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Triple Win Property Management Blog

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10 Strategies to Become a Successful Single-Family Property Management Business

Navigating the world of Single-Family Property Management requires a blend of industry know-how, proactive strategies, and a keen understanding of both investors and residents. What is a single-family property management business? At its core, the business revolves around managing standalone properties for individual property investors, ensuring the rental property is maintained, tenanted, and profitable. But how do you optimize for success in this space? In this post, we'll uncover 10 pivotal strategies to elevate your single-family property management business, from staying updated on industry trends to streamlining your operations for maximum efficiency. 1. Keep up with the trends in Single-Family Property Management The dynamic landscape of single-family property management is constantly innovating and growing in response to various economic, technological, and societal factors. Property managers in the single-family space (vs. multifamily properties or even commercial real estate) also tend to be entrepreneurial, innovative, and adaptive. It’s what we love about this community! But some "trends" have staying power, and the key to long-term success is identifying those and adapting your services to the modern consumer. Over the past decade or so, the way we do commerce and services has been upended by technology and the convenience economy. The same is true in property management. In the words of Jonathan Cook at Revolution Rental Management: “I think ten years ago, property managers were only concerned with collecting rent and keeping tenants from doing damage to properties. It was a much more adversarial relationship than it is today. Today, the best PMs know that resident experience is vital to minimizing vacancy and creating a resident that strives to be a higher quality tenant.” So, let’s look at several trends that have emerged that are shaping the industry’s direction. The Convenience Economy: Sometimes we call this "the Amazon effect." Consumers and residents alike are looking for the easy button. They're looking for everything from online rental listings they can scroll from their couch to online rent payment services that make paying as easy as the click of a button. Technological Advancements: Today, property managers are leveraging technology more than ever. From smart home systems that enhance resident experience to advanced, AI-driven property management software that streamlines operations, staying abreast with technological trends is crucial. The key to staying on top of these transformations is to ask the right questions. Pay attention to general business trends. What are consumers demanding? What is new in technology that you could adapt to your business strategy? Running a property management business is just that: a business endeavor. Keep your eyes sharp on trends in commerce and get involved in the conversation of how that affects good property management. (Check out our Triple Win Podcast for regular interviews, updates, and tips from experts in the SFR property management industry!) 2. Understand your ideal investors in single-family property management When diving into professional property management, just like any other business, it's essential to identify your ideal customer profile (ICP) early on. You will get so much further by "niche-ing down" than spreading your company too thin. What kind of property and client are you ideally set up for or prepared to work with? Once you define your target audience, you can then be ruthless in saying no to anyone who falls outside that definition. Here are a few ways to explore the various dimensions of property investor clients: Level of Experience: Property investors are not all created equal. Individuals get into property ownership for different reasons. You can see experiences ranging from an accidental landlord who never intended to be an investor all the way to a sophisticated or institutional investor, and every shade of the spectrum in between. It's very difficult to build a business that serves all customers across all levels of sophistication. They'll have different needs for how much education they need, how they want you to handle things, and how they want pricing to work. Property Types: You should also define what type of property you want to manage, which will help you assess if a new investor is a fit or not. We're assuming since you're reading this that you're interested in single-family rentals. But within that category, there is still so much variation. Are you looking to manage luxury homes with higher rent, lower demand, and longer vacancies? Are you more interested in workforce housing with more demand and lower rents? Or maybe you're a specialist in Section 8 housing. Whether Class A, B, or C housing, it's very hard to specialize in all property types. Sure, all SFR homes are unique, but it's key to identify the general characteristics of the homes you'd like to manage (or already excel in managing). Then, you and your team are dealing with more consistent situations. Compatibility Fit: You also need to make sure the investor as an investor fits with your approach. And we don't just mean personalities. Have a list of questions that help define what type of investor you can work with. In his podcast Owner Occupied, Peter Lohmann (co-founder & CEO of RL Property Management) talks to Marc Cunningham (President and Owner of Grace Property Management & Real Estate) about their lists, which include questions like: 1) Is the investor financially stable? 2) Is the investor emotionally stable? 3) Are they realistic in expectations? 4) Are they willing to trust us as the expert? Cunningham says his company can manage any property if the owner is right. Define what's important to you and stick to your guns. As Lohmann says in the podcast, "The easiest way to deal with a horrible owner client is to never onboard them in the first place." The goal is to filter out the people who are not a fit before you get into a contract with them. "When you're first starting out in this business, you chase everything," Cunningham says. "But as you grow and become successful, you need to slide that bar on your 'yes' and 'no' and start saying no." In short, nailing the definition of what type of investor and property you want to work with will help you find the right clients and ultimately succeed with them. You're not saying yes to every person who is looking for property management; you're looking for a specific type of customer. 3. Make sure your rental application requirements are clear Are you getting applicants who don't end up being a fit for your properties? It's possible the requirements are not clear on the listing or application. Is your advertising penetrating where it's going to reach qualified residents? Do potential applicants know what credit score they need, income requirements, and more? Of course, how you advertise and where varies widely by the market in your area. Some property managers say they would never use Craigslist, and others swear by it. Understand the market in your area and make it clear from your listings what is required to be accepted as a renter. You'll save everyone frustration with transparency and clarity. 4. Simplify rent collection and accounting processes You know the old saying, "Time is money.” It's particularly true in the rental property management game. Think about it: Every hour you spend chasing down a rent check or struggling with complex accounting software is an hour taken away from growing your business, networking, or improving other operational aspects. Simplifying your rent collection means introducing online payments, setting up auto-pay options, and even mobile payment methods. Modern residents love the ease of digital transactions. Making their lives easier often equates to faster, on-time payments and a heightened sense of trust. One way to simplify rent collection is to incentivize on-time rent payments. Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package does just that by offering credit reporting and rental rewards to ensure that residents receive value for paying on time. As the property manager, it’s work off your plate! It's also a good idea to standardize your rent collection and use tools to support your team. New tech services like Colleen.ai and EliseAI can fully automate your rent collection communications. As for accounting, streamlined property management software solutions can auto-generate reports, offer real-time financial insights, and make tax season a breeze. By embracing these upgrades, you’re not just benefiting internally by saving time and resources – you’re showing current and potential residents that you value efficiency and are in tune with modern conveniences. The result? Higher resident satisfaction, a more enticing pitch to potential property investors, and an overall smoother business operation poised for growth. 