Property managers spend a lot of time behind a desk: working out rent payments, marketing properties, and handling paperwork. They may also spend time with tenants, on whom it’s smart to leave a good impression.
A tenant may love the property, but if he or she doesn’t like the manager or landlord, then the tenant is less likely to sign or renew a contract. But being liked isn’t everything.
In the long run, it’s better to have a solid marketing and rental strategy to support your property. You also need sufficient backbone to set strong policies and stick with them, even in the face of an intimidating renter.
Being liked and respected can help you fill vacancies and reduce tenant turnover, however. Human beings respond better to authority if it shows a pleasant demeanor and appears to have their best interests in mind.
You don’t have to be a tenant’s best friend, but you can create a positive impression. Are you a likeable landlord? If you aren’t sure, here are some tactics to work on.
1. Offer a Warm Welcome
The most loved property managers make tenants feel welcome. They present a welcome letter that has information about the neighborhood as well as the property. They may also provide documents that facilitate address changes and utility activation.
To the extra mile, help your tenants get adjusted to the area with directions to nearby grocery stores, takeout menus, and other amenities. Pay attention to details and stock the bathroom or leave a welcome basket on their doorstep.
Such extras don’t consume a lot of time or money, but leave a long-lasting impression on the tenant.
2. Be More Available
Tenants won’t feel like you value them if you aren’t available when they have a need. You should provide multiple ways to contact you, including phone numbers, email addresses, contact forms, and social media.
This is advantageous to both sides, since you probably want to know if a toilet’s overflowing, because it could cost you thousands in damage. You could also post a list of people to call if you’re unavailable.
For example, leave numbers for the plumber, electrician, and other contracted service providers so a problem can be handled quickly and professionally, even when you’re away.
3. Look Professional and Act That Way
Your appearance and demeanor also play a role in the impressions you make. Always dress neatly at work, especially when you meet new tenants. You might not work in an office, but you can still dress well and leave cut-off jeans and T-shirts at home.
Your behavior should always be professional. Follow the lease guidelines consistently and refer to them whenever issues arise. Tenants will respect that you stuck to the agreement they signed, even if they don’t like the outcome.
4. Be Online
If you have a larger property with multiple units, a website can provide a valuable service for your tenants. A social media presence can also help them stay connected with you and their neighbors.
It’s a good idea to maintain a presence on sites like Yelp or ReviewMyLandlord so prospective renters can get more feedback about your performance as the landlord. Online reviews can exert a lot of power over a customer’s purchasing decisions; generating great reviews on such sites will fill vacancies fast.
5. Implement Compassion and Flexibility
Tenants will occasionally submit requests that are not possible under the lease parameters. Other situations won’t be so black and white.
For example, the lease might say no pets, but your tenant wants to keep a betta tropical fish. In this case, the risks are minimal, and it might be in your best interest to let this one slide.
You don’t need to throw the rule book at your tenants every time a question surfaces. A little compassion and flexibility can go a long way toward commanding respect and heightening good relations.
6. Respond Quickly and Appropriately
Nobody likes to be ignored, especially when they have a pressing concern about their living arrangements. You should do your best to respond to emails and messages within 24 hours. Unless, of course, it’s an emergency, when you should respond right away.
It’s also worthwhile to cultivate a steady stream of communication with tenants. You might send out a monthly newsletter, draft email reminders, and check in with them on a personal basis. Stay professional and polite in all communications.
7. Don’t Accuse
Pointing fingers or confronting tenants harshly about an issue will only create more waves. The mess will become more difficult to clean up, and you’ll have left a poor impression. Don’t talk badly about tenants or give unpleasant replies when addressing a problem.
Work with people as much as possible. Don’t make yourself an unyielding force that makes problem resolution impossible. As long as you’re willing to maintain an open mind, your tenants are more likely to follow suit.
8. Stay Positive
Most individuals prefer to surround themselves with positive people. They will be drawn to a landlord who appears confident and content instead of miserable and difficult to talk to.
Tenant problems and emergencies are disconcerting for everyone. Try not to let a negative outlook show through, which can make tenants more anxious than they should be. Keep calm, and stay positive when you work through challenging and frustrating situations.
9. Remain Calm
Staying cool is just as important as being upbeat. A tenant might come to you in distress about a conflict with a neighbor or a plumbing issue. Panicking yourself or letting the stress get to you will make the situation worse and cause the tenant to lose confidence in you.
The same advice goes for situations in which a tenant brings you unreasonable complaints. Try to make your office a calm, inviting place. Tidy up a messy desk, install a scented candle, and greet tenants with a smile. It’s amazing what a calmer atmosphere can do for an upset renter.
10. Listen Actively
When tenants approach you with a concern, pay attention to what they say. Don’t allow yourself to zone out and think about dinner. Most important, don’t jump to conclusions.
Note the details and offer signals of affirmation, such as a passive comment or the occasional nod. Hear them out completely before you speak. Only after the tenant finishes talking, start to suggest solutions.
Make it clear that you heard everything and validate the person’s concerns. Then, devise an action plan to address the problem. This is one of the best ways to instill confidence and respect in you as a property manager.