Ten Big Mistakes Property Managers Make (Part One)

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

There is no doubt property managers have a tough job on their hands, possibly one of the toughest jobs out there today!

However, we consistently see the same mistakes occurring regularly in offices. It is rare to not see them in a department (our hat is off to those of you who do not make these mistakes!).

We have split this article into two parts. Here are the first five big mistakes we see property managers making regularly:

1. Tenant default databases –
There are two main databases used by most property managers across the country to check applicants, however what about lodging defaulting tenants on the database when they default? We find property managers either get into a ‘too busy mindset or simply do not use a checklist system when a tenant vacates so the lodgement doesn’t happen. The result is the defaulting tenant goes back into the system and another property manager rents them property, not knowing that they have defaulted previously.

2. Rent arrears –
Not practising effective early intervention techniques can result in action taken when it is too late to quickly fix the problem. Allowing a tenant to get seven days or more behind before taking effective action is simply too late, and our tolerance can result in the tenant going past their point of no return to where they are unable to catch up. Being tolerant can be viewed as pro-eviction, whereas zero tolerance can be seen as pro-tenant as you might be tough on them for getting behind just a few days, but at least they are still in accommodation! In the latter case, the tenant, landlord, and the property manager win, however where tolerance is allowed, nobody wins!

3. Routine inspections –
Having too many routine inspections to complete in a set time block. Most states with legislation allow for a 2-3 hour time period to be given to the tenant in a letter, and unfortunately, many property managers book too many into this time slot. This only results in rushed inspections not being done thoroughly and important issues being missed and not followed up. The final consequence is problems later on connected with the property’s condition.

4. Tenant selection –
Not recording qualification details of applicants when processing their application. Most property managers do not record crucial comments when they have processed an application. Information like what comments were made by current and previous landlords or agents when called, who they spoke with and when, who they spoke with to confirm their employment, and what information was collected. Other information not confirmed can be necessary identification copies, checking for any anomalies in addresses on identification copies etc. The main problem is later on when a tenancy fails and a landlord may want to hold you to account, what evidence do you have to prove you did your necessary checks and properly qualified the tenant? Certainly food for thought!

5. Discounting –
As most property managers receive little-to-no training in winning new business, we can hardly blame them for this mistake! However, when we do not know how to effectively ask for the business using key scripts and are then not able to overcome common fee objections, the logical solution that we come to is discounting to separate ourselves from our competitors. This action directly impacts the profitability of the business and results in property managers having to manage more properties to justify their position, resulting in burnout and resignation.

Click here for part two for the next big five mistakes property managers make, and most importantly what you can do about it!


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