Property management relies heavily on the proper maintenance of records. Because of this, property managers need to be experts at administrative tasks. By creating a workflow that enables them to keep records meticulously, they build a valuable resource that they can use when they need to find or reference important information.
However, the more properties a manager has to deal with, the more convoluted the records can become. And while limiting complexity would be ideal, the only way a professional property manager can truly streamline the process is by embracing practices that can help them simplify how data is recorded, as well as referenced later on.
To find out about what kinds of approaches work, members ofForbes Real Estate Council, below, share their insights into some of the best systems that property managers can use to create order out of chaos. Here is what they advise:
1. Get An Expandable Software Package
In the event of a sale, your seller will need to produce records for the property. If these records are a hodgepodge of who knows what, you stand a chance of losing the deal. Buyers are very sensitive to a lot. Give them comfort by having organized and understandable reports. If you can incorporate photos of repairs performed and closed in, this will be helpful. The software will help a great deal. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties
2. Invest In Cloud-Based Storage
Invest in a cloud-based software system that will maintain records for text messages, phone calls and emails between you, the property owners and the tenants. Hire a bookkeeper to ensure you are properly reconciled each month and keep your escrow funds in a separate banking account. – Tanya Delahoz,Dwell Summit
3. Use Off-The-Shelf Software
We favor using off-the-shelf industry software. The primary reason is for compliance. A software package designed for real estate and real estate management will come with all the features and then some already built-in. Additionally, the software vendor will provide updates and patches to address any potential security/privacy issues as they arise. – Blake Plumley, Capital Pursuits LLC
4. Maintain Separate Files
Have a system in place that tracks rents collected, all executed lease documents and correspondence with your tenants. Maintain separate files either electronically (always ensure backup) or with a secure file cabinet. Keep records for at least four years on all tenants and landlords. Dropbox or Slack are both great systems that allow you to share with team members. – Nancy Wallace- Laabs, KBN Homes, LLC
5. Encrypt Tenants’ Information
Property managers handle personally identifiable information on tenants. Maintaining proper records is not only important but also your legal duty as a property manager. High-profile data breaches have been increasingly prevalent. Before adopting a new property management software or consulting with a real estate attorney, make sure you have a robust system that encrypts and stores tenant info. – Chuck Hattemer,Onerent
6. Ensure Proper Security Against Hackers
For medium to large properties, such as apartment or condo complexes, having a good network security system that is set up and managed by professionals is key. Technology is constantly changing, and having professionals that can keep your records updated and secure so that they meet all regulations is crucial. – Bill Lyons, Griffin Funding