13 Major Property Management Responsibilities
Do you cringe when tenants call with maintenance requests? Feel overwhelmed tracking expenses and market rates? Simply wish you could focus on long-term strategy rather than fixing leaky faucets?
If any of these ring true for you, if you haven't yet, you should consider hiring a property manager. These professionals shoulder the tedious operational tasks, freeing owners to focus on what matters most.
Before committing to going down that route, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the day-to-day property management responsibilities. In this article, we'll walk you through all of a property manager's typical duties, from screening applicants to budgeting and beyond. Then, with your newfound understanding of the position, you can properly evaluate whether handing over the reins is the right strategic move for your investment property.
What is a property manager?
A property manager is a professional jack-of-all-trades, overseeing the operations of real estate assets on the owner's behalf. They are the eyes, ears, and voice on the front lines — interfacing with tenants, coordinating maintenance, and optimizing revenue streams — so owners don't have to.
A property manager can be an individual person hired directly by the property owner, or they may be part of a property management company.
Armed with expertise across key areas like leasing, budgets, repairs, and relevant regulations, a property manager handles the day-to-day workload involved in running a property. This frees the property owner to focus on big-picture business strategy rather than getting bogged down in the details.
Responsibilities of a property manager
A property manager wears many hats on a day-to-day basis to keep things running smoothly. On any given day, you may find them jumping from showing vacant units, to reviewing maintenance requests, to processing rental applications. Specifically, a good property manager focuses their energies across these 13 key areas:
1. Determining rental prices
It falls on property managers to handle market research to help set competitive rental rates based on factors like location, size, amenities, and demand trends. By benchmarking comps and monitoring indicators such as vacancy rates, they set optimal pricing that is attractive for tenants and profitable for the owner.
Property managers continuously review and adjust rent prices based on market conditions, lease renewals, or other factors when necessary.
2. Preparing vacant rental units
When a unit becomes vacant, property managers coordinate deep cleaning, repairs, and any needed refreshes to the space before showing. They'll work with maintenance teams, contractors and cleaners to address any issues and get the unit ready for the next tenants.
3. Advertising rental vacancies
Property managers know how to make units stand out amid the competition. They actively advertise vacancies across various channels, from online listings to social media.
Since they have experience across multiple properties, they know how to create compelling listings with photos/details to attract qualified applicants. Their advertising taps into an active network of agents and targets platforms searched by promising prospective renters.
4. Screening tenants
Property managers thoroughly screen and evaluate prospective tenants to confirm they meet the property owner's criteria. This involves conducting background checks, credit checks, employment verification, and contacting references.
5. Managing lease agreements
Property management companies can also help with lease agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the tenancy. They verify that the agreements cover key aspects such as rent amount, lease duration, security deposit details, pet policies, maintenance responsibilities, and other relevant provisions.
6. Addressing tenant complaints and issues
As the owner's stand-in, managers field and work to resolve tenant complaints. Whether it's a broken appliance or parking policy gripe, they aim to address inquiries promptly, keeping relations positive and problems minimal. Maintaining satisfaction helps support tenant retention over time.
7. Collecting rent payments
The property manager job also includes collecting rent payments based on the agreed-upon terms specified in the lease agreement. They establish secure payment methods, track rent payments, and follow up on any missed or late payments.
8. Handling property maintenance and repairs
Staying on top of maintenance falls to the property manager. This includes coordinating preventative maintenance tasks, scheduling inspections, and promptly addressing necessary repairs.
They coordinate with trusted crews to perform inspections, repairs, and system checks to address issues before they affect tenants. Managers also oversee curb appeal and shared spaces, verifying that landscaping, cleanliness, and visual appeal meet owner standards.
9. Supervising on-site employees
For properties with on-site staff, a property manager oversees personnel like maintenance techs, security, or lobby attendants. They coach employees, provide direction to optimize performance, and make sure the owner's standards are met across all service areas.
10. Managing evictions and move-out processes
Property managers handle the legal process according to local laws and regulations when eviction becomes necessary. They work closely with attorneys, follow established procedures, and communicate with tenants to facilitate a smooth eviction process.
It's also the property manager's responsibility to manage move-outs, confirm that tenants properly vacate the premises, conduct move-out inspections, and handle security deposit refunds or deductions.
11. Verifying legal compliance of the property
A management company also stays informed on local, state, and federal laws and regulations relating to rental properties. They make sure that the property meets all legal requirements related to habitability standards, safety codes, fair housing regulations, and other applicable laws.
Property managers also keep the property owner updated on any new compliance measures or regulation changes that impact investment properties.
12. Tax prep
For tax season support, property managers supply documentation like financial records, income/expense reports, and lease agreements. They work alongside accountants to assemble materials the owner needs for properly reporting any tax obligations tied to the rental property.
13. Generating reports
Property managers offer detailed records of financial transactions, lease agreements, and other important foundational documentation.
They also generate performance reports for property owners summarizing income, expenses, occupancy rates, and other relevant metrics. These reports provide the real estate investor with a clear overview of the property's performance and financial status.
Should you hire a property manager?
Should you hire a property manager? Let's examine the key pros and cons to help you evaluate if it's the right move for you.
- Relieves operational tasks: Property managers take care of day-to-day operational tasks like maintenance, tenant relations, and administrative duties. This reduces the burden on your time, allowing you to focus on other areas of your life or growing your real estate portfolio.
- Beneficial for investors with multiple properties: Employing a manager allows you to efficiently oversee multiple properties in your portfolio. This is especially useful when you have limited bandwidth to manage each property individually. The property manager helps tenants receive proper attention across your properties.
- Enables investment in different locations: With a property manager in place, you can invest in properties in various geographic areas without needing to be there yourself. This flexibility opens up opportunities for diversification and potentially higher returns on investment.
- High property management costs: Working with a property manager comes with associated fees, which can be a significant portion of your monthly rental income. Research and consider these costs before making a decision.
- Relinquishing control of the property: You must be willing to surrender some control over the property when you hire a property manager, because you rely on them to make decisions and handle issues on your behalf.
- Variations in screening standards: Property managers may have different screening standards than you would as the property owner. It could be a concern if you have specific criteria or preferences for selecting tenants.
Property manager duties
Hiring a property manager allows real estate owners to focus on the big picture by handing over day-to-day operations to an expert. Property manager responsibilities cover a wide range of tasks from advertising vacancies to maintaining compliance and optimizing revenue.
They act as an invaluable business partner, overseeing critical logistics so rental property owners can shift attention to expanding portfolios and enterprise-level strategy. While relinquishing some control, owners gain peace of mind knowing an empowered ally has eyes and ears on the ground. With professional property managers' end-to-end oversight, properties can reach their full potential.
Evaluating your priorities and resources can help you determine whether it makes strategic sense to outsource property duties. For many real estate investors, having a dedicated manager in their corner proves to be worth it.
What are the duties of a property manager? FAQs
What is a property manager's first responsibility to the owner?
While the roles of a property manager can vary from day to day, a property manager's first responsibility to the owner is always to protect and manage their investment professionally. This includes preserving or increasing the property's value, maximizing rental income, and maintaining a high occupancy rate.
What is the primary goal of the property manager?
The primary goal of a property manager is to assure the efficiency and profitability of a property on behalf of the owner and to protect and enhance the property's value while providing excellent service to both the owner and tenants.