Increased Profitability with Long Term Tenants


One of the main aims of property management should be to retain tenants, as that improves profitability considerably. When tenants stay longer, unit turnover is less, which means impressive savings on turnover costs. Doing everything possible to retain tenants is a fantastic strategy; however, this does not mean you need to keep the bad ones.

Time & Money

Turnover costs can add up, which can reduce profits to quite an extent. Even for a single unit the turnover costs are considerable even when the new tenant is moving in the next day. When tenants give notice about moving, property management has to start advertising, take calls of prospective tenants, show the unit, conduct background checks, draft a new lease, and collect security deposit. All this takes time and money, and if you are relying on estate agents to get new tenants, you will end up paying about a month’s rent as commission.  

The Costs Add Up

Apart from these costs, property manager will have to inspect the unit before the departure of the tenant, and will have to prepare a schedule for repairs, painting, and cleaning the unit. The old tenant’s security deposit will have to be finalized depending on the damages done to the unit. When the new tenant moves in, the property manager will have to document the condition of the unit, coordinate the changeover of utilities, and take any further repair requests from the new tenant. All this work will take several days, which is a big drain on resources and manpower.

High Morale

According to many surveys, the main reason for higher turnover is poor property management that is not attentive to issues of tenants. The main complaints will be not repairing things on time or poor maintenance of the property. When you consider the costs involved in properly maintaining the units and doing repairs on time, they will work out, much less than what you would be spending due to higher turnover of tenants. Therefore, it is good policy to keep existing tenants happy as much as possible, and to keep the property in decent shape.

A Negative Reputation

Profits will increase with longer retention of tenants, since turnover costs go down. Secondly, you do not want frustrated tenants terminating their lease and moving to other properties. The news of bad property management will spread quite fast through social media and by word of mouth. This will make it more difficult for property management to find new tenants, and vacancy rate can increase dramatically, leading to further losses.

Considering the added costs and the loss of reputation, it is far better to have a respectable and standout property management that is able to satisfy tenants and speedily take care of their issues. Satisfied tenants will not only stay longer, but even when they move, they will have something positive to say about the property.

Judicious property management has far reaching effects in not only improving profitability, but in also building good reputation and sustaining good tenants. Hence, the focus of property management should be a cost effective approach that pays striking dividends in the end, rather than short-term savings.

Using Facebook in Property Management

Facebook has over a billion users, which makes it a powerful social media tool for property management. Facebook can be leveraged for:

     Retaining Tenants: Facebook is very effect in communicating and building stronger relationships with existing tenants.
     Prospecting Future Tenants: Prospecting becomes very easy with Facebook, by using promoted posts and tagging features. It is as good as word of mouth advertising, and property management can reach out to friends of the company’s fans.
     Marketing: Sponsored stories and promoted posts are salient ways to find prospective tenants through Facebook.

Remember it is a Community

Facebook is primarily an online community and not a space for advertising. People access Facebook for chatting and hanging out. You could turn off people, if you simply post promotions and ads on you Facebook page. Hence, socializing should be the priority, and promotions can be worked into it. Secondly, people like to connect with people, and hence it is a magnificent idea to include photos of the property management team rather than images of only the property.

Choose the Cover Photo Wisely

The giant space available for a photo in the header is the main spot where you can compel people to explore your page further. Hence, make sure you use a photo that not only ideally represents the property, but also attracts attention.

Finding Fans

Finding fans for a property Facebook page could be challenging, as most people simply like to browse for information on the property website. Property management can encourage people to “like” their Facebook page by providing discount coupons or promotional offers.

Hosting Social Event

Property management can host social events to create a sparkling atmosphere to make their tenants or customers happy or for attracting prospective tenants. Using the Facebook page, the property manager can attract more people to the event, and promote the page itself. People visiting the property website can be directed the Facebook page for obtaining more details about the event. After successfully hosting the event, the property manager can post photos of the event and tag attendees. This way the photos of the event will also appear on the news feeds of friends of the attendees.

Improving EdgeRank

There are many ways for Property management to improve its Facebook EdgeRank. One of the most outstanding ways is to generate maximum comments. This can be done by asking questions and so on. However, you need to first sponsor or post an interesting story to attract attention in the newsfeeds. Secondly, people who comment on the posts can be tagged, and the conversation can be kept going for longer periods of time.

Using Retargeting

Retargeting through Facebook Exchange is still being tested, but the results seem to be quite promising. A property could focus on people who have visited the website, but not taken the decision to lease. If property management were mainly using Facebook for improving brand awareness, the ideal strategy would be to select sponsored stories and promoted posts. Retargeting can be the most effective when in the process of renewing contracts and to attract new tenants who are willing to sign a lease.

