Why does one needs a commercial property manager — what are their responsibilities?
Savvy property owners rely on a commercial property manager to handle the bulk of the responsibilities of their properties. By letting a property manager handle these tasks, property owners can focus on other responsibilities and make better use of their time. The following are some of the most important responsibilities of a commercial property manager.
- Determining the rent: one of the most important tasks of a property manager is to determine rent that is competitive enough to attract tenants yet high enough to earn a good profit. This frequently involves surveying similar properties nearby.
- Choosing the tenants: property managers market the property to attract potential tenants and then screen them.
- Collecting the rent: property managers also collect the rent via a system that they set up. They will choose a regular collection date to ensure that the building owner receives funds and can pay monthly expenses on time.
- Interacting with the tenants: in addition to collecting rent from the tenants, a commercial property manager is their contact point for complaints, maintenance issues, or anything else.
- Maintaining the property: the property management team is also responsible for maintaining the property. This includes regular maintenance as well as emergency repairs. The manager either takes care of repairs themselves or hires someone to do so then inspects their work.
- Managing the budget and records: in many cases, the property manager also manages the budget for the building. This includes maintaining thorough records of income and expenses to help with taxes.
The records should also extend to include documents like leases, insurance papers, and maintenance records.
- Being familiar with relevant laws: many property owners also rely on their property manager to be familiar with the local laws related to landlords and tenants and to comply with them. This includes knowing and following the legal process to screen a tenant, take a security deposit, collect rent, start an eviction, and comply with safety requirements.
How to find the best commercial property manager in yourself — tips to fulfill your responsibilities
There are dozens of ways that you can set yourself up for success as a commercial property manager, including having the right property management business plan, but we have narrowed it down to the seven most important tips.
1. Prioritize documentation and record-keeping
As mentioned, one of the key responsibilities of property management is keeping records of important documents and decisions made in the building. Start by creating an organization system that will let you easily find crucial documents with ease, from maintenance requests and leases to late rent notices and rent receipts. Then, follow through with the system.
Commercial property managers also need to document how they spend their time and the responsibilities that they complete. Some property owners prefer to see detailed records or proof that you are maintaining the property. Even if your building’s owner does not have a preference, this information is useful to have on hand if the need ever arises. It should include approximately how much time you spend on property-related responsibilities each week, preferably including a division of how much you spend on various tasks, such as listing vacancies or contacting contractors.
2. Make rental criteria clear and include a prescreening questionnaire
One of the most potentially time-consuming roles of a property manager is to screen potential tenants to choose the best one. Part of the frustration and time wasted in this process comes from applicants who do not meet your requirements, something you should consider when pondering how to start a commercial property management company.
Start overcoming the problem by including a photo of the requirements among the photos of the listing. This prevents wasted time on people who look at pictures but do not read the listing, so they do not see the requirements.
You can further reduce this wasted time by creating a prescreening questionnaire. A simple document, even something as simple as a google form survey that you require for applications, can do the job.
3. Think about both the long-term and the present
Property managers have numerous daily responsibilities, but you also want to think about the long-term status of the property.
When looking to the future, consider whether the tenants are satisfied, if you will have to adjust the rent, what major maintenance or upgrades are coming up, ways to reduce expenses, and if you could operate more efficiently. Some of these things, such as operating more efficiently, will directly benefit you. Others will benefit you as well as the property owner and even the tenants, such as planning upgrades ahead of time.
4. Don’t skip the inspections
The property owner trusts you to ensure that the property is in good shape, which requires regular inspections. Remember that one of your responsibilities related to the budget is maintaining the property’s value by maintaining the property itself.
This includes scheduling routine inspections of the property, including the public areas and the areas that tenants are renting, for both residential and commercial real estate. You do not want to fall into the trap of avoiding inspections on long-term rentals. What happens if a long-term tenant mistreats the property and you do not notice until they move out?
Or what if they ignore a small issue and it worsens, costing more to repair? Regular inspections, up to three or so times a year, of tenant spaces can help prevent this. Just be sure to warn your tenants in advance, as many jurisdictions require landlords to give notice of inspections.
5. Keep your knowledge updated
We mentioned that a property owner expects a commercial property manager to be familiar with local laws related to renting, landlords, and tenants. This is not the type of thing that you can just learn once and then assume will stay the same forever. You need to be sure you stay up to date on any changes to laws and regulations in your area regarding rentals. This helps you stay in compliance and avoid fines.
Keeping your knowledge updated also applies to other aspects of being a property manager. For example, you cannot just research prices in the area once and expect them to stay the same over the years. Average rent fluctuates over time and to maintain the balance of competitiveness and profitability, you need to be aware of those changes.
You should also pay attention to changes to real estate trends, from changes in how people are looking for rentals to the type of amenities that are a must-have in your area. All these things help you remain competitive and attract more potential tenants.
6. Know how to manage your time
Because of the sheer number of responsibilities that commercial property managers have, you will need to develop some time management skills if you do not already have them. Start by creating a routine and then following through with it. Remember to maintain a work-life balance, as well, so you do not get burnt out.
There are a few smart tips for managing your time as a landlord. Start by maintaining a to-do list. This will serve as a guide for your tasks to complete on a given day, but it also serves as a place for you to jot down something you remember when working on another task. That way, you do not have to interrupt your current task for more than a few seconds to add the other item to your to-do list.
Depending on the size or number of properties that you manage, you may also find it helpful to work on one type of task at a time. For example, you would work on posting listings for vacancies on all properties together or sit down and schedule repairs on various properties in a single sitting. This works for some property managers, but you may also prefer to work on one property and then another to keep your mind organized.
7. Take advantage of messaging tools
As a property manager, you need to stay on top of communications with tenants, the property owner, maintenance workers, and more. Instead of trying to handle it yourself, take advantage of messaging tools, like those on Podium. You can even get started with Podium for free today.
These tools let you handle all message types in a single inbox, so you can use your contacts’ preferred contact method without wasting time bouncing between programs, and you can contact us with any questions.
Use this platform to help keep the channels of communication with tenants open. Successful tenants maintain a level of approachability, so their tenants feel comfortable coming to them with concerns or doubts. This lets you address problems early before they worsen, whether there is a maintenance issue, an interpersonal conflict between tenants, or the possibility of late rent payment.
Property managers have important responsibilities, from finding and screening clients to collecting rent to maintaining the property. To excel as a property manager, you should use the tools available at your disposal, remain organized, manage your time, plan for the future, inspect the property regularly, maintain your knowledge, and use shortcuts to prescreen clients. If you follow all these tips, you will find yourself on the path to success as a commercial property manager.