Why Landlord’s leave a Property Management Company
Just like a baseball and softball game, the general rule of thumb with Landlord’s is three strikes and you are out and a new agency comes in. As an investor myself I’ve used this rule of thumb to move onto a new agency, in fact, anything to do with customer service is generally a three mistake rule. Everyone is entitled to make a mistake every now and then, we are all human of course, but as the errors build up what happens is we lose trust and without trust what do we have? Trust is especially essential in property management, mainly considering we are dealing with people’s largest assets; they need to be able to rely on and trust that we have their best interests at heart. If landlords are interstate or overseas building that trust is even more important to ensure you maintain the management long term.
Top Reason’s Landlord’s Change Property Managers
1) Lack of Communication
A Lack of communication is believed to be the number one reason a landlord leaves a property management company. With modern innovation and technology, it has never been easier to keep landlords in the loop with what is happening with their investment. We have landlines, mobile phones, SMS, Facetime, emails, automatically generated emails, Skype, Zoom, you name it there are more ways than ever to communicate with your landlord, so there’s no excuse. Developing a strategy around how you are going to communicate with landlords on important things is essential to ensure you develop and maintain a good relationship and of course trust. With big issues, like insurance claims, damages and abandonment, over communication should be the general rule of thumb.
2) Mistakes with Finance / Money
One sure-fire way to lose an owner’s trust is to make a mistake with their money. Whether their end of month disbursement got missed, an unauthorised bill was taken out, or the tenants left owing money and it was never communicated or debt collected, money is important to them and the essence of owning an investment property. For some owners, the money is required to pay the mortgage, so any errors can create extra expense and headaches for the owner.
3) Poor Customer Service
This goes hand in hand with poor communication, if you’re not communicating effectively then you are certainly not excelling at customer service either. Property management is a customer service industry and setting up how you deal with your clients should be a well thought out strategy. For example, simple things like if an owner calls wanting to speak to a property manager, they should be able to speak to them, or at least get a prompt return call, same goes with emails, same-day replies should be a standard part of your customer care. Everyone is used to everything at their fingertips these days, so immediacy is expected, getting back to people can no longer be delayed.
4) Not willing to go the Extra Mile
Sometimes a landlord will ask you to do things out of the ordinary, like meet a valuer at the property, change an inspection time or day so they can take a look at the property, these can be disruptive to your daily or weekly schedule, but are worth it. This is also part of customer service and going above and beyond what is expected as part of your property management brief. I’ve gone shopping and purchased and hung curtains for clients, I even had to hem them, but that client couldn’t have been more appreciative and it will be very hard to lose her management long term. Go the extra mile, it will pay off in the long run!
5) High Turnover of Team Members
I must admit this has caused me some pain and lost managements over the years as well. Every time a landlord experiences a new property manager a little bit more trust is ebbed away and uncertainty creeps in; what is wrong with this company they can’t keep a property manager; will they know where things are up to with my property; and so on. The industry as a whole has a reputation for high turnover, and that is ultimately a result of a lack of training and solid business systems and procedures.
6) Concerns Over Fees
There are more and more agencies popping up and now the industry is even competing with virtual property managers, so while it is important to remain competitive with your fees, you need to remind landlords that sometimes you get what you pay for. If you are planning on increasing your fees or adding a new one, do this gradually and have an education program explaining why the fees are changing. Ultimately, you need to balance between keeping landlords and running a profitable business.
7) Maintenance Issues
Ultimately a landlord needs to know you are looking after their property, but at the same time, you are conscious of the bottom line when it comes to them achieving maximum return on their investment. You mustn’t delay getting important maintenance items fixed or quoted on, but at the same time, you mustn’t spend money on unnecessary maintenance. Having an owner’s maintenance instructions set up in your software system will go a long way to ensuring you don’t lose one of your strikes unnecessarily, for example, if a landlord wants to do his maintenance and you send a handyman, strike one…
Tips to Gaining Landlord’s Trust
o Increase Communication – Monthly newsletters, quarterly emails reminding them to send in their water bills to invoice tenants, random customer survey calls to see how we are doing and what improvements we might need to make, are all great ways to keep up communication. Make sure your communication isn’t always about negative things, call and tell them they have a great tenant in place, the property is being looked after, is there anything else I can assist you with, etc.
o Keep Educating – Educate landlord’s on your policy and procedures, let them know the lease renewal process, let them know the maintenance process, the more they understand how your business works the fewer issues you will have.
o Be Transparent – 24 hour owner portals make this easy, allow landlord’s access to Entry, Exits and Routine reports. If you are doing the right thing and a good job you have nothing to hide.
o Tailor-make Your Service to Their Needs – A one-stop shop doesn’t work for every landlord, so be flexible tweak and adjust things to suit an individual landlord’s needs, within reason of course. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile.
On the flip side of the three strikes rule, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do you simply can’t keep some people happy, and you just need to move on from that and invest your time and energy on a new bat and ball.
iThink Property has a team of real estate agents in Ipswich and Toowoomba offering property sales and property management services. With a passion for people and property, iThink Property was conceived with the notion of building a team of good people to work in a real estate brand that did things differently. iThink Property focuses on transparency, communication, innovation and teamwork and has become a leading independent brand with unique points of difference. So whether you are thinking of buying, selling or renting, think iThink Property.