Working in apartment property management is tough. Even though it can teach you some very valuable skills (especially if you want to own apartment buildings yourself one day,) it’s definitely not for everyone.
That said, it can be a very rewarding job. When you take great care of your tenants and employees and the owner is happy, everyone wins. Plus you have the ability to build a great community which can live on even after you move on.
To help prepare you for the ins and outs of this career field, here are a few things apartment property managers regularly have going on.
Marketing in Apartment Property Management
Marketing your complex is one of your most important jobs. Even if you live in an area where it’s fairly easy to keep a low vacancy rate, you still need to stay on top of marketing. The main reason is that you want a large pool of potential tenants applying to live at your property. It’s much easier to find great quality tenants from a large pool than a very small one, and attracting quality tenants is the name of the game.
Even though the internet opens up great marketing opportunities, don’t shy away from offline methods as well. For example, you can build relationships with local businesses to help gain referrals. You can look into billboards, putting a car decal on your car, or having events open to the public.
As referenced earlier, you want the highest quality tenants coming to live in your apartments. Even though it’s difficult to judge how someone will treat the property, there are a few good indicators to look into:
- Credit history- do they pay bills on time?
- Previous landlords- were they happy the client left, or did they love how easy the client was to work with?
- Employment- they do have a regular paycheck coming in, right?
- Their car- if their car is falling apart and trashed, they may treat your apartment the same way!
- Background check- do they have a criminal record?
Even though it takes time to screen tenants, it’s much easier to turn away potential tenants from the beginning than to kick them out and deal with repairs/community consequences later.
Maintenance Issues in Apartment Property Management
Landlords love apartment complexes because it allows them to use the power of scale. Versus just renting out a few single family homes, they can use the same amount of land to house a few hundred tenants!
Unfortunately, having many units also multiplies the risk of maintenance issues. At any one time, you can expect something to need work around the complex. One person’s dishwasher breaks because plastic Tupperware fell down and melted onto the heating element. A roof gets damaged in a storm and is now leaking. An angry tenant kicks a hole in the wall. That little dog (that met your weight limit for pets) leaves urine stains all over the carpet.
Because there is always so much work to be done, most large complexes employ their own maintenance staff. Even though they can’t do everything, having a friendly, competent maintenance staff will help take a huge load off your shoulders!
Apartment Property Management Finances
Even though you don’t need to be a true accountant, having some kind of bookkeeping knowledge and experience will help. Good property managers can read numbers and know what’s going on. This allows them to advise the landlord on potential actions to help keep the business in the black.
Here are a few metrics you should track:
- Maintenance expenses (materials and labor)
- Marketing expenses (advertising budget, your time spent, etc.)
- Turnover rate
- Number of new tenants walking in the door, and how they found you
- Rent payments (on-time, late, etc.)
- Cost trends (this year vs. the last several years)
In any business, numbers tell a story. To understand the story being told, apartment property managers should get comfortable with spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel. You can also use property management software, which helps you track everything we’ve talked about, as well as other things including maintenance schedules.