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The Importance of Outside Appearances in Property Management

The Importance of Outside Appearances in Property Management

Property management should pay attention to the curb appeal of their property, since sparkling outside appearances can attract quality renters. One of the most important criteria for people looking to rent property is the exterior looks. According to a survey, more than 75% prospective renters, first consider the outside appeal of the structure and then only would consider reviewing the apartment or house.

Priorities

The condition of the rental property directly influences the number of possible vacancies. Therefore, taking care and managing the outside appearances and beautifying the location should be considered a wise investment. Certain cosmetic improvements do not need much investment, and they are usually covered by maintenance tasks such as painting, repairs, replacing the trim, and installing window shutters. However, property management should also consider investing in a decent and reliable landscaping service.

It is not necessary to carry an expensive landscaping service on your docket. The main point is to make the outside appearance more attractive, which can be achieved even with cheaper and low-maintenance landscaping. First, consider the weather conditions in your area, and select plants accordingly. It is always better to opt for drought-resistant plants, as they will require the least maintenance. From the variety available, select plants that bloom during multiple seasons in a year. They should also have a lush texture with colorful flowers and leaves.  

Suitable Plants

First, consider the path that leads to the main entrance or door of the building, as a beautiful pathway can make a big difference to the looks of a property. If there is a concrete walkway, you could consider replacing it with attractive paving stones. You could also consider a combination of grass and paving stones, as that would make the pathway much more attractive. Now, to make the pathway more aesthetically appealing, plant some ornamental plants, on both sides of the walkway.

You could also opt to plant trees; however, you will need to consider the available space and the approximate height of the trees when they are fully-grown. Finally, consider installing attractive external light fixtures along the pathway to make it more appealing during the night.

A small garden can also make a major difference in enhancing the appeal of the property. Even a small patch on either side of the entrance, can give the building a welcoming exterior. Even when the property is an apartment complex, a few patches of greenery and plants can improve the looks tenfold. Greenery is always pleasing to the eye compared to drab concrete. Add to that a splotch of color with some plants and you have a winning combination.

Alternatives

The next step would be to consider an impressive door for the front main entrance. Embellishments like engravings and brass knocker will make the door even more attractive. If a new door is too expensive, then simply lay out an attractive doormat, to improve the appeal of the entrance.

Another major element in improving exteriors is installing an attractive trim. The trim around the windows facing the street can enhance the looks of the property manifold. If new wood trim is out of your budget, at least consider a fresh coat of paint for the trim that you have currently.

Handling Cash Rents

Handling Cash Rents

Property managers are now increasingly finding that a few renters do not have a bank account or actually, would rather pay their rent without involving the banking system. According to studies, more than 8% of the adult population in the United States is unbanked or does not use or maintain a bank account, and this could be due to many factors, including the economy and undesirability of engaging in banking transactions. Hence, modern property managers have had to implement an effective cash payment option to collecting some rents.

A Basic Reasoning

Property owners can lose many renters if they insist on bank transactions or having a banking account. Around 50% of all ethnic groups and some young people below 34 years do not have a bank account and prefer dealing in cash. Additionally people with low to medium incomes are unable to save enough in the present economic situation and therefore do not find it worthwhile to have an account where they have to pay fees if they do not have a minimum balance. Considering all these aspects it is now vital to have some system, to make it easier for renters to pay cash.

When there is no office on the property, where tenants can come and pay their rents, then accepting money orders or cashier checks from services such as Western Union and MoneyGram, are viable alternatives for the property manager. However, the management will also have to implement an efficient system for depositing these checks and issuing receipts. Tenants will also have to put up with the delay from the time they issue the money order or cashier check, and receiving a receipt.

Another better option would be implementing cash payments at convenience store/s through PayNearMe or similar services. Such a cash transaction is very convenient for the tenant, and he or she immediately receives a receipt for the payment. The property manager on the other hand also receives immediate notification of the rent payment, and the money is directly deposited in the bank account of the property.

