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Charge It!: Why It’s Time to Start Accepting Rental Payments Via Credit Card

Charge It!: Why It’s Time to Start Accepting Rental Payments Via Credit Card
Credit cards are a powerful tool for consumers, made only more powerful by their convenience and popularity. Failing to accept credit cards as a valid method of payment for rental fees is to really miss out on a great opportunity to delight and accommodate your tenants. But there are so many more reasons to justify adding credit cards to your repertoire. Read on to learn why charging it is the way to go.   Convenience is king. Manual is out. According to a recent study by Entrata, a leading online payment provider, 79% of renters prefer to pay rent online. And “why?” you might ask. Because it’s easy. What could be simpler than a few clicks of your mouse to button up this month’s payment? Buying new checks, sending payment by snail mail or dropbox. These are all things of the past. Not only do modern day tenants appreciate the convenience of online rent payment, but they’ve come to expect it. The bar has been raised. That’s right. The expectation is there. Gone are the days when you do your business your way and the customer is the one expected to adapt. Now tenants have options in the marketplace, and it’s up to landlords to listen to their wants and cater to their needs. If you are the only property on their list that doesn’t accept credit card payments, that kind of distinction could put you squarely in the wrong category. Quick and painless. The speed with which a credit card transaction takes place is virtually unmatched. Proc......
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Contactless Rental Is the Future of Property Management

Contactless Rental Is the Future of Property Management
Before the pandemic, owning a rental property where management and staff had regular contact with current and prospective residents was considered a good thing. It meant you were attentive to your tenants’ needs and had plenty of people interested in occupying vacant units. Amid a pandemic, however, that level of contact is viewed in a different light.   Things that once seemed trivial, such as sharing keys for work orders or showing empty apartments to possible renters, are now potential ways to spread disease — something both residents and staff members want to avoid as much as possible. Luckily, technology makes it possible to do more than find workarounds for existing procedures; it gives managers and owners the ability to transcend those procedures.   That might sound like hyperbole, but there are simply better ways to do things in the modern age. In many cases, the pandemic has pushed those methods to the forefront. Using the right technology, owners and managers can remove the need for staff and residents to be physically together throughout the rental process. Everything from first seeing an apartment to performing routine maintenance to handling move-out can be done without contact and without residents rearranging their schedules.   A contactless rental experience isn’t just something that can get you through the pandemic safely — it can create a better future for residents and staff alike.   Why Rental Owners Should Embrace the Contactless Rental Experience   While there are many reasons to invest in technology that will help yo......
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Property Management and Crime

By Carla Toebe, New Century Realty, Kennewick, WA One of your responsibilities as a property manager is to maintain a safe, secure, crime-free property. Unfortunately, there are a number of scenarios within property management that a criminal – or even just an opportunist – could exploit. The list below outlines some situations to avoid and some precautions to employ. Never accept cash. Never, under any circumstances, accept cash as payment of rent. By never accepting cash, you will prevent possible thefts by employees or outside people who have marked you as a target, and you will also attract fewer criminals who want to deal only in cash so they can launder money or keep their money trail off the records to avoid being tracked. Screen your applicants. Application screening is another very effective way of recognizing criminals, or people living beyond their means. Naturally a criminal record is a red flag and is generally considered a reason for denial. Another red flag is having a number of items in collections that are not being dealt with. This could mean the individual is living beyond their means. You have to consider the possibility that their wages might be garnished to take care of these bills. Would they be able to still pay the rent? Where is the rent money coming from in that case? Be aware when showing units. Showing a rental unit could also be potentially dangerous if you do not take appropriate precautions. When you are showing a place ......
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"Weather" You Like It or Not – Winter is Coming!

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL I think we can all agree that whether you're a seasoned property manager or building owner, or if you're a rookie to managing property, that there are not enough reminders about Mother Nature changing course, come winter each year! Weather can be a property manager’s best friend or worst enemy. The key is to be sure you are prepared! Even if you have the best staff and the finest building engineer, double checking the basics while the weather is mild is much more pleasant than learning that something was overlooked after it breaks or bursts in the middle of January, especially when it could have been prevented with a $5 piece of weather-stripping or a $2 valve. Winter can really cause a lot of trouble for the bricks and mortar of a building, in addition to the windows and pipes. Going over all of the most vulnerable areas early will save you so much grief later on down the road. For instance, walk the lower levels and check the basements or whatever areas are least visited at your property, in addition to all spaces that are vacant. It is vital that even the smallest pinhole be closed up tight. In a biting subzero winter, a blowing cold snap can pierce through that small hole and act as a razor through any pipe. That type of damage can be menacing and I would not wish it on anyone. I have learned over the years that......
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HOA Hurricane Checklist

By Ken Kmet, Condo Voice, Clearwater, FL Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, so we’ve put together a checklist for condominium associations and homeowner associations for hurricane season readiness. The first thing an association has to do is adopt a policy on how the association will function during the three phases of a severe weather event: before, during, and after a hurricane/severe weather event. They must also adopt a hurricane shutter specification, then make a checklist of actions and duties assigned to the association and to each homeowner in all three phases of the severe weather event. If you have all this, examine it carefully, and update if necessary. Of course, all of this should be done well before you see the television alerts showing you the radar of a hurricane off shore and heading right for you. The last thing you need in a crisis, where your life may be in danger, is confusion and wrong assumption of duties. Make sure your preparedness policy alerts individuals of what common area services, equipment, and facilities will be available, or NOT available (such as the elevator). How to create this policy deserves its own post, and we will do that at a later date at condovoice.com, but every policy should contain the following details. Emergency Board Powers: With details on the “special powers” conferred by the state legislature on condominium boards to enable them to maneuver their association through the difficult post-disaster period; 1. Immediate Post-Storm Action: Including locating......
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Do You Have Plumbing Leaks In Your Association?

