If you have an interest in real estate and the drive to become a property manager, then starting your property management career will require some planning and perseverance on your part. While there are certainly a host of requirements to start and be successful in real estate and property management, it may not be as difficult as you think.
Once you decide to take the plunge as a property manager, you’ll find your career choice to an interesting, challenging and rewarding experience. There is an expected 4% growth in the $81B real estate management industry so if you think you have what it takes, following the steps below can help you put you on the path towards a satisfying career as a property manager.
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What Is A Property Manager?
A property manager (sometimes called a real estate manager) is a person or firm charged with the day-to-day management of a real estate property in exchange for a fee when the owner is unable to personally attend to such details or is not interested in doing so.
As of 2018, there were estimated to be more than 270,000 Property Management companies in the US employing more than 815,000 property managers and other employees associated with real estate or property management. Property managers are focused on rental properties only and do not buy or sell a real estate, that is solely the domain of a real estate agent or Realtor.
What Does A Property Manager Do?
Property managers are more than people that simply collect the rent for a landlord or make sure their apartment is renting out regularly. They wear many hats and take care of everything related to the property for the owners including:
What Skills Do I Need?
Successful property managers are flexible and effective managers of their time and people, relying on their natural ability to communicate and achieve results in a dynamic environment. Some skills you’ll want to develop to be successful are:
Responsive customer service
Excellent organizational skills
Basic marketing skills
[Additional Reading: 5 Skills That All Property Managers Need]
Do Property Managers Need To Be Licensed?
Most state governments do require property managers to be licensed. In fact, only six states in the US do not require licensing for property management activities.
However, as an entry-level employee, you will likely be working under the supervision of someone with either a real estate brokers license or property managers license. Most states do not require a license for entry-level activities performed under supervision by a leasing agent.
[Additional Reading: Service Animals vs Support Animals: The Definitive Guide To The ADA For Property Managers]
Do Property Managers Need To Be Certified?
While licenses are issued by your state government, certifications are issued by nationwide real estate and property management industry professional associations and trade organizations like NARPM® or IREM®. Property Managers are not required to be certified but it is advisable to pursue a few different designations like the NALP®, CAM®, CPM®, and MPM® as you progress in your career.
You should also take advantage of your Property Management company’s training programs wherever possible, these are often free and an invaluable resource for someone new to the industry or even experienced managers. Not only will these programs give you the needed skills for your day-to-day tasks, but they may prove very useful once you seek further formal certifications.
What Types Of Certifications Should I Consider?
The first two certifications below (NALP & CAM) are likely the ones you’ll want to focus on early in your career, with the third (CPM) being a certification you’ll need to progress in your career. The last certification (MPM) is really the highest designation a manager can achieve and is usually attained to distinguish you from your competitors while being a helpful certification for starting your own Property Management Company.
1. National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP)
A leasing professional is often the first people prospective renters meet and may be referred to as Assistant Property Managers. The National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) certification is intended to teach new property managers the skills they need to become more proficient and effective at their jobs. In order to obtain the NALP certification, all candidates must complete the following:
A minimum of 6 months of onsite property management experience in a leasing role.
You can actually obtain your onsite property leasing experience while being enrolled in this course.
You will be issued a provisional certificate until the time requirement has been met.
The successful completion of seven NALP courses which includes the Market Survey course for a course total of 25 credit hours.
Meet all other exam requirements within one year of enrolling in the course.
2. Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
Once you’ve gained experience as a leasing professional managing properties and had time to learn other aspects of property management, you may want to consider the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) certification. This certification is targeted at onsite managers who are often the only property managers apartment residents will deal with on a daily basis. You will be the onsite authority of your management company and the representative of the community owners and investors. In order to obtain the CAM certification, all candidates must complete the following:
A minimum of 12 months of onsite property management experience in a management role.
You can actually obtain your onsite property management experience while being enrolled in this course.
You will be issued a provisional certificate until the time requirement has been met.
The successful completion of all CAM courses which includes the for a course total of 40 credit hours.
Meet all other exam requirements within one year of enrolling in the course.
A minimum of 36 months of qualifying real estate management experience in a management role. You must have achieved 36 months of consecutive employment in real estate management before being enrolled in this course.
Hold a real estate license or verification that you are not required to hold one in your current position.
Meet all other exam requirements within one year of enrolling in the course
The candidate must meet the minimum of a managed portfolio of rental properties as follows;
Residential: 200 units at 1-4 sites or 100 units at 5 or more sites.
Commercial: 120,000 square feet at 1 site or 80,000 square feet at 2 or more sites.
Industrial: 200,000 square feet at 1 or more sites.
The candidate must meet the minimum of a Functions Requirement for at least 19 of 36 activities and/or functions in order to qualify for credit towards the CPM certification. Top 10 activities or functions required;
Hire, manage, and evaluate site personnel and/or off-site property management staff or contracted real estate management firms, directly or through others.
Identify staffing requirements and develop, or approve, job descriptions and/or develop and monitor, or approve, human resource policies, training and development plans, and diversity outreach initiatives.
Identify, implement, and monitor, or approve, sustainable practices; including but not limited to energy use/conservation programs for the property.
Determine which items or services are to be purchased for the property, prepare specifications, solicit and evaluate bids for contract services, negotiate or approve contracts, and monitor contracts.
Oversee operation of building systems, supervise employees or monitor contractors who perform routine maintenance and repair work, and/or oversee the planning and construction of tenant improvements and interior design.
