It’s certainly not business as usual in the world right now, and while the real estate industry has taken a hit, it’s no time to panic. As Government policies continue to be refined, the key is to strike the right balance between caring for struggling tenants and looking after concerned landlords.
Having an agile team is a must, and these are some of the ways we’ve found to improve the property management experience in these strange times.
1. Being diligent when looking for new tenants
A potential tenant’s current job may no longer be the best indicator of financial security and their ability to pay rent. Instead, Property Managers should be spending even more time looking at areas like Equifax, social media profiles, employer and personal references. Plus, spending habits from bank statements and savings in the event of further hits to people’s incomes.
2. Flexibility with existing tenants
With many tenants facing hardship and unable to pay their rent on time, it’s easy to get caught up in the short-term loss of income. However, losing a reliable tenant can cost a lot more in the long run when you consider the time and cost it takes to find a suitable tenant and having to compete with more rental properties in the market. Especially now, now as we have seen a flood of short-term accommodation hit the long-term market listings.
It’s your Property Manager’s job to keep an open line of communication with your tenants to understand their position and negotiate a situation that works for both parties in the long-term.
3. Get creative with marketing strategies
Supply is outweighing demand at the moment, which means you need to get creative to stand out. More people are online throughout the day as they bunker down at home, so ad placements on social media should be adjusted and tested accordingly.
High-quality videos and well-written copy that really sell the property to potential renters are essential to get the edge over competitors. These should be backed up by professional photography (sorry, iPhone shots just won’t cut it) and clear and accurate floorplans.
Another example of creative marketing is the 3D Visualisation tours we’ve initiated at Elevate. This online technology gives potential tenants a new perspective on your property and brings it to life on their screens. It gives a new twist to open homes and allows everyone to respect social distancing rules.
4. Consider different terms of lease to suit everyone
Stock-standard 12-month leases may not be attractive in this current climate, so your Property Manager should give options that work for both you and your tenant. It could mean shorter or unique lease periods or contract extensions. Whatever it is, both parties will benefit from a little flexibility.
5. Get creative with inspections
Parts of the world may have stopped but caring for your investment shouldn’t. Maintaining regular inspection schedules ensures your property is being properly cared for and allows your tenant to bring up any issues that may arise.
Of course, a typical visit to a property may not be appropriate, so a live virtual tour from the tenant may be an option to maintain social distancing. Time-stamped photos, short videos and questionnaires will also help you inspect the property remotely. Elevate is working with technology providers to offer this additional service.
6. Stay ahead of the communication curve
You can’t beat good old-fashioned communication to keep your tenants informed and make them feel like you have their interests at heart. Regular email communication with important notices and bulk text updates make it easy to keep everyone on the same page. Let everyone know how to contact their Property Manager, especially if they’re out of the office and not working regular hours.
Knowing your tenant’s situation and giving them as much information as possible, such as Government policies, internal policies and general advice, builds a lot of goodwill and will help to prevent problems down the track.
Most importantly, remaining empathetic and understanding is the best way to create positive outcomes.
As always, the Elevate team are here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any advice.