5. Prevent vacancies with effective resident communication and engagement activities Remember when you first fell in love with your favorite coffee shop or that little bookstore around the corner? It wasn't just about the coffee or the books—it was the overall experience, the atmosphere, and the feeling of being recognized and valued. The same principle applies to a residential property management company. Resident communication isn't just about sending rent reminders or maintenance updates. It's about cultivating a relationship. Providing resident benefits, gifts, support services, and timely communication go a long way to showing residents you care about their home. Engagement programs like loyalty rewards or recognizing special occasions can also be game-changers. Looking for more inspiration on resident retention? Dive deeper into our resident retention ideas article to explore various strategies that will help keep your properties filled and your community thriving. 6. Automate single-family property management workflows Ever find yourself drowning in spreadsheets, buried under a to-do list a mile long, or juggling multiple software platforms? Surely we all have! The solution? Breathe easier with automation. The beauty of running a full-service property management firm in the 2020s is that there's likely a tool or system for nearly every task in property management, from rent collection to resident communication. Our property management tech stack article is a treasure trove of tools and platforms designed specifically for property managers. By implementing these solutions, you can automate repetitive tasks, reduce human errors, and free up time to focus on more value-driven aspects of your business. Think about it: a streamlined application and screening process, automated rent reminders, and digital maintenance requests—all working like clockwork without your constant intervention. Beyond the tools themselves, consider the integration possibilities. When your property management company software talks seamlessly with your accounting system or marketing platform, the result is a cohesive and efficient workflow. Need more insights into the power of automation? Dive into our in-depth automation-related articles to discover how you can revolutionize your day-to-day operations. 7. Invest in regular rental inspections Investing in regular rental property inspections isn't just about ensuring your property is in good shape—it's also a strategic move to bolster the relationship with your residents and maintain the value of your client’s investment. Here's the deal: Consistent inspections offer a proactive approach to property maintenance. They can catch small maintenance issues before they balloon into costly repairs. Got a minor leak? Catch it early, and you're saving both money and potential damage to a resident's belongings. But it's not all about damage control. Regular check-ins also send a clear message to your residents: you care about their well-being and the condition of the property they call home. It's an opportunity to foster open communication, showing residents that their feedback is valued. Moreover, well-maintained properties tend to attract and retain quality residents. Those who know their property manager is on top of things will likely stay longer and treat the property with respect. Plus, when it's time to find a new resident, you've got a spotless track record of upkeep to show off. In short, consider inspections as a small investment now that can yield big returns in resident satisfaction, property value, and overall peace of mind. 8. Create a referral program to increase your portfolio Word of mouth? It's powerful. And in the property management game, it's gold. Imagine this: your current clients, satisfied with your stellar services, singing your praises to friends, family, and colleagues. Now, what if you could incentivize that process? Enter the referral program. Happy real estate investors are your best brand ambassadors. They've experienced firsthand the quality of your management, and their endorsement carries weight. So, why not reward them for bringing in new business? A referral program can do just that. Start by offering incentives. For your investor clients, perhaps it's a discounted management fee for a month. The point is to offer something tangible that'll get folks talking and referring. But there's more to it than just the direct business benefits. A referral program demonstrates that you value the relationships you've built. It tells your clients that their trust and loyalty don't go unnoticed. Lastly, an added bonus: with every successful referral, you not only grow your portfolio but also create a network of investors who are invested in your success. It's a win-win, driving growth for your business while strengthening the bond with your current clientele. 9. Find new investment properties and pitch them to your current clients You're already managing a portfolio of properties for your investors, ensuring they get solid returns and have few hassles. But here's the question: What if you could amplify those returns for them and simultaneously grow your business? Actively seeking out new investment properties is more than just scouting real estate; it's an art of opportunity. By identifying lucrative properties that align with your investors' strategies, you're essentially providing them with golden opportunities on a platter. And guess who they'll want managing these new assets? That's right, you. When you present these potential investments to your current clients, it accomplishes a few things. Firstly, it reinforces your role as a trusted partner in their financial journey, showing them that you're proactive and always on the lookout for ways to amplify their wealth and boost their cash flow. It's not just about maintaining what they have; it's about growing it. Secondly, every new property they acquire based on your pitch naturally expands your management portfolio. This approach helps scale your business, fostering client trust and loyalty along the way. Remember, in the property management world, being static isn't an option. By constantly seeking growth opportunities for your clients, you're also carving out a pathway for your own business's expansion. 10. Invest in marketing activities for short vacancy cycles Imagine a prime property in a stellar location, decked out with all the bells and whistles...sitting vacant. The eerie silence echoing in those empty halls isn't just the sound of missed opportunities – it's also the sound of revenue trickling away. Maybe that was a little dramatic. But the real estate game is as much about visibility and appeal as it is about bricks and mortar. The quicker you can get a property off the market and into the hands of a reliable resident, the better for everyone involved. This is where strategic marketing steps in. Investing in a robust property management marketing strategy does more than just showcase a property; it strategically positions it in front of the right eyes. With targeted campaigns, engaging visuals, and compelling copy, you can ensure your property doesn’t get lost in the sea of listings. Use social media, virtual tours, and local advertising to create a buzz. Moreover, effective marketing helps paint a lifestyle. When potential residents can visualize themselves in a space, they're more likely to take the leap. By consistently shortening vacancy cycles through effective marketing, you not only ensure a steady revenue stream but also enhance your reputation as a go-to property manager who gets results. In essence, marketing isn't an expense; it's a pivotal investment. It's the bridge that connects empty properties with eager residents, ensuring your business always stays on the move. Increase revenue from your SFR property management business with Second Nature Optimizing your single-family property management business is not a one-size-fits-all solution. From engaging with the right investors to fine-tuning marketing endeavors, the path to success is paved with multifaceted, dynamic approaches. But the key to it all is creating a better experience: for residents, investors, and your property management team. That’s why, at Second Nature, we’ve built a Resident Benefits Package that supports SFR property management businesses. Each benefit is designed to meet resident needs and investor priorities while taking work off your team’s plate. In the dynamic world of SFR property management, adaptability and efficiency are kings. With Second Nature by your side, you’re not just keeping pace with the industry; you’re setting the benchmark. So, as you work towards crafting a business that stands tall and resonates in the market, remember: Your success is our second nature.

Calendar icon October 31, 2023

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2023 NARPM National #SecondNatureVIP Recap

#SecondNatureVIP returned this October for the 35th NARPM National in Atlanta, Georgia. This is one of our favorite weeks of the year, when we get to give back and show our appreciation for property managers who are chronically underappreciated. Check out some highlights below! 👑 355 Second Nature VIPs Second Nature welcomed over 350 property managers, nearly half the conference, as Second Nature VIPs. The VIP Shuttle got these PMs to the hotel in luxury, with no need to call a rideshare app or wait around. VIP Shuttle saved property managers approximately $9,500 in Ubers and 14 miles of walking with luggage. 💟 59 Second Nature attendees Second Nature sent 59 purple suit-wearing experience creators to Atlanta to man the VIP shuttle, the VIP check-in, meet with property managers, set up and help run the Second Nature party, and ensure that VIPs had an unforgettable experience. 🛍️Swag bags! VIPs each received a swag bag featuring Cards Against Property Managers, our take on Cards Against Humanity specifically for PMs, Department of Chaos Control hats, a personalized bracelet, and much more! 🚁 32 helicopter rides, 1 incredible party, and $3,496 raised for charity VIPs showed off their creativity at the Second Nature party, where costumes were encouraged. We met the Tinman, Barbie and Ken, the PowerPuff Girls, several other Barbies, and more! The party also featured a raffle that raised almost $3,500 for charity, and winners received a helicopter ride over downtown Atlanta. 32 rides in all were taken. 🏆 Sixth consecutive NARPM Affiliate of The Year! Second Nature was named NARPM Affiliate of The Year for the sixth consecutive year. We're incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award, and while we're grateful, what we really hope to accomplish is to be your personal vendor of the year through outstanding service and value creation! Check out the full highlight video! Energized from NARPM National and looking for more educational opportunities? Check out Triple Win Leadership Xchange!

