In Part One, we looked at how to use a real estate virtual assistant to improve the many facets of your property management company, including listings, leasing calls, the rental application process, property viewings, rental reviews, property valuation, and social media and marketing.
In that first article, we touched on maintenance coordination and tenant services within this larger picture, but we did not cover it in-depth. With Part Two, we’ll dig a little deeper into this area and see how a real estate virtual assistant can improve your business by filling the role of maintenance coordinator.
Using Real Estate Virtual Assistants in Property Management
As covered in Part One, the benefits of making a real estate virtual assistant a member of your property management team are:
The best virtual assistant services help you integrate your new VA into your business processes, making them a part of your team. Virtual Assistants do more than ticking off tasks from a list. They fulfill key roles and responsibilities that help you affordably scale your business.
How is this achieved in the area of rental property maintenance and tenant services? Let’s take a look and break it down.
Rental Property Maintenance Takes Up Time
As a property manager, the area of property maintenance is time consuming. There are the hours spent with tenant phone calls and requests, not to mention those of vendors. There are the hours spent chasing down tenants and vendors to schedule repairs, not to mention the follow-up on those repairs. Monitoring this work can get messy, causing a few headaches and a few added costs. Streamlining this work can cut down on the headaches and the costs.
Finding a maintenance coordinator to cover the time-consuming responsibilities of maintenance and repairs leaves you with more time to concentrate on other aspects of your business, but it also helps with:
- Tenant retention
- Property value preservation
- Streamlining the maintenance process
A lot can fall apart with poorly coordinated maintenance. It can frustrate tenants and break down the trust they have put in your company to take care of their residence. Maintenance problems are one of the top reasons for tenant dissatisfaction. A negative experience with submitting a maintenance request can lead to renters dissatisfaction, not renewing their lease, poor reviews (google, yelp, facebook) or worst of all the tenant vacating.
Tenant retention is vital to your business. Lost tenants equals lost revenue. Paying to maintain a property that is not generating income is not a formula for success and easily prevents growth. The formula that works is one that helps keep tenants in your units.
Providing quality maintenance in a timely manner that does not unduly inconvenience tenants improves tenant retention, which in turn improves your business. It’s a formula that works.
Tenant dissatisfaction can also result in poor reviews on Google, Zillow, or Yelp impeding your marketing efforts. This impacts your ability to generate new business with owners and investors who will be looking your company up on the Internet before engaging your services. Having five star reviews pop up for your company rather than the one or two star reviews bolsters your marketing instead of stalling it.
Property Value Preservation
Property maintenance is just that. It maintains the value of the property being managed. Preserving the property value for the owner maximizes the rental value of the property, which in turn affects the amount of rent being charged. This correlates directly to your revenue. Finding a cost effective way to maintain and preserve your properties under management is another formula that works.
Streamline the Maintenance Process
A few questions in evaluating the quality of your maintenance process:
- Do your tenants know how to file a maintenance request?
- Do they trust it will be handled in a timely manner?
- Do they feel someone is there to hear their maintenance needs?
- Has the maintenance been scheduled?
- Who is scheduled to do it?
- Has it been done?
- Who is responsible for monitoring the process?
- Do your tenants know it has been completed?
- Do you know it has been completed?
- Was the tenant satisfied with the outcome?
- How were the costs tracked?
- Were third-party vendors properly vetted?
- Did your vendor provide all appropriate proof of completion?
If the answers to these questions are vague, then chances are your maintenance coordination needs a revamp, a rethink, and a big boost.
A real estate virtual assistant can turn these answers from “I don’t know” or “probably” into “yeses” in a cost effective and value driven way. A real estate VA is the part of the working formula that ties up proactive ways to improve tenant retention and preserve property values.
What does a maintenance coordinator do?
The maintenance coordinator job description includes both operations and preventative property maintenance. They facilitate building maintenance and manage the supplies and personnel required to complete maintenance tasks. They are the point person for property upkeep and the main point of contact for both maintenance personnel and tenants.
Maintenance planning, coordination, and scheduling responsibilities include:
- Hire, schedule, and track payment of in-house maintenance staff and third-party vendors
- Uphold proper equipment and supplies to resolve maintenance issues
- Facilitate tenant communication to instill trust
- Ensure reasonable turnaround time for completed work
- Keep track of expenditures and manage maintenance budget
Remote professional services can optimize these responsibilities with competency and efficiency at a lower cost than in-house solutions.
Utilizing a Real Estate Virtual Assistant as a Building Maintenance Coordinator
A real estate VA brings a skillset and an understanding of property management maintenance policies and procedures as well as the objectives, workflows, outcomes, and schedules associated with maintenance coordination. A VA also has the ability to expertly use software systems commonly used in the industry.
With all of this, a VA maintenance coordinator can streamline your systems and much of the time-consuming tasks associated with property repairs and upkeep. It is a cost-effective solution that can be leveraged for business growth.
Maintenance Requests from Tenants
A VA remotely handles maintenance requests from tenants in a timely way. They field tenant calls and requests, focusing on tenant communication that ensures satisfaction when maintenance issues arise. They provide expert troubleshooting and responsiveness to emergency repairs and events. They create reasonable maintenance timelines that help ensure satisfactory work turnarounds. When a reasonable timeline is adhered to, tenant satisfaction follows.
A VA helps monitor the process from request to completion more efficiently by:
- Scheduling maintenance orders quickly
- Reviewing and monitoring status updates on repairs throughout the process
- Following up with tenants to ensure satisfaction
This also helps avoid further property damage and maintains a constant assessment of the current state of the property.
Work with In-house Staff and Third-party Vendors
A maintenance coordinator VA works with your maintenance providers and internal teams, including:
- HVAC technicians
- Handyman services for general fixes, repairs, and wear and tear upgrades (appliances, doors, and windows)
- Landscape and yard maintenance crews
- Snow removal crews (depending on the climate)
- Decorators and painters
Your maintenance coordinator is the liaison between these providers and your tenants. This relationship needs to be negotiated smoothly and efficiently. It includes both back and forth communications about scheduling and the details of repair requirements.
Once a maintenance request is made, the VA helps coordinate the work order with the in-house maintenance crew and third-party vendors and contractors. Managing this process means the work not only gets done quickly but is done with quality as well.
The VA maintenance coordinator:
- Vets service contractors and vendors
- Coordinates the scheduling process
- Acts as a contractor dispatch by scheduling, verifying, and confirming maintenance appointments
- Controls costs by tracking invoices and payments
- Tracks requests and expenses for tax purposes
- Documents the repair process
- Coordinates owner approval requests and the acceptance process
- Ensures a smooth, transparent process visible to all parties
- Catches complaints early before they become an entrenched problem
- Confirms completion with vendor and with tenant
Upkeep is a major key to successful property management. A planned maintenance coordinator virtual assistant sets up regular routine inspections and preventative maintenance that makes sure this doesn’t slide. It saves money and creates happy tenants.
Maintenance Coordination as Tenant Service
Quick, quality maintenance coordination is essential to the success of your property management company. A real estate virtual assistant is a cost-effective way of achieving that. A VA ensures 24/7 responsiveness to rental tenants and minimal interruption when repairs are needed. This increases tenant retention, preserves property values, and boosts your bottom line. It keeps your tenants happy and turns maintenance coordination into a tenant service that leads to successful growth.