By: Nick Griffith, Director of Conventional Housing at Arbors Management
What Exactly Do Property Managers Do?
Today, we’ll be speaking about a very simple question that has a complex answer: What exactly do property managers do? The way we see it here at Arbors Management is that property management can be broken down into two main categories – leasing and day-to-day management, and two sub-categories – accounting and compliance.
But, just as important as what property managers do, is what we don’t do; we’ll cover that, too.
How Do We Handle Leasing?
An important part of property management is getting your property leased to a quality renter. Here at Arbors, we believe that most problems in real estate investing can be solved by placing the right, high-quality resident into each property. We perform several types of screening in order to accomplish this; criminal, credit, income, landlord, sex-offender, terrorist, and pet screening, just to name a few.
In order for us to attract the best quality residents, we need to properly market your property by highlighting its features as well as pricing it appropriately.
A good property manager will look at the surrounding market and comparables to determine the best price to rent the property quickly while also giving the owner the best return on their money. We also handle all the inquiries and showings of the property, saving you a lot of time and money.
Once the property manager has found a qualified applicant, they should have a rock-solid lease to ensure that the owner is protected. Here at Arbors, we have a completely online lease signing process, making renting from us easy and efficient.
Once the lease is signed, deposits are paid, and move-in is scheduled, a good property manager will perform a move-in inspection to record the condition of the property at the time the resident moves in. We record the inspection with photos that we can reference again later when the resident decides to move out.
Speaking of inspections, routine inspections are important to ensure your property is well maintained. At Arbors, our leasing specialists perform an interim inspection several months prior to the lease expiration to ensure we know the condition of the property prior to renewing the lease. We share that inspection with our clients along with our recommendations so they can make the best decision for them.
Day-to-Day Property Management – What Does it Look Like?
After the property has been leased and the resident has moved in, we turn to our second category of property management: the day-to-day management.
Perhaps one of the most important items a property manager can do is collect the rent. After all, rent is what allows you to maintain the property and make a profit!
At Arbors Management, we provide several ways for residents to pay their rent; through a convenient online portal, by mail, by drop box at our main office, or by electronic cash payment at several convenient-store locations.
Money management is also a very important part of property management. A property manager will need to pay the expenses on your property, oftentimes from the rent that is collected and bill the residents for any appropriate expenses for your reimbursement.
Once all the expenses are paid, the property manager should have a way to get the investor their money. Here at Arbors, we do a direct deposit into your bank account at the end of each month.
Another aspect of property management is working directly with residents. On occasion, residents will have maintenance requests, emergencies, and general questions or problems while living at the property. These could range from leaky plumbing, heating issues, loss of employment, income changes, additions to their family, or neighbor disputes.
A property manager communicates directly with residents to solve these issues so that you don’t have to. Enforcing a lease can be difficult, so it’s the property managers job to walk the line between being compassionate while also enforcing the agreement. A good property manager should bring you solutions, not problems.
Addressing maintenance issues is another important part of property managers’ duty to maintain the value of your asset. Emergencies can happen at any time, day or night, and even on the weekends.
This is why a good property manager needs to have a plan on what to do when an emergency does happen. Here at Arbors we have a 24/7 dedicated phone number for maintenance emergencies and a network of contractors that can respond quickly in order to resolve any issue that might arise.
How Do Accounting and Compliance Come Into Play?
Two other categories of property management are accounting and compliance.
As an investor, you’ll want to see where your money is being spent and when rents are collected by your property manager. At Arbors, we have a full accounting staff that generates reports so that you can easily see the income for your property, expenses, and any invoices or bills associated with those expenses.
Transparency is important, but so is legal compliance! When renting out a property, there are a lot of laws, rules, and regulations that come with it. Your property manager should know the ins and outs of what is needed at the property to ensure you stay in compliance with these requirements to keep you protected. At Arbors, we have a compliance department that makes sure we cross our t’s and dot our i’s to make sure everyone is protected.
So What Don’t We Do as a Property Management Company?
Almost as important as what property managers do, is what we don’t do. From the information above, we can safely say property managers wear many different hats.
Even though we have many different roles, we are not tax professionals, attorneys, or debt collectors. Oftentimes a property manager can recommend a specialist in each of these areas. We may know a thing or two about each of these topics, but your property manager shouldn’t get involved in areas outside their expertise.
All in All…
The answer to the question “what exactly do property managers do?” is complicated. We discussed how a property manager should handle leasing, day-to-day management, and all aspects involved in those two main categories.
We also discussed that property managers should be transparent with your money through good accounting reports and remain compliant by staying up to date with rental property requirements.
While property managers wear many hats, as they should, they are not tax professionals, attorneys, or debt collectors.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of everything that property management encompasses.
If you have any questions about property management and how Arbors Management might help you with your property(ies), please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!