Do you own property, especially buy-to-rent properties? Then it would be best if you thought about hiring a property management virtual assistant.
In property management, a property manager will take care of the daily operations of a commercial, residential, or industrial property. The normal tasks of such a person would include holding meetings with potential new tenants, ensuring all rent is paid, arranging for repair and maintenance work to be completed, managing advertising and marketing, and hiring staff. Moreover, the manager is the link between the property owner and the tenants but works for the owners of the property.
All of this can be a bit much for a single person – therefore additional help can be of use. Many businesses are, therefore, simply outsourcing and hiring a property management virtual assistant. These virtual assistants are then assigned several tasks, which can easily be completed remotely. This means that the workload for the property manager is reduced. In some cases having an onsite manager is not essential; a virtual assistant would easily be able to cope.
What is a virtual property management assistant?
A virtual property management assistant is someone who works remotely assisting the property management department. On average, as with other outsourced roles, the fees charged by such a person are much lower than would be demanded by onsite employees. In fact, a virtual assistant is not an employee of a company. Such a person is a consultant who primarily assists with non-core tasks. It pays to consider the benefits of a virtual assistant for property management after studying precisely what they can do.
The responsibilities and duties of a virtual assistant property manager
There are two main types of property management − residential and commercial, both demanding specific standard tasks. Residential property managers deal with houses and apartments, while commercial managers deal with non-residential property − retail stores, self-storage spaces, office spaces, and commercial buildings. There are a few minor differences in the type of tasks for commercial and residential managers. Still, overall the goal remains similar – to manage the property to the benefit of the owner. A well-run property is typically also well sought after − tenants are aware that there is attention paid to any problems. By comparison, a badly run property is one which a tenant steers away from.
The responsibilities of a virtual assistant property manager
1. Managing property management software
To maintain the data on tenants, contractors and service providers, accounts, inter alia, managers use property management software. The virtual assistant property manager will ensure that the property management software is expertly applied. Subsequently, all information is stored and backed up online using this software. As this is a fully digital process, there is no need for paper files, which means that costs are reduced and the work can be done 100% remotely.
2. Handling schedules
Managers need to be on top of their schedules. This involves meetings and collecting the rent, while also ensuring that all maintenance is completed timeously, time management being crucial. A virtual assistant can safeguard that the schedule is properly organized. The virtual assistant will manage the calendar to guarantee that no appointment is missed. Also, they will handle the enquiries and arrange meetings.
3. Managing grievances and maintenance requests
Even a brand new building will have some degree of maintenance to be done. This can include servicing air-conditioning units or cleaning communal areas. It is a good idea to keep these areas clean and neat, setting the tone for the status of the apartments. Current tenants need to be retained and catered for. No one wants tenants to complain or to look for alternative rental space. A virtual assistant can check that all the maintenance issues are taken care of. This can be achieved by eliciting quotations and arranging for repairs.
4. Developing and applying marketing strategies
Marketing is also part of a successful property business. This is the method used to attract potential tenants. Marketing is also about promoting the name of the property to draw in footfall, especially in the case of a shopping centre. A virtual assistant can help with the marketing; this can include influencer marketing to promote a shopping centre or the running of competitions.
The tasks of a virtual property manager assistant
Many of the tasks of a virtual property assistant are admin based. Here are the key tasks of administrative virtual assistant:
1. Obtaining and handling applications
Virtual property manager assistants must receive application forms from concerned parties. These assistants can also conduct the first interview through Skype, Zoom or other online meeting apps. A virtual property manager can also handle credit checks and communicate with referees in checking references. Thereafter, the virtual assistant can begin with the application.
2. Offer virtual tours of the property
A virtual property manager can generate a slideshow, photo gallery, or video of the property and its facilities. This can then be shared with the tenants as a virtual tour of the property.
3. Handling files
The virtual assistant property manager will enter the data into the property management software to update the database. It is imperative to keep personal info and contact details current to make communication with renters easier and more effective. The assistant will keep a record of all maintenance requests, complaints, and other issues. Each file will contain the problem, before and after pictures, a note on the urgency level, the steps taken, and other important info. This process will certify that all problems are timeously addressed.
4. Managing contacts
Property managers need a list of vendors, service providers, tradespeople, local government contacts, and other persons and companies. Such contact lists should be kept current in recording the last contact details and charges. A virtual assistant can maintain an accurate list of providers and their rates. Additionally, such a person can seek new providers, negotiating with them for better rates. This will not only enhance services but also help to reduce your business overheads.
5. Gaining maintenance appeals
Although an assistant works remotely, such a person can still take calls, respond to emails, and send direct messages to assist the tenants. More so, the assistant will record and supply all viewing requests to the property manager, and conduct follow-ups, if necessary.
6. Handling bills and payments
A key task for a virtual assistant property manager is to ensure that all the invoices and utility bills are paid promptly. The assistant can handle the payrolls, release payment notifications, and file bills and receipts.
7. Following up on overdue payments
If a renter fails to pay their rent on time, the property manager can request the virtual assistant to follow up on the outstanding payment. The virtual assistant can then call or send an email to the tenant to alert them to the amount owed.
8. Assist with bookkeeping errands
An assistant property manager can use online tools such as FreshBooks to record financial information. In addition, these managers can assist to organize tax papers, invoices, receipts, and other financial documents. Such will facilitate access to the data, keeping track of your funds.
9. List vacant properties
A virtual property manager assistant can update the website and third-party site when new listings become available. As part of marketing these vacant properties, the assistant can also search for new websites on which to post the listings.
Professional virtual assistant tasks
10. Managing social media accounts
Apart from administration tasks, a virtual property manager assistant’s duties could include generating marketing strategies for marketing the property. These efforts are also made to engage with various social media followers, responding to messages and comments on social media. A virtual assistant could also post videos and photos of the property, add hashtags to optimize the content, and post quotes, real-estate-themed memes, infographics and testimonials. Social media management is a laborious task, but also a preferred choice for clients. It is essential not to lose any good potential clients or to receive bad reviews. Rather hire a virtual assistant to take on these mitigating tasks.
11. Writing blogs, copy and website content
In terms of SEO, content is king. In other words, content helps to reach more people online and helps your website to be in front of mind for your customer. Such content requires regular releasing. Over time, a virtual assistant will help to optimize your website so that it ranks higher in online searches. Additionally, copy will also be needed for advertisements, social media posts, and emails.
12. Crafting marketing materials
Some virtual property manager assistants will have these skills; otherwise, it would be preferable to outsource these tasks to a virtual graphic designer or a virtual video editor. Graphic design and video editing can transform your marketing and take it to another level. Graphic design can be used for such marketing as posters or catalogs. This provides a professional look to the final product.