The Power of Managing Landlord Expectations
Some might say you can’t control the weather or other people’s expectations.
However, in the world of business clients, it’s wise to understand “the weather” and guide expectations. In the case of a property manager, it’s important to manage your client’s expectations because that’s what’s guiding their decision-making.
If owners build an unrealistic, uninformed framework of expectations, your ability to keep them profitable and keep yourself in business diminishes.
By designing and communicating a more positive perception of value, opportunity and satisfaction you take the helm of your ship and protect them from bad decisions. Let’s get more clarity on owner-management perspectives in this post.
The Threat from Competitors
It’s always cost pressure that is the catalyst for discontent and owner reassessments. Once sunk, they fall into “the grass is greener” scenarios provided by low-price vendors with big promises. With owners refinancing mortgages and facing deflating rental income, they will be reviewing their property management choice in 2024.
In a recent Rent.com.au interview, property management expert Darren Hunter said most landlord complaints stem from unreasonable or incorrect expectations. He said these landlords are challenging to manage, making your work life difficult if they’re unhappy. Their perception becomes your misery.
The question is, are landlords’ expectations and complaints reasonable? Are you and your staff doing a poor job?
What is reasonable and who gets to set the standards? Well, as we explore here, you are actually in control of owner expectations.
Filling the Expectations Gap
New innovative startups are aware of this opportunity involving service gaps and missed expectations. Bad weather is their signal and they’re smart to take advantage of it.
If you’re not gauging owner sentiment with collaborative discussions or polling tenants, nor using communications and marketing tools to condition your clients’ expectations, you’re in the dark about their expectations.
If an established property management business manager isn’t finding hidden “gaps and deficits” the result is growing dissatisfaction and lost owner accounts.
What Specifically Can You Do?
If you review your service range and business model, you might see why there is disappointment. If insufficient fees or budget are the culprit, you might look to communicate the end value of improvement expertly rather than asking directly for more funds.
- review owner’s financial reports for costs, revenues and profit — where is the weakness?
- collect any comments or insights as to why your owners are disappointed — what’s it pointing to?
- be honest about your performance and what is driving disappointments — where are you weak?
- review your unique value proposition against that of competitors with emphasis on KPIs and deliverables that make or break your owner relationship
- research from the viewpoint of national standards and states where property management services have improved the most
- review rental property market reports to identify key areas of change
- be willing to grow and redesign your business to beat the competition and present value that is incomparable
- map out your service structure and what specific value each delivers to owners and tenants
- create an action plan for communicating the most important benefits your clients are focused on (cost cutting/revenue)
- review each of your services and how they meet expectations and deliver real value
- review owner/landlord requests, concerns and how you responded, and what more you can do to resolve the underlying issue
- change/upgrade your vocabulary to reflect your new value proposition
- speak with a software technology company (ManageCasa) to understand how tech can streamline and power up your service value
- review your marketing communications and whether you’re getting the right UVP across
- quantify the dollar value of your services delivered
- review tenancy duration, feedback, churn, turnover costs, tenant satisfaction polls, budget efficiency, and responsiveness
- review the condition of property assets and value built via maintenance
- review accounting and financial data and report how a lack of funds is the issue
- review property management and financial reports and whether they get the ideal message across
- review advice and recommendations you provided to the owner
- review your emergency plan
- review your technology use and commit to growing it for improved service to modern tenants
- learn more about Gen Z renters who will be a dominant market in the next 10 years
- review your marketing communications and assess whether it is conveying the value of your services or making you look outdated and ineffective
After discovering the real issues that are plaguing your brand value (and their expectations), review how you can communicate a new, revised unique value proposition — your new brand. Because your old brand may be ruinous.
Your New Actionable Plan
Here are the soft skills and meaningful improvements that will support the perception of exceptional value:
Communication Skills: convey insights and new perspectives very clearly, removing doubt and confusion for your client which builds clarity, confidence and belief in success.
Proactive Problem-Solving: communicate how you are responding to challenges and are able to anticipate issues and address them early. This includes implementing preventive maintenance programs, conducting regular property inspections, and developing emergency preparedness plans.
Local Market Knowledge: build your in-depth knowledge of the local renter marketplace and property management trends. Prove expertise in setting rent prices, presenting asking rents, advertising and attracting quality renters, improving homes and amenities, and boosting efficiencies.
Financial Expertise: Use modern, professional-grade property accounting, budgeting and financial reporting tools (ManageCasa™). Communicating financial success is a must-do.
Maintenance Know-How: upgrade your knowledge of efficient, modern maintenance practices that optimizes the contractor/tenant element and use technology to streamline time spend. Build a network of licensed, trained maintenance contractors.
Service Scope and Fees: build out and explain a new menu of service features and the benefits for your target renter audience and how you might capture additional revenue.
Improve your Reporting Process: Provide regular, comprehensive reports on financials and work performed, via advanced software and technology to bring clarity, confidence and help establish the right owner expectations.
Client Feedback and Reputation: Check referrals, testimonials, and online reviews to gauge your firm’s reputation and performance.
Contract Details: Review the fee model and the wording of the contract terms you offer to owners along with insurance coverage, fees, termination policies, and any hidden charges.
Review Your Terms of Engagement with Owners: Discuss value generated and how your clients can help you generate more.
Property Inspection Practices: Review your process and key value points in regular, formal property inspections as a way to build value.
24-Hour Availability: explore how to provide 24×7 service levels and emergency
Company Size and Resources: review if you have the personnel, skills, and budget to deliver optimal services and explain the consequences of underfunding so the landlord has to take responsibility for their role in this professional engagement.
Value Assessment: Consider the overall value of the services provided, not just the cost. A good property management company should aim to find savings and optimize your budget.
Evaluate your technology platform: It’s clear that your technology choice will drive owner value in the next decade. Review an all in one platform that nails the core benefits and is easy to use.
Be that Special Company: being unique, special, and irreplaceable is critical to setting expectations and ensuring you get the funding and support needed to succeed.
Owners build expectations daily through interactions, reports and news, and their own bank accounts. When things sour, they may lose focus falling prey to false pretenses and illusions. Letting them be caught in unscrupulous competitors’ marketing strategies will erode their confidence leading to even poorer decisions.
You are in the driver’s seat of their clarity, perspective, and expectations. Use marketing, communications and reports which your property management software can help show you’re meeting expectations, and how you can improve performance with the right funding and growth.
If your owners are not investing enough in success, stay positive and focus on reporting value.
Ready to manage your properties better in 2024: Call us at 415 800 1245 to discover ManageCasa.
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