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Bonuses and Incentives in the Real Estate Industry: Striking Accord

BonusBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Are you in a position to create your own bonus and incentive plan that strategically builds your business, not just your property manager’s pocket? Successful bonus and incentive plans are all about understanding your team at an individual level, your agency’s business plan, and your market area. So, this week, let’s take a look at how understanding these critical factors converts to a bonus and incentive plan where all parties- the team member, property owner and you, the business owner- win now and win in the long-term. What happens if, for instance, the average weekly rent in your market area is $300 and the property manager has a target of five new managements per month? The property manager could in fact reach the target of five new managements, but the five properties average only $200 per week. The problem – the property manager’s focus is on numbers and not quality. What happens if the agency then increases its weekly rent on leased properties to $1000? On management fees of eight percent, this would equate to $80 per week extra income for the agency. If the incentive is a bonus equivalent to one week’s rent for each new management (which seems to be the norm bonus in most businesses), the business owner will pay $1000 as a bonus to the property manager or business development manager. Rewarding the property manager for every management, regardless of the target, only encourages the property manager to secure whatever business th......
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Slow or No Reaction Time… Costs Your Business!

For those of you who’ve met me or taken one of my classes, you know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I talk the talk and I walk the walk. I tell it like it is (professionally and with care, of course) but If it has to do with not sugar coating things, I’m your girl (of course, I’m not referring to using “visit us” or “live here” words during leasing… then a little fluff is just fine). But in normal every day dealings onsite and at the corporate office… I don’t see the point in wasting time beating around the bush, because TIME is MONEY! There have been numerous occasions that I am aware of, sadly, that a property manager has not filed an eviction on a resident who hasn’t paid rent by the time it’s due. Despite the action being spelled out, very clearly, in our policy and procedures manual (and common sense if you’ve spent any time in the business). The manager will have a wide range of reasons as to why they won’t… but the last time I heard the excuse, I nearly fell out of my chair (seriously). She said “Well… I needed the occupancy numbers”. WHAT? What good is a high occupancy percentage if you’re not collecting any rent? She didn’t know the answer. Turns out, this person was a habitual late-rent payer and eventually ended up skipping out… owning an absurd amount of money to the community. ......
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How to Navigate a Short Sale as a Tenant

Moving boxesBy Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA You don’t have to be a homeowner to have heard the term “short sale”. It’s one of the most widely used terms in the real estate industry these days, and unfortunately, it’s also a term that many renters are starting to hear more of as well. The prolonged economic downturn that engulfed the real estate industry, starting with the subprime loan debacle, which rapidly resulted in mass foreclosures of adjustable rate home loans, has now inevitably morphed into the “short sale” frenzy of the 20% down conventional homeowner. Unfortunately, many of the affected properties are the homes of renters who abruptly find themselves caught in between the bank and the landlord’s hardships. The typical scenario is as follows: An owner/landlord carrying an upside-down mortgage on a rental property finds himself under financial distress due to the economy. The landlord tries to hold onto the property for as long as he can only to realize that it’s either too far underwater or the loan modification offered by the bank isn’t going to reduce the monthly mortgage payment enough to help him through his current financial situation. At this point, it’s either foreclosure or short sale, and currently, most banks are starting to favor short sales. Either way, the unaware tenant is typically left with minimal notice to relocate. So, what can you do if you find yourself in this situation? Tenants do have rights, and even though you may not be ab......
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Your Landlord's Duty to Prevent Criminal Acts

