I can not tell you how many times in the beginning of my property management career a prospective tenant called and caught me unprepared. I quickly learned I saved 5 to 10 hours a week and rented more houses by being well prepared. Here are my best tips.
1) Application Forms
A property manager should carry at least 50 blank rental applications with him at all times. Quite often, you will find yourself listing a new rental house and have no applications to place in the kitchen. You want to have applications in the house so you are not always running to your car during a showing.
The property management company should also have the rental application saved on the computer in a format that can be emailed to your clients quickly. You do not want to limit yourself to just faxing or having them pick up the form from you. This is very quick and painless.
2) At least 10 Copies of Blank Leases
Quite often, you will approve a tenant and need to meet with them to sign the lease. On your way out of the office at the end of the day, you completely forget to print out and bring the copies of the lease. Even the most organized person gets side tracked. Having the blank lease in your car ensures you never show up empty handed.
3) Key Tags
You should carry a small box of key tags so you can label keys you receive from new listings/property owners. In the past, I would constantly forget which keys belong to which properties and have to throw them out. This means the rental could not be rented until I could get a maintenance guy out there to change the locks. With just a little extra discipline and tagging the key as soon as you receive it, you save yourself a bunch of aggravation.
4) Digital Camera
You should keep your digital camera in the car as much as possible to ensure you are ready for new listings. Half the time, new property owners have cleaned their property and it is ready to go. By having the camera ready you can simply snap all the pictures you need to advertise the rental on MLS or Craigslist.
5) Property Management Agreements
Just like the lease, you should keep 10 copies of your management agreement in your car. This will make preparing for a listing appointment much easier and less stressful. If you bring your camera, business cards, and the management agreement, you have everything you need to sign up the new owner. You also want to have the agreement in email format to quickly send to the owners over the Internet.
6) Pens and Business Cards
It is embarrassing to not have either one on a listing or leasing appointment. Professionalism is found in the details.
7) Organizer to Carry Everything
You can buy an organizer at Office Depot or Staples that can store all the items listed above. Some people prefer a briefcase but I personally use a black plastic box with hanging folders. Use whatever suits you but just have it all in one place in your car
Note: A prepared property manager will create an automatic task in Outlook or a Day Planner to refill all the items once a month. Getting organized is useless for your property management company, if you do not have a follow-up system to ensure you stay organized.