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Are all Property Managers the same?

Added: Feb 02, 2020
Category: Property Management

Whether you are a prospective new property owner or already have an existing property management team and are considering placing your home in a safer pair of hands, you may be asking yourself are all property managers the same? Do they hold the same values? Do they really care about your home or are you just another number? Do they put you as the homeowner or themselves first? Do they actively work for their homeowners placing bookings in homes that actually materialize? Are their services fair or do they put silly add on fees for simply changing a light bulb? Is your monthly statement what you expect or do you often get a nasty surprise? Is communication good?

Recently we received a telephone call from a very disgruntled homeowner whose home was being looked after by a fairly large management company.  He had flown down to Florida to spend time at his villa and was met yet again with a home that clearly was not being looked after or damages reported. We should add he had been with this company for ten years.  After speaking to the homeowner on the phone we requested that we make a visit to the house to learn more about him and to make an initial inspection. It is always important to us to meet a homeowner in their own environment where they feel comfortable and where we can see what state the house currently is in and if expectations are realistic. We found a washing machine with its motor missing and an oven which on its stainless steel surfaces had been cleaned with an abrasive cocktail of cleaning chemicals suitable for the interior of an oven only. The home had been recently internally painted with no regard for the homeowners choice of color and we noted that some of the closet doors found were still in their rough factory finish. Needless to say he had paid a good price for a job half done. We were then told he had no bookings for 2020! We were shocked, this was "January" the start of prime season for Florida?!

First impressions count and our first thoughts were that this was a great 4bed/3bath villa which provided actually two master suites and generous living accommodation.  It was in a good setting on a great residential location. Externally it needed a good jet wash but had good curb appeal otherwise, with a sweet front garden and safe enclosed back yard complete with pool. It was quite dark inside so we suggested a little gentle upgrades, fresh new artwork, bed linens and accessories. The homeowner agreed that he would replace the oven, washing machine and also gave us the go ahead to buy additional kitchen items crucial and expected in any vacation home. Two days later the homeowner signed over to us and we got started. Within a week we had deep cleaned the home, applied fresh bright paint to accent walls, replaced old pictures for fresh bright contemporary ones, sought new bedding and installed other upgrades. Loose hanging electrical cables were safely fixed and closet doors and headboards painted too. We had a budget and we stuck to it. We also provided a full report with itinerary to the homeowner and new pictures for their own website and house promotion.  The cherry on the cake was that at the end of the week we welcomed the first guests "Snowbirds" who are staying for a month. They love the house so much they have already booked for 2021.  A steady stream of other bookings are also flowing through. Needless to say we have one very happy homeowner!

One comment made by our new homeowner was that out of the four companies he interviewed, we were the only ones he felt were really interested in his home and who made good observations and showed respect for how we could best work with him and what he wanted. Most importantly we had references to hand as testimony of what we at Florida Leisure Vacation Homes are all about. 

Our advice, whatever your situation, is do not settle for lip service or pushy property managers full of false promises. You will find a lot of companies are experts in that direction. Actions speak louder. We are always realistic with homeowners over their expectations as far as rental revenues are concerned and experts when it comes to offering a specific service tailor-made to each homeowner. Most of our homeowners come through referrals often reassuring but for those who don't, we can always provide references!

So we are not all the same and if you are in the situation where you can choose wisely from the outset make sure you do. If currently under a management you are not happy with, it is never too late to make a change. We at Florida Leisure Vacation Homes will ensure smooth transition and will hold your hand all the way to make things as easy as they possibly can be for all.

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