Great Property Management Companies

Choosing the best manager for your property can promote your real estate investment or even break it. You find managers in all parts of the market and it is important to tell the good apart from the bad.

Messaging and branding

The outbound branding and messaging that the company uses is an important factor that can be used to determine what they are really like. To be able to understand them and their mode of operation. Then you need to ask questions.

Documentation

The first thing that you should get to know is whether the company is licensed and recognized by the right body. You need to ensure that you get to know what kind of properties they manage and then get references. You should never move on with the deal if the company does not want or is not able to give you the necessary documentation. When you see the documentation, then you can comfortably say that their operations are legitimate.

You should also get to know the following things about the company:

  • How they set and collect rent
  • How maintenance and repairs are handled?
  • If property inspections are done
  • Retention and marketing of tenants
  • How the tenant and owner funds are handled?
  • How they do tenant screening.

The other things that you should talk to them about include:

  • Their management fees
  • The management contract

The above should be done to about three companies that you may have shortlisted before you can hire them. You should remain vigilant and don’t settle for the first company that you come across regardless of how good they seem to be. There is really no harm in talking to other companies. Talking to others confirms that the initial preference was the best and you may even have some more questions. Young never know, the next company could actually be better than the first one.

If you do not take time to talk to others, then you will have nothing to compare with. It is important to have an idea about how other companies operate to be certain that you are indeed making the right decision. There are many databases that you can use to locate management companies near you.

You need to appreciate the fact that finding a manager for an investment that you made is a very important and big decision. You should do a thorough research before you settle for just anyone. There are many qualities that you should consider when you are picking a great organization.

You should try getting referrals from various sources. This is one of the best ways because you will know the experiences of other people first hand before choosing. You may get some amazing tips about the whole choosing process. Since referrals can sometimes be biased, you should get them from all corners. If you receive same referral about a certain company, it could very well be true after all, regardless of whether it is a good opinion or a bad one.

Entrata’s ‘SiteTablet’: Features and Best Practices for Leasing Professionals

SiteTablet is an iPad and Android enabled tablet application that is fully integrated with Entrata’s property management software.

You will find the full administrator’s guide to SiteTablet on the Entrata website. I highly recommend downloading the PDF and saving it for your reference.

SiteTablet is stocked with fantastic native features and customizable to the individual needs of leasing professionals in the multifamily industry. It is intended for a user experience that is shared between prospective tenant and leasing agent. Intuitive navigation and thoughtful design reflect this key function.

Leasing consultants and other members of staff can use SiteTablet to access important resources, pictures, floor plans and property maps–as easily on tour of the grounds as in the office.

SiteTablet allows prospective residents to:

  • create a guest card
  • begin an application
  • pay booking fees
  • select their preferred unit from a list of available floor plans
  • upload necessary documentation to their accounts

and, ultimately…

  • sign their lease!

The application functions on the tablet differently from how Entrata functions on a desktop computer. However, important information and timelines synchronize between Entrata’s dashboard and SiteTablet immediately.

All the familiar tasks exist on both computer and tablet. The property manager or leasing consultant can view availability, enter a work order, send mass emails, set up Resident Portal and more.

SiteTablet also acts as a Kiosk, where residents may access community information and perform duties such as signing for packages and requesting maintenance. SiteTablet can swiftly convert to “Kiosk Mode” for functions that residents can use themselves while restricting access to Entrata for more than the specified services.

It is well worth the time to look at his app if you haven’t already. It is a wealth of information and, with practice, may become an invaluable every-day tool: particularly to floating leasing consultants who visit several properties a week.

In fact, the SiteTablet has all the potential to be the floater’s best friend. Because it houses all community information, the leasing process is made easy–even to someone who has never been to the property before.

Necessary facts are made accessible and demonstrable at the tap of a finger. Floaters can forget fidgeting through binders and “cheat sheets” for current and upcoming availability, pricing, leasing requirements and answers to common questions about utilities, square footage and lease-break penalties.

SiteTablet can make an apartment community come alive for a prospective resident and keep the manager, leasing consultant or floater prepared at all times.

Why not pull up a picture of the pool taken at the height of summer to evoke a sun-drenched afternoon with the family? Or show an amenity that was bypassed on the tour? Prospects can even enter a virtual apartment and decorate the floor plan with scalable furniture.

If management does not use SiteTablet but does have an iPad enabled with the app, floaters will do well to explore it and see how it might be useful to him or her.

Good luck!

Tips for Offering Move-In / Move-Out Cleaning Services

People and businesses are moving from homes, apartments, and offices on a daily basis. As people and businesses move, they either need their old location cleaned or want to make sure their new location is clean before moving in. Your cleaning company can fill this niche by providing what is known as move-in/move-out cleaning. It can be an added service that your cleaning business provides, a way to give employees new skills, and a great way for your company to make more profit!

Move in/out cleaning can be cleaning a building after an old tenant moves out or before a new tenant moves in. The type of clients looking for move in/out cleaning includes residential and commercial property owners and managers. Commercial move in/out cleaning can vary from small, quick jobs of just a few thousand square feet to large office buildings of 15,000 square feet and up.