Calendar icon October 25, 2023

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Announcement: On-Demand Pest Control Added to RBP

Your resident benefits package from Second Nature just got stronger. We’re excited to announce the addition of On-Demand Pest Control, a convenient service for residents courtesy of our brand-new partnership with Pest Share. What is On-Demand Pest Control? On-Demand Pest Control is a service made available to residents through their RBP that allows them to request pest control services when needed, allowing for quick response and convenient timing instead of routine sprays. Treatment and coordination costs are included for all covered claims, so you can rest assured that you're getting the best possible service. How Does On-Demand Pest Control Work? The process is simple and easy, and is managed for you by Second Nature. Residents submit a request for pest control services through pest.residentforms.com and Pest Share assigns a service provider that will communicate directly with the resident in order to schedule service time. How Much Does On-Demand Pest Control Cost? As mentioned, the cost for these services are built directly into the RBP, so there is no bill for you or the resident. It’s simple, easy, and on-demand for the resident, and it’s a useful service you can provide them without adding admin hours. It also helps protect the assets of the investor, as residents are more likely to request pest control services when they aren’t concerned about footing a bill. It’s a triple win. Residents don't have to worry about the lease saying who is responsible for pest control, it's already built-in for them. It's an easy button. - Brian Phelt, Forefront Property Management What Pests Are Covered? Pests that are often a resident's responsibility that PMs offer on-demand coverage for include bed bugs, fleas, ticks, mites, and cockroaches. Coverage can extend to other pests as well, and Pest Share offers different packaged coverages with certain packages that allow for customization to account for regional differences in common infestation problems. What about pests that aren’t covered? Pests that are not covered under the on-demand pest control service within the RBP can still be requested by the resident through the same process. The only difference is that the resident will be responsible for payment to the service provider themselves. Ready to add on-demand pest control to your resident benefits package? Get a demo today!

Calendar icon October 11, 2023

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8 Best Property Management Podcasts

As incredibly busy single-family and multifamily property managers, staying informed on the latest industry trends and resources on top of your ever-increasing list of to-dos can feel near impossible. But thankfully, there is now a wealth of excellent industry podcasts to do the hard work of staying up to date. All you have to do is tune in. Property management industry podcasts make it extra easy for you to gain insight, advice, and practical tips while commuting, cooking dinner, or working out. By listening to industry thought leaders and experts, you'll learn new ideas and perspectives on improving your strategies and ultimately growing your business. We've combed through all of the property management podcasts to find you the eight best ones. And we've made sure they meet the following criteria: The podcast's relevancy to your role as a single-family property manager – With so much information tailored to multi-use property managers, it can be hard to find industry insight into your particular challenges and industry issues. The caliber of the hosts and their guests – we looked for those run by reputable sources endorsed by trusted associations, organizations, and professionals in the property management business. Content quality and diversity of topics – We wanted to see that the podcast covered a wide spread of topics—from real estate investing to leasing challenges to tips like building your cash flow—and provided a well-rounded perspective on the industry. Actionable insights – We looked for podcasts that provided practical tips, strategies, and advice you can readily implement in your day-to-day work as a property manager. Length and accessibility – We all know how tiring it can be for a podcast to drone on and on. We looked for ones that were under an hour and were accessible, engaging, and even entertaining. 1. Triple Win Podcast The Triple Win Podcast is hyper-focused on the needs and challenges of single-family property managers. With each topic it addresses, The Triple Win Podcast looks at how property managers can create and monetize value for their company while also building strong working relationships. Its core focus is finding solutions that are a win-win-win for everyone involved—residents, real estate investors, and property managers alike. The Second Nature team hosts the podcast and invites experts across the industry to discuss topics such as using Practical AI for property management, turning customers into superfans, and tips for revenue building, annual goal planning, and more. The Triple Win Podcast is released twice a month and can be listened to here. 2. Owner Occupied with Peter Lohmann Owner Occupied is an interview-style podcast. Each week, Peter Lohmann invites experts from across the industry to discuss the business side of property management. Lohmann covers super granular topics (like competing with the 3% management fee) and ones that look at the big picture (like how to know which opportunities to pursue and which to let go). Lohmann interviews experts such as Michael Girdley of the Complete HoldCo Course, Todd Ortscheid of Always There Repair, and Brandon Scholton of Key Renter Denver. The best part of this podcast is that Lohmann lists the time stamps in the description. So, if you don't have time to listen to the full interview, you can easily skip to the parts that most interest you. Find Owner Occupied on Spotify here and tune in weekly for valuable information and insightful interviews. 3. Property Management Business with Marc Cunningham Marc Cunningham of PM Build works tirelessly to help property managers build their people, profit, and processes. And he shares a wealth of industry tips in his podcast Property Management Business. Each episode is less than 30 minutes, making it incredibly accessible and easy to fit into your day. Marc brings an optimistic and grounded perspective to the industry, inspiring property managers to build strong working relationships with property owners, tenants, and realtors. He also encourages property managers to simplify maintenance and discover the industry's exciting future. Tune in for new episodes each month and be inspired to grow your business here. 4. The Profitable Property Management Podcast Do you love to hear success stories of non-stop go-getters? Well then, The Profitable Property Management Podcast is for you. The host, Jordan Muela, has worked in the industry for over ten years, started three businesses, hiked the Grand Canyon to raise money, launched two podcasts, and released the industry's first financial benchmarking study. And he brings all of that energy and expertise to his interview-style podcast. "This podcast is dedicated to the property manager entrepreneurs that refuse to settle in life and business," says Muela. And it's clear he's walked the talk. Tune in to his weekly podcasts on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen. He'll inspire you to find meaning at work, boost your profit margins, and stay resilient as you navigate the daily challenges of property management. 5. 300 to 3,000 300 to 3,000 is hosted by Matthew Whitaker and Spencer Sutton of Evernest. The episodes vary from 30 minutes to over an hour and a half, but because they are chock-full of tips for adding new properties to your portfolio, we decided to include it in our round-up. Evernest is a national property management company that grew out of necessity. When the 2008 economic crisis happened, Matthew Whitaker owned 30 investment properties he was desperate to sell but couldn't. Using all of their creativity and gumption, Matthew and Spencer launched their property management company. They have grown from the rockiest start to a thriving property management business that oversees 15,000+ properties across the U.S. Every week, Matthew and Spencer provide industry insight from an incredibly thoughtful perspective. They cover interpersonal dynamics (Episode 82: Trying to Build a Great Team? How Trust and Conflict are Essential), the emotional strain of property management (Episode 61: How to Find Clarity in the Middle of Painful Problems), and practical business tips (Episode 55: How to Grow Your Maintenance Department). Tune in here. 6. NARPM Radio The industry's most trusted association is the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). NARPM hosts conferences and trade shows, provides courses and webinars, advocates for policies that affect property managers, and offers ample networking opportunities for PMs. It's no surprise that their podcast is also an excellent resource. Twice a month, host Pete Neubig interviews different industry experts and provides invaluable insight into the various aspects of property management. Learn how to identify your business's core values, stay focused while growing your business, navigate property management taxes, and more. Connect with the organization on social media and catch the latest episodes here. 7. The Property Management Mastermind Show Like The Triple Win Podcast, The Property Management Mastermind Show focuses on single-family property management and is thus a valuable resource for those in that specific sector. Host Brad Larsen owns RentWerx, one of the fastest-growing property management companies in Texas. Brad brings his own hands-on experience to each episode and provides listeners with insight into the latest trends, best practices, tips for vendors, and more. Catch his weekly episodes here and take your property management strategies to the next level. 8. Property Management Brainstorm This podcast focuses primarily on maximizing your property value and raising your income while maintaining strong relationships with your tenants. Host Bob Preston brings his experience as a Silicon Valley technology executive to the property management space, guiding PMs on using the right technology and implementing effective operations to streamline and scale their businesses. Every week, Bob interviews other industry experts to help property managers think through business strategies and operations. Earlier this summer, Bob re-released our conversation on pest control in rental properties. It was such a delight to chat with Bob and I'm honored they have dubbed it one of their best episodes ever. Tune in to the full Property Management Brainstorm podcast here. Alright, there you have it—our eight favorite industry podcasts. We would love to hear which ones you enjoy the most and which ones you would add to the list. Happy listening!

