Calendar icon February 6, 2023

Everything You Need to Know about Ragweed Allergies This Fall

Thanks to ragweed pollen, fall allergies can be a pain when you're trying to enjoy the changing weather. Prepare for ragweed below.


Pollen sucks. Its existence is essential to life itself, but it’s an absolute menace to allergy-afflicted individuals throughout the spring . . . and the fall.

“Wait, and the fall?”

Yes, and the fall.

“That’s like half the seasons. I didn’t sign up for that.”

Well, the summer as well. That’s when grass pollen comes out.

“. . .“

“So if spring is tree pollen and summer is grass pollen, what is fall pollen? Bush pollen?”

Ragweed, mostly. Ragweed pollen is public enemy number one in the fall for allergy sufferers.

The good news is that you aren’t allergic to all pollen because you are allergic to one type of pollen. Just because tree pollen, the yellow dust that coats entire cities in the spring, causes you to sneeze and itch, doesn’t necessarily mean ragweed pollen is going to do the same.

Tree pollen in the early months of the year is generally a more prominent allergen. That’s why springtime gets the most hubbub when talking about allergies. Despite this, a larger number of Americans actually suffer from a fall pollen allergy than a spring one.

So, what is ragweed and what does it look like? Keep reading to learn all about this sneaky irritant that may result in an unsuspecting ragweed pollen allergy.

What is ragweed & what does it look like?

What does ragweed look like? It’s a flowering plant that looks about like this:

what ragweed looks like


Ragweed can be found growing in fields, on roadsides, or anywhere there is open space in every state excluding Alaska (do you think Alaska feels sad for always being excluded?). There are lots of different species of ragweed, such as sage, eupatorium, and just in case ragweed wasn’t a gross enough name for you, there is also mugwort.

The two primary offenders in the case of allergen production are the cleverly named common ragweed and giant ragweed. These species of ragweed can be identified by their lobed leaves, which other species don’t have. Lobed leaves look like this:


The difference between giant ragweed and common ragweed is that giant ragweed is bigger. You’re welcome.

Ragweed vs. Goldenrod

Goldenrod is a very similar looking plant that, like ragweed, can be found just about anywhere in the United States. Genetically, it’s extremely different from ragweed, and its pollen is not an allergen. Nobody in the country is allergic to Goldenrod pollen. People often confuse it with the allergy factory of ragweed because of their similar appearances, and also probably because it's bright yellow and that is the color people associate with pollen. It is harmless though. Below is a side-by-side comparison so you can tell the difference.

ragweed versus goldenrod


When is ragweed season?

Like tree pollen season, ragweed pollen season can vary slightly by geographic location. It usually starts a little earlier and ends a little earlier the farther north you travel. While the plant can begin flowering as early as July, August is typically the month when ragweed pollen begins to infect the air around us. So, if you have a ragweed pollen allergy, you’ll likely notice symptoms at the end of summer through the start of winter. Late October is when it starts to diminish in the northern states, and it survives until late fall, usually mid-November, in the southern states. The first significant frost often coincides with the end of ragweed’s pollination time. So root for an early frost if you’re a ragweed pollen allergy sufferer.

How is ragweed pollen different from tree pollen?

It’s not, really. There are a few minor characteristics that are different, such as oak tree pollen being able to remain suspended in the air longer than ragweed. Ragweed produces a lot fewer individual pollen grains per plant. Overall, it’s a slightly less potent allergen than oak pollen and other tree pollens in the spring, but still pretty obnoxious if you’re afflicted with an intolerance. It also doesn’t cover the ground in a thick yellow dust, making it a less common talking point in the world of pollen allergies because of the lack of visual presence. Just like tree pollen though, it still sucks.


How do you manage a ragweed pollen allergy?

So, you know what ragweed looks like. But what do you do if you find you have a ragweed pollen allergy? Here are three tips to keep your symptoms at bay.

Pay attention to weather forecasts

There are a couple of reasons to keep an eye on the weather for today and the coming days. The first is pollen counts. You can also check these online at a place like We talked at length about these in our spring pollen blog, so we won’t dive too deep here.

Pollen counts, or pollen index, can vary based on many weather factors though, so some days outside will be way worse than others. The forecasts take these into account to give you an accurate idea of how prevalent the allergy threat will be each day.

