Is a Property Management Course the be all, end all?
There’s theory, and there’s street smarts, a property management course teaches the theory, the accounting & business aspect, but they never dive into the common sense of dealing with humans, the psychology of tenants and basic sales techniques.
Got bedbugs? If you want to find out, just go to bedbugregistry.com and read what your tenants have said — to the entire world. Do you rent to students? Check out your “grade” at grademylandlord.com. Building code violations? Go no further than the Worst Landlords Lists in New York and Vancouver, or similar databases made public by city officials across the U.S. What about a vacancy? Many rental search sites now offer a ratings feature alongside your ad.
So, what does this have to do with your real property management? Everything!
Rental businesses operate in a fishbowl. Chances are high that at some point your rental property will be rated by former tenants. Unfortunately, people just love to share their bad experiences. No worries, though — you’ll still get applicants. They just won’t be the good ones.
Excellent tenants are the key to profitable rentals. But, with a tarnished reputation, your applicant pool soon will whittle down to people with overextended credit, prior evictions, criminal histories — all the rejects that have nowhere else to turn. Obviously, that doesn’t bode well for your bottom line.
All this boils down to your real property management. A property manager who is dropping the ball is going to cause permanent damage to your online reputation, and you can’t afford to let that happen, because in today’s rental market, online is where it’s at.
What’s worse, a bad manager is going to turn off your good renters. These tenants won’t refer their friends, and you lose your best option for filling vacancies.
You’d think this is common knowledge, or they would have a property manager course on this.
Google ‘how to hire a property manager’ and you’ll get page after page of generic advice, like “Hire someone who’s taken certified property manager courses, or earned a license,” (Duh!), “Look for someone with experience.” Or “take free property management courses yourself”. Not much help, really. Licensed property managers make mistakes. Experienced managers can become jaded. What you need is someone who has the right attitude. In real property management, temperament is everything.
So, what does that look like? It’s someone who has their eye on the prize. The manager you want is the manager who can serve the people who count — your tenants. A manager must possess the people skills needed to attract the best tenants. From there, everything else falls into place — fewer defaults, fewer complaints, fewer evictions.
Does your manager talk trash about the tenants? Do they chuckle and boast about how tough they are on the deadbeats? Do they take forever to return phone calls? Imagine how that would translate if you had a different business — let’s say a fast-food franchise. What if your counter employee was coarse when answering questions, or ignored complaints? Think about what would happen if they refused to serve families with children or allowed people in business clothing to move to the front of the line. Not only will you get in trouble with the law, but you’ll lose money, because bad customer service never pays off. No property management course teaches customer service!
Let’s look at specifics. A property manager who profiles tenants gets you into trouble — we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars of trouble. A bad manager angers good tenants, so they don’t recommend the unit to someone else. And, they don’t renew. That costs money, too.
Now mind you, it isn’t all that easy… check out the video below (I currently own 500 units, believe me, this is an every day thing)
Tenants who are intimidated by the manager won’t report minor repairs. Soon, that tiny water leak around the toilet damages the floor and that means vastly more money out of your pocket. The bedbug complaint goes unanswered — until it’s published on the Internet. The next applicant decides to take a pass on the property.
You get the picture: it’s not what you think about the manager that matters — it’s what the tenants think that counts.
You don’t have to be jerk to manage tenants. You just have to listen, and then guide tenants through the rules. A good manager will provide good service. Good service attracts the right tenants. The right tenants keep the property profitable. Pure and simple.
So when you are looking for a manager, choose someone who likes their job. They may not need the right credentials, or have taken the right property management course. But they like people in general. Look for good communications skills. While your property is an asset, your rental business is a service. You need a manager who understands that.
Are you looking for a property manager? We offer a great tool for you to use when you interview or evaluate managers. We’ve put a lot of thought into this — so you don’t have to! Receive Ur Property Management 67 Question, Questionnaire.
After managing thousands of units, maybe I should look into creating my own property management course! Or at least a certification program. What do you think?