Tips for Communicating with The New Generation of Tenants

Communication skills have been the most important assets of property managers; however, communicating

effectively with the present generation of renters can become a daunting task. Firstly, there is a major shift to

online communication, which could require quite a bit of adjusting in using the right words, and knowing the

right nuances. Most tenants now use mobile devices, and they research online to find a suitable unit.

Therefore, having an online presence, and communicating effectively over emails, social media, and so on is

becoming increasingly important. Here are few effective tips that might help you develop the communication

skills needed in the present scenario.

Almost all Communications take Place on Social Media Platforms

Social media has gained tremendous popularity and almost all people use some social media platform or other

to communicate and interact. Therefore, property management will have to be not only active on social media

platforms but also engage with their audiences. For instance, creating a Facebook page with some marvelous

photos is only the first step.

You also have to engage with people who have visited your page. Therefore, monitoring your site and social

media pages becomes very important. You must be aware of the questions being asked and respond to them in a

timely manner. Secondly, property management should also know how to respond to negative comments. The

dispute should be dealt with calmly and professionally, without getting into a slinging match.

Focus on Making Outstanding Videos

A millennial crowd and a younger generation love watching short videos. Posting engaging videos on YouTube

could earn property management a marvelous following, but make sure to engage with the viewers on the site

and not neglect their postings.

Asking Prospects What they are Looking for in a Property

Some years ago, this would not have been the right strategy, but now it is important to know what prospective

tenants want. Engage in social media with different audiences to know:

 Whether they are seeking more amenities like a gym, tanning room, spa, pool, and so on

 It can even be a simple concept like a dish washer inside the unit or more conveniences when it comes to

owning a pet

Property management is likely to receive many suggestions with this strategy, and it is not necessary to consider

every one of them. With this type of survey, you can obtain a general idea about what most renters are seeking

in their units.  

Keep Up with Emerging Trends

According to latest studies, more than 25% people use apps or mobile sites to search for suitable apartments.

This trend is only going to increase, since people are depending more and more on their mobile devices and

smart phones. Therefore, do not forget to include tweets and text messages in your marketing strategy.

Additionally, make sure the property site is designed to be viewed across multiple types of mobile devices.

Try Different Approaches to Stay in Touch

Staying in touch with residents is even more important once they have signed the lease. Property management

newsletters can work fine; however, a personal email is usually more effective in soliciting a response.

Recruiting New Staff in Property Management

Recruiting a new employee to join the property management team can be challenging task, especially when you have to focus on defining policies and roles, and assimilating the new member into the corporate structure. However, when proper measures are adopted for taking the new person on board, property management can cut out some of the training costs and reduce the possibility of friction and stress with existing staff.

Secondly, providing the new member with the right resources and tools will not only build morale but also lessen the employee turnover rate. Here are some important points that can help in making the recruiting process smooth and effective.

Detailed Job Description

To avoid future disappointments, it is important to provide a detailed job description to candidates even before the interview. Orientation programs and training sessions may help, but the candidate should be ready to fit into the position. Detailed guidelines could include comprehensive strategies, possible career paths, and earning potential.

Honest and Open Representation of the Company

Misrepresenting company culture, company policies, and required duties is a big mistake. The new employee will not only be frustrated when he or she finds out the truth, but will also become disillusioned about company expectations and policies after a few weeks on the job.

Detailed Instructions

The new employee should be given detailed instructions about practically everything from company policies, management structure, dress code, to the place where he can and cannot park his or her vehicle. This can help the employee avoid embarrassing mistakes and he or she can have a clear-cut outline on what is expected.

Proper Introduction

Key staff members and supervisors must be given adequate information about the new employee, which may include a job description and resume. Arrange a semi-formal meeting, where existing staff members can discuss the overlapping of roles and allocation of specific duties for the new employee. It is always magnificent to have the new employee partner with an existing employee or supervisor, who can be a mentor. The mentoring role could include clearing doubts of the new employee, and helping him or her adjust to the work environment and company culture.