Calendar icon October 10, 2023

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How to Calculate Tenant Turnover and Tips to Reduce It

Tenant turnover is the process that occurs when a current tenant vacates a rental property, and a new tenant moves in. It’s just the natural process of residents moving in and moving out. Sometimes, it’s a sign of a challenging property, but often, it’s just a natural part of the renting journey. While tenant turnover is a standard part of the rental business, the downside is that it often comes with associated costs and potential revenue loss due to vacancy periods. Tenant turnover costs can exceed thousands of dollars per month and hurt your cash flow. Understanding the ins and outs of tenant turnover meaning is essential for effective property management and profitability. It’s key to reduce the time of a turnover and to know the average tenant turnover rate in your area. Second Nature's Outlook: "Tenant turnover” is an industry term used from time to time. But we here at Second Nature are trying to evolve the word "tenant." We’ve seen the incredible work property managers do day in and day out to make renters feel like they’re so much more than just a tenant – they’re residents. Making renters feel like residents isn’t just philosophical, it also encourages them to invest in care for their home and add value to the property. This is why, at Second Nature, we prefer to call renters “residents.” Like you, we think of them as people first – making your property their home. How to Calculate Tenant Turnover Rate Getting the tenant turnover rate calculation correct is essential for property managers and landlords to understand their property's performance and the effectiveness of their management strategies. The good news? The math isn’t complicated! Go through these three simple steps in our tenant turnover formula to get your rate: Determine the number of move-outs in a year: First, identify the total number of tenants who moved out of your property during a specific period, usually a year. Identify your average number of total units: Calculate the average number of rental units you have available for that same period. For example, if you started the year with 10 units and ended with 12, your average would be 11 units for the year. Calculate the turnover rate: Divide the number of move-outs by the number of total units and multiply by 100 (to get a percentage). Tenant Turnover Rate = (Number of Move-outs) / (Number of Units) X 100 For instance, if you had three move-outs in a year and an average of 11 units, your tenant turnover rate would be: (3/11) X 100 = 27.27%. This means that 27.27% of your units experienced tenant turnover that year. Understanding this rate can help you set targets and measure the success of your retention initiatives. Understanding Tenant Turnover Costs Vacancies create disruption to your income stream and your investors' cash flow. The longer the vacancy, the more you're spending on marketing and management to find a new tenant. Here are four ways tenant turnover costs property managers. 1. Maintenance & Repair After a tenant leaves a property, you have to restore it to a marketable condition. Ideally the tenant leaves it in excellent condition. But you'll still likely need to pay for deep cleanings, some light repairs, and some updates like fresh paint, patching holes, etc. Additionally, as a property sits vacant, it will slowly deteriorate to some degree. The longer the vacancy, the more need for maintenance, upkeep, or repair. 2. Showings Whether you do in-person showings or virtual/remote showings, there is a cost to prepping and opening the property to prospective tenants. You may need team members on site, or to make time to set up virtual showings. 3. Marketing A vacant property is a property that needs to be filled. You may primarily use services like Craigslist or Zillow, which require time and cost within your own team to build and maintain listings. Or, you may also pay for ads to get more viewings. And, of course, in some cases you'll need to include real estate agent commissions in your budget. 4. Overhead The whole process of turning a property involves hands-on effort from yourself and your team (if you have one). The cost in time and team member's salaries can add up. How to Reduce Tenant Turnover We don’t have to tell you that high tenant turnover is a property manager's nightmare. It incurs significant costs, from marketing the property and screening new tenants to potential lost income during vacancies. Tenant turnover costs can add up to thousands for each unit each month. However, with the right strategies in place, reducing tenant turnover is more than achievable. Let’s explore these tenant retention strategies that not only enhance the resident’s living experience but also boost the value of your client-investor’s assets and your business’s reputation. 1. Offer Competitive Rent Prices Ensure your rent prices are in line with the local market. Overcharging can lead to tenants seeking more affordable options elsewhere. Fortunately, with the interconnectedness of the real estate market, and a proliferation of software and apps that help track it, property managers can easily stay on top of the latest market trends. 2. Foster a Strong Property Manager-Tenant Relationship Regular communication and a respectful attitude can go a long way. Make tenants feel valued and heard. Address their concerns promptly and maintain transparency in all interactions. Clear and consistent communication goes a long way to protect this relationship. A Resident Benefits Package is an excellent way to prioritize the PM-resident relationship. It shows them you really care about their lived experience and offers solutions to their most common pain points. 3. Address Maintenance Requests Promptly Swiftly responding to and resolving maintenance issues demonstrates that you care about the tenant's comfort and safety. Regular maintenance checks ensure small issues don't become major problems. When tenants see that the property is well cared for, they’re more likely to stay – and to take care of it themselves. Another important factor is offering on-demand pest control, not just preventive care. Residents will rest easy knowing that, should any issues arise, they know exactly who to turn to and that it will be dealt with promptly. 4. Update and Renovate Modernizing appliances or adding new amenities can make the property more attractive and encourage tenants to stay longer. Modern, functional amenities can be a significant draw. Periodically update or add amenities like a dishwasher, laundry units, or improved outdoor spaces to enhance the property's appeal. 5. Offer Lease Renewal Incentives Consider providing discounts or other benefits for those who renew their lease, making the option more enticing. A resident rewards program can accomplish this along with incentivizing on-time rent payments and extra TLC for the property. 6. Ensure Security One of the top priorities for any resident is feeling safe in their home. This extends beyond just locking doors; it involves well-lit outdoor areas, potentially installing security cameras, etc. But did you know that identity theft has actually surpassed home burglaries as a risk to renters in the past two years? That’s why our Resident Benefits Package includes identity protection and renter’s insurance. Insurance protects your property, and identity protection preserves the resident’s financial stability – and, therefore, their ability to continue making rent. By proactively ensuring that security measures and insurance are up-to-date and effective, property managers can instill trust and peace of mind in their tenants, encouraging them to stay longer. And by providing identity protection, you can ensure that payments are safe, too. 7. Conduct Regular Inspections Routine inspections aren't just about ensuring that tenants are treating the property well; they're also an opportunity to identify and address minor issues before they escalate. By regularly checking in and maintaining open communication, property managers demonstrate commitment to the property's upkeep and the tenant's well-being. These inspections also give residents the confidence that they're in a proactive environment. They know you’re looking out for them and likely won’t feel the need to look for alternatives that might be less proactive. 8. Implement a Rewards System Resident rewards are an integral part of an RBP for good reason. Recognizing and rewarding responsible behavior can play a significant role in fostering loyalty among residents. By introducing a rewards system, property managers can incentivize timely rent payments, property care, and long-term leases. Whether it's a discount on a month's rent, a gift card to a local establishment, or points that can be redeemed for various perks, rewards make tenants feel appreciated. Over time, this builds a positive relationship, encouraging them to renew their leases and view their rental as more than just a temporary dwelling. 9. Vet Tenants Thoroughly One of the best proactive steps in ensuring long-term tenancy is by meticulously vetting potential tenants. The process of screening new tenants, with background checks, evaluates a tenant's rental history, financial stability, and overall fit for the property. By identifying individuals with a history of timely payments, respect for previous rental properties, and stable employment, property managers increase the likelihood of having residents who will care for the property, abide by lease terms, and remain for extended periods. This approach not only minimizes potential conflicts and evictions but also fosters trustworthy and transparent relationships with your residents. 10. Seek Feedback and Act on It Actively seeking feedback from tenants provides invaluable insights into areas of improvement and showcases a genuine commitment to enhancing their living experience. Whether it's through regular surveys, suggestion boxes, or casual conversations, understanding tenant concerns and promptly addressing them helps build trust and rapport. When residents see that their opinions matter and lead to tangible changes, they feel valued and heard. This proactive communication strengthens your relationship and often encourages longer stays as residents recognize the effort made to optimize their living environment. Tenant Turnover Checklist for Property Managers Here’s a checklist template for managing tenant turnover at your properties. 1. Pre-notice Period Review lease expiry dates. Initiate renewal conversations with tenants. Survey tenants on reasons for move-out if they choose not to renew. 2. Once Notice is Given Provide move-out instructions to tenants. Schedule a pre-move-out inspection. Inform maintenance team of upcoming vacancy. 3. Inspection and Repairs Conduct thorough move-out inspection. Document and photograph any damages beyond normal wear and tear. Get estimates and schedule repairs and upgrades. Clean or replace carpets if necessary. Paint walls where required. 4. Marketing the Property Update online listings with current photos and features. Set competitive rent based on market research. Host open houses or private viewings. 5. Tenant Application and Screening Collect applications from prospective tenants. Conduct thorough background and credit checks. Check references from previous landlords. 6. New Tenant Onboarding Prepare and sign a new lease agreement. Offer a welcome packet, gift, and orientation for new tenants. Hand over keys and ensure they understand property rules. 7. Post-move-in Seek feedback on the move-in process. Provide information on reward programs or other incentives. Remind new tenants of maintenance request procedures. 8. Financial Matters Finalize any previous tenant's security deposit returns, accounting for any deductions. Set up new rent collection methods with the incoming tenant. 9. Continuous Improvement Analyze reasons for turnovers. Update property features based on tenant feedback. Consider conducting a yearly review to address potential concerns before they lead to turnover. Print or save this checklist to ensure a smooth tenant turnover process and mitigate potential challenges. By following these steps, property managers can streamline the transition period and maintain a high standard of service for all residents.

