Investing in rental property — and especially apartment complexes — can be a great way to grow wealth, but there’s a learning curve when it comes to successful property management. Even the most seasoned veterans can run into the challenges that come with the role, but managers can mitigate the risk of any issues that arise with some proactive steps.
Make The Most of Your Screening Process
Many of the issues you face as a property manager can be avoided with a robust screening process. Write down the criteria, which needs to be race- and gender-neutral, and doesn’t discriminate against familial or disability status. Verify income with pay stubs and bank account statements, and contact previous landlords as well as performing background checks for all adults on the lease. Putting these measures in place helps ensure quality tenants. Chronic rent non-payment, prior evictions, or reports of property damage by the tenant are all red flags to look for and can lead to high vacancy rates.
Simplify Rent Payment Processes
There’s no shortage of tech tools these days to help tenants pay rent online or even via their mobile devices. Take advantage of these software options, especially now as people are spending more time online than ever before. You can even put an online rent payment requirement in your lease guidelines; all states except for California allow it. Cash flow is king for commercial property owners, and easy, intuitive rent payment options eliminate many of the excuses and challenges tenants have every month.
Perfect Your Lease
Leases are your first and best line of defense when it comes to landlord-tenant relationships. Skip downloading generic templates from the internet and spend time and money with a legal professional drawing up a lease that’s specific to the laws in your state. Don’t depend on written agreements to protect your investment; even in short-term situations, you need to have a lease that’s explicit and comprehensive for both parties who sign it.
Make Regular Inspections
Every few months (at least once a quarter) perform a thorough inspection of the entire property. Along with regular maintenance that helps the property retain its value, there are likely to be repairs that pop up during your inspection. You’ll be alerted to issues that could get more serious as time goes on and could even be dangerous for tenants — a liability that you don’t want on your hands. Follow up after work to know that it’s been completed appropriately.
Just Be Fair
When it comes to things like making repairs or enforcing lease guidelines, just be fair about it. Tenants who constantly wait on repairs to their units or feel like property management is unfairly handing out lease violations won’t stick around. This will snowball and impact your property’s reputation, and your rental income will take a big hit. If you can’t deliver what the tenants expect, be honest about timelines and communicate until issues are resolved.
Do The Right Thing With Deposits
Damage happens, tenants break leases — that’s the nature of property management for apartment complexes. While you can’t withhold a deposit because you’re mad, you can keep it as compensation for material or financial damages incurred. You need to back up these withholdings with a detailed lease (see above) and an itemized list of damages and the cost to repair them. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also a way to protect yourself as a landlord should tenants claim the withholding was unfair.
Call In The Experts
While new apartment complex investors could certainly perform their own property management tasks, it’s a complicated and time-consuming process that takes experience. To take a more passive role in property investing, choose a professional and successful property management team to do the heavy lifting — like our team. We collaborate with investors interested in buying properties and property owners looking to either sell their assets or have them professionally developed and managed.
Ultimately, our mission is to invest, transform, and create long-lasting communities that are impactful, high-quality, and truly one-of-a-kind. We do not outsource our management, but instead, choose to fill these positions with highly vetted individuals with prior experience in property management we know we can trust. Furthermore, we continuously train and develop our staff to ensure that they remain at the forefront of the industry. Take your property management to the next level, get in touch!