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2011 Property Management Conferences and Seminars

As we begin to look forward to closing another year out, it’s a great time to look ahead and get your ducks in a row for 2011. Aside from all of the  information and lessons you glean out on the property management field on a daily basis, incorporating continuing education into your professional program is a great way to ensure you continue growing and perfecting both your business and your personal skill sets. Though complete certifications and ongoing classes may simply be unfeasible for some of us, property management related seminars and conferences are a great time-efficient way to add to your knowledge base. 2011 NAA Education Conference and Exposition June 23-25, 2011 Las Vegas, Nevada The National Apartment Association tags this event as the opportunity to “educate, energize, and empower” yourself and your organization. This well-attended event brings together 5,000 multi-family housing professionals from across the nation and 300 service providers, not to mention a wealth of high-profile keynote speakers, including Condoleezza Rice. NPMA 2011 National Education Seminar July 25-28, 2011 Las Vegas, Nevada Hosted by the National Property Management Association, this multi-day seminar provides a wealth of practical business advice, offered from a wide variety of field experts who have an in-depth working knowledge of how property management works from the inside out. In addition to seminars, the NPMA also offers break-out groups that allow attendees to discuss special interests with colleagues and experts. 23rd Annual NARPM Convention & Trade Show October 19-21, 2011 Dallas, Texas As the largest......
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10 Property Management Pitfalls

A few weeks ago, we talked about 10 Signs of Property Management Success. This week, we’re going to take a look at the flip side of that coin, reviewing some indicators that it may be time to make some changes (after all, the time for New Years’ resolutions is just around the corner!). Following are a few red flags to keep an eye out for in your property management business. 1. Lack of referrals – This applies to both tenants and property owners. In an ideal scenario, you should be creating a web of referrals that expands year after year. If you’re not, it may mean that: 1) existing tenants and clients aren’t confident enough in your work to refer you or 2) business-building incentive programs are not in place. 2. Haphazard organizational systems – If your office doesn’t have an organizational system in place for things like accounting, rent payment tracking, and maintenance requests, your efficiency and accuracy may be taking a hit. An investment in property management software will pay off big in the long-run. 3. Sporadic maintenance schedule – Staying on top of regular maintenance (like winterizing) and repairs will keep your property value up and your tenants happy. Creating and sticking to an annual maintenance check-list is the most sure-fire way to stay on track. 4. High turn-over – This applies not only to your tenants, but also to your property management staff. While people move on for any number of reasons (both personal and professional) ,......
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10 Signs Your Property Management Company is a Success

While profitability is one great sign of success, there are also many other less tangible indicators that your property management business is doing well. Following is  a list of ten signs you’re running a good property management shop. How many items on this list apply to your business? 1. Your vacancy rates are low. Low vacancy rates can mean any one (and often a combination of) several good things: 1) that you’re doing a good job marketing your property to new tenants; 2) that you’re maintaining existing tenants; and 3) that your units are generally sought-after. 2. You receive new property management clients from referrals. In business, referrals are the sincerest form of flattery. When existing clientele are referring potential clients your way, it is a sure sign you’re doing things right. 3. You receive new tenants from referrals. Chances are tenants who are displeased with your property aren’t going to recommend your property to their friends. As with client referrals, tenant referrals speak kindly of your work and may also indicate that you’ve successfully instated a good tenant referral program. 4. Your tenants stay put. They like you, they really like you! As with all business, it costs far less to keep existing tenants than it does to find new ones. If your tenants tend to remain in your units for multiple lease periods, chances are you’re pricing your units right and making tenants feel well cared for. 5. Other property managers contact you for advice. While it’s nice to......
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The Pros and Cons of Property Specialization

There’s definitely much to be said for setting oneself apart from the pack in business. In fact, particularly when it comes to business, establishing a reputation that sets you apart from the pack in a certain niche or area of expertise can be invaluable. This allows you to be the go-to source when a client is seeking out specific information, thus distinguishing your company from the competition. Of course, there’s also a risk involved in all of this: When dabbling in specialties, you need to make sure there is ample clientele out there for that specialty to keep your business profitable. These considerations should come into play for property managers that are considering investing in unique or specialized properties, such as waterfront or luxury properties. Following is a brief listing of essential pros and cons you should consider when determining whether or not adding more specialized properties to your portfolio is the right business decision for your company. Pros Brand building. Specialized properties can assist in building your brand. For example, realtors in your area with clients looking to rent a luxury apartment will learn to go directly to you, setting your business apart from competitors. Market stability. It goes without saying that the economy and rental market are out of your control. However, certain sectors of the market are more stable than others—if you can identify one of those sectors and cater to it, this will go a long way toward insuring your business thrives even in difficult times. Look......
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STOP ask yourself do you do your follow up calls or thank you cards?!?!?!?

  STOP ask yourself do you do your follow up calls or thank you cards?!?!?!?  By Jolene Sopalski Leasing Specialist WRH Realty Services If you answered no to that question then I want you to hold up your right hand and pledge the following “ I will  start following up with my prospects no prospect will go un-followed up”. Good now if you are one of the ones that said yes I do my follow up calls and thank you cards I want to give you a big hug so just picture me giving  you a hug.  Why are follow ups with prospects so important to you and your owners? They are important to us because our prospects are the key to our success in this industry with out them leasing our apartments there would be no need for us. So why would you let them walk out of your office and never make contact again with money? All to often we use the excuse there's just no time to follow up. I really don’t like hearing there is no time to follow up on a potential lease because that is our job. I want to share with you some tips on following up on prospects that will hopefully increase your leases, make your owners happy and make it easier for you to follow up.  Always keep in mined that you are not the only property that your prospect is looking at so you want  to stay in the game by......
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Tenant Referral Programs -- Are They Worth It?

