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September 14, 2023

How to Improve Communications in Your Rental Property Management Strategy

Finding success in real estate investing demands careful attention to dynamics like fluctuations in the housing market, broad economic trends, timing, financial leverage, and even your pricing and marketing strategies. But one commonly overlooked factor for success in real estate investing is communication.

With better communication strategies, you can see much better results in rental property investing. Why is this the case and what strategic changes should you make?

The Role of Communication

When you invest in real estate, you can follow many different strategies. Some people are interested in generating as much passive income as possible, so they prioritize properties with a high cash on cash return. Others are more interested in long-term growth, so they seek out properties in underdeveloped neighborhoods that are likely to grow. You can choose to invest in commercial or residential real estate, and invest in almost any major city.

In all of these scenarios, communication can improve your results.

·       Better rapport. Better communication leads to better rapport with all the people you deal with on a regular basis. With smoother, more professional relationships, even the smallest tasks and responsibilities become much easier.

·       Faster issue resolution. Even the best real estate investors sometimes run into conflicts and standing issues, such as a tenant not paying rent or a philosophical difference with your property managers. With smoother, more efficient communication, these issues will be resolved faster.

·       Brainstorming and support. You can't do everything yourself. Great real estate investors lean on other people for support, advice, and collaboration; excellent communication can lead to better results in all these areas and more.

·       Overall time savings. Even better, improved communication can result in overall time savings. You'll spend less time drafting messages, less time on meaningless back and forth conversations, and less time dealing with the fallout of communication errors.

Relationships and Dynamics

Some aspects of property management require no communication whatsoever, but you'll likely be in contact with many different people, at many different levels as you pursue real estate investing. Each of these types of people requires a slightly different set of considerations.

·       Co-investors. Practically anyone can become a real estate investor, which means that everyone you know is a potential co-investor. Of course, that doesn't mean that everyone you know is going to be a good co-investor. Communicating with other investors is critical for ensuring alignment, dividing responsibilities, and mitigating potential issues.

·       Agents. You also need good communication rapport with your agents, especially if you plan on adding more properties to your portfolio in the future. You need to be able to bounce off ideas and get meaningful real-time feedback to make better decisions for your portfolio.

·       Property managers. If you hire property managers, or contractors responsible for certain aspects of property upkeep, you need to keep them on task and in alignment with your property management strategy. Fortunately, property managers will handle most of your tenant communication for you, reducing your total communication responsibilities.

·       Tenants. If you don't have a property manager, you'll also be in charge of communicating with tenants directly. In most cases, tenants will only reach out to you if there's a problem, so you need to be prepared for this potentially contentious dynamic.

How to Improve Communications in Your Rental Property Management Strategy

So what actionable steps can you take to improve communications in your rental property management strategy?

·       Choose a centralized management platform. First, you need to make sure you have the right technological solutions in place to enable better communication. Ideally, that comes in the form of a centralized management platform, where you can keep all data related to your rental properties, receive and send messages, and potentially even handle responsibilities like collecting rent. If all your communications solutions are in one place, there will be no ambiguity about where your records are kept and you'll be able to keep yourself more consistently accountable to responding to those communications.

·       Embrace multiple channels. Conference calls are great, especially if you work out the technical issues that might stand in your way, but they aren’t everything in the communication world. Sometimes, it's better to communicate via email, text message, chat, video calls, or a totally different platform. The correct solution for most property investors is, therefore, to embrace multiple channels. In other words, you should be prepared to switch between communication platforms as necessary to improve the clarity and convenience of your messages.

·       Be responsive. Responsiveness is highly valued in the rental property management world. When tenants experience genuine emergencies, they need to know that they can get ahold of you. When investors or managers have questions for you, they'll only remain productive if they get a quick answer. Accordingly, you should have protocols in place to ensure that you can respond to almost any message within 24 hours. If you can't provide a full response, you can at least explain that you're working on the problem and will respond in greater detail in the near future.

·       Actively listen. When having discussions, one of your most important tools is actively listening. That means listening intently to what the other person is saying and providing both verbal and contextual clues that you're truly absorbing what they're saying. Doing so can immediately reduce tension in a tough situation, demonstrate a willingness to work together, and give you insights that you can use to expedite an appropriate resolution.

·       Provide options and alternatives. If you're discussing different possible resolutions or options in the face of a complex situation, always try to provide options and alternatives. You may have a clear idea for what the best path forward is, but you're going to get more support and better information from others if you also include alternatives that are worth considering. Be sure to touch on the pros and cons of each alternative.

·       Focus on clarity and conciseness. As a general rule, you should also focus on optimizing the clarity and conciseness of all your outgoing messages, including your speech in verbal discussions. Clarity (News - Alert) is all about making sure your meaning comes across as intended. Conciseness is all about presenting that meaning in the shortest, most digestible format. Try to reduce things to lists and bullet points when applicable.

Better communication throughout your real estate investing in property management strategies is going to make your life easier and potentially improve your profitability, especially in the long run. You may not be a perfect communicator in the beginning, but you don’t need to be; what’s important is that you continue making improvements.

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