I've never worked in Ontario. Well, good luck with turn up there!
It's fairly common to have a September 1st move in Ontario. Also with dorms and on campus housing th...

Training Trivia

Incorporating social media into your marketing and resident retention efforts is good practice for all student communities.

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Property Management

- Blog posts tagged in Property Management

Posted by on in Property Management
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) exists to ensure that all potential tenants are given an equal opportunity to obtain residency. This anti-discrimination policy means that, as a landlord, you are not allowed to base tenancy at your property upon any of the following factors, including: age, race, color, religion, familial status, or handicap. This law is straightforward enough; however, there are certain common instances in which landlords find themselves inadvertently in violation of this act. A common slip-up that can potentially lead to legal troubles down the line is searching for a certain “type” of tenant based upon your property’s location, amenities, or general pre-existing demographic. Consider the following scenario.  As clearly stated in the FHA, you cannot base your decision upon whether or not to accept a tenant on their situation or life circumstances. For example, even if you prefer to rent to students, you absolutely cannot refuse to rent an available unit to a family of three simply because they are a family rather than a single student. Remember, though, the average tenant wants to find a living situation that is comfortable for them. In the above scenario, for example, if you have a ten-unit complex that is primarily occupied by students, chances are other students (as opposed to families or young professionals) are going to be most enticed by your property. To achieve maximum visibility among this target demographic, you should place advertisements in outlets that cater to the university population in your area—school-affiliated publications, websites and bulletin boards at local college...

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s a fact: Some neighborhoods are more safe than others. It’s also true that while a neighborhood may be quite safe at the time you purchase an investment property, things can go downhill at any time (happily, this phenomenon can work in the opposite direction as well). To make things even trickier, high crime rates aren’t necessarily limited to “bad” areas. Sometimes crime can trickle into nicer areas from surrounding neighborhoods, which is why it’s important to really do your homework before investing in a property—some hazards are simply not immediately obvious. If, for any of these reasons (or completely different ones), you find yourself with a property in an area that is suffering from regular criminal activity, there are steps you can take to help make your property a safer place for tenants to reside. Form a Neighborhood Watch ProgramThis is one of our favorite options, because it goes beyond just protecting your property and tackles the larger issue—making your entire neighborhood a safer, more enticing place to live. The results of accomplishing this are huge for you and include increasing property value and potentially lowering vacancy rates. If your neighborhood does not already have a Neighborhood Watch Program, it does take some effort to start up but, again, the payoff is big. Begin by advertising the group to neighbors through fliers and notices in local publications (such as alternative weekly newspapers and online publications), and through social networking services. Once you have interest, set up a meeting and devise...

Posted by on in Property Management
Having a business plan will enable new property management companies and property managers encourage loans and promote growth. A formal business plan is just as important for an established property management company as it is for a new company.What is a Business Plan?A business plan is your firm's resume. It defines who you are, what your goals are and what is your revenue model.  A business plan aligns employees, sales personnel and vendors with the company's goals and operational procedures. A good business plan helps you make good business decisions in allocating resources and handling unexpected situations.  A good business plan should include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow analysis.Why Write a Business Plan?A Business Plan is an important document in any loan application because it provides organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money. A good business plan serves as a blueprint of your organization for outside management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, funding, credit from suppliers, and achievement of your goals and objectives.Before you begin writing your business plan, consider four core questions:Don't rush into a New Business Venture without answering these questions: * What is the Nature of your service or product?* What Needs does your business fill?* Who are the potential customers for your product or service? * Why will they purchase it from you?* How will you reach your potential customers?* Where will you get the financial resources to...