Calendar icon October 10, 2023

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What is Tenant Retention and 15 Ways to Improve it

What is tenant retention? Tenant retention refers to the ability of property owners or managers to keep their current tenants renewing their leases rather than having them move out and needing to find new renters. In the world of property management, retaining tenants is often more cost-effective and efficient than constantly finding new ones. This practice not only ensures a steady cash flow of rental income but also reduces expenses associated with vacancies, marketing, and new tenant screenings. To maximize tenant retention, you need a combination of value-driven services, proactive management, and strong tenant relationships. In this guide, we'll delve into 15 top tenant retention strategies. Second Nature's Outlook: "Tenant turnover” is an industry term used from time to time. But we here at Second Nature are trying to evolve the word "tenant." We’ve seen the incredible work property managers do day in and day out to make renters feel like they’re so much more than just a tenant – they’re residents. Making renters feel like residents isn’t just philosophical, it also encourages them to invest in care for their home and add value to the property. This is why, at Second Nature, we prefer to call renters “residents.” Like you, we think of them as people first – making your property their home. 1. Offer a Resident Benefits Package It’s one of the biggest trends in property management for a reason! Offering a Resident Benefits Package (RBP) is a strategic move to elevate the overall resident experience. And nothing is more critical to tenant retention than their experience. An RBP typically bundles various services and amenities that cater to the modern tenant's needs and desires. This can range from convenience-driven offers like an air filter delivery service or move-in concierge to value-driven aspects like resident credit building and renters insurance programs. By incorporating such a package, property managers not only enhance the perceived value of living in their property but also position themselves as being attuned to the evolving demands of today's renters. That’s what makes an RBP such a significant differentiator in the competitive renter’s market, making tenants more likely to renew their leases and stay longer. 2. Address Maintenance Requests Promptly When it comes to rental experience, property maintenance is a top priority – and, unfortunately, often a top pain point. One of the chief concerns for tenants is how swiftly and efficiently their maintenance requests are addressed. Quick and effective responses to these requests demonstrate a property manager's commitment to the well-being and satisfaction of their tenants. Delays or negligence can lead to a feeling of being undervalued or overlooked, pushing renters to look for alternative accommodations where their concerns might be treated with greater urgency. Moreover, swift repairs prevent minor issues from escalating into major, costlier problems. In essence, by prioritizing and promptly attending to maintenance requests, property managers not only ensure the structural integrity and safety of their property but also build trust and rapport with their tenants, encouraging longer stays. 3. Incorporate a Renter’s Insurance Program Offering or even mandating a renter's insurance program is a proactive measure that benefits both property managers and tenants. This insurance covers tenants' personal belongings in cases of theft, fire, or other unexpected events, granting them peace of mind. For property managers and owners, it offers an extra layer of protection, as tenants are less likely to pursue claims against the property for personal loss. Additionally, when damages or accidents occur that aren't the property owner's responsibility, having an insurance policy ensures that costs are covered without disputes. For owners, it protects their property and protects them from financial losses. They can also often get lower premiums on their own insurance if they can prove their renters are covered with their own policies. Second Nature addresses this benefit by offering a renter’s insurance program as part of our RBP. 4. Focus on Security In today's evolving risk landscape – with digital threats, increasing weather risks, etc. – ensuring tenant safety should be a paramount concern for property managers. In turn, tenants are more likely to stay in a property where they feel safe and secure. By installing high-quality security systems, surveillance cameras, weather safety plans, or generators, and by regularly updating and maintaining these systems, property managers can provide an environment where residents feel their well-being is prioritized. It's not just about the physical infrastructure either. Identity theft has surpassed home burglary in the level of threat to renters. At Second Nature, we provide $1 million identity protection as part of our RBP. That ensures that residents feel safe – and that their financial stability is protected. That, of course, protects their ability to pay rent. A steadfast commitment to safety fosters trust and is a clear indication to tenants that their welfare is taken seriously, thus making them more inclined to renew their leases. 5. Offer Incentives We all like a nice incentive now and then! Incentives play a pivotal role in tenant retention, acting as a value proposition that goes beyond just the living space itself. For example: By incorporating a credit reporting program, property managers can incentivize on-time rent payments, helping tenants build a positive credit history in the process. This not only promotes financial responsibility but also offers a tangible benefit to the tenant. Lease renewal incentives, such as discounted rent for the first month of renewal or free amenity usage, further encourage tenants to stay longer. Incentives create win-win solutions where tenants feel they're receiving added value while the property manager and owners benefit through consistent occupancy. 6. Implement a Rewards System Building a robust tenant relationship goes beyond addressing their needs; it also involves rewarding their loyalty. Programs in other industries maximize this type of value – think of Starbucks Rewards or Delta SkyMiles. A Resident Rewards program is similarly a strategic approach to foster customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty. Unlike direct incentives, these rewards programs offer points or credits for consistent on-time payments, renewing leases, or even care for the property. Over time, these points can be redeemed for tangible benefits or perks like gift cards, discounts on amenities, or special privileges within the property. By providing a continuous system of recognition, property managers can cultivate a positive tenant culture, making residents feel appreciated and thereby more inclined to renew their leases. Such a system also nudges tenants to adopt behaviors beneficial to both them and the property management, leading to a harmonious rental ecosystem. 7. Conduct Regular Inspections Regular inspections are a cornerstone of proactive property management and are essential for maintaining tenant satisfaction. By periodically assessing the condition of a rental property, managers can identify and rectify potential issues before they escalate. Whether it's a minor leak or wear and tear, addressing them early on reduces long-term maintenance costs and demonstrates a commitment to providing tenants with a well-maintained living space. Furthermore, these inspections offer an opportunity for open communication with tenants, understanding their concerns, and building trust. While it's crucial to respect a tenant's privacy by giving proper notice and scheduling at convenient times, these inspections emphasize the property manager's dedication to preserving the property's value and ensuring resident comfort. 8. Update and Renovate In the competitive world of rental real estate, properties that remain stagnant quickly lose appeal. By making periodic updates and renovations, property managers can significantly enhance the rental's desirability and rental rates and keep it aligned with current housing trends. Whether it's a modern kitchen makeover, a bathroom upgrade, or simply a fresh coat of paint, these changes can breathe new life into a space. Not only do renovations increase property value, but they also communicate to tenants that their living experience is valued and considered. Tenants are more likely to renew their leases when they see active efforts being made to improve their living environment, ensuring they always feel they're getting the best value for their money. 9. Offer On-Demand Pest Control One of the fastest ways to sour a tenant's experience? Leaving them to deal with unwanted pests. It also might put you or the owner at risk of legal action, depending on the state. Whether it's ants in the summer or mice in the winter, pest issues can quickly escalate if not addressed immediately. By offering on-demand pest control as part of the tenant package, property managers demonstrate a proactive approach to potential issues and ensure that tenants feel their well-being is a top priority. This service minimizes the likelihood of recurring pest problems and showcases a commitment to maintaining a clean and habitable environment. It’s also a better ROI than preventive sprays that don’t necessarily address real issues. On-demand services ensure that actual issues are addressed as soon as they pop up (or crawl out!). Tenants will appreciate the quick response and effort to ensure their comfort, further solidifying their decision to stay long-term. 10. Include Valuable Services like Filter Delivery Property managers know that it’s often the small touches that leave a lasting impression – and nip bigger problems in the bud. One such valuable service is offering filter delivery. Regularly changing air filters not only ensures a healthier living environment by improving air quality but also boosts the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, saving significantly on energy bills. In fact, a study by the National Rental Home Council (NRHC) found that filter delivery could reduce costs by up to nearly 80%. By offering filter delivery, property managers remove a common chore from the tenant's list, demonstrating attention to detail and a commitment to their comfort. This proactive approach to maintenance, coupled with the convenience of direct-to-door delivery, can enhance the overall resident experience, making them more inclined to extend their lease. 11. Offer a Move-in Concierge The moving process can be one of the most stressful experiences for new tenants, filled with a myriad of tasks and uncertainties. In fact, most renters have already made their decision to renew or not within the first 30-60 days. By offering a Move-In Concierge service, property managers can significantly ease this transition. This service assists new residents with tasks like utility setups, mail forwarding, local service recommendations, and even scheduling movers or rental equipment. Beyond just the practical help, a Move-In Concierge communicates to the tenant that their comfort and smooth transition are a priority. This initial positive experience can set the tone for the entire duration of the lease, making tenants feel valued and well cared for from the outset. 12. Use Digital Solutions It’s just the reality of 2023 and beyond: Tenants expect digital convenience. Whether it's online rent payments, a tenant portal for logging maintenance requests, or virtual property tours, embracing digital solutions can greatly enhance the tenant experience. These platforms not only streamline administrative tasks, reducing the possibility of human error but also provide a more responsive and efficient service to residents. For younger generations especially, the ability to manage their tenancy online can be a significant deciding factor in choosing a rental property. Property managers who keep pace with technological advancements in the industry not only improve tenant retention but also position their properties as modern and forward-thinking. 13. Vet Tenants Thoroughly The process of tenant retention begins even before a lease is signed. By thoroughly vetting potential tenants, property managers can ensure they're selecting responsible individuals who are more likely to be great tenants – tenants who will respect the property, adhere to lease terms, and foster a positive community environment. This involves conducting comprehensive background checks, verifying employment and income, and checking references from previous landlords. By choosing good tenants who have a track record of timely payments and good behavior, you set the stage for a longer, more harmonious rental relationship. It's an investment in time upfront that can save countless hours and resources in the long run. 14. Seek Feedback and Act on it Among the best tenant retention tips: Tenant feedback is an invaluable tool for understanding what you're doing right and where there might be room for improvement. Actively seeking out tenant opinions through surveys, feedback forms, or simply open-door policies can shed light on aspects of property management that might otherwise go unnoticed. Of course, collecting feedback isn't enough on its own; the crucial step is to genuinely act upon the insights gathered. Whether it's a minor repair, upgrades, or better communication methods, implementing changes based on tenant feedback not only improves the living experience but also shows residents that their voices matter, fostering trust and encouraging longer tenancies. 15. Foster a Strong Property Manager-Tenant Relationship The foundation of tenant retention often rests on the relationship built between the property manager and the tenant. This bond goes beyond mere transactions and lease renewals. It's about understanding, respect, and open communication. By being approachable, responsive, and genuinely caring about tenants' well-being and comfort, property managers can foster a sense of community and belonging. Regular check-ins, prompt responses to concerns, birthday or anniversary gifts, and occasional gestures of appreciation can make tenants feel valued. A strong relationship not only reduces the chances of tenants seeking a new place but also encourages positive word-of-mouth recommendations, benefiting the property's reputation and bottom line. Tips for Successful Tenant Retention Program At the heart of tenant retention is a simple yet profound realization: tenants, much like any consumers, are looking for value, ease, and assurance in their choices. When it comes to exploring the topic of tenant retention meaning, for us, it’s all about the resident experience. The key question for tenant retention is simply: “How do we create an experience so good that residents never want to leave?” Answering this question helps property managers identify exactly what residents are willing to pay for and stay for. Here are a few tips for approaching the resident experience. Get a much more in-depth look at it through our 2023 State of Resident Experience Report. Focus on convenience: Today's residents value convenience more than ever. Be it quick maintenance solutions, easy-to-access amenities, or streamlined communication, the easier you make life for your tenants, the more likely they are to stay. A resident benefits package or on-demand services are ways to weave in this convenience. Embrace digital transformation: The digital age has transformed tenant expectations. Online rent payments, digital lease signings, AI-powered helpdesks, and smart home integrations are just a few avenues where digitalization can significantly enhance the resident experience. Aim for the Triple Win: True success in tenant retention is realized when all parties involved – the residents, property managers, and owners – feel they're gaining value. Implement strategies where each party stands to benefit, ensuring harmonious, long-lasting relationships. By grounding your tenant retention program in these principles, you not only meet resident expectations but often surpass them. How Second Nature Helps with Tenant Retention Navigating the world of tenant retention can be intricate, but Second Nature simplifies the journey. Our comprehensive Resident Benefits Package (RBP) is meticulously designed to cater to modern tenant needs, offering unparalleled convenience and value. By focusing on strategies that drive resident satisfaction, Second Nature ensures both property managers and owners achieve higher tenant retention rates. Embrace the RBP, and witness the transformative impact it brings to your property management endeavors.

Calendar icon October 10, 2023

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How Resident Benefits Packages Benefit Owners and Investors

