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Staff Versus Software for Property Management

There’s no doubt about it—of all the business problems you could potentially have, being too busy is certainly not a bad option. However, being too busy can become a problem if you lack the bandwidth to stay on top of things. If you consistently find yourself putting off certain tasks or letting them fall through the cracks altogether, it’s time to make some changes. Being overloaded can result in a slip in the quality of the service you provide or oversights, both of which may guarantee you’re not so busy for long. The obvious answer to too much work is bringing more hands on deck. But, of course, just because you’re busy doesn’t necessarily mean you have the budget to hire additional employees. Property management software may give you the extra help you need at a lower cost than an additional salary. Multi-tasking Functionality One of the great benefits of property management software is that it essentially acts as an office generalist. For example, hiring extra staff to take care of accounting work may alleviate that workload, but that same person can’t necessarily take on other tasks such as advertising. Modern property management software, on the other hand, handles a diverse variety of functions. It does accounting, allows tenants to make rent payments online, provides an advertising platform, runs credit and criminal checks, creates reports, and keeps records. Cost-effective Investment Property management software requires only a nominal investment when compared to hiring new staff and adding an additional salary to your......
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A Small Group Of Tenants May Be Doubling Your Multifamily Utility Costs. Find out what you can do about it

When utilities are included in an apartment complex's rent, some tenants are naturally going to consume more than others.  High utility users, even if they represent a small group of tenants, can substantially increase costs. Since these cost increases are effectively hidden in the rent, those residents who use utilities responsibly subsidize those who don't.  A question to consider then is how much are high users increasing utility expenses?  Does it make financial sense for an owner to include utilities or bill tenants directly?  If an owner does decide to transition away from the utilities included model, what options are available? The Challenge of a Master-Metered Multifamily Complex An owner is most likely to include utilities in the rent when his multifamily complex is master-metered for water, gas, or electricity.  The drawback of a master-metered community is that there's no way to tell how much of a given utility each resident is using.  If I'm one of those residents who runs the heat continually, lets a broken toilet flapper leak without reporting it, or keeps the air conditioning on even when I'm not home, it's my neighbors who pick up most of the tab.  The usual feedback loop that links the amount I pay, to the amount I consume, is missing.  Without this feedback loop, I'm more likely to consume carelessly. As we're about to see, careless or abusive consumption can raise multifamily utility expenses as much as 70%! The RUBS Example Assume you own a 150 unit complex, each ......
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Overcoming Objections that are really not Objections at all.

Training directors, leasing experts, property managers and even owners ask me how they can overcome a particular objection on their community.  I want to say this up front though, I do not try and jam a circle prospect into a square apartment.  Yes, you may close them, but many of them cancel and many more will be unhappy after they move in, as they have been sold not guided.  On the other hand, let’s say a prospect said she needs a balcony and you do not have one.  Ask a qualifying question.  For example, I was doing a lease up at a community that did not have balconies, and everyone told me they lost a ton of leases because of this.  I said, really?  At the end of the lease up I only lost one because of this.   Many people are in love with the idea of having this or that, but let’s be honest, many times we never use it.  I had personally rented a 7th floor apartment south west exposure with a huge balcony in brand new luxury high rise located in Atlanta, GA.  I rented that particular apartment because of this balcony and in the two years I lived there I walked out on the balcony a couple of times for a few minutes, never put any furniture out there either.    So when the lack of a balcony at our lease-up came up as an objection, I asked them if they were in love with the idea......
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Choosing the Right Business Entity for Your Property Management Business

