Topic: While preparing for budgets one question is fairly consistent no matter how it is asked: "What do you want?"

Mark Tanguay's Avatar Topic Author
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Okay, a moment to get deep. As a property manager, I love my property. I love my residents. I love even the toughest most challenging parts of my job. With that said, my job is to find things wrong. Find that piece of trash on the ground, find that missing signature, find that area that needs touch up paint, find that area that needs cleaning, find all the problems. When I talk to my residents I represent the company, when I talk to my company I represent the residents.
While preparing for budgets one question is fairly consistent no matter how it is asked: "What do you want?"
The answer is also consistent... "Everything."
I'm thinking that if they're going to ask the question, I want to lay it all out there so they know what's going on.
So I guess the question is this, as a property manager do I spill out everything that I need and want, then let them set the priority? Or do I set the priority and only bring up the things that I feel are most important? There are pros and cons to either approach.
How do you do it?
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Rachel Lynette Payton's Avatar
Rachel Lynette Payton
Prioritize what you need, but present everything.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Megan Goodmundson's Avatar
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Don't forget to look for and find the things that are right - so you can acknowledge and praise the employees and residents that are doing great things.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Jess L Fischer's Avatar
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Megan Goodmundson so very true. My 1st PM way back in the 1990s trained us Well. She had a pet peeve of light bulbs being out. Sometimes she would go in and purposely put one out in a model but low and behold she would attach a small bonus for the person that found it during their walk. same with trash on the ground. It made everyone pay extra attention to the little things
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Megan Goodmundson's Avatar
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Jess L Fischer I would love to put a bonus in trash on the ground but I’d be too scared they wouldn’t see it and throw it in their trash bucket or a resident would get it. Love that light bulb idea
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Jess L Fischer's Avatar
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Megan Goodmundsonshe would leave a little ticket so if it got thrown, no loss. Her creativity in keeping everyone engaged is something I have never forgotten
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Megan Goodmundson's Avatar
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I hit send too soon...... but in regard to budget wish lists - yes, ask for everything you can think of , some things you will get, some you won't , but when they hear the same thing 3 or 4 years they will eventually get. if you ask for something this year, they might be thinking farther ahead to 2024 and 2025. So i always tell me people to ask several years and eventually you'll get it. ( hopefully)
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Kristi Bender's Avatar
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I've always asked for everything, in order of importance.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Justin Starble-Jones's Avatar
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Mark this is a great post with great questions. I’m also loving the responses!!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Careis Lassman's Avatar
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If you have the ability to put numbers to it, you’ll find that you will know what the ownership can/can’t justify.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Jim Mitchell's Avatar
Jim Mitchell
I appreciate when teams present their needs list with a prioritization scale from 1 to 3 with 1 being most critical. I also like when people identify issues as either asset preservation or revenue enhancing. If something enhances revenue it can often stand on its own and not "count against" other requests, if you will. Show a cost benefit analysis and you're even more likely to get a "yes".
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Mark Tanguay's Avatar Topic Author
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Jim, I really like this. I already have a long running list, but I'm going to break it all down into two catagories; asset preservation, and revenue enhancement. Then I'll prioritize each category. Thanks!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Mike Powers's Avatar
Mike Powers
I've asked this of other PM...who is responsible for adding long term value back to the owners ? I would hope it is PM.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Patti Scioneaux's Avatar
Patti Scioneaux
Just don’t over promise. Simple… but difficult to do. Especially closing a new deal or getting someone to renew. Sometimes I’ll promise the moon if it means good numbers for the company. Unfortunately, when we can’t deliver.. the problem gets worse. Under promise and over deliver.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Charity Andrews's Avatar
Charity Andrews
So when I do my budget, I pick everything I want next year and I make them take it away If you don't ask you will not receive it!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Dan Holden's Avatar
Dan Holden
Start with the things that cost the complex money, or could save them money that would make the tenants happy and go from there!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Megan Orser's Avatar
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I have seen some “fancy” stuff get approved because they were able to justify the expense with time or money saved. You got this!!!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Patience Harris's Avatar
Patience Harris
I'm used to making my own budgets so this is what I did. Of course, it got submitted before approval so not everything was approved.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Larry Berry's Avatar
Larry Berry
Think of not just what you want but how do you sell it. I conduct a budget seminar specifically on how to sell your budget, or in other words show why you need the improvement and what will it do for the bottom line. This is what leadership and owners want to see. Be specific and include photos and details.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Nicole R. Coschigano's Avatar
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Larry Berry you are always so brilliant! Great answer!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Jim Collins's Avatar
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Larry Berry Larry is on point. When you hear the question, "What do you want?" In your mind, finish the question; "...that will improve the value of the asset? Thus, will your "want" increase rent or lower expenses, the two key factors in value?
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Nancy Palazzo's Avatar
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Start with what you feel is most important for revenue and customer satisfaction.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Fred Montgomery's Avatar
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Ask for TWICE as much as you want and when you get half everyone wins.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Heather Deann's Avatar
Heather Deann
Lots of good suggestions here, thank you sharing and Mark Tanguay thanks for asking the question! Best of luck!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Adrianne Luper's Avatar
Adrianne Luper
I lay it all out there and I prioritize it. When I do my preliminary budget I put everything in it and I will outline why I need/want it in the body of an email to my boss.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Darcy Diedrich's Avatar
Darcy Diedrich
You are looking to make things better. Not looking for what is wrong.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Jennifer Hall's Avatar
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My managers make a list of wants and then needs by priority. Some things may end up on next year's plan or within the next couple of year's but nobody knows the property and what residents want more than them.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Danielle Stoll's Avatar
Danielle Stoll
Why does it have to be one way or the other?
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Jennifer Estep's Avatar
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I always set the my budget for 100% of everything needs, wants and wishes.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Marie Compton's Avatar
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Get bids on your "everything".Plug them into your budget, if you still net a profit at the end of the year, then ask for "everything". Don't forget to forecast rent increases to offset the expenses!
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Miles Scruggs's Avatar
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Pretend you owned the property and and you were spending your own money and you cared about what impact your spending had on the income it produces. This is the problem with most budgets is the people setting them don't understand what is going on at the bottom, and the people at the bottom putting in wishes and dreams aren't thinking about how it is going to impact the income long or short term.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Mark Tanguay's Avatar Topic Author
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That's part of the problem. If it was my own money, I wouldn't budget $1000 for something I know cost $1500, and I wouldn't buy new carpet because my refrigerator breaks, and if my shoes are getting worn out I wouldn't wait another year before setting money aside to buy new shoes, and I certainly wouldn't schedule for my car's check engine light to come on next June, and if my lights didn't work i wouldn't wait until it became more darker before replacing them, and i wouldn't replace half of my TV if it stopped working.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Miles Scruggs's Avatar
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Mark Tanguay sounds like you need to have a fundamental conversation with whoever is making the budgets and how they get planned. It is either push a bunch of bullshit in there and then redirect the funds. Without some changes though you seriously need to look for a place that runs things sensibly.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
Tawana Rowghani's Avatar
Tawana Rowghani
I think improvements additions that add value to the asset will be approved over most asks. You make the decisions based on that. Hope it helps.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago