We’re revisiting this topic as we discussed in a previous newsletter another quality, being proactive. There are many qualities we look for in property managers and being extroverted is one more.
We own properties that are not within driving distance. I like to supplement our property manager services by hiring someone to walk through the property to check it out and report back to me. They just walk through, take pictures, pick up trash if they find it, and send me the pics. I screen them to be sure they’re polite and have good attitudes. One of them, after he had come out a few times, told me he could take care of landscape trimming and grass cutting. I encouraged him to put in a bid, and I ended up using him. He was one of the best I had.
Another one reported to me that the garbage bin was filling up and he knew it was the family in the house next door to our apartments, dumping their garbage in our dumpster. Our guy said I could put a lock on the bin for just tenants. I knew this was not practical but I was curious. How did he know it was the neighbor? I asked him.
He said one of our tenants told him he would see this neighbor out of his window dumping in our bin. And the tenant had it on video. This was incredible! So now we can fix the problem by going directly to the offending neighbor, or to the police. All because our guy had a casual conversation with a tenant in the parking lot.
We put in a lot of effort finding the right property manager. We’ve made mistakes and had to replace them but now apply those learnings and have drastically improved our selection process. We ask about their relationships with tenants – what do they know about their tenants, how do they get to know their tenants, and how has that helped them manage their properties. The answers can be informative.
One of our property managers tells us they have favorite tenants, and those tenants report things we need to know about. The tenants of course want their community to be safe, clean, comfortable, and an enjoyable place to live. But not all of them will report things that go wrong. In fact, most are reluctant. For our property manager to find the tenants who feel safe sharing that kind of feedback, that’s valuable. The relationships exist because the property manager stepped up, started the conversation, and showed interest in what the tenant had to say.