A Deep Dive into Calming Your Property Management Concerns
The property management debunking series answers common and recurring fears, worries, and questions we receive from our new clients who are on the fence about joining Douglas Property Management. In this series, landlords will learn insider info in a transparent and conversational setting where Christian helps explain why landlords experience the issues they do, and how Douglas Realty has found creative solutions to solve these problems. Simply click the titles below to reveal each video and write up on the topic.
I'll Manage it Myself to Save Money
I’ll do it myself to save money!
Right now, I’ll guarantee there’s a part of you saying you better take everything I say with a grain of salt. Of course I’m going to tell you why hiring a property manager is the way to go since that’s our bread and butter. But, let me stop you right there. My answer is likely not what you’re thinking it’ll be.
Hiring a property manager isn’t actually the best move for everyone. Sure, it’d be easier to just keep it simple and go on about how hiring professionals to take of your property is the headache and easy way to go about it, and for the most part, yeah, that’s entirely true. But, over the years, we’ve come across folks who have been self managing and have a handle on things just fine. Sometimes they live local and can take care of things themselves, or if they’re out of town, they have a good neighbor or good vendors that take care of things. That’s what I mean by hiring a professional isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you can make it work and save a few bucks, then keep doin’ you! But, most of the time, there comes a time they finally reach out to a professional. Maybe they’re getting older, they’re tired of dealing with the issues and tenants, and they’re willing to pay someone to take that all away from them.
There’s just some things in life that are worth spending money on, and that’s why nearly all real estate investors that have rental property higher a pro to handle it. It’s simply not worth their time because they know their time is more valuable being utilized elsewhere. Even quantifying it on an hourly basis…the time you’ll spend trying to manage your own property will cost you more that what you’re worth hourly. Of course, in our eyes, you’re priceless!
The other issues that arise in self managing are technical questions that come up. How do I go about evicting my tenant if I need to? How often should I inspect my property? What’s my responsibility to fix in the property if things break, and what’s the tenant’s? What’s the rental market value of my property? Where do I get my lease from? How does it work with pets and my insurance. Do I need liability insurance?
There’s a lot to being a landlord, and those are just a few of the potential questions self managed landlords run into, and that’s usually when you guys throw in the towel and hire the big guns.
So, if you’re self managing, it’s probably been going decently, and you’re here because you’re just getting tired of it. Or, there’s been something that’s recently got you on the hunt for a property manager, and now you’re on this page.
If that’s the case, now’s the time. Let us show you what our full service looks like. Because that’s why we got in this business. We knew that at the end of the day, a landlord hiring a property management company simply wants two things: their money and the peace of not dealing with the day to day. So, that’s the problem we set out to solve, and we’d like to think we cracked the code. And if that sounds boastful, well, it kind of is. I just know what we have is an awesome experience waiting for you. So, give it a shot. You can reach out via the chat bubble or give us a call. Thanks for watching!
Can You Find me a Tenant and I'll Manage It?
The Potential Danger in Lease ups
What do we tell people that ask if we just do tenant placement? There’s only one real scenario that we’ll agree this is the route to go. Like mentioned in the above video about self managing, if you have your own management under control and you don’t mind doing things yourself, then having someone find and approve tenants for you can be the way to go, and it’s certainly a service we offer.
However, and I say that in bold, you must understand that finding and placing a good tenant is a very small part of the whole experience. You simply should not run and gun it expecting that hiring a management firm to simply place a tenant for you guarantees a smooth rental experience for you, because unfortunately, that’s like trying to catch a rainbow.
Think of it this way. It would be like hiring a professional landscaper to come and do some re-mulching, plant some trees, re sod some areas of the yard, and install some stepping stones. Except, to save a few bucks, you simply ask for them to supply all the materials needed to do the job, but you’ll handle doing the work. Sure, you save some money, but what happens when you start realizing you don’t know which shrubs are full sun, or shade? How deep does the palm get planted? Do I just give it a shot and hope for the best? What if everything dies and I wasted thousands on materials?
It’s really no different. Sure, are you capable of doing that work yourself? Most likely. Are you capable of managing your own property but just need help with the tenant placement? Possibly. But, isn’t it just worth paying for the whole thing and not worrying about it?
In fact, the way the fee structure works, we charge more for tenant placement if that’s all you want to hire us to do. When we know we have your business for the long run, and you sign up for full management, we give a break on the tenant placement fee because we know you’ll be with us for awhile. When we’re simply finding a tenant, we know it’s a short term transaction, and therefore we charge more for it.
So, when you work out the fee structures mathematically, the amount you’d spend on us vetting and placing a tenant would actually equal a tenant placement plus about 5 months of management fees included if you went long term.
It really only makes sense if you know you have your own management down pat, and we certainly know there are those of you out there that do.