Follow-up Meetings

It is important to know how the new employee is doing and whether he or she is able to cope with the workload and existing company culture. Scheduling personal meetings once a week, in the beginning would be a prudent idea, and later it could be done monthly or bi-monthly. However, always have an open-door policy for encouraging comments and feedback from the new employee.

Pro-active Approach of Management

Property management should have a pro-active approach concerning new employees. Concerned manager or supervisor should be quick to reward the new employee when he has performed well, or when he has taken extra initiative. Management should also be vigilant about negative behavior and should make the employee aware of the consequences of continuing along such lines. Performance reviews should be held on a regular basis since this will not only bolster confidence, but also will provide a clear picture to the employee of what is expected of her or him.

Dealing Confidently with Tenants

Dealing confidently with tenants is critical to effective property management. Surprisingly tenant phobia is common amongst property managers, and they tend to either ignore tenants or allow tenants to set the rules. Both situations are disastrous, and they can lead to much more complications and legal troubles. Hence, property managers should learn to deal with tenants confidently and professionally, without being scared or rude.

It is Easier than You Think

The main aspect that shakes the confidence of a property manager is the objections raised by tenants and the right response that is required in that situation. However, you will find that there are only certain numbers of objections tenants can raise, and in time, you will know that these same complaints are made repeatedly. Based on this information, all you need to do is patiently hear these complaints, and with experience, you will learn to provide the expected response for the situation.

Improving Your Negotiating Skills

Sharpening your negotiating skills can help a lot in dealing with tenants confidently. The best way you can learn to be an adept negotiator is by learning from your mistakes. So you should keep notes about why negotiations took so long, or why they failed completely.

Next time you find yourself in a similar situation, you will be much better prepared. Additionally, keep notes of what worked as well. However, never show discomfort while communicating face to face with tenants. Once they realize you are out of your comfort zone, the will try to take to advantage of you. 

You may want to have a witness or someone else with you that you work with and also to record the conversation just in case there is any fallacious tenant accusations.

What You should never Say to Your Tenants

You should never say to a tenant that you do not have time or you are too busy to listen to what they have to say. Tenants will immediately form an opinion about you that you are rude or that you cut corners.

In such a situation, tenants will start responding accordingly, and you will find that they have started to pay their rents late or they are not following the terms of the lease agreement. It is a natural tit for tat response on the part of tenants, when they feel you are ignoring them or not giving a fair hearing to their complaints or requests.

However, there will be times, when you really may not have the time. In such a situation, you only have to phrase your words appropriately. Instead of being dismissive by saying you do not have room in your schedule for that day, put it more positively by saying you are going to attend to their request shortly.

How to Respond When You do not Deliver

In property management there will be many instances when you are unable to keep to deadlines or finish the repairs by the promised date. Even in such situations, you can still maintain your confidence and professional attitude. Respond by giving another date of expected completion, and you do not have to provide a list of reasons or excuses why the job could not be completed on time. The main reasons for the delay can be mentioned briefly, however, avoid entering into an argument with the tenant.  

Explain to Tenants the Effort Required in Delivering a Clean Unit to Them

It is the legal duty of the property owner or property management to deliver a clean unit when a new tenant moves in. Similarly, tenants are also required to keep the unit reasonably clean when they are moving out. However, this rarely happens, and property managers have to hire cleaning contractor, to make sure the unit is tidy and clean for presenting to new tenants.

For property managers who are making all these efforts and incurring these costs, why not let the new tenants know the amount you have invested in preparing the unit for them. Better still, rather than explaining what has been done, you could provide invoices of the cleaning service. Apart from providing the invoice copies, the cleaning service can also be referenced in the inspection report.

Obtain a Detailed Invoice

However, a simple invoice from the cleaning contractor will not do, since the tenant is not going to know what exactly was done to the unit. So it would be much better to turn over an invoice that mentions in detail all the areas that were worked on, and the different types of surfaces that were cleaned. When you present copy of such an invoice, then the tenant will also have the opportunity to check out all that was done to clean the unit. This is why it is prudent to reference this invoice copy in the inspection checklist and report.