Risks Involved

A manual receipt of cash by the property manager or staff is not a sterling option, since it can be expensive. First, the property manager or a particular designated member of the staff has to be at hand to accept cash from the tenants. Then there is the work of manually recording the transaction, issuing a receipt and keeping the money safely until it is deposited in the bank account. All this would result in longer office hours, designating one staff member with this task, and having enough security for all the collected cash. This is neither economical nor convenient method for collecting cash rent in property management.

Property management will have to evaluate various methods for receiving rent in cash, based on certain aspects:

Saving of Time: Consider each method based on the time and staff requirements for completing the transaction, and evaluate it my simulating the full process

Convenience: When you have made the system convenient for the tenant, you will have much less instances of late payments and tenants will be a happier lot.

Issue of Receipt: There should be immediate issuance of receipt to the tenant on receiving the money

Security: The process should have minimum risks of fraud or theft of the money

Retaining Residents in Property Management

Retaining Residents in Property Management

One of the most challenging tasks in property management is retaining loyal and reliable tenants. It is also less costly to maintain a current resident than to locate and approve a new tenant. Even though renting is usually transient activity for most people, since they may be looking for a place to buy, it still makes sense to retain fantastic tenants for as long as possible.

One of the points acting in favor of the property manager is that tenants also do not like the idea of moving frequently. However, unless the tenant is kept happy there is always a good chance of losing the tenant. Therefore, the property manager should provide good reasons to the tenants for staying where they are, and this can be accomplished by considering the following points.

Maintaining the Quality and Aesthetic Appeal of the Property

One of the major tasks of property management is to maintain the looks of the property, and this can become a major issue with many tenants. The usual complaint of most tenants is that the property went “downhill”, meaning it does not look as good as it looked before. The property can lose its appeal due to many reasons. It could be poor ways of disposing trash, neglecting the landscaping, not painting the structures on time, or selecting some bad tenants.

All tenants consider the rented property their home and nobody would like to enter premises where there is trash scattered around, the walls have peeling paint, or the neighbors are a suspicious lot. Hence, the property manager has to ensure the property is kept aesthetically pleasing and there are no evil or malicious tenants.

Being Responsive

Property managers can become quite unresponsive to tenant requests and complaints, when they have to handle this task on a daily basis. However, this is one of the major reasons for tenant dissatisfaction, which eventually leads to the decision of leaving.

The property manager and support staff should respond promptly to requests from tenants, resolve maintenance and repair issues, professionally and quickly. If it is not possible to attend to a tenant’s request, the manager should take time to explain to the tenant why the task could not be performed, instead of simply ignoring the tenant.

Keeping Tenants Involved and Informed

A property can be managed more effectively when it is taken to be a community. Hence, a property manager should promote community activities and make sure all tenants participate in these events. Holding monthly or bi-monthly parties, yard sales or sports events are great ways to bring the community together, where all tenants attain the opportunity to interact with each other. It is also a salient idea to publish a newsletter through which tenants are kept informed about the various activities taking place on the property. The newspaper can also serve as a platform for providing information about new rules and regulations.  

Avoiding Changes in Staff

Tenants usually are attached to staff members, and do not like to see a new face frequently. Hence, it is important to maintain the same staff as long as possible, and reduce staff turnover.

Leasing Essentials in Property Management

Leasing Essentials in Property Management

One of the most important jobs in property management is to draft an effective lease agreement. This document has to cover all the critical points of a tenancy agreement; otherwise, it can lead to strained relationships with the tenants, unnecessary legal disputes, and costly lawsuits. Before presenting the lease document, make sure you have covered everything that is important. Here are some of the essential aspects that should be included in any lease agreement.  

Rent

The lease agreement should obviously have a detailed portion on rent. This may appear quite straightforward, but it is important to spell out everything in detail. The usual rental terms will include the amount of rent, the due date each month for making the payment, and penalties for late payments. If the owner has an accommodating policy, a certain grace period can also be included after the due date.