Posted by on in Property Management
Gone are the days when going green was a cutting-edge, leftist notion. With environmental issues at the forefront of the media, going green is now firmly in the mainstream, quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception. Even with all of these new, more eco-friendly options on the market, the truth of the matter is that completely greening your properties and your business in one fell swoop can be an expensive endeavor up-front (though most green measures will likely save you money in the long-run). Our suggestion? Take small measures over time that won’t break the bank in the short-run, will save you money in the long run, and will make you feel great about doing your part in the process. AppliancesInstalling energy-efficient appliances in your properties (dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) is a great way of incorporating greener, more energy-efficient elements into your properties. Not only will your property be more energy efficient by using less water and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions, but you can also cut down significantly on utility bills by using water and energy more efficiently. Speaking of saving money, you can save some cash up front with energy efficient appliances as well. Rebates are often available for ENERGY STAR certified products, of which there are many. Not only do energy efficient appliances offer you the chance to be greener and save on utilities, but they’re also something that (sooner or later) you need to purchase anyway. You don’t have to break the bank by going out and...

Posted by on in Property Management
If there’s one document in property management that simply has to reviewed (and updated as necessary) on a regular basis, it’s your lease. This is, after all, the document that will ultimately determine your rights and protect your best interests when it comes to issues both big and small.  Because you’re dealing with a host of rules and regulations on the federal, state, and local levels, it’s imperative that you not only adjust your lease as necessary when laws change, but also that you’re in compliance and protected on all three fronts. If you’re not proficient in legalese, chances are reviewing your lease (and, moreover, identifying those elements that need to be changed) is a daunting endeavor at best. Following are some tips and best practices for keeping your lease up-to-date and your best interests protected on an ongoing basis. Hiring Legal CounselYes, this can be a somewhat expensive option. However, consider the fact that a water-tight lease can potentially spare you legal costs of a far more unpleasant variety in the future and additionally saves you a ton of time (as compared to reviewing and revising a lease on your own). Suddenly, the cost of hiring a legal professional to review your lease becomes a far more appealing option. If you do choose to take this route and don’t already have a trusted lawyer in your contact base, talk with real estate and property management professionals for references to proven lawyers that specialize in such matters. Professional or Association Meetings and SeminarsTaking part...

Posted by on in Property Management
As a business consultant to the apartment industry, I am asked a LOT, "What's fair leasing agent compensation? Is their a leasing commission structure you would recommend?" There is no easy or short answer to this question, so let's take a round about way of discuss it. I find it a little backwards when people want to know what OTHER properties or OTHER management companies are doing when it comes to leasing agent compensation. I never say it out loud, but I'm always thinking, "What's it worth to YOU?" (as owner/manager) AND, "What's it worth to THEM?" (your leasing agent/leasing specialist)  What do I mean by that? FIRST, let's first talk about the REAL problem - VACANCY. I don't have a vacancy problem! Well, then, you shouldn't worry about leasing agent compensation then! OK, OK. Let's talk about vacancy... TO make it easy, let's say we're talking about ABC Apartments. They have 100 units. Their average rents are $1000.00/unit. Prior to the rental market taking a downward turn, ABC Apartments has been running along great, apartments never took very long to lease, and they had been at 97% occupancy for many years. Fast forward to today, they are at 88% physical occupancy, which means they are at 12% vacancy. All of the sudden, they are struggling with just staying ahead of the renewals and turnover. Increasing the occupancy in the midst of the resident turnover looks very daunting. Let's do the math. At 97% occupancy, the vacancy loss is: (Average Apartment Rents) x (# of Vacant...

Posted by on in Property Management
"Forget about fictional, glitter-skinned teen vampires. You’re far more likely to have your blood sucked by bed bugs." So says Lynn Bruno, of MSNBC.com. CHEEZ'N'RICE! The story captured my attention when I was listening to the news this morning, and my interest was piqued because I've chuckled every time I've seen  a reference to "BedBugs" in property management. I know this is not my usual topic, but wow...Victoria's Secret has bedbugs? That's just freaky and thought it would spark some interesting chatter on the matter.. Check this out..."Despite several widely reported closures of retail stores and office buildings in New York City, infestations are still far more common in apartments and condominiums, single-family homes and hotels and motels. They're also turning up in some surprising places, such as public transit, laundromats and movie theaters." The article talks about how the sneaky critters are spreading so rapidly across the United States that almost no region or area is unbitten. The article researcher talks about the amazing number of people who think that the bed-bug hype is some kind of folklore. Not true. As multifamily property managers...do you guys have BedBugs stories? Please, share...not the bedbugs, just the stories. Read on. Man...now I'm itching to take a shower. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38382427/ns/health-more_health_news...

