Updated and republished 6/3/2020.
Do you dread makereadies because they are inefficient—taking from your bottom line? Successful property management companies create a workflow using property management process automation for their staff to follow to minimize the time a property is in the makeready stage of the property management lifecycle.
While each property management company is going to have different needs, here are five elements we have found that help property managers successfully turn a property on a dime—and use the increased efficiency to your advantage.
1. Plan Ahead for Lease Expirations
You can start the process of turning a property before the current lease is expired.
- Start working on your lease expirations 60-90 days before the end of the lease.
- Add a 60-90 day move-out notice requirement in your rental contract to guarantee the tenant gives notice on time.
- Even if you do not require notice at that point, you can still send a letter to each tenant, reminding them to renew or give notice. Many will respond at that time.
Think about scheduling one of your property inspections nine months into the lease so you can get eyes on the situation before the move-out day. This preliminary inspection will help you (and your client) plan for any additional makeready expenses or contractors.
This extended time gives you plenty of time to work without a "pants on fire" mentality. You can save additional time by automating the notice and renewal process using a property management process automation solution.
The primary reason to work on move-out notices two or three months in advance is to make scheduling easier. Certain times of the year are more hectic for contractors than others. The sooner you get your property on their calendar, the more likely you will have their attention right away instead of waiting until their schedule clears.
- Schedule your primary vendors for bids immediately following the move-out date for your property.
- You should have an idea of which vendors you will need to engage based on your most recent property inspection.
- You can also find scheduling clues by looking at the amount of normal wear and tear caused by how long your tenant was at the property.
If you use an in-house team, be sure to set your property management process automation software to set reminders and tasks for your crew, so you can rest assured no balls are dropped when the time comes.
3. Pre-Market Your Properties
Good contractors should be able to bring your property back to pre-lease condition after most tenants. Unless you are planning an extensive remodel or changes, you can use your photo set from the property to start pre-marketing your vacancies. Be sure to note any expected changes from the makeready process to set expectations that the property will not be exactly as shown. Let potential tenants know an expected ready date for the property.
You can start gathering interested parties’ information and scheduling walkthroughs as inquiries come in. When current tenants move out, and you have a set repair schedule from your vendors, start your tenant marketing automations to let your database of interested tenants know it is time to schedule a showing.
Build your waiting list this way, and your properties will lease much faster than waiting for the make ready to be complete to start marketing.
4. Same-Day Walkthroughs
Don’t only schedule vendors in advance. Schedule your property assessment for the day of or the day after move-out so you can get eyes on the property. If you adequately prepare for your contractors, the bids should proceed quickly so you can get all of the work completed within a shorter time-frame.
- Build relationships with good contractors that can carry out the repairs you need quickly after meeting with you.
- Always walk with your contractors as they complete your work to look for last-minute fixes.
- Remember, if quality suffers, your reputation will as well—so do not be afraid to interview new contractors from time to time if the quality of their work starts to suffer.
5. Measure the Process
We've found that using your metrics is a powerful marketing and sales tool. For example, showing you have fewer days on the market due to your enhanced sales process and creating a case study with that data using average rent can show an owner how much they will save by choosing your company.
Additionally, you benefit from having metrics you can turn to, to ensure your operations are running smoothly. Not only can you find data to support staff sentiment ("We need an extra employee, we're swamped!"), you can also sweeten the pot for your employees, creating efficiency-based bonus structures. Incentives don't only work for sales.
If your makereadies aren't as efficient as you'd like, take some time to look at your process. Before you can create significant efficiencies in your business, you need to be sure your property management workflows are well-documented and that your staff is using those processes.
6. Standardize and Remove Human Error
Using internal documents, checklists, or project management tools can help keep your staff on track. If you use a property management process automation solution, consider tasks for each element of the walkthrough to encourage your employees to check off that list and follow a standardized process. Without controls such as this in place, you risk human error and the one-star tenant reviews that come when they move in to find a moldy cabinet.
While this level of tracking and accountability can seem to be too much to your staff when implemented, you'll find that in time the workers with nothing to hide adjust and are happy to show their work. Over time you can build a more productive, efficient, and happier team because they'll know that good work is noticed. Often, that recognition alone is enough to motivate your employees to reach their full potential.
If you would like to learn how RentBridge can automate the makeready, leasing, and move-out processes, you can schedule a discovery call with our team. If you're not ready to talk to someone yet but still want to see how much you could save by automating your business, you can use our free automation analysis tool to see an estimate of what automation can do based on your numbers!