Permission to Enter

It is very necessary for the tenant to specify when entry into the residential unit is permissible by the owner or property management. Under this clause, you could also mention if a notice is required for the entry, and what circumstances would supersede any restrictions. It is obvious that at times of emergency, permission will not be necessary, but it is better to spell out these exceptions. It is important to be clear on when you can enter the unit, so that the tenant is not annoyed and there are no legal complications.

Repairs and Maintenance Responsibilities

In most residency complexes, maintenance responsibilities are shared by the owner and tenants. The lease agreement should clearly define what maintenance responsibilities the owner is willing to undertake and what is going to be left to the tenants. For instance, if the owner is responsible for all structural maintenance and the tenant is responsible for the lawn, then it should be clearly stated.

If the costs of certain repairs are to be shared, then these repairs should be clearly enumerated along with the ratio of sharing. If the owner does not want the tenant to do any major changes in the unit, such as the installation of ceiling fan and so on, then it should be clearly stated in the lease agreement.

Deposits

It is better to have a separate section for covering the different deposits; you are going to take from the tenant. These deposits could be for keeping pets, as a security, or for having the apartment cleaned. Clearly mention if such deposits can be used for paying the last rent. For each deposit, mention clearly, if the amount is refundable and under what conditions.

Illegal Activity

Even though you are going to screen your future tenants thoroughly, before committing to a lease agreement, it is necessary to have clauses that cover consequences of any illegal activity on the premises. There are many instances where the tenant is involved in illegal activities like distribution or manufacture of drugs, and uses the premises for engaging in these activities. Make things quite clear as to what actions you are going to take if the tenant is caught doing any illegal activity. They should know that these actions will not be tolerated and if the tenant pursues them, they will have a witness against them in any court of law.

This is why you should have a police officer who lives in the complex (offer them lower rent to attract an officer) who can squash these matters before they germinate.

Inspection Checklist for Property Management

Inspection Checklist for Property Management

The task of inspecting the property is crucial for preventive maintenance, and for making sure, everything on the property is in accordance with property regulations and housing laws. Regular inspections help to address problems immediately before they escalate into major issues. In property management, the requirements for inspection will vary depending on the size of the property, the number of structures, and the landscaping. However, here is a general checklist that will make the inspection job easy.

Inspecting the Grounds

Property grounds will include all common areas, parking spaces, swimming pool/s, gymnasium, tennis lawn, and the landscaped areas. Landscaped areas and small gardens are usually given to outside contractors to be looked after, and the property manager has to inspect these areas to make sure the contractor is doing the job well. Unkempt lawns and untidy garden areas offer a shabby and pitiful look to the property, which can undermine rental rates.

Swimming pools have to be inspected to see if the water and surrounding area is clean and free of debris and fallen leaves. It is best to fix dates during the year for the draining of the pool and other maintenance tasks of the surrounding fencing. Parking lots have to be checked for cleanliness and to see if the individual spaces are properly marked. Lastly, all the signs posted across the property have to be checked for deterioration and a date has to be set for having them freshly painted annually.  

Inspecting Structures

Regular inspection of all structures on the property is an important task in property management. The manager will have to keep a look out for cracks, peeling paint, growth of mildew on the walls, and loose shingles and shutters. The gutter channels running from the roof have to be checked for debris, and blocks. Inspection of structures will involve a close view as well as a view from a certain distance to observe any defects that are visible on the upper levels of structure’s sides.

Apart from the structure itself, the electrical and phone cables running from the structure have to be checked for damage. If the property has security devices like alarms and video cameras, they too have to be inspected for any problems.

Inspecting Interiors

The common areas inside the building need to be inspected for structural and other defects. It is best to begin from the lowest level in the building, which may be housing the laundry room, pump room, boilers, or heaters. These areas will be exposed to more humidity and warmth, and hence check for fungi and mildew growth on the walls.

Also, inspect the ventilation shafts and channels to check their level of functionality and efficiency. In the laundry room check to see if, all machines are functioning properly. Keep an ear open to detect unusual noises when the machines are in operation. A lot of money can be saved if problems are detected early in these machines. At each floor, check electrical fixtures and also the doors and windows. Check for water damage and keep a look out for any leakages in the plumbing.   

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