By Ken Kmet, Condo Voice, Clearwater, FL As buildings age, more attention has to be paid to repairs and replacements. Plumbing problems are more expensive than other repairs because they are hidden. Locating the source of a leak may not be easy, even though wet areas or standing water may be evident. Finding the actual problem source may require the assistance of a professional leak-finding service, as well as invasive tactics, including drywall or concrete removal. Plumbing leaks of every kind usually come with collateral damage, not only to the property owner of the home where the leak originates, but also to the neighbors. When you experience one leak in a building that is over 20 years old, chances are you will start to see them more frequently. If you live in an older community association, including an HOA, condominium association, townhome community, or other multi-family community, a call to action is needed. You may try to make do, repair the one leak here and there. But living through these repairs is misery to all involved, and expensive. Most of the time the expenses are shared between unit owner and the association, and just how the bill gets shared is not always clear. Just because “you’ve always done it this way,” that doesn’t mean someone took the time to research it properly, and the laws have changed recently in every state regarding who is responsible to do the repair and pay for the repair for each part of the damaged property.......
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Pest Management for Property Managers

By Rose McMillan, Terminix, Atlanta, GA If you are a property manager, you may think that the idea of calling an exterminator is a nightmare. While dealing with pests of any sort is no picnic, it is far better than simply letting the infestation get worse and worse, which is exactly what is going to happen if you do nothing. If you are performing a property management role for a multifamily property, you need to have an integrated pest management strategy available at your fingertips should you detect a problem. For Property Managers Keep an open door policy for reporting pests. Be very clear that there will be no blame or penalties placed for reporting pests of any sort. One great way to keep things blame-free is to allow residents to sign up for weekly or monthly pest control treatments. Be proactive with your pest control and make sure that you seal up any cracks or gaps in the walls and the baseboards. This keeps pests from entering the building on their own. Seal up the areas where pipe lines enter and leave the unit as well. Call an exterminator sooner rather than later. For example, if roaches and bedbugs are seen during the day, this usually means that an infestation has gotten quite bad and needs immediate attention. An exterminator can tell you what you need to know about your situation. Educate your residents by passing out notices with pictures of different pests and what draws them in. For example,......
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World's Worst Tenants

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA I have to admit that recently I started watching a new cable show called “World’s Worst Tenants” on Spike TV. The premise for the show if you haven’t seen it depicts three individuals who are hired by various property management companies to handle unusually odd tenant related issues. The issues range from your basic nonpayment of rent to more bizarre and serious issues that can leave any self-respecting property manager shaking their head in disbelief. The show makes for great TV and entertainment, but on a serious note it can offer some insight to the importance of exterior and interior property inspections. I noticed that usually the trio of characters hired to resolve the tenant related issues would indicate that the out of state owner or property manager had lost communication with the tenant and in most cases both were unaware of the property condition. This dangerous combination usually lead to disastrous situations leaving the rental property completely destroyed, and in some cases declared uninhabitable by city, state, and federal laws. I can’t help but think that regularly scheduled inspections would act as a deterrent in the outcome of some of these situations.Here at SDP Management our company policy is to conduct two exterior and one interior inspection annually. At the lease signing we advise the tenants of this policy and make it known that the property owner and the management company have a vested interest in making sure that......
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Your HOA's Parks & Rec Department

By Ken Kmet, Condo Voice, Clearwater, FL Trending now within city and state governments is the notion that operational costs and budgets for 2013 will call for either higher taxes or fewer services. The sluggish economy, along with property values remaining still or down, is not helping avoid tax increases. Tax increases are not popular or politically welcomed, which means local governments nix services as the first option (even though raising taxes may be inevitable). So now you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with community associations?”   If governments have to cut services, the first to go are usually the non-essential services with large budgets, i.e., the parks and recreation department. In addition to the traditional parks, city and county swimming pools may be closed, as well as ballparks, gymnasiums, tennis courts, and playgrounds. The total cost to operate these services and facilities is not just the cost of paying employees to police, repair, and maintain them. The costs for lighting and security are significant, as is the cost of liability insurance. The trickle-down effect to HOAs, condominiums, townhomes, neighborhoods, and deed-restricted communities will be that their common areas will become, in effect, private parks and recreational areas. Thus the resident, and resident’s family and friends, will use these facilities more. This will increase community associations’ operating budgets for repairs and maintenance, as well as increase the rate of aging, which will in turn force an increase in reserve budgets for their replacement costs. The covenants of most......
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The Fundamentals of Direct Marketing Are the Same, Only the Tools Have Changed

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL The other day a property manager asked me how one can make money for their company and building, using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN or any other online network. It was a great question. I believe so many property managers, leasing agents and real estate professionals are confused about how these tools can be used. Networking sites are just that: tools. For example, just because you use Twitter, you will not make money. Twitter is a vehicle to carry a message with the potential for your message to be read by many more people without paper, postage or labor to stuff an envelope. So if you want to get the word out about a property you are leasing for instance, the goal is to touch as many people with your message as possible. How do you do that? Well if you are a leasing agent there are companies with many employees in a given market that you want to do outreach to. It is very difficult and time consuming to create email lists of those contacts and maintain current emails. Those businesses have employees who want to live as close to work as possible. By reaching those businesses, you have a very good chance that the employees at the company also follow their own company on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN. By sharing your information through their stream of influence, you are touching a wider audience. Yes, you have touched the company, but they touch many more......
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