While there are many companies that specialize in either multi-family property management or single family home management, some companies are able to do both successfully. If you’re currently making the transition from multi-family to single family home management, or are adding home management to your menu of services, there are a few things you will need to take under consideration:
- Your lease template will need to change. You’ll be managing the entire property, not just the home. Multi-family managers are used to keeping common areas such as lawns, walkways and sidewalks clean and manicured. When managing a single family home, that job now falls to the tenant, so it’s vital that their lease reflect those responsibilities as well. Destroyed lawns and dead plants are now an eligible deduction on a tenant’s security deposit.
- You’ll need to re-think your maintenance routine. When managing single-family homes, maintenance becomes a little more challenging. Rather than having a staff at the ready to fix routine maintenance problems, you’ll most likely be relying on a series of outside contractors to get the job done. Do your due diligence prior to needing a plumber or an electrician, so when you do need one, you’ll know exactly who to call.
- Do a little research prior to accepting that new client’s home to manage and protect yourself from potential pitfalls down the road. Be selective. Take time to really examine the property, the surrounding area, and the neighbors. Make sure you’re not agreeing to manage a home that has a history of problems.
- Update your move-in/move-out forms. These forms will now have to reflect the areas not previously considered when managing multi-family units. This includes windows, doors, outside areas, and fencing. Everything that is a part of the property should now be reflected on your walk-through sheets, or you’ll end up spending a lot of time and money between tenants repairing and redecorating.
- Schedule annual inspections. It’s vital that managers do an annual inspection of the property for any major structural or mechanical issues. While this is a simple procedure usually performed by onsite maintenance, single family homes will need to be inspected to make sure that there are no major issues that need immediate attention. The inspection can help on two fronts: you’ll be able to assure the owner that the home is being properly cared for, and any issues that do pop up can be addressed in a timely manner, before they become a major problem, and cost the owner money.
While the specifics may be different, managing single family homes is much the same as managing multi-family units – you’re protecting the investment of the owner.