Researching frequently promoted tips for rental housing owners brought up a plethora of topics related to the functioning and financial survival of properties.  Ultimately, I want to narrow in on three different factors that I feel make the biggest impact on a smoothly operated building.  Three business mannerisms which have been around forever but are now requiring methods of modern improvement are:

  • Documentation
  • Exceeding customer expectations and
  • Obtaining insurance coverage

Documentation

Documentation has been a funky transition from literally having everything handwritten to the invention of the telephone and now the endless possibilities of internet communication and email.  Everyone communicates on the phone and in a lot of ways, it is the most direct and efficient way of getting the job done.

However, how many times have things slipped through the cracks or been mis-communicated because the original message is lost in translation and memory?  I can’t hear our property managers reiterate enough to their resident managers the need to follow-up on the phone calls with an email summary.  It saves so many steps when controversy arises.

Exceeding Customer Expectations

Along with always having documented evidence, the old business tactic of under-promising and over-delivering will never cease to be relevant.  There always comes a time when business operators have wishful thinking and want to deliver sugar-coated hopes and dreams to their clients.  But this is where dreams and reality need to have a fine, realistic line carved right down the middle.

As the intelligent American author, Ernest Hemingway once said, (more profoundly) – “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, crap detector.”  This applies to a businessman as well.  In order for your property to function, you have to be straightforward with everyone involved in the functioning of the property.  That way, when it comes time that you do have the flexibility for extra efforts, building perks, rental incentives, etc., they’re that much more appreciated.  This isn’t encouraging putting out minimal effort for the greatest return, but altogether continuously exceeding customer expectations.

Building Insurance

One of the many ways to exceed customer expectations is by always being prepared.  Obtaining building insurance and requiring renter’s insurance not only helps when disaster strikes, but the reassurance of its benefit in situations of necessity facilitates the functioning of other day to day tasks at your property.

Making insurance a high priority and establishing solidified restrictions and requirements upon move-in will avoid any mishaps that may come up in a time of chaos.

Ultimately, there are many tips that should be utilized in order to maintain a well-run building.  The foundation of business practice objectives that owners should follow is made up of thorough documentation, providing exceptional customer service and ensuring that you are insured.  These are some of the many steps owners can take to make the most of their investment.

Lauren Ginder is with Pacific Crest Real Estate.  Reprinted with permission of the Rental Housing Journal of Arizona.

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