Thursday, May 30, 2013

Four Reasons Your Prospects Need a Property Manager

1.   Local laws are complicated

Becoming a property owner and leasing a unit opens the door for many legal concerns. A property manager eats, breathes, and lives local ordinance. If they don’t, they
aren’t a real PM. For example, rental ordinances in San Francisco Bay Area change the moment you cross the Bay Bridge, this holds true for many major metropolitan areas. Being a property manager is more than collecting rent and bills, and handling repairs – it includes knowing local, state and federal fair housing laws – as the rental housing industry is one of the most regulated. Oftentimes, owners come to us after they have a problem, that they tried to resolve themselves, and discovered that they have done it wrong. This happens a lot with rent control issues.

2.   There are many hassles to the job

It is not a pleasant experience to be woken up at 2am when there is a leak or emergency. Those are just some of the reasons why having a property manager are helpful to making your life easier.
Those are the easy issues, but there can be much bigger problems. For example, the city was repaving some of the main sewer lines in front of one of the buildings I manage. When they were replacing the lines they cut off the access to the building’s sewer line. Eventually there was 4ft. of raw sewage in the boiler room – so we dealt with the city, insurance, Hazmat, and repairs on behalf of our owner. It was more than just handling the angry residents and repairs, we also had a responsibility to clean it to code and ensure that Hazmat was brought in. It is an extreme example, but a pretty clear case where if the owner did not have a PM, they would have had to navigate all of these issues on their own. Our owner was not involved after the initial day; we handled the rest.

3.   We know the territory

As local PMs we know trades people and companies that we have trusted for years. This gives our owners comfort knowing we will get items resolved with reputable, reliable and honest services with good prices. One specific example is with the water bill, we know what the bill should be for buildings based on their size. So if it is too high, we go in and assess for water leaks, etc. and save money before it turns into 1,000s of dollars. When we take over properties, we like to maintain any relationships that the owner has fostered with their vendors – which builds our database as well. Even in those cases we can price things accordingly and ensure that they are paying a fair rate.

4.   We protect the investment of the owner

Because of our knowledge, we are able to budget for plumbing, locksmiths, etc. We also know how to run market comps and price the apartments correctly to maximize the income for the owner. Sometimes the owners completely overprice an apartment and we are able to price accordingly to the market and ensure maximum occupancy as quickly as possible.

Again, we are a highly regulated industry. As such, we need to be trained in all aspects and certified when needed. It is our job to stay updated on classes and laws. For example, today I attended a tax change in regards to parking tax. Professional PMs stay on top of these details enabling us to protect and inform our clients.

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