A Day in the Life of a Downtown Chicago Property Manager
If you’ve ever considered investing in real estate to generate recurring revenue, or you’re a renter who wants to know what’s going on behind the scenes after you send over your monthly rent check, you’ve likely asked yourself what exactly it is that a property manager does.
Monster.com defines a property manager’s responsibilities as “Maintains property rentals by advertising and filling vacancies; negotiating and enforcing leases; maintaining and securing premises”. This scratches the surface of what we do at Alto on a daily basis to help our tenants feel at home and encourage our owners’ investments to grow, but we want to dive deeper into the ways we work with property owners, renters and prospective renters on a daily basis.
The Job Duties of a Property Manager Run the Gamut, from Marketing Units to Handling Maintenance Work
While no day in our office goes exactly as scheduled, as property managers, we aim to fill our daily schedule with blocks of time for marketing units, showing units to potential renters, running credit reports, doing landlord verifications, drawing up leases, collecting rent and doing move out walk throughs with tenants. We also must maintain a bit of flexibility for the unplanned task that come up each day, such as initiating emergency maintenance work orders, coordinating with vendors for repairs, fielding the occasional complaint or helping to resolve lease issues with tenants or owners.
At Alto Realty, our property managers start their day by responding to emails and voicemails from prospective/current tenants, owners and vendors. They update unit availability and schedule showings for prospective units. Being an onsite manager means that we are able to build a one on-one relationship with tenants and be readily available to assist them with questions about the building, neighborhood or just the best place to get pizza in the city. We’ve have a stiff interoffice battle going between Pequod’s in Lincoln Park and Bongiorno’s Italian Deli & Pizzeria just a three minute walk from our office in Marina City.
Managing Rental Units and Their Tenants, so Owners Don’t Have To
The beginning of the month is the busiest time for a property manager. We are first and foremost collecting monthly rents and sending owners individual earnings statements. The beginning of the month is also when the renewal process is started. A report of leases ending 60 days out is pulled and letters are drafted notifying tenants of their lease end and offering a new renewal rate. If the tenant is renewing, a new lease is drafted and signed. If the tenant is not renewing, a time is set up to get updated photos of the unit and the unit is placed on marketing in the next few days.
Yearly maintenance inspections are scheduled for each unit coming up for renewal to check the condition of the unit including fixtures and appliances. We work hard to keep units maintained which will allow owners to increase the units value and reduce costly fixes in the future.
Property managers must become experts in the Chicago real estate market so they can ensure they are able to market their units competitively against others in the area to reduce the amount of time a unit is vacant Being an expert allows us to set rents at market rate and negotiate lease terms with tenants to keep units occupied. We are responsible for making sure owners get the best return available and don’t have to deal with any day to day tenant issues.
As you can see, there really isn’t much property managers don’t do. We wear many hats, from maintenance, janitor, contractor, marketer, accountant and sometimes even therapist. If you have questions about the capabilities of property managers, or want to talk to Alto about property management services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.