If we had never embraced change, we would never have learned to speak or walk. It’s human nature to resist change, because change requires effort, and effort is wildly unpopular, but we do make the effort required in certain areas of our lives from a young age. That’s because embracing change is necessary in order to operate at a level we’re not accustomed to.
I’ve found that many long-time rental property owners hold onto management of their property not because they prefer the control or because they think they can do the work more efficiently than a management company, but simply because they’re used to things being a certain way, and they’re averse to the idea of change. I promise this isn’t just the assumption of a manager who can’t convince an owner to let go. I’ve actually been told on multiple occasions by apologetic owners that even though they don’t like the process or result of managing on their own, the idea of change worries them too much. So my challenge to self-managing owners of rental property is this: learn to accept change so that professional property managers can elevate your ownership experience to new heights. On the flipside, my challenge to property managers is to make sure your prospective clients know that you’re committed to making change as painless as possible for them. In this article, I’ll get into a few specific reasons why change is good for owners, and a few ways managers can make it easier for them.
Property management is an ever-changing industry, the direction of which often depends on cutting-edge systems and technology. In the last decade alone, property management programs have re-organized and improved the way most professionals oversee properties. A company of pros can offer owners easy access to all their property’s data, along with easy-to-read financial reports.
Complex rent control laws—federal, state, and local—that surround ownership and leasing are also in constant flux, and they require careful compliance to avoid potentially devastating lawsuits. So in many ways, making the one simple change from self-managing to entrusting your property to a professional can save you the trouble of having to continually change the way you do things in order to keep up with the latest advances and amendments.
One major reason that many owners fear change is that they’ve tried hiring management before and have found the transition more trouble than it was worth. This is valid—if you settle for a manager who doesn’t prioritize your peace of mind, you might end up in a mess of a transition that defeats the purpose of having hired them in the first place. If you’re a manager, this is one of the many reasons to focus heavily on making the transition easy for your new client. If you’re an owner, I would encourage you to specifically seek out a company that puts a premium on smooth transitions, and has a game plan they can outline for you before you sign. Ask if they have a dedicated onboarding specialist on their staff.
If you’re a manager, another way you can alleviate the difficulty of change for your clients is by adapting your service to each client’s unique needs, rather than making them adapt to you. If they need somebody to look over their owner’s statement with them each month, you should provide that service.
Notable change enthusiast David Bowie remained at the forefront of his art form for five decades, and he advised us to “turn and face the strange.” If you own rental property, I recommend you do the same: confront the discomfort that might come with making a change, in order to put yourself in a better position. Improve your ownership experience—not just your bottom line, but your overall sense of wellness—by embracing change. Entrust a property manager who keeps you up to date and with the times.
David Crown is the C.E.O. of Los Angeles Property Management Group, and has over thirty years of experience managing all types of income properties. A hands-on leader who has managed properties in 16 states, Mr. Crown has been asked to serve as an expert witness in property management matters, and currently serves on the Forbes Real Estate Council. He can be reached directly at 323-433-5254.