Advice for managing resident relationships
Residents are the source of your cash flow. If they’re happy, then you’re making money. That’s why I offer you these three pieces of advice for managing well your relationship with residents.
1. Being prompt is absolutely critical. You can even be rude as long as you’re still prompt. That’s so much better than being kind-hearted, but waiting three days to respond. When people have issues, they need immediate gratification. They want to know that they’ve been heard. This is first, second, and third on the list of priorities.
2. Get the work done! No matter how much you have to do, do everything to get work orders done in a timely manner.
3. Follow up. After you’ve complete a task for your resident, make sure to follow up to make sure everything was fixed correctly. This helps residents to know that you actually care.
Problem: My nightmare with rent collection
A perfect example of how imperfect systems can create a bigger problem than operating no systems at all is what happened to me when I first started out. I bought my own rental home park. I had to collect rent every Friday from residents door to door. The goal was to collect rent as soon as possible each month. I lived in Tampa Bay at the time and had to commute 45 minutes each way to collect rent. I realized I didn’t have time for this, because sometimes you didn’t get full payment, sometimes people weren’t there, and you had to come back. Trying to collect rent physically is a nightmare. I have friends who still use this method, and I just shake my head and laugh.
Solution: system for rent collection
Now I use a system for rent collection through AppFolio. If resident has bank account, they can pay electronically through computer or smart phone or they can schedule auto payments every month. Alternatively, the tenant can take cash or money order to certain vendors and turn in rent that way. From there, the money gets deposited into bank account and recorded in AppFolio.
After I realized I didn't have time to collect rent from everyone in person every Friday, I started to lose track of who had paid, I started to fall behind on my payments for the mobile home park, and needed a system for holding people accountable for not paying, I needed a way to get after people immediately without pay. The reason is because every day you let a resident get away without pay, they feel more and more comfortable. The object is that the day after rent’s due, they get a three-day notice to pay or face eviction.
This helped me to spend less time managing properties and tackle another problem--scaling my business. I now had more time to spend buying properties, because I had systems in place. I had automated the income side of the equation and now I could leverage my time for other investments.