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Items needed for Awesome Property Management

The quality of work of a carpenter is largely dependent on the availability of proper tools, and the same principal is true about any other job. Property management also needs the right tools to do their job terrifically and successfully. This obvious fact is often ignored in certain areas of property management, which usually results in tenant dissatisfaction, and an increase in vacancy rates.

As a property manager, you are confident about your team being hard working and results oriented, but if you fail to provide the right tools, you will not only have a low quality of work being demonstrated consistently but also an organization of frustrated employees. The tools required will vary depending on staff responsibilities and their area of operation.

A decision about investing in such tools will mainly be dictated by cost and the need for improving the type of work being delivered. Here are certain things that are generally needed for running a successful property management operation.

Communication Devices

A communicating device is one of the most important tools for property management staff, especially when it is a big property with many units. For instance, the resident might find it convenient to put in a maintenance request through the online portal; however, property management staff has to be equipped with acute communication tools for organizing the task, implementing the request, and for reporting the completion of the job.

Software and Office Equipment

The latest software will not only make tasks easier for property management staff, but enable them to complete more tasks in a given work day. If the office staff is spending time in entering the same data twice or multiple times then there is definitely something lacking in the system, which should be fixed immediately to arrest a drop in productivity.

Secondly, hardware should match up to the software that is loaded on it. If staff has to wait a long time for the device to boot up or for a report to be generated due to insufficient memory, then there is no point investing in costly or new office software.

Ongoing Training and Refresher Courses

When everything is changing at a rapid pace due to technological advances, it is necessary to keep the staff up to date of such changes, and provide them with the required training for handling the latest developments. For instance, maintenance personnel might need a refresher course to keep with advancements in green technology, or the office staff might need training in handling the new software system.

Latest Apps

Property management should consider equipping their staff with latest apps that can help improve their efficiency and save time. Here are some apps that are worth considering:

  • My Inventory Manager: This app will enable staff to keep track of all the things on the property. Apart from furniture in the different units, and office equipment, they can pinpoint where sports equipment and tools are even when they are scattered all over the property.
  • Happy Inspector: This is a poignant app for inspections since it has useful checklists and enables staff to generate reports and import data.
  • Rent Tracker: Obviously the most useful app, which keeps track of rent payments and also has a host of additional features. 

Providing the Latest Amenities to Gain a Competitive Edge

With the millennial crowd forming the majority of renters, it is crucial for property management to not only satisfy their needs but also consider new amenities that would attract them to the community, or make them renew their leases. The best strategy would be to focus on latest tech amenities that are most sought by modern renters.

This is not just for the urban housing sector, but also a vital point to consider for outer areas where the developments usually take place at a slower pace. If property management or property owners want to gain a competitive edge this year, these high tech amenities are worth considering.

Smart Features

While a fully automated home may still be a dream, it is still worth considering various smart features that can make a major difference to a community. For instance, Bluetooth speakers, Apple TVs, and integrated docking stations are going to become common, and renters will seek better Wi-Fi connectivity and ability to control their homes from their tablets.

Certain luxury communities have already introduced the latest platforms such as Monarc Tree that enable renters to control their entertainment system, lighting, and thermostat settings through an app on their smartphone. Property management will have to keep a close eye on these technologies, if they want to capture the section of renters looking for smarter homes, which is increasingly growing by the day.

Vehicle Sharing Services

Most of the millennial crowd hates the hassle of owning and maintaining vehicles. They prefer to be near workplaces, schools, and shopping malls. However, they are attracted to communities that have vehicle sharing services on-site or nearby. Ride-sharing services are increasingly becoming popular all over the country, and many have introduced features that make it more convenient. Users can now easily check availability of vehicles, make place reservations, and even pay for the services using their smartphone. 

Energy Efficiency and Environment Friendly

Most renters now prefer communities that implement energy efficiency plans and green features. This has prompted many communities to seek certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. Communities have to satisfy certain prerequisites for earning points and receiving particular certification levels.