Using Yelp in Property Management


With increasing amount of people using online reviews to make a decision, it would be disastrous for any marketer to avoid Yelp. The same holds true for a property manager as well, and property management should take all steps to maintain and leverage their position on Yelp. For creating an effective Yelp marketing campaign, managers should use a maximum number of paid and free services offered by Yelp.

Using Paid Services

§    For driving more traffic to your business page, purchase search ads.
§    To improve conversion rates, include photo slideshow or video of the property units, by purchasing enhanced listings of someone’s profile.

Using Free Services

v    Use the free listing to the maximum by posting excellent photos and adding lots of personalized information about the property.
v    Target users who access Yelp on their mobile phones by posting check-in offers.
v    Extensively use the free response tools for reviews by addressing all reviews, especially the negative ones.

How Property Management can Leverage Yelp

Personalization on Yelp is the key to success. Create a business page and regularly add or update content. At biz.yelp.com, you can access a huge range of free tools for customizing your listing. These tools can be used for adding content and photos.

According to studies, Yelp visitors tend to spend more than twice the normal time on business pages that have photos, hence, make it a point to add good quality photos. Secondly, Yelp provides you with the section, “About this Business”. Here, you could give a detailed write up about the property. Include how efficiently it is managed, and why tenants should choose this property over others.

Gathering Research

Yelp also provides excellent research material for property managers who want to know about their competitors and why they are excelling in the field. Sort out the highest rated properties in your city, or in the locality, and read the reviews. This will give you an idea about the areas where these properties are scoring. See if you will be able to improve your own services in these areas, so that your property can get similar reviews in future.

Making Your Virtual Presence Shine

Lastly, it all boils down to providing excellent service and having satisfied tenants. This way you will build on sparkling reviews organically. The best approach is providing best experience for your tenants, who will automatically post a shining review. Find out from prospective tenants if they use Yelp in making a decision, and if they do, then keep a track of these tenants.

You could prompt them later to provide a review if they are satisfied with the services at the property. Studies show that Yelp users who mention “good service” in their reviews are five times more likely to attain a five star rating for their reviews. However, it is important for reviews to build up organically, rather than asking tenants to post a review. Simply mention that the property has a presence on Yelp and they could see other reviews and find more information about the property and its management.

Skill Set and Qualities of an All Star Property Manager


Property management is not an easy profession and a manager requires a diverse set of skills and qualities. Here are some important aspects that should be considered while employing a property manager.

Excellent Communication Skills

A property manager has to deal with tenants, vendors, contractors, government officials, and many other people on a regular basis. Having excellent communication skills will not only provide clarity but also alleviate tensions and simplify situations. Effective and harmonious communication skills should not only extend to conversations but also to writing letters and emails.

Time Management

It is not possible for a property management to work always according to a strict schedule as many tasks can come up unexpectedly that need to be dealt with immediately. A property manager will not only have to prioritize tasks but also able to complete them within a suitable period. Procrastinations in performing difficult tasks should be avoided at all costs.

Finding Quick Solutions

A property manager has to face challenging issues that need to be dealt with speedily. Many times, traditional solutions may not work in solving problems, and the manager will have to improvise and design solutions on the go. It is also important to solve problems quickly, as postponing issues will only make matters worse.

Taking Right Decisions

Property manager has to deal with a very wide variety of issues, and therefore should have adequate knowledge about tackling various problems. Secondly, the manager also needs to take the right decision to get the job done most efficiently and speedily. For instance, when certain repairs have to be done, the manager will have to decide whether the job needs to be done by a handyman or does it require the expertise of a licensed builder.

Multitasking and Attention to Detail

Several ongoing tasks have to be dealt with at the same time in property management, and therefore a property manager should have multitasking skills. However, acting impatiently and making errors can prove very costly in the end. Hence, apart from efficient multitasking, a property manager should also be attentive to detail and get the job done right.

Efficient Administrator

Any manager being head of a department obviously needs to be a fantastic administrator. For a property manager administrative skills are very important for heading a team or office that is in charge of various aspects of the property. From basic tasks of allotting work, to designing a work schedule, the property manager should be able to run the office in an organized and efficient manner.

Diligence and Dedication

Building sound relationships with tenants, and everybody else connected to the property requires persistence and dedication to the task. Some people can be very difficult and building a cordial relationship might seem almost impossible. Nevertheless, the property manager must have a strong sense of perseverance and dedication to make things work out.

Proper Appearance

A property manager should look the part, and therefore it is important to pay attention to how one dresses and behaves. The manager should dress appropriately and neatly, and have a confident demeanor.

Steps Property Management can take to Keep the Neighborhood or Complex Safe for Tenants


One of the duties of property management is to ensure that the property is secure and safe for tenants. Various security measures can be taken on the premises, but if the adjoining properties and areas are not safe, then your property will also be clubbed into the same category, and potential tenants will avoid it.

