The role of a property management company is multifaceted. In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the key roles your Fort Lauderdale property management company should fulfill to help ensure the success of your real estate investment.
First and foremost, your property management company has a fiduciary responsibility to you, the owner of the property. In other words, the management company acts on your behalf and in your interests. In order to do this, the property manager should clearly understand your goals for the property. This should be discussed at the beginning of your relationship. You should hold your property manager to a high level of accountability and always demand loyalty, honesty, and transparency.
Finding Tenants and Ensuring your Property Remains Occupied
While your rental property’s income potential is tied to various factors – property condition, local market conditions, utilities management, etc. – nothing will kill your profits faster than long periods of vacancy. Therefore, your property management company should make it a priority to maximize occupancy rates across all your units. If and when a tenant leaves, the goal is to minimize the length of the vacancy. Of course, your property manager should also pay attention to the quality of tenants, because having a tenant who doesn’t pay rent isn’t much better than having a vacant unit. So, in addition to ensuring your rental property remains occupied, your property management company should excel at screening tenants. How your property manager finds tenants and fills vacancies may vary from company to company, but a good strategy should include some combination of onsite advertising, online marketing campaigns (newsletters, etc.), advertising in the MLS, and syndications to popular rental websites like Apartments.com. Another good way to attract prospective tenants is to make it easy for them to submit an application and schedule times to see the property.
Financial reporting is a critical function of a property management company and perhaps one of the most appealing reasons to hire a good property manager. After all, it is often the headache and confusion of bookkeeping that turns people off the idea of managing a rental property in the first place. While the property management company may have standard practices regarding the frequency and format of financial reports, it is ultimately up to the owner to determine the appropriate level of reporting for his own accounting needs. To a certain extent, your property management company should be willing to customize its reporting practices to fit your particular situation. The best property management company’s in today’s market make use of sophisticated property management software that vastly simplifies financial reporting and enables owners to log in to their accounts at any time to stay up to date. At Mayfair Property Management, our preferred property management platform is Buildium.
As mentioned earlier, the performance of your rental property is tied partly to the condition of your property. Properties in excellent condition command higher rents and higher demand than properties in poor condition. Simply put, a well maintained property will lead to higher occupancy rates, more satisfied tenants, and better cash flow. A key responsibility of your Fort Lauderdale property management company, therefore, is to protect your investment by maintaining your property in good condition. When it comes to making repairs and coordinating with contractors, a good property management company can save you a lot of money. Think of it this way – most contractors love to work for repeat customers, and property management companies are great repeat customers. Therefore, contractors have an interest to maintain good relations with property management companies. This incentivizes contractors to perform high quality work in a timely manner and at a fair price.
It should go without saying, but your property manager should be an excellent communicator and keep you informed about anything going on with your property in a timely manner. Depending on what level involvement you want to have in the day-to-day operation of your property, the type of updates (and the level of detail in those updates) you receive will vary. For example, you may wish to be notified when maintenance and repair requests are received, when tenants notify the property manager of their intent to vacate, and when tenants are late with their rental payment. If your property management company uses a good online property management software, accessing this information may be as simple as going online and logging in to your account.
You have many options when it comes to hiring a property management company to manage your Fort Lauderdale investment properties. If you’re having trouble narrowing down the options, think about how each company you’re considering manages these five core responsibilities of a property management company. Finding the right property management company is critical to the long term success of your investment portfolio, so take your time researching the various options. If you’d like to get started by talking to a property manager at Mayfair Property Management, don’t hesitate to get in touch.