9 property management tips: Habits for growth-minded business owners

Tara Mastroeni
Tara Mastroeni | 8 min. read

Published on July 10, 2024

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No matter how far along you are in your property management career, the industry seems to keep you on your toes—and there’s always something new to learn.

Even the most established managers can benefit from a few property management tips aimed at helping them tighten up habits to reach business goals faster and with greater consistency.

We sat down with Matt Leschber, an experienced property manager and owner of Austin-based 1836 Realty to bring you tips that actually work (and that you can act on immediately).

Property Management Tip #1: Join Professional Associations and Start Making Connections

When you’re ready to expand your knowledge base, organizations such as the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) can be a great place to network with other experienced professionals in the industry and gain insights that can help you grow your business.

Leschber underscores the importance of learning from your peers. “Join NARPM and start meeting people who do what you do,” he advises. “If you think you’re going to figure it out on your own, you may, [but it will likely be] ten years later than necessary. Find those you admire and ask them for advice. They already have most of the answers.”

Striking up a friendly conversation with one of the speakers at your next conference or taking a mentor out for coffee can go a long way toward helping you bridge the gaps in your professional knowledge. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know. It may come as no surprise that people love giving advice—and will be more than happy to share their expertise.

Property Management Tip #2: Prioritize Accounting Tasks

Every property manager has a bajillion tasks they need to attend to on a daily basis. However, Leschber believes that your accounting tasks should be your first priority. They are the ones that ultimately keep your property or association up and running, so they should remain at the top of your to-do list.

“Accounting can’t be skipped,” he says, simply. “This is the foundation of the service you’re delivering. Accounting actions happen weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.”

If you need help keeping your books up to date, investing in the right accounting software may be the answer. For instance, Buildium offers several accounting features that enable precise bookkeeping and provide real-time financial data to help aid your decision-making processes, such as the ability to collect, record, and spot patterns in payments easily.

Property Management Tip #3: Reassure Property Owners At Every Turn

Once you have your accounting process under control, your next priority should be to inspire confidence in your property owners with personalized service. By communicating on a regular basis and sending proactive reports, in addition to making yourself available whenever possible, you can foster peace of mind and trust in your abilities.

According to Leschber, this step is especially crucial when your owners have a property listed for lease. “[Y]ou should be updating your investors weekly [if] they have any properties on the market for lease,” he recommends. “Trust me, they’re nervous.”

Having the right tools at your disposal can make staying in regular communication that much easier. Buildium’s property owner portal makes it simple to streamline communications by providing you with ready-to-go email templates, up-to-date financial reporting, and a built-in document-sharing system. Beyond that, specialized services such as Steady’s® owner benefits package offers several useful resources for property owners including a rental payment advance feature and rental income protection.

Property Management Tip #4: Maintain an Authentic Brand

Your brand often serves as an owner or tenant’s first impression of your property management business. With that in mind, you’ll want it to look professional, as well as to have it be engaging and authentic to you.

This is another time when you want to think about your positioning. Consider the unique strengths that define your approach to property management and be sure to infuse those qualities throughout all of your marketing efforts. Showcase what makes you different from others in your industry and what benefits you can bring to the table.

That said, highlighting your individual strengths doesn’t have to mean creating your own marketing materials from scratch. There’s software options out there that help with creating property management websites. Look for one designed for the industry, with customization options and  point-and-click simplicity. There are also services such as Nutiliti® and Goodjuju® which support your marketing efforts across the board. It takes the guesswork out of building a web presence while still allowing you to showcase what makes your property management company one of a kind.

Property Management Tip #5: Strengthen Your Attention to Detail

As a property manager, you’re often in charge of a thousand different tasks, all of which seem to happen simultaneously. In situations like these, it can be all too easy to let lower-priority jobs fall by the wayside. However, Leschber stresses the importance of not letting things fall through the cracks.

“PM’s are spinning 200 plates at one time and can’t let a single one drop,” he cautions. When asked what has served him well in keeping things running smoothly, he points to his meticulous nature, saying: “My attention to detail has been helpful.”

Still, even if you’re not naturally thorough, there are things you can do to help yourself stay organized. For example, you can invest in tools that let you store and manage important records in a centralized system. Look for purpose-built software that allows you to manage everything from the leasing process to maintenance tasks in one place, ensuring that nothing gets lost.

