Owning multiple properties takes no effort. Managing multiple properties is another story.
Any landlord can successfully manage a rental property, but things can quickly become complicated the more properties are added to the mix. If you’re investing in multiple rental properties at once, you’re going to need to learn how to keep your properties in order.
Here are 8 tried and tested methods for managing multiple investment properties with ease.
#1 Be organized
Managing multiple properties means staying on top of things. There are plenty of things that you need to keep track of, from remembering when to collect rent to making sure that maintenance and repairs are conducted regularly. You’ll also need to pay taxes punctually if you don’t want to ruin your credit score or worse — risk foreclosure.
As the landlord, it’s also your responsibility to budget time for conducting tenant interviews, visiting your properties for inspection, preparing financial statements, and so on. When managing multiple properties, you need to be diligent in keeping documents, such as leases and rental applications, if you don’t want to run into legal trouble down the road.
#2 Screen tenants meticulously
Do as property managers do and develop a meticulous screening process for every prospective tenant. Finding interested tenants is fairly easy if you have a solid marketing plan, but finding qualified tenants takes more effort. If you don’t meticulously screen your tenants, you risk ending up with irresponsible tenants who will bring nothing but headaches.
Look into their criminal background history, employment status, credit score, etc. Ask critical questions such as “Do you have pets?” and “How many people will be living here?”. Tenant screening can be a long and exhausting process, but you will be glad that you did it.
#3 Create a marketing plan
A vacant property is a lost opportunity. Even if you’re managing ten single-family units, but only five of them are occupied, that’s still around $8,500 worth of lost monthly income. The goal is to keep vacancies to a minimum — or even at zero. To do this, you need to create a strong marketing plan that will expose your rental property to a pool of prospective tenants.
There are several marketing strategies that you can follow, such as putting up a “For Rent” sign and advertising on high-traffic websites like Zillow. Even traditional methods of property marketing such as handing out flyers are effective today. Be sure to highlight the unique features of your property and make your marketing strategies appeal to your target demographic.
#4 Be prepared to offer customer service
Your responsibilities as a landlord don’t end at signing leases. Property ownership comes with the duty to offer customer service to your tenants. In a way, you’re going to be like the front desk at a hotel — receiving calls in the middle of the night, hearing complaints about cold showers, receiving odd requests, etc.
While tenants may be living in your property, this doesn’t mean that they don’t expect quality of life. You’re going to have to deal with people who feel too “at home” in a space that isn’t even really their home. It’s best to prepare yourself for unexpected situations where you’ll have to handle major repair issues, such as a leaking sink or a clogged toilet.
#5 Maintain open lines of communication
As your own property manager, you need to maintain multiple channels of communication. If you can’t respond to tenants promptly, you risk leaving a bad taste in their mouths. One missed phone call, and you might find yourself in Google’s top result for “Worst Landlords in Florida” — yikes.
It’s a good idea to offer tenants several ways to reach you. If your budget allows it, consider hiring a customer representative who can answer calls 24/7. Tenants will appreciate speaking to a human instead of an automated answering machine. Also, put in the extra effort into checking in with tenants every few months. This will make them feel like you truly care about their experience.
#6 Minimize turnover rates
Occupancy is what helps maintain a steady cash flow. If tenants leave, this puts a dent in your income and forces you to spend money on property marketing, cleaning, maintenance, and much more. It’s important to prevent turnover so that you don’t have to suffer from unprofitable periods.
To minimize turnover rates, work on developing genuine relationships with your tenants. In turn, tenants will be less likely to leave. Aside from that, you should also consider offering lease incentives whenever tenants renew their lease. If a tenant has stayed in your property for five years, you can offer them a one-month subsidized rent upon renewal.
#7 Maintain work-life balance
As you’ve probably realized by now, maintaining multiple investment properties demands much of your time and energy. One of the downsides of being your own property manager is that you rarely have free time. The more properties you manage, the less time you’ll have for the more important things in life such as family and career.
Learn when to take a break, even if it’s just a couple of hours each day. You can’t turn off your phone for a weekend because that puts you at risk of creating a bad reputation for yourself among your tenants. Just take a breather once in a while to reduce over-exhaustion.
#8 Hire a property manager
Self-managing multiple properties does have its benefits — it gives you complete control, allows you to gain valuable experience, lets you save money, etc. However, there may come a point where managing multiple properties on your own simply isn’t possible anymore.
Hiring a property manager can help ease the burden of the day-to-day responsibilities of being a landlord. It’s the best way to truly feel your investments working for you.
If you want to manage multiple investment properties with zero headaches and receive passive income without lifting a finger, consider hiring a property management company like Luxury Property Care. With experienced property managers, they can handle all of the demands of running successful rental properties.