To become a successful real estate investor and property manager in the Austin area, you need to perform a lot of research. It’s crucial to select the most promising properties to purchase in the right neighborhoods … and to negotiate for the best possible price.
It’s also important to upgrade, maintain, and market your properties effectively, and keep a tight leash on your ongoing expenses. Most landlords know this and design their strategy around these financial considerations.
But too many end up neglecting another critical facet of being an effective property manager in Austin: communication. Why is it so critical, and what tactics can Austin property managers adopt to improve their skills?
Why Is Communication Important?
Let’s start by explaining why communication is so important for Austin property managers.
- Understanding issues. Good communication will enable you to grasp issues more readily and resolve them faster. If your tenant has a complaint or needs to bring something to your attention, you should work proactively to understand it – and identify the best way to handle it.
- Setting expectations. Communication is also vital for encouraging proactive expectations with your tenant. In the early days of your arrangement, you can set the tone for future interactions and make it clear what’s allowed and what isn’t. Later on, you can set expectations for work being done on the property – such as how long it will take to repair the leaky roof.
- Building rapport. Good communication is also a smart way to build your tenant-landlord relationship, which is vital for tenant retention. With better communication habits, your renters will be happier and less likely to leave prematurely.
- Resolving disagreements. You’re inevitably going to have disagreements with your tenants. When they arise, good communication skills can help you resolve the matter quickly and decisively.
Essential Communication Tips
Follow these tips to improve your communication abilities as an Austin property manager:
1. Get to know your tenants early. As soon as possible, make an effort to get acquainted with your tenants. Talk to them about their needs, their goals, and what would make a great living situation for them. This is a sharp way to show you are attentive and will set a positive tone for your future interactions; but it’s also an effective way to understand your tenant’s motivations better – and potentially serve them better as well.
2. Remain calm and polite at all times. This should go without saying, but you should try to maintain decorum at all times. During the tenant’s occupancy, you may be compelled to handle nuisances and aggravations, such as late payment of rent, noise complaints from other tenants, or disagreements about repairs. Even in an antagonistic setting, it’s vital to remain cordial, calm, and polite, no matter what happens.
3. Use multiple channels (and know when to employ them). As a property manager, you’ll have a variety of channels for communication at your disposal. You can reach out via phone, text message, email, or through your online platform of choice. Each of these has its strengths and weaknesses, and may be more appropriate for certain situations than others. For example, text messages are good for swift notifications, but a phone call is better for a discussion of a sensitive nature.
4. Make it easy to reach you. Make yourself readily available. Give your tenants multiple ways to reach you. That way, if people have difficulty raising you via one channel, they may try another. Also, don’t skip phone calls or ignore text messages; this will be frustrating to tenants who are facing a tough issue.
5. Respond quickly. Similarly, you’ll want to respond as quickly as possible. Even if you’re not able to take immediate action on a problem, you can let your tenant know you’ve received the message and you’re working on it.
6. Establish emergency protocols. Occasionally, emergencies will arise at your property. What constitutes a genuine emergency? And what should your tenants do if they find themselves in the middle of one? How should they reach you? And how should they let you know it’s happening?
7. Be honest and transparent. Transparency has a number of benefits. It’s a good way to resolve issues quickly, since it gets the pertinent information out in the open. And it builds trust with your tenants. Be as honest and transparent as possible in all matters related to the property. If you’re making a change in your policies, tell them why. If you’re raising rent, explain your reasons. If you can’t get to a repair right away, let them know what’s holding you up.
8. Know when to listen. Sometimes, the best way to communicate is to stay quiet and just listen to what your tenant has to say. If they’re complaining about the condition of the property or just need a sympathetic ear, active listening can be an incredible tool. When your tenant feels heard, they’ll be much more likely to cooperate with you and have more trust in you as well.
9. Be proactive and informative. Try to be both proactive and informative with your tenants. Give them advanced notice before entering their unit or conducting repairs and explain why you’re taking action. In some cases, you may be legally required to do this. Even if you’re not, it’s a good practice to adopt.
10. Learn from your mistakes. Finally, be prepared to learn from your mistakes. No one is a perfect communicator, and during your tenure as a property manager, you’re bound to commit errors now and then. When you do, take note; figure out what went wrong and improve your practices in the future so it doesn’t happen again.
Becoming a better communicator can help you be a more effective landlord – and manage your property more effectively. But if you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can leave the communication to a professional.
With the help of a property management company like Green Residential, you can maintain your property well, keep your tenants happy, and minimize the effort that’s required of you. Want to know more? Contact us today!