Property Management Record-Keeping: Owner Files
We are all well practiced in sorting out junk mail, whether it’s in our physical mailbox or the various email inboxes that easily become overpopulated with information, offers, and copies of copies (of copies) that you simply do not need.
When managing your property, how do you know what documents you need?
What are Owner Files?
As we go through this series of Record-Keeping Basics, we’ll help you to distinguish between the different types of files that you’re handling to better help you organize. We’ve already reviewed Tenant files, and Owner files cover much of the same type of information; however, this is information that pertains directly to you and your business practices involving your property.
For instance, to provide the basic specs of the property in order to compose a profile for advertising purposes you need:
- Property Deed
- Property Tax Records
- Your Marketing Profile (Compiling photos and information will make it quick and easy to market your property!)
To ensure that your property is a habitable environment, you will need:
- Property Insurance Policy Records
- Property Maintenance Records (Requests & Repairs)
- Move-In Inventory & Condition Forms
- Move-Out Inventory & Condition Forms
- Photos of any damages sustained by the property
- Photos of any repairs or upgrades to the property
In order to operate as a business, you need to know what your expenditures are to figure out where your bottom line needs to be. Consider documents like:
- Mortgage Payments
- Tenant Ledgers – we’ve reviewed how to do this!
- Property Maintenance Invoices
Lastly, property management is about relationships. The contracts you keep with other businesses are your keys to success. Make sure that you retain copies of:
- Vendor contracts
- Employee Records (if you hire an assistant to help you)
- Owner-Management Agreements
- All Correspondence with the above entities
How Should Owner Files be Organized?
Firstly, your Document Retention Officer (you, if you are managing your own property) should be involved in all aspects of document organization. By no means should you purge without consulting your DRO or your own Document Retention Policy. Consistency is key.
Your attorney and accountant also need to be kept apprised of your record retention policy. If necessary, they will need to be able to locate documents on your behalf, and as such must know where they are and how to access them.
All this being said, you do not necessarily have to have the most high-tech integrated system – those aren’t free. Using readily available resources such as computer files backed up into a cloud storage may be perfectly fine for you, if you are organized and have only one or just a few properties to manage.
However, if in your cost/benefit analysis you find that your time can be better utilized elsewhere, property management software provides a system that is already in place – you just have to be consistent in inputting the information!
But if at the end of the day you decide that your time would be best utilized spending time with your family, investing in your hobby, or any one of a million things more thrilling than dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of your paperwork – then perhaps what you’re most interested in is finding a property management company with the experience, staffing, and attention to detail you need for your rental properties.
Frontline Property Management is in the business of building relationships with owners like you!
Contact us today to start the conversation of how we can cover your front line in order to protect your bottom line.