Have you looked at your property management office manuals lately?
If you haven’t taken time to review them in the last year, they are more than likely out of date. Outdated manuals may indicate your company is not utilizing the manuals effectively, opening the door to potential problems.
Real Estate and Property Management office manuals are living documents; they’re not meant to be stagnant. Manuals can be expensive and time-consuming to create, especially when you start from scratch. There is really no reason to create a manual if no one is going to use or update them. Outdated manuals can be a liability. Lack of use can mean that the property management company personnel are not performing on a top-notch level and they may be loosely interpreting policies (leading to poor work).
You do not have to update your property management manuals every day, week, or even month. However, you should review them at least once a quarter, or at worst case, twice a year. As you manage properties, clients, tenants, and vendors each day, policies change. You find better, more efficient, and more compliant ways of running your property management business. When policies and procedures change, so should your manuals.
Now you wonder – how am I going to accomplish this?
Start with actively using your property management company manuals. Schedule an office meeting to go over the necessity of using the manuals on a regular basis and the importance of making changes. Ask for input from personnel and find out how they are or are not using them.
Schedule time to review the manuals. If you don’t add reviewing / updating manuals to your calendar, it is just NOT going to happen. We all live our lives around the calendar and in the property management business; we know what times of the month and year are going to be the busiest. If the time arrives and it is not appropriate, reschedule – just do NOT drop this important task.
Create a collection point for updates. It is easy to spot what needs to be changed, but it is just as easy to forget when things get hectic. Designate a place in the office that people can collect and note needed changes. If you see a legal update coming through in a magazine or email, make a copy and add it to this repository. When the scheduled date to review our manuals arrives, you’ll have a head start. You’ll already know some items that need to be changed or updated, making this task easier.
Designate who will be in charge of updates, even if it is you. Having everyone in the office make changes to manuals can mean too many fingers in the pot, which often leads to chaos and lack of accountability. Assign the task of updating manuals to the person who will take charge and make necessary modifications. Give that person specific guidelines and encourage them to use other property management personnel as resources.
For example – you assign Ann in your office the task of updating the Office Policy and Procedures Manual. You instruct her to review the manual for necessary changes and bring her findings to the next office meeting for review. The office meeting takes place; the personnel discuss changes, decisions made on what Ann is to change, and when it is to be completed. This keeps the office in the loop, gives Ann clear direction on what to do, and the updates happen.
When the update is finished , start planning the next update. Remember, this is a property management office manuals are living documents..and the living need to use them! Work to maintain the manual and a smooth office operation. Consider other manuals that may help improve office performance.
The bottom line? Create a plan and follow through. You will find it pays off in office efficiency, morale, and the return on your manual investment.
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.