The management of homeowners is one of the topics of property management that often gets neglected but it is one of the most important and difficult parts of the business. The relationship between the manager and the homeowner is, hopefully, a long-lasting relationship. This contrasts with the short relationship between hosts and guests. If you have a poor relationship with a guest you’ll be relieved to know they checkout in a few days although a poor homeowner relationship is far from short and the financial risk is significantly higher.
Ensuring that your company and the homeowner’s relationship starts on the right foot is critical to nurturing a long-term partnership. In the early stages of your relationship, it is important to articulate your intentions, expectations, and outline the responsibilities of both you and the homeowner. Transparency goes a long way in ensuring your relationship stands the test of time, plus you will be able to avoid uncomfortable conversations later down the road.
One of the key tips to getting on the right foot is to only manage the properties of homeowners that you believe will be a good fit. Use your gut when entering a partnership. If you get a bad vibe, from a homeowner, the best advice I can give you is to run. Look for homeowners that from the start of the relationship seems healthy, cooperative, and mutually beneficial. You’ll be making a huge mistake by entering a relationship with a homeowner that is a bad fit for your style of management and personality.
Navigating homeowner complaints can be one of the most challenging aspects of the short-term rental property manager job. As a manager, you’re the mediator between the homeowner and the guest. It is common for the guest to damage something and the homeowner will try to hold you, the property manager, accountable for the irresponsible actions of a guest.
While property managers cannot be held responsible for the actions of guests, that can be challenging to explain to an upset homeowner. In order to keep a long-lasting and healthy relationship with the homeowner, you’re forced to rectify the situation and ensure things resume back to normal as soon as possible.
The best way to mitigate homeowner complaints is by taking a proactive approach:
Envitenably something will go wrong, you’ll make a mistake, and you’ll need to give the homeowner bad news. This dreaded action is something all managers will need to eventually need to do. Here are some of the best tips to providing bad news to homeowners:
1. Sort Yourself Out First
Giving bad news is not fun, no one likes it. You are likely feeling anxious, nervous, and dreading the conversation. The first thing you need to do is relax and give yourself time to move through your emotions. The last thing you need is to go into a conversation without being composed.
2. Prepare for the Conversation
Think about what you’d like to say before you say it. Rehearse it in your head and get feedback from a trusted person. You need to be composed and ready to answer questions with confidence and clarity.
3. Give the Facts
Don’t be emotional, stick to the facts. Let the homeowner know what happened. Explain it clearly providing factual answers to questions. The worst thing you can do is answer questions emotionally or in an overly defensive manner.
4. Help but Don’t Negotiate
As a property manager, you are there to help and you should. Consider what help you can provide before having the conversation and offer to do so. However, don’t take this time to negotiate. Focus on resolving issues not negotiating the issue.
5. Suggest Solution and Next Steps
Be optimistic and let the homeowner know what can be done. If this is an issue that is fixable let them know what will be done. Give them reassurance and an outline of the next steps. If the issue is not fixable the homeowner should also be made aware of that. Consider what mitigating steps can be taken to help.
Hopefully, you’ll be providing good news more often than bad. While you may think you can’t go wrong providing good news, you’d be wrong. Providing good news is a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship, communicate your value, and celebrate. If you are nonchalantly providing positive news and results you are doing both yourself and the homeowner and disservice.
1. Tell Them It’s Good News!
This seems obvious but many make the mistake of not sharing in the success. If you had a great month and are just about to send the payout, let them know how great a month it was! Don’t make the mistake of sending the money without communicating the success. Communicating wins is a huge part of account management and should be a priority.
2. Document the Success
Send the details of the success via email so that both parties can share the information and reflect back on it. Secondly, make sure you keep track of your successes. This will allow you to reflect back on the wins with the homeowner in the future.
Hostaway tools allow you to automate parts of your homeowner relationship. Homeowners can be set up as users and be given limited access to Hostaway. You have the ability to limit homeowner permissions however you like.
Our recommended permissions include giving access to the calendar view and financial reports. This allows homeowners to know when dates are free that could be used for personal use and for them to see the in-real-time property performance.
Reach out to the Hostaway team to learn more.