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- Blog posts tagged in Amenities

Posted by on in Property Management
By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA In my last entry, we discussed how it was possible in this great country of ours that a burglar could sue a property owner for injuries he sustained while robbing that same property owner.  In my next entry, we will discuss why it is in the fine state of California that a tenant can sue his landlord for injuries sustained on the property which are inflicted by criminals.  But in this entry, I will get a little more practical:  we will discuss just what your responsibility is to your tenants regarding the liveability of the unit. Just what do you – the property owner – have to provide to your residential tenant to remain in compliance with the law?  Well most of this is just common sense.  If people are going to live in the premises, if you do not provide the following, not only are you not being nice, but you are breaking the law: A weatherproof environment.  The unit has to have a roof and walls as well as doors and windows that are unbroken (more on this next entry!) Electricity.  It may come as a surprise to you that most will not want to rent your unit if they cannot plug in a TV and refridgerator.  Or it may not. Plumbing.  It may also come as a surprise to you that not only would most tenants enjoy a good shower and functioning toilet, but the law generally requires it. Gas and heating.  People don’t like to be...

Posted by on in Property Management
Having been on MFI for two years now, I feel that there is a need for another perspective that most Insiders do not see.  Most everyone here has been on the leasing end so long that the feelings and needs of the tenants is more theoretical as opposed to someone who has lived in apartments most of their life.The word COMMUNITY is misused frequently here as it is not meant to be a grouping of people with a common thread (they all live at the same complex), but community to me is human interaction and exchange of ideas amongst residents of a community they call home.Ask yourself, "What have we done to promote COMMUNITY and distinguish our property from the rest?"  If the answer is a great pool, playground, fitness center or clubhouse, you are missing the meaning of community.  A better question may be, "What have we done to build relationships with our tenants and improve their social interactions?"  WHile a small percentage of people want to be shut-ins and not talk with anyone, I have found that most people want to meet others that they have something in common with.  Where they live is a great first thing to have in common.Interactions with tenants should not start off, "Yes?" or "Can I help you?" but should be, "Hi!  How are you doing today? Dis you see the new shrubbery we put along the fencing last week?"  Create a friendly environment for them to talk freely and work WITH you...

Posted by on in Property Management
By Salvatore J. Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA Having to make repairs to your rental property should not come as a surprise. For some reason most owners drop the ball when it comes to handling maintenance requests from their tenants. Some owners struggle to understand the importance of addressing repair issues in a timely fashion. They fail to realize how the lack of maintenance affects the condition of their property and ultimately the quality of tenants the property attracts. The owner, not realizing that every rental property regardless of age will have its fair share of plumbing leaks, electrical problems, water heater issues, and broken appliances will either let maintenance repairs linger or handle them in a poor fashion. Repairs should not to be confused with the normal upkeep such as cleaning, changing light bulbs or plunging a clogged toilet. These issues are the responsibility of the tenant. Repairs can be considered anything a licensed bonded contractor should take care of such as; plumbing, electrical, appliance repair, heating/cooling, flooring, & construction. These types of repairs are best left to the professionals and when handled appropriately, exhibit the owner’s willingness to resolve repair issues properly and in a timely fashion. In some cases a handyman can be useful and worth the small fee to resolve minor repairs. Now, if you normally handle repair issues yourself and have the knowledge and experience to do so then that becomes a judgment call, but most owners would rather sit back and...

Posted by on in Property Management
By Peter Lamandre, Better By Design Real Estate, Scranton, PA I was out and about this week and while on the interstate I pulled behind a contractor that had a QR code on the back of their tow trailer. While I applaud them for embracing an emerging technology, it occurred to me that that may not be the best application of a QR Code. Some of you are probably wondering, “What the heck is a QR Code?” QR code is an acronym meaning Quick Response code. It seems as though QR codes are the latest rage in advertising. But what are they? Without getting into the computer advantages of using QR codes versus standard bar codes; they are in essence a 2D bar code allowing you to pack a large amount of information in a small space. The QR code was invented by a subsidiary of Toyota in the mid 1990s for tracking parts during shipment. The format of the code allowed machines to quickly scan and track parts on a conveyor belt and route their destination accordingly. Fast forward 20+ years and with the proliferation of smartphones with cameras what was once a way to track machine parts is now the hottest new way to pack more advertising into smaller spaces. Would you rather see this… FOR RENT 3 BR, 1BA ½ double $xxx/mo plus utils call for details XYZ Management, Inc maybe with a picture, a phone number perhaps a website, etc. or A single image that when scanned...

Posted by on in Property Management
Have you noticed the little yellow review stars appearing in Google search results?   Google is picking up reviews from various places on the web, and inserting them into the RESULTS pages. This means that, before a prospect even decides to click on your website, they are seeing a rating of your community— assuming one exists.  I don’t know about you, but those little stars influence what I click on! Historically apartment communities have had a policy to ignore reviews in regards to online reputation management (ORM).   However, it is important to take the opportunity to listen— and even respond— to what residents are saying online because the conversation is happening whether you choose to participate or not. What is ORM? Online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility. A recent survey conducted in the UK and US found that 69% of respondents trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  So what are you doing to monitor your reputation? Where to find online reviews: With about 855,000 apartment ratings and reviews ApartmentRatings.com is the largest and most comprehensive apartment ratings website.  Reaching approximately 30% of apartment hunters nationwide, it is among the Top 5 most-visited apartment hunting sites in the world. ApartmentGrade.com, a Coralville, Iowa-based site offers a different rating methodology. It doesn’t invite renters to air gripes, but instead actively polls residents about staff, living conditions and...

