If you’ve ever had a late night call from a tenant or you’ve felt frazzled because you have wasted an hour trying to find a document for the insurance on your property or your tenant’s lease? These are the systems good landlords have in place to manage their properties and not lose their minds. And, these are the kinds of systems that allowed Quentin D’Souza to build a beautifully cashflowing real estate portfolio and start and develop a hugely successful real estate club in Durham, ON, all while working a full time job and spending time with his family.
Today, I’m excited to share a couple of excerpts from his new book, The Property Management Toolbox, to help you.
Property Management Tip # 1: Phone System
A well set up phone system is a major key to your ability to be able to manage your time well and set boundaries between your business and personal life.
1. Use evoice.com or grasshopper.com to create a phone system with prompts that filter tenant requests to different phone lines. Press 1 for one type of problem, press 2 for another etc.
Educating your tenants on the difference between types of requests is an important component in getting your filters to work for you. The tenant binder, which will be explained later on, and move-in are wonderful opportunities to do this.
2. Create a 2nd phone line to deal specifically with maintenance issues.
Set this line up so you’re not notified directly on your cell phone. Check these messages regularly and respond promptly, but not immediately. However, ensure that you manage tenants’ expectations reasonably when it comes to maintenance response times. Once the expectation is set, always respond within the expected response time. I generally provide a response within 24 hours.
3. Create a 3rd phone line to deal with vacancies.
As with the maintenance line, you should not answer this line immediately. Deal with it systematically, but not with emergency priority.
4. Create a 4th phone line to deal with emergencies.
Have these calls forwarded directly to your cell phone. If tenants contact you on this number, it means there is an issue that has to be dealt with immediately, not in a day or two.
5. Do not have tenants contact you directly by cell phone or text message.
Tenant requests can be overwhelming over time, and you don’t want to give the appearance that you are buddies with the tenant. Keep a professional relationship at all times. Keeping this boundary firm can be the difference between successful landlording and wanting to throw in the towel. If you are going to use a cell phone to communicate with tenants have a separate phone number that you use for your rental properties.
6. Put phone numbers on magnets with the name of your company and place it on the fridge when the property is rented out.
This allows easy access for tenants to the necessary information and insures they don’t forget the correct numbers. Remember to educate them about the proper use of each number and what does and does not constitute an emergency.
Property Management Tip #2: Create a Property Binder
Each unit should have its own binder that contains key information regarding the property. This is referred to as the tenant binder in other parts of the book. Here are the policies that govern the property/tenant binders:
1. Use a white one-inch 3-ring binder.
2. These binders remain in the property at all times.
3. Educate the tenant about everything in the tenant binder at the end of the move-in inspection.
Use this as an opportunity to create a relationship with the tenant and show how proactive you are as a landlord. Explain that the tenant binder is a friend of both tenant and landlord because it has the answer to many problems. If used properly, the binder can save much time for all involved, so being knowledgeable about it is imperative.
The Property Management Toolbox: A How-To Guide for Ontario Real Estate Investors and Landlords by Quentin D’Souza is now available. Grab your copy today for simple solutions to managing your property.