The business entity you choose for your property management company will affect you in very real ways—especially when it comes to taxation and financial and legal liability. This is a big decision and one that you may want to make with the assistance of your accountant or attorney. Following are the four business entities most commonly used by property management companies and some basic information about each. Sole Proprietor The title of this business designation pretty much says it all—a sole proprietorship is a business owned by one individual. Unlike more complex options, sole proprietorships do not have to be legally registered with the state you do business in. Rather, a sole proprietorship’s existence is solely based on the fact that you’ve gone into business. In other words, it’s simple and free to set up. Sounds too easy, right? Well, there is a drawback. Because you are one and the same with your business, business gains and losses are filed on your personal tax forms and, most notably, you are liable for the business, both financially and legally. Partnership A partnership is much like a sole proprietorship, but it involves two or more owners. As with a sole proprietorship, no paperwork or registration is required—you are simply in business. Again, partners claim their share of business income on personal tax forms and are held liable for the business’ financial and legal claims. Limited Liability Company (LLC) LLCs are a bit more complex to set up than sole proprietorships or partnerships, with......
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Property Management Blogs

Industry-related blogs are a great way to pick up expert tips, tricks, and insider knowledge quickly and for free. But, of course, there are a lot of blogs out there. Since you only have so much time in the day to surf the web, here’s a quick run-down of five property management-related blogs you should be reading. Marketing and More Property management veteran Mike Brewer, who runs the M Brewer Group blog, is one of the most seasoned and consistent bloggers in the industry. While his blog focuses in large part on marketing, you’ll also find various additional industry topics included as well. Brewer has his fingers on the pulse of current industry conversations, so this blog is a great place to stop by to get a quick gauge of what’s currently being discussed by industry professionals. Cyber Consultant With Behind the Leasing Desk, Seattle-based property management consultant Heather Blume provides readers with musings on the industry and insights on how to up your property management game.  On her blog, Heather writes about everything from staff-related training class excerpts to tips for greening up your property. With quick, snappy reads, this blog is a great place to pick up a mish-mash of ideas to help you better your own business, including everything from tenant retention to customer service. Property Renovations Though Brownstoner.com’s Renovation Blog is Brooklyn-based, property managers from everywhere can learn a lot from the site’s home renovation section. If you’re the type that likes to take on projects—or if......
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The Value of Tenant Forums

As a property manager, you have a great resource that shouldn’t go untapped right at your fingertips: your tenants. For as well as you know your property, most property managers don’t actually live on-site. Because of this, your tenants are more qualified than anyone else to provide insights into potentially beneficial changes, improvements, and upgrades that can make your property more appealing—and perhaps even more valuable. You can solicit information from tenants in a number of ways: through an old-fashioned suggestion box either on-site or at your property management office, through an online form, or through a questionnaire for tenants to fill out upon move-out (or at any other point during their residency at your property, for that matter). In addition to all this, when it comes to encouraging tenants to share their thoughts and suggestions, property managers may want to consider taking a cue from condo associations. Hosting forums on an annual or bi-annual basis for tenants to submit ideas for changes and/or to vote on potential changes you are considering rolling out at your property is a great way to not only receive important feedback, but also to bring tenants together to brainstorm and share ideas that you may have never even considered. Though you have the ultimate say about what does or does not happen at your rental property, receiving this sort of organic feedback can lead you in the right direction, providing a lot of insight into what tenants do and do not want to see happen......
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Snow Removal Done Right

If you live east of Nebraska, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about snow lately. As cozy and idyllic as it can be to watch flutter to the ground when you’re safely tucked away by the fire in your living room, snow is a very different beast when you’re forced to contend with it. Particularly this winter, when a new blizzard seems to be blowing in on a weekly basis. As a property manager, contending with mother nature is part of the job description. Some cities even have laws mandating that you are legally responsible for removing snow and ice from the public sidewalks in front of your property. Even if your town doesn’t have such laws, it’s still in your best interest to get rid of that snow. Should someone happen to slip and fall in front of your property—which is all too easy to do right now—you may be legally and financially responsible. Let’s begin by looking at the areas you’ll want to shovel: A clear path leading from the sidewalk to your property’s entry door. A clear path leading from the driveway/parking lot to the closest door. The driveway. The sidewalk area around/on your property. In addition to shoveling these areas, you will also want to scatter salt and/or sand to ensure people don’t slip on any remaining ice. With that in mind, what are your options for removing snow and ice? Do it yourself. If you opt to remove snow yourself, remember, it can......
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The Home-Buying Checklist

