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Property Management

- Blog posts tagged in Property Management

Posted by on in Property Management
By Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL As a professional property management company we have found that one of the most difficult concepts for rental property owners to grasp is the true cost of vacancy.  Investors who have been in the rental game for a while understand that in almost all cases the greatest expense they will experience over the life of their investment property will be the cost of vacancy due to lost rent and preparing the property between tenants.  100% of our managed properties have or will go through a vacancy and prep period.  Based upon our experience in managing this process literally thousands of times we provide the following advice to our property owners to help minimize the costs associated with turning around the property and to expedite the placement of a new tenant to begin collecting rental income again. Get started now.  The worst thing that can be done is to wait for any particular task to be completed before starting on the next.  The game plan should be in place the day the tenant vacates the property.  Vendors should be ready to come in and provide quotes, marketing efforts should be getting put into place, and a firm deadline for completion of the necessary clean-up/repairs should be determined. Get your utilities in order – Make sure your utility accounts are in order as soon as your tenant leaves.  Nothing is as frustrating as having the carpet cleaners or painters show up to an empty...

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
For those looking for a new career in the Apartment Industry, or Property Management Companies needing to post job openings, I have created a list of websites I have been using. Americasjobexchange.com AAGDallas.com (Apartment Association of Greater Dallas) Apartmentcareers.com Apartmentcareerhq.org Apartmentjobs.org Apartmentjobz.com Backpage.com Bright.com Careerbuilder.com Careerfield.org Craigslist.com         Getpropertymanagementjobs.com Getthejob.com Ihirerealestate.com Indeed.com Job.com Jobfox.com Job-search-engine.com Jobster.com Locljobboard.com Monster.com  (AKA – hotjobs.com)    Oodle.com (AKA – facebook.com) Pmjobs.com  (AKA – apartmentjobs.com) Propertymanagerjobs.com Resumebucket.com        Salesgravy.com Simplyhired.com  ...

Posted by on in Property Management
I am issuing three main challenges to all of you today, I call it “GAB.”  We can all impact our business in a big way by focusing more time and attention on these three concepts:  Growth-The primary measure of our success is our ability to consistently grow our profits.  Many opportunities exist today and most of these are with our current residents and clients.  These customers want us to deliver quality and value for their rental dollars, and continue to build, acquire, and keep clean, manicured quality communities.  We must listen to our customers, understand their needs and wants, and provide more of the service they desire.  As we do this, we will discover the vehicles that provide growth beyond today’s base business.  This growth will in turn provide personal growth opportunities for all team members.  This growth helps lead us to our goal:  To be a leading player in our marketplace. Accountability-One concern in our business today is a lack of accountability.  Our business is not complicated.  Job duties and responsibilities are well defined.  What is missing is consistent follow-up and measurement against expectations. As team members, we must expect more accountability and ownership from each other, throughout our business.  Going forward we will all be accountable.  Better Business-Finally, we need to find business models that result in a more efficient business.  The good thing about this is that there are many great ideas already out there! Start looking at successful companies outside of property management in order to be...

Posted by on in Property Management
We often get so wrapped up in what amenities we are offering at our apartment communities, that we often simply overlook the experience we want to create!  So instead of offering a unique lifestyle at our communities, we instead often offer a bland one size fits all experience.   If your only plan to create an "experience" at your community is to label it as "luxury", you might want to reconsider how you plan on making your residents fall in love with your property!  This video went a little longer than I anticipated, so sit back with a cup of joe and enjoy!  (or not enjoy, if you think I am crazy...) Want to connect with me?  Add me as a friend on my profile and friend me on Facebook!...

Posted by on in Property Management
The worst thing we can do for someone's development is to discourage them; especially to discourage someone who makes progress, no matter how slow it is. -MMD The way you look at someone and the tone of voice you use may be discouraging your staff and causing damage beyond repair. Perceptions lead to, stem from and essentially are opinions and while inevitable, can be damaging on so many levels if made public.  You are who you are, you do what you do, you say what you say and that’s why this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Artists push boundaries, scientists imagine the unimaginable, comedians identify the humor in in everything and why should you be any different?  Why do we obsess over what other people think?  What good would it do if we conformed and masked our true self? I agree that not all behavior is appropriate for the workplace so please don’t misinterpret the meaning behind this post.  Don’t lose sight of your customer and the level of service necessary to keep them.  On the same token, don’t lose sight of who YOU are and the level of acceptance YOU need to keep growing. Bob Dylan, Jim Carrey, Lady Gaga, Jeff Dunham, Eminem…I could go on for hours.  Do they offend you?  People’s perceptions dictate popularity.  No wait, they don’t.  Ok well technically they do.  Majority rules right?  I’m sure many of you reading this will answer yes to the question above and many of you may answer...