Let’s face it – keeping vacancy rates as low as possible is any property manager’s first priority. With the economy in its current state, this is truer than ever before.  We’ve written several articles in the past on combating a lousy rental market with strategies like lease renewal incentives and cross-promoting with local businesses. This week we are offering just another tool aimed at keeping vacancy rates low – a tenant referral program. Tenant Referral Incentives – How Much is Enough? By far the most common type of tenant referral program involves offering current tenants a monetary incentive to refer a new friend, family member, or colleague to their community – the current tenant is then paid for their referral when the referred tenant signs a lease.  Although monetary incentives can come in all sizes, one of the most commonly used programs offers $100 per tenant successfully referred. It’s important to note that if you go the monetary route, incentives should match your tenant demographic – we recommend starting with an incentive that is about 20% of one month’s rent. That being said, some of the most successful referral programs actually occur in more high-end properties. A wealthy person in a high-end property may be more motivated to refer a friend for a $1000 incentive than a less well-off person would be for a $100 incentive. Get Creative with Your Program You know your property better than anybody else. In order to achieve the highest adoption of your tenant referral program,......
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3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Renovating

Determining when the time has come to do renovations on your rental property is a process that requires good judgment and a careful analysis of your goals. Depending upon your situation, renovation time may occur before you ever even move tenants into your property or, alternatively, it may be one of the final things you do before selling your investment property. Following are a few key questions to consider when contemplating a renovation. Would I want to live here myself?While you don’t have to outfit every rental you manage like a luxury penthouse complete with every amenity imaginable, it is important to make your rental units as comfortable and livable as possible for tenants. Upon purchasing a rental property (and every few years thereafter), look around your rental unit and ask yourself: Is this somewhere I would want to live? If the answer is no, it’s time to start taking a serious look around at what features could stand changes or improvements. The better condition your rental units are in, the more quality tenants you will attract. And the better quality tenants you attract, the better care they will take of your units. Good tenants are a key element to consistently maintaining the value of your rental property. How do I stack up with the competition?If you are looking to sell your investment property at any point in the near future, you should make yourself familiar with comparable properties in your area. In real estate, sale prices are determined in large......
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Leasing Agent Compensation?...First a word about VACANCY!

As a business consultant to the apartment industry, I am asked a LOT, "What's fair leasing agent compensation? Is their a leasing commission structure you would recommend?" There is no easy or short answer to this question, so let's take a round about way of discuss it. I find it a little backwards when people want to know what OTHER properties or OTHER management companies are doing when it comes to leasing agent compensation. I never say it out loud, but I'm always thinking, "What's it worth to YOU?" (as owner/manager) AND, "What's it worth to THEM?" (your leasing agent/leasing specialist)  What do I mean by that? FIRST, let's first talk about the REAL problem - VACANCY. I don't have a vacancy problem! Well, then, you shouldn't worry about leasing agent compensation then! OK, OK. Let's talk about vacancy... TO make it easy, let's say we're talking about ABC Apartments. They have 100 units. Their average rents are $1000.00/unit. Prior to the rental market taking a downward turn, ABC Apartments has been running along great, apartments never took very long to lease, and they had been at 97% occupancy for many years. Fast forward to today, they are at 88% physical occupancy, which means they are at 12% vacancy. All of the sudden, they are struggling with just staying ahead of the renewals and turnover. Increasing the occupancy in the midst of the resident turnover looks very daunting. Let's do the math. At 97% occupancy, the vacancy loss is: (Average Apartment Rents) x (# of Vacant A......
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The Yellow Brick Road to Nowhere!

Recently, I had the privilege of being asked to shop my sister’s property’s local comps.  I was extremely excited because I am always interested in borrowing new ideas and seeing how others do their job which in the end can improve mine.  Unfortunately, this was not the case; I was sourly disappointed with my findings and somewhat shocked.  I thought it would be a great idea to share my findings with all of you to see how many of you are guilty of these findings (hopefully none of you) and to show how important it is for owner’s or management companies to stay focused on getting their own apartments shopped every year. The phone calls:  I called 10 different comps in the area to set up appointments, my findings: ·         Out of the 10 called only 3 answered my call. ·         Out of the 7 messages I left for a return call; 0 returned my call. ·         Out of the 3 I spoke with; 0 managers asked my name or told me theirs ·         Out of the same 3, none of them invited me or committed me to a time to visit. The visits:  We visited 10 places all together including the 3 that we contacted previously ·         Out of the 10 only 5 were open (out of the 3 appointments one was a no show) ·         Out of the 5 that were open zero of them asked me to fill out a guest card or ask for ID ·         ......
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Resident Activities...How Important Are They To You & Your Community?

Resident Activities are very important selling tool for us! I remember four years ago when I was on the apartment hunt looking for an apartment community that was going to be home for my self and three children I wanted something that I could find living in a neighborhood but with in an apartment community. I must have look at ten different community's and left each one dissapointed. Several times I ask what do you do for the residents and got oh well we have these great amenities. I wanted to feel connected to my community and get to know my neighbors. I know its a crazy thought but I really wanted that. See I was a single mom going out on my own for the first time sense having kids and previously had only lived in student housing(which trust me there are lots of activities going on it was alot of fun) so I knew that I would need the connection to others and hopefully find a friend or as Anne of Green Gables states, a Kindred Spirit. I finally found what I was looking for in the community that I currently live and work for. I was blown away by the fact there were kids outside playing and the amount of resident activities they had.  I knew right then and there that was where I wanted to be. It also helped that it was close to my employer at the time. As you can see having regular resident activities......
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