All marvelous and decent prospective tenants will first consider if the location is safe, and relatively free of crime. Therefore, property management should not only ensure security on their own property, but also take steps to make the neighborhood safe. Here are a few pointers that can help you achieve this objective.

Do Research

It is first important to know the crime rate in your neighborhood and the types of crimes that are typically committed. This research can be easily done online, as there are many websites such CrimeReports.com and others that provide accurate information. If you find there are many instances of theft in your area, you can inform tenants to be more careful with their belongings, and follow the usual precautions of not leaving valuables in plain sight, and installing better locking systems for their vehicles. It is also a prudent idea to know the proximity of sex offenders in the area and put up a notice informing tenants of such elements.

Knowing and Collaborating with Your Neighbors

It is fantastic to know your neighbors and to take collaborative steps to keep the neighborhood free of crime. Offer to help and keep a lookout for bad elements and any criminal activity in the area, and expect the same from your neighbors. People generally like to cooperate in such matters and you might even succeed in organizing a neighborhood watch, which is most effective and cost-efficient way of preventing crime in an area.

Maintain Access Points to Your Property

Maintaining the entry points to the property is not only important for curb appeal but also for security. Overgrown and large bushes provide excellent hiding places for thieves and stalkers; hence, the landscaping should be kept trimmed and neat. It is also necessary to clear all clutter and keep the common areas and entry points clean.

Proper Lighting

Entry points and common areas inside the property should be well lit, especially areas at the rear of the building where there is not much traffic. Bright lights will discourage criminals, as there are more chances of being spotted. To cut costs, you could consider installing motion sensor lights in such areas. Property management should also take steps to ensure proper lighting outside the property. Town or city officials should be approached for additional light posts, if the majority of the surrounding area is in darkness.

Perhaps the apartment complex can set up motion lights in certain areas to help people notice if someone is snooping or creeping around at night? Waiting for some bureaucrats to do something may take a while.

Emergency Notification

Establish a system where tenants are able to relay a warning or notify property management in times of emergency or when a crime is about to take place. Once tenants know that help is at hand, they will be more vigilant and help in keeping an eye on units where tenants have gone somewhere for the holidays.

Difficult Tasks in Property Management


Property management is a challenging profession, and there are certain tasks that property managers particularly hate to do. These tasks are part of the job and it is not possible to escape them. Here are some of the challenging tasks property managers have to do, and some tips to make them less difficult.

Evicting Tenants

It is quite easy to throw out tenants engaging in criminal activities, but it is quite a different story when you have evict a terrific tenant who has lost his job and is not able meet the rent payment requirements. Most property managers find this job quite difficult, especially when they know the tenants they are evicting are marvelous families, who are going through some financial troubles.

However, whatever the reason for eviction, you need to give the tenant the required warning notices, to provide a chance to the tenants to correct the situation. In most cases, outstanding tenants who are overdue on rent will be waiting for their paycheck. Hence, property managers have to consider each tenant individually, and providing extra time for rent payments to certain tenants may prove rewarding in the long run.

Declining Applicants

Property managers find this job quite hard, especially when they have to reject the applicant face to face. However, declining applicants is a necessary job that needs to be done to avoid future complications. It is usually better to tell the applicants, the reason/s for their rejection, so that they know you have actually done investigations and you have valid reason for rejecting their application. If it is credit issue, show them their credit report. However, telling them the reasons might provoke further arguments that a property manager will have to deal with firmly.

Increasing the Rent

It is never a pleasant task to impose additional rent on tenants, especially when the economic situation is not so impressive. However, property managers have to deal with such realities. To minimize the blow to existing tenants, property management can offer some kind of a bonus or discount for renewing the lease. This will show that property management values tenants and would not want to lose them. If tenants strike up a conversation or come and argue about the rise in rent, it would be a shrewd and salient idea to share certain details about the rising costs, and the reasons why it was inevitable to raise rents.

Handling Tenants Engaged in Illegal Activities

Fortunately, most tenants are law-abiding citizens who go to work, pay their rent on time and with precision, and maintain their units. However, it is important for property managers to be vigilant and deal immediately with tenant/s engaging in criminal activities. In fact, the police may have to get involved.

If property management procrastinates in dealing firmly with criminal activities on the premises, the safety of all tenants is at risk. When tenants come to know of the activities going on, they will start leaving, and the reputation of the property will take a hit. Once the property has a sullied its reputation, it will take a lot of time and effort to win the confidence of tenants again and therefore it is critical to take care of such situations firmly and quickly.  