Posted by on in Property Management
Keeping records on hand is important for a number of financial and legal reasons. Just because you’ve paid off an account or a tenant has vacated a unit, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never have cause to deal with these vendors or individuals again. Whether it’s for taxes, future loan applications, or legal issues down the line, you always want to be sure you have access to the information you need at any future point. Following are a few things to keep in mind about keeping records. What kind of records do I need to hang on to? As a business owner you will want to hang on to records that pertain to: Personnel Tenants Financial transactions (both payments received and payments made) Property-related information (both your properties and your clients) Insurance Legal documentation Audit documentation How long should I keep records for? The answer is: It depends. While the default answer for this question tends to be “seven years,” that is only the case in certain instances. Different types of records should be kept for different periods of time. Standard time periods include one year, three years, seven years, and, in some cases, permanently. As it relates specifically to property management, you will want to keep the following information for these specific periods of time: One Year Employee applications Purchase orders Meeting minutes Three Years Banking records Expired insurance policies Correspondence (with clients, tenants, real estate agencies, vendors, etc.) Internal audits Seven Years Accident reports/claims Accounts payable ledgers Accounts receivable...

Posted by on in Property Management
If you own or manage multifamily residential units--apartments, condominiums, student housing, affordable housing, manufactured homes, or military housing--you are probably involved in utility billing in some fashion.  Utility expenses for these types of properties can be substantial so most owners look for effective ways to manage these costs. The Master-Metered Complex Predicament It's common for multi-tenant commercial and multi-residential properties to be "master-metered."  Master-metered properties receive a single utility bill that includes consumption for several tenants.  The problem with master-metered properties is that there's no way to bill tenants for their actual usage. This has led owners to use different methods to divide utility bills so that they can recoup the tenants' share of the overall utility expense.  In fact, transitioning a multifamily complex from owner-paid utilities to tenant-paid utilities can be one of the fastest ways to boost net operating income (NOI). Utility billing is usually managed in two ways: Internally by owners and property managers Externally by a third party utility billing service provider. While some owners prefer to manage utility billing "in-house," billing providers have invested extensively in software tools and technologies to streamline the process so that it is efficient, affordable, and well-supported.  Multifamily utility billing is a task that can successfully be outsourced, saving property owners and managers significant time, effort, and money. Choose A Billing Provider Wisely As with any outsourced service, you'll want to pick a provider carefully.  Common industry problems include: Inaccurate and late resident bills Unresponsive customer service for residents and...

Posted by on in Property Management
As smartphones rapidly flood the market, businesses are increasingly looking for ways to bring their companies and processes mobile. Androids, iPhones, and Blackberries all allow users to perform a variety of processes straight from their mobile phones by incorporating functionality that was primarily limited to PCs just a few years ago. Though there is conflicting information out there regarding the degree to which smartphones have permeated the market (Nielson estimates that one out of every two Americans will own a smartphone by the end of 2011 while Forrester Research estimated that only 17 percent of Americans had smartphones in September 2010), there’s still no denying that mobile is the wave of the future. It’s important to at least begin thinking about how this technology will ultimately fit into your business plan. When it comes to apps, the sky’s the limit. You can build an app that will allow potential tenants to search your rental listings. Or, alternatively, you can build an app for tenants (this makes more sense for larger property management companies) to communicate with you, find information, file requests, or even make payments. According to BusinessInsider.com, when deciding to build an app, it’s important to consider three main questions: What is the key benefit I want users to get from using this app? What other apps exist that are competitive and why will mine be different? What is this app going to do for my business? For some ideas on how property managers are already using apps, be sure...

Posted by on in Property Management
I find it difficult to watch people fail at something they are supposed to be an ‘expert’ in.  If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.  You CAN do ANYTHING.  Shoot for perfection EVERY time! Do you claim to be proficient in something, but you really just know enough to fake it? Stop doing that! Look at your resume.  Are you pretending to be someone you’re not?  How many things do you claim to be proficient in, but just know the basics?  I’d be willing to bet at least one. So why shouldn’t you exaggerate even a little?  I’ll give you 3 reasons. Prove it:  The phone interview went great, you met with the corporate office and finally you have to take a skills test based on the claims to fame you included on your resume.  What do you think the test scores are going to reveal?  Do you see the offer letter slipping away?  Be true to yourself and the company you are trying to become a part of. I need this at 9am:  So you faked it well enough to pass the skills test and fool your new boss.  Now comes the real test.  A huge project is due at 9am.  Your boss comes to you at end of business and says ‘I heard you know ______ really well.  I need you to finish this project so I can present it in the morning.  Thanks Jones, you’re a real life saver!’  Fortunately, you’ve got all night to figure out what...