Posted by on in Property Management
Every now and then, a tenant offers to make repairs to the unit he’s living in. Often, such offers are made in exchange for rent (in other words, the cost of the repairs is deducted from the monthly rental rate). In other instances, the tenant simply wants certain upgrades in his unit (a new paint job, removed carpet, etc.) and offers to do them himself. The argument for this is that the tenant can enjoy a place that “feels like home” and you reap the rewards of these upgrades once the tenant vacates the unit. Clearly, there can be benefits to this sort of situation: You receive property upgrades at a reduced (or negated) cost, and your tenant gets to customize the unit to his own preferences. Unfortunately, though, there can also be some pitfalls. All too often in these scenarios, tenants are not qualified to complete these upgrades or updates up to par. The result is unfinished or sub par work that ultimately becomes your responsibility to rectify. Not only this, but such deals can also result in sticky financial situations and—in extreme situations—legal problems. Let’s say that one of your long-time tenants wants to repaint his living room from the standard white all of your units are painted in to a more colorful rustic red. You agree that the color would suit the space well and tell your tenant can deduct the price of paint and labor from his next rent payment. When the first of the next month...

Posted by on in Property Management
To generate more rental income, it’s sometimes necessary to put a little work into your property. If a potential renter is comparing your property to a similar, less expensive property, the renter will need to be able to easily identify those aspects (whether it’s aesthetics or features) that make your unit worth more than the competition’s. Depending on where you’re starting from and where you want to go, upgrades may consist of as little as some simple “rejuvenation” projects or, alternatively, some larger-scale renovations. Generally speaking, your bathroom and kitchen are two key areas that play a large role in making or breaking the value of your rental unit as compared to competitors’. All other factors being equal (such as size and location), chances are most renters will select the unit with a nicer looking or more upgraded bathroom or kitchen. Many renters will even be willing to pay a bit more if there is a noticeable difference or greater utility in one or both of these two rooms. In other words, these are the first places you should make improvements if you want to command additional rental income for your property. What does this mean exactly? Let’s take a look. Renovation There’s not really any way around it—complete renovation of a bathroom or kitchen (appliances, lighting, tiling, fixtures, etc.) will cost you a few thousand dollars. However, it will also likely pay off in the form of a higher rent rate. Consider a renter who is looking at your apartment...

Posted by on in Property Management
“A fool is someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.” -Oscar Wilde We live in a world that seems to focus on price— not value. Price is only one factor in a buying decision. What we often don’t realize is that we make value-based buying decisions every day. We buy our clothes, cars and food based on the perceived value that we get from what we purchase. A recent Harvard University study revealed that buyers want more than a “cheap price”. In fact, only 1 out of 6 buyers are true price shoppers. The study also showed that most price objections that salespeople encounter are self-inflicted; meaning salespeople are more concerned about price than customers. In fact, buyers rated price 7.2 (on a 10-point scale), while salespeople rated it price 8.3. Who’s making the bigger deal about the selling price? As a true sales professional, it is your job to determine what the prospect values. Sometimes, higher prices can actually be considered a selling advantage. A higher cost creates a perception of higher quality or a "cut above". Top Leasing Professionals welcome a price difference because it gives them an opportunity to demonstrate how good their product is and how great they really are! Leasing professionals who employ value-added selling techniques sell 3 things: Themselves Living is selling. Start from childhood and remember all the sales you made. You worked up a sales pitch to get your parents to raise your allowance, buy you a nicer...

Posted by on in Property Management
As a property manager, you have a great resource that shouldn’t go untapped right at your fingertips: your tenants. For as well as you know your property, most property managers don’t actually live on-site. Because of this, your tenants are more qualified than anyone else to provide insights into potentially beneficial changes, improvements, and upgrades that can make your property more appealing—and perhaps even more valuable. You can solicit information from tenants in a number of ways: through an old-fashioned suggestion box either on-site or at your property management office, through an online form, or through a questionnaire for tenants to fill out upon move-out (or at any other point during their residency at your property, for that matter). In addition to all this, when it comes to encouraging tenants to share their thoughts and suggestions, property managers may want to consider taking a cue from condo associations. Hosting forums on an annual or bi-annual basis for tenants to submit ideas for changes and/or to vote on potential changes you are considering rolling out at your property is a great way to not only receive important feedback, but also to bring tenants together to brainstorm and share ideas that you may have never even considered. Though you have the ultimate say about what does or does not happen at your rental property, receiving this sort of organic feedback can lead you in the right direction, providing a lot of insight into what tenants do and do not want to see happen...

Posted by on in Property Management
Example Tenant Welcome KitUsing travel-sized toiletries and cleaning items, one can create a unique tenant welcome gift that can create a lasting impression, especially during those hectic first few days of move in.  To choose what to put in the gift basket of goodies, one must think like a new tenant, whose stuff is still boxed up, but everyday things need to get done from the moment of arrival.  Some helpful tasks and accompanying products to include are: Laundry: Include a single use laundry detergent, bleach, and fabric softener to help get that first emergency laundry load underway Cleaning: Even with a professional cleaning, new tenants may want to clean certain things, or even clean their own stuff as they unpack it and set it up.  Thus, include a travel size cleaning solution, paper towels, and Lysol. Dishes: Cleaning that first round of dishes before being fully unpacked can require certain items, so include a sponge, washcloths, liquid dish soap, and a packet for the dishwasher (if there is one). Bathroom:  You could include the typical toiletries, but odds are, those have been prioritized in the packing and you don’t need to provide for emergency supplies (and, those tend to be more brand-specific to each person’s tastes).  Thus, a hand sanitizer can be helpful, and a travel sized roll of toilet paper for move-in day. Miscellaneous: Tape is always needed when moving, and not just when packing up.  Thus, a travel sized roll of duct tape (which is more versatile than packing tape) can...