Property Management Tip #6: Optimize Your Tenant Screening Processes

One part of the job that requires close attention is finding qualified tenants to fill the properties in your portfolio. That’s where improving your tenant screening process comes into play.

For growth-minded property managers, accessing the necessary credit, criminal, and eviction data in a comprehensive background check simply isn’t enough. You’ll want to seamlessly integrate that data into your property management software so that you can make accepting or rejecting prospective tenants effortless.

At the end of the day, utilizing screening software reduces your manual workload, freeing you up to take on other tasks—like growing your portfolio. Plus, having a trusted screening process can pay off big in the long run. Qualified tenants lead to longer leases and fewer problems, which can strengthen your reputation with your existing clients and help you win new business.

Powered by TransUnion, Buildium’s tenant screening feature goes the extra mile by letting you set custom credit requirements for each property. It also offers recommendations based on the data collected from applicants. Once an application has been approved, you can use the platform to notify the applicant and then easily integrate them into your existing resident workflow.

Property Management Tip #7: Make Completing Required Tasks as Painless as Possible for Existing Tenants

After you’ve built a roster of great tenants, it’s important to keep them happy. One way to do that is by making sure any required tasks are painless to complete. After all, tenants who are inconvenienced may be more likely to find somewhere else to live when their lease is up.

In this case, the easy answer seems to be technology. According to Buildium’s 2024 Property Management Industry Report, an astonishing 90% of renters are interested in completing the rental processes online.

Buildium makes it easy to give tenants what they want. Beyond offering the ability for tenants to electronically sign leases with Dropbox Sign, our robust platform makes it simple to collect rent payments online. You can also leverage the same technology to accept payment for rental application fees and association dues.

This technology also makes it easier to do your job. If you don’t have to chase down rental payments and collect in-person signatures, you’ll have more free time to focus on the big-picture work that matters, like satisfying your existing clients and growing your door count.

Property Management Tip #8: Plan with Data, Act with Instincts

When you’re trying to grow your business, it’s important to take stock of where you’re positioned (both financially and operationally)  so that you can create a thorough, intentional plan for how to move forward. Gathering data through tools such as Buildium’s Analytics Hub, is a straightforward way to better understand even the most complex aspects of your business, its health, and opportunities to grow.

As Leschber puts it: “We watch our critical numbers daily. We’re watching additions, attrition, days on market, and much more.”

Once you’ve digested the data, building a plan for growth is all about leveraging your unique positioning. Play to your strengths, hone your soft skills, and stay true to those aspects of your approach to property management that make you unique in your market.

Property Management Tip #9: Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource Tasks Whenever it Makes Sense

Finally, one trap that even the most growth-minded of property managers are likely to fall into is the desire to micromanage daily tasks. When the buck stops with you, it can make sense to closely manage every aspect of your business. However, when you have a hand in everything, it can become all too easy to get caught up in the little details and lose sight of your plan to expand.

To succeed, you need to have a good sense of which tasks require your attention and which ones you can outsource to others. This will require being honest about your strengths and weaknesses and building a strong property management team that can supplement your natural skill set.

No matter what your strengths may be, there are likely some administrative tasks you can take off your plate. For example, a maintenance contact center manages the flow of incoming maintenance calls for you 24/7/365. You’ll have a resource you can rely on to keep your tenants up-to-date while dispatching your preferred vendors for you. What’s more, every moment will be recorded, so you’ll have full visibility and control.

How to Turn These Property Management Tips Into Lasting Results

Growing your property management business doesn’t happen overnight. Increasing your door count takes work, but if you focus on building strong relationships, implementing good habits, and finding the right tools to help streamline and optimize your day-to-day operations, you will likely begin to see your portfolio expand.

When you’re ready to invest in a comprehensive property management software solution that can automate time-consuming tasks, give you greater control over how you run your business, and scale with you as you grow, Buildium is a sure bet. You can even put it to the test with a 14-day, no-risk, free trial. With the tips above and the right tools, you can start growing your portfolio on your terms.

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Tara Mastroeni

Tara Mastroeni is a real estate and personal finance writer. Her work has been published on websites such as Forbes Advisor, Business Insider, and The Motley Fool. She has also been featured as a subject matter expert on Innovators with Jane King and the American Trends podcast. Find her at TMWritingServices.com or on Twitter at @TaraMastroeni.

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