Communication is challenging for some people. We get it, and we try to do everything we can to facilitate easy and open communication when we’re managing rental properties. In order to communicate well with you and with your tenants, we need to know that everyone is on the same page and that your expectations are being met as well as ours.
Good communication leads to good relationships. When we have good relationships in place, everyone has a better rental experience.
A lack of communication will only lead to misunderstandings, tenant disputes, and costly mistakes.
We cannot speak for all property management companies in San Francisco. But, we can tell you what you can expect in terms of communication when you work with a team like ours at Sharevest Property Management.
Communication Expectations and Effective Relationships
When you work with a property manager, you need to understand how frequently you will communicate and in what ways. We work with a handful of owners who want to hear from us every month or so. They appreciate a brief check-in just to make sure all is well with their properties.
We also work with a number of busy investors who do not have the time to talk about their properties on a regular basis. They trust us to do what we do best, and they only want us to get in touch if there’s a problem, an unexpected expense, or a big decision to be made.
A good management company will structure their communication to meet your needs, but they’ll also establish boundaries in order to protect you and your investment. Your property manager likely won’t want you to communicate directly with the tenant, for example. This can only lead to confusion. If, as an owner, you tell your tenant something that is contrary to what’s in the lease agreement, there will be a lot of untangling to do. There might be some legal liability, too. It’s why we remain the point of contact for all tenant communication.
Talk about what you need in terms of communication before you hire a San Francisco property manager. It’s the best way to establish whether you’re a good fit for each other.
Communication during the Leasing Process
Vacancy is expensive and stressful, and you’ll need to know how things are progressing with the marketing and leasing of your investment.
It’s especially important that you’re communicating well with your property manager when your rental property is on the market and not yet occupied.
You should expect your property management partner to regularly communicate about:
- Any maintenance or updates the property needs before it’s ready for the market. You might hear some recommendations on how you can earn more on your property and attract tenants faster. Be willing to listen to those ideas.
- How much we’ll be charging for rent and how we arrive at that particular rental value. We’ll also communicate about flexibility and how low you’ll be willing to go if the market turns or your home remains vacant for an uncomfortable period of time.
- What types of marketing photos are being taken and how we’ll use them to advertise your property widely online.
- Where the property will be advertised and what types of responses we are expecting.
Once the listing is out in the world, you should receive regular updates about how many people are inquiring, how many people are scheduling showings, and what kind of response they’re receiving after the property has been shown.
This data is important because it will allow you and your property manager to make some changes if necessary to cast a wider net or to set some standards before the tenant screening begins.
Communicating with San Francisco Tenants about Maintenance
Communicating with owners is important. Communicating with tenants is just as important. You cannot effectively work with a management company that fails when it comes to being responsive and available to your residents.
Think about maintenance at your property. Deferred repairs will only cost you more money and they’ll also contribute to higher tenant turnover, which leads to vacancy and turnover costs. You should expect a sense of urgency when it comes to reported repairs that are needed, especially emergencies and those that impact habitability and building safety.
If your property manager isn’t responsive when it comes to maintenance, there’s a lot you stand to lose.
Expect immediate action when a tenant reports that something needs to be repaired or replaced.
You’ll need to know your own role in maintenance decisions. Will you be informed every time there’s a minor issue, such as a garbage disposal reset? Will you need to give approval for a repair that costs more than a certain amount?
Every property management company approaches maintenance communication a bit differently. We know that some owners want to approve every maintenance expense. Most investors have a standing approval in place for their management team to authorize repairs up to $500 or $700. This is something you’ll want to communicate about with your property managers ahead of time. Otherwise, you may be surprised to see a repair charge on your monthly statement.
Understand that some repairs will need to be made right away, and the work will have to move forward even if you are unavailable to provide authorization. A fire at the property, for example, cannot wait to be contained. A flood will cause habitability issues and only lead to further damage if it’s left untreated.
Make sure you know what to expect when it comes to maintenance and communication. We tend to over-communicate with tenants during repairs. And, we always keep our owners aware of what’s happening.
Technology and Transparency with Communication
You can expect innovative and communication-driven technology when you work with us.
Our property management team invests in a lot of property management technology, and one of the reasons for that is we value communication. We know that the right technology can help us communicate better and smarter.
Tenant and owner portals have become instrumental to everything we do. We have found that these platforms help us communicate effectively and efficiently to both owners and tenants. It also keeps everything documented so you can access what you need when you need it. You’ll know when rent is paid or a repair was completed.
With online portals, tenants:
- Pay rent online
- Make routine maintenance requests online
- Review and sign leases and other documents
- Send messages to their property manager
Most renters are comfortable with online rental payments, and they’ll appreciate the ease and convenience of paying rent and staying up to date on their accounts this way. They’ll likely prefer to communicate through their portal as well. Making maintenance requests easily and electronically is also a benefit. All of this technology leads to better tenant communication.
Owners also get the benefit of instantly deposited rents. You don’t have to wait for a paper check. You also get access to accounting statements and financial reports. Access to tax forms is as easy as opening a window and printing out what you need. The communication is more open, more on-demand, and more transparent.
For owners, the online portal provides real-time information that can be critical to the decisions you make about your investments. You’ll be able to track your income and your expenses. You’ll see a monthly accounting for all of your properties, allowing you to evaluate the performance of your portfolio as a whole and of each individual unit and property.
Some owners still love a phone call. Most owners don’t have time for that; they want quick, simple communication that they can read and respond to on their own time. We can deliver any sort of communication that makes you most comfortable.
Doing Your Part When it comes to Communication
You can expect your property managers to communicate. We expect you to communicate, too.
Your property managers will need to know how to reach you if there’s an emergency or a question that needs your immediate input. Usually, larger maintenance expenses will need to be approved by you before any work begins. For this reason, your management company needs to know how to get in touch with you.
Keep your contact information current. Your property manager should have your phone number and email address as well as your best mailing address. When things change, make sure you alert your property managers. You don’t want them sending important information to an old email address or calling the wrong number when something needs your approval.
Communication is one of the most important qualities to look for when you’re hiring a San Francisco property management company. Don’t settle for communication that doesn’t meet your standards. You need to know what to expect, and you need to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to partnering with a professional management company.
We’d be happy to tell you more about our plans for transparency and how we communicate with our owners and our tenants. Please contact us at Sharevest Property Management.