A big part of managing a property is being available for your residents. Residents need to know that they can call any time of the day with a problem or an emergency and that their request will be attended to in a reasonable time. This is not too much to ask; after all, if they wanted to handle their own maintenance problems they’d own their own home. This round-the-clock customer service is built into a professional property management agreement. It’s something you have to provide if you manage the property on your own.
At our properties we have a twenty-four-hour policy n all non-emergency maintenance items and an immediate response on emergencies. What constitutes an emergency? For us it is fire, flood, or blood. There are certainly exceptions to this but we do not dispatch maintenance after hours for residents locked out of their apartments because they lost their key (and they do call). We have an on-call system 24/7 set up for all of our communities that is very responsive. On emergency items like a murder, we are quick to respond so that we can cooperate with the authorities and the families of the victim.
Those are just some of the job responsibilities that come with the title property manager. It is a big job that is round-the-clock, 365 days a year. If after reading this, you’re thinking, Property investing isn’t for me, I don’t want to work that hard, take heart. Maybe property investing is for you. Property management isn’t. I realize the first inclination is to want to save money so you can maximize your cash flow, but if you don’t want to manage properties, that’s not the place to cut corners. If a property is not managed well, it will not only make it difficult for you to find residents, it will make it difficult for you to raise your rents to market value. That will make it impossible for your asset to appreciate-after all its value is based on how it operates. Finally, hiring a professional property management company frees up your time to look for and evaluate your next property investment. As we discussed early in this book, the way to wealth is property ownership, not property management.