Real Estate Property Management: An Intro

Whether you’re interested in starting a property management business, want to rent out space from a property manager or are considering hiring a property manager to take care of a piece of real estate, understanding the basics of real estate property management is essential for any business owner with a physical location. Learn about the key responsibilities of being a property manager in this guide.

 

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What is property management?

Property management involves all of the tasks and responsibilities associated with operating and overseeing a piece of real estate. Residential, commercial and industrial real estate locations need property managers to make sure that the property owners can maintain the value of their investments and generate earnings through finding and keeping renters. Real estate owners can manage properties themselves or hire a property manager or property management company to coordinate the management activities on their behalf. Property management companies may handle the day-to-day operations of several buildings. 

Read more: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Leases for Commercial Property

 

Responsibilities of property managers

Property managers are responsible for the daily activities related to maintaining a rental property. Some of a property manager’s day-to-day tasks include:

 

Managing tenants

Finding tenants to rent each space is one of the most important jobs of a property management company. They need to seek out quality applicants and screen them for any potential issues by running credit reports, researching rental history, verifying employment and following up with references. Property owners could lose profits any time they have vacancies, so property managers often focus on advertising vacant units to attract qualified tenants.

 

Once a renter moves into the space, the property manager enforces terms of the lease, such as pet or smoking policies. If two tenants have a dispute, the property manager can help mediate and settle any complaints. They communicate with tenants who violate rental terms, taking disciplinary action if necessary. Property managers also handle evictions, taking the appropriate legal steps to protect the property owner.

 

Setting rent

Property managers and property management companies can help the real estate owner decide on an appropriate price to charge renters. They should be aware of average rent prices in their area and have an understanding of how a space’s features, square footage and location contribute to setting a price. 

Property managers also collect rent from tenants using online deposits or in-person drop-offs. Efficient rent collection involves creating and enforcing a consistent policy about when, where and how rent should be paid. The policy should include a clear description of any late fees that the property manager may apply in the event of a missed payment. Property managers are also responsible for communicating any rental charges to tenants.

 

Ensuring property maintenance

Scheduling repairs, inspections and routine maintenance is also an important aspect of property management. Property managers communicate with the rental property owners to approve costs and arrange for plumbing repairs, electrical work and lawn care. When a tenant moves out, the property manager may replace carpets, repaint walls and make other upgrades to prepare the space for a new renter. They also manage the upkeep of public spaces like lounge areas, gyms and pools.

Read more: How to Hire a Maintenance Technician

 

Recordkeeping

Property managers typically keep track of documents related to a rental property, such as copies of leases, maintenance records and rental applications. They record all income and expenses, like repairs, insurance, rental income, utility costs and fees. Property managers maintain a variety of information including:

  • Vendor lists
  • Tenant complaints
  • Maintenance requests
  • Evictions
  • Rent changes
  • Policy changes

The specific duties for a residential property manager who oversees apartments are different from a commercial property manager who oversees retail space, so it’s important for property managers to understand industry standards in their specialty.

 

Outsourcing responsibilities as a property manager

Especially with large properties, property managers may need to outsource responsibilities by hiring employees or independent contractors. While the owner of a single-rental home may be able to manage by themselves finding tenants and completing repairs, a property manager running a large complex may need to employ a variety of people, such as an administrative assistant for bookkeeping and a groundskeeper for lawn duties. 

 

For major repairs, property managers hire experienced electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other trade professionals who can perform maintenance according to building safety codes. Additionally, for specific tasks, property managers may hire leasing agents to attract tenants, lawyers to assist with evictions, accountants to file their taxes.

 

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