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5 Useful Property Management Maintenance Resources

I've been browsing the web and researching property management for awhile now, but I've just started actively collecting and storing resources that I find useful. Some I put to use in my day job, others I plan to utilize one day when I'm out on my own. Today I wanted to share 5 property management maintenance resources that I think are worth checking out. 1. Preventative Maintenance Checklist This form is approved by the California Apartment Association, but I found it on a website of a property management company. It's really detailed and used by maintenance professionals. http://pleasantonpropertymanagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Preventive-Maintenance-Checklist.pdf 2. Owner Maintenance Checklist Here is a maintenance checklist for property owners. http://quailpropertymanagement.com/owner-maintenance-checklist/ 3. Quickbooks Compatible Software I thought this was really neat for Intuit to put together. It's a list of software products for the property management industry that are compatible with Quickbooks. The PropertyWare software that's listed seems to have a lot of features related to maintenance, including work order management. http://marketplace.intuit.com/v2/f-property-management/software-solutions.aspx 4. Example of Property Management Maintenance On-Call Rotation Created by a call center, this resource gives a sample maintenance on-call schedule, complete with rotation and dispatch procedures. Pretty useful if you have more than one maintenance person and are putting a rotation together. http://www.continentalmessage.com/kb/industry/property-management/sample-property-management-maintenance-on-call-rotation 5. Blog Post: "Property Managers, Have a Backup Maintenance Plan" Recent post on Zillow stressing the importance of having a plan to get repairs made quickly in order to keep tenants happy. Two heating companies, two roofing companies, etc. You get the idea! http://www.zillow.com/blog/pro/2012-10-19/property-managers-have-a-backup-maintenance-plan-2/ Any other maintenance r......
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Make Your Performance Review Work For You

Are you your community’s best asset? How do you know you are or you aren’t? And how are you making your determination? We are now entering the midpoint of the third quarter and I suspect most working adults aren’t even thinking about this. If you are a parent, you are probably thinking about getting your children ready for the start of a new school year: buying new clothes or uniforms, picking out new lunch boxes, getting those school supplies. Not to mention making sure they have had their check-ups and the required immunizations. Heck, just getting them to the dentist for teeth cleanings is often scheduled for this time of year. But this time of year is also a perfect time to make sure you are putting your own ducks in a row.   Performance Reviews are often conducted in the last quarter of the year, supposedly a kind of end-of-the-year Report Card for grown ups. If I were in charge of the world, this would not be the case. As someone who sometimes has to conduct these Reviews, I can tell you it is not usually any fun for the employee or for me. They cause stress for most people and even if you feel like you’ve done your best and have done a good job, there is still someone sitting in Judgment over you.   I think this is an archaic way of communicating with our teammates. If, at this Evaluation Ceremony, this is the first time an employee......
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How Efficient Is Your Property Management Company?

Efficient property managementBy Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Walk around your office and various departments. Ask folks what tasks they absolutely hate to do or what seems pointless. You will gain a ton of insight about your processes and procedures. Find out why you do that task. Make sure you dig down deep and study the what-ifs of each task. For instance, each time we do a batch of “X”, a paper printout is generated. The paper is then put into a bin and we file it by property. Every single company, building, and system is different so this example is just an illustration. The point is to ask, “What is the value of this task?” If you file this print-out by property, what is the value of that print-out, and how many times is it referenced or utilized? Why are you printing it at all, can the printing function be turned off? How long is the data retained? There are many questions to ask, but the most important point here is, somebody just needs to ask. Tracking and naming files and logs is very time consuming so you should ask yourself and your team a few questions. Is it meaningful? How often do you reference the information? What happens to the information after one month, one year, etc.? In one case we had a supervisor instruct the staff to pull down a report, save it to a file, and create a name for the file each time a certain event occurred.......
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Operational Due Diligence - Investigate Your Critical Factors

Due diligence being conducted prior to your offer to purchase a rent roll By Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia I’m sure you are beginning to understand the vital importance of an operational due diligence being conducted prior to your offer to purchase a rent roll becoming unconditional. Once that contract is unconditional you are bound to proceed with the purchase regardless of how inferior the business is that you are purchasing. Yes, I understand that in most purchases there is a retention period, usually three months (again, this is a time period I do not agree with) whereby you have the opportunity to not pay for any managements that you may lose in this period. But, under normal rent roll contracts it’s fairly standard that a percentage of the purchase amount is usually withheld in a solicitor’s trust account and is released when the retention period has expired. Some agents believe this period is their safe guard. Well, I’m here to tell you that you must not be lulled into a false sense of security and, with that said, I feel another article is worthy of this subject. This post focuses on what I refer to as the “critical factors” that need to be investigated when conducting an operational due diligence. These critical factors are: Average management fee Average distance to property ratio Average weekly rent Management splits (percentage of houses and apartments) Number of owners against properties under management and how many are multi owners (including details of each owner’s actual number of properties) Percentage of fixed term leases Monthly disbursement methods......
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Does Your Property Manage You?

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Do you manage your property, or does it manage you? This should be at the forefront of your mind every day. This question is meant to keep you on track and focused. Why? Because property management is an industry that can make or break you! As property managers we are the ultimate in multi-tasking. We know that anyone can become a property manager, but the ones that truly standout and differentiate themselves are the ones that manage their building. Not the other way around. There can be constant interruptions and challenges throughout any given day. The day starts out fine until you get a call about a flooded property, or an unexpected customer complaint. Now you need to drop what you are doing and attend to the crisis at hand. As you begin to tackle this new challenge, it is best to keep reminding yourself that you manage the building, the building does not manage you! When the flood hits, do you have a contingency plan? Why is the customer complaining? Analyze the issue and address the problem. The number one solution is to be proactive. Do all you can to prevent these issues from happening again. Manage it and do not just react to it! When an issue arises, it must be broken down into the smallest components in order to find the reason or cause. Once it has been solved, it is time to develop a new approach or plan so that......
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Never Put Off Till Tomorrow

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Touch It Once is a mindset, a philosophy, and a management style. It is the antithesis of procrastination coupled with a smart way to work by stopping redundant behavior dead in its tracks; both of which are the enemy of any efficient and well run organization. The concept is simple – Touch It Once (TIO). Did you ever notice that each month the cycle is the same? Collect rent, send out 5 day notices, process accounts payable, cut checks, etc. So if this is something you know that’s going to happen, why is it so painful? Then at the end of the 30 day period, the cycle is going to start again! How can you not be prepared?! It happens every 30 days! If you think about how the concept of TIO comes into play it will change the outlook you have on your business. Every time you do a task, think about how you can do that task perfectly. Save the process, document the task, and create a road map for others to follow that same format or system. The next time the task is required, anybody can use your process, learn how to execute, and actually accomplish it with the least amount of error or redundancy. So how do you as a property manager or leasing agent “touch it once”? For me it was about checklists and document packets. These checklists include a new resident checklist, a move out checklist, a new......
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Form 1099s & Year End Statements

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA For property management companies, the month of January signals a time to prepare and issue year end statements to their clients for tax preparation purposes. Consequently, each January the IRS requires that any taxpayers who have made payments in excess of $600 to workers that are not considered employees must prepare Form 1099 – Miscellaneous Income. Property management companies are also federally required to file Form 1099 for their clients regarding rental income received throughout the year. In addition, copies of this completed form must be provided to the IRS. The IRS compares the payments shown on the information returns with each recipient’s income tax return to determine whether the payments were reported as income and done so properly.   The filing deadline for Form 1099 is January 31, 2012. The IRS also requires that you file a Form 1096 to identify all of the Form 1099s. The filing deadline for Form 1096 is February 28, 2012.   Failure to issue a Form 1099 and file Form 1096 results in penalties and potential disallowances of deductions for those amounts paid. Thus it is imperative to comply with these filing requirements. In years past, SDP Management would spend a lot of time and resources preparing large bulky paper laden year end packages to meet these requirements. The packages, which contained printed year end statements and other tax required documents, would detail the properties prior year performance and provide necessary documentation for......
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Budgeting for a Social Strategy

I was chatting with Mike Whaling yesterday, and we both agreed there are definitely some quick wins out there to help optimize your brand, stores, properties, etc. online.  It can be time consuming, but claiming your business's pages on Google, Bing, Yelp!, etc. can be quick ways to get some SEO juice for your websites and help promote your business on those additional channels.  Where I struggle from there is with a content strategy ongoing. Here’s the honest truth, you can’t half-ass it anymore.  Search as we know it today is changing, and if you aren’t trying to be part of or help create conversation then I will predict that drive-by may become your best lead source.  OK, that could be extreme, but the algorithm is changing from a keywords model and more value is being put on conversation and connections with real people to a brand.  Criticize Google+ all you want, but even if that doesn’t do exactly what they hoped it most definitely highlights how Google is giving more credit to social connections. If this really is the case then I believe it’s time to revisit your marketing spend.  Mike and I created an Apartment Marketing Checklist a couple months ago for people to really think about.  It highlights much more than Craigslist and ILSs when it comes to your marketing, and I hope it begins to help you think about the next steps in growing your online presence.  There are plenty of opportunities and strategies to consider, but what I will tell you is ......
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The Apartment Agent Leasing Kit - Be Prepared (Part 1)

The Apartment Leasing Kit - Be Prepared!

Throughout the years, I have created a Leasing Kit for each Property I have managed.  I have found this Kit to be extremely helpful and the most vital tool for the Leasing Team.  I hope this helps your Team as much as it has mine!

The leasing kit is your map to a successful and thorough presentation.  Although the leasing kit is designed as a sales tool, it must also be attractive.  Use a high quality binder and keep it organized at all times.  Papers should not be sticking out of the edges, and you should always be prepared with enough documents for your clients.  Do not run out!

The contents of the leasing kit may vary depending on the needs of each Property, but make sure to include the following:

  • Floor Plans – Include room dimensions such as wall lengths, window sizes, linear feet of closets, storage capacity, etc.  Include the special and unique features found in each floor plan and location throughout the Community.  You can never have too much detail for your prospective residents!   Example:  All A2’s on the 2nd floor have vaulted ceilings.
  • Site/Property Map – Indicate the exact location(s) of where you have available apartments. 
  • City and Neighborhood Maps – Include public transportation locations and routes, shopping and business districts, schools, grocery stores, etc. 
  • Reference Page – Names and addresses of schools, medical facilities, areas of special interests, etc. 
  • Leasing Collateral – Brochures and business cards are vital.
  • Tape Measure – Assist your prospective resident with furniture placement and other special needs.
  • Calculator – You never know when your prospective resident will inquire about a "pro-rated rent" or what the average utilities and rent add up to monthly.  Be prepared!
  • Community Newsletter – Share while on your tour and discuss upcoming Community Events.
  • Rental Applications/Rental Criteria – While on the tour, offer a rental application once you you’re your prospective resident is ready to lease.  This is a great closing technique.
  • Apartment Availability Report – Never leave the Office without your Availability.  You never know if your prospective resident will inquire about other apartments and their availability. 
  • Notepad/Guest Card – Document any questions that require follow up by the Property Manager or Maintenance Manager.
  • Important Information Sheet - A list of all the important, daily contacts (vendors, repair technicians, etc.) the Property utilizes. 

Your leasing kit should contain a clip to hold the guest card.  This will help insure that you do not forget your client’s name!  Use the Guest Card to write comments and to continue gathering qualifying information.  This is a great place to write down pet’s names, amenity preferences, etc.  The more information you write down, the more your client will feel secure and comfortable knowing they have someone working with them that cares about their interests and not just a commission.  Remember to HUMANIZE yourself!  No Used Car Salepersons!

Having the client’s guest card with you will eliminate the need to “interrogate” them again for their information as well as showing that you are organized and very thorough with your tours.

Thank you!

Chris Hyzy

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Move In - Move Out Checklist (Part 1)

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA A vital part of reducing cost when managing a rental property is limiting the expenses associated with tenant turnover. Tenant turnover usually requires the rental property to be professionally cleaned, painted or touched up, and carpets cleaned or replaced. In order for you to know what expenses to absorb and what expenses to charge back to the tenant, you should always know the current condition of the property as well as the condition in which the property was given to the tenant. To accomplish this, each tenant should be provided with a written “Move-In/Move-Out” checklist. The “Move-In/Move-Out” checklist allows both parties to identify in writing the initial “Move-In” condition and the final “Move-out” condition of the property. These checklists will eliminate any misunderstandings regarding which party will pay for non-normal wear and tear repairs throughout the tenancy and upon move out. Prior to giving the keys to the tenant the owner should completely inspect the property and document the existing condition on the “Move-In” side of the checklist. It is necessary to document the condition of the appliances, windows, screens, blinds, doors, walls, lighting, flooring, a/c, heating, toilets, faucets, ceiling fans, and any other necessary interior and exterior areas. During the initial walk-through with the tenants, it is important to review the findings with the tenant and have the tenant sign and date the document. The use of a digital camera or video camera is also recommended upon both “Move-in”......
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