For instance, a carbon dioxide sensor may be required to for controlling the thermostat for DCV (Demand Control Ventilation). Certain communities that have gained high levels of LEED certification have CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants on their site. These plants capture energy that is usually lost in generating power, and use it for heating water, and overall heating and the cooling of the units. This decreases the community's dependency on the grid, and helps a fantastic deal in saving on utility costs.

Property management will have to consider many things before enhancing features and planning upgrades. However, the main considerations will be the budget and target audience. It is essential to know how the feature is valued by your target audience. For instance, a pet lover might appreciate a dog spa, while a young renter might consider it a joke, and would be seeking connectivity for his Xbox in the theater room.

Preventive Plumbing Maintenance for Salient Property Management

One of the major concerns for property management is maintaining and repairing plumbing issues. Even with fabulous plumbing fittings and pipes, plumbing problems are sure to rise up eventually. The issues can be messy and have a tendency to deteriorate into a major problem very fast.

In order to cause least inconvenience to the tenants, property manager will have to repair the plumbing problem fast and make sure it is a quality job the first time. Therefore it is critical for property management to have a service agreement with an excellent plumbing company who is able to deliver every time.

How to Select an Astute Plumbing Service

Make sure the plumber or plumbing company has insurance and a license to practice the profession in the state. For doing most of the repair work, the workers will have to enter the units of tenants, which makes it vital to select a company with bonded employees.

Secondly, make sure the contractor visits the site, reviews the problem, and then gives you an estimate of the cost. It is not wise to accept plumbing bids over a phone, since the contractor will not have a clear idea about what is causing the problem. For instance, the problem may not be clogging of the pipes, and may need removal of tree roots that have invaded the sewer pipes. Hence, to avoid any horrific or problematic surprises germane to additional charges on the bill, make sure to obtain on-site estimate for the work.

Attending to Plumbing Issues Promptly Saves Money

If the water bills have started to rise then most probably there are leaks on the property that should be attended to immediately. A unit can waste 90 gallons of water per month when the toilet is leaking. If you consider multiple leaking toilets on the property, the water bill can be prohibitive. Hence, while conducting internal inspections, make it a point to check for leaks, and encourage tenants to report leaks immediately. Fixing a leaking toilet or faucet is easy and cheap, compared to the wastage of water and the resultant, inflated water bill.  

Check for Wear

All metal parts of the plumbing system, especially the heating systems are vulnerable to corrosion due to sediment, rust, by-products, sulfates, sand, salt, and alkalinity of the water. Therefore, it is essential to conduct an inspection or keep track of the period since the installation.

A golden plumbing company will have the latest equipment such as video scopes for inspecting the insides of drains and pipes. Such inspection can provide an accurate report on the level of corrosion and can pinpoint where the problem is located. Property management could also consider long-term solutions by laying CPVC and PVC pipes.

Hence, a property manager should give top priority to any kind of leakage or clogging issues, and have these issues handled immediately. Secondly, while conducting repairs, think in terms of long-term solutions rather than quick fixes. For instance, if relaying the pipes is required in a particular section of the property, it is better to have it done, rather than fixing that particular leak.

Some Outstanding Incentives for Reducing the Vacancy Rate

In a market climate where most people are looking to rent, if the vacancy rate has been steadily climbing then property management has to take immediate steps to attract tenants. The most direct and effective way to do this in any business is to provide incentives. Rentals are no different, and you need to make your community look special to gain a foothold in a fiercely competitive market.

Especially, when new properties have come up in your area, property management will have to think of different ways to attract prospects. Here are some of the incentives that are effective and can be used for convincing prospects to sign the leas or to encourage existing tenants to renew.

Decrease in Rent

Perhaps the most effective incentive is decreasing the rent. However, it should not be perceived to be a weakness in the property. Secondly, property management will have to do some hard calculations to make sure the business remains profitable. Perhaps a better approach would be decreasing the rent for people who are willing to sign a long-term lease.

