Landlords have something of a bad reputation. In movies and television, we rarely see the landlord as anything but an antagonist. They’re portrayed as greasy cigar-chomping sociopaths in the real estate biz for a quick buck. Essentially, we are portrayed as less of the long-term investor that the landlord has evolved into and more of the slumlord that is easy to despise! Who cares if the tenants are happy? Who cares if the maintenance requests go unanswered for a while and when we do answer it’s with the cheapest and most incompetent people possible? That is the perception and those are the questions most equate with the mind of landlords.
Well, the reality for most landlords - at least the ones I talk to - is the complete opposite. Most landlords understand the dollars and time put into a property and want to keep it as nice as possible. At the same time, most understand that having a well kept property, even if it means spending a little more money now to save money later, is the best route to actually making money on our investments. So, contrary to popular belief...we really do care.
All stereotypes come from somewhere and it’s time to break the bad n landlord model. Even if you hire a property manager to handle landlord responsibilities for your properties, it’s important to know that he or she is doing a good job of it.
One of the most common reasons that tenants move out has to do with poor management. As an investor or landlord, you know that turnovers cost a great deal of time and money. So you really should try to keep your tenants for as long as you can. If they decide to move, it should have nothing to do with you.
So what is the secret to good real estate management? We can’t say that there’s a secret to it, per-say. However, there are plenty of qualities property managers need to have in order to keep turnover low and tenant satisfaction high.
What it Takes to Succeed in Real Estate Management
Take your tenants seriously. They’re paying you and they can take their business elsewhere. When they have a concern, address it. Even if you think it’s small or insignificant, make it your job to care about what your renters care about. Sometimes you simply can’t do anything about it, but treating your tenants with high regard is going to make them happy. Don’t blame them for broken appliances or mishaps. Work with them towards a solution.
Don’t take a week to acknowledge a maintenance request. As soon as an issue comes up, it’s part of landlord responsibilities to address it and solve the problem quickly and efficiently. Doing a quick repair won’t cut it, though. Replace things that need to be replaced as soon as possible and treat all concerns and requests with urgency. Even if you think your tenants are just complaining about every little thing, even if you get tired of it, it’s important to them, so it should be important to you. The worst thing you can do is ignore your renters’ pleas. Not only does it make them unhappy, but it’s putting yourself at risk, too. Need we remind you of the landlord who had to shell out $800,000 after a tenant sued him for ignoring complaints over an unmanaged bedbug infestation? (Warning: link contains pictures of bugs. Gross.) Even if there are details in that particular situation that aren’t the landlord’s fault, the court still ruled in favor of the tenant - fair or not.
In short, avoid doing (or not doing) something that could drive a tenant to sue you. It’s not pretty.
Even if your tenants seem totally content, it’ll make them feel ecstatic when you go the extra mile. Be actively engaged in what’s going on at the property; ask your tenants if everything is o.k. instead of waiting for complaints to roll in. That doesn’t mean to stalk or spy on your tenants, of course! But remember that your tenants may not bring issues to your attention if it’s not something they themselves think about. Prioritize their safety. If the bushes outside are getting unruly, have them trimmed. Take a look at the surroundings an outside conditions of a property regularly. You don’t want any bad surprises. Those extra steps you take to ensure a safe and happy environment will add up — and earn you dedicated tenants.
What do your renters appreciate about your real estate management? Let us know in the comments.
For reliable property management, look no further than Memphis Invest.