In the world of real estate investment, a big spotlight shines on the wheelers and dealers who make their living buying and flipping properties or expanding their portfolio of homes and apartments. When it comes down to it, however, those investors couldn’t get through the day without a good property manager.
Finding a reliable real estate property manager is like locating an oasis in the middle of the desert. It’s a tough gig. The job involves juggling a lot of responsibilities without much oversight. For a particular type of person, that freedom and workload can be either overwhelming or too much temptation to slack off. For the right disciplined individual, however, property management can offer the makings of a great career. First, however, you have to hang out your shingle.
Here are some tips to consider as you move to establish your property management company.
Make sure you’re ready
Just like with any business, the decision to open a property management company is a big step. It requires capital, to be sure, but it also requires extensive education. There are numerous professional certifications, like the Real Estate Institute of Canada’s Certified Property Manager® designation. That’s just one example of the courses you can take, and the titles you can earn that will make you much more attractive to potential clients.
The more time you spend studying the real estate industry before you dive in, the better equipped you will be.
Set a budget
Starting any new business involves a slew of expenses. Some you’ll plan for, like the rent on an office, a marketing budget, insurance, printing, etc. Others will come at you out of nowhere (which is why it’s critical to keep a little capital in reserve). Before you set out on your property management adventure, however, make sure to set a budget, so you don’t overextend yourself. Factor in all the bills you’ll likely incur, then add another twenty percent for expenses.
When you’re budgeting your new company, make sure you land on a number that you can afford. Then, stick to those numbers. When you’re in the moment, and you’re passionate about gaining success, it can be tempting to go above your budget. Remember, you set a price point for yourself for a reason.
Don’t skimp on the website
In the twenty-first century, having a vibrant, attractive website is essential. In years past, a business owner in a niche industry (like property management) had to work overtime on
their physical location. These days, it’s a smarter decision to pour that same creative energy into your site.
Consider this: even if you hand out a card or make a good impression at a business function, the first chance potential clients have to truly scrutinize you is when they check your website. A clean, technically proficient site that provides plenty of information and answers a lot of frequently asked questions is a professional first step that you simply can’t beat.
Meanwhile, if a potential client who looks online is unable to find anything, or if your company’s online presence is sparse, it can serve to undo a lot of potential goodwill.
When you’re first starting, be sure to open social media accounts on major networks like Twitter and Instagram. Then, make sure that you stick with them. Re-post news stories applicable to your market. Respond to local real estate pros. Answer questions asked by private homeowners.
Above all, assert yourself, your presence and your overall knowledge of the industry. Staying active on social networks demonstrates a commitment to your profession and the community in which you work.
Go, go SEO!
Once you’ve got your website and your social media personas all set up, the next goal is to put them in front of prospective clients. That means engaging in a little SEO or search engine optimization. Make sure, for example, that your business is registered (and in good standing) with Google AdWords and Google My Business. These simple steps take only a few moments and can have an incredible benefit to your business. Of course, that’s just the beginning of the potential behind SEO marketing.
If you have the capital to do some marketing, enlisting an SEO professional to help improve your Google search results can go a long way toward improving your business at the very beginning.
Keep the tenants happy
A lot of property managers make the mistake of catering to the landlord or property owner and not worrying about too much else. That is a huge mistake. When you’re starting in property management, you must make sure to appease the tenants first and foremost. After all, an annoyed or aggravated tenant is more likely to take their grievance directly to the landlord.
Remember that your primary job as a property manager is to handle the day-to-day tasks involved in running a property. That means starting your day by addressing any tenant concerns before moving on to your routine tasks.
When you’re in property management, especially if you’re overseeing an apartment complex, the ideal outcome is that your tenants remain happy, they spread the word about how well the property is run, and your occupancy rates go up. At that point, it’s time to consider expanding your team. When that time arrives, bring on new teammates carefully.
Begin by choosing the activities you do best (or that you prefer to do), and hire someone with a mind toward those other tasks. Then, be sure to shadow your new hire for a few weeks to make sure they have the hang of the position. Then, be sure to check in with your tenants after they’ve encountered your new hire. After all, your tenants’ opinion is the thing that will ultimately keep you in business.