5 Common Property Manager Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

A businessman holds a small model house and makes calculations to avoid property manager mistakes

As a property manager, one mistake can damage your reputation and lead to significant losses. Below are common property manager mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Key takeaways:

  • Property management can be a tedious task prone to mistakes 
  • Common property management mistakes include poor organization, neglecting maintenance, failing to screen tenants, and offering subpar services
  • To avoid maintenance mistakes, only work with qualified, vetted vendors

A typical property manager’s role can range from screening potential tenants to drafting and renewing leases, ensuring timely rent payment, arranging for necessary repairs, and maintaining the property’s landscape.

Juggling the responsibilities of preserving the value of a property while generating income can be an exacting and exhausting task. As a result, one can easily make mistakes. Unfortunately, property management mistakes can be detrimental to your reputation and cause financial loss.

If you want to maintain your clientele (both tenants and landlords) and attract new leads, knowing and avoiding these mistakes is a no-brainer. Below, we will highlight five common mistakes and show you how to avoid them. Let’s dig in!

1. Poor organization

As we’ve already mentioned, the typical property manager’s day-to-day assignments can be overwhelming. If you don’t organize your workflow and create an administrative structure around your work, you’ll be at your wits’ end soon. 

Start by automating repetitive tasks, especially:

  • Bookkeeping and accounting
  • Tenant communications
  • Rent payments
  • Tracking of repairs and maintenance

As much as possible, try to reduce your paperwork. You can use digital tools like Google Workspace to organize and manage all of your files. Also, conduct periodic reviews of all your systems to ensure that they’re functioning properly. 

2. Neglecting maintenance and inspections

As a property manager, you need to conduct regular property checks to keep tabs on various projects and fix issues before they become worse. 

If you’re juggling an overwhelming amount of properties, you can easily hire professionals with expertise in what you need and a track record of getting the job done. 

When you receive a report of the condition of the property and complaints about maintenance issues, make sure that you are more proactive than reactive. If you don’t get repairs and maintenance done promptly, the issues could really spiral and make maintenance bills and problems much worse. 

When finding vendors, make sure you have a system in place to appropriately screen and vet them. Call a minimum of two references and check the site of a previous project the contractor worked on. 

If the best-suited contractor is more expensive, avoid the temptation of going for a cheaper one that will cost you thousands of dollars in the long term.

Also, make sure that you employ competent vendors to oversee tasks that are not within your skillset. VendorSmart connects community managers with qualified, vetted vendors that perform tasks in a plethora of service categories such as landscaping, pool maintenance, and pest control.

3. Failing to screen tenants

Allowing troublesome tenants to live in your properties can turn into a nightmare. Remember, you don’t have to accept the first tenant that comes your way (unless you believe they will be a great tenant because of their track record); take the extra bit of time to carefully vet every potential tenant. 

Put a solid screening procedure in place that involves checks of potential tenants’ rental history, criminal background, and credit history. This ensures tenants are suitable for the building and the neighborhood. 

Failing to check a tenant’s credit history, for instance, may consistently lead to a delay in rent payments. This can put you at risk of losing your owner.

Also, make sure you document all the information you get from the application process. In a situation where the tenancy fails and the landlord would want to hold you responsible, you’ll have evidence that you did the right thing.

4. Poor communication

Little or no communication between property managers, tenants, and owners can lead to confusion and loss of business in the long run. 

Unfortunately, some property managers prefer to keep a distance from tenants to avoid complaints. However, responding to phone calls and replying to emails in a timely manner means that you have enough operation information on the property and systems. As a result, you can detect problems and resolve them at a relatively cheaper cost.

Another big reason why property managers don’t communicate effectively with their clients is that they have not learned to plan their days properly. You should consider setting aside a specific time in your schedule to return calls and respond to emails. 

5. Subpar services

Starting from the time a vacant unit is prepared to when a tenant occupies it, rendering poor service can increase turnover and potential vacancies. A vacant unit means the landlord will not make any income and you are likely to lose money as well.

When a tenant complains about things in the unit, don’t ignore it. You don’t want to have a reputation as a poor customer service provider. 

Also, make sure you clean the vacant unit thoroughly before a tenant moves in. For example, get rid of rodents, cobwebs, and holes in the walls. A clean unit will attract a respectable tenant who will in turn see the need to maintain that same level of cleanness.

Furthermore, be sure to provide facilities and amenities that most tenants need. For example, most of today’s tenants rely greatly on the internet to get their tasks done and also for a means of entertainment. Providing your renters with internet access can greatly impact renewal rates.

VendorSmart can help

Making these common property management mistakes can give you a headache. It’s very frustrating and ineffective to randomly look for vendors when you need things fixed on a property. 

At VendorSmart, we offer a directory of thousands of reputable vendors who can help you with everything from landscaping to electrical work, fencing, roofing, and plumbing. You can download our vendor vetting guide to get started.

Our vendors are best-in-class because we vet their compliance documents and provide real-time risk monitoring. Contact us to learn how you can easily access top-performing and affordable vendors.