No matter how many properties you manage, all property managers tend to deal with a similar set of pain points. From evictions, to vacancies, to turnover, these pain points are nearly universal—but they don't have to be. For most, the path to avoiding common stressors is one of trial and error, but we have a few key tricks that can help save you time and money.
Take a look at these common property-management headaches—and how to avoid them.
As a property manager, it is your job to ensure that your units are occupied and profitable. This can be difficult—especially for managers dealing with properties plagued by short-term tenants and high turnover rates. Here are a few ways that you can limit vacancies and protect your profits:
List Units Well In AdvanceOne of the simplest ways to ensure your rental properties don't sit vacant for months at a time is to list your units well in advance of the end of the current lease. This gives prospective tenants time to discover the property and gives you more time to find a new tenant. For an added bonus, list your units on all the common listing sites and applications to maximize your reach.
Talk to Your TenantsWhy wait until the last minute to find out if you need to fill a unit? While it may seem obvious to some seasoned property managers, asking your current tenants what their plans are when their lease ends well in advance will give you a more reliable idea of your upcoming vacancies. This, in turn, allows you to better prepare to occupy the units. To formalize the process, consider requiring advanced notice in the lease agreement or house rules.
Check Your PricesIf you're proactive about filling your vacant rental units and you still have trouble keeping them occupied, check to make sure that your pricing is competitive with similar units in your market. You may be pricing yourself too high and limiting the number of interested prospective tenants.
No matter what kind of property you manage, it is likely that your turnover rates will seem high. Experienced property managers will tell you that the average turnover rate is roughly 50 percent for most properties. If your rates are higher than that, the costs associated with filling your units can certainly to stack up. If this is your situation, consider these tips for improving your retention and decreasing turnover:
Invest in MaintenanceAn easy way to ensure that your residents are satisfied with their living arrangements is to handle maintenance requests quickly and efficiently. Stretching out the repair process unnecessarily by attempting difficult repairs yourself or by under-staffing your maintenance team is a surefire way to frustrate your residents.
Offer IncentivesOffering your tenants incentives and benefits for renewing their leases will encourage them to stay put and could save you thousands of dollars in turnover costs annually. Incentives can include everything from rent credits and decreases to free in-garage parking or pet rent. You can also delay the renewal process by using incentives to convince tenants to sign a two-year lease agreement.
Avoid Frequent Rent IncreasesSometimes, rent increases are inevitable—but when they happen, property managers should take the decision to increase rent seriously. Having a steady, consistent rent year after year makes life easier for tenants. Increasing their rents takes that consistency away and may cause them to look for other options.
Evictions are, without a doubt, one of the most stressful situations in which property managers can find themselves. Ensuring that you're following all state and federal eviction regulations while simultaneously attempting to evict a tenant from your rental property is a lot to manage. If you regularly find yourself in the position of evicting tenants, odds are good that you could benefit from better screening criteria earlier on. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself against unnecessary evictions:
Tenant Selection Plan
Developing and following a tenant selection plan inclusive of all policies and procedures regarding the selection of tenants provides one point of reference for owners, applicants and tenants; owners have a single document to which they can direct applicants and tenants when questioned about policies and fairness of treatment.
Eviction AttorneyProperty managers need to have attorneys that they trust to help them navigate the often muddy waters of eviction. Some property managers avoid using eviction attorneys in an effort to limit their operating expenses but come to regret it upon entering into lawsuits. While hiring an attorney can be expensive, it's worth it to protect yourself against future legal headaches.
High eviction, vacancy and turnover rates are major stressors for property managers but, by taking an active approach to limiting these factors, you can take some of the stress out of your job and save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.