Having spoken with many property investors, and also from my own experience, here are the next four things that they want you to know, change and improve, to be able to understand them better:
Blogger: Darren Hunter, international property management trainer
Following from part one, here are the next four in the list of 10 things landlords want you to know.
4- We like to deal with one person and want stability
Most property investors only have one property, and they like to deal with one person in the management of that property. If an office has several people dealing with the same client, this need gets broken up, lowering the level of satisfaction for the client.
They are relational and like to deal with the same person, who knows about their property and concerns. You might be an office that has a BDM, letting officer and property manager, and with the exception of the BDM, after the property is rented, your client should only have one contact point with their assigned property manager. Any letting officer, inspector etc. should be dealing the property manager, who in turn deals with the property investor.
Also, know that your client will get upset if they experience a high turnover of property managers dealing with their property over a period of time. This tells the client that the department is in crisis because it cannot keep staff, and makes the client more susceptible to leaving the business.
5- We are not rich!
Contrary to what tenants, the public, the tribunal or magistrate and the media think, most landlords are NOT wealthy. Sure, some are and some own the property(ies) outright with no mortgage, but most do find it hard to make ends meet when the rent isn't there at the end of the month. It’s hard for them to 'scramble', pull a rabbit out of their hat and make up the shortfall.
The fact is that they have a mortgage on the property, and have budgeted on the rent being paid on time. They haven't accounted for rent arrears, nor have they allowed for repairs and maintenance outside of the basics.
To think 'Well, they shouldn’t be property investors if they can't pay the mortgage if a tenant doesn’t pay' is plain silly!
If this was the case, only a small portion of people would be able to afford to purchase property to rent out, and we would have a far greater housing crisis in this country than we have now! It simply wouldn’t work and the government would not be able to provide all the housing needs required. Private investment is essential and so is the mortgage on that property for the everyday person to be able to invest.
If your client reacts when they get hit with an unexpected repair bill or council rates, just understand it has hurt them financially at that time. Yes, they will get over it, but understand that they don’t have a big pool of funds to draw from, and therefore do what you can to ensure that you are 'hot' with zero tolerance rent control, use care when attending to maintenance and communicate with the client giving as much notice as you can with expected larger bills. Your clients will appreciate this!
6- We like to see what's going on!
When doing routine inspections, giving a client a report without photos can cause dissatisfaction. If you are asking for repairs to be done, something like 'the wall is cracking' or 'the pavers are moving' needs to have a photo showing the issue. That way, a client can see if the matter is urgent, or not and they can prioritise accordingly.
Vagueness causes dissatisfaction. If you leave them in the dark guessing, fail to provide proper feedback (especially if the client has to call or chase up the property manager for details) your client will feel stung and will react accordingly.
You are mainly giving regular feedback to clients through touch points like monthly statements and quarterly or half-yearly routine inspections. Make sure that the client understands the information that is presented. Provide photos of routine inspections so that they can see any issues, not just 'hear/read' about them.
7- We want solutions, not just problems!
If you provide the client with a note from a routine inspection that reads: 'the carpet in the lounge has dirty stains' or 'there's oil on the concrete driveway', what are you doing about it?
Make sure you also add 'I have advised the tenant that I will be back in four weeks to check the tenant has cleaned the carpet and removed the oil stains'.
The client wants solutions and actions to the problems identified, not just problems on their own!
You are there to be a problem solver, not to dish out problems!
Trainer – LPMA
Darren Hunter is a national and international property management trainer, speaker, consultant and authority on property management fees, and income maximisation strategies all designed to grow your rent roll profit, without extra rent roll growth required.
A consultant and trainer now for over seven years, Darren has previously worked as the state property manager with one of Australia’s most respected real estate brands recruiting, training, implementing policies and procedures and managing 28 property managers in 18 regional offices over South Australia and the Northern Territory. Darren has presented for the Real Estate Institutes in WA, SA, NT and TAS and has presented at the Leading Property Managers of Australia Forums(LPMA) in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012