When it comes to owning rental properties, not every owner wants to be hands-on. Using a property management company is an excellent way to get the most value out of your properties. However, without the proper communication, property managers can become a liability. Here are some tips for improving communication with Toronto residential and commercial property management companies.
Why communication is so important in Toronto residential property management
Transparency is important no matter what kind of business you are in, but it is especially important in the relationship between property owners and their management companies. Property owners should always know exactly what they are paying for and what they are getting. Property managers should not take any steps without knowing for certain what their owners actually want. They should never be making assumptions about what their property owners want or need.
Toronto residential property management companies should always know how much the owners they work with want to rent their properties for. They should always know what steps to take if there are any problems with the tenant. It is also important to keep owners up to date on the status of what is happening with the properties they own.
Most problems occur in the property management relationship because there wasn’t proper communication. Either the owner was expecting something of the property manager, or the manager made some sort of incorrect assumption. In either case, it is the responsibility of the manager to keep the lines of communication open.
Ask about involvement
Property managers should also realize that no two owners are alike, which means the same types of communication may not work with all of them. One issue is that many property owners don’t really know what their preferences are until something happens that they don’t like. Some may know but not express their desires until something negative happens. This is why property managers should always be proactive by asking about owners’ preferences before they stumble across something they don’t like.
For example, some property owners want to still be hands-on with their properties even though they have hired a manager, while others want to take a completely hands-off approach. It’s important for property managers to ask about the level of involvement the owners want to take when it comes to their properties. Some owners want to know every detail about transactions regarding their properties, while others are happy just knowing that they are rented out.
The best Toronto residential property management companies will ask the right questions at the beginning of the business relationship so the property owners will know what to expect.
Stay up to date and transparent
Property managers should also understand that their business relationship with owners is constantly in flux. Some property owners may find that their goals change six months into the relationship, but many won’t openly express these changes to their property managers. It’s not a bad idea to schedule regular phone calls with property owners to check in with them, provide updates on their properties and make sure nothing has changed. If their goals or other preferences did change, the property manager can then adjust things at that time.
Most property owners will appreciate when managers take a proactive role in handling the business relationship. They may even feel like the manager is going above and beyond by simply staying in touch on a regular basis, whether or not any changes have occurred with their properties.
Every Toronto residential property management company should also make sure their owners understand what they are paying for. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to walk through the first bill with them so they can see exactly what each charge is for. This proves to them that you’re willing to be completely open with them about their bills and that transparency is important to you.
Types of communication
It may seem like increasing communication just makes the property manager’s to-do list even longer than it already is. However, there are many ways to communicate, with each one offering different levels of involvement.
For example, communication can mean in-person meetings, but they can usually be kept to a minimum. Most property owners don’t want or need to meet in person with their managers on a regular basis. Owners should always feel free to request an in-person meeting, but in most cases, they aren’t necessary.
In-person meetings can be particularly helpful for property managers and their team members. Team members who meet face to face with owners will be more likely to follow rules and expectations.
Email is usually the most common medium of communication. Emails offer quick and easy ways for property managers to stay in touch with the owners whose properties they manage. Property managers should have a system in place, so they always know when to email their owners. Property owners should always know when to expect an email from their managers and when to ask what’s going on because they haven’t received an email about something that’s happening.
Texting is also an excellent way to keep property owners up to date on what’s going on with their properties. When the amount of information being communicated is little, texting is a great way to get it across. In more involved cases, a phone call may be required, and property managers should always make sure their owners have their cell phone number.
Technology in Toronto residential property management
One way to ensure that communication occurs at the right times is to automate it. There are many options in property management software that will help managers automate the process. Automated communication ensures that owners are kept up to date on their properties with less intervention from managers. Property managers should look for software that enables them to schedule and complete work orders online and quickly send notifications about status changes to both owners and tenant.
Managers will also find that maintenance modules help speed up the work order process. Staff members can simply use their phones to assign work orders. These modules can also help managers set priorities for every property they manage while keeping owners up to date on what’s happening.
About the Author
Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, a property management company in Toronto. She is an entrepreneur at heart who endeavors to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Entrepreneur, Forbes, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, and Gulf News, among many others.