Capacity. It’s a word we don’t throw around too often. It’s something I believe most Americans don’t consider enough, and it’s a concept that, if not adhered to, will have a systemic negative effect on any company, organization, or individual.
When people comparing and contrasting management companies ask me “what sets Hignell Property Management apart from other companies?” My response is one word – Capacity.
Capacity is the ability or power to do, experience, or understand something. It’s also defined as the maximum amount that something can contain. We all know that there’s only so much we can do. Our proverbial plates can only hold so much. When we commit ourselves beyond our capacity, bad things happen. Responsibilities get missed, balls get dropped, and people get let down.
In our culture of hyper-busy, overcommitted, multitasking individuals it’s easy to see how management companies can bite off more than they can chew. For most management companies their eyes are bigger than their stomachs. They look at new accounts (like yours) and instead of prudently asking if they can handle the added responsibilities, they optimistically respond with the famous last words – “how hard can it be?”
So, how does this affect you as a property owner looking for management? How can you tell if a company is over extended, and how do you make the best decision when looking for property management?
Quick Response Time
You didn’t purchase investment property for fun. Your purpose is to make money. Residents need quick responses and many times they’re working on a limited time frame. If your management company does not have the capacity to respond quickly on a consistent basis, someone else will.
This effect will be exponentially multiplied when dealing with rare properties such as rural or luxury units. The market for people who earn enough income to afford these properties is small, meaning any missed opportunity could cost you significant time and money each day your unit is vacant. At the end of the year this could demolish all your income forecasts.
A couple owned a custom high-end cabin 14 miles outside of town. When they contacted Hignell Property Management, the property had been sitting vacant for four months during the Summer with only one tour to potential new residents. Hignell was hired to take over management. After taking professional photos and doing some marketing, within a few days the owners had four different interested parties ready to tour. They were shocked! It was the same property, same rent.
I have no idea why there was such a dichotomy between management companies, but maybe it was from failure to take the time to drive 14 miles into the hills to show a property during a busy Summer rental season. My guess it was also a lack of capacity to properly attend to the property. It cost the owners thousands of dollars in missed rent.
Optimal Customer Service
Have you ever had too much on your plate? Maybe you were moving, planning a wedding, or organizing a remodel on your house. We have all been overcommitted and overwhelmed from time to time, and intuitively we understand that as we get stretched thin so does our patience.
It takes some serious emotional self-control to juggle a massive to-do list while being sensitive and attentive to the people who are around us. Stressed out people aren’t typically nice, and this holds true for your management company. You want your company to have the emotional margin to handle your upset resident, or calmly talk them through a maintenance emergency.
If your management company is running slightly beyond its maximum capacity, you shouldn’t be surprised when you and your residents get less than five star treatment.
If you’re a human being who has a working relationship with another human being, then you are well aware of the component that makes that relationship work – Communication. Ah, yes, good ol’ communication. It’s such a simple thing, but many underestimate the amount of time and energy needed to do it well.
Communication will be a marked difference between an average management company and a great management company. Some owners don’t want to be called unless the house is on fire. More generally though, property owners want a decent amount of communication regarding what’s happening with their property.
This is true especially during times of vacancies. Owner’s wonder, “are you marketing the property yet? Is the turnover work done? Should we raise rents?” Etc, etc. It doesn’t take much – just a quick phone call or email – to answer a multitude of questions.
As a property owner, you just want to know your management company has your property on its radar. You would be surprised how much of a challenge this is when your management company is drowning in to-do lists.
A key indicator of a management company running at max capacity is dead air between you and your manager. If it takes your management company a week to return your call or email, it may be time to start looking elsewhere. Odds are your management company is maxed out, and a lack of communication is just the tip of the iceberg.
Thanks to the internet, the rental market is moving at light speed. If you’re too busy to respond quickly, your property (and profits) will be left in the dust. Don’t lose out on great opportunities.
Contact Hignell Property Management to learn more about our residential property management service today.