Communication You Can Expect from a Baltimore Property Manager - Article Banner

Communicating with your tenants can feel challenging when you own rental property. It’s one of the best reasons to hire a Baltimore property manager. We prioritize communication and make sure we are responsive, available, and accessible to owners, tenants, vendors, and all of the community partners we work with to ensure you have a successful investment experience. 

It’s also essential to communicate well with you, our owners and investors who rely on us to provide unparalleled support and management for your investments. 

With exceptional communication, everyone is more likely to have a pleasant and successful rental experience. Bad communication or a total lack of communication will only lead to misunderstandings, tenant disputes, and costly mistakes. 

Here are some of the things you should expect when it comes to communication and your Baltimore property management partner.  

Setting Communication Expectations Early in the Relationship 

When you work with a property manager, you should both be on the same page when it comes to how frequently you will communicate and in what ways. We know that some owners want to hear from us every month or so, just to check in and make sure all is well with their properties. Other investors we work with don’t want to hear from us at all, unless there’s a problem or a big decision to be made.

A good management company will structure their communication to meet your needs, but they’ll also establish boundaries in order to protect you and your investment. Your property manager likely won’t want you to communicate directly with the tenant, for example. This can only lead to misunderstandings. If, as an owner, you tell your tenant something that is contrary to what’s in the lease agreement, there will be a lot of untangling to do. 

You’ll also need to remember that your property manager is busy taking the steps to keep your property protected and profitable. Calling every day for an update can be a burden. If you’re a first-time investor, it’s understandable that you may be nervous and need some ongoing information. However, with the right technological tools, you’re likely to have access to everything you need. Give your property managers the space they need to do their jobs well.

Talk about what you need in terms of communication before you hire a Baltimore property manager. It’s the best way to establish whether you’re a good fit for each other. 

Communication When Your Baltimore Property is Vacant

It’s especially important that you’re communicating well with your property manager when your rental property is on the market and not yet occupied. When an investment property is vacant, you’re not making any money with it. That can be stressful, and you’ll need to know your management company is doing everything possible to market the home, find suitable tenants, and complete the leasing process. You should expect your property management partner to communicate about:

  • Any maintenance or updates the property needs before it’s ready for the market. 
  • The proper rental value and how that was established.
  • What types of marketing photos are being taken.
  • Where the property will be advertised. 
  • How quickly they expect to generate interest.

Once the listing is out in the world, you should receive regular updates about how many people are inquiring, how many people are scheduling showings, and what kind of response they’re receiving after the property has been shown. This data is important because it will allow you and your property manager to make some changes if necessary to cast a wider net or to set some standards before the tenant screening begins. 

Prompt Responses to Tenant Concerns and Maintenance 

You want to know that your property manager is responsive and accessible when you need to speak with them. You also want to know that they’ll respond immediately to tenants. 

This is especially important when it comes to maintenance. Deferred repairs will only cost you more money and they’ll also contribute to higher tenant turnover, which leads to vacancy and turnover costs. You should expect a sense of urgency when it comes to reported repairs that are needed, especially emergencies and those that impact habitability and building safety.

Talk to your property manager about the maintenance process. You’ll especially need to know how you are contacted when something is wrong. Will you be informed every time there’s a minor issue, such as a garbage disposal reset? Will you need to give approval for a repair that costs more than a certain amount? 

Every property management company approaches these things differently. We know that some owners want to approve every maintenance expense. Most investors have a standing approval in place for their management team to authorize repairs up to $500 or $700. This is something you’ll want to communicate about with your property managers ahead of time. Otherwise, you may be surprised to see a repair charge on your monthly statement. 

Understand that some repairs will need to be made right away, and the work will have to move forward even if you are unavailable to provide authorization. A fire at the property, for example, cannot wait to be contained. A flood will cause habitability issues and only lead to further damage if it’s left untreated. 

A good Baltimore property manager will prepare you for all of these potential scenarios. As long as you understand how maintenance will be handled and what the process is for you and your tenants, you should feel comfortable that your property manager is handling things. Sometimes, over-communication is necessary during large repairs just to keep everyone informed and on the same page.

Transparent Communication and Baltimore Property Management

Everyone prefers different methods of communication. Maybe you prefer phone calls or emails. Perhaps text messages work better. Expect your property manager to communicate in a way that works for you. Talk about what you’ll need. Some people really hate the telephone. If you’re an out-of-state investor, electronic communication may be better to avoid time zone differences and unreliable cell networks. 

Some owners and investors may prefer in-person communication. If that’s you, and meetings are particularly important, talk to your property manager about their ability to meet this need. It’s important that you know how and when you’ll hear from property managers. 

Most importantly, make sure that communication is transparent. With all of the technology available to Baltimore property managers, you should have all the information you need accessible to you at all times. Most management companies invest in software that provides an online portal, which facilitates transparency and accountability.  

The online portal can be critical when it comes to effective and transparent communication. 

One of the advantages to working with a Baltimore property management company is that they’ve likely invested heavily in innovative technology. This tech provides access to industry-specific software that makes communication efficient and easy. 

With online portals, tenants can pay rent online, make maintenance requests, sign leases and other documents, and send messages to their property manager. Most renters are comfortable with online rental payments, and they’ll appreciate the ease and convenience of paying rent and staying up to date on their accounts this way. They’ll likely prefer to communicate through their portal as well. Making maintenance requests easily and electronically is also a benefit. 

For owners, the online portal provides real-time information that can be critical to the decisions you make about your investments.  You’ll be able to track your income and your expenses. You’ll see a monthly accounting for all of your properties, allowing you to evaluate the performance of your portfolio as a whole and of each individual unit and property. 

You’ll also have the benefit of instant communication when it comes to seeing maintenance invoices and payments. This will help you track what it costs you to maintain each property on an annual basis. You’ll have good and well-documented information about when you’ll need to make repairs and replacements.

Always Update Your Contact Information

Your property managers will need to know how to reach you if there’s an emergency or a question that needs your immediate input. Usually, larger maintenance expenses will need to be approved by you before any work begins. For this reason, your management company needs to know how to get in touch with you.

Keep your contact information current. Your property manager should have your phone number and email address as well as your best mailing address. When things change, make sure you alert your property managers. You don’t want them sending important information to an old email address or calling the wrong number when something needs your approval.

Communication is one of the most important qualities to look for when you’re hiring a Baltimore property management company. Don’t settle for communication that doesn’t meet your standards. 

communicationWe’d be happy to tell you more about our plans for transparency and how we communicate with owners and tenants. Please contact us at Stripe Management. We work with owners, investors, and properties in Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County, Washington, D.C., Capitol Heights, District Heights, Baltimore, and anywhere in the DC metro area.