Property management involves a lot more than screwing in lightbulbs and collecting rent cheques. But most of the nuts and bolts of this industry happen behind the scenes. This can make it tough for new property managers to learn the ropes—especially if you’re leasing a property on your own.
Luckily, learning the basics of property management is all you need to maximise your income and avoid costly inconveniences. We’ve got the most important tips you need for managing a property below.
Understand the Market
Rental flats and homes are products just like anything you find on the shelves in a store. In order to sell your product, you need to understand the market landscape. This is especially important if you’re considering buying a property to let. In that case, it’s critical to understand the market before making an investment.
For example, a property may be on the market for a great price, attracting new investors who wish to snag the opportunity to buy and let. But a bit of research may reveal that the type of property is not aligned with the market. As a result, it will be very hard to let, eventually dragging the rental price down and leaving you in the hole.
Some market factors you need to understand before letting a property include:
- Occupancy rates: Are there many unoccupied homes in the area?
- Local rent rates: How much is the average monthly rent?
- House/Flat size and type of rental: Who lives in the area? Nuclear families looking for single-family homes? Single people who are employed? Students looking for an HMO rental?
- Employment statistics: Is unemployment high in the area? Are the residents affluent?
Learn Local and National Regulations
There are a lot of rules involved in letting property—both for the property manager and the tenant. As the manager, it’s your job to get to know everyone’s obligations like the back of your hand.
Managers must be available to their tenants, respect tenants’ privacy and maintain a safe living environment at all times. There are also many regulations relating to rent and fee collection, rental agreements and more. If you don’t know your duties, both your tenants and your local town council can seek legal action against you. This may result in a rent repayment order , which would require you to repay your tenants up to 12 months’ rent.
It’s also in your best interest to understand tenants’ obligations to care for your property. If they break their agreement (or the law), you have legal recourse against them.
Do a Bit of Marketing to Find Good Tenants
Now, you’re finally ready to find some tenants. But just because you’ve listed your property doesn’t mean the right tenants will come running to apply. You need to learn a few marketing basics to attract more potential tenants (high demand will allow you to raise the rental price) and more importantly, attract the right tenants (long-term, employed and respectful).
First, you need to develop a tenant profile. Essentially, you need to imagine which types of tenants are an ideal fit for your property. Families? Students? A single person with a pet?
Make sure that your tenant profile aligns with your market research. If your property is near a university and has four bedrooms, a family of four may not be a realistic tenant profile.
Next, ask yourself where your potential tenants are most likely to see your property listing. Online? In the paper? On the door of the pub? Advertise where your ideal tenants are and you’ll get more applicants that are worth your consideration.
Understand Your Tenants’ Needs
Your tenants have moved in. Now, it’s your job to make them feel comfortable, safe and at home. You may think that tenants want to keep their property managers at a distance, but that’s not the case. Research has found that ease of contact with a manager or landlord is the most important factor for tenants when they consider renewing their lease.
Nearly as important is the speed at which managers react when tenants are in need. After that is manager follow-up and aftercare. Tenants don’t care nearly as much about a manager’s technical abilities or resources. The bottom line: Tenants care about customer service.
It’s up to you to get to know your tenants’ needs and ensure they are met. This is how you reduce turnover—a costly and time-consuming process for property managers.
Become a Successful Property Manager
When it comes down to it, successful property management is about caring for people just as much as it’s about caring for property. If you put in the work to find good tenants and create a comfortable space for them to live, you’ll enjoy the benefits of being a property manager and encounter very few conflicts.