Buildium property management softwareBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Over the last few posts, we’ve discussed premises liability, landlord duties, and obvious dangers, among other things. Today we’ll discuss an issue in California that gets people excited - a landlord’s duty to prevent criminal acts. Nothing gets people more excited than the idea that a landlord might have an affirmative duty to prevent or intervene in the actions of a third party to prevent a person on his or her property from becoming the victim of a crime. On the face of it, this duty feels like it falls outside the scope of a landlord’s duties. Isn’t that the job of the police? A property owner can’t be a substitute for the police and common sense, the argument goes. That may be true, but if we rely on common negligence principles – and California courts do – then liability can attach in certain circumstances for failure to take steps to mitigate against such third party criminal conduct. The owner/lessor/occupier/person who controls the property has a “general duty [which] includes not only the duty to inspect the premises in order to uncover dangerous conditions, but, as well, the duty to take affirmative action to control the wrongful acts of third persons which threaten [persons on the property] where [he] has reasonable cause to anticipate such acts and the probability of injury resulting therefrom.”* The key to attaching liability is the part about having “reasonable cause to anticipate” the criminal activity and the li......
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Control Is the Key – When Unsafe Property Conditions Result in Injury

Buildium property management softwareBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Let’s continue with figuring out the basis for how a tenant can recover against someone for an injury due to an unsafe condition on the property. I say “someone” because as we have seen previously, it does not need to be the landlord who gets sued.  It can be the lessor, the “occupier,” or anyone who “controls” the property.  The last one may seem a bit redundant, but it is not.  Certainly the person occupying the premises exerts control over it.  Same for the owner.  Even if he is renting out the property, he has control over repairs accomplished, signs to be placed on it, fences to be built, etc. But there can be situations in which a person does not own or occupy land, but nonetheless controls it.  In California, “a person controls property that he or she does not own or lease when he or she uses the property as if it were his or her own.  A person is responsible for maintaining, in reasonably safe condition, all areas he or she controls.” Where does this situation arise? It does not arise from “simple maintenance.”  If for example, you were mowing a strip of lawn that adjoins your property but is not on it, this alone will not constitute control.  But “maintenance” is a factor to consider in control over the property.  However by itself, being “neighborly” in this manner will not usually constitute control such as to attach liability fo......
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Fun Halloween Ideas for Your Apartment Community

Can you believe it’s October already?  The leaves are changing, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back and Halloween costume stores are popping up around the country.  Like other holidays, this is a great time for you to have some fun around your apartment community!  Here are some ideas to get your residents together for a spooky, good time:   1.       Lobby candy – If you have a large apartment community, it can be difficult or even impossible for trick-or-treaters to ring your residents’ doorbells.  Instead of disappointing all those little Ghosts, Sarah Palins and Hippies ask your residents to donate a bag of candy for the lobby.  Have your security guard or leasing agents greet the trick-or-treaters and hand out candy on behalf of the entire building.   2.       Scary movies – A lot of people love watching scary movies around Halloween or, if you’re like me, you prefer flicks like Hocus Pocus.  Visit a local used DVD store and stock up on classic Halloween and scary movies for both adults and children.  For the month of October, offer these DVDs for rent from your leasing office.  You can either charge a dollar for the night or ask that your residents bring a canned good to donate in exchange for the rental.  This is a great way to encourage people to have a fun night in at your apartment community.   3.       Used costume swap – Most people don’t want to spend money on a Halloween costume, so try hosting a used......
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Five Things to Consider Before Buying Your First Investment Property

By Munveer Garcha, Policy Expert, London, UK If you’re considering purchasing a buy-to-rent investment and becoming a first-time landlord, there are a few things you should consider. Here are our top five pointers to think about before taking the plunge. 1. Location, location, location.It’s vital that you carefully consider the location of your rental property before investing. The location will influence the desirability of your property, and that in turn will impact the amount of rent you can charge. Consider your target market – is the area mainly home to young families? If so, consider the proximity of the rental property to good local schools. If it’s a student area, try to find a rental investment that’s well connected to the main campus buildings. Also, are there good train and bus stops nearby as well as local amenities like shops and banks? Location can also affect the amount you pay for landlord insurance. If you live in a high crime area for example, you’ll probably be charged more for your insurance policy. 2. Know your stuff.Make sure you understand the processes and legal obligations involved in renting out your property. You will need to draw up a tenancy agreement, which is a legally binding contract between you and your tenant. You’ll also need to read about your tax obligations and understand how security deposits are handled. 3. InsuranceLandlord insurance is considered a must-have purchase for most buy-to-rent owners. If your property is being rented to paying tenants, then it’s highly likely that a standard house insurance policy......
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The Trust Factor

Do you trust your residents

Do you trust your residents?

Do you trust your residents

Do they trust you? 

Trust is something that you have to constantly work on and prove worthy of. Trust is also something that can be broken in an instant.

Trust is important and vital to relationship building and nurturing.  How to do that? Show up when you say you will. Provide the level of service that you promised at lease signing. Speak with respect and empathy in every situation.  Acknowledge your residents daily and without fail. 

Residents matter to your bottom line and their opinions matter too. Social media is beginning to become what we used to call word of mouth.  Now, whatever you do or say could be posted on YouTube in a matter of seconds with someone who has a smart phone.

Never underestimate the power of your “word”. You have seen it on film, where the actor states, “I give you my word”. It’s timeless, and timely, and has never gone out of style, giving your word, evokes trust especially if you keep your word.

Never settle, give your word, keep your word, create high trust, and watch your success skyrocket.

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Obviously, You Don't Need to Warn About That

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Have you ever seen that warning sign about alligators?  The one that says, “Warning: feeding, enticing or molesting alligators is prohibited.”  You probably had the same thought as me.  Really?  Is that warning necessary?  Don’t we all learn before kindergarten that provoking man-eating animals is hazardous to our health?  That it creates “an unreasonable risk of harm?”  What about the sign warning you that your hotel balcony on the 17th floor “is not on ground level” and you should not jump off of it?  Seems pretty obvious, right? An owner/lessor/occupier/person who controls the land should not have to warn against that, right? Right.  Fortunately, California law allows for the exoneration of a property owner against warning against “obviously unsafe dangers.”  Thus, there is no liability for failure to warn if the landlord can convince a jury that the following is true: If an unsafe condition of the property is so obvious that a person could reasonably be expected to observe it, then the owner/lessor/occupier/one who controls the property does not have to warn others about the dangerous condition. That’s good.  So if there are alligators on your property you probably do not need to warn that taunting them is dangerous.  However, if it is not obvious that there are alligators on your property, and you know people enter your property, you probably should warn about the presence of alligators (especially if you live in California because alligators are not indigenous and it ......
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Great Websites for Your Clients - Useful Information, Moving Assistance, Etc.!

With all the day to day stresses, time constraints and hectic schedules, we hardly have time to "stop and smell the roses."  The minutes and hours slip by and before you know it, the day is almost over.  To assist my Residents and Prospective Residents alleviate some tension,  I have put together a list of some very useful websites that I personally have found to be particularly helpful.  These sites can reduce some of the moving and relocation headaches that many of us experience.


* Find Licensed and Insured Movers

* Rent a Moving Truck

* Find Local Storage Facilities and Compare Rates

* Print Valuable Moving Coupons

* FREE Change of Address Service

* Helpful Moving Tips and Reminders


* Review Statics for Your State and County

* Stats Include Information on Schools, Population, Cost of Living, Average Home Prices and More


* Compare Insurance Quotes and Find the Best Rates and Policies to Meet Your Needs


* Review Ratings for Local Doctors, Hospitals and Nursing Homes

* Note: There is a fee associated with some search inquiries


* Review School Ratings and Statistics

SPECIAL PROJECT! - Create a flyer that has these websites, as well as any others you may feel useful to your specific Community and location, and present it to your Prospective Resident during their tour, or when your new Resident is signing their lease.  These small gestures will mean the world to your Community visitors and Residents.   

Don't forget, this is also an amazing marketing tool and resource for your On-Site Team to utilize and share with local businesses, storage companies, movers and more!

I hope this information is as useful and beneficial to you as it has been for me!  Feel free to share with the Multifamily Insiders Community which websites you have found to be advantageous and why!  Thank you!

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