In today's competitive property market, ensuring a standout resident experience isn't just a nicety—it's a necessity. Enter the Resident Benefits Package, an innovative tool embraced by savvy property management companies to elevate the living experience for residents. But the advantages aren't limited to just happy residents. For property owners and investors, these packages can translate into tangible, profitable outcomes. From reducing overall costs to bolstering a property's reputation and value on the market, the strategic deployment of a Resident Benefits Package can directly contribute to a stronger return on investment for owners. In this article, we'll delve into the top ways that a Resident Benefits Program not only benefits residents but also significantly boosts the bottom line for property owners. Why Focusing on Resident Experience is the Key to Success At Second Nature, we’ve seen that when residents win, investors also win. Here’s why: Resident retention is key to winning in real estate investing. And the cost of resident turnover is increasing. In rental management, expenses are up, and the cost of turning a property has almost doubled in four years. Hard materials and labor costs have gone up precipitously. With rent also increasing, it means greater lost revenue while a home sits vacant. At the same time, the market from the owner’s side is getting more competitive. The pandemic days of properties getting snapped up within hours are no longer. The demand has cooled, and it's taking longer to fill properties, and it’s more expensive with each turnover. What does all this mean? Resident retention is increasingly important. Studies continue to show that resident retention and lease renewal is influenced by renter satisfaction. But creating an excellent resident experience is HARD. There are hundreds of experience-critical moments happening over the course of a long-term customer journey, and each of them poses its own unique challenges and opportunities. That’s where the Resident Benefits Package comes in. An RBP is a collection of innovative solutions to some of the most persistent problems in resident experience. A Resident Benefits Package is an answer to the question: How do we make an experience so good that residents never want to leave? By packaging solutions that improve resident satisfaction, the RBP also drives results for investors. The Second Nature RBP includes the following services: Filter Delivery Service Identity Protection Resident Credit Building Renters Insurance Resident Rewards Move-in Concierge On-Demand Pest Control Let’s dive into how each of these services leads to better outcomes for property owners. The Value of a Resident Benefits Package for Property Owners While the Resident Benefits Package is a resident-facing product, the benefits extend beyond residents to generate value for property managers and property owners, too. It’s a Triple Win. Here are six of the top benefits to owners of implementing an RBP. 1. Drives Resident Retention A Resident Benefits Package (RBP) isn’t just a set of perks—it's a holistic approach to improving the living experience of residents, ensuring they stay longer in your property. By focusing on resident experience, property managers can earn better returns on investment for their investor clients – because of resident retention. Here's how each feature of your RBP impacts retention: Air Filter Delivery Service: The National Rental Home Council (NRHC) found that a filter delivery subscription reduced HVAC-related work orders by 38%. Reducing 38% of no-air calls in hot summers and cold winters means reducing 38% of negative experiences that could make residents want to move. Also, average savings of $177 per year on energy bills alone more than pays for the program cost. Clean air being as easy as opening the front door helps residents breathe easy and stay healthy. Happier, healthier residents make for healthy investments, too. Resident Identity Protection: Identity theft actually passed home burglary in 2021 and continues to rise. In an age where identity theft is a pressing concern, offering residents an identity protection service is a critical way to keep them safe. Advanced AI technology actually monitors the dark web and helps prevent issues before they occur. A $1M policy and a team of restoration specialists are there to keep good residents protected from a bad situation turning into delinquency or even eviction. In short, it protects residents’ ability to pay rent and support a long-term lease. Resident Credit Building: This service actively helps residents improve their financial health. Our credit building program is shown to save residents hundreds to thousands per year on car payments and credit cards. Plus, renewing residents can get back reporting up to 24 months at no extra cost, which puts even more incentive on renewing. Renters Insurance Program: OK, so there’s insurance, then there’s triple win-surance. Our purpose-built master policy covers property damage and legal liability but also coverage for residents' personal belongings. There are even unique coverages not often found in retail policies, like rental income loss in the event a covered peril leads to rent concession. And residents get the benefit of bulk pricing, saving a few dollars off the average premium. If residents want to get their own policy, our program monitors any 3rd party policies so there are no lapses in coverage. Closing that compliance gap means eliminating risk and exposure for you and your property. Resident Rewards Program: Second Nature’s rewards program incentivizes positive behavior like timely rent payments. Just by paying rent on time, residents avoid late fees and earn $150+ in gift cards and rewards points. Instead of feeling like rent is a drain, now they are building and earning. Move-In Concierge: Property managers know an important insight: Within the first 60 days of renting, barring a life event, many residents have already decided whether they will renew or not. That’s why move-in and the first few weeks are so critical to retention. By offering a move-in concierge service, you're easing this transition. This service can assist with utilities, internet, TV, and more, making the move smoother and setting a positive tone right from the start. On-Demand Pest Control: A comfortable living space is one free of pests. But preventive sprays are really a luxury, not an ROI. On-Demand Pest Control eliminates disruptive, big expenses – and brings fast, quality service to stop infestations at one-third the cost of preventive sprays. This high-value approach ensures responsibilities are transparent and accounted for so owners don’t get stuck with bills that shouldn’t be their responsibility. In essence, every feature of the RBP is carefully chosen to add value to the resident's experience. When residents perceive value, feel protected, and benefit financially, they're much more likely to renew their lease, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive RBP in property management. 2. Reduces Costs Yep, you heard us correctly! Integrating a resident benefits program is an effective way to reduce investor costs over the long run. For residents, the benefits of the RBP save them money over their alternatives. Here's how it works in terms of cost reduction: Lower turnover costs: With added benefits that cater to residents, turnovers become less frequent. The cost of finding new tenants – think advertising, showings, and screening – can quickly add up, not to mention potential lost revenue from vacant units. An RBP can keep existing residents happy and more likely to renew, thereby minimizing these costs. Maintenance savings: One of the most cost-saving pillars of the Second Nature RBP? Our Filter Delivery Service. The average cost of HVAC repairs has increased by nearly 50% year over year. Preventing emergency maintenance issues has never been more important. An HVAC filter delivery subscription can cut costs up to $300 per property per year and reduce HVAC maintenance requests by nearly 40%. Emergency expense savings: Services like on-demand pest control ensure residents get transparency and cover their lease responsibility, so owners don’t get stuck with a bill they aren’t supposed to. Reduced premiums: With a renters insurance program that ensures 100% compliance, many investors are able to get a discounted rate because there’s less risk of expenses falling on their policy. 3. Increases On-Time Payments On-time and early rent payments are critical to the overall success of your financial investment in property. A Resident Benefits Package is a tool to increase the resident behavior you want to see – starting with consistent, timely payments. For example, by implementing a rewards program for early or on-time rent payments, property managers tap into a powerful motivational tool. While late fees provide an important incentive, a carrot approach helps drive the best outcome for everyone. Everyone appreciates acknowledgment for their timely actions, and residents are no exception. The prospect of earning rewards serves as a tangible incentive for current residents to ensure each month’s rent is paid promptly. Rent day becomes rewards day. Of course, on-time rent payments don't just benefit property investors, they can also bolster the credit profiles of residents. With a credit building program built into an RBP, each punctual payment is reported to credit bureaus, allowing residents to progressively build or enhance their credit scores. Knowing that their timely payments contribute to their financial well-being provides residents with another compelling reason to always pay on schedule. The savings residents get on rewards, auto loans, credit card interest, etc., makes it easier for them to be able to afford rental payments – and increases – over time. Credit reporting protects both the residents and property owners. 4. Protects Your Assets Let’s jump into a story for a minute. A landlord we know onboarded a new resident last year and asked that resident to show proof of insurance before they moved in. All good to go, they signed the lease and moved in. The problem? The policy later lapsed. After that date, there was a house fire. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the home was a total loss. A triple-lose situation of the biggest proportions – for the resident, the property manager, and the property owner. Maybe you know people who have been through similar situations. Or maybe you have yourself. That’s why the Second Nature Benefits Package includes a renters insurance program that ensures 100% compliance. We specifically designed it to generate triple-win protection. The program includes a master policy that residents can opt into or requires them to carry their own insurance policy. 96.3% of Second Nature residents are enrolled in a master policy or the custom HO4 we offer in our program. 3.7% of residents bring their own approved policy. In addition, our renter’s insurance includes protections for the property owner, like Rental Income Loss protection. Another benefit is that you can generally get a discount on your own property insurance if this kind of program is in place. Wins all around. 5. Improves Financial Value Real estate is obviously an asset. But consider this, too: The asset to a rental property owner is your revenue from the property. Sure, real estate itself can appreciate, but you can also look at it a different way – your residents’ income and ability to pay rent is also an asset you want to protect. That’s where identity protection comes in. In 2021, cybersecurity threats passed home burglary in the level of risk it poses to Americans. In 2021, one in eight Americans were victims of identity fraud, equaling up to $52 billion in losses. Identity theft has a massive impact on people’s financial security and their ability to pay rent. Our $1 million identity protection, with proactive dark web monitoring, is there to protect your residents and keep you from having to penalize or even evict a resident who is affected at no fault of their own. Another bonus: Residents at your properties have peace of mind. 6. Increases ROI A Resident Benefits Package focuses on the most streamlined ways to get residents products and services that make leasing rewarding, effortless, and predictable. Bundling services together in a benefits package results in substantial cost and time savings compared to procuring each service individually. A bundled approach minimizes administrative burdens and streamlines processes, further reducing operational costs. The savings generated from this efficient approach can be passed on to the residents, thus boosting the property's value and, consequently, the investor's ROI. An example of this is on-demand pest control. Pest control is often buried in lease agreements and is unclear. Some agreements cover preventive sprays (which are expensive!), but less than 20% of issues are dealt with through those services. It’s a luxury cost that some people will want to pay for, but it’s certainly not an ROI proposition. An RBP with on-demand pest control, on the other hand, protects the investor for 50-70% lower cost. Residents get the kind of pest control they really need – on-demand – so when they have an actual issue, they can immediately file a claim. This prevents issues from escalating into bigger issues and infestations – situations where the cost too often falls on the investor. Costs are lower, residents are happier, and your properties and financials are safer. These services also manage compliance for you. Different states have different laws regarding who is responsible for pests, the resident or the investor. Pest control services through an RBP will ensure you are always in compliance. Why RBPs are Essential to Triple Win Rental Experiences A Resident Benefits Package isn't just a compilation of services – it's a holistic approach to property management services that replaces negative resident experiences with positive ones. For property investors, the advantages are clear: cost savings, increased retention, timely payments, protected assets, and an elevated return on investment. Beyond the numbers, it’s about cultivating a relationship where residents feel valued, supported, and eager to stay. As the landscape of property management evolves, those who prioritize resident experience are looking at long-term returns on those investments. A peek into the future: An innovative and parallel service that property managers can provide is an Investor Benefits Package (IBP)™️. The IBP should provide an investor experience platform™️ that unlocks scalable product and service customization, digitized onboarding, accounting policy automation, and more. Learn more at the link.

