A lot of our property owners don’t live here in the Bay Area. Whether because they inherited property, or they had a job transfer, they can’t visit their property every time there’s a problem. We also have a lot of international investors who are investing in the Bay Area to take advantage of the strong economy and appreciation. It’s hard to own a property and not be there locally. That’s why it’s important to have a property manager who can protect your property and take care of your investment.
The first thing that a property manager should do is place a great tenant into your property. Most damage is done from bad tenants than earthquakes, floods or fires. You should make sure that you have strict objective criteria in place and that the procedures are followed consistently. While it’s tempting to go by gut feeling, it doesn’t hold up in court. You need a Property Manager who has established, objective criteria that can show a clear record or why an applicant was approved or denied. You don’t want a Property Manager who simply takes the first person who wants to move in because the property is vacant. There’s a saying in the Real Estate investment industry that no tenant is better than a bad tenant. While you certainly want to get your property filled as quickly, don’t risk dealing with a bad tenant just to shave a week off of your vacancy.
You also want to make sure that your property is being inspected. We inspect your property regularly to make sure that tenants are complying with the lease. Before renewing the lease or even offering a renewal, we inspect the property to make sure that there aren’t four mattresses in the living room, eight cars in the driveway, or seven cats in the house. (While this may sound like hyperbole, we’ve found all of these in owner properties when we took over).
When you’re dealing with a tenant, it is important to always be courteous and professional. Regardless of the situation, it’s important stay level headed and treat them with respect. Remember that they want a safe place to live and if they have that, they will protect your property and pay their rent.
After each work order, we send a survey to tenants to make sure that the work has been complete and the issue resolved. Aside from making sure that the owner gets what they paid for, it shows the tenant that we are concerned for their well being too. We’re not one of those property managers who is going to screw over the tenant on behalf of the owner. We believe in establishing mutually beneficial relationships where the tenants stay for a long time and the owner sees reduced turnover and maintenance costs as a result.
When we have properties that are vacant, we make sure that nothing is wrong with the place. We do regular inspections to make sure that the property is not being broken into or being occupied by squatters. We make sure the utilities are turned on and the place is kept in great condition so that when showings occur, people are more inclined to rent the property.
These are some tips to help you protect your investment. Contact Civitas if you have questions or would like more information.