Generally speaking, the mid-day hours are the worst for ragweed pollen. Going for that run or bike ride at dawn or dusk is a good idea if you have a fall pollen allergy (this is a good idea anyways in August, as it’s the hottest month of the year in many places). The wind is also responsible for driving up pollen counts. A consistent breeze will push pollen grains into the air and stop them from settling. So avoid windy days for your outdoor activities.

Also, keep an eye on rain in the forecast. Rain is the best thing for a ragweed pollen allergy. It washes pollen out of the sky and washes away pollen on the ground that can be resuspended in the air. If you’ve got an outdoor activity planned this fall, see if you can schedule it for the day after a rain. You’ll be a lot happier and healthier spending time outside because of the sudden decrease in pollen counts.


Take medicine

When you’re buying medication for your allergies, there is not a lot that is different in the fall versus the spring. Antihistamines such as Zyrtec or Chlor-Trimeton block allergens by binding to receptors within the body, depriving the allergen of its chance to make you sneeze right before it succeeds.

Antihistamines are effective because they target the actual cause of the allergic reaction instead of treating the symptoms. Other medications specifically for symptoms, such as decongestants, are available if you happen to have an antihistamine intolerance.


Keep ragweed pollen outside

If you’re a serious pollen allergy sufferer, it’s important to cover your bases when it comes to the air inside your home. You can’t rid the outside air of ragweed pollen, but you can keep it from getting inside.

Keep your windows and doors closed, especially on windy days. It may be tempting to leave your front door open or crack a window when that cool fall weather begins to roll in, but that’s the only barrier between your house and ragweed pollen.

Remember that pollen can also be carried into your home on your clothes, body, or pets.

  • Change clothes after spending a significant amount of time outside and drop those clothes in the washing machine.
  • Shower after significant outdoor activities.
  • Wash your hands after petting any dogs or cats that have been outside.

If it gets inside, don’t fret. Simply follow our best practices for how to remove allergies from your home.

Close the top on your convertible this time of year too.

Filter ragweed pollen out by keeping clean air filters in

You can make a material difference in the amount of ragweed pollen that enters your home by taking those simple precautions. You can’t eliminate it entirely, though. One of the best ways to keep your home as pollen-free as possible is to use air filters with high MERV ratings (8 or above).


Using a high-quality air filter, like Second Nature’s Health Shield or Essential+ filter, will pull those sneaky particles out of your home and into the garbage. Get one today. 


Not sure what size to get? Learn about air filter sizes and how they work to remove allergens from your home.

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How to Optimize Operational Frequency with Processes and Software

