We break property management into two pieces: “Leasing” and “Property Management”. Let’s leave “leasing” for another day and concentrate on management. In short, a good property manager does everything a landlord does except own the property. Our owners pay their own mortgages and taxes, we handle most of the other expenses from an accounting perspective. That all sounds pretty simple: money comes in from rent and the water bill gets paid. Well, there is more to it than that. Maintaining a relationship with the renter is probably the most important part of management. An unhappy renter often creates an unhappy owner. We do not like unhappy owners. In order to keep a renter happy we don’t say yes to everything. We try to strike a balance between properly maintaining the property and being thrifty with the owners’ money. That takes a little tact and in some cases persistence and persuasion. Some renters are needy and once we identify that we try to stay one step ahead of them and keep them happy so they don’t become unreasonable.
A large part of being an effective property management company is having good service providers. They have to be resourceful, communicative, smart and of course thrifty. Uptown Management does not mark up service invoices like most of our competition does. There are a couple companies that charge less per month than we do but we know they end up being more expensive due to service work markup. We also try to send the right person for the job. If a handyman charges $50 to try to do something that is a little bit over his or her head and we end up sending a plumber or an electrician in the end we have wasted $50. Knowing who to send is only something we gain from experience. Having been in the landlord business for over 20 years has its benefits.
The final thing I will mention here is software. There is no way we could properly manage the number of properties we handle without awesome software. There are a number of quality property management platforms on the market and we have one of the premier products called AppFolio. It cleverly integrates our accounting, maintenance leasing and communications into one platform. Owners get organized statements and their money arrives digitally. Our tenants have a portal where they can request service and we manage the service tickets there as well. All of our contractors are organized and communicated/paid through the software as well. It helps us be a valuable property management resource for our owners and tenants.