Anyone who owns rental properties knows it can come with many rewards, but it’s also not without its share of hard work and challenges.
Often owners come to us frustrated and in need of help because they’re struggling with the management aspect of their rental properties or because they’ve had it up to here with their current property manager.
Not surprisingly, we’ve noticed some themes when it comes to pain points clients find themselves facing before they come to us for help. These challenges can generally be distilled down to five major pain point categories, particularly related to the relationship between a property owner and property manager.
We’ll discuss them below as well as offer solutions if you find yourself facing one (or more) of them.
5 Frustrating Facts Facing Property Owners
If any of the words below spark trepidation in your soul, fear not. We know there can be tension and challenges surrounding these issues, but there are also ideas we can learn from and apply more broadly to other situations. Here goes…
- Communication – Frustration Fact #1 is the lack of communication between a property owner and property manager. When owners entrust the management of one of their largest assets into the hands of another, they expect to get an answer if they have a question. Unfortunately, feeling left in the dark about your rental property is an all-too-common experience for some property owners and a significant enough problem that can damage the relationship.
When interviewing potential property management companies, be sure to ask about how they communicate as well as their staff and business size. You want to be heard and understood when working with the property management team, not lost in the shuffle with all the others.
- Fees – Property management companies spell out their fees in their contract, but there also can be additional fee areas such as lease renewal fees and maintenance fees. Even though every type of fee should be outlined in the contract, expectations can vary or there can be misunderstandings. Not surprisingly, this can lead to conflict.
The solution can almost always be found in a phone call (not email). Having a reasonable conversation where both sides can gain context on the situation can not only solve the immediate concern, but it can also help prevent future issues.
- Vacancies – An unoccupied unit can be a double-whammy for property owners because not only are they not generating income from the unit, they also must still pay expenses and fees. Clients will come to us frustrated that their unit isn’t filled, and this can be for a variety of reasons. One way to ease concern in this situation is to maintain frequent communication; explain what is happening, when and why; and help them further understand other factors that could play into the vacancy, such as seasonality.
- Repairs – Maintenance is the most expensive category of owning rental property, and no owner wants to hear they’ll be faced with a big one-off repair expense. The best solution to these situations is to establish a trusting relationship with your property manager. Knowing they are prioritizing your best interests can alleviate some anxiety that comes with forking over more money on a property. But building trust can take time. Ensuring your philosophies about property ownership are aligned can be a good first step.
- Accounting – Property management is extremely accounting intensive. Not only must you keep books on the management business itself, but property managers are also handling records of income and expenses for every single client they manage. It’s also highly regulated, and business activity can be audited by the state at any time. If your property management company can’t stay on top of your accounting needs, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Owning real estate comes with joys and pains, but one pain that shouldn’t keep you up at night is the relationship with your property management company. If you’re at all frustrated, there’s no need to stick around. Call us instead. At RL Property Management, we put everything we’ve got into serving you and helping your real estate investment be its most successful.
To hear more about our conversation on pain points owners face, tune in to Episode 16 of our podcast Owner Occupied.