Property management software is currently helping property managers establish efficient and reliable processes at a higher rate than ever before in the PM industry. With that development in the proptech industry has come the development of tech for self-managers that has changed the capacity of the accidental landlord. Thus, the demand for efficiency at scale has risen in order to separate the professional from the amateur, and the establishment of processes that allow such a thing has become a critical topic for professional property managers. Optimizing property management processes Carter Fleck of Triton Property Management, a growth-oriented firm out of northern Virginia that is approaching 300 units with larger goals for 2024, joins us to share his expertise on process definition. Fleck is the General Manager responsible for operations and strategic growth, and he has been developing effective processes to ensure efficiency at Scale at Triton, and in the process, he has garnered an understanding of how to do so. “A lot of failing,” says Fleck. “In the early days, we were getting a lot of good and bad feedback, but typically the bad feedback is what you adjust off of.” Fleck believes that assumptions are the enemy when it comes to defining procedures and sourcing software for your PMC. “The image that we use is if you're going to build a sidewalk before people even start walking on a field, it's kind of dumb. You have to see where people will walk first, and then you'll build a gravel path. So number one, you see where they walk, see where their intentions are in the grass, then you build a gravel path. And then eventually, once that walkway is established, that's where you build your processes and procedures.” The analogy is a visualization of the concept that you have to see how people operate before you can establish processes to make how they operate more efficient. Fleck encourages the negative experiences of process breakdown and cites them as the only way to really nail down what your processes should look like. “Over time, between the tenants giving feedback and owners giving feedback, we adjusted our processes. It's a mix between figuring out where the owners walk and where the tenants walk, and then building paths that align.” Fleck details an example of how Triton adjusted its process after an assumption it made got challenged: "We had an assumption that payment plans were helpful for residents," says Fleck. "And so the way we handled delinquency is we would reach out to them and would be like, ‘you need to pay this. Do you have a payment plan option?’ And they would always say yes. Our process was we'll put you on a payment plan, we'll invite you to a payment plan, you'll accept the payment plan, and then we'll monitor the payment plan. That in itself was a lot of work, but we thought it was doing well. But some of the owners that we had managed for mentioned that another property manager doesn't allow any payment plans. And if you're not fully paid up by the end of the month, then the eviction process starts if you’re over $500 due. So we're like 'alright, well, we'll serve you in that we'll change our processes.' And we did, and our delinquency percentage shrunk significantly. So, consistently, by the end of every month, we're around 5% APR. Whereas with payment plans we're like 5 to 10%.” Fleck obviously credits seeing the assumptions in motion as what prompted the need for process iteration, and he firmly believes that making too many of these assumptions is one of the biggest mistakes growing property management companies make. Like any business experiencing growth, process definition is critical to achieve efficiency at larger volumes. What Fleck is essentially advocating for is processes based on what you know, not what you think, and there is a big distinction. Managing property management software Fleck has installed both general and tech-based processes, and cites that understanding of how people interact with processes as the key in both areas. "They don't focus on user experience. That's really important. Number one, how the tenants like the tech, but specifically how the people who are using the tech are gonna adopt it. So when we were choosing a rent inspection software, we had so many people recommend one, software and I, we almost pulled the trigger on it. But then I was like, let's do a trial run on both these two. And we chose the other one because it was way better user experience for property managers. So user experience, both for us and for residents." Tech is a tool that is ultimately as good as its users, and if it's not used correctly or at all, its potential is wasted. An over-reliance on technology can actually go hand-in-hand with an under-reliance, as both often spring up from a lack of understanding of how to choose, implement, and manage it. In this vein, Fleck can't recall many property managers who operate with too much tech. As long as you're not purchasing redundant software and you've done and continue to do your due diligence, tech-based process can make your business more efficient. "I more often find myself having that conversation," says Fleck. "When I'm talking to property managers in my sub-market, who aren't connected with like a NARPM, who aren't connected with like a Crane group, or who aren't connected with a Second Nature, aren't connected to the tune of what the property management industry is doing and the cutting edge of it, I'm just like, 'you could save so much of your time and you could scale this so much more if you only even if you just had tenant Turner, or if you had LeadSimple.'" No matter what your story is a property manager, if growth is in the cards, so is process and technology refinement. Hopefully, Fleck's experience in these areas can help you stay efficient and organized as door counts grow.

Calendar icon April 19, 2024

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Why offer a tenant benefits package?

