5 Tips to Navigate the Property Management Field

Sarah Kirsch Richardson
Founder and CEO
Tru Realty

While the landscape of property management has changed over the past several years, many of the basics still apply if you’re looking for information to get started. One thing that hasn’t changed, it’s a tough business that requires a specific skillset and diligence in serving landlord clients. 

With that in mind, here are the top five tips to help you kick-start a new investment in property management:

  1. The Pandemic Rules. Find a friend or colleague in your network with legal experience or someone with vast experience in the property management industry who can help you navigate the impact of COVID-19 on the rental space. You will need to review the latest rules and regulations around the eviction moratorium, as many will agree it has been the biggest pain point for property managers and landlords over the last two years. You will need someone with whom you can bounce ideas off of and ensure you have your ducks in a row.
  2. Maintenance Required. Whether you’ve purchased a brand new build or the house is a bit older, it’s vital to have people lined up whom you can count on to fix things in a timely manner. At the top of your list, you should be looking for a general handyman and a plumber, but you should look to develop a comprehensive list of all needs – like drywall, landscaping, and electrical. The last thing you want is for an issue to arise with a property and you have no one to call.
  3. Stay Organized. It should not come as a shock that virtual capabilities for businesses have improved during the pandemic. Many options for property managers existed even pre-pandemic, so the experience has only improved. Some of the work that goes into managing a lease can be accomplished via software that can also be easily accessed on your phone. You can take advantage of paid services like Buildium and Appfolio that give renters an online portal where they can submit maintenance requests and make online rent payments. These apps can help you keep track of their requests and offer accounting and reporting. You can also look for free versions of these services, if you just need the basics.
  4. Create a plan to secure good tenants.   Finding people who will pay their rent on time and take decent care of your rental property can be hard to find. It’s important to develop a process for screening tenants – like a background check and credit check. But before they get there, consider adding a pre-screening via quick Google form for prospects to fill out to answer the basics, like salary requirements and move in dates.
  5. Consider what it takes. Being a property manager is more than just collecting rent every month. It’s a business, and it’s a people business, at that. You’ll need to interact with often unhappy tenants and keep them assured that their concerns matter, and maintenance issues will be fixed in a timely manner. You’ll also need to be detail-oriented, good at time management, customer-focused, and resourceful.

It might sound simple. But I strongly encourage you to reach out to people in your network who are property managers or those who have experience working with them. Get all the facts and hear their stories of dealing with tenants, and then be sure you still want to invest. It’s a great feeling of freedom to work in an industry where you can create your own schedule, but remember, when a pipe bursts on a property or the air conditioning stops working in the dead of summer, those issues move to the top of your schedule and priorities list. Make sure you’re ready for the commitment!