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Lights Out! An Easy Tip To Maintain Exterior Lighting

The Challenge Maintaining exterior parking lot and building entry lights is an ongoing challenge for many property managers. During daily/weekly tours of the property when we monitor and inspect for potential repairs and safety items, the exterior light fixtures are marked as an exception.  It can’t be inspected because the timers or photo cells are programmed for the lights to be off.  The lights are not illuminated, because its daytime. Exterior lighting is an important service to our residents.  It illuminates the parking lots, streets and building entrances.  Exterior lighting creates a sense of safety.  Without any reports of lights out, it is assumed that lights are operational.  Then a resident comes to the office to report that his car was broke into, vandalized, or even worse, a resident falls.  The concern for the resident, is elevated to a higher level of concern with the dreaded words, “the light by my building hasn’t worked for weeks.”  Without documentation it’s difficult to establish the accuracy of this resident’s claim.  Risk Management inquires  “Have we provided the expected service to maintain the exterior lighting?” An Opportunity To Inspect Lighting Lighting can be inspected by taking advantage of the on-call rotation when the maintenance staff is called out for emergencies in the evening. Establish a policy for the on call/emergency call staff. Each week, on the first occasion the staff receives a call out, an inspection of the property exterior lighting is completed. Use a map of the property, with each of the exterior light posts or building wall......
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Your Maintenance Staff's Impact on Renter Retention

When you're looking for or training a maintenance technician for your multifamily property, you're probably only focused on his or her core skills, and that's only natural. However, in the customer-centric environment of today, repair experience and an HVAC certification are just a part of the puzzle. Modern residents don't just want their faucet repaired quickly; they also want someone who is positive and friendly while doing so. If they don't get that, they may very well find somewhere else to live. Your maintenance team is also becoming an important interaction point with your renters. As more and more tasks like paying rent become automated, your residents are interacting with your leasing team less. This means more customer service and lease renewal influence is put onto your maintenance team, the very members of your staff who are the most likely to be left out of the customer training you offer. Fortunately, it's not too late to bring your maintenance into the customer service fold. Take a closer look at the following ways you can help prepare your maintenance team to build more meaningful relationships with your residents. Look for technicians who fit your culture Getting the right people on board is the first step toward building a quality maintenance team. Don't just look at how well the applicant can handle the nuts and bolts of the job. Consider exactly how this person will fit in with and adopt your company's fundamentals and culture. You want someone who is skilled and experienced......
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Making the Most of Your Service Request

As we kick off this new 2018 year, now is a great time to freshen up on best practices for employees! Maintenance plays a large part in a residents living experience, but before the maintenance staff can service the renter, it starts with the office staff receiving the service request in person or over the phone. No matter how the service request is placed, one key to successful service requests is making sure the service request is clear and detailed.  Without detailed information maintenance can only guess on what needs repair. This situation creates frustration for the maintenance; possibly having them to return to the renters home several times, and the resident begins to feel they are not able to trust the team to fix their concerns the first time. Some questions to ask your residents when entering in a service request ·         Verify name, unit and email address ·         Location of issue (choose from the drop down menu in your PMS) ·         What exactly is not working with “dishwasher, washing machine etc” ·         What is broken with “dishwasher etc” ·         Have you tried to rectify the issue yourself?  Ex: Poured drano down the sink or toilet? ·         Leave any and all specific info/description of the maintenance request Stay away from yes or no questions as those don’t allow you to receive detailed questions. Ask open ended questions, which allow the renter to share detailed information about the service request. A recommendation to make sure maintenance is well equipped with the information they need is to schedule a meeting with yo......
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Insights into the Future of Property Maintenance

FPM1Technology has greatly impacted the sales and leasing side of property management. The industry has seen how companies like Zillow and Airbnb change how we market and sell online.  Facilgo wanted to understand if the operations and maintenance side had been similarly impacted.  Specifically, we wanted to understand how changes in technology or other external forces would cause fundamental shifts in how people were planning to allocate their workforce in the future.   External to the survey, our conversations with various property management companies revealed that changes in the labor market made it difficult to hire and retain maintenance personnel.  Specifically, they stated that Millennials often left maintenance jobs for jobs in other industries due to the heavy usage of paper processes and lack of mobile apps being available to complete their jobs efficiently.   Our survey touched upon how new strategies were being used to deal with changes in the labor market and whether technology was having an impact on their organizations now or in the future.   Facilgo surveyed 54 companies to better understand their visions for the future of property maintenance.  We were able to see several patterns in the industry as a whole, and although our sample sizes were small for certain sub-segments, we were able to gain some insight into them as well.   In general, we found that as of yet, technology had not substantially changed how companies structured their maintenance operations.  Larger properties continued to staff properties with dedicated maintenance personnel, while smaller properties had......
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7 Super Reasons to Be On Top of Preventive Maintenance!

7 Super Reasons to Be On Top of Preventive Maintenance!

There are probably a million good reasons to stay on top of your property’s preventive maintenance program, but here are a quick few:

1.Reduces day to day maintenance calls AND after hours emergency maintenance calls!

2.Prevents safety concerns, like fires, by verifying equipment like smoke detectors are operational.

3.Let’s you be proactive and manage your time and do the work on your schedule rather than reactively have maintenance needs manage you.

4.Keeps the asset in more consistently good shape, keeping costs down and owners happier.

5.Allows you to anticipate problems or resident issues by getting the inside view on a regular basis.

