5 Single Family Property Management Tips You Need To Know
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5 Single Family Property Management Tips You Need To Know

Single-Family Housing

Interested to know how you can manage your single-family rental (SFR) property? The fact that tenants tend to treat the property as their home generally makes single-family property management easier. That said, there are ways in which you can keep your tenants satisfied and increase the income your property brings in. Here are five tips to consider.

1. Get tech-savvy

This recommendation is backed by the ground reality: a survey of over a quarter million multifamily renters in the US found that:

  • 81% of residents believed access to a resident portal from a mobile device is 'important' or 'very important'
  • 64% signed their current lease via some or the other online method
  • 58% of renters preferred paying rent using a resident portal mobile app than a property website via laptop/desktop

While the survey was conducted among multi-family residents, you can apply its findings to single-family home rentals. There will be, among your prospective tenants, those who're more comfortable managing the tenant-landlord/property manager relationship entirely online. They may want to be able to pay rent, request maintenance work, or get important notifications from you on a single platform. While you may be already engaging on phone with them, maintaining a reliable record of payments and agreements, is more professional and useful when you need to verify something important.

The other thing is that demand for SFRs among millennials is high. This generation of renters is extremely tech-savvy and dependent on technology for communication. If you have a 20- or 30- something tenant, using a mobile-friendly online portal to manage your relationship with them is most likely to boost their satisfaction and desire to stay longer in your property.

2. Inspect the property every six months

As the property owner, you have the right to conduct inspections during the tenant's residency to assess its condition. An annual or bi-yearly (twice a year) inspection is a good way to stay on top of any major maintenance issue that you may be responsible for. If the tenant is responsible for fixing the issue, then you can have it done quickly before it becomes a bigger problem.

Tenants will be aware that you're well within your right to inspect the property and will have noted this in the rental agreement. Yet, the prospect of a property inspection may be worrisome for them - even those who've maintained their home in pristine condition. You can quell their discomfort by letting them know that the inspection is to address defects and safety issues that affect both you and them.

Make an inspection checklist. Write a reminder to take photos in the event of any dispute. Some of the things to include in the rental inspection checklist are:

  • Review living conditions
  • Look for leaks
  • Check for dampness or mold
  • Examine the condition of fittings
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Any illegal alterations
  • Normal wear and tear vs damage caused by tenants
  • General cleanliness of the property
  • Are they abiding by the pet policy (if you have one)?
  • Any illegal activities

Give your tenant at least a 24-hour notice about your visit. Schedule the inspection at a reasonable time of the day. Be open to a request by the person to reschedule the inspection, but ask them why politely. Make sure to reschedule at the earliest.

Based on your rental agreement, you can decide who will do what to continue keeping the property in good shape, or fix problems identified during the inspection. Put this down in writing, sign the document and get your tenant to sign it. The document will serve as evidence of your mutual agreement about the condition of the property. You can create a digital document, and also download hard copies as a backup.

3. Respond proactively to tenants' urgent requests

After the property inspection is complete, it's a good idea to move quickly with the required repair and maintenance work. This is also necessary when the tenant requests you to look urgently into a plumbing, HVAC or security issue that's affecting their ability to live comfortably. It's possible that these issues may have escaped your attention and become bigger problems requiring immediate attention.

There are laws on the response times for major or minor repairs, and they're subject to your lease agreement and local regulations. In the event of a major issue that affects the property's liveability, you may be legally obliged to cover the cost of temporary housing for your tenants. And if the matter is a minor one, you may still want to look at it quickly to prevent it from becoming worse and robbing tenants' peace of mind.

4. Identify the things that matter to tenants

Single-family tenants may request things that seem small or unnecessary to you. Understanding that they have a heightened connection to the property, you can oblige. You also have the opportunity to identify ways in which you can enhance tenants' pleasure of living in your property. For example, if your tenant has pets, you can suggest or implement pet-friendly landscaping that allows their furry companions to make the most of the yard without destroying the property. Here are other tips:

  • Ask for tenants' views on the upgrades you can make to the property. If you attract the same type of tenants (ex: pet owners, seniors or young families), getting their opinions and insights can be helpful in improving your property and marketplace advantage.
  • When you plan a rent increase, give your tenants sufficient time to evaluate their options. At the minimum, inform them a month in advance about the upcoming hike. Let them know why you're increasing the rent, and if it's a client you'd like to retain, be open to negotiating a rate that works for them.
  • Outline your expectations in advance and also encourage open communication. This is so your tenants feel comfortable reaching out to you about issues rather than neglecting to inform you.

5. Be Compassionate 

Your tenants may run into problems that affect their finances, and ability to pay rent. They'll appreciate you giving them some leeway until they're back on their feet again. For example, if your tenant informs you that they have lost their job, you can work out a rental plan that's acceptable to them and doesn't impact your revenue severely. In return, they will be willing to lend you support when you need it.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, landlords lost rental revenue. Its economic impact was too great on some Americans, moving the government to issue eviction moratoriums. There is some evidence to show that rent relief can be misused among those who have the capacity to pay rent. Given how a lack of rental assistance can hurt small landlords too, the struggle can be equally great for both parties during unprecedented events. Landlords who have shown compassion in dealing with their tenants' problems in the past are more likely to receive part of the rent or transparency from tenants about the latest developments in their lives. This goes a long way in managing financial and emotional turbulence.

Make single-family property management easier 

In this post, we spoke of how building good relationships with tenants, attention to property upkeep and technology are needed for successful property management. We can help you with the technology bit - ExactEstate, our single-family home property management software, integrates useful features such as:

  • Enabling your tenants to submit work orders from anywhere
  • Assigning different urgency statuses to work order items
  • Allowing residents to submit online payments
  • Providing a single place for lease agreements, applications and other documents, which you can access on your web browser as needed any time, anywhere

Schedule a FREE demo today to see ExactEstate in action.

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