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You're Selling My Property???

There is a lot in the news lately about how great the market is for the acquisition and disposition of multifamily assets. You see the big players out there “wheeling and dealing” getting in on the action and proudly announcing their companies being assigned new properties in receivership. But no one ever talks about what happens to the onsite team caught in the middle. No one ever discusses how they weather the storm, the upheaval of not knowing what is going to happen next, and how to transition through the changes.   “A Negative Thinker Sees a Difficulty In Every Opportunity.” Well, I can well imagine how the onsite team might fall into this trap. After all, sometimes completely out of the blue you are told, usually in an impersonal telephone call, that your property is for sale. Maybe you did have a faint inkling it was coming, maybe you didn’t. Either way, most people will internalize this news and rationalize a plan of action.   The onsite team may well first think, “What will happen to us?” followed quickly by “What will happen to me?”   Change is difficult. Everyone understands this, but the questions a sale raises can blind any employee into not being able to see the forest for the trees. With today’s economic climate, employees may well worry about their financial well-being. They begin to worry whether or not their paychecks will be good, whether their current company will honor their accrued sick and vacation pay, whether......
Recent Comments
Talisa Lavarry
This reminds me of a time that I was a retail manager and we were undergoing an aquisition. Took a lot of resilience and as you st... Read More
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 05:58
Mindy Sharp
I have been on both sides of this situation. It really makes a prospective sale tense when the onsite team is kept at arm's length... Read More
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:33
Guest — Been there
I have seen this many times and I myself have been on both sides. I have been very fortunate to work for companies that understand... Read More
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:16
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Maintenance Fees for Small Properties

Question for all of you in Property Management. 3rd party management companies often have maintenance techs on staff and utilize their services on small properties. When I refer to small properties, I'm referring to properties too small to support a maintenance tech on the site's payroll.

Question, as a 3rd party management company, how do you charge that maintenance cost back to the property? or do you? Are they treated as a vendor? Or is there a charge or % for maintenance built into the management fee? Any advice or help on this topic is much appreciated!!! Thanks in advance!!!

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Understanding Your Property Management Team

Understanding Your Property Management TeamBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia There are many reasons why we need to recruit. We live in a world where there are unlimited opportunities for advancement and success. So, it stands to reason that your team members come and go based on their own personal career aspirations and opportunities that present themselves. It’s always wise to know individual team member’s personal goals. You should ask them what these are at the initial interview and then discuss it at monthly one-to-one meetings. By knowing what your team member’s long-term career aspirations are, you are then able to manage your team, business, and service by design. In some instances you will be able to fulfill team members’ career aspirations by training and promoting them through your business. This must not be in a vain attempt to keep them working for your agency. It must be for the overall good of you and the team member, as well as your business and clients. Remember, the best business philosophy is always “Win/Win”. When someone has reached their peak it’s also usually the time they start to lose interest. The longer you try to hang onto them by giving them all sorts of incentives, the more pain you put yourself and your business through. Whilst the team member is still arriving at the office each morning and sitting at the desk, they may only be a chair-warmer as in their mind they have already “checked out”. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s all......
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Training Your Property Management Staff

Training your property management staffBy Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL As managers and owners of property, are we not supposed to deliver the best service, and keep our properties as safe and clean as possible? Is our staff learning and keeping on top of the current trends in technology and techniques? Do we empower our teams to deliver the best they can to maintain or lease our property? If not, why? What is your excuse? Are there not enough hours in the day? Are funds tight? Is an emergency, like bad weather or governmental changes stopping you, giving you an excuse for not training, or teaching your team how to be the best? Let’s try to stop creating excuses and make room for the good stuff! Instead of complaining about how hard it is or how much it costs, let’s take a proactive approach to the teaching and training problem! Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “How can I accomplish this?” How about setting aside some time to sharpen the saw? Why not allow for so many hours per month or per week for training or learning? Call it “Education Hours” or “Education Day”. Whatever you allow for, give it a prominent time in your man-hours and be consistent, setting a standard day or time each month, that way it is expected. Using your existing pool of service providers is a great way to obtain on-site instructors. Many of our valued service providers are eager to present their knowledge to my team. Bankers, attorneys,......
Recent Comments
Guest — mdjohnson
Most managers "want" their staff to do a good job so they can rest easy. When it comes time to train staff to excel and pursue bet... Read More
Monday, 23 April 2012 03:14
Laura Bruyere
I think that time restraints are a huge obstacle in effective training. Managers want great trained employees and most have the b... Read More
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 05:08
John Feeney
You have a great point Linda - providers like myself enjoy the opportunity to address the staff on Security issues. At times basi... Read More
Friday, 27 April 2012 01:34
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Are Recruiting Agencies Paying Off?