Design, implement, and monitor or approve, routine and preventive maintenance programs for the property.
Establish or maintain and enforce the property’s operating policies and procedures and occupancy/usage guidelines.
Establish, maintain, and monitor adherence to, or approve the property’s record keeping system.
Identify, analyze, and implement, or approve, capital improvement or replacement programs, including but not limited to maintenance or remodeling programs, resident/tenant improvements, and amenity enhancements.
Perform regular property inspections and take appropriate action in accordance with established policies and procedures.
A minimum of 60 months of qualifying real estate management experience in a management role. You must have achieved 60 months (5 years) consecutive employment in real estate management before being enrolled in this course.
Hold a real estate license or verification that you are not required to hold one in your current position.
Meet all other exam requirements within one year of enrolling in the course
The pre-requisites for this certification will largely be satisfied by the prior criteria of the CPM certification. With the additional requirement of:
The candidate must meet the minimum of a managed portfolio of rental properties of 500 residential units at 1 or more sites or 100 units at 5 or more sites.
How Much Do Property Managers Make?
According to salary.com, a person entirely new to real estate and property management with a high school diploma can expect to earn around $30,000 per year.
A certified property manager with a college degree coming in at an entry-level earns approximately $41,000 per year according to payscale.com.
And for the more seasoned and qualified managers, Salary.com says the national average salary for a Certified Property Manager is around $57,092 per year. What you earn will depend on a few factors;
Where you are located in the US, such as property values, rental values, rental property types, and rental property sizes.
The level of competition in the rental market where you are.
Your level of education; Someone with a high school diploma will likely have to start at an entry-level position, whereas someone with a college degree in business would have more bargaining power when negotiating their salary.
The Property Management certifications you have attained.
The number of years you have been in the industry.
Additional skills you have acquired such as relevant industry tools like Propertyware or Realpage.
If your compensation package includes commission, profit sharing and/or bonuses.
How and Where Do I Start?
You’ll most likely have to apply with a real estate broker or property management company for an entry-level position such as a leasing agent or administrative assistant. Some points to be aware of;
This may mean being employed as an Administrative Assistant or Leasing Agent initially. The salaries for these positions will reflect the basic level of industry experience you have and the duties & responsibilities you will be required to perform.
For these entry-level positions, often a high-school education is adequate and won’t require a college degree. However, if you have a bachelors degree in business administration, real estate, accounting, public administration or finance, the likelihood of you being hired not only improves dramatically but so does your potential to command a higher salary doing negotiations with your property management company.
Your state will likely not require you have a real estate license when you are starting out in your career, collecting rent or signing of leases, as you will be working under the broker’s license of your employer. If you eventually qualify as a certified property manager, it is very likely you will then require a license of some kind, be it a Realtor’s license or a dedicated property managers license. This varies greatly state by state.
So what are you waiting for?
We’ve looked at the career path of a potential property manager and the requirements coming in, from absolutely no experience or formal education to possessing a college degree with some prior work experience. If you have the patience to learn and build your career over time, the career path is not only clearly laid out in front of you but the potential to have a genuinely satisfying and lucrative career that meets all of your professional and personal goals is there for the taking.
Please note: While every attempt has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, this article is for informational purposes only and isn’t intended to replace the advice of qualified professionals and/or your own due diligence from official sources like your State licensing office.
While mobile payments are on the rise, many tenants still prefer to pay rent in cash. To increase the likelihood of timely rent payments, it’s important to give your tenants flexible payment options that meet their needs, including cash payments. But often, cash payments bring an increased risk of theft, fraud and manual recording errors.
Benefits of cash payments technology
For tenants who prefer to pay rent with cash or money orders, Propertyware Cash Payments is a game changer. The offering allows them to pay their rent at any of 25,000 retail locations at their convenience, rather than at the office and during work hours. They don’t have to carry a wad of cash around that’s subject to theft or loss, and you don’t accumulate vulnerable cash at the office.
A modest, fixed fee of $3.75 covers the transaction, so there’s no cost to the property owner. It’s a convenience you can offer with no downside at all! Payments are instantly verified and recorded to the tenant ledger, so your staff doesn’t have to make manual entries. Additionally, Propertyware Cash Payments seamlessly integrates into the overall Propertyware Payments solution to make tracking payments a breeze.
Payment voucher enhancement
Tenants using the system visit the Tenant Portal to generate a payment voucher they can present at the retail location where they have chosen to pay their rent. They can either print the voucher or save it to their mobile device.
For those who aren’t computer-savvy, there’s now an option for the property manager to create the cash payment voucher on the tenant’s behalf, so tenants can simply contact the office to have it generated. And since the voucher can be used repeatedly, they don’t have to get a new one each month.
To create the voucher, go to Leases > Select lease > RentMoney voucher on the left navigation menu in Propertyware.
Alert email enhancement
A second new feature is a Propertyware Alert email that automatically notifies tenants when a cash payment transaction has been successfully completed. There’s no need for them to call the office to confirm their rent is showing as “paid,” giving them a level of comfort without taking up your staff’s busy time.
The payment alert triggers when Propertyware receives a RentMoney payment. Manage this alert by going to Setup > Customize > Alerts > Tenant notifications within the Payments section.
Taking your business to the next level with Propertyware Cash Payments
Propertyware Cash Payments is not only a convenience for your tenants, it also saves your office staff time spent dealing with cash payments in person. And with these two new features, it promises to be even more popular!
