Before you go out to eat at a restaurant for the first time, your first instinct may be to look up online reviews to see what other customers have had to say. After all, you don’t want to waste your time eating at a diner with sticky floors and bad customer service, or end up paying way too much for your meal where the portions are too small and you leave hungry. The same goes before you make an online purchase from a popular retailer such as Amazon.com – you’ll probably read at least a few customer reviews on the product you’re considering before you order it. In fact,
“Research shows that 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And they make that decision quickly: 68 percent form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.” – from Inc.com
So how does this apply to Dallas property management firms? At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we know our prospective customers probably read Google reviews or browse online reviews from trusted sources such as the Better Business Bureau® before enlisting our help with their rental property. We encourage our customers to do so! We are proud to have a stellar 4.5 star rating on Google and a grade A+ rating with the BBB. However, we also know that there are other review sites where online reviews may seem a little more contradictory. Before making a decision, you should know that a lot more goes on behind the scenes when our clients choose to review us. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking at online reviews in the property management industry:
A Difficult Interpersonal Industry
The property management industry brings people together in a very personal way. Landlords, tenants and managers sort through personal emotions, finances, and relationships trying to provide adequate living space for others. Think about how many times you have rented a house or an apartment and become emotionally invested in it! Almost everyone can become emotionally attached to where they live, because that’s where their memories are made. And emotions definitely affect our decisions overall. From Forbes.com:
“. . . The biggest problems arise when team decision making and emotions collide. When it comes to decision making, a little emotion is good, even if the emotions seem inherently unpleasant or unproductive. Feeling a little fear, sadness or irritation can help to spark motivation or broaden the search for alternatives. On the flip side, a little too much emotion is generally bad, even if the emotions seem pleasant and productive. When an entire team of people is feeling curious, excited or confident, they are more likely to spend too much time admiring the view in their matching rose-colored glasses, or happily make a decision to drive right off a cliff.”
Rental property owners hire Dallas property management firms largely to take care of and manage the interpersonal aspects of the business so they don’t have to do it. You can protect yourself from unpleasant tenant encounters by trying to stay emotionally neutral, but having a professional Dallas property manager really helps. Because our industry is so charged with emotions, online reviews can reflect times when a tenant felt especially hurt, upset, or angry.
From Reputation.com: “. . . the factors that drive people to write bad reviews are much more universal than the factors that lead them to write glowing reviews.”
If your tenant has previously lived in an apartment with access to on-site maintenance staff and same-day repairs, they may be frustrated when a maintenance request on a single-family home takes longer than a day or two. Though our team at Specialized Property Management Dallas does everything we can to provide quick, cost-effective maintenance, our properties are heavily regulated by the Department of Real Estate, which determines whether a repair is to be completed and who will pay—owner or tenant.
Renters will often go online to complain about having to pay for a repair that is actually their tenant responsibility according to the DRE, or write a negative review in hopes of speeding up the maintenance process.
Why Tenants Can’t Always Expect Immediate Relief from Maintenance Issues
You may think to yourself, “Why can’t my problem be fixed right away? This is important!” At SPM Dallas, we know that when a repair or financial matter is pressing, tenants often expect immediate relief, and we try to assist each and every tenant as quickly as we can. However, there are certain laws and regulations we have to follow that can make the process go a little slower than everyone would like.
As one of the most professional Dallas property management firms, we work to provide our tenants with a safe and pleasant home to rent, but it’s important to understand that we usually do not own the property itself. While property owners do have an obligation to repair certain items, there are other repairs that the law leaves to the owner’s discretion. Since it can be hard to know who is responsible for what, it’s important that the property manager, landlord, and tenant are all on the same page as far as understanding all the state and local laws connected with the rental property. For example, as a landlord,
“You are required to provide a habitable living space for each tenant — meaning the unit or property must meet certain standards for safety, health, and cleanliness — and this mandate cannot be disclaimed or restricted by a lease agreement to the contrary.” – from Zillow.com
If a landlord wants to assume the responsibility of regular maintenance to appliances, or mow the lawn every two weeks, stipulations such as these should be outlined in the lease agreement. If a tenant expects the landlord to pay for regular pest control, this should also be communicated at the time of lease signing. In addition,
“. . . if a tenant notices an issue and fails to report it to the landlord, the tenant may be held liable for additional damage that would not have occurred had the tenant made a timely complaint.” – from Zillow.com
No matter the situation, at Specialized Property Management Dallas we try to respond quickly to requests, identify the issue, source affordable service providers, seek the owner’s approval, then coordinate the maintenance with the tenant and the service company. Especially with regards to maintenance issues, work orders must be submitted or our maintenance hotline must be called before any action can be taken. Often impatient tenants will write a bad review instead of attempting to contact our maintenance staff, resulting in a longer wait time overall. It’s important to keep all this in mind when reading negative reviews specifically regarding maintenance issues.
Dallas Property Management Firms and Disreputable Forums
Online reviews can be a great thing, but recent studies also show that consumers are most likely to post reviews after extreme experiences.
“Respondents who suffered a bad interaction were 50% more likely to share it on social media than those who had good experiences (45% vs. 30%) and 52% more likely to share it on an online review site such as Yelp (35% vs. 23%). That’s particularly problematic for companies getting bad reviews: separate results from the survey indicate that 86% of respondents who have read negative reviews claimed that the information impacted their buying decision.” – from MarketingCharts.com
In general, that means that happy customers are less likely to take time to post an online review. So even an organization like Specialized Property Management Dallas, with a 99.8% customer satisfaction rate, can be significantly affected online by the 0.2%. Even though Yelp.com is a popular place for online reviews, Yelp’s ineffective algorithm has been the source of multiple lawsuits due to the suppression of authentic positive reviews, and the website is under increasing scrutiny from the business community as well as consumers.
Why Choose Specialized Property Management Dallas
At SPM Dallas, we have been helping Dallas property managers for over 30 years. Even in a difficult industry, our online reviews speak for themselves. We specialize in more comprehensive management, providing our rental property owners with the following services:
- Local Experience
- Decreased Vacancy Rates (95% of Vacancies Leased in Under 29 Days)
- Strict Tenant Screening Methods
- Streamlined Rent Collections
- Cost-effective, Reliable Maintenance
- Online Reporting
- Centralized Accounting
- Regular Property Inspections
- Management of Tenant Emergencies and Requests
- Rigorously-trained Staff
- In-house Legal Counsel and Regulation Expertise
Do you want to become a rental property owner, but don’t want to mess with the stress and hassle of the day-to-day operations? You can save time and money when you hire a professional, qualified property management company to assist you throughout every step of the process. We’ll help you avoid common mistakes and answer all your frequently asked questions. At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we want to minimize your hassle and maximize your profits! We are proud to have the lowest eviction rate in the DFW metroplex, and believe in 100% satisfaction for our clients with no hidden fees.
PUT OUR TEAM, EXPERIENCE, AND ETHICS TO WORK FOR YOU!