A good place to start when looking for move in/out cleaning accounts is to contact property management companies. If you happen to be located in a college town there will probably be no shortage of work. If you have been cleaning commercial buildings, your clients will no doubt ask you to provide move in/out cleaning services when they move into a new office or building.

When first starting out with move in/out cleaning it may be necessary to meet with the property manager on-site to give an estimate on the time it will take to clean the apartment, office, or building. Once you establish a relationship with the property manager you may be able to skip doing an estimate and just bill for your time. They will most likely need floor cleaning services too (carpet, tile, wood). These are specialized cleaning services, which you will charge separately for. Offering these specialized services will also add more profitability to your cleaning company since you will charge more for these services.

The prices charged will vary depending on the type of facility you are cleaning, but you should be able to bill $20 – $25 for your services. Apartment buildings tend to be less profitable than commercial buildings because many apartment managers have a budget to adhere to, so they like their cleaning contractors to bill a flat fee because it’s easier to stick to their budget. Cleaning contractors need to be cautious about bidding this way. Some apartments take much longer to clean than others so you don’t want to lose money because you underestimated your time.

No matter if you are cleaning a residential apartment, home or a commercial building there are several steps you should take to guarantee your success and your customer’s satisfaction with your move in/out cleaning services.

· Use teams of 2 to 4 people for apartment cleaning, depending on the size of the apartment. Larger teams may be needed for commercial locations.

Team members should be specialists in the tasks they are performing. For example, in a two person team, one person will be assigned to dusting, windows, and vacuuming. One person will be assigned to bathrooms, kitchens, hard floor vacuuming, and mopping.

The team leader is responsible for making sure that all equipment and supplies are brought to the job site and gathered when the job is complete. Put all tools and chemicals into a plastic tote.

· Before you begin check with the client to make sure the job site has working utilities. You cannot clean without running water and you need electricity to run a vacuum. If it is the middle of the summer, you should make sure the building’s air-conditioning is working properly. Cleaning chemicals and drying times can be affected by heat and humidity.

· Begin cleaning by removing all trash. Pick up all trash that is too large to vacuum. You will be able to vacuum more efficiently as you will not have to stop and pick up large objects.

· Use a microfiber flat mop for cleaning ceilings, walls, baseboards, and doors.

· Proper vacuuming is an important step in move in/out cleaning. Using a backpack vacuum with the proper attachments can speed up the tasks at hand and make work easier on the cleaning staff. Remember to vacuum from high to low, including light fixtures, window tracks, blinds, and along the baseboards. It is also much easier to vacuum out cabinets and drawers than wiping them.

Some of these items will need to be wiped down after vacuuming; light fixtures, insides of cabinets and drawers, ceiling vents, heat registers, and blinds.

· Windows and patio doors should be washed with an applicator and squeegee. Use scrapers or #0000 steel wool to remove stickers and bugs. Be sure the window is wet when using these tools or you could scratch the glass. Frames and tracks should be vacuumed and then wiped down.

· After picking up trash and vacuuming, start cleaning the stuck-on grime and dirt. Chemicals to have on hand include: bowl cleaner, fume-free oven cleaner, window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, degreaser, neutral floor cleaner, stainless steel polish, and furniture polish. Save money by using concentrated chemicals rather than RTU (ready-to-use) chemicals.

Spray spots and make sure you give dwell time so the chemicals have time to work. It is important that you have enough air movement so employees do not breathe in fumes. Make sure that your employees have the correct personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles, etc.) when working with chemicals.

· Deep cleaning. If you need to loosen build-up, use the correct cleaning tools – paper towels, terry cloth rags, microfiber cloths, pads, brushes and scrapers. Use caution when using these tools – you don’t want to damage surfaces.

. Use paper towels, terry cloth rags, or microfiber cloths for most cleaning tasks. Use a green microfiber cloth for dusting; blue for windows, glass and polished surfaces; red for cleaning restrooms and yellow for countertops, sinks and walls.

. Use hand brushes for scrubbing showers, sinks, stoves, and refrigerators. Use grout brushes for cleaning up grout on countertops and ceramic tile floors. Toothbrushes can be used for detail cleaning around faucets and around the rims in toilet bowls.

. Use white pads for surfaces such as glass, chrome, stainless steel and plastic. This is because white pads are not as abrasive as green pads.

. Green pads are good for greasy areas including cabinets, toilets and scrubbing shower stalls. Be careful when using green pads however, as they can scratch surfaces.

. Use a 2″ utility scraper for build-up and adhesives in kitchens and bathrooms.

· Save time by spraying the inside of the refrigerator and showers/tubs with a pump-up sprayer rather than using a spray bottle. When cleaning kitchens, be sure to pull out the stove and refrigerator. Clean the walls, sides of appliances, sides of cabinets, floor, and vacuum the coils. Also clean the oven hood and filters.

· Clean floors last. Use the backpack vacuum to give the floors a final vacuuming, and then mop all hard surface flooring.

Offering move in/out services is one way to start your cleaning business. It also provides a way for an established cleaning company to provide added services to their existing clients while putting extra dollars onto the bottom line.