Here is a general list of items that should be included in the invoice:

  • §Cleaning of all bathrooms
  • §Cleaning of all windows, outside and inside, with window frames
  • §Cleaning of all kitchen surfaces, pantry, drawers, cabinets
  • §Cleaning of dishwasher
  • §Cleaning of oven
  • §Cleaning of curtains and venetian blinds
  • §Cleaning of light fixtures, power points, and switches
  • §Carpet cleaning
  • §Vacuuming and mopping of all hard floors

Additionally, these items can be checked by tenants and you could have them sign off on the property inspection report, confirming all this work was completed.

In the Event of Discrepancies

If tenants find any discrepancies or if the cleaning in a particular area is not up to their standard, the invoice will prove that you had it commercially cleaned and are in accordance with the cleaning schedule.

However, it is marvelous and astute practice to entertain objections of the new tenants about the standard of cleanliness, even though the unit has been cleaned by a professional service. Thank them for their feedback, and ask them to list specifically the cleaning that was sub-standard, and if their complaint is genuine then you should remedy those items. 

Why do all this?

Tenants usually have no idea about the cost that goes into cleaning a unit and making it ready for them. When you show them how much you have invested in pre-tenancy cleaning, it will clearly demonstrate that you care for your tenants and about the property. Tenants will start to respect your commitment and they may respond by keeping the unit in stellar condition as well. 

Tips for Reducing Tenant Dissatisfaction and Move Outs

Surprisingly, the industry standard for resident turnover is more than 50%, which is a lot. The main cause for this quick move out rate is a conflict between tenant and property management or property owner. These conflicts mainly arise because of the gap between expectations of the tenant and the services available, and state of the property.

A mismatch of expectations could be for anything, ranging from the level of cleanliness or the repairs necessary for the unit. For this reason, the ideal solution would be keeping everybody on the same page. Here are a few tips that could help reduce conflicts and quick tenant move outs.

Use Checklists

Checklists are indispensable for a property manager, especially during the move in move out process. Various ready-made checklists forms are available for mobile devices, or property management can design customized ones that suit specific needs.

The supervisor or property manager must walk the tenant through the unit to make sure all expectations are met. Discuss issues that will be billed to the resident in the final statement. It is best to have a frank dialogue with the tenant about the way certain issues will be resolved, and do not keep any secrets during move in and move outs. This is not the time for double talk or ambiguity.  

Discuss the Move out Process First

It is a remarkable practice for property management to discuss the move out process, during the time the tenant is moving in. Staff should reveal the prorate policy to the tenant, and the amount he is expected to pay for carpet cleaning, painting, and so on. The tenant should also be informed that these are the existing rates and they are likely to change, depending on the tenant's length of stay on the property. This bit of information is often overlooked, and is the cause of many abrupt conflicts.

Transparency is Vital for Building a Fantastic Reputation

Most tenants want to write a bad online review about the property when they are moving out, as this is the time that they are most likely to be upset. This is mainly because they have experienced situations and costs that they did not expect. Therefore, being transparent about everything that matters is pivotal if you are planning to build a sterling reputation.

Secondly, it is best to ask for the feedback from the resident whenever a task is completed such as move-ins, maintenance tasks, rent payments, and most importantly during move-outs, which will give property management an opportunity to smooth out any ruffled feathers. Encouraging feedback from tenants throughout their stay is essential. This is not only to build a respectable reputation, but also more importantly to know what the tenant feels about different issues and possibly correcting so this scenario does not repeat itself.  

Document Everything with Photos or Video

Conflicts mainly arise when there is no evidence to support claims about damages made by property management. Photos or video provide irrefutable proof, and there can be no arguments once the damage or expected repair is reported and shown this way. Now there are apps available that enable you to take photos and generate a report rather easily.

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