What does a property manager do?
Whew, this is a big question. Absent a long list detailing out every specific duty, here’s the short answer:
A Property Manager is an agent for the property owner. They oversee the day to day communication and operations of the property to ensure it is safe and habitable for tenants and a profitable business endeavor for owners. From collecting deposits to paying vendors, they’re responsible for the property’s budgeting, finances and accounting. Simply put: A professional landlord and project manager.
Day in and day out a property manager should make themselves available to property owners and tenants. They will be available to answer questions and solve problems.
Let’s take a look a few topics mentioned above:
I mention this first because it’s extremely important. Investors expect to generate income on their property and handing over financial control can be terrifying, especially if you’ve never worked with a Property Management company. The Property Manager will oversee and engage in all matters of financials. From accepting tenant security deposits (which should be held in a trust account), rents or fees, to disbursing funds for bills, vendors, mortgage and taxes, your Property Manager must be extremely adept at financing and organization. All of these income and expenses should be handled with the utmost care and responsibility. In addition, the reporting should be absolutely transparent to the owner.
A Property Manager should strive to maintain a high quality home for tenants. This means promptly responding to tenant requests, investigating reported issues, and fixing maintenance items. It’s understood that not every item is an emergency and that at times the definition of an emergency varies between individuals. It’s the Property Managers job to manage those expectations, work with vendors to solve issues, and record them in a way where the owner can view them.
The role of the Property Manager is one of the middle(wo)man. They’re a go between for the owner, vendor, brokers, tenants, prospective tenants. They must remain available to all parties and be proactive with communication. Is the dryer being repaired or replaced? Notify the tenants in advance and again when it’s complete. Is there an emergency and the water must be shut off temporarily? Again, notification via various methods goes a long way to managing expectations.
In Closing – The role of the Property Manager is quite large and with it comes a lot of responsibility. If you’re in the market for a Property Manager, make sure to ask about finances and how they’re reported. How owner draws (your pay) is disbursed, and what communication looks like. This could save you a headache in the future.