensure costs are within the agreed upon levels. When discussing the situation with the owner, you can determine their expectations and communicate them to the service provider. Following this discussion, you can clearly state these needs to the contractor prior to receiving a bid. Once the project commences, avoid upgrades or additions unless absolutely necessary. Property management teams should explain to owners that there could be times when unexpected expenses will be unavoidable.

As with tenants, employee turnover can have drastic consequences on improving property management. Inevitably customer and owner satisfaction will be negatively impacted. All employees should be treated with the same respect and courtesy that is used with your tenants. The most effective way of improving employee relations is by listening to concerns and clearly stating the company's goals, strategies, and requirements. Finally, improving property management will require you to offer competitive benefits and salaries to your employees. The price of hiring, along with retraining individuals will cost you much more, and tenants respond best when familiar faces are available.

Improving property management is a balancing act. Managers may feel overwhelmed by the daily requirements. However, incorporating these simple principles can produce windfall profits for everyone concerned. The results of improving property management will be happier owners, higher occupancy rates, and lower expenses. Of course, this will all translate into a more enjoyable job for the entire property management team.

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