Not already a Propertyware customer? View a demo.
On or before January 31st of each year (or between January 17th and March 31st for e-filers), you are required to produce a Form 1099 for each vendor to whom you’ve paid $600 or more in the prior year. There are various types of 1099, but for property managers this is usually Form 1099-MISC.
Its primary purpose is to show the amount you’ve paid to contractors and service providers over the course of the year, so the IRS can match the income vendors report to the total amount reported by companies that paid them. You submit one copy of the form to the IRS and another to the vendor.
Your Propertyware software can populate these forms for you, potentially saving you a great deal of time during tax season.
Check out the top three questions about how to correctly complete your 1099’s! Then download a full list of FAQs.
1. Where in Propertyware can I print my 1099’s?
1099’s are available for print in Propertyware:
Money Out > Related Activities > Print Vendor 1099’s / Print Vendor 1096
Money Out > Related Activities > Print Vendor 1099’s
Management > Related Activities > Print Owner 1099’s
Important: Clicking the Generate 1099 EFILE Export button does not automatically send the file to the IRS. It must be saved to your computer and submitted outside of Propertyware to the IRS.
Propertyware now provides the necessary file to complete electronic filing for your vendors and owners.
Get more information on 1099 e-filing.Check out other helpful tips from the IRS.
3. What reports can I run to validate my 1099’s?
In Propertyware you can review various reports for monies paid:
Payable – Vendor Balance report
Financial Statements Reports
General Ledger report
1099 reports can also be a quick view to see if a Tax ID number, mailing address, specific owner info or vendor info is missing. Then go to Money Out and review the Vendor Ledger (paid/unpaid).
For a full list of 1099 FAQ’s, Download this Free Guide!
**Please note that this blog article, and its contents, is being provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, tax or accounting advice and should not be used or relied upon as a substitute for such advice. You should consult with a qualified professional for any legal, tax or accounting-related questions you have relating to the subject matter.**
If you’re already a property manager and enjoy what you do, you may have at some point thought about starting your own property management company. So you’ll need the answers to some very important questions if you want to start-up your own property management company.
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How Do I Start a Property Management Company?
A property management company is like many other service businesses. And like any business, your management company will need a place to work and all the equipment that goes along with running an effective modern operation. To keep costs down, many new owners of property management companies start out working from home, and when their business outgrows that setup, they look at renting commercial office space and hiring staff.
Some other factors for you to consider for your move into property management:
Business Structure. Speaking of business, as a new property management service you’ll want to determine what type of legal entity you wish to do business as; usually a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or an incorporated business (S-Corp or C-Corp). Fee’s usually run around $150-$200 for the legal document creation through services like LegalZoom or Launch by LegalShield, and registration fee’s with your state’s Attorney General’s office range from as low as $10 up to several hundred dollars.
There are pro’s and con’s to each type of corporation including different tax implications, but you can click here to learn more about which corporate structure is right for your business.
Licensing. Determine if your company is required to obtain a Property Management License in your state. Of the 50 states including the District of Columbia, most states do require specific licensing for a property management business. The general view across the nation is that a property management company falls within the scope of a real estate brokers activity. As such, 41 states require a Real Estate Brokers license for your property management company, allowing the licensee to conduct both property management and real estate sale activities.
In fact, as of 2018, only six states do not require licensing of any kind (ID, KS, ME, MD, MA, VT).
The remaining four states & DC (DC, MT, OR, SC, SD) only requiring a specific Property Management license, limiting that company to property management activities only.
If you require further information on the requirements in your state, contact your state Real Estate Commission. If you’re just getting started, see our definitive guide on how to become a property manager.
Choose Your Name. Select your business name and/or logo. Once you have your management company name and/or logo, have your company stationery such as your business card and brochures made. You can find talented freelance designers on websites like UpWork, 99 Designs or even Fiverr.
Get A Website. Having a presence online is absolutely critical today and a cost-effective asset for you. You’ll need a high-quality property management website for your potential clients and tenants to find your new company. So even before you launch a comprehensive marketing campaign, you’ll have to create this online presence. Once you have your site up and running, you can create a custom company email account.
Phone. Use your existing cell phone for mobile communication with tenants, property owners, and contractors, as you’ll likely spend much of your time out of the office conducting your business on the road.
Lawyer. Real estate law and laws governing property management are many and varied. Consider hiring a real estate attorney for advice, both at the beginning of your startup and if you have any questions or issues along the way. They can assist with questions on a lease agreement, contracts, potential legal liabilities, licensing and compliance in your state. Another option is doing it yourself online if you feel confident you have the experience.
Bookkeeping. All businesses rely on a good bookkeeper, and if you’re starting out on your own this will likely be you. This will be a regular part of your daily property management duties, as you collect rent & fees, pay salaries, record income, pay contractors, meet overhead such as phone bills, electricity, gas etc. Having a good accounting software program that’s built for property management can really help you stay on track.
Accounting. At some point, your company will want to engage the services of a CPA especially when tax time rolls around. An accountant can provide the proper tax forms to your clients so they in-turn can report rental income and expenses to the IRS.
Office Equipment. This can include a desktop or laptop computer, copier, scanner, and fax machine.
Propertyware Is Flexible, Scalable, and Affordable
How Do Property Management Company’s Get Paid?
