The Secret To Multi-Family Property Management: To Do’s and Not To Do’s
Managing your MULTIfamily property unit is very important if you want your tenants to remain long-time renters. There are a few things you need to know when it comes to managing the MULTIfamily home or duplex property so let’s take a look at some of the best tips you need to keep it running smoothly.
To Do: Educate Yourself
Anyone can become a great property manager but if you do some extra education, you can make it a great career that will just keep growing. If you’re looking to work for a company or create one yourself then you should start with a real estate background. There are many other courses you can take that are specific to property management so look into what’s available for you to pursue. Once you have a good background in overall real estate, you should get familiar with the laws and regulations that are specific to your county and city. They can vary greatly so keeping yourself informed will help you in the future and look impressive to anyone who you’re looking to work with.
Not to Do: Don’t Get in Over Your Head
Once you have all of your education completed, you can start looking around for a company to work for so you can gain some real-life experience. You can also ask around and see if there are any positions available from property owners that are looking for some help. Make sure you don’t take on too many properties when you first begin or you might find yourself overwhelmed with too many tasks and too little time.
It’s a good idea to start with one or two MULTIfamily homes or even a duplex and go from there. A large apartment building or multiple single-family homes will require a bit more work so keep your workload on the low end until you have your bearings.
To Do: Figure Out Your Tasks
Once you’ve found a position, it’s time to start getting down to the basics of what it means to manage a property well. There are many things you will need to do as a property manager but it will vary, depending on the property and the number of tenants. As a property manager, you will likely be in charge of tasks that might include:
- Collecting rent
- Showing units
- Cleaning units after previous tenants
- Keeping the property clean and in working order
- Making minor repairs
- Hiring companies for larger repairs
- Doing minor landscaping
- Relaying major issues to the building owner
There could be other jobs that your property might require so you should make sure you are comfortable with everything you’ll need to be in charge of. There are some jobs that can be contracted out but when you’re hired by a property owner, you are expected to do as many of these tasks as you can.
Not to Do: Act like the property is yours
You need to have a good line of communication between yourself and the owner of the property if you want to work for them for a long time. One thing to remember is that the property isn’t yours so you shouldn’t make major decisions without consulting the owner. If you need to hire anyone to make a repair, get a few quotes before you contact the property owner so they can choose which company they prefer.
If you need to make a small repair that you can do yourself then you should still keep track of it somehow. Keeping a logbook of repairs that were made to the building and maintenance that has been done is a great idea and it will help you keep track of what needs to be repaired often.
To Do: Come by often
Some property managers live on-site of the building while others work on multiple properties so they live in a different area. If you don’t live on-site, make a schedule of when you are going to be on each property and give a copy to the tenants you are working with. A schedule will help you stick to a maintenance schedule and it will let the tenants know when you will be around to help them.
When it comes to keeping a good relationship with the tenants, try to be friendly and approachable so they feel comfortable talking to you about issues and make sure you give them a way to communicate with you. If they’re intimidated or can’t reach you when they need to then they might end up leaving major issues unattended. Nobody wants any big surprises when tenants move out but if they’re able to ask you for help easily, you’ll be able to keep their unit in good condition.
Do Not: Get behind
Life sometimes gets in the way so if you need to take some time off then just make sure you have a plan in place so you don’t get too behind. A property manager needs to be on-call as much as possible for emergencies so if you need to take some time for yourself then you need to let your tenants know who else they can contact.
You also need to keep up on all of the maintenance that the property regularly needs or you risk making extra work for yourself. Something like mowing the lawn can be skipped once or twice but after a while, it will get unruly which will likely take longer for you to mow it and it may even attract the attention of the city which can result in fines.
Do: Bring in some help
- There are many different tasks that come along with being a property manager that you can usually do alone but if you need something done quickly, bring in some help.
- A cleaning company is a great idea if you need a dirty unit turned over as quickly as possible. They have experience in deep cleaning and they have specific cleaning supplies and tools at their disposal that might be hard for you to find or purchase so it’s worth finding a company you can trust.
- A painting company is another great thing to have at your disposal. They will be worth every cent when you see the finished work and how quickly it gets done. With their paint sprayers and experience, they will get the room painted much faster than if you chose to do it by yourself.
- A landscaping company is the best idea for anyone who wants to make sure their MULTIfamily property has the best lawn in the neighborhood. They have equipment and teams of people who will get the property’s lawn and bushes looking amazing in a few hours and they can be scheduled at the time you prefer so you won’t have to worry about the lawn at all.
- If you live in a city that gets excessive snowfall then you might want to consider hiring a plowing company for the wintertime. They will come after a large snowfall and clear out the driveways (and sometimes sidewalks or pathways, depending on the company) so the tenants are able to safely exit and enter. This is a great option for properties that have large parking lots.
Do Not: Rent to bad tenants
The chances you will get an unruly tenant is rare but it does happen so try and look for some signs that a renter is going to be stable and responsible.
- The tenants should be able to provide you with some proof of income, whether it’s a bank statement or a pay stub.
- The tenants should provide references as far as credit or previous landlords. Contact their previous landlords to see if there were any issues in the past.
- The tenants should willingly agree to the terms and conditions of the rental without any negotiations or arguing. If the ad states that it’s a pet-free home, they shouldn’t be asking about your willingness to bend or break that rule.
- The tenant should be able to provide all of the payments upfront with no issues or questions.
- The tenant should be kind and respectful to you during the screening.
Also, make sure that you explain everything about the rental unit and the price of the rental unit in a clear and concise way so it’s understood by everyone. If you choose to sign the contract with them, make sure you read over it with them and point out anything that you feel needs repeating.
If you have a bad tenant then you need to look into the proper way to deal with it legally. It can vary from city to city so you need to make sure you are taking the right steps if you ever need to evict or you could put yourself and the property owner in hot water.
When it comes to property management, there are many things that you need to keep in mind and consider if you want to do the best job you can and keep the tenants happy. If you stick to a schedule and put some effort into maintaining the property, your tenants will appreciate the effort and stay there for a long time.