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More Than Maintenance and Collections: The Essential Functions of a Property Manager

May 11, 2016

An effective manager wears many different hats when it comes to representing owners and serving the needs of tenants

When many people consider the role of a property manager, they think about handling maintenance requests and processing rent payments. While these are both critical components of the position, there are many other functions that are required to adequately serve clients. Let’s take a look.

Improve and evaluate the property to determine an accurate rental amount

A property manager typically has unique experience in certain markets, and can use this knowledge to set an accurate rental amount. In addition, managers often perform the following services:

  • Perform documentation of the interior and exterior condition of the unit, including taking photos
  • Offer recommendations to the owner regarding cosmetic improvements and repairs that could maximize monthly rent.
  • Discuss the positives and negatives of certain policies with respect to rates, including allowing pets, smoking, etc.
  • Gather data, including rental rates in the area, and work with the owners to determine an optimal price.

Prepare and market the property

One of the most time-consuming aspects of renting a property is marketing the listing, preparing the property, and evaluating prospects. A property manager will have the experience necessary to ensure that you have qualified tenants and the marketing chops to find them. Duties include the following:

  • Preparing the property for rent:

            o Cleaning it and updating the interior, if necessary

            o Maintaining landscaping, if applicable

  • Creating advertisements geared toward the property type. Some of these ads may include:

            o Signs

            o MLS listings

            o Advertising on paid and free rental websites

            o Fliers

            o Ads in print publications

  • Working with other leasing and real estate agents to find a qualified tenant
  • Taking calls from prospective tenants and schedule showings
  • Offering prospective tenants rental applications that are legally compliant with all fair housing laws
  • Collecting all applications and fees from prospective tenants

Collect the rent

Leave the particulars of rent collection to a property manager to avoid directly accepting money from your tenants. A qualified professional will collect the rent, enforce late fees, and track down any outstanding payments.

Manage the move in of tenants

An effective manager will oversee a comprehensive move-in process that includes an inspection and documentation that tracks any issues related to the condition of the property. In addition, he or she will:

  • Create the lease agreement
  • Review all lease particulars with tenants regarding items like necessary property maintenance and payment terms
  • Perform an inspection and have all tenants sign off, verifying the condition of the unit before move in
  • Confirm the move-in date with the tenant
  • Collect the first month’s rent and any security deposit

Handle the eviction process

Eviction is a scenario that no one wants to deal with, but a property manager can make it easier. Managers are well versed in legal proceedings and can act on behalf of the property owner in court. They will:

  • File the necessary paperwork to start and complete the eviction process
  • Represent the property owner in all court proceedings
  • Coordinate with appropriate law enforcement authorities to remove tenants and their possessions from the unit

Conduct inspections

Occasional inspections are needed to ensure that tenants are properly taking care of a property. Spotting issues early can prevent owners from having to spend significant money on renovations. Managers will perform inspections (both inside and outside) on a predetermined schedule to look for any safety hazards, repair needs, lease violations, or code violations, and send the owner periodic documentation about the property’s condition.

Fulfill financial duties

It’s important to accurately track all income and expenses involving rental properties. A property manager will provide you with the necessary details to accurately file taxes, among other functions:

  • Make payments on behalf of property owners when necessary (mortgage, property taxes, insurance, HOA dues, etc.)
  • Provide detailed documentation of any expenses
  • Maintain historical records of all paid invoices, inspection reports, leases, etc.
  • Advise of any tax deductions that could be relevant to the rental property
  • Provide annual reporting and all required tax documents, such as a form 1099
  • Compile detailed monthly cash-flow statements that itemize income and expenses

Address maintenance needs

An effective manager will have an experienced team of contractors at the ready when repairs are needed. They can:

  •  Provide a maintenance crew to handle routine issues
  • Create a preventative maintenance policy to identify and deal with any repair needs
  • Offer a network of licensed, insured contractors who offer good pricing and work that is up to code
  • Maintain all outdoor areas
  • Ready a 24-hour emergency phone line for repairs
  • Offer recommendations regarding larger rehab projects

Manage tenant move out

Similar to the move-in process, a move-out inspection ensures that any damages are identified and deducted from the security deposit. Duties include:

  • Inspecting the unit and preparing a report on the condition after a tenant moves out
  • Providing tenant with a copy of the report as well as any estimated damages
  • Returning the balance of the security deposit to the tenant, if applicable
  • Cleaning the unit and performing any needed repairs
  • Putting the property on the market to be rented once again

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of property management duties, it should give you a good idea of the role that a quality manager can play in overseeing your property. If you’re interested in partnering with a professional property management company that can offload the stress of dealing with your rental in South Florida, contact Morris Southeast Group today at 954-474-1776 or at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

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