1. Determine Your Pricing Structure. This is extremely important to get right. Consider your pricing structure and what you offer for that pricing as a critical function of your property management business. If you’ve been a property manager for some time, you’ll know what the industry standard is for your area and where you fit in the market. If you’re just getting started, here are some common fees to consider.
Setup Fee. Also referred to as an ‘onboarding fee’, this one-time fee is charged to landlords for the cost of setting up an account with you and can include an initial property inspection and ‘welcome’ materials for prospective tenants. A typical setup fee is around $300 or less.
Ongoing Management Fee. This is your bread and butter. It can be as much as 10% of monthly rental income, or as low as 3% depending on your local market. It covers day-to-day operations such as communicating with renters, collecting rent, conducting inspections and responding to maintenance & repair requests.
Late Fee. This fee as the name suggests is for late or missed rent payments and is indicated in the lease. Some property management firms will keep a percentage for the processing of a late fee.
Maintenance Fees. This can be charged for coordinating maintenance and repairs to a rental unit on behalf of the landlord. Many property management services will charge, for example, an additional 10%-20% on top of a particular repair. Others will charge nothing and include that as a part of the Management Fee. Typical annual maintenance costs to owners are about 1.5 times the monthly rental rate so it can be a significant source of income if you have a significant number of “doors” under your management.
Lease Renewal Fees. This optional fee is charged when renewing the lease for an existing tenant and is typically around $200 or less.
Returned Check Fee. Like a Late Fee, this can be charged to the tenant, and the property manager can keep a percentage of the total fee for processing.
Eviction Fee. This is optional but it’s strongly advised you charge owners this fee, as you will likely be called on to act as the liaison or even official representative for the property owner in the eviction process.
Building Your Local Network
2. Network. This sounds intuitive, and as an experienced property manager, you’ll appreciate the value of an experienced professional network to your property management business. At some point, you will have to outsource work to another contractor or company to help in managing your clients’ rental portfolios. You know you can’t do it all, so find that reliable and affordable company or contractor and bring them into the fold.
3. Join A Property Management Organization. Consider joining a property management organization, doing so will; give you opportunities to network, meet other property managers, real estate agents & vendors, share experiences and knowledge, keep you abreast of industry news, expose you to the latest tools and technology, and give you access to further education and credentials to distinguish yourself from your competition.
The Top 5 Property Management Organizations
Improve Your Education With Property Management Certifications
4. Continued Education And Certification. This is something all property managers want to consider. You’ll not only hone your professional skills but set yourself apart from your competition. If you don’t already have them, some of the most common designations are:
Residential Management Professional (RMP®). This designation is geared towards property managers who want to take their knowledge to the next level. Pre-requisites include managing at least 100 units over a two year period, Letters of Recommendation from 2 current RMP or MPM Designees, completion of 18 hours of NARMP education courses, and more.
Master Property Manager (MPM®). The pinnacle of professional excellence from NARPM and arguably the equivalent of earning a Master’s Degree in Property Management.
National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP®). Leasing professionals are the first people prospective residents meet, and often their only gauge of the property staff. This course is designed to teach these professionals skills to help them become top producers.
Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®). The gold standard for property management companies that are looking to stand out from the crowd by showing their commitment to education and commitment to the industry. Pre-requisites include having at least one staff member with the MPM designation (see above), verification of at least 500 unit-years, passing an on-site audit, and more.
What Are Some Challenges with Owning a Property Management Company?
Property management can be a tough job, and even more so when you are the owner of the company. Every property management company has its own peculiarities and requires a managing professional who understands everything about the assets they supervise. Drawing on numerous skills and experiences, property managers have to handle a wide range of tasks and challenges in an effort to provide full-service. As with any property management company, certain challenges exist regardless of the rental market you are serving. Some challenges you can face when operating your own property management company are;
Keeping Property Owners and Residents Satisfied
1. Customer Service. As an experienced rental property manager, you know the importance of keeping property owners and renters satisfied. In fact, your businesses success relies on keeping existing clients happy. Almost 70% of consumers have indicated they are prepared to pay more for a better customer service experience. So you’ll want to make every effort to satisfy your owners and tenants by incorporating these points below:
Respond Quickly. This is a big one. Remember, renters are customers too and they value their time as much as you value yours. In our fast-paced society even if you cannot provide an immediate answer or solution, a prompt acknowledgment is expected and appreciated. Stay organized and track all your communications with clients as they come in.
Actively Listen to Renters Concerns. Let’s face it, tenants usually only call when there is a problem. A good property manager will always make time for a tenants concerns, and at least attempt to ease their concerns by ensuring action will be taken in a prompt manner. But be honest and upfront with clients and don’t make promises you can’t keep, outline a realistic timeline for the maintenance request for the tenant or owner – if you can’t get a contractor to fix their AC unit for 24 hours, tell them that. A tenant tells you they will not make rent this week, politely remind them of the potential for late fees and their obligations under the lease. Customers will appreciate the honesty and effort and still feel they are a priority.
Follow-Up. So, you’ve responded quickly and listened to the tenants’ concerns. Keep it up. Now is the time to deliver on your promises and solve that rental properties problem. Prioritize your follow-ups, especially when it comes to complaints and maintenance issues. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – so put those fires out as soon as possible. Tenants will appreciate your efforts and will be less inclined to stress if and when they contact you for something in the future.