6.Sometimes lets you catch extra occupants, even the furry ones!

7.A big bonus reason is that generally residents will stay longer if they are satisfied with the maintenance of their apartment homes! So fewer apartments to turn!

No matter how busy you get, you would be busier still if you fell behind on your preventive maintenance, so stay on top of it!

These are my Super 7! Now yours?

Mary Gwyn, CPM

Making the World a Better Place One Lease at a Time!

 

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Maintenance Apprenticeship Program - How Great Is This?


For several years, there has been an incredible shortage of qualified maintenance professionals, and people going into the trades overall.  Fortunately, more and more apartment associations and other organizations are creating training and apprenticeship programs to draw in wonderful, excited individuals into our ranks. 

I wanted to share the latest from the Apartment Association of Metro Denver - Love seeing the enthusiasm from the graduates!  (Here are more details about the program)

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Creating Sense of Community in the Aftermath

Creating Sense of Community in the Aftermath
With the Atlantic hurricane season drawing to its yearly close, the damage done by this natural phenomenon has yet to be entirely evaluated. Recovery actions can take at least a few years, but this can be a time to shine. Property managers become instrumental in these times. So much can be done to improve upon the lives of those affected. Especially in the multifamily property management market.  A prepared property management team is crucial. Having a plan of action that coordinates grounds keeping crews  to assist with tenants needs . In times of crisis most services such as waste management become in-operational. It is the responsibility of the property management team to keep residents informed.  By having a plan in place provides this basic need to the renters. A commitment of services provided brings forth the we are in this together approach. The property management team  can become a more efficient network.  A team dedicated to the assistance of their renters  in times of crisis . A team that works directly with local state and federal emergency agencies for a more efficient resolve.  Share the knowledge by updating the residents with all emergency relief agencies  information.  These are some recommendations that any property management team can implement. Organize Gatherings to Cultivate the Sense of Community There is no better way to cultivate a sense of community with your multifamily property than to host gatherings and organize events.  Take full advantage of the holiday seasons and impart a better sense of community. ......
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Can Great Service Include Residents Fixing it Themselves?


One of the best benefits you can give a resident is control.  While you may provide phenomenal, quick service, sometimes residents simply prefer to handle an issue themselves.  So giving them control gives them the option of using your fantastic service, or empowering them to handle it on their own!  (Update:  To clarify in response to a comment below - this is not advocating large-scale repairs - More like troubleshooting common, simple problems that would be reasonable for a resident to take a look at.) On Wednesday, Kristi Fickert shared a ton of great ways to use social media to engage with residents and prospects to drive renewals and new leases, and she touched on this great way to get the maintenance team involved by providing residents information on how  to tackle issues in their own apartment!  Take a look: Kristi also included a tip about showcasing the leasing team, and I'd like to expand on that just a bit.  Not only is this important for when residents first move in (or are considering moving in), but it is also vitally important when a team member leaves!  When a leasing consultant secures that lease, they did it in large part because of the connection they made with the prospect, now resident.  That connection is the tether between the resident and the property, so if that leasing consultant ends up leaving, that relationship is at risk!  By using videos in social media featuring the on-site team, a community can rebuild those connections with......
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The Hidden Truth Behind Maintenance Expenses

maintenance expenses“Here’s the list of the supplies that we need.” Maintenance Expenses is often the expense area where there always seems to be more month than dollars in the budget. Every week a stock of supplies is ordered, often overrunning the budget established for resident repairs and vacant apartment preparation. Explanations for the variance report list the number of resident service orders, unit inspections and a move out with a high volume of damages.  But this is what we face every month at our communities.  I think its possible to create some structure behind maintenance purchasing.  Not only will this assist in managing expenses against a budget.  It will also provide detailed explanations when future budgets are presented for review.  Explanations to increase the maintenance budget because it’s an average of what has been spent, or an increase because surely supplies will cost more in the future; are not very effective arguments to defend expense increases. Creating a plan starts with an overview of the schedule for the property for the upcoming month. Turnover Expenses How many apartment homes will be prepared for move in? Generally there are ten to fifteen items that are purchased for every  apartment being prepped. replace the sanitary items in the bathroom. caulk for the countertops in the kitchen, vanity top and shower area in the bath. drip pans for the cook top. The list of items with pricing information is going to outline the anticipated expense for apartment turns.  This amount applied to the number of apartmen......
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A Buyer's Guide To Gutters And Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are the unsung heroes of your property’s exterior. Although many property managers worry about keeping their roofs in good condition, they don’t always pay as much attention to their gutters and downspouts. That can come back to haunt them because of how important gutters and downspouts are for protecting a property from water damage. Out of all the components that make up a property’s exterior, gutters may be one of the most important. What that in mind, it’s important for property managers to understand how the style and construction of the gutters they choose for their property affects the level of protection they receive. The average downspout can direct as much as 12 gallons of water away from a property during a 1-inch rainfall. That’s 12 gallons of water that otherwise could end up pooling around the building’s foundation, seeping into tiny cracks where it will expand and damage the foundation as it freezes in the winter. Those 12 gallons of water also could end up getting under siding and causing mold and mildew growth without gutters and downspouts to direct that water away from the property. Although it’s certainly important for property managers to have their gutters cleaned and inspected by professionals on a regular basis, they also need to be aware of how their gutters will stand up to the rigors of protecting their homes. The shape and materials of gutters and downspouts all have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and they may impact how often they need to b......
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