As a property manager of a home on behalf of a client, what are the things you need to pay attention to? There are many, but some are more important than others and we will try to cover a few of these here. This web site is aimed at the home owner and although this particular post is about property manager’s, we thought it would be useful to understand how a property manager looks at the job! If you understand the other person’s objective, then you will have a better perspective on how to deal with property managers and what to look for when hiring a property manager! This is important for a number of reasons – peace of mind, financial and contractual!
Primary Focus of a Property Manager
It does not matter what anyone tries to tell you, the fundamental focus of a property manager is to make money. If they cannot make a profit in the services they are offering to you, they may just refuse to take you on or keep you on as a client. If you can recognize this fundamental truth, then you may be able to get the services you need at a price that you can afford! It is all about compromise and negotiation after that.
Most property managers will talk about the great service they offer, the reports they provide and the communications they provide to you the client. They will indicate that this is their number one objective. Avoiding putting this down on paper in a contract is one way of retaining some control over what is contractually required. If you want something done, make sure it is listed in the contract, for how much, when it is to be done and to what level of quality! This may seem like overkill or indicate that you may not trust a person. It is really just a professional way to do business.
Residential Home Management Check Lists
With that said, we collected a list of things that can be considered when you provide services as a property manager to look after someone’s home while they are away on vacation:
- Frequency of visits to your clients home
- Daily, 48 hours , 72 hours etc
- Reporting requirements
- Paper record
- Text msg
- How soon after each visit
- Specific items to check while in the home
- Alarm system
- heating system
- Water leaks
- Snow load
- What to do in case of an emergency
- Contact emergency contact
- Call police
- Advise insurance company
- Call family , family friend or neighbor
- Phone numbers to call
- Your emergency number
- Your insurance company
- Authority to make repairs
- Specified limit with no authority
- Temporary repairs to prevent further damage
- Other Services that you may require
- Water plants indoors
- Water gardens outdoors
- lawn care
- Pool care
- Snow removal
These are the basics and everyone who needs their homes looked after will have more items to add to the list based on their own particular situation. We have not addressed pets in this case, however for those that need these services, you should add feeding, medicine requirements, exercise and emergency veterinary directions. As a property manager you will need to decide what services you will after including looking after pets, dog walking etc. Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of looking after pets.
Providing Services as a Property Manager
Always have a contract and spell out the terms you need to have in it regarding the services you are offering to a residential consumer. This is a great way to manage expectations and avoid customer disappointment. We always include a questionnaire which we ask the client to fill in were they outline exactly what they need and any special instructions they wish to provide. This is basic communications were you make it clear to both what is needed. I even have the client sign or initial each page.
Permission slips with the associated information are also included to allow us to contact insurance companies, alarm companies and veterinarians that might be needed in case of an emergency with one of the pets.
While this is not a complete checklist, it is a general guideline were we urge both parties to communicate the services provided and the services needed so that there are no misunderstandings.
Your comments are welcome.