Recommended Additional Reading:5 Rental Property Manager Skills That You Must Master
2. The Status Quo. It’s important for any property manager to understand that today’s victory is tomorrows opportunity. For a property manager, this means not resting on your successes but actively planning for more success in the future.
Monitor Resident Relationships. In the highly competitive world of rentals and property management, it is crucial to have your finger on the pulse of tenants in the properties you manage. Even one poor experience can be enough for some residents to see out their lease, but still move out and seek rental accommodations elsewhere. Take time to talk to long-term tenants and ask them for their opinions and concerns about the rental property, your management company, and even the property owner/landlord.
And at all phases of the rental experience; signing the lease, moving in, paying rent, missing a rent payment, complaint resolution, the condition of the property, staff interaction, other residents, eviction and moving out – ask for feedback. Take that feedback and learn from it. If you or your staff have made some mistakes, now is the time to make sure they’re not repeated. If further training is required for you or your staff – make it happen. If you require more help by way of cutting-edge software, invest in it. All of this is done to improve your efficiency and guarantee tenant satisfaction. Tenant satisfaction and tenant retention go hand-in-hand.
Communicate with Tenants Regularly. Wherever possible, keep tenants in the loop for any activity that may impact their daily lives, be it in their rental property specifically or in the larger community. Give plenty of advanced notice to allow the tenants to make plans. So if you are having the parking lot repaved, don’t wait until the day of work to ask residents to move their cars. This is a really important part of pro-active property management and providing excellent customer service.
Learn How:Propertyware’s Tenant & Owner Portal Makes Communication EasyCommunicate Regularly with Property Owners & Investors. The phones are quiet, there are no outstanding maintenance issues and all complaints have been addressed. What do you do as a property manager with a little extra time? Contact the owners about their investment. And I don’t mean through the annual reports or regular bulletins, I mean reach out personally to validate the value your services bring for an owner and their income property, even when things are going smoothly. Send them an email or even call them if time permits. Build rapport with them and let them know “everything’s ok” with their rental property while renewing their confidence in your professionalism.
Finding The Time To Accomplish Everything
3. Time Management. As we’ve seen earlier in this article, managing your time in property management is critical. As a property manager, you know a great deal of time and effort is spent on resolving issues that come your way on a daily basis; from signing lease agreements, to processing a rent payment, to dealing with terminations of bad tenants, to issuing work orders, to conducting a walk-through of a condominium for real estate investors. So being highly efficient ensures that all the necessary tasks can be accomplished in a timely manner to keep occupants happy while freeing you up to focus on other parts of your property management business.
Document everything. As a professional property manager working in real estate, you must be able to fall back on sound documentation to support you when dealing with tenants, property owners, investors, lawyers, contractors, and other professionals.
Use an online calendar or scheduling system like Calendly, and schedule your time. Don’t leave it to chance.
Don’t multitask; Multitasking in property management can quickly lead to the important things being missed, so break your schedule into blocks. This will be a challenge for a small property management service at first, but you will reap the rewards later when you are more..
Acquisition can be extremely effective growth strategy or your worst nightmare. To address it effectively, you must have quality partners and technology to prepare you, consistency through the process, the ability to manage scale, and the power to meet expectations for all parties involved. In a recent Propertyware webcast, HomeRiver Group President Andy Propst and Propertyware Product Marketing Director Cassandra Rollins shared insights into the single family acquisition process and common pitfalls to avoid.
According to Propst, here are the top five deal killers for a single family acquisition:
1. Lack of preparedness
Many property managers look at their business as a revenue source, but according to Propst, it’s so much more. He recommends viewing your business as an asset that can increase in value and considering how you want it to evolve down the road. By beginning with the end in mind and setting up goals to grow your business, you can make it more marketable when it’s time to sell.
2. Poor financial management
In an acquisition, financials can be difficult to get your arms around and verify. Are the earnings you post on your financials what you are actually earning? Propst says it’s important to ensure the customer’s, tenant’s and business owner’s books are all reconciled. Both the buyer and seller need to understand that the numbers put into the system are accurate. If you reconcile your books on a monthly basis, life is much easier when it comes time to sell your business and investing in a certified audit may be a good idea.
3. Lack of documented processes
When you acquire a company, you also acquire its processes. Propst recommends analyzing these processes so you can best leverage strengths and tweak areas that need improvement. From there, integrate the processes into your business as a whole. Use technology to document all processes, such as business procedures and communications with owners and tenants.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are important for anyone who is building their business and eventually wants to sell. Consider what is driving dollars and bottom line and focus on these areas. Instead of trying to do it all, set a few KPIs that help you reach your goal and place your efforts there.
What does Andy recommend to document processes? Tools like Traxion or even simply Microsoft Word.
4. Poor data management
Do you have streamlined property management data? According to Propst, businesses should establish clear policies and procedures for how data is entered so it can be easily accessed and interpreted across the board. When managing multiple platforms (such as a tenant portal and owner portal), you need to establish data standards so you and your team can consistently enter data in the same way and tavoid confusion (e.g.- “TX” instead of “Texas.”)
5. Not knowing your worth
Do you know the value of your business? Property managers who begin with the end in mind by setting clear goals, along with mission and vision statements, are better equipped for long-term success. Be proactive in planning and focus primarily on initiatives that drive revenue for your business. Propst says that “Stepping away from the day-to-day of your business to create a game plan is an investment that will pay tenfold.” Making time to establish, review and adjust your goals is essential to understanding the true value of your business.
