Those of us lucky to own commercial property often undervalue the benefits a dedicated property manager can provide. While some see them as an unnecessary cost, I believe it is crucial to weigh up what they bring to the table, over say, going it alone.
Don’t believe me? Well, here are 8 important things to remember when managing commercial property, and why paying someone else to do it might just be the best option.
1. Keeping tabs on service charges
Who pays for the water, electric and any miscellaneous services in the property? You don't have to be paying more than you have to, so make it clear to the tenant and property manager what you’ll happily pay towards, and where the clear line is.
2. Reviewing tenants
The screening process and checking referrals is tedious work that has to be done unless you have someone else to do it. You will save hours and hours of your time having a manager cross the t’s and dot the I’s in your absence, to ensure prospective tenants are all above board.
3. Credit control
What kind of commercial landlord would you like to be seen as? One your tenants get on well with, or the big bad wolf pounding on the door the second rent is overdue? An overlooked aspect of hiring property managers is the fact that rent control is dependent on them.
You are paying them to ensure everyone else pays on time, as their fee is tied in with rent. It takes all the pressure off you as credit control is how they’ll get paid.
4. Contracted services & Repairs
This is a major bug bearer for both tenants and landlords, especially when it comes to things like elevators and alarm systems. Contracted services tend to be the kind of things that need fixing immediately but require specialists who can’t be there instantly.
Ask your property manager if they have specific companies at hand who they know work wonders with contracted services and do so at a moment’s notice.
Having inspections carried out, especially if your tenant has a retail unit, can be tricky to get booked in. Don’t let it be a nuisance and let the manager take care of everything. A reliable commercial manager won’t just help arrange inspections but should have useful contacts who they rely on to carry out these services.
6. Contract renewals
If every deal could be made on a handshake, life would be easy. Sadly, having everything written down in paper takes longer but is the only way of ensuring you and your tenants stick to each other’s side of the deal. A proper manager will be ahead of the game in terms of renewals and shouldn’t see such accidents as lapsed contracts or tenants magically outstaying their welcome.
7. Keeping documents at hand
Misplacing your keys before leaving the house is a lousy way to start the day. Misplacing any form you and your tenants have ever signed, is going to cause more than a few headaches. Avoid them by having a commercial factor take responsibility in looking after key documents. And even if something is misplaced (a contact for example), it is their responsibility to make things right again.
8. Avoiding deposit disaster
To landlords, a deposit is there to help cover costs after a tenant leaves if things aren’t kept to a high standard. To many tenants, a deposit is there as security they could rent the property in the first place. Pretty much everyone will have experienced arguments (on either side) of getting deposits back or arguing over who owes what. A property manager is a saving grace, being able to act as the intermediary and get both parties to a reasonable position when a tenant is moving on. Just remember that the deposit is never yours to keep but is your safety net if the tenant has not acted responsibly.
Feeling overwhelmed by the level of responsibility?
Then you’ll be happy to know that it is incredibly easy to find commercial factors who can do all the hard work for you. I recommend doing research online for commercial property managers in your area. If it is the case that you will be renting out a commercial property in the same building or area as other properties, ask your neighbouring owners if they use a commercial factor and if they would recommend using them.
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