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Property Management

- Blog posts tagged in Property Management

Posted by on in Property Management
Determining a career path in the property management industry can be a challenge.  We start in one position.  We wind up doing really well at it and then it comes time for a possible promotion.  With a promotion, may also bring the necessity to demonstrate leadership qualities in one way or another.  The typical problem that pops us is that many professionals are not fully prepared for the roles they are being asked to take on.  Do we really know how to manage people?  Do we understand how to handle group dynamics?  Do we have the ability to make decisions we can stick by through thick and thin.  As we move through our career path it is so important to analyze ourselves and see what kind of leadership and management styles we have currently and ones that we can be developing.  Below are some examples.   The Visionary The visionary shares their goals with the group and team. They give clear direction of where to go but don't necessarily give directions on how to get there. They share information and impart their knowledge and experience onto others. The Visionary Leadership style can create a company culture that facilitates directional changes. Evaluate your team and determine if a visionary style would motivate them to think and work more independently.  Not everyone may be able to work independently.  Balance is needed when using this approach.  The visionary is focused on helping the group to reach a proper conclusion. The Coach Are you a...

Posted by on in Property Management
First impressions can either take you a long way or stop you before you’ve even passed go. And when it comes to clients (both potential business associates and potential tenants), their first impression of you may very well involve your office. While it’s not necessary to spend a ton of money creating a luxurious office setting, it is important that everything is functional and presentable. Following are some low-maintenance tips that will help you and your office put a professional first foot forward. 1. Clear signage.Your client’s first impression of your office may well begin before he even sets foot through your front door. Make sure that your office space is clearly marked from the exterior so that customers can easily identify it and start things off on the right note. 2. Showcase yourself.Your office is a great place to do some self-promotion. Lining your walls with professional looking photographs of some of your most appealing properties and any awards or certificates you have sends great visual cues to potential clients. 3. Make space.Even if your office is a small space that is occupied only by you, be sure that you have some sort of seating option for clients. This can be as simple as a single, comfortable chair on the opposite side of your desk. But it is important that there is a place—whether it be just a chair or a conference table—where your client can sit down and make herself comfortable. 4. Points for hospitality.Putting potential clients at ease and making them as comfortable as...

Posted by on in Property Management
You go to a fast food place, the receipt asks you to take a survey. You go to the store, the receipt asks you to take a survey. You go to the dentist, a survey shows up in your inbox the next morning. You stay at a hotel, there's a survey at your bedside. "What's it all for?" you might ask. The real purpose of any feedback program is to identify areas of strength in order to leverage them more effectively and also to identify weaknesses in order to improve. Rewarding proven success in improving the customer experience over time can be a great motivator for individuals and teams to get creative and take pride in their service delivery. However, too much focus on the reward aspect can place a team's focus on the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. Two recent personal examples: 1. During a recent stay at a hotel on an overnight business trip, I encountered a minor inconvenience in my room. It was a slight disappointment, but overall it was a pleasant and comfortable stay. When I returned home, I found a link to a hotel satisfaction survey in my inbox. I completed my survey, giving highest marks across the board with the exception of one small ding. I explained my minor disappointment in the comment box and also emphasized the fact that it really was very minor.  In less than 30 minutes I received a response from the hotel manager apologizing for the inconvenience...

Posted by on in Property Management
Time is of the essence in the property management business. Let’s face it, there are just never enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. So, for many, the notion of taking time out for training and other sorts of continued education (whether it be about real estate rules and regulations or maintenance tasks) seems like a nice idea, but also completely unrealistic. When considering such matters, though, it’s important to apply a bit of foresight to the decision-making process. Following are just a few examples of common property management scenarios where spending time up front might just save you a whole lot of time (and sometimes money) in the long-run. Computer and Software Training Incorporating financial and record-keeping software into your property management program can save you a ton of time in the long run, whittling formerly drawn-out tasks such as rent collection, payment recording, and maintenance tracking down to just a few clicks of the mouse. But installing new property management software and learning how to navigate it can be a daunting prospect. Taking time to learn the ins and outs of navigating office software that automates tasks and keeps electronic records is always time well spent. You’ll literally save yourself hundreds of hours down the line. Learning Basic DIY Tasks Having a stable of good repairmen to call when the need arises is crucial to keeping your tenants happy. And, certainly, you should always call in the experts when it comes to major or complex repairs. But...

Posted by on in Property Management
As each year goes by, more and more people utilize iPhones and BlackBerrys. With all of this instantaneous email access, communication skews a little more toward email all the time. Certainly, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but it is important to evaluate which situations are most appropriately handled with email and which ones call for a good old-fashioned phone call. Phone: Making a connection. It’s basic, but it’s worth noting—if face-to-face interaction isn’t possible, a phone call is the next best way to make a lasting first impression. Emails are great for a lot of reasons, but they do not allow for the voice inflections and dynamic back-and-forth that phone calls offer. When you’re dealing with a new client or discussing potentially tricky matters, a phone call is often the best route to take. It personalizes interactions and allows you put more personality behind your words. Not only do phone calls allow you to sell yourself, but they can also provide a valuable first impression of potential tenants and may help you determine whether or not they are the type of renter you’re seeking out for your property. Email: Documenting information. Emails are great for record keeping. When it comes to dealing with vendors, accounting issues, and legal matters, emails create a clear trail of regulations, promises, deadlines, and other important information. As noted above, tricky situations should be handled with a phone call, but it pays to follow up with an email reiterating key points when specific information is disseminated....

