“Not meant to offend the property managers out there – I know the good ones exist. However, a common theme I’ve seen is how hard it is to find a good, reliable property manager that makes the money you spend on them worth it. So please share your stories of what has made you frustrated with your property manager (or what you’re looking for in a good one!)”
Good morning Jen – It’s disappointing to see your troubles and I get exactly where you are coming from. Property Management has a low barrier of entry and in some states, zero licensing. It makes good property managers stand out even more.
I would also ask – from a previous post of mine – Are you a “C” Class Landlord?
In the property management industry managing single family and multi-family homes, we have classifications for Landlords that are never put on paper and probably never talked about.
This has probably never been published before, so here goes something new… If you are a Landlord, you may want to read this and see what classification YOU would fall into. If the description fits you – wear it.
If you are subjective about your dealings with your Property Manager, it could help foster a better relationship between you and your property manager getting you better service.
Class “A” Landlord:
- Hires a Property Manager and is glad to pay their fees understanding that they provide a valuable service assisting them in growing an asset.
- Appreciates their systems, procedures, tools, and level of separation they provide from their tenants. They understand their job is often difficult being the punching bag for both sides of a management transaction that can last for years.
- Allows them the flexibility to make tough decisions in a pinch on their behalf. (Spending $505 dollars for an AC repair in July when their spending limit is $500)
- Understands that the Property Manager is not responsible for everything that goes on with the home – to include the weather and the marketplace.
- Is easy to get in touch with and responds well to phone calls, emails, and even texts.
- Realizes that by having a property manager and paying $20/hour (example) – it allows them to find bigger deals and more investments making $2,000/hour for their time.
- These folks are full time, possibly part-time investors that have enough capital to back up their investments and truly understand that what they put out in management fees is far outweighed by appreciation and tax breaks. Simple depreciation is a monster and is often overlooked by a lesser class landlord.
Class “B” Landlord:
- Reluctantly hires a Property Manager after some minor effort to shop for the cheapest property manager they can find.
- Second guesses all repair items and laments about not having any money to cover large repairs.
- Often classified as “Reluctant Landlords” for never planning on having a rental home, but being thrust into the realm of owning one by an unexpected relocation.
- Wants two bids for every job in the effort to save $20.00 – not caring if the tenant goes without AC or hot water for several days.
- Does not understand basic accounting and needs a constant explanation for what the income/expense statement means.
- Is difficult to reach often not responding the same day for urgent matters.
- These folks are often reluctant landlords, first-time landlords, and intermediate landlords away for a year or two then moving back into their home.
Class “C” Landlord:
- Grudgingly hires a Property Manager because their CPA told them to do so.
- Shops high and low for the cheapest property manager in town – then asks them for a discount because they are an “investor”….. with their two homes.
- Is abusive to the property management staff requiring constant communication and taking the attitude “Don’t you know who I am?”.
- Introduces themselves to the tenant behind the Property Managers back – telling the tenant they can call them anytime if the Property Manager does not immediately answer their every need. (This creates a Mommy / Daddy issue. The PM says “NO – You can’t pay your rent late this month”….then the tenant runs to the Landlord telling them the PM said “We are evicting you AND taking away your birthday”)
- Wants three bids for EVERY repair – no matter the inconvenience to the tenant – no matter the headache to the property manager…all with the effort to save $5.00. (Sounds dramatic – but this is true!!! – seen it many times before!)
- Blames the Property Manager for wind, hail, storms, tornadoes, winter storms, freezing pipes, foundation movement, dead grass, etc… Essentially, nothing is ever beyond anyone’s control – it’s always the PM’s fault. This is a deeper reflection of that type of person never taking accountability for anything.
- Wants to sue everybody for….everything. Tenant did not water the grass last week, can we hire an attorney and sue them? You did not answer the phone on a Saturday if you don’t call me back and I will seek vengeance on you with my attorney!
- Leaves negative reviews online about a property manager. Hides behind Google and Yelp to feel better about their cyberbullying. If the landlord truly had a real issue – almost all property management companies are governed by several entities to include the state. Threatening to leave a negative review if you don’t get your way is blackmail and extortion. The same tactic the mafia has used for years….no different. If the Landlord has a real issue with the property manager – point 7 above may be needed. Leaving negative reviews on public forums is not productive for anyone.
- Is impossible to reach via phone/email. Then they respond at 10:00PM on a Saturday and is upset no one is available to speak with them at the time they finally call back.
- Will not reduce asking price in rent. If a home is vacant – with good marketing photos (and video) – and is being advertised fully…..here is a hint: IT’S THE ASKING PRICE! There are two things that rent homes – Price and Condition….and Price can make up for everything. The Landlord not willing to reduce their asking price at any cost is a flat out moron. If you want to do the math – assume your property rents for $1,000 a month. But, you aren’t getting it. What do you lose every month that the home is not rented? That’s right – $1,000. What do you lose every month if the home rents for $950? Well done – $50 / month or $600 a year. Which would you choose?
- Wants to do their own repairs. We have seen time and time again owners taking 6 months to do their own make-ready repairs spending several thousand dollars MORE to do it and losing 4-5 months in possible rent. I have seen the total swing to be $10,000 with several investors….all one can do is shake their heads at them.
- These folks are often first-time investors, overly dramatic reluctant landlords, emotionally attached to their homes and in often cases have an “I’m smarter and better than anyone else in the entire universe and I can do it all” attitude.
Ask yourself – which type of Landlord are you?