Property management is an occupation that most people understand in a fundamental sense. Sure, properties need to be maintained, especially if you’re looking at doing property management in Sedona, Arizona where the dust and heat add extra wear and tear to your property. But, when it comes to the job details, most people don't understand just what kind of responsibilities a property manager undertakes on a daily basis.
We'll help you understand some of the more common tasks associated with property management and why they're essential to making your stay at a vacation home perfect.
What Is a Property Manager?
A property manager usually works for an apartment complex, housing community, or other company that owns and leases property. Their primary responsibility is to oversee the property's condition before, during, and after a tenant's stay. That may include preparing the property for a tenant's arrival, ensuring that they resolve any issues raised by tenants swiftly and effectively, and performing inspections after the tenant leaves.
Put simply, any concerns, questions, or problems raised (or created) by the tenant/tenant usually fall squarely on the shoulders of the property manager.
Property managers must be able to:
- Communicate effectively and compassionately with tenants
- Perform routine inspections and facilitate regular maintenance on the property
- Collect rent and set a budget
- Use problem-solving techniques to find solutions
What Does a Property Manager Do?
Before a tenant arrives at their apartment, home, or vacation rental, a property manager usually puts in a significant amount of work to prepare the space for their arrival. Property managers generally inspect the premises, taking note of pre-existing damages to determine the property's condition before the tenant arrives.
They also try to preempt the tenants' needs, including services like providing fresh linens, ensuring water and sewage are working normally, and cleaning the house. While they may delegate these responsibilities to a home care specialist, it's still the property manager's job to ensure the space is clean and prepared for the tenant's arrival.
It is crucial that the property complies with local laws and is maintained accordingly, so this is another responsibility that goes on the manager's to-do list. In addition, they often work with real estate agents to secure the tenancy of properties, showing vacant rooms or homes to prospective tenants.
During the Stay
While the tenants are in the home, the supervisor is responsible for tending to their needs and addressing any concerns other community members may raise about them. These may include maintenance issues, such as damage to the home, malfunctioning services, or depleted home resources.
A property manager must also ensure that the tenant behaves appropriately during their stay. In an apartment complex, the property manager will likely be very cognizant of the leasing agreement as a guideline for the tenant's code of conduct.
The manager may raise concerns about the tenant's behavior where applicable or try to settle disputes between neighbors. If the tenant is doing something illegal, the property manager must further investigate and, if appropriate, report the behavior to the authorities.
After the Visit
Once the tenant has left the premises, the property manager will usually perform an inspection to make sure the property is still in good condition. If any damage is attributable to the tenant, they may face a charge debited from their security deposit.
In general, the property manager restores the space to its prior condition, maintaining a standard of professionalism across all the properties they manage.
Other Responsibilities of Property Managers
While some property managers may have a more marginal role in business planning, some are instrumental in designing the business plan for the properties they currently manage to make sure that the needs of the tenants (and the homeowners) are met.
Property managers provide data on the properties' profitability and assess the performance of personnel working on the premises. That may include aspects of conflict-resolution, provision of services, or expansion of the property.
In any event, general expectations are for the property managers to share their familiarity with management, work experience, rental agreement, and, in some cases, the tenants where appropriate.
Often, a property manager serves as the first line of communication when a tenant raises an issue. The tenant may raise a concern with the property manager, who will subsequently alert management to the matter. Based on their recommendation, the property manager may personally handle or delegate responsibility to address concerns brought up by tenants.
This role is especially relevant in situations where tenants are renting space for an extended period of time. For example, if a tenant identifies an issue with one of their electrical outlets, they may call the property manager, who will, in turn, schedule an appointment to fix the problem.
Another vital role that a property manager serves is collecting rent. They serve as the first line of communication for tenants so that they can pay their rent on time. Managers may process rent payments, collect and store data about rental history, and follow up on tenants who are late on payments.
Setting a Budget
Because property managers are closely involved with the properties they manage, they are also responsible for setting the budget for property management services. That might include landscaping, maintenance, and general upkeep.
To this effect, they may open lines of communication with local electricians, plumbers, and landscapers qualified to address nonemergency and emergency requests from tenants.
Understanding Rental Agreements
The expectation is that property managers possess a great degree of expertise when it comes to the terms of rental agreements across different property types.
That includes understanding the specific terms in the tenant's rent or lease agreement, as well as the general guidelines for renting and rental contracts. Property managers, for example, would be adept at understanding and explaining anti-discrimination laws.
The Bottom Line
Property managers are responsible for the properties they oversee from start to finish. They take care of finding and introducing tenants to the home, ensuring they have a pleasant stay, and checking for damages after they leave.
It's a big responsibility, requiring exceptional interpersonal skills, a problem-solving mindset, a good understanding of rental contracts, and, generally, an educational background in real estate or business administration.
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