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.  

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 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.

Improving the Content of Your Property Website

Many people looking for a property form their first impression when they visit the website of the property, and are not inclined to investigate further if they are not impressed by its contents. This means it is imperative for property management to focus on having fantastic textual as well as video content. This can be a daunting task when you consider that visitors are quick to move on to the next site, if the one they are viewing fails to keep them interested.

Provide Solutions and be Caring

People search the Web in order to find a solution to their particular problems. However, simply providing solutions is not going to cut it, since other websites are doing the same. The difference in effectiveness lies in directly relating to your audience in the best possible manner. So, how does one connect with tenant prospects? Here are some tips that can help property management design appropriate textual content:

  1. Consider the most promising target market for your property, and learn about how these people live, where they work, what they expect, what are their preferences, and so on.
  2. The topics that will motivate your target audience to seek further information.
  3. The problems they usually face while finding a home and providing the best solutions.
  4. Provide further resources that will be helpful to your visitors.

Property management might be eager to list out all the advantages the property has to offer, but prospects are looking for value and that is a solution to their problems, or answers to their questions. Therefore, focus on actual questions that a prospective tenant is likely to have, and answer the same, incorporating all the features of the property. The way of delivering content and SEO strategies may change, but the main goal should be to provide solutions and care for the issues faced by your prospects.

Visual Content

Visual content is always preferred compared to text, but here again; the content should be appealing and solve a problem. For property management, virtual tours are the best way of highlighting community features, amenities, and floor plans. If you are thinking of a video campaign, here are some tips that can make it successful:

  • While posting videos, text still matters. Hence, make sure you use the right keywords and tags, for the descriptions and titles.
  • When you want to build awareness about the community, focus on creating related content of value that people would like to share.
  • Even though YouTube videos will improve the search rankings of your property website, they may not provide the amount of traffic that you can get through native rankings and paid services.
  • Focus on benefits when you want to improve relationships with tenants and prospects.
  • If you want to create a "buzz" for free, create excellent shareable content that bloggers and journalists are looking for, which will be mainly things that influence social life.
  • For creating quality videos, check the requirements of the platform where you are going to post the videos. For instance, the landscape mode is strongly suitable for YouTube videos. 

How to Improve the Outdoor Space on Your Property

Even though, the type of indoor layout and amenities are integral, tenants place almost equal importance on outdoor space. Therefore, poor outdoor space can be a deal breaker, even if the amenities provided are terrific. Property management can enhance outdoor spaces by choosing the right landscaping elements that enable tenants to enjoy various types of outdoor activities and exercising.

What most Residents Want

According to studies, apart from a secure parking space, renters want stellar entertaining and living options outdoors, as an extension of their indoor space. Here are some of the best options property management can consider for improving outdoor spaces:

Beautiful landscaping that requires the least maintenance

Grow native plants, and build outdoor structures that are easy to maintain

If garden is not possible, provide window boxes where renters can grow herbs, food, or ornamental plants

Provide outdoor seating in the garden or overlooking a wonderful view

 

However, the most preferred outdoor option apart from a nice garden is space for recreation activities and games. Pool, basketball court, tennis court, jogging track, and play area for kids are the best options for luring prospects and improving the image of the property. There is nothing wrong with providing healthy options for folks to engage in.

Simply installing an outdoor grill or barbecue and keeping that area clean will significantly improve the reputation of the property, as it encourages residents to partake of the outdoor facility and build a sense of community on the property.

Challenges

One of the major challenges in providing outstanding outdoor facilities is the added cost of maintenance and lighting. However, these costs can be minimized by making the right choices. Select outdoor furniture and seating arrangements that require maximum a paint job once in two years.

As for lighting, go for LED lights that consume 80% less power compared to ordinary light bulbs. LED lights will be costly, but they will pay for themselves in the end. Secondly, LED bulbs are available in very small sizes, which make them unobtrusive for the outdoors.

Tips for Making Majestic Outdoor Features

Outdoor space should be connected to the units with designated walks

Small spaces can be easily cluttered with many amenities and too much furniture. Therefore, it is important to plan as per scale. 

For recreation and sport activities make sure the outdoor space has enough room for residents to relax and play comfortably

Provide proper lighting

Power wash patios and walkways

Remove foliage that is blocking sunlight and line of sight, for creating a sense of more open space

For outdoor areas meant for entertainment, provide some protection from the sun and the wind

Landscape should be kept clean and neat. Mow grass and remove weeds reguarly, since an unkempt garden or lawn conveys a more negative impression than not having one. 


Improving curb appeal and providing outdoor amenities can certainly improve the value of the property. Simple renovations, fixes, and outdoor makeovers can attract more prospects and decrease vacancy rates dramatically.


Tips for Determining the Correct Rent Rate

With the growth of the economy and renewed construction projects, renting properties has become more competitive. Many factors that will influence the rent of a property, and for property management, fixing the right rent could be challenging.

If the rent is too high, there can be increase in vacancies and it will drive away new prospects. If it is low, profits can be compromised and it can even make people thing that there is something wrong with the property. Here are some of the important points that must be considered while figuring out the proper rent to be charged.

Reputation and Popularity of the Property

Reputation and popularity of a property is mainly dependent on the features and type of service provided. If it has the latest features such as Wi-Fi and broadband connectivity, superior entertainment options, play area for children, and smart storage then the property should be popular in the area, and it is possible to charge a higher rent compared to other properties that provide less features.

Type of service provided by property management and the reviews of former tenants will play a leading role in influencing the reputation of the unit. A stellar and golden reputation could demand a higher rent.