Steps Property Management need to Take before the Onslaught of Winter


Now there is no telling when or in what place there can be a sudden drop in temperature. Even places that are known to remain relatively warm in winter can experience sudden temperatures below freezing (this is happening right now in late January in 2014 in Alabama and Northern Florida), or be vulnerable to freak blizzards and snowstorms. Therefore, it would be wise for property managers to be prepared, and take steps to avoid inconveniences to tenants.

Responsibilities & Ideas

Before the winter sets in, here are certain tasks that property management should perform:

     Initiate a detailed inspection of all units to check for defective weather stripping, inadequate insulation, and cracked windows. Start the required repairs immediately, so that they can be finished before the cold sets in. The repairs will also be much easier to do when the temperature has not dropped considerably.
     For maintaining lawns and gardens, adjust the sprinklers and watering schedules to accommodate less sunshine, and cooler nights. Landscape maintenance should also include the cutting off dead branches of trees and removing dead plants.
     Inspect boilers and heaters, and check if they are functioning properly without any leaks. Early repairs can save a lot of time and money, as emergency service during winter season is very costly, and causes more inconvenience to tenants.
     If there is an outdoor pool, it should be drained, cleaned, and covered. This way you can avoid blockage of the drainage from fallen leaves.
     Check the integrity of the roofing, find potential points where leaks can occur, and conduct preventive repairs. When snow levels builds up, it can do considerable damage to the structure of the roof.
     In individual housing units, check fireplaces, and chimneys. There is a likelihood of critters making their homes in unused chimneys. Clean the flue thoroughly to avoid risk of smoke damage.

A property manager should also take precautions for snowstorms and blizzards, and be prepared to meet the worst eventualities. Here are some points that should be considered.

§    Have adequate number of tools for ice and snow removal. Such equipment should include snow blowers, snow shovels, and sand and salt for melting ice.
§    Be prepared for gas or power outage by stocking on blankets, batteries, flashlights, candles, bottled water, and emergency medical supplies.
§    Check trees in the vicinity, and chop off branches that are hanging low or trees that seem precariously perched. Strong winds and buildup of snow can cause these branches or trees to collapse without warning.
§    Conduct an inspection of the balconies and patios to see if tenants have removed all items. A simple object like a chair can become airborne in strong winds and can cause considerable damage.
§    Check the integrity of shillings and roofing tiles, as they can come off easily in a snowstorm, or collapse under the weight of snow buildup.
§    Make sure there is an alternative power source for operating emergency equipment and lighting.
§    Keep close watch on the weather by accessing weather reports through the radio, television, or the Internet.

Handling Security Deposits in Property Management


Recent studies show that about 25% of the time property managers do not return the security deposit after the renter has vacated the apartment or rental unit. This is a serious issue, and it is mostly illegal in all states. Many times renters also do not receive any explanation about why their security deposit was not returned. In most cases property managers do not bother to provide explanations, since the unit is thoroughly trashed by the renter, and the reason for not returning the deposit is obvious.

A Waste of Time

Property managers will be occupied with the task of conducting extensive repairs and will have to get the unit ready before the arrival of the next renter. In such circumstances, property managers find it unnecessary and time consuming to provide any justification for not returning the safety deposit.

However, every state has specific rules regarding the handling of security deposits, and almost all say that property managers do have to give former tenants a detailed statement showing how the security deposit funds were used for repairing damages. Usually this statement has to be given to the tenant within a month of the date the unit was vacated.

What exactly was broken or damaged?

A brief note stating the cleaning or repair charges will not be sufficient legally. Property management must provide a detailed statement listing the damages and the repairs or replacement costs. To make the statement fool proof, it is also wise to include a copy of the walk-through that was done before the tenant moved in. This will show that these damages occurred only during the time the tenant was occupying the unit.

If property managers do not follow the norms regarding security deposits, it can lead to legal complications and disputes, where the security deposit may have to be returned to the tenant in spite of the damages caused by the tenant. To avoid such situations it is therefore necessary to do the following:

o    Before the tenant moves into the unit, complete a detailed walk-through, and based on that make a statement about the condition of the unit. Make the tenant sign this statement for showing their approval.
o    When the tenant is leaving perform another walk through; however, this may not be always possible.
o    When damages are found in the unit, they should be listed in detail and the cost of repairing them.
o    Prepare the statement in detail with all the damages and repair costs, and send it to the tenant within the stipulated time.

Being Cordial

It would of course be much better to take steps that would ensure the tenant does not damage the unit in the first place. For this, regular unit inspections would be the best strategy. However, make sure you do not do this too frequently. It is also important to provide sufficient notice of such an inspection, since you will be inspecting the inside of the unit and taking the tenant’s time and invading their privacy somewhat as well. Maintaining outstanding relations with the tenants also goes a long way in reducing damages, tenant retention, and other issues.

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