Posted by on in Property Management
Over the months, we’ve discussed the value of many different types of technology: websites, Twitter, and social networking sites like Facebook. But one thing we haven’t yet looked at is YouTube. Have you considered including YouTube videos into your online marketing strategy? Well, here are a few reasons you might want to. Save yourself some time. Photographs are a near-essential part of any rental listing. With a text-only listing, it’s often difficult for would-be renters to distinguish from one property to the next and, therefore, your units are at a disadvantage from the start.  But even photographs are sometimes misleading. Based on angling and point of focus, it’s possible to (either strategically or inadvertently) make a rental unit appear much different than it actually looks. Videos allow potential tenants to obtain a more realistic feel for what a given unit really looks like. As opposed to photographs, videos can provide a potential tenant with a realistic vision of the layout of a unit, its size and, if you’re feeling really ambitious, exterior and building features. Providing this sort of “advance preview” means that you can save yourself a lot of time by paring apartment showings down to those who are really interested in putting in an application on your unit, saving you a lot of time in the long run by allowing you to hone in on serious potential renters. Show off your stuff. Because videos inherently provide a more all-encompassing, realistic preview of your units, they allow you to demonstrate...

Posted by on in Property Management
As of today, April 22, 2010, all contractors that work on pre-1978 homes and may disturb paint through their work MUST become a Certified Renovator and the firm they work for must become a Certified Firm through the EPA.This rule affects painters, carpenters, plumbers, handymen, restoration companies, property management firms that do their own repairs.The EPA is fining $32,500 per day per violation and they are serious about enforcement.  If a building takes out a permit for work you can bet your are on a list for enforcement personnel to stop by to make sure the RRP Standards are being followed. [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjqcjjrfM0g 433x300] To learn more visit:   www.PuroCleanChicago.blogspot.com...

Posted by on in Property Management
Juggling and staying on top of the frequently changing federal, state, and local laws that apply to rental housing is one of the trickiest tasks you’ll have to master as a property manager. At the top of the list of housing regulations you must abide by are equal housing rules and regulations as determined and enforced by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). As always with rules and regulations, it’s imperative you stay on top of regulations as they’re subject to change. With that in mind, following are some basic equal opportunity housing rules and regulations that every landlord should be aware of. The Civil Rights and Fair Housing Act mandate that landlords may not discriminate against potential tenants based on their race, color, familial status, or handicap. It’s important to note that, under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to refuse rent to families with small children, based on that fact. (For more information and tips for renting to families with kids, check out our previous blog post.) The Equal Credit Opportunity Act also applies to landlords, as it makes discrimination unlawful “with respect to any aspects of a credit application on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program.” Additional anti-discrimination rules apply to those properties that have received federal funding. For instance, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, HUD enforces...

Posted by on in Property Management
One of the biggest challenges for property managers is staying on top of all the tasks they have to do in a given day. What with unit inspections, apartment showings, incoming and outgoing payments, resolving maintenance requests, signing leases, and responding to various queries, it’s all too easy to look at the clock at the end of the day and wonder where all the time went. Following are a few tips to help you make the most of each and every day. 1. Stay Organized Sometimes it can feel like there’s no time to actually get organized. But the truth of the matter is, no matter how time-pressed you are, investing in organizational time is almost always worth it in the long run. Time saved trying to locate paperwork, contact information, financial records on your computer, or any other number of other items adds up quickly. Creating a system of organization (the more automated the better) will allow you to perform all your duties in a more streamlined fashion … which ultimately results in a whole lot of time saved. 2. Prioritize Some days you may have to choose between getting one or two time-consuming tasks done versus completing a number of smaller tasks. Whatever the case, it’s most important that you use your time wisely. Take stock of your task list and check items off not according to the amount of time they’ll take, but by which issues must be resolved most immediately. 3. Stay on Task There’s no doubt...

Posted by on in Property Management
It seems that most companies are still buying URLs that promote themselves. Even though many of us have read "the cluetrain manifesto" and are working hard to use our "human voice" in business. Many of the best resident oriented URLs are still ripe for the picking. If we are going to be "found" in the new marketing world, the content must attracts renters when they are looking (Googling) for answers and information that mattes to them. While in Canada I searched for the availability of the follow URLs and found everything I could think of AVAILABLE!  I just heard that $200,000.00 was paid for Multifamily.com. How valuable will the best resident oriented  site names be once everyone begins moving in this direction? If I had a ton of cash laying around, I think I would pick up a few of these and see what happens.  Have you thought about how you are going to attract the public to your apartment community blog? What key words will move a renter's google search to land on a blog built by YOU? What can you share in the spirit of "pure giving" in a human voice that services the public? How can you create blog content that will build trust and loyalty in total strangers and inspire them to find out more about you? Is the URL stile available to share that message? Here is a list of blog names and content descriptions that I started and shared with my executive audience in Toronto.Before I close...