The importance of being methodical when purchasing property can’t be overstated. As you go through the purchasing process, make sure you have accounted for each of the following items on our Home-Buying Checklist. Look for Seasonal Slumps As with every other type of shopping, some times of the year are better than others when it comes to purchasing property. Even during years when it’s a seller’s market, there will likely be certain months that are better suited for buyers than others. For example, home sales tend to be slower around the holidays when people are already feeling over-extended financially. Bad weather can also inhibit other would-be buyers from checking out potential purchases, which means less competition for you if you strap on those snow shoes and a couple of extra layers. It works to your benefit to slant your property purchases to these slower times of the year, when there is less competition out there to drive prices up. Get Pre-approved Obtaining a loan pre-approval will not only save you time in the long-run when you want to jump on a purchase as quickly as possible, but it will also help narrow your search parameters (after all, no use falling in love with a place that ends up being financially unfeasible). By having a solid idea of your price limit ahead of time, you can be sure that you’re not looking at properties that are above your price range or, alternatively, settling for an inferior property. Find a Realtor Who’s Right......
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Property Managers – Tips to Make Your Rental Property Energy Efficient

Property Managers – Tips to Make Your Rental Property Energy Efficient

Property management companies, landlords and property managers - Make energy efficient upgrades whenever you can. Such upgrades will make your rental property less expensive to maintain while you and your tenants live in it as well as contribute to market value of the property.  

Property Managers – Tips to Make Your Rental Property Energy Efficient


1. Make sure your rental property is well insulated and equipped with heating and cooling systems that work properly. Buy energy-efficient appliances or revamp heating and cooling systems to save energy if you have the money. Less expensive steps, like insulating doors and windows, will also save you money and help conserve energy.

2. Utility companies, agencies, nonprofit organizations provide advice and information through publications and sometimes even provide subsidies to help property management companies, landlords and property managers make their properties more energy efficient.

3. Property management companies, landlords and property managers who rent to low- and moderate-income tenants may participate in a site assistance program that includes an energy-efficiency audit and financial help for making a home weather-tight. Call your local electric company to find out more about resources of this type in your neighborhood.

4. Contact your state or local energy office for other helpful publications on subjects like buying energy-efficient appliances, improving the efficiency of oil and gas heating systems, or insulating homes against cold air.

5. You also can hire energy-efficiency consultants to inspect your property and suggest long-term energy- saving measures. Their prfoessional fees maybe tax deductible.

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Who Says T.V. isn't Educational?

One of the great benefits of the reality television craze is that distance education no longer has to cost any more than the price of your monthly cable television subscription. Of course this certainly does not apply to all sectors of reality television, but when it comes to house-flipping and home improvement shows on channels such as A&E, HGTV, and TLC  it certainly is possible to mix entertainment and education. Here are a few of our favorite TV shows that offer up some great business-minded take-away. Designed to Sell, HGTV Designed to Sell is perfect for those real estate investors who have done the hard work of renovations and are ready to flip their home. Or, for that matter, for anyone who is looking to sell their property and wants to command the best price possible. This show is inherently budget-friendly, with the premise of providing sellers with a maximum budget of $2,000 to invest in making their home as appealing as possible to would-be buyers (and, thus, maximizing the sale price). Designed to Sell relies on the expertise of interior designers, stagers,  and home improvement gurus, bringing a team of helping hands straight into your living room. Income Property, HGTV Though Income Property is geared toward first-time buyers who are looking to make some money from their homes by renting out rooms within their homes to cover their mortgage, host Scott McGillivray offers up a ton of tips that property managers can apply. With ten years of experience under his......
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