So, in short, we certainly offer tenant placement on it’s own, which is commonly referred to as a lease up. But, like I mentioned, we want you to seriously consider full management before you make a decision like this because it’s certainly placing a risk on your investment!
You can reach out via the chat bubble or give us a call.
Someone Else can Manage my Property for Less
Others Have Cheaper Fees
If you’re currently with another management company and are telling us others do it cheaper…don’t you think there’s a reason your service is bad enough that you’re shopping around for something different? Isn’t that why you’re looking around for someone else? If you find someone who can do it cheap and provide the level of service we do, let me know, I’ll bring my properties over there… And if you’re not with another management company, and you’re shopping around based on rates, let this be your wake up call. This is a service you’re hiring out to handle your investments. It’s not something to cheap out on, or shop solely based on price. You simply can’t afford to make that mistake, like many, many other people have.
In all seriousness, this topic grinds my gears a bit, and I’ll explain why.
A property management company has many moving parts. It’s far from a cut and dry business, like say a cleaning company. House is dirty, you tell your client what you include in your cleaning, and you clean it. Not much to it, boom, easy, done.
See, property management is one of the businesses that you simply can’t plan how the day will go. New challenges, problems, issues, what have you arise all the time. In fact, it’s why training employees that work in property management is so difficult. There isn’t an employee handbook big enough that can cover how to handle every situation, it just takes experience. It’s that simple. It also takes a big enough staff to cover each aspect that goes into managing property, which is why you need compartmentalization.
It’s also the type of business that takes a lot of properties to cash flow enough to cover all the bases, but, it takes a lot of bases to get there… In other words, you need Accounting; they’re the ones looking over your account to make sure rent has come in, fees have been taken out, money has cleared, and pays you. They also make sure all the vendors get paid for the work they’ve done. You need maintenance personnel; these are the ones that receive the calls and issues from your tenants when something breaks in the property. They have to discuss it with you, get a vendor, schedule with the tenant and vendor, inspect the work, and get things done. They also have to monitor after hours for emergencies. Then you have receptionists; taking all calls as they come in and directing them. Then assistant property managers who deal with leasing, lease renewals, advertising, general issues or questions, account explanations, tenant application approval or denial, and on and on and on. Then, property manager agents, who are going out to physically show your property to potential renters and handle all the showings and lease signings. Then, you have inspectors, who inspect your property throughout the tenancy and write up reports and take pictures for you, then office managers, and on and on.
These are the fundamental positions within a property management company to help things run smoothly and efficiently. It’s expensive and big overhead, but it’s a necessity if you’re going to provide actual service to your customer base.
Now, the reason I’ve explained these in very, very brief detail is to give you an idea that there’s a major, major distinction between a property management company, and a property management company.
A Professional Property Management Company
The distinction is most others are actually just real estate offices that do property management on the side. Sort of like a little in house service that their agents can refer their investors so they make a little kickback. How can an office whose main focus is general real estate possibly give exemplary service? They generally have one or two people trying to handle all the aspects I listed before. And you guessed it, that’s why it begins to fall apart. We’ve actually heard from other real estate agents that pass their clients to us for management actually say “oh, yeah, there’s no way I’d send my people to our property management division, it’s awful” or something of the sorts.
When you have only a few employees, you have to cut the rates. The only way you’re going to provide cut rate fees in this business is if you cut your level of service. It’s simply not possible to provide an acceptable level of service with what some people charge, and guess what, that’s why you’re here.
That’s why when people tell us, someone can do it cheaper, and they’ve made up their mind and gone elsewhere, we literally will say “we’ll see you soon.” Sounds arrogant? Maybe. But you know what? It’s exactly what happens. Because you get to be around this long enough to know who else is out there, you hear stories from new clients you onboard from other fly by night jokes of a company.
So again, when people tell us our fees are higher than some others, trust us, we’re aware. But, we sleep at night knowing we do it so we can provide you a headache free experience. One you’ll want to tell your other landlord buddies about. Actual honest, great, service.
You can reach out via the chat bubble or give us a call.
I've Been Burned by Other Companies - Why Trust You?
Trusting Your Property Manager
The toughest part about selling our services is right here. Right here in this topic. Undoubtedly, you don’t trust me. Your guard is up. Your skeptical. I’m just another guy trying to sell you their service who claims he’s “different than the others.”
Well, guess what. I have some thoughts about you too! I know you’ve had bad experiences elsewhere. I know you have a story to tell me. A story about how you didn’t get rent for months, how you don’t know if repairs were ever done or if the repairs even needed to be done. Maybe they sent the security deposit back to the tenants after they destroyed your home. Or, hmm, you wan’t to tell it’s been months and your property hasn’t rented.
The only way I’ve found it’s possible to create trust between us and you is by being transparent, black and white, and education. Those three things are our way of saying, look, we know this is an industry with a black eye. We know others out there are in this to make a quick buck at your expense. We’ve watched other landlords get the short end of the stick, perhaps like you have. We’ve watched other companies go down in flames and take their clients with them. Stealing deposits, rent, just awful awful things.
