A good property management system
I have been out working on rentals a lot this past week. Contrary to what you hear about most landlords, I actually like working on our properties. The reason for this is because I get to see how our people are doing, how they are keeping the house up and if they are doing the four jobs of a tenant.
And just to remind you, the four jobs are: 1. Take care of the house. 2. Pay on time. 3. Be comfortable to work with by staying in good communication and being respectful. 4. Be a good neighbor.
These four jobs are the rubric we use to determine if an applicant will become one of our tenants. Our whole application process is designed to uncover whether or not an applicant can do them. And once we have decided someone can do the jobs, we “hire” them as a tenant. But we continually reiterate the four jobs so our tenants understand their importance and how our lease is centered around them.
And because of that fact, we tend to get great people, who take care of the houses and communicate well with us.
Going out to work on the properties helps me solidify in my mind that we did our jobs during the applications process. And the results speak for themselves. Let me tell you about it.
The tenants at the first house noticed a water issue in the kitchen coming from the shared wall with the bathroom. They checked to make sure it wasn’t something they could fix before calling. When they did, they also sent pictures and video to help me diagnose the issue before I got there. And because they were being proactive in taking care of the property and using good communication, we were able to fix the water leak coming from the shower head before it did any real damage.
Next, we had a tenant call about a sewer smell in the house. After talking with them, I called our septic man. He suggested changing the wax rings on the toilets before he pumped because the smell only came on rainy days, which apparently is a symptom of a bad wax ring. I didn’t know that. Our tenants volunteered to change the wax rings themselves. They did, but it did not fix the issue, and we had to have the tank pumped.
On the day of pumping, I went out there to check on things. The husband was home sitting on the front porch, talking with the elderly next-door neighbor. I went up to thank him for changing the wax rings and asked him why they had volunteered. He smiled and said, “Because it was less than $50.”
He was referring to a portion of our lease that gives our tenants a discount on their rent for doing repairs around the house that cost less than $50. He was glad to do the repair and I was glad we had a great tenant who was taking care of our property.
On top of both these tenants being proactive with repairs, the properties themselves were being kept neat and clean on the inside as well as the outside. This let me know they took pride in living in our houses. I also observed them being good neighbors. And on top of that, they tend to pay early.
That is a great place to be with your tenants. Many landlords only get to observe payment history with their tenants. And by the time they find out there is a problem, it is too late. But by going out on service calls, I regularly get to see if our tenants are doing the four jobs correctly. And as you can see from what I experienced, these two tenants were doing an outstanding job.
This outcome was not just happenstance. It is the result of a methodical application process, along with a well thought out management system. And I can’t take credit for either. Our system has some personal touches on it that we have developed over time, but a majority of what we do comes directly from the teachings of David Tilney and his course, Hassle Free Property Management.
If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one, you need to take his class. Normally, it is a three-day live event in Atlanta. But this year, David is teaching live, but virtually. It will be Feb 5-7, and the cost is $595. And trust me, it’s worth every penny. To sign up, go to www.davidtilney.com. You will be glad you did.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.