Flexible Terms

People are more willing to sign leases, when the terms and conditions are not too strict of rigid. It could be flexibility in rules for pet owners or it could be early notice to break the lease. Such incentives will depend on the target market, but property manager will have to evaluate flexibility vs. risks, carefully.

 

Convenient and Safe Payment Options

People are used to making most payments through their debit and credit cards, and when they have to write a check or withdraw cash, it is a big hassle. Secure online payment options offer a stellar and fantastic convenience and most people will find this feature very attractive. Another convenient alternative would be to accept rent payments at the local store.

Reducing the Security Deposit

When you have an effective tenant screening process, reducing the security deposit could make a remarkable incentive. However, property management will have to evaluate the risks carefully in accordance with their target market. Alternatively, people could be given the choice of making the security deposit payment in a few monthly installments.

Better Features and Upgrades

Millennials are now not much bothered about the rent, as long as it matches up to similar properties in the area. However, they are attracted by better features and amenities, especially smart storage and high tech features. A simple kitchen remodel, or Wi-Fi upgrade can make the property very appealing. Here too, property management will have to consider the investment, and the returns it is likely to generate over the long term. Technology is advancing at a furious pace, and therefore things could be outdated rather quickly. Therefore, think carefully before investing a huge amount in such areas.

No Rent for the First Month

This is enticing to many people since their budget will be stretched while moving. However, the property management could run into cash flow problems unless it is a huge community. Secondly, the first month's rent can be included and spread over the remaining 11 months.  

Some of the Best Ways to Handle Evictions

The most awful task that property management hates is evicting a tenant. Even with astounding and firm tenant screening procedures in place, you cannot rule out having the occasional bad tenant. Hence, every property manager should be ready to deal with tenant eviction effectively.

The first thing to consider is whether there are any possible alternatives to eviction. Of course, if the tenant is engaging in criminal activity, there is no other option but to evict the person, but in other instances, there might be alternatives that might be better than taking the matter to court and incurring all the additional money and effort. 

Should You Evict a Fantastic Tenant Facing Financial Problems?

If a reliable tenant is experiencing financial problems recently, then property management should consider options and possible solutions that can work out for both parties. Here are some options that might work:

  • If a respectable tenant is falling back on rentals, due to certain financial problems, then the problem can be reviewed. If property management finds that there are outstanding chances of the tenant's disposable income rebounding, then it is better to make a customized payment plan that covers the current rent plus part of the past dues. However, such a plan will not work, if the tenant has lost his job, and is not likely to find a new one in the next couple of months.
  • If the problem is not financial and the tenant has violated the lease agreement, then the nature and frequency of the infraction can be considered. An official warning can be given, which also states that property management will be left with no other alternative but evicting the tenant, if the infraction is repeated.
  • If the lease of a tenant facing financial issues has to be renewed, then the best option would be not to renew it. This will save property management the cost and effort of the usual eviction process.
  • If the tenant has lost his job, then property management can consider hiring the person to do office-work or to do some other job that matches his skills. However, this option may not work on all properties.

Tips for Eviction

When eviction is the only option, here are some important points to consider:

  1. Meticulously follow the local and state laws regarding the eviction process.
  2. Make sure the official eviction notice does not have any mistakes and it is served to the tenant in the required manner. Otherwise, the case could be thrown out of court, and property management will have to begin all over again.
  3. When tenants are aware that they are going to be evicted, they will try their best to avoid being served the notice. Hence, property management might have to employ a professional, who is skilled at this job.
  4. There are different types of eviction notices, and the proper one for the particular circumstance should be served as per prevailing laws. Most notices will have an exception, where the tenant has a chance of fulfilling the condition to avoid being evicted. However, unconditional notice can also be served when the tenant has done something criminal or seriously violated the lease agreement.

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