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.

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.

Choosing the Right Property Management Software

As your property management firm grows, with the building of additional properties, investment in a property management software can be crucial for the smooth running of your business. Excel spreadsheets and the old methods of using pencil and paper may not be the ideal choice in today’s world. There are plenty of cheap, user friendly specialty tools that property managers may choose which are much better than using the old systems. Property management is hard enough by itself so choose the right software program to help you to get your growing business organized.

Tips for choosing the right Property Management Software

Budget- Prices for property management software can range from $50 to $10,000. These software’s vary in prices depending on how many features the software has. So depending on number of properties, complexity of operations and size of you organizations choose the software program. Don’t buy more than you need. And at the same point of time do not go for the cheapest alternative. Make sure the software can do the basic things you need.

Trial version- It is always better to have a software program which has the option of a trial. Make sure you can run a full demo that allows you to try before you buy. Make sure you can do the basic things you require, such as maintaining vendor file, separate ledger for each tenant and owner, deal with bank checks and deposits, automatically post rent, management fees, and late fees etc. Always review, if the reports that can be generated from or customized in the software meet your month end reporting needs.

Hidden costs and recurring fees- Avoid software that require long terms contracts and have attached recurring costs. It is important to be able to cancel a subscription when needed without paying a price. Make sure your software program is easy to install, easy to use, and has excellent support hours. Research for update costs. Are you forced to buy any update even though you may not need it?

Full accounting package-Whether you prefer the simplicity of cash or the detail provided by an accrual method, the management program you purchase should support it. And, because a property manager is continually reading reports and calculating late fees and discounts, pick a program that does it automatically. The reports should be available at any time and for any period.

Web based software program-There are multiple online property management software’s today. For small businesses a web based software program can be ideal. Choose a fully integrated, end-to-end productivity tool which can provide everything you need to manage residential and commercial rental property of any type, online. With web based software you get the power and advantage of the latest web based technology, maintenance free operations, and ease of access from anywhere and any-time.

Others features- The software program should be able to capture the relevant details needed by a property manager to manage the property, eg. Tracking cost per unit, Generation of reports such as Late Fee, Move-In, Move-Outs, and Termination/Expiry. The software program should have some handy features such as a reminder system to keep track of appointments, list of tenants and owners that owe you money, automatically update rent amounts, automatically post amounts to each ledger, and update your account names etc. Among the other features available in most property management software packages is the ability to create templates for various forms, rental and lease agreements, and letters that are commonly used when managing properties. Customized documents can be created with the templates and then saved in the appropriate file. The templates can save a lot of time when it comes to generating late notices, final notices, eviction notices and even general notifications to tenants.

Landlords: How to Determine the Rental Amount for Your Property

I want to introduce several resources where a real estate investor or property owner can determine what rent you can charge for your investment property. The three most popular websites available for this purpose are Zillow.com, Rentometer.com, and Craig’s List.

Zillow is the most popular and respected so we will start there. Go to Zillow.com and put in the address of your property and then click “search”. Click on the word “rent” or “Zestimate”, both will give you rent estimates. The word Zestimate (rent estimate by Zillow) should pop up with the rental amount and the range Zillow thinks the property may rent for.

We know Zillow is not perfect. Zillow uses computer models and they are basing their rent Zestimate upon averages in the area that have similar characteristics of your property, i.e. square footage, similar number of beds, bathrooms, etc. Again, no computer model will be perfect but generally Zillow is accurate. You will need to be realistic about the property and observe its characteristics. If your house is a multi-unit building or if your house is somehow different than every other property in the neighborhood, the Zestimate may not be accurate.

The second site is rentometer.com. Once on the site you enter the property address. In this site they ask for how many bedrooms are in the property. You can also provide other information that could make the rent estimate more accurate. Once you have entered all information click “submit”. The site will give you a similar analysis to Zillow and a range they think the rent may fall in.

Another good way to get rent comparable is Craig’s List. Craig’s List has had issues in the past involving scammers and fraud. But as far as determining rental amounts it is fairly accurate. On this site, you would perform a slightly different search. You would go on Craig’s List for your area and go to “Apt/Houses” section and type in your town. Or, if it’s a development, you might type in the development name. You then enter the number of bedrooms and/or bathrooms. At that point many house or apartments will appear in your search for rent. You then need to review them and see if any of them are similar and look like your property so that you are comparing apples to apples.

Keep in mind these are estimates and you will have to test the market to really know what your property can rent for per month. We do not recommend that you try to “go high” and figure you can negotiate down. This rarely works to in today environment. Generally, if you over price your property hoping to get more rent it will just get ignored and you will not get any traffic or potential renters.

I better strategy is to use the above resources to get a close estimate of your property will rent for and then price your property slightly lower. This should attract a lot more tariff and may be result in a quick move in versus over pricing and the property sitting vacant for weeks or months.

Make the Most of Rental Property Listings With These Tips

Anyone who hunts for rental homes know the hard work that goes in finding the apt property. Apart from looking for properties, one has to find the right choices depending on needs. This can be time consuming process, and you may have a lot of hassles to deal with. Thankfully, with the internet, things are now simpler. A number of websites are now offering free rental property listing, coupled with a number of benefits. In this post, we will talk of a few aspects that matter the most along with a few tips on how you can choose the right portal.

Knowing an online property search

Real estate portals have found immense success in recent times, and there are quite a few choices. Apart from buying and selling, a number of sites also focus on the rental properties. You can check for homes and apartments, within your requirement range and budget, and all of these things can checked and sorted in a few clicks. Typically, most of the websites will have their filters for cities, area, type of property and pricing, and you can check other aspects, as well. Make sure that you look for more than a few options and sort them based on the pros and cons.

How to choose a website?

As mentioned, there are a number of sites that offer rental property listings, but you need to be extra careful while choosing one. Make sure that the website is easy to use and there are some good choices for every city or area. You don’t want to use a website that’s complicated and doesn’t offer the right features. Also, you should check if the website connects you to the landlord or property owner directly, which can help in getting rid of the agents and ensures transparency in the deal. You can also find reviews and feedback about a portal from other users and tenants, which can come quite handy.

Things to check

First things first, you have to list down the pros and cons of a property before making the choice. Short listing a few options is pretty easy, and once you are done with that, you can spend the weekend finding the right one. While talking to the landlord, you should ask him for the final rent for the month, and if there are any additional or monthly expenses and recurring maintenance fees, it should be mentioned in detail. You might also want to see the terms and conditions as mentioned by the landlord, including issues related to repairs and further upkeep. Not all landlords are the same, and therefore, it is always a good idea to have a concrete rental contract with all aspects in writing.

If you can check these aspects, finding the right home shouldn’t be a matter of days. More often than not, people find the right properties within a few clicks. These services are also helpful for landlords, who can expect genuine results and options, especially when they are looking for specific tenants.