As someone who moved 10+ times within just a few years, I know what good property management looks like. That said, I also got a taste for bad property management.
Here’s what the good guys do.
Good Property Management Builds Relationships
When I would walk into my apartment complex, I’d like for the property manager to know a bit about me. What I do, my wife’s name, maybe my dog’s name, etc. She didn’t need to know everything about me, but should always be learning more over time.
For example, I remember one particular afternoon when I walked over to the office to pay the rent. The property manager and I started talking, and it turned out that she loved The Walking Dead as much as I did! That created an instant bond, giving us something we could talk about in the future anytime we saw each other.
My landlord in college wasn’t great, though. He would show up and act nice, but in reality he didn’t care about getting to know us. We were basically just a rent payment for him- even though he claimed we were some of his best tenants. That’s probably true of course considering we never damaged or trashed the place, but still. We may have recommended more friends to his properties if he built relationships better.
Meanwhile, another apartment complex I lived at was constantly cycling property managers. I’m not sure if their boss was tough to work for or what, but it was difficult to build relationships with them because there was always someone new!
Which brings me to my next point.
Good Property Management is Stable
Most of us like some stability in our lives. Whether it’s our home, car, job, whatever. While some variety and change is good (and inevitable), it’s good for us to have a solid rock to rely on.
If tenants see that their property managers keep changing, they’ll wonder what’s going on. They won’t have as much faith in the company and won’t really know who to contact.
“Is Bill still our manager? Or is he the guy who left, and now Christine is there?”
Even though a PM isn’t the most important person in a tenant’s life, they should at least know the person’s name and have their contact info.
When I lived in middle Georgia, I had the same two PMs the entire time. They were both great and I think all of the other tenants loved them. But as I mentioned earlier, my wife and I were turned off to our apartment in California, partially due to the lack of stability. We’d moved out there for a job so we didn’t know many people!
Good Property Management is Kind but Firm
The “kind but firm” approach is never easy. As a father with a very sensitive toddler, it’s difficult for me to walk that line sometimes. I’m often tempted to be stern with her, but realize that raising my voice or saying things a certain way will never end well. Instead, I have to use a nice voice but be directive.
The same goes with a great property manager. They should always try to be kind, as yelling and screaming doesn’t work well for most adults either. Sure, you can get by with it in the military in times of high stress, but even there it’s not to be used all the time.
Property managers have a hard job when it comes to dealing with people sometimes. From pushing the tenant who recently lost his job to pay rent to making a family leave because their pet is destroying the property, all kinds of situations will come up. The best PMs will keep their cool and tell the tenants (or contractors) exactly what needs to happen.
The bad ones? They resort to bullying and yelling.
Finally- Good Property Management Communicates Often
Your PM should constantly be in touch with the tenants. From fun social events to tips on local restaurants, there are lots of things they can do to help the tenant feel at home. While it may feel a bit weird and they may retort that they don’t know anyone else doing that – remind them that good property management is hard to come by, and you’re setting a higher standard.