When an individual real estate investor starts out, managing a rental unit that they live near may not be that difficult. There’s work involved, and it may be like a part-time job. However when a property owner manages several rental units or more, it can quickly become more and more like a full-time job. Even in small apartment buildings with 10 units the management duties can quickly pile up. When there is a lot to manage you can sometimes tell when a property is being poorly managed by an absentee landlord.
Conversely, some apartment properties thrive even without a landlord on the premises, depending on who is managing the building. Here are five signs your apartment community is getting good property management services.
No midnight phone calls
One of the worst feelings for landlords is when the phone rings in the middle of the night. Tenants will call at all hours when there’s a problem with the property. Nobody likes to be awoken because of a leaking pipe or broken faucet.
Of course, when major issues arise, you do want to know and fix the problem as soon as possible. Property management in San Jose, for example, often involves the care taking of very expensive buildings. Should major problems occur, the owner needs to be alerted as soon as possible. Hiring a property management company would mean that someone else will take that call in the middle of the night and properly handle any emergencies.
The property looks good
When you’re not living there, it’s sometimes tough to keep up with the maintenance required for an investment property. And it’s not very difficult to look at an apartment community and see when it’s not being maintained.
Landscaping becomes overgrown. Exterior lights often aren’t working. Maybe the siding could use a paint job. Good property management means taking quality care of the property’s physical attributes, too, and even a quick look at a place can provide signs that an apartment is being managed well.
Vacancy is low
A primary profit-killer for real estate investors is vacancy. Every month a unit is unoccupied is a month’s rent that’s not in your pocket. Multiple units that are vacant at the same time can put a huge dent in a property’s income.
Apartment vacancy in San Jose has been low since the local job market is strong and there is a shortage of housing, however it has crept up recently. Effective property management in San Jose certainly needs to include effective marketing of rental properties, good tenant screening and a low vacancy rate.
Anyone managing rental units is well-served when there’s clear communication between them and the property’s tenants. Good two-way communication makes for better relationships between management and residents, and better relationships lead to fewer problems.
When a property management company is working for you, there’s another layer of communication involved. They’re doing the direct communication with tenants for you, but they also must communicate clearly the information that you need when you need it. Clear, consistent updates are a sign the property is being well-managed.
Rent is on time
The average rent for an apartment in Santa Clara County was about $2,800 in October of 2020, which means the owner of a 10-unit building could be collecting $28,000 per month of rental income.
If just a couple of those units pay late, it can make things dicey for the owner – especially if there’s a mortgage payment. Santa Clara property management, which usually costs between 5-8 percent of gross rents (depending on the type of rental), and involves collecting large sums of money on behalf of the owner. A sign of good property management is when these are consistently collected and the property owner gets a good return after all the costs are deducted.
Valley Management Group has been providing trustworthy and affordable property management in San Jose, CA for 40 years and has many superb online ratings from both owners and tenants. If you own rental property in San Jose or anywhere in Santa Clara County call them for a free property management quote and one free month of management services when you sign up.
Reviewed and Approved by Lloyd Kipp
Property Manager and Owner of Valley Management Group