10 Things Experience Has Taught Me About Managing Properties in Central Oregon

Twenty-five years in the property management industry, 16 years licensed as a property manager and a business owner for 11 years.  My career in property management makes me feel like my business is growing up and maturing right before my very eyes! It no longer needs the same type of attention it did in its infancy, but it has become something much bolder, more independent and ready to grow up!

Giving birth to this business baby, Lava Ridge Property Management, in 2008 only came after years of learning, growing and preparing for this adventure. Licensed in 2003 in the State of Oregon, I’ve managed properties through a boom, during a recession, a growth in population, many new roads, and dozens of new neighborhoods—and that kind of experience has been vital to becoming what I believe to be Central Oregon’s best property management company!

Over these two decades, I have built relationships with clients that have lasted the life of this company; I have watched young single men and women rent homes from me, get married and have children, and watched those children grow from infants to adults! It’s been a fantastic voyage and has given me lessons in business that cannot be learned any other way.

It’s this long-lasting career in property management—over 25 in fact—that brings me to write this article today. I want to share with you what my experience and knowledge of Central Oregon and managing properties has taught me and why that’s important when considering hiring a property manager for your home.

1. The Economy Changes, and Business Must Change With It.

We’ve seen a housing boom, a housing bust, a robust economy and a scarce one. We’ve seen rentals get sold, we’ve seen rentals that have unfortunately foreclosed. To be able to continue to exist and thrive in vastly diverse rental markets shows our ability to understand and adapt to changing economies and change our business over the course of two decades to be successful no matter the economic environment.

2. Laws Change, and It’s Scary for Investors and Renters.

Landlord/Tenant Laws are complex and ever-changing and evolving. Each time the law changes, it’s scary for both tenant and landlord. Being highly educated on Oregon’s laws allows us to provide a wealth of education to our clients. It’s a full-time job understanding these laws and protecting our investors and renters, so let us do it for you! We are always here to sit down and weed through the wealth of information with you to educate you on how existing and changing laws may affect your rental.

3. Your Networks are Priceless.

As a member of Multifamily Northwest, Member of National Apartment Association (NAA) and part of the National Association of Property Managers (NARPM), I know one thing for sure—my networks are everything! Not only does preserving these relationships help me network with potential investors and renters, it keeps me up to date on the latest marketing techniques, business practices and technology as well as keeps the idea train always moving!

4. Investors Need To Protect Their Assets.

Tenant issues happen. Maintenance issues happen too. That’s what we are here for! We take the pressure off of investors by preventing tenant and maintenance issues from happening with a proactive approach to tenant screening and home maintenance. We personally screen renters and call their references. We properly and thoroughly document home conditions and maintenance issues. And, we put each property on a comprehensive maintenance schedule with regular property checks.

5. Renters Need to Know We Think of it as Their Home Too.

Investors are only half our customers. Tenants are customers too and building a relationship with them is just as important. We will not take an application fee if we know a property is not feasible for an applicant. Once moved in, we continuously check in to make sure the property is in proper condition and address maintenance issues with urgency when necessary. It’s your home too, and we want to make sure our renters know their property manager cares about their quality of life.

6. The Organizations You Belong To Say A Lot About Yourself.

We never stop learning! Even though I am a A+ member of the Better Business Bureau, member of Multi-family Northwest, NAA an NARPM member and a licensed property manager since 2003, I have no intentions of stopping there! Every connection, membership and class gives me new information and perspective to make me a better property manager, and I intend to become Bend’s No. 1 most accredited property manger.

7. Communication is Everything.

You can’t make things happen if no one is communicating! Constant and consistent communication in person, on the phone, in email and on social media makes us a company that knows what’s going on with our properties, investors and renters. If you feel like your property manager never calls you back or only calls when there is a problem, then it’s time to give us a call! We make your calls and appointments a priority, and like I always say—talking is free!  

8. Managing Properties Means Being Available.

This is no 10 hour a weekday job or side hustle! Managing properties means being available for your renters and investors 7 days a week, 24-hours a day for emergencies and maintenance. When there was a snowstorm, we were out doing roof checks on our investors' homes even when schools, businesses and even garbage services were inoperable. We believe in being there to protect your investment and that’s why we are available around the clock, as well as in our offices Monday - Saturday.

9. All Clients Are Equal and Important.

Big or small investments, renters or investors, Bend or Madras—no matter the size, commission, customer or location, everyone who works with us receives the same time, attention and consideration. We would never ignore a smaller commission for a larger one, or side with an investor over a renter. We always strive to be attentive, communicative and fair no matter the property or the customer.

10. Relationships are Everything.

Items one though ten boils down to one thing: I care about my relationship with my clients and investors so their feelings about me and my business matter! I didn’t raise this property management business of mine to be a lackluster performer! This business is my baby and its values are a direct reflection of me. You are not just a client or renter—you are part of a relationship. We want that relationship to be fulfilling, mutually beneficial, communicative and long lasting.