Posted by on in Property Management
Affordable Housing: What is it? How can we, as vendor/ associates, better serve the needs of these managers? Recently, during a conversation I was having with a new Atlanta Apartment Association member, I was asked what exactly it means when someone refers to a Community as Affordable or Tax-Credit. This individual was under the impression that these properties were essentially low income properties in undesirable neighborhoods with like deferred maintenance issues! I am familiar with many communities which fall into the Affordable Housing category that are newer, attractive A properties in very desirable locations. I hope to shed some light on this important component to our industry. The difference between these Affordable/ Tax-Credit properties and their Conventional Market-rate competitors is that the developer/ owner of the property will receive a Low Income Tax Credit Benefit to provide housing to those earning below a certain wage. There are many variations of this; some properties may be 80% Affordable Units and 20% Market Units. Some properties may receive Government subsidies for the rent as assistance to its residents.  These communities are heavily regulated by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) and by DCA (Department of Community Affairs) for their compliance within the legal guideline of the program. Many of the AAA Owner/ Manager companies across Atlanta and beyond manage Affordable Properties. A few of these are Aderhold Properties, Lincoln, Vista Realty Partners, Walton Communities, Signature Management, Ambling and Wood Partners who has management of some of their communities but also hire Third...

Posted by on in Property Management
A few days ago I was on the receiving end of some particularly poor customer service. Know the feeling? Yuck! I have such a poor taste in my mouth I may not shop at Macy’s again for a whole month! But seriously, I was reading on MultiFamily Insiders and came across this interesting topic in their archived discussions relating to the Customer Service aptitude of Associates. The discussion was about the challenges with getting into contact with Owner Managers, beginning conversations and obtaining appointments. An associate felt he had a legitimate service or product to offer and that he was being disrespected by a particular Decision Maker that he was calling on. He did not know this customer. He wasn’t getting a return phone call. From what I could gather, this particular vendor did not seem to have any empathy for the person from whom he was attempting to gain business. It is Associates such as these that telephone every single day, refuse to take no for an answer, etc. that send Owner Manager’s seeking cover. You may not catch the Owner Manager today, next week or next month but if you do not operate with a Customer Service Aptitude you will never earn their business. I love what Jen Piccotti, an industry colleague on the west coast, had to say on the topic! “I guess it comes down to this - we can't control those around us, we can only control ourselves and our own interactions. I choose to approach...

Posted by on in Property Management
Do you think your day was stressful? Let’s stop for a moment to consider those extreme situations some property managers find themselves in. It’s often hard to personalize truly disastrous situations but when you think about it, there were faces behind those properties that were destroyed during natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the raging fires that ripped through Southern California in 2007. While it’s likely you will never find yourself or your property in such extreme situations, there are lessons in both of these cases that can be taken and applied to more run-of-the-mill property management situations. Hurricane Katrina and InsuranceWe are all familiar with the images of the destruction Hurricane Katrina left in her wake—thousands of homes and buildings completely demolished and the families who lived in them homeless, with all of their property destroyed. Good thing insurance exists … right? Well, according to an October 2007 article in National Real Estate Investor Online, one of the many hurdles which New Orleans faced in its ongoing rebuilding process was the fact that insurance premiums went through the roof, completely out-pricing many property managers when it came to getting back in the game. Not only did insurance premiums go up in New Orleans, says the article, but also “In coastal areas from Texas to Boston, insurers have raised premiums.” What can possibly be gleaned from this situation outside of how unfortunate the repercussions of Katrina have been? Namely, the fact that insurance is a critical part of owning and managing a...