Few Tips To Consider Before Freezing On Your Preferred Rented Apartment

Are you in search of an apartment that you need to rent while you don’t have enough finances to buy your own space? Various families tend to rent apartments in the meantime prior to that and can save enough money to purchase a dwell and seek the help of a credit or loan. Finding rented apartments according to your preference is really not that tough these days, but you will have to be patient enough while looking for the right one for you and your family.

Therefore, here are a few ways that could help you in properly searching a place for rented apartments and renting one for the time-being:

  • The first thing you will need to prepare is a renter’s prospective, where you can put all your previous addresses and landlord’s contact details in it. You can also put your employer details and how many years have you been working with that organization. You could even include your salary details, preferences and various other concerns that you need to include. A credit or financial report can also be attached to the resume if you really want to smack it off well with the prospective of the landlord. Therefore, preparing your renter’s perspective will provide you with a frame among other renter’s out there where you will be having a higher chance of having the apartment.
  • The next step is to decide the budget that you are interested to spend on the rent. You cannot press on through your search if you don’t have any idea about how much you can pay for it. First of all, in a rented apartment, you need not pay more than 30% of your monthly income otherwise you’ll eventually start losing money for your other payments. After that, if you already have decided on your budget, then it is the perfect time to initiate your search for rented apartments with the help of local newspapers, classifieds, or even internet.
  • Finally, you need to find an apt option to hire a rental agent who could help you to find out an apartment, but evidently, you need to pay him for the services they are offering to you, which could just add on cost to you. It would be better to take an apartment on sharing basis with any other person, who might also be willing to move out of their current home and live independently.

After finding your prospective rented apartments, the best thing would be to visit them personally and look over all the penny details of the place if there are any damages and how much will it cost you to repair them.

Commercial Property Managers – What Skills Do They Need and Why?

In commercial real estate agency, the property management division is a key part of the agency performance. In real terms the successful division can bring in significant and stable income to the agency on a regular monthly basis. That being said, a good commercial or retail property manager is highly skilled and should be selected for the property management role based on key performance criteria and hands on experience.

Far too many real estate agencies have average or poor performing property managers. In real terms this is a real threat to the stability of the division income, and the quality of the service provided to the landlords. Unskilled property managers do not last in commercial or retail property; it’s that simple.

Cadets and Training Processes

There is a place for ‘cadets’ that learn the roles and the skills of complex property management. The process itself takes a couple of years during which time the person should be exposed to all property types and situations under the guidance of an experienced manager.

So what does a good commercial or retail property manager look like and what skills will they have? To a large degree they will need to bring to you as agency principal, the skills needed for the managed property type and local area.

If the property manager does not know much about managing the required property type, then do not let them manage it; the errors made can destroy your relationship with the landlord and ultimately the management appointment.

Different Skill Sets

There is a large difference in management style and skill required between retail, office, and industrial property; industrial property being the easiest to manage and retail being the most intense and difficult. The skills required in a retail property manager is diverse and deep; they are the best in the industry.

Generally speaking, retail shopping centre managers today are also the busiest in the industry. The role is very hands on and unrelenting in intensity. Here are some core skills of a well skilled and placed property manager:

  1. The ability to read and understand leases and occupancy documentation for all property types.
  2. The marketing of the property to the local community and customers will be a factor that is critical to retail property. It this way sales are encouraged for the tenants; this underpins the rental for the landlord.
  3. Sound skills in financial analysis and reconciliation so a property performance tracking process can be set up for all managed properties.
  4. Good communication skills are essential. Property managers must be accurate, confident, and decisive, in keeping with laws, legislation, and the instructions of the clients that they act for.
  5. Attention to detail is required in all property negotiations and tenancy matters. Without good records and accurate information, the ‘wheels fall off’ the division and its services. Landlords soon see through mistakes and inaccuracy.
  6. Marketing of vacancies happens all the time in larger properties; importantly the frequency of vacant space is minimised and the times without a tenant are lessened.
  7. Income optimisation and expenditure controls are at the centre of property financial performance. The manager must know what is happening and why in all managed properties, when it comes to the cash flow and reporting to the landlord.
  8. All reporting processes and communications to the landlords we act for today must be detailed and accurate. Property compliance and maintenance, energy consumption, lease and vacancy matters, tenant and landlord lease covenants, outgoings performance, and environmental matters are just some of the factors that are controlled and reported on each month.
  9. Computer technology needs are increasing in the available property performance and management systems today. The property manager must be familiar with, and comfortable learning more about all the software and computer based technology that is used in the industry.
  10. Work hard and with focus each and every day. The hours that a manager will put in the job are long and intense; however they are the experts and should recognise the value that they bring to the job.
  11. Maintenance decisions and controls are made daily and should encompass the instructions of the client and the laws of property ownership and function. The manager needs to know what is required and should competently handle the decisions and communications with contractors, tenants, landlords, and fellow employees.

So how do you find one of these highly skilled people? They are out there and should be carefully sourced. They will be an asset to your agency function and performance.