July 10, 2016
I want to take a moment here to discuss the three tools that I personally believe will improve the effectiveness of a Property Managers’ responsibilities.
We have talked about the four basics which are:
- LEASE THE UNIT
- COLLECT THE RENT
- MAINTAIN THE PROPERTY
- MANAGE THE COMMUNITY
As a Manager, you may ask “how do I accomplish these four goals”? The simple answer is; manage your property as if you owned it!
If you owned the property you would repair a broken window, patch a pothole and keep the lawn mowed, true? If a Resident was behind in their rent you would attempt to collect it, right? When an apartment is sitting vacant you most certainly will do everything in your power to get it leased? Of course. It’s YOUR money!
GOOD NEWS!! You have three important TOOLS with which to work to accomplish your mission;
- The LEASE: The lease is your legal tool that outlines all of the responsibilities of both the Tenant (your Resident) and the Landlord (you). Everything is outlined by paragraph. When the lease begins and ends, how much monthly rent the Resident will owe and when it is due and penalties are noted in the event rent is not paid in a timely fashion. There are paragraphs covering all possible recourse for both Resident and Landlord in the event of a breach of any of the rules covered in the lease, etc. Both Resident and Landlord should read the lease word for word. In practice this is not always the case. Regardless of whether the Resident does or does not in fact read the lease in its entirety, the Landlord (you) should know this document by heart (backwards, forward and sideways). As a Manager I normally had a copy of my properties’ lease with me (in the car or even folded up in my pocket. Yes, it’s that important).
- The BUDGET: Your property budget is the “roadmap” for the entire fiscal year! A properly prepared budget is your guide for everything your property should accomplish in each of the twelve months it covers. It is also a “report card”. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of an accurate budget. What do I mean by “properly prepared”? This day in time we cannot get by with an annual budget that is projected using last years month ending figures for the various categories and simply adding say, 5% as a projection for the coming year. “Ball Parking” will not suffice. Your budget must be as accurate as possible in every category and for every month for the coming year! Yes, it’s a lot of work and time consuming. Chasing down bids from contractors, calling utility companies to gather information about mid-year rate increases, and projecting future rents with accuracy. It will all be worth it at the end of each month when your variance report only takes thirty minutes to complete!
- Your STAFF: The third and final item in your toolbox is about people. You can’t do all this alone! Managing Staff is about delegating. You can’t be everywhere at once. Let your Staff do what they are paid to do. Mistakes will be made, and let those be a learning situation! Trust your Staff, they will surprise you with what they can accomplish when you lead and suggest instead of ordering everyone around. Have job descriptions that are accurate for the positions, encourage independent thinking, and let’s roll! You will recognize when it all starts to click…. you and your team will experience the feeling of “We love going to work everyday” !!
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