04 Protect

Are You a Perfect Property Manager Yet?

  • Good systems essential to avoid costly mistakes
  • Good  management can grow your profits

Whether you have one or many buy-to-let or investment properties, do you find it a real headache to manage everything efficiently and effectively?

Are you always losing documents, missing deadlines or taking ages to find important information?

The probability is that your property management system, or lack of it, is not fit for purpose.

Here are 8 things you can do to make handling your properties or property business easy and cost effective:

1. Have a separate bank account for your rents and property spending
2. Sign up for online and telephone banking
3. Consider open banking
4. Use an accounting app
5. Create an office manual
6. Use a case management system
7. Hire an assistant
8. Carry out regular reviews

1. Have a separate bank account for your rents and property spending

Even if your property business consists of just one property, have a separate account to deal with all income and spending in relation to it.

Do not mix your personal income/expenditure with your property income/expenditure. 

As well as a current account, consider opening a deposit account to gain interest on any reserve income you are able to build up.

If you opt to use a credit card, ensure you use a separate card for your property transactions.

These steps will enable you to easily identify your property income and expenditure, assisting you to manage and budget your money more efficiently

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2. Sign up for online and telephone banking

For easier management of your bank account, sign up for online and telephone banking.

Download your bank’s app to your mobile to have quick and easy control of your account 24/7.

Sign up for any notification service offered by your bank. For instance, your bank may be able to notify you by text of your account balance on a particular day of the week, or when your account is about to go overdrawn.

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3. Consider open banking

“Open banking” allows you to share your financial data with service providers which develop apps to enable you to more efficiently and effectively view and manage your bank accounts.

One powerful result of this initiative is that you may be able see all your various accounts – current, credit cards, savings – in one place, on one app, conveniently giving you comprehensive financial information which you can use to best effect.

As a buy-to-let landlord, or indeed any business person, you can organise and synchronise your business and personal accounts in one place, making sure that they work together – for instance, to reduce the chance of you going overdrawn on one of your accounts and incurring bank charges or penalties.

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4. Use an accounting app

A must-have for every super-efficient property manager is a powerful accounting app. Providers of popular apps include QuickBooks, NetSuite, Sage One, Zoho Books and Xero.

Such apps come at a range of levels at various price points, and it makes sense to choose an entry level commensurate with the size and complexity of your property business.

If you simply have one or two regular BTL units, a basic app package should be enough for your needs. If your property business is relatively large or complex, or is expected to go that way, you should target packages with more features.

Even the most basic packages offer a wide range of benefits such as: tracking income and expenses, invoicing, automatic late payment chasing, VAT, snap and store receipts, reports generation and mobile compatibility.

Some apps offer a free trial period; take advantage of that to test drive a few apps to find the ones which best match your needs. This blog compares some of the leading apps.

Cost is quite often relatively modest. At the time of writing (July 2019), QuickBooks’ basic package costs £12 per month and its top package costs £27 per month. 

5. Write an operational manual

Another step to becoming a perfect property manager is to write an operational manual.

That may sound daunting and time-consuming, but it need not be. You simply need to write down in a logical, structured way, the procedures, practices and policies of your property business – the way you deal with things on a day to day basis.

Having a written manual will help you become super-efficient, consistent  and reliable in what you do. Most importantly, the manual can operate as a guide to others as to what to do when you are on holiday or just need help to manage things.    

If you want to be a “hands-off” property manager, an operational manual is fundamental to achieving that life-style choice.

It is a very helpful resource if you want to delegate certain jobs or duties to an employee or assistant, virtual or otherwise.

It can also help you to scale and grow your property business as you and your helpers become more efficient and effective on account of having clear rules and systems.

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6. Use a project management system

Using a project management app is another first rate way to take your property management skills to the next level.

If you choose an app specifically for landlords or property owners, you can systematically record your properties, tenants, mortgage payments, rents, rent days, tenant deposits and other important variables – such as when to obtain a gas safety certificate, renew building insurance or review rents. 

You can set up to-do-lists and notifications to remind you of important or critical dates or events.

If you work with others such as an assistant, business colleague or joint venture partner, you can have multiple users of the system and efficiently identify, explain, process and share information – achieving better understanding and performance as a result.

If on a regular basis you work closely with property professionals – such as conveyancers and mortgage brokers – you can allow them access to specific sections of your system, improving the flow of communication and the speed of service delivery.

There are many property managements apps you can try out including: Re-Leased, Zoho, Buildium, TenantCloud and Rentec Direct. 

You can find reviews of some apps here.

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7. Hire an assistant

Perhaps one of the best things you can do as the manager of your properties is to hire someone else to do the more repetitive and mundane tasks – assuming there is the money to do so.

Freeing up your time by engaging an assistant, part time at first, and probably virtual, will enable you to focus on more complex value-adding tasks, improving your chances of increasing your properties, projects and profit levels.

A virtual assistant based abroad in a low wage economy is considered a good starting point, although it may be a false economy if the assistant lacks basic understanding of UK land and property matters.   

8. Carry out regular reviews

No matter how perfect a property manager you become, you are not going to retain that status if you don’t constantly review and alter your systems to make them compliant with changes in the property world as they specifically affect you.

Reviewing is not just about assessing and adapting your systems, or better performance – it is also about keeping abreast of developments in property law, regulation and procedure – matters which can pose existential threats to your business.

By way of illustration, from the 1st June 2019, the government banned most letting fees charged to tenants. Property owners with good review system would have picked up this change months ago, and would have had ample time to work out how they were going to replace lost income or meet new expenditure as a result of the change.

It is good practice to carry out a review at least once a month.

Conclusion

The property landscape for investors and landlords seems to become more risk-heavy and challenging with every passing year. 

By taking steps to become a perfect manager of your properties or property business, you will give yourself a great chance of not just surviving but thriving.

Even if you only own just one property, if you are not a perfect property manager yet, it’s probably time you start out on that journey. 

Enjoyed this blog? Please share it with friends by clicking on the LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram icon on this page. 

How good are you at the property management game? Have you made any mistakes – big or small – you think other readers could learn from?  Please leave your observations or comments below.

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Dalton Barrett
Rebel Property Coach

Please follow me on Twitter @Dalton1London
You can find me on FacebookInstagram and on YouTube
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My website is: www.rebelpropertycoach.com

  


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