Property Management in Frederick is No Walk in the Park
Property management, especially property management in Frederick, isn’t an easy job. In fact, being a property manager probably means having to deal with more figurative fires than you care to – and probably a few real ones as well.
It’s almost a thankless job, really. Property managers are expected to clean up the messes, deal with the problems, and keep everyone happy because, if the tenants aren’t happy, you end up losing tenants. So, the tenants will continue to harass you if something isn’t right and, even if you’re waiting on someone to do repairs, the property manager is going to be the one who gets the brunt of frustration from the tenant.
It’s hard not to take a lot of things tenants say to you to heart. If you’re relatively new to property management, it can be especially difficult.
Why, though, is it such a hassle to be a property manager? When it comes to any type of management, there is going to be some sort of stress you need to handle. So why is it so much more of a pain to deal with property management? Here are a few reasons why property management in Frederick is tough for just about everyone.
You Have to Hire Contractors
Issues come up all the time. A tenant’s air conditioning isn’t working, or maybe it’s an issue with an appliance, or even, (gasp) a pipe broke and there’s water on the floor in every room. Sometimes nightmares come true. You can’t do the work yourself, so you call in experts to do the work.
Of course, you want to fix the problem as economically as possible – you’re still trying to look out for the bottom line of the owners of the property, after all. Since contractors charge whatever they feel is the best price for the work they do, it’s not uncommon to shop in and around Frederick for the best price. Granted, you might not have a lot of time TO shop around if something major has happened (e.g. busted water line flooding the property).
Bargain shopping can save you some money initially, but it will probably cost you more in the long run due to delayed time and increased risk, since you don’t know if the project is going to be completed efficiently. In the end, the long-term solution becomes vastly reduced.
Oh, and there will probably be extra complaints by the tenants while you’re figuring out which contractor is best for the price. So, you’ll have that going for you.
Instead of dealing with the headache every time, it’s good to establish a network of contractors you’ve used before and that you trust. These are the responsive contractors you should use time and time again. You’ll be more efficient, faster, and achieve higher quality work – keeping your tenants happier in the process.
“Oh, Just Let the Tenants Fix Their Own Problems”
Think about that statement. Take a moment and think about it really hard. It’s not uncommon for larger properties to have tenants fix the problems themselves in exchange for a deduction in the cost of rent.
It’s a win-win, right? You don’t have to deal with contractors, the tenant fixes their own problem, you might even save a little money by not using a contractor, so everything is great, fine, and wonderful!
Except when it’s not.
The number of things that could go wrong is astounding and, given the odds, it’s almost a certainty something bad is going to happen. Need some examples? What happens if the tenant, while fixing the problem, hurts themselves? You could be liable for damages. Or, if the tenant does a poor job of making the repairs, it might cause an even bigger problem down the road that you won’t know about it until it’s too late.
Just like when you look for the best deal from a contractor, your tenant is probably going to look to do the repair the quickest, cheapest way possible. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
It’s always good to know what’s going on. In order to do that – and to know that the repairs are done correctly and appropriately – you need to have a licensed contractor or maintenance person you trust to do the work. That way, you have one less thing to worry about.
Screening Your Tenants
This should seem like a no-brainer, right? You want the best tenants you can possibly get into these properties. Surely, you have an effective screen process so you can weed out the unwanteds from those who could possibly be good tenants?
Sadly, this sometimes gets overlooked by property managers. There are numerous reasons why: they forgot; they were rushed for time; the property has been vacant for so long, they’re just happy to finally have a tenant. These excuses usually come back to bite you more often than not.
Does the tenant have the finances to stay in that facility for as long as they rent it? It’s good to know this in case the property has to be fitted out for the tenant, costing you a lot of money. How about a background check? These are simple things that need to be addressed before anyone signs on the dotted line. This will save you a lot of mental anguish down the road.
Do You Keep (and Actually DO) Routine Inspections?
There are times when tenants will be in your ear for what seems like hours on end about something that isn’t working or something that has broken at the property. Other times, though, things can become a little too quiet.
You never want to wait until something bad happens before you take action at any of your properties. That’s why it’s important to keep and maintain regular, preventative inspections.
How does the outside of the property look? Are the tenants taking care of the inside? Do the ceilings show any water damage? How about the floors? Does anything jump out at you as a potential problem? These inspections give you a better idea of the overall condition of the property, plus it lets the tenants know you’re on top of things. That last part always helps if you want these particular tenants to stick around.
The Big 4 That Keep Property Managers Up at Night
Let’s face it, the challenges you face as a property manager are the same challenges everyone in property management have to battle. These issues really haven’t changed a lot of the years. Still, there are four issues that hit home for all property managers, no matter what type of properties you manage.
- OPERATING COSTS: Skyrocketing energy costs are hurting every property manager of every type of building. Higher direct costs can be seen in your utility bills. Increased indirect costs show up in higher prices for just about everything you purchase, from soap to light bulbs to construction materials. Energy saving initiatives should be a priority, as well as a strong maintenance program to make sure all your heating and cooling systems are in top-notch running condition. Buying supplies and equipment in volume can offset rising costs.
- STAFFING/SERVICES – It is a constant challenge to find, train, motivate, and keep a customer-focused staff. Excellent training and competitive wages can go a long way toward retaining your staff. In addition, letting them know they are goodwill ambassadors and they are an important part of the operation is key – ask for their input and expect them to take ownership and be accountable. Staffing problems can also spill over to the services you contract out, such as janitorial services. Unions have become more aggressive about demanding higher wages and more benefits. When negotiating new service contracts, make sure you look at your historical data and see if there are any potential savings you can uncover and possibly negotiate more favorable terms.
- TENANTS – It always costs more to bring on a new tenant then it does to renew an existing tenant, so taking care of them should be paramount. One thing that has not changed over the years is a tenant’s demand for comfort. They want the heating to work in the winter, the air conditioner to work in the summer, they want to feel secure and they want to have pride in their facility. What has changed is the amenities tenants want. Tenants are also driven by their bottom line, so they are focused on using their space more efficiently by increasing their density through creative floor plans. Other important areas include ADA compliance and telecom and high-speed internet access.
- LEASES – Tenant leases have become a huge issue for today’s property managers. The important thing to remember is that landlords really drive the lease terms, even though tenants can be tough negotiators. Landlords are trying to reduce the rights and options of their tenants, while tenants are looking for more flexibility with shorter terms, the ability to sublet or more termination options. The key is to find a middle ground. For new tenants, negotiations may include concession packages for free rent and improvement allowances.
Sometimes It’s Best to Look for Help with Property Management in Frederick
Look, we get it. We understand property management is sometimes a thankless job that ends up keeping people awake until the wee hours of the morning. It’s particularly hard when a property manager feels as though they’re drowning because they’re over their heads.
If you own a property and you’re looking for property management, you don’t want to hire some fly-by-night company to come in, sweet talk you, and then ruin your property. If that were the case, you could have just saved your money and forgot about the property in the first place. No, when it comes to property management, you want a knowledgeable team who will work with you to make sure your dream becomes a reality.
At Blackwolf Commercial, we have a dedicated team of experts who handle property management on a daily basis. We have years of experience dealing with all of the problems mentioned above – and more. We know how to handle the nightmare scenarios because we’ve lived through the nightmare scenarios. Our team is fully prepared to handle all of your needs.
If you’re still looking for a professional, reliable property management company, look no further than Blackwolf Commerical. Contact us today for more information, and put your worries to rest.