“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.”
― Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
Knowing exactly where you are relative to your market is the first step when considering growth and a change in strategy. Even if you aren’t planning any strategic moves, it is always helpful to stay informed of the market around you as it is continually evolving.
One of the services we provide for our clients is a market analysis. A market analysis provides useful information about the current state of your rental market. It also gives you the information you can use to benchmark your property management company against the competition. A SWOT analysis identifies opportunities you may not have considered. Together, they can help you create agile strategies that help you maintain your success.
Watch our video or keep reading for more information.
What is in a Property Management Market Analysis?
A thorough property management market analysis will include research on your competition, local housing and economic trends, demographics, and area rental analytics.
Take the time to learn about your competition. Learn who they are, and what they stand for, how they are marketing and their property management fee structure. Compare and contrast your company with theirs, are you missing out on some fees? Are your rental rates comparable? Learning this might take some creative research, cold calling, and secret shopping.
Try to learn everything you can about what they are doing well and where they need improvement. You can gain valuable insight by learning about what is and is not working for your competitors.
Housing, Economic, and Demographic Trends
Research the number of rental homes in your market, both single-family homes and multi-family units. Determine the vacancy rate of rentals in the area. Is yours comparable? Higher? Lower? Are the rental properties owned by local investors, out of state, or REITs? Additionally, what are the reasons your vacancy rates are different from the market? Are your rent rates too high? Too low?
Are there new companies moving to your area, or is your local economy experiencing a recession? Economic trends outside of your specific industry still matter. Knowing whether people are moving to or from your area for work or schools will help you position yourself to meet the needs of the market you have.
Area Rental Analytics
What is the average rent amount per square foot in your market? What is the average application fee in your market? The more data you can gather about your area, the better.
Compare and contrast what you find with what you offer - color-coded spreadsheets are one helpful tool you can use to see where you are against the competition at a glance.
SWOT for Property Management
Turning the Market Analysis Into a Plan
If you take a business course, you’ll probably learn about the SWOT Analysis.
What is a SWOT Analysis? SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The SWOT is also known as a situational analysis. We recommend revisiting your SWOT every six months to a year.
SWOT is a tool you can use once you complete your market analysis or whenever you are thinking of making changes to your business strategy. It is an initial assessment of the conditions around you that gives you the information you need to make more effective plans.
Performing a SWOT analysis is relatively quick, and it can provide some insights that you might miss in the daily operations of your company.
You can do this by creating a grid in a spreadsheet, on paper, or using this image. How you track your thoughts is up to you, the important thing is to go through the process. Take the data from your rental analysis and incorporate it into your SWOT analysis to make it more effective.
Internal - Strengths & Weaknesses
In a SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses are internal, elements you have direct control over in your property management business. It is the starting point because you have to understand your resources and areas for improvement whenever considering a significant change in strategy.
Strengths include resources such as financial, or human resources (your staff), and technology such as your property management software. Weaknesses include internal elements such as debt, areas where your workflows or training need improvement, and other pain points in your day to day operations.
For example, Pretend Property Management Company (PPMC) may list the following for strengths and weaknesses:
- 15 satisfied clients with 35 doors.
- Highly qualified staff.
- Company is financially sound.
- Duplication of specific tasks is wasting time.
- Unorganized filing and records system needs an overhaul.
- Aging computers need to be replaced in the next year.
External - Opportunities and Threats
These elements are out of your control, such as the economy, changing demographics of the area you operate in, new laws, and market trends. They influence your company but aren’t something you can alter in a significant way.
Pretend Property Management Company might find these opportunities and threats:
- Large Corporation is moving its headquarters to our area from another state, estimates 1,500 employees are relocating to the area.
- A large segment of the population in the area is nearing retirement age.
- Two new multi-family units are under construction within our territory.
- Three other successful property management companies operate in our territory.
From the SWOT analysis, as well as market analysis, you can now draw some conclusions about your next strategic moves. Pretend Property Management Company might decide to create targeted marketing aimed at the benefits of turning your property into a rental during retirement as a means of finding new business while also advertising on channels to capture the influx of potential renters. To prepare for the desired increase in business PPMC plans an upgrade to key software that allows the automation of tasks and the appropriate technology to support the software.
Sometimes an outside perspective can help to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that you can’t see because you are too involved in the management of your company. If you'd like to learn more about making property management operations easier and more effective, reach out to the experts at Rent Bridge!