Chicago is a prime location for real estate investors. The dynamic rental market attracts a wide variety of investors, and one of the prime concerns for those investors is ensuring efficient property management. When investors manage a property well, tenants are happy, vacancy rates are low, and investors get the return on their investment that makes being a property owner worthwhile.
Property management is a multifaceted discipline that requires a number of skills. However, we’ve seen that addressing these five issues are critical.
1. Routine Maintenance
Completing routine maintenance is a requirement to attract and retain tenants. It also helps to control costs because you may be able to avoid problems or handle them when they are small.
- Preventive Maintenance: Preventive and ongoing maintenance includes keeping common areas clean, maintaining the landscape, servicing HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems and completing maintenance tasks on building components such as the roof.
- Repairs: Take care of repairs quickly to keep tenants happy and avoid higher repair costs later.
- Remodeling: Schedule regular remodeling to avoid having an entire structure that is obsolete.
2. Resident Communication
It’s important to establish a positive relationship with tenants. It helps maintain ROI for the investor and improves the quality of life for the tenant. While it’s important not to over communicate, we know that keeping tenants apprised of things that are happening in the building, and letting them know of any activities that may be disruptive, helps to cement relationships.
3. Clear Collections Policy
We’ve seen past due rents that cause big cash flow problems. You can avoid those problems with a clear collections policy that is consistently reinforced. For example:
- Establish a firm date when the rent is due
- If you establish a grace period, make sure that the tenants know that the rent is still considered late during that period, although no late fee will be applied
- Establish a late fee and include that information in your lease agreements
- Decide when you will start pre-eviction and/or eviction procedures if rent isn’t paid
4. Proactive Leasing
Avoiding vacancies is important because the cost of empty units is so expensive. We recommend that you start marketing units as soon as you receive notice of a vacancy to get a head start on finding a new tenant.
5. A Digital Platform
Establishing a digital property management platform has a number of advantages. Tenants can communicate easily and provide feedback on repairs and other issues. In addition, tenants enjoy the flexibility of paying rent online. Our experience with true digital conversions has shown other advantages to you, including automating repair requests, and much more.
We’ve seen the results of a well-managed property, and these five issues are critical to success. If you’d like assistance in Chicago apartment building management, feel free to call us at 773.904.1384, or send an email.