For full insights from Propst, watch the On-Demand webcast now!
Rental property listings play a key role in attracting single-family rental prospects. An effective property listing tool has the power to solve core leasing challenges, drive overall activity and increase conversions.
Propertyware’s updated Listing Widget employs new technology to offer advanced search capabilities, innovative display options and a sleek and customizable user interface.
The journey to a signed lease often begins with an online search. The Listing Widget, updated to modernize the prospect shopping experience, now includes sophisticated Search and Featured Rental tools.
With improved ease, potential renters can search a company’s portfolio to identify property matches for specific rental needs. New filtering options allow users to shop with a new level of granularity. Featured variables include property type, desired amenities, pet type, move in-date and move-in date flexibility.
Prospects can also search via an easy-to-navigate, interactive map. Both map view and list view experiences automatically reformat to perfectly display on desktops, tablets and mobile devices.
In addition to user-driven search criteria, the new tool allows property management companies to highlight featured rentals within a carousel that can be placed anywhere on their website. The same carousel now also integrates video.
For prospects, finding the right property can be a daunting task. For property management companies, capturing a prospect’s attention can prove difficult. But a few key details can ease user frustrations, elevate the search experience and lend to a higher conversion rate.
The updated Listing Widget includes optional buttons like “Apply,” “Contact Agent” and “Schedule a Tour.” The new tour scheduling functionality integrates third-party scheduling tools to create a seamless, end-to-end process for getting prospects through the door.
Banners are another game changer and can be automated to complement a company’s workflow. Available property-specific banners include “Now Available,” “Coming Soon,” and “Newly Remodeled,” as well as time-bound promotional banners like “Weekend Special – No Deposit!”
The new Infinite Scroll display was similarly designed with conversions in mind. Previously, users could only view 10 search results per page. Sorting results could be an arduous process for the user, causing them to break from the search – or bounce from the website altogether. With Infinite Scroll, the browsing experience is interruption free.
Rental property listings can stand out from the competition by mirroring a company’s unique aesthetics. Propertyware’s Listing Widget offers advanced flexibility in customization options.
Companies can match their web presence with new control configurations that adjust font types, font sizes, font color and button visibility. Additionally, there are options to show prospects nearby and related listings that feature similar location, rent range and square footage.
For more information on the newly enhanced Listing Widget, and to view a video demo, check out this link!
The home remodeling industry is getting a little extra boost to celebrate home improvements nationally, even though the market is already moving full steam ahead.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Home Builders are advocating improvements, repairs and additions this month, but two of the housing industry’s leading indexes indicate there’s already a lot of hammering happening.
NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) and Harvard’s Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) report that after the first quarter of 2018, activity continues to move forward following a strong finish in 2017.
In April, the RMI and LIRA indexes suggest continued strength in the owner-occupied and rental property remodeling sectors.
And the prognosis for the remainder of the year and into 2019 looks pretty good.
LIRA projects remodeling, repair spending to grow over 7 percent
Earlier this year, LIRA projected that homeowner spending on improvements and repairs will increase about 7.5 percent from estimated 2017 spending because of a robust economy and recovery from natural disasters.
So far, that’s holding true. Compiled by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, LIRA says growth of homeowner remodeling dollars will remain above 7 percent through the year and into the first quarter of 2019.
LIRA, which provides a short-term outlook of national home improvement and repair spending to owner-occupied homes, estimates the current remodeling and repair market to be $340 billion. The indicator, which projects the annual rate of change in spending for the current quarter and subsequent four quarters, is intended to help identify future turning points in the home improvement and repair industry.
“Strengthening employment conditions and rising home values are encouraging homeowners to make greater investments in their homes,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Upward trends in retail sales of building materials and the growing number of remodeling permits indicate that homeowners are doing more – and larger – improvement projects.”
Rental properties bouncing back with more minor additions, alterations
NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI), which tracks owner-occupied and rental property upgrades, shows similar strength in the first quarter after posting a record-high 60 in the last three months of 2017. But strong showings in minor additions and alterations (with a 57) overshadowed bigger project ratings.
Property managers can easily keep renters in the loop of upgrades and projects taking place with a tenant portal. Even minor alterations that are upcoming can be communicated easily through notifications, keeping tenants in the know of anything that might effect them.
The RMI posted its second highest score for minor additions and alterations at 60 since the second quarter of 2015. Owner-occupied homes tabulated a 64 for the second consecutive quarter while rental properties pushed close to its most recent benchmark of 50 for the fourth time in five months.
The RMI is based on a quarterly survey of NAHB remodeler members that provides insight on current market conditions as well as future indicators for the owner-occupied and rental properties remodeling market.
Minor additions and alterations in rentals have steadily recovered from a significant fall at the end of 2016. The index has bounced back and forth from a 48 to 49 since the first quarter of 2017.
Overall, major additions and alternations in rental properties remained healthy at 48, despite a five-point drop from end of last year.
Robust economy, recovery from natural disasters fuel remodeling
NAHB Remodelers Chair Joanne Theunissen said in January after the RMI reach 60 for overall upgrades for only the second time since 2001 that the economy and rebuilding from natural disasters played a large role.
“A booming stock market and low unemployment continue to fuel consumers’ investment in their homes,” said Theunissen, a remodeler from Mt. Pleasant, Mich. “Natural disaster-related repairs also caused strong demand for maintenance and repair projects.”
