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Property Management Blog

Published on Thursday, August 6, 2009

Property Management Rules of Engagement

 Sometimes tenants pester the life out of their rental property manager. However, one of the most important jobs of a rental property manager is to ensure that his tenants are satisfied. Often this includes times talking to a tenant, who for whatever reason is irate about something with the rental property. Before a rental property manager takes the next passenger train out of town, there are tactics for dealing with angry clients. A rental property manager does not have to be a retired mathematician to figure this one out. As long as he is properly trained to handle upset tenants, he can prevent a disastrous situation. Here is how.

Remember back in third grade when the teacher told your mother, little Johnny is a nice boy but he has trouble listening. Hopefully, the rental property manager grew up a good listener. Listen, listen, listen, and let the angry tenant air it out. If a rental property manager can take a few punches the tenant will calm down. Of course do not let the tenant become abusive verbally or physically. If this happens, the tenant needs to be told that his problems are understood, however, keep it professional.

Once the tenant finishes voicing his angers, be sympathetic. The rental property manager needs to put himself in the tenants shoes and understand the tenants frustrations. Restate the tenants complaint and tell him they are valid. Then ask questions to show interest.
As much as a rental property manger might hate it, he must apologies even though it is not his fault. This is not an admission of guilt, it is just simply saying sorry you feel this way, or sorry it happened. Though the tenant might not think this way, but it will calm him down a little like a cat with a scratching post.

Now it is time to get the problem solved. A rental property manager needs to reinsure his tenant that no problem can go unsolved and you are here, the king of the castle. A rental property manger needs to imagine that this happen to him and ask what he would want done. Then ask the tenant what he expects. The more courteous a rental property manager is with the situation, the more it will boggle the tenants mind. This means he is happy because he is not use to property managers being so good with people.

All complaints should be recorded in some type of journal. The notes should be clear and precise about the episode and the problem at hand. If follow ups were done by either party, they need to be recorded. It is not just a reference for the rental property manager who took and handled the complaint, it is also for other property managers who may work at the rental property.

Always follow up with the tenant after the complaint was rectified. It shows that the rental property manager still cares even after almost taking a trip to the cleaners. Who knows, maybe the tenant will thank the rental property manager with a basket of oranges. This will also prevent the tenant from becoming extremely angry the next time a problem arises. He will know that the rental property manager is a problem solver, the go to guy. The tenant may even apologies for being so irate with the rental property manger when he obviously did not have to be.

Onyx Management Group is a leader in the community association management industry in Greater Philadelphia, Bucks County and Montgomery areas. The company provides a comprehensive suite of services to homeowners associations and developers. The company's expertise, professionalism, and commitment to quality service are second to none which allows associations that partner with Onyx Management Group to experience a better community.
 
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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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