Managing multifamily units is more than just filling vacancies and listening to residents’ requests. As with any other business, to be successful you need to be proactive in implementing foundational practices and technology that matter most—today more than ever—to your buyers and tenants.
At the same time, Property Owners expect the highest possible returns on their investment. As a MDU Property Manager, it’s imperative to leverage your experience in the field, frontline knowledge, and ability to incorporate technology into certain elements of the business to maximize your effectiveness.
Tip 1: Minimize costs while considering what matters to residents
And as a property manager, keeping costs low is certainly a top priority, especially when your increased profit margins count toward your performance targets.
In 2022, many MDUs are making the switch to digitally controlled products with greener energy alternatives as a way of saving money, while benefiting the planet. Smart thermostats are a way to give property managers and tenants the control to adjust the temperature remotely. The electricity often wasted during a day when not home and an HVAC system is left on can be costly. Even if you are on premises, these smart, digitally thermostats help systems perform at optimum levels of efficiency.
The data gathered from each unit’s smart thermostat gives a Property Manager full visibility of how electricity costs fluctuate day to day, and season to season. This can be powerful information to analyze. It can be used to identify units needing maintenance or to calculate electricity use and cost when they’re bundled into tenant leases.
Additionally, 23% of renters believe that smart home technologies are worth paying higher rent. Plus, eco-conscious tenants (and the environment) will thank you.
Tip 2: Hire the right team
Surrounding yourself with a team of people that contribute to your tenants’ satisfaction is key to winning new renters as well as encouraging current occupants to stay. Being a professional and empathetic bridge between your property owner and your tenants is your job, but it takes a well-trained team to keep satisfaction levels high on both sides.
So it is imperative that you hire experienced and knowledgeable people to perform various functions of property management. These would typically include repair professionals, bookkeepers, contractors, legal professionals, tenant managers, etc.
Providing training and resources to the team, and implementing an org system (updated handbook, emergency procedures, etc.) goes a long way in ensuring effective maintenance & management of the property.
Tip 3: Respond to maintenance requests quickly
Expect the unexpected, and plan for the worst. Delaying maintenance or worse yet, failing to develop a systematic approach for the proactive upkeep of your property could lead to costly unintended repairs and unhappy tenants.
Many aspects of property management can be mitigated or planned for through proper risk management assessments.
Risk assessments may seem like a timely annoyance to an overwhelmed Property Manager with a lot on her plate. But a yearly review of potential risks, including input from your team, can prevent a lot of problems before they arise.
Develop a maintenance schedule and perform routine inspections to reduce risks. Crucial items for your checklist should include:
- Smoke and fire alarms
- Emergency exits and door access
- HVAC systems
- Roof and downspouts
- Decks and balconies
- Windows (check for cracks and sealant issues)
- Water lines for laundry areas
And while it may sound obvious, having the right tools for the job is an essential part of handling repair requests in a prompt manner. Maintaining the supply of essential Property Management tools will help you carry out daily inspections and keep everything in working order.
Tip 4: Minimize tenant turnover rates
Profitable property management is about more than just taking care of infrastructure and operations. A skilled MDU property manager also knows how to fill vacancies with high-quality applicants. Depending on your location, your reputation in the market, and the amenities you offer, your property should have a set of well-defined criteria to screen tenants.
After you’ve established your income-to-rent standard and have a clear picture of who your ‘dream tenant’ is, there are a variety of checks and verifications you should consider.
The time taken to carry out credit checks, employment verifications, and past landlord references will pay off in the long run. But be sure to understand your city’s laws pertaining to what type of permission is needed to investigate an applicant’s history or access personal data. Know your rights as the property manager, but also ensure your procedures align with local legislation.
Never underestimate the potential to get reliable, vetted new tenants from your existing tenants. Word of mouth is king. If you’re meeting the needs of your current renters, chances are they have friends, co-workers, or family that are looking for new homes.
Tip 5: Learn how to stay compliant
When it comes to regulation violations, the stakes are high. An inadvertent slip-up could cause expensive fines, damage to your property’s reputation, and worst of all, putting your renters in an environment of compromised safety.
One thing you can count on, is nothing remains the same. Laws are constantly being updated and regulating bodies have a responsibility to revise policies in order to keep the general public safe and hold property managers accountable for the buildings they look after.
It’s advisable to have an attorney familiar with your city’s local laws review your property’s situation. But it will then be your duty to put a system in place to track changes in the regulations and guarantee that you’re running a well documented operation. Keep records of everything.
Some of the evidence you should be accumulating and compliance related activities you need to be tracking include:
- Building codes
- Records of maintenance and repairs
- Access control logs
- Product manuals and equipment details
- Fire safety requirements
- Documents issued by local authorities
- Proof of Health & Safety related inspections
- Complaint & incident reports
- Permits, licenses & inspection records
- Correspondence with local authorities
Staying on top of this paper trail can get overwhelming, so more and more MDU Property Managers are shifting their practices to SaaS tools and assisted online platforms to help relieve some of the burden.
Support for MDU Property Managers
There are a lot of options on the market promising to help Multi-Dwelling Unit Property Managers achieve their targets while leading a headache free life. While nothing can compare to the years of practical experience gained through dealing with issues as they arise on a case-by-case basis, it’s getting harder to manage it all without accepting some level of help from tech-based solutions.
In an increasingly automated world, property managers prove their worth and demonstrate their ability to deliver profitable results through a balanced practice of old and new techniques.
Smart homes with access control features give your tenants peace of mind that you aren’t stuck in the past. They signal to renters that you’re innovative and keep up with the changing times. All while making your job a little bit easier.
If you’re looking for the smartest way to manage access across all of your properties, Lockly Pro may be the solution for you. Let us help you view and control where, when, and by whom your building’s doors and other access points are being used from anywhere in the world—all from a single pane-of-glass view.