But, we like to think of ourselves as the savior. If I could only tell you how many property owners we’ve turned things around for. Coming to us, almost literally on their hands and knees, others, literally in tears saying please, I really just need help.
Did you know we’ve acquired several companies with accounts in absolute and total neglect? Literally, one time, over a hundred properties of poor landlords that were outright scammed? In just 6 weeks every property was inspected, accounted for, and brought back on track. It was an unmitigated disaster, but, getting people’s situations turned around was truly rewarding.
That’s just a big example of what I’m talking about, but this happens on a weekly basis of property owners coming to us pleading for help.
All of these calls go relatively the same way. Each of you tell us your story, expecting shocked reactions from us. Instead, we go right into problem solving mode. We know time is of the essence, and we want to get it right, and get it right quick.
The staff at Douglas Realty property management works under the mindset that each of you have a problem with your investment and a game plan needs to be created with you to get things back on track. Again, this is a process we have done over and over again. Some situations are a quick fix that need a little adjusting, and others are major overhauls that take effort, time, and money to get the way they need to be.
Talk to us. Tell us your story. Let us create the game plan you need to get things right again. It’s not just our job, but our passion. At the end of the day we love knowing we’ve turned a disaster into a story you’ll want to tell your investor friends about. It’s time to experience the Douglas Difference!
You can reach out via the chat bubble or give us a call.
My Manager Does Repairs without Consulting Me - Do You?
Rental Property Repairs
In the age of instant communication, there is little excuse for a management company to not consult with the property owner first before a repair is completed. Most landlords agree that being contacted to give approval for repairs in their property is the logical move, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for a lot of other companies.
We all know one of the worst feelings is getting a check or deposit for an amount less than we were expecting…much less when we don’t even know why!
Most companies handle their maintenance internally for their clients, meaning they hire their own handyman and have in house services. This is when we see issues arise because often times these people don’t know what they’re doing, they over charge you for the quality of work they provide, and it leaves a lot of room for scams. We’ve watched companies in plain sight tell property owners their property was in need of repair, did the work ‘internally’, and what do you know? The repairs were never done or there was no repair needed in the first place. It’s a common scam in this business, and unfortunately, the number of property owners affected by such foul play seems to be on the rise as time goes on.
So, how then do you handle maintenance the proper way?
It’s quite simple. Hiring outside licensed and insured vendors to handle your work has proven to be the key to success. The vendor base Douglas Realty Property Management has is massive, with hundreds of companies in our data base who have proven themselves in their trade and have the proper license and insurance. The formula for making this work is perfect. Our vendors give our property owners a minimum 10% discount on the service they provide that the public otherwise wouldn’t receive. We charge our 8% maintenance coordination fee, and you’re left with a 2% discount on actual professional quality work! Little differences like this are what really help us stand apart from the crowd and allow you a wonderful user experience.
At Douglas Realty, you have the option to choose if you’d like to be contacted for repairs. Some landlords who are very busy have us notate their account to not contact them if the repair is under a certain dollar amount. We simply complete the repair and then send them a copy of the invoice along with the original work order request from the tenant.
Most, though, request that we contact them for any and all repairs, which is perfectly understandable. In this case, when a repair request is sent to us from your tenant, we immediately pick up the phone or email you (your preference) and request your approval to move forward with the repair. In larger ticket item repairs that cost more money, we can offer multiple estimates for your choosing. If it’s a repair that you’re unsure if you should proceed with it or not, our maintenance staff will provide their expert opinion on if it is a repair that you should make or leave be.
Of course, maintenance is a huge part of property management and it should be taken care of in the proper fashion. That’s why we’ve perfected our system over the last four decades to provide you an experience you won’t regret!
You can reach out via the chat bubble or give us a call.
Communication with my Manager is Terrible- Is Yours?
Communication with Your Property Manager
Undoubtedly, not getting returned phone calls or emails is incredibly frustrating, especially when it’s in regards to something as important as your investment! Most new clients we talk to will bring up the lack of communication with their current management company and the difficulties of getting their questions or concerns addressed.
Most of the time, this simply falls back on the company being a small business that is unable to handle the volume of interactions throughout the day that simply comes with the type of business we’re in. With all the moving parts of property management, it’s easy to see why property managers are sometimes too busy to get back with you right away.
Setting up Douglas Realty in such a way that allows for your questions to hit different departments allows for you to get with someone quickly who can have the best and most efficient answer to your question.
When you call in, we guarantee you will speak with someone, no voicemails here! And if you need someone specific, and they’re busy with another client, we will ensure you are contacted back shortly as we know all questions and concerns are important!
Gone are the days of “I can never get a hold of my darn property manager!”
Let us show you the Douglas Difference!