Future market indicators are back peddling a little from last fall, but there’s relief in the backlog of remodeling jobs.
The backlog of work is shrinking and fewer short-term job commitments are being made, a sign that the construction market may be recovering from hurricanes that damaged Texas and Florida and other natural disasters.
After posting one of the biggest gains in recent years in the fourth quarter, the backlog of remodeling jobs plunged 14 percent in the first quarter of 2018. In the fourth quarter, the bottleneck rose from 60 points to 66, the highest it’s been in 17 years.
Last fall, when the backlog was at its highest at 66 in data released by NAHB going back to 2001, Chief Economist Robert Dietz said jobs may have been backing up because of higher construction costs and skilled labor shortages.
Meanwhile, overall demand for work over the next three months has dropped four points to 58, ending a two-quarter run of growth. The rental property sector suffered an 11 percent decline, compared to 7 percent in owner-occupied.
Joint Center says outlook positive for foreseeable future
But rental properties are calling for more bids, a trend that compares similarly to the owner-occupied market. Calls for estimates jumped two points to 48 for rental properties and one point to 62 for owner-occupied properties. Improvements to existing rental properties, specifically amenity upgrades, has the potential to encourage tenants to renew their lease. Excite them by communicating the status of renovations though your tenant portal.
Abbe Will, associate project director in the Remodeling futures Program at the Joint Center, said the remodeling industry will continue to move forward in the foreseeable future. The industry has come a long way since posting $267 billion in work in early 2015.
“While the overall outlook is positive, one area of concern is the slowing growth in sales of existing homes, since sales traditionally trigger significant renovation spending by both sellers and buyers,” Will said. “Even with this headwind, annual spending on residential improvements and repairs by homeowners is set to exceed $340 billion by early next year.”
Learn more about how Propertyware Tenant Portal helps property mangers keep their tenants up-to-date on all the latest renovations and upgrades. Sign up for a free trial!
In the single family rental market, renewals often make more sense than new lease trade-outs. For property management companies, there are inevitable costs associated with turnover and finding a new tenant. Luckily, with a few strategic moves, tenant retention can be simple.
Everyone loves perks, so offer tenants something special to celebrate renewals. Such incentives don’t have to come at the expense of your company. Consider gifting upgrades that also benefit a home’s value. Flooring improvements, a one-time cleaning service, lawn services, fresh wall paint and new appliances are all incentives that can excite tenants and enhance a rental.
For a more personal touch, align incentives with tenant interests. Do your renters have children? Amusement park season passes or movie theater gift cards can be welcomed gifts that help tenants feel appreciated. Do your renters work around the clock? Coffee shop vouchers or a new tablet computer can resonate with the needs of on-the-go tenants.
Ongoing incentives can be a proactive and equally influential tool. Partner with a variety of nearby businesses to offer regular and significant discounts.
Create a community
Even single family rentals can foster a sense of community. A strong relationship between a renter and their property management company has the power to make the renewal process quick and seamless.
Helping renters feel at home begins and ends with engagement. Communicate information efficiently and through a tenant’s preferred channels. When a tenant initiates a dialogue, respond in a timely manner to help them feel heard. Quick and meaningful responses are an easy way to build trust.
An established maintenance crew can also contribute to building repertoire with tenants. Consider featuring your maintenance team on the property website, or having a maintenance employee onsite during move-ins.
Property management companies with multiple single family homes can also generate a community among tenants. Lease out a fun space for quarterly events that prompt mingling. Game nights, sports fantasy leagues, raffles and catered meals can engage and connect tenants.
With the right tools, you can create an outstanding living experience and retain more tenants. Sign up for a free trial to learn how Propertyware can help!
Coming later this month, Propertyware’s fresh, new dashboard will deliver easy accessibility to modern navigation. Our new user interface is easy on the eyes and easy to navigate, and boasts a dynamic, mobile-responsive dashboard designed around customer feedback to increase productivity every day. Best of all, no changes are required by customers—the update is seamless.
Here is a sneak peek at the platform’s user-driven innovations:
Watch this on-demand webcast to learn more.
With the new dashboard experience, Propertyware customers get to enjoy:
An intuitive consumer-based design
Maximized screen and work space
Automatic transfer of existing dashlets into new experience
Propertyware’s Senior Product Manager, Bill Whitson said, “Customers are going to see a completely redesigned interface with intuitive navigation that will allow PMCs to get to areas of Propertyware they need to access quickly and efficiently.”
Customers can toggle back and forth between the classic and new Propertyware dashboard experiences, ensuring no interruption in quality or service. All users are encouraged to work in the new dashboard to continue experiencing current and future product enhancements meant to help simplify processes, reduce training and complete work faster.
Contact us to learn more and watch this on-demand webcast.
As we saw in the ‘Service Animals and The ADA: The Definitive Guide For Property Managers’ article, much progress has been made in the search for fairness and protection of disabled Americans and their legitimate service animals. But for those of you that have been property managers for any significant amount of time, you are well aware of the issue of tenants trying to pass off their dog as a service animal in an attempt to circumvent pet policies or to otherwise avoid paying pet deposits and fees.
The issue of fake service dogs/animals transcends property management and has become such a problem that a number of states are passing their own laws to combat this issue. To date, there are a total of 23 states in the US that have enacted some level of punitive response to owners of pets who would pretend to be disabled and/or attempt to pass off their pet as a legitimate service animal.
