“When you have 400 units to manage like I do, you can’t afford to be shy about using email to keep in touch with my residents [tenants].” These words of experience came during an extensive interview I recently conducted with a veteran property manager. She also uses email (with an automatic acknowledgment of receipt) with her owners if at all possible. What is she telling her owner-clients? “I want them to know that I’m being proactive. For example I’m finding ways to improve the looks and desirability of their properties to improve their Return-on-Investment.”
Whenever she updates her certifications and credentials, she broadcasts the good news to clients, and if relevant, to residents as well. She does the same thing when her employees have reached certain milestones or attained certifications. Keeping owners updated on laws and regulations regarding the rights of residents are an ongoing service that she offers. What’s a good way to keep up on this topic? “Join your local apartment association. They often have an online newsletter or some way of communicating to their members on important issues,” she suggested. “There’s also the National Apartment Association (NAA). Both are great sources of information and support.” It was good to be reminded that these associations also offer legal counsel and as well as answers to questions about local ordinances and restrictions.
Apartment Associations also have unique arrangements and ways to communicate with businesses that supply the needs of property managers and residential income properties. As the N.A.A. mention on their web site, “NAA created the National Suppliers Council (NSC) in 1979 to continue the development of a strong relationship between the multifamily housing industry and national businesses and corporations that supply goods and services to the apartment industry.” Being a consistent communicator, she’s good at reminding residents of what is expected of them. “I do this respectfully, but I do it clearly and as often as necessary. Most appreciate the reminders.” She specializes in Problem Buildings. She explained that these are properties that need physical improvement and/or have a history of difficult and uncooperative residents.
This has brought her some referrals and new clients who needed her help and expertise. In her conversations with both old and new clients she brings up the topic of cash flow. “Clients always welcome this subject and it leads to a lively discussion where some good ideas emerge that we can put to good use.” She encourages consistent communication and the concept of exchanging creative solutions. For instance, if an owner wants to increase cash flow she suggests concepts like renting out unused parking spaces or building more storage units that residents can rent.
Developing the habits and reputation of a consistent communicator has been one of the keys to her success. Stop to think of it, all aspects of our professional and personal lives would benefit from more of the right kind of communication on a more regular basis.