TOP 10 Things To Do To Improve Your Multi-Family Investment ROI (Through Your Relationship With Your Property Manager)

There always seems to be so much you can do to improve your your property. This can be costly and you generally will improve you investment return but not always and not always quickly. However there are steps you can take that are not costly that can ultimately improve your Return on Investment (ROI).

Here are my current TOP 10.

1. Walk the Walk.  To make sure you have a clear understanding of what is happening with your real estate investment, take the time to review your monthly statements.  Review your income and expenses statements provided by management and make sure that you have a good understanding of what is happening with your money.

2. Monitor Performance. If you live in the same region as your investment, perform a “silent shop” of the property.  Swing by the property unannounced and ask questions or get someone that no one knows to drop by, but make sure you let them know what to look for. You can actually hire professional silent shoppers to do this task.

3. Review the Property. Talk to the resident manager and review the condition of the common areas such as hallways, stairwells, garages, laundry rooms, garbage areas and review landscaping. How do you feel when you see the common areas of the property?  What is perspective from the exterior?  Is this the kind of place you would rent?

4.  Set Clear Expectations.  Be clear about your expectations about how the investment will be managed with the property management group from the start of the relationship.  Take the time to maintain an active dialogue of any issues as they arise.

5.  Get Involved with the Board. The best way to know property performance is to get involved with the board or council of your unit.  For a small time commitment, you gain insight and regular updates regarding renovations, rental vacancies and market competitors.

6.  Connect with the Resident Manager.  The resident manager sets the tone of the building.  They are responsible for ensuring the rules and regulations of the property are adhered to.  By talking to the resident manager, you can determine their knowledge and overall care for the important role they hold.

7. Ask Questions.  As the relationship manager for negotiation and administration of contracts, ask questions about relationships they have with different vendors.  Security, waste management and emergency services, can significantly affect the level of tenant satisfaction.  Done well, vendors are responsible for level of service and standards for the building. Done poorly, they can impact all common areas and property performance.

Tenants notice the small details. If, for example, the waste management service leaves additional refuse in the collection area, the tenant’s opinion of the building may be compromised.  This in turn, may impact how the area is treated by other tenants.

8.  Review Tenant Retention Programs.  The property manager is not only responsible for finding great tenants … they are also responsible for ensuring they stay.  Review the tenant retention strategies for your building.  Whether it’s a regular building newsletter to share improvements in a common area or a card around the holiday season, small thoughtful gestures go a long way.

9. Learn from Mistakes.  How does the property management team learn from mistakes?  The right property management company not only informs you when there is a situation, but also communicates clearly until the issue is resolved.  Learning from mistakes and mitigating risks is a sign of great management company.

10.  Offer Thanks.  Recognizing and thanking your property management team is a great way to build your relationship.  Mutual respect and clear communication is the foundation of a relationship that will work for both parties.

Ultimately, the additional time you invest in your property can make a significant impact in your long term results.  Ask questions.  Be part of the Annual General Meeting.  Monitor the Performance.

In a competitive rental market, retaining tenants is the key to achieving great results from your suite.  Based on my experience, following these steps will ensure that your relationship you have with your property management group is a success.

By Andrew Schulhof
22 Feb 2012