In the residential real estate sector, like everywhere else, residents and property investors alike are getting younger – and with this generational shift comes expectations for a certain level of convenience and support. To put it bluntly, today’s residents want their needs proactively anticipated. It’s something they're willing to pay (and stay) for. That’s where a tenant benefits package comes in. In this article, we’ll explore what a tenant benefit package is, how it improves the experience for both property managers and tenants, and crucial mistakes to avoid. Before we get into the details, we want to give a shoutout to our very own “Resident Benefits Package” – which is how we refer to the benefits comprised in the “tenant benefits package.” “Tenant” is not yet a legacy term, but we here at Second Nature are trying to evolve it. That’s because, in our experience, property managers work hard to make renters feel like they’re not just parties to a contract – they’re residents. On one hand, this is just humans being humans, but on the other hand, it also encourages them to invest in care for their new home and add value to the property. Ready to get started now? Build your Resident Benefits Package today. What is a tenant benefits package? A tenant benefits package is typically a bundle of services, conveniences, and provisions offered by a property manager on top of the basic lease agreement. They represent a triple-win situation for property managers, residents, and property owners, as they enhance the overall rental experience, generate additional income, and protect the real estate investment. It might include conveniences such as online monthly rent payment options, or portals for submitting maintenance requests and tracking their status. It could also include various financial perks, such as credit rating improvements that are contingent on on-time rental payments, or discounts on nearby services such as fitness centers. It might also include amenities ranging from move-in concierge or utility set-up services, to identity protection services, to HVAC filter delivery. The cost for resident benefits packages is typically included in the lease and added as a monthly fee, with the fee being dependent on the specific benefits. Indeed, the benefits contained in a tenant benefits package will vary depending on the property manager and the type of rental property. The overall goal is to provide tenants with an enhanced quality of life while simplifying the experience of renting. At Second Nature, we pioneered the only fully managed resident benefits package, in response to PMs who wanted to make their business stand out. Our RBP includes an array of services and supports for residents, from filter delivery to credit building to maintenance. Why should property managers offer a tenant benefits package? Beyond the triple-win considerations mentioned just above, there are compelling and concrete reasons why property managers should offer tenant benefit packages. We'll turn to these now. Ancillary revenue Some tenant benefit packages include optional services or add-ons that can generate additional revenue streams for the property manager. This might include things like renter insurance or HVAC filter delivery. Resident experience Tenant benefit packages deliver numerous savings and value to tenants, beyond the value they would get if they were obtaining the same benefits "à la carte." Additionally, by offering additional services and conveniences, benefit packages can make tenants feel valued and more satisfied with their living experience. For instance, maintenance hotline requests, tenant portals, and air filter replacements all make life easier. Add-on services like identity theft protection can offer a sense of security. And discounted renters insurance coverage, utility concierge services, or other perks can save tenants money. Decrease tenant turnover and vacancy rates In a competitive rental market, tenant benefit packages can be a major differentiator toward boosting retention rates and reducing vacancy rates. Properties that offer these packages can also attract a wider pool of qualified tenants, and potentially command higher rents. Note that certain benefits in the package, like online rent payments and maintenance requests, can automate tasks and free up the property manager's time. This allows them to focus on more value-added initiatives. How does the tenant benefits package improve the tenant experience? Tenant benefit packages can significantly improve tenant satisfaction in several ways, by making life easier, more convenient, and potentially more affordable. For instance, if an online portal (a baseline feature for most property management software) is included for rent payments and maintenance issues and requests, this eliminates the hassle of writing checks or waiting on hold to speak with someone about a clogged drain. In other words, tenants have the peace of mind of knowing they can manage their tenancy 24/7 from the comfort of their own devices. Some packages might include features like filter delivery services or regularly scheduled HVAC maintenance. This frees tenants from having to remember these tasks – and ensures their apartment is well-maintained. Certain packages might also offer "verified vendor" services – in other words, a vetted vendor network that can help provide a more secure feeling to residents when service providers are on-site. On the financial side of things, a benefits package might offer discounts with local suppliers for various goods and services, or on a renters insurance policy obtained through the property manager (with applicable waivers for residents who have their own insurance). This can save tenants money on a necessary expense. Some packages also help residents with their credit scores via credit reporting and credit building services, so they can transition from renting to home buying when the time is right. The idea is that the credit reporting program reports on-time rent payments automatically to all credit bureaus, helping residents build their credit simply by paying their rent on time. Some benefit packages include resident rewards programs that represent a powerful and positive incentive for on-time rent payments, including gift cards or cash. As far as living perks go, packages sometimes include added benefits such as access to fitness centers or community events. This provides tenants with additional spaces to relax, socialize, or stay healthy. Packages can include security deposit alternatives that serve to provide a means for residents to be financially liable for damages without having to pay a significant lump sum upfront, such as pure insurance, surety bonds, and ACH authorization programs. Ultimately, tenant benefit packages create a more professional and responsive image for the property management company, which helps tenants feel valued and allows them to experience a smoother, more stress-free rental experience. What are the mistakes to avoid when offering tenant benefits packages? Property management companies should take care to avoid certain pitfalls when implementing tenant benefit packages to ensure they are providing true value to tenants as well as delivering profitability to the PM company itself. For instance, it's important to ensure that the services you're offering are actually relevant to your target renters. For example, young professionals might appreciate discounts on gym memberships, while families might prefer pet-sitting services. You should also take care to clearly communicate what's included and not included in the package to new residents. Don't oversell the benefits – focus on how they genuinely improve the living experience. It's also very important to set realistic expectations for response times on standard maintenance requests, emergency maintenance requests, or virtual concierge services. Likewise, be clear on all available payment methods, as well as rent due dates, late fee structures, and any associated payment processing fees. If your package includes services from third-party vendors, ensure that these vendors are reputable and reliable. Research their customer service record and responsiveness to ensure a smooth partnership and a positive experience for tenants. Above all, regularly monitor the usage of different benefits within your benefits package. This can help you refine your offerings and ensure you're not spending where spending is not required. Looking for a Resident Benefits Package? If you’re looking for a “plug and play” resident benefits package, Second Nature’s RBP is the way to go. Designed to be easy to implement and simple to use, all the services it includes are managed by Second Nature – which means there’s no day-to-day upkeep required from the property manager: Second Nature keeps it running. It’s a simple way to grow your business and create great experiences that residents will pay and stay for. Learn more about our fully-managed Resident Benefits Package.

Calendar icon April 2, 2024

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