We all have that friend—everyone has one or two—who loves to overshare. You know the type. Maybe they post too many Facebook updates or include too many details in that story from last summer told over dinner. Oversharing is a thing, and it’s easy to do.
Unfortunately, when it comes to property management and care, the norm has been the opposite. Managers fail to build and organize robust property information, and not enough information is shared with property owners. Owners have come to expect more transparency and detail about how their home is being maintained, so now is the time to improve your property-care program and start oversharing by communicating the details of your service to your clients.
We live in the information age. We have the ability to create and digest an incredible amount of information, hampered only by our access to Wi-Fi (which is a challenge at the moment while I write this from a rustic vacation rental on Squam Lake, New Hampshire). This digitizing, cataloging, and organizing of information has opened access to data on a granular level. We can get the status of a flight down to the minute of departure and progress en route, track the delivery of a package from the distribution center to the local warehouse and down to the truck it’s riding on to your front door, or check real-time updates on investment portfolios. We’ve come to expect this level of detail, access, and transparency.
Vacation rental homeowners are beginning to expect this level of detail, access, and information about their property as well. They want to know how their most valuable asset is being cared for and maintained. Monthly income and owner statements cover the accounting details, but they don’t provide a full picture of the asset protection and care that owners are increasingly demanding from their property managers.
Creating and transparently sharing the details of comprehensive property-care programs with their owners is a growing trend for progressive property managers like Paso Robles Vacation Rentals in California and 360 Blue in Destin. By collecting, tracking, and sharing more information with owners, they are strengthening their relationships with their clients.
This article provides specific reporting which serves to communicate your property-care program to owners and capture the full value of property management and asset protection services.
The best part is that it’s simple to add better reporting to the workflow that managers are already using. In the services industry there is nothing better than receiving additional credit and potentially charging more while providing the same service.
Frequent Property–Condition Reports
The first step in a comprehensive property-care program is frequent, quick inspections of the condition of the property. This is the best way to demonstrate continued property care and attention for absent homeowners concerned about the state of their home. Managers are interacting with their owners’ homes multiple times a week, including cleanings, post-departure inspections, and routine maintenance repairs. Each interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate to the property owner the time that is being dedicated to their property.
These reports can be as simple as quick condition reports or as thorough as a fifty-point housekeeping inspection report, as long as they are consistent, professional, and transparent. In addition to the efficiency gains the reports drive internally, property managers build trust with the owner and increase the owner’s positive interaction with the brand by sharing the reports externally with clients.
Frequent condition reports are the appropriate place for demonstrating property care and introducing any necessary improvements and repairs; it is not a monthly owner statement. Monthly statements should be used for accounting purposes, not to showcase how well the property is being maintained and cared for. Too often, these monthly statements include surprise maintenance charges, which clients may be seeing for the first time and long after the necessary services have been provided.
Additionally, these reports provide a history of property care. Condition reporting builds over time, adding multiple data points for each element of the property on each inspection. In the aggregate, this demonstrates the type of consistent asset protection and management that is so valuable to property owners.
Capture All the Details
Communicating the full value of property management requires tracking and sharing more details about the exact services you provide. There are so many little tasks and details that go into keeping vacation rental property maintained and ready for guests. Property managers change filters, light bulbs, fix running toilets, and any number of small repairs in the course of the weekly turnover process.
Much of this work may not require an individual service charge, meaning it doesn’t show up on the monthly statement and is never shared with property owners. Start using smart technology to capture and organize every touch point with each property and automatically add them to the property profile. Operational costs are too high to perform services without receiving credit.
Take advantage of all the detailed work that goes into vacation rental management and share it with owners. It has never been easier to be a “rent by owner,” with the growth of listing sites and online tools. If property managers are going to stay competitive, they need to show owners exactly how they are maintaining the property and all of the hard work that goes into it. Don’t worry about oversharing, and don’t be discouraged if owners ignore your updates. Every touch adds confidence in the management service, particularly in an industry that hasn’t shared much in the past.
Seasonal Inspection Reports
Part of a thorough property-care program is a seasonal inspection. This provides owners with comprehensive insight into the condition of their property, should highlight maintenance issues that were completed during the inspection, and introduces any suggested future repairs or maintenance that the property owner should be aware of and approve.
An end-of-season property review and inventory has been the standard procedure for vacation rental managers for many years. However, most managers still complete this by hand using paper checklists or a generic digital checklist. Consider interviewing owners and including customized programs for each owner based on their specific concerns for the property. Impress clients with a seasonal inspection that is tailored to their property and highlights the special attention that staff paid to checking each bedroom and bathroom and each unique feature of the property.
By using a platform like Breezeway, managers can complete their entire seasonal inspection and automatically add the details to the inventory. This creates an excellent history of the condition of the property to be used for future reports, maintenance, and operations.
Inventory and Property History Reports
With the number of vacation rental investment properties growing, asset protection and maintenance are critical considerations for owners. Managers should leverage their frequent interaction with the property to build a deep property profile, complete inventory, and maintenance history. Operationally, this helps managers ensure that all necessary preventative maintenance is being completed and documented.
Sharing this information on an annual basis provides an opportunity to help owners track contents; budget maintenance expenses for the following year; and feel confident that their property manager is keeping a full record of their property maintenance for insurance renewals, claims, or to demonstrate excellent asset preservation for a future property sale.
Leveraging all the information from routine condition reports and seasonal inspections, managers can easily create a full property inventory report for clients. At the end of the year when clients are reviewing annual statements and taking stock of their rental income, it’s powerful to remind them of all the work that was done to carefully maintain their home throughout the year and how well their property manager knows their property and is best qualified to continue to care for it in the future.