For a property management company, the focus on the bottom line drives attention toward efficiency and growth. From a fresh perspective, one of the best tips to accomplish these goals is to think like an owner.
The first article in this series focused on helping landlords and investors think like a tenant. Continuing on that theme, this article is dedicated to property management companies wanting to dive into the needs of the property owner in order to help grow their business.
Before a deep dive into what property owners are looking for, take a moment to reflect on your business objectives and vision so that as you think about owners you can reimagine how your perspective aligns with their thoughts and needs.
TYPES OF RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS
For a new property management company, working with owners may be a new experience. Seasoned property management companies though have likely dealt with one or all of these types of rental owners:
- The Investor
- The DIY Landlord
- The Accidental Landlord
- The Fed-Up Owner
Some of these property owners may have fallen into property ownership through inheritance (The Accidental Landlord) or found they needed to relocate and decided not to sell their home (The DIY landlord). Other owners have a portfolio of investments as their sole source of income (The Investor). Others have decided that being a private landlord has become a source of stress and angst (The Fed-Up Owner).
Whether an owner by choice or by circumstance, each type desires a return on their investment in the form of rental income as well as equity if and when they decide to sell.
The resource below goes into detail on those four owner types.
Although coming to property ownership from differing starting points, their commonality is the need for asset management. That’s where a good property management company comes into play to support those goals and relieve their concerns. Before diving into asset management issues, let’s take a look at some core needs first.
UNDERSTAND A PROPERTY OWNERS NEEDS
Thinking like an owner starts with understanding human needs common to all. In our first series article, Think Like a Tenant, we discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to understand the needs of a renter. Similarly, it’s important to have a grasp of those basic needs of owners. The relationship between an owner and the management company might not intersect on the lower levels of basic physiological and safety needs, but certainly impact the need for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Everyone desires respect in a manner that is personalized and communicated in a way that makes us feel seen and heard. Meeting those core basic needs can immediately set you apart from all the other property management companies. Too often a property owner ends up feeling like a cog in the wheel, a nuisance, or just another supplier of the goods that the property management company needs instead of as an asset to the company.
After those basic needs are met, bottom-line, property owners want to be informed and know that their questions (both spoken and unspoken) are answered. The types of questions an owner may have run the gambit from marking to management. It’s important to be prepared to answer those questions even if unexpressed.
The resource below goes into detail on the questions owners might ask when searching for a property management company.
THE BUSINESS NEEDS OF A RENTAL PROPERTY OWNER
Getting into the mind of a rental owner, in addition to a healthy business relationship where they feel heard and understood, they need to know their business needs will be met. Let’s look at some of the things owners are thinking:
Will my investment be well maintained?
They want to know that their asset is in good hands and will be protected from neglect, bad tenants, and shoddy workmanship. This speaks to tenant screening practices, how you manage maintenance requests, routine maintenance tasks, and property inspections — your track record on the day-to-day activities that keep assets in the best condition.
Does this property management company understand tenant relations?
Just like you, owners are concerned with occupancy and tenant turnover. They want to know from you that you understand that an empty house is not profitable for either of you. Educate them on your tenant marketing strategies and tenant retention programs. Lean in and let them know the value you place on securing and keeping great tenants.
Am I partnering with a reputable property management company?
Be upfront with all the data pointing to that answer such as your online reputation, licensing information, years in business, outline management and maintenance team strengths, etc. If you are new to property management, you will need to up your interpersonal skills to build rapport and trust as you build your business. Established or new business, building trust is on-going so be sure never to over-commit as it leaves you open to under-delivering on a promise.
Will I be left in the dark or kept in the loop?
Owners crave information regarding their portfolio and you can provide that easily with a few simple tools. Brag about your property management software in how easy it is to access their data through an owner portal from any mobile device. Let them know you provide access 24/7 from their portal to those very important reports and ledgers. Many PM software programs also allow you to email or text important information from the program directly to their email or phone as well as share important documents to their owner portal file library.
Does this rental management company really understand the industry?
They want to know that you are an expert and will keep up with current trends, systems, and best practices. Don’t be shy in telling owners where you get your information and what you are reading to stay informed. A newsletter is a perfect opportunity to spread your knowledge and insight while helping owners stay current as well. In addition to being seen as an expert, it also helps keep the doors of communication open and builds your reputation and trust.
ATTRACT AND RETAIN GOOD OWNERS
Thinking like an owner will help you attract those owners who align with your business vision. Your marketing material and website will show you understand their needs and have really thought from their perspective. Your online reputation will speak to that as well. We all want to be a part of a community so think about offering a referral program so your current owners can spread the news about how you care of their properties as if it were your own.
DEEP DIVE RESOURCES | Marketing and Social Reputation
How to Manage Your Social Reputation Like A Pro
7 Tips For Property Managers to Create Effective Email Marketing Campaigns
Easy Rental Real Estate Marketing Ideas for the Busy Landlord
Remember, when all is said and done, owners want to know that you will stand by their side as a partner with their best interest at heart. It’s easy to do when you put yourself in their shoes and think like an owner.