Property Management RecruitingBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Currently, there are many challenges facing the property management industry. I believe the property management industry is unknowingly creating many of these challenges because they are not identifying and addressing the real problem. I consider the real problem to be how principals operate their property management business. Problem number one comes when principals need to find a new team member, the “Property Manager”. Principals don’t seem to fully understand the roles in their property management business. Any available position is immediately referred to as a “property manager”. However, what skills, attitude, and knowledge are really required for this available position i.e. what is the role that really needs filling? Many principals do not consider this question and therefore do not recruit the right team member for the job. The normal process is therefore as follows: The recruitment agency is contacted because recruiting through self-advertising is apparently all too difficult. The recruitment agency is asked if they have any available property managers. Of course, they have a whole database of self-professed property managers. They maintain a wonderful database of property managers to choose from that are all experienced, with many years of service under their belts, and have achieved amazing results so far. They are also highly skilled and trained so they come at a price. Several thousand dollars to the recruitment agency later, you have a “property manager” on a salary in the top percentile. But have you ever wondered on what grounds is......
Recent Comments
Johnny Karnofsky
I actually built my experience from a temp services/recruitment agency as I came into this from retail and at the time I didn't kn... Read More
Friday, 20 April 2012 00:51
Laura Bruyere
A large part of our business is offering leasing agents on a temp/temp to perm basis, I see the all of the above points very clear... Read More
Friday, 20 April 2012 01:49
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Are You a Speed Bump?

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Do you make decisions and move forward or do you contemplate things to the point that you become a speed bump? What is a speed bump? A speed bump is the person in an organization that stops progress and/or is afraid to make a decision out of fear of failure. In an organization, being the speed bump is not always a bad thing. However, day in and day out operations suffer when you are the property manager, supervisor, or property owner and it is your actions that delay or stop momentum. When managing teams, it is important to have a keen sense of judgment, and to be quick on your feet with respect to analysis, so that you are able to make smart decisions. If you put a system in place to make comparisons easy to analyze, those types of decisions can be made much more efficiently. Now you have a built-in safety net that enables you to move faster, so you can keep making progress. For instance, if you are the one reviewing quotes, create a matrix submittal form of the recurring questions you always ask before making the decision. Ask your staff to submit all requests for expenditures using your form. It can be a simple columnar form that permits an executive level overview and forces the staff, or the providers of goods and services, to answer all of your concerns, BEFORE, it hits your desk for review. Why reject requisitions over......
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Do You Really Please Your Customers?

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL In the history of property ownership and property management, as far back as the Stone Age (maybe not that far back), we have always called our customers “tenants” and for some reason it just stuck like glue. We can try to shake the term, but no matter how we spin it, turn it, or twist it the relationship comes back full circle to calling them “tenants” and not customers. It is rather maddening to say the least. Even though I preach this and believe it, I catch myself using the term because nobody understands who I am speaking about when I say “customer!” What drives me batty is that when you consider all of the blood, sweat, and tears we put into marketing, promotions, “tenant” retention, newsletters, “tenant” parties, and “tenant” appreciation, why do we not refer to our “tenants” as customers? It just does not make logical sense. If you go to Disney World, the tourists are called “guests” NOT “tourists”! Disney had a good idea and they pushed that idea so hard that it is ingrained in everybody, including the “guests!” If you have ever been to Disney World or Disney Land you know what I mean. The point is Disney believed that each person who entered “the property” was a guest and NOT a tourist or even a customer. Disney wants everyone to feel special and privileged, just like a guest. So back to my original point, why in our industry......
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Charles Fiori
Linda, a very well-written, common sense piece. I am a senior executive with a vendor company who has had a long career in custome... Read More
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 01:10
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Failure to Inspect or Repair = Trouble

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA I once lived in house in downtown San Jose that was next to an abandoned "historic" house. The house was abandoned because it was "historic." The city had an ordinance that prevented the owner from demolishing the building and rebuilding it, or selling it. Because the house was built before a certain time, the city ordinance prohibited him from doing anything with the property other than fixing it up. Rather than doing that, in protest, he did nothing with the property. And I mean nothing, other than board it up. Mistake! You see it was downtown San Jose. It was right in the middle of urban, night time activities. The abandoned home soon became a sort of an attractive spot for the seedier and less fortunate souls. We frequently had to call the police. There were the typical late night guests, drinking, broken glass, and other non-printable activities going on in there. After enough of these visits, the neighbors reported the landlord to the city, and hearings were held. Fines were levied. Landlords got mad. Fences were put up. Pulling the restrictive ordinance and the obstinacy of the landlord out of the equation, the landlord had a duty to know what was going on at his property. He should have inspected it, even if he did not have tenants. What kinds of things can happen, from a legal perspective, if you do not inspect and repair? What will happen if the......
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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.......
Recent Comments
Guest — C Fiori
Linda, and all readers: There are clearly many ways where our lives can be made more efficient. The key thing to remember is that ... Read More
Friday, 13 April 2012 01:08
Brent Williams
I love this post, but I think it is also important to empower this type of efficiency to come from the front lines up, as well. W... Read More
Friday, 13 April 2012 06:42
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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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