What Is The Difference Between a Legitimate Service Animal and a Support Animal?
First, it’s worth defining what a service and/or support animal is since it helps to understand why so many states would impose civil or even criminal penalties for impersonating a person with a disability.
Think of it this way; Service Animals are specifically dogs or miniature horses (seriously) which are trained to help legitimately disabled people with physical needs. Support animals can vary by species and help pet owners with emotional issues like depression, PTSD, or anxiety. That’s about it in a nutshell.
So, the service animal laws in various states are now slowly catching up to the reality that some people would falsely claim to be disabled for their own gain.
Check the list below to see the states that have passed ‘fake service dog/animal’ laws, a brief overview of what the penalty is, and where you can find more information on that states law.
Fake Service Dog/Animal Laws By State
ARIZONA.House Bill 2588 introduced in 2018 states those who “fraudulently misrepresent” service animals can be fined $250.
CALIFORNIA.Penal Code 365.7 introduced back in 1995. Those pretending to be an owner of a service dog is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months’ imprisonment.
COLORADO.House Bill 16-1426 passed in 2017 states it is a class 2 petty offense to intentionally misrepresent an animal as a service animal in the state. Violators of this new law will be hit with a fine of $25 for their first offense, $50-100 for a second offense and $100-500 for a third or subsequent offense.
FLORIDA.CS/SB 414 This law passed in 2015 classifies misrepresenting a dog as a service animal as a second-degree misdemeanor. Those who are caught breaking the law face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
IOWA.Senate File 2365 Passed this year in 2018, an offender can face 30 days in jail, a fine, or possibly both.
IDAHO.§ 18-5811A Since 1997 in Idaho, any person, not being a disabled person or being trained to assist disabled persons, who use an assistance device or assistance dog to gain treatment or benefits as a disabled person, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (No specific punitive measures stipulated e.g. fine or imprisonment)
KANSAS.K 39-1112 Introduced in 2015, this is a class A Misdemeanor: No fines or penalties specifically indicated.
MAINE.17 M. R. S. A. § 1314-A Passed in 2015, any person who commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $1000 may be adjudged for each occurrence.
MICHIGAN.MCL 752.61 – 63 Passed in 2016 a violation is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 or more of the following: imprisonment for not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than $500.00, community service for not more than 30 days
MISSOURI.V. A. M. S. 209.204 Introduced in 2017 any person found in breach of this law is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and shall also be civilly liable for the amount of any actual damages resulting from such impersonation. Any second or subsequent violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor.
MINNESOTA.HF3157*/SF2646/CH106 This year in 2018 an offender will be subject to a $100 fine 1st offense, and a misdemeanor charge for a 2nd offense which can include $1000 fine and/or 90 days in prison.
NEBRASKA.Neb. Rev. St. § 28-1313 A person commits unlawfully using a white cane or guide dog if not blind as defined by law and carries, displays, or otherwise makes use of a white cane or guide dog. Unlawful use of a white cane or guide dog is a Class III misdemeanor. Passed in 2008.
NEVADA.N.R.S. 426.805 Since 2005, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.
NEW HAMPSHIRE.N.H. Rev. Stat. § 167-D:10 Passed in 2015 any offender shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to enhanced penalties in paragraphs II and III. (fines and penalties not stipulated)
NEW JERSEY.N. J. S. A. 10:5-29.5 Introduced in 2013 an offender shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $500.
NEW MEXICO.N. M. S. A. 1978, § 28-11-6 Violations dating back to 1978 is a misdemeanor. (fines and penalties not stipulated but referred to as misdemeanor under NM Common Law)
NEW YORK.McKinney’s Agriculture and Markets Law § 118 Updated in 2018, 1st violation is $25 fine. 2nd if $50 fine. 3rd offense a fine of $100 or more than 15 days’ imprisonment or both.
NORTH CAROLINA.N.C.G.S.A. § 168-4.5 Passed in 2005, a violation of this section shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor. (fines and penalties not stipulated)
TEXAS.V. T. C. A., Human Resources Code § 121.006 Punishable by a fine since 2014 of not more than $300 and 30 hours of community service to a governmental organization or a nonprofit organization which primarily serves disabled individuals. Habitual offense can see the fake service animal seized by the state.
UTAH.§ 62A-5b-106 Passed in 2007 an offender is guilty of a class C misdemeanor (fines and penalties not stipulated)
VIRGINIA.VA Code Ann. § 51.5-44.1 Passed in 2016 this is a class 4 misdemeanor (fines and penalties not stipulated)
WASHINGTON STATE.HB 2822 – 2017-18 Passed this year in 2018, an offender can be $500 fine for a civil infraction.
WYOMING.House Bill 114 Introduced in 2017, a guilty person can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $750.
States With Pending Fake Service Dog/Animal Legislation
MASSACHUSETTS & SOUTH CAROLINA. Both states have legislation pending passage in their respective states as of 2018.
[Additional Reading: Service Animals and The ADA: The Definitive Guide For Property Managers]
As shown above, it’s clear by these recently introduced laws that many states are finally taking seriously the problem of fake service animals. With this issue gaining more publicity and public awareness across the country, expectations will likely rise to provide nation-wide safeguards and protections for our disabled community and their legitimate service animals. So if your state does not appear on this list right now, just give it time.
Please Note: While every attempt has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, this list is not intended to replace the qualified advice of a legal professional.