#Property Management

Are You Managing Your Own Property? Our New Year/New Start Tips Are Invaluable

Written By
Adam on Dec 29, 2021
You can’t predict what 2022 will bring, but you can take these steps for property management success.

As the calendar turns to 2022, a lot more happens than just having to write a new date on our checks (assuming, that is, you are still writing paper checks). There’s a switch that occurs in our brains – which is why New Year’s Resolutions have been so important throughout history, and from culture to culture .
The switch is called “The Fresh Start Effect,” and it’s powerful; here’s a study that describes it in scientific terms: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior.
By now you may be wondering, “What on earth does this have to do with my rental property?” The short answer is: a great deal!  The best way to plan for a successful new year is by looking at it as a fresh start, rather than a continuation of last year’s stresses.
Here are five tips to help you achieve that goal – some emotional, some practical:

1. Get rid of negative thoughts. Literally.
Research shows that if you write negative thoughts down on a piece of paper – and then crumple the paper up and throw it out – it helps you deal with them.  So why not do just that?  Write down all your negative thoughts about property management, whatever they might be:  the stress of collecting rent; the inability to find a furnace repair person;  the worry over paying the taxes.  Then crumple up the paper and toss it.

2. Take a calm walk through history
We are sure there were stressful moments during the year. Our tendency as human beings is to get emotionally caught up in them, and then once the drama is passed, to move on. Now is a good time for reflection and some learning.
Think back on what made self-managing your property really suck , and then ask yourself: did you overreact, thereby creating friction with your resident? Was the crisis a result of you putting off the inevitable?  Then start to think of possible solutions. Can you get ahead of the “inevitable” when it inevitably recurs? Could the situation have been prevented or mitigated by advance planning? For example, dealing with the sudden onset of a leaky roof is less stressful if you have a list of three trusted roofers in your file. 
Based on this self-reflection, determine the steps you can take now to better cope with the unexpected hiccups that will undoubtedly arise in 2022.  The very practice of planning can in itself be calming.
3. Send happy New Year messages
We don’t know if your tenant will be expecting a gracious note wishing them a happy New Year, but we do know that it will be more than welcome when the email slides into their inbox.
Take the opportunity to wish them the best of 2022, and also to tell them how fortunate you are to have them living in your home – that it means a lot to know someone is living there who loves the property , and takes care of it, as you would.   It will make both of you feel good – and selfishly, it will also create reciprocity and encourage your resident to act even more responsibly.
While you’re at it, send similar messages to the contractors and others you rely on most – whether it’s the plumber or the landscaper.  These people are in great demand, and normally they get complaints, not thanks.  Reaching out now will definitely put you on the top of the list for 2022 projects.

4. Don’t continue your record keeping. Disrupt it.
This gets back to our “Fresh Start Effect” advice. Whether you keep your records digitally or with paper and pencil, or a combination of both, don’t roll into 2022 as if it is the thirteenth month of the year. Start a new excel spreadsheet, or buy a new notebook, or buy a new set of files for your invoices.
You will feel the difference psychologically, we guarantee it!
You own a home.
We have someone to ❤️  it.
5. Establish the right expectations
This is the perfect time to re-set expectations with your resident. For example, if you were overly responsive last year – and that led to frustrations and lifestyle interruptions – then should consider communicating that, with a “2022 Rules of the Road.”
For example, you will be available as soon as possible for something serious, like a leaky roof, but your resident shouldn’t expect the same level of responsiveness for something like a leaky faucet. That kind of task triage is reasonable and once you establish the guidelines, both you and your resident will find life to be much less stressful.
Especially now, when the uncertainty of the pandemic has put everyone on edge, residents need to understand that landlords are people, too!  The vast majority of tenants will be extraordinarily cooperative – and respectful. We see it every day.

The Year of Belong?
The “we” in the language of these hopefully helpful hints is Belong. We are the 21st century innovator who is transforming each and every aspect of what property managers do.  We combine the power of technology to simplify and organize, and a dedicating caring team of humans – starting with a concierge and extending all the way to contractors – who are there to provide nothing short of a magnificent end-to-end experience.
So if this is the year you decide to work with not just any property manager – but one who defies the norms of what has been possible – we would welcome hearing from you.
If not – but you still have some questions that you’d like a professional answer to – we are happy to help as well.
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About the author
Adam Hanft
Editor in Chief
Adam is a futurist - co-author of "Dictionary of the Future" - brand strategist, public-company board member, former comedy-writer (but he hasn't stopped being vaguely amusing), and an investor in Belong.