Market Conditions and Competition

These relatively strong factors can influence the setting of rent. Property management will have to keep track of rents charged by similar properties in the area, development of commercial establishments, job availability, and the overall economic situation. Experienced realtors in the area can provide sterling advice about the right rent; however, the level of competition between adjoining properties will also be a major factor.

Desirability of Individual Units

It may not be wise to set a standard rent based on number of bedrooms or floor space area, unless everything about the units is going to be exactly the same. For instance, when there are multiple two bedrooms units vacant, the rent could be different for each of these units depending on various factors. Units on higher floors could demand a higher rent depending on the view. For bigger families the layout and storage space available in the unit could be a major selling point.

Developing an Effective System for Handling Maintenance Issues

One of the most challenging tasks in property management is effectively handling maintenance issues quickly, especially on big properties. In addition, it can sour relationships and cause confrontations between tenants and property manager, if the repair is not done on time or not done satisfactorily. One of the best ways of handling this issue is to have an efficient system in place and train the staff to keep to the established protocol. Here are few important points that can help you develop a marvelous system.

Submission of Request

The first step would be to make submission of requests convenient for tenants. It would be reassuring for tenants when there is a separate line of communications specifically for such requests. One of the best ways is to have an online maintenance request form, which is simple and direct. Receiving maintenance requests by phone is convenient for the tenant, but make sure you have a responsible person attending to the call and there is a system for forwarding the request to the concerned maintenance personnel.

Scheduling According to Urgency

After receiving requests, it is vital to prioritize the work according to urgency or the severity of the problem. It is best to categorize different common problems and designate each issue with required low, moderate, or high level of priority. This is to be used as a common guideline for staff to follow, but it should not be a rigid parameter.

High priority complaints should be looked into on the same day or within a few hours, and attended to, if possible. Moderate priority issues can have two days deadline for fixing the problem, whereas low priority jobs can be fixed within the week.

Examples of high priority maintenance issues:

  • Gas smell
  • Major leak in the plumbing
  • Bug or fungal infestation
  • Clogged toilet
  • Malfunction of HVAC
  • Major issues that compromise structural integrity of the building
  • Accumulated snow or water after a storm
  • Windows or doors that do not lock
  • Lighting in the common areas

Moderate priority issues:

  • Dripping or leaking faucets
  • Internal light fixture is not working
  • Clogged sink or shower drain

Low Priority Issues:

  • Stained carpet
  • Cracked tile or damaged flooring that is not a hazard for walking
  • Issues with the cabinets in the unit
  • Molding repair
  • Small cracks or hole in the wall

Determining the Personnel for Fixing the Issue

After prioritizing the issues, you need to allocate the work to the respective personnel. This will depend whether you have a maintenance team or you are hiring repair services. Most delays occur at this stage, as the repair service may not be available or your staff is attending to some other issue. As a property manager, you might have to make some crucial decisions by judging priorities, mood of the tenant, and the overall situation.

Completing the Work

If the work is inside the unit, it is best to do it when the tenant is present, or ask for permission to enter the unit. After completing the work, ask the tenant to sign a note that says that the work was completed on the particular time and date. 

Advantages of Installing Property Management Software

Managing a property is a complex task, and it is not easy for a property manager to handle everything from marketing for reducing vacancies, scheduling maintenance and repairs, collecting late payments, and complying with various federal and state regulations. Property management software will not only make tasks much easier to accomplish, but it will also improve overall efficiency and quality of the service.

There are different property management systems available today, and fortunately many integrate almost all the important things and processes needed in property management. Consider the software to be a super efficient assistant that does not take days off and does not ask for OT pay, who specializes in all the required fields and tasks. Secondly, much software available today is cloud-based, which means they do not require any installation, and the manager can access information and processes from any computer after logging in.

Property management software provides the ideal solution for managing various tasks and processes from one point. The software is obviously not capable of automating everything, but is a big help in managing difficult aspects of property management. Here are some of the main areas, where software could be a big boon.

Maintaining Accounts

If you are still struggling with Excel spreadsheets, it is time to consider a better option. The main advantage of having an integrated system is that you do not have to update every head of account manually. Once you have entered the figures under the specific heads, everything is automatically updated, receipts are generated, and tracking and reporting becomes extremely easy. Property manager can access critical financial data, generate reports, and keep a better hold over expenses.

Providing Convenience to Residents and Avoiding Rent Fraud

Keeping track of rent payments manually is a major hassle, and there is possibility of fraud and misappropriation of funds by staff. With property management software, it is possible to receive rent online, through various payment methods such as credit cards, PayPal, debit cards, e-checks, and so on. Residents not only having the convenience of making payments any time of the day or night, but they can also receive receipts as soon as their transaction is cleared online.

Managing Repairs and Maintenance Requests

With the right type of property management software, it is possible to create an online portal where tenants can submit their maintenance and repair requests. Property manager will not only get immediate notification of these requests, but he can also assign the tasks to staff or contractors. Furthermore, the software will also help in keeping track of various ongoing maintenance tasks, receive status updates, and make payments when the job is done.

Marketing and Tenant Screening

Property management software has features for automating rental listings and advertising on certain websites. Further, the software is also able to handle new applications, perform background checks on possible prospects, and generate lease documents. Lastly, the software can also be used for building and maintaining cordial relationships with tenants.

Property management software will require certain investment, but it pays back much more in a short amount of time. Tenants are happy with better services, and property management can have much more acute and comprehensive control over the different processes and tasks.     

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