Calendar icon October 10, 2023

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Property management experts

20 Top Experts Weigh In On Optimizing the Resident Experience

In today's ever-evolving property management landscape, the focus on resident experience has taken center stage. It's not just about the bricks and mortar anymore; it's about building meaningful experiences, fostering connections, and ensuring residents truly feel at home. And have you heard? We published a comprehensive report on just that: The 2023 State of Resident Experience in Single-Family Property Management. The report includes in-depth studies and impact data on the most innovative strategies in property management right now. In the meantime, we’ve curated the top 25 insights about resident experience from 20 experts in the property management industry. These pros have been there, done that, and seen it all. We’ve been fortunate enough to chat with them on podcasts, document detailed interviews, and have in-depth conversations across the country. Whether you're curious about the rise of resident benefits packages, seeking inspiration on innovative revenue streams, or want to learn more about automation and AI, read on to hear directly from the experts – or go directly to our in-depth, downloadable report. Why Focusing on Resident Experience is a Strategic Goal Centering your property management strategy on resident experience isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a strategic imperative that drives success and sets industry leaders apart. Here’s how… ‍ “Property Managers who are on the cutting edge realize that by focusing on the resident experience, they will earn better returns on investment for their investor clients.” -Gregg Cohen, Co-Founder of JWB Real Estate Companies ‍ “Resident retention is a direct reflection of your customer experience. If people enjoy working with you, they'll stay. If they don't, they won't. We use resident retention as a key benchmark for measuring our customer service. In our market, we renew 72% of our leases annually. A standard PM benchmark historically is that about a 70% renewal rate for residents is a huge success.” -Melissa Gillispie, Director of Leasing & Property Management at JWB Real Estate ‍ “As the operator of a business, how can I get from something transactional to something transformative – so that people are getting something from me that they aren’t getting from most other businesses.” -Jordan Muela, CEO of LeadSimple ‍‍‍ “We’ve really started to notice that the better experience we can make with the tenants, the more they want to come to us as opposed to our competitors. It's all about the experience. Think about Starbucks. It’s essentially the same cup of coffee as McDonald's. But it's the experience that Starbucks gives you. So we’ve held onto this idea that we want to provide the experience that residents gravitate to.” -Chenoa Stark, Property Manager at American Leasing and Management ‍ “When you're giving that great experience to your residents, you're also giving that great experience to your owners. They have less lost vacancy, they have more care and more respect given to their property, and that's going to protect their assets. That shift in the industry is already happening, and those that are able to make that pivot quickly are going to be able to level themselves up and really get ahead of the curve.” -Kelli Segretto, K Segretto Consulting ‍ “Happy residents stay longer, take better care of the home, and provide better long-term stability and return on investment for clients. They also spread the good word locally and refer more renters to you. And happy residents are usually nicer, leading to happier staff!” -Melissa Gillispie, Director of Leasing & Property Management at JWB Real Estate ‍‍ “When people come into my office and say this is the best experience I’ve ever had, I know we’ve done our job.” -Janet Sprissler, Broker/Owner, Rent 805 ‍‍ Changes in the Property Management Industry The evolution of the property management sector has been remarkable. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all solutions and impersonal transactions. Today, as these insightful quotes highlight, the industry is transforming to meet the increasing demand for personalized, consumer-centric experiences that elevate convenience and satisfaction. ‍ “[W]e’re seeing a huge culture shift in the housing space. How do we provide ease? The Uber or Grubhub mentality of We want it now: How can you do that in the real estate space as well?” -Phil Vera, CEO of Paragon Property Management ‍‍ “I think ten years ago, property managers were only concerned with collecting rent and keeping tenants from doing damage to properties. It was a much more adversarial relationship than it is today. Today, the best PMs know that resident experience is vital to minimizing vacancy and creating a resident that strives to be a higher quality tenant.” -Jonathan Cook, Community Manager at APM Help ‍ “The younger generations we’re dealing with in property management, they want experiences and simplicity, and they’re willing to pay to have things taken care of for them.” -Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives, PURE Property Management ‍‍ “What I'm seeing from our residents – whether they're paying $3,000 a month in rent or $1,000 a month in rent – the number one thing that they look for is ease and convenience. They don't want complicated instructions. They just want simple, they want right now. They want contact-free, they don't want to talk to people. So everything we do from showings to move-in to the experience after they move in is all revolved around design for that expectation.” -DD Lee, PURE Property Management Why More Property Managers are Choosing a Resident Benefits Package (RBP) Professional property managers are increasingly adopting the multifaceted advantages of the Resident Benefits Package. The quotes below highlight why this holistic approach is rapidly becoming the gold standard in property management – emphasizing the RBP’s value for both residents and property owners alike. ‍ “A resident benefits package – you hear people call it the easy button. That’s because it is essentially all of these different services and all of these different, valuable add-ons for your residents that are done for you.” -Kelli Segretto, K Segretto Consulting ‍‍ “As RBP services have evolved to include more products and services – like credit building, identity theft, etc. – they are providing value that affects everyday people. I’ve found that, beyond helping us to stand out in our industry, an RBP means we're actually doing something good for the people that we interact with. It's not just about beating our competition, it's that we're actually providing value that they can really use – services that actually help them for their long-term goals.” -Chenoa Stark, American Leasing and Management ‍ “A resident benefits package alone can result in a 10% bump to revenue per unit, which can result in that 100% increase to profit per unit. This profitability can result in more fuel to your freedom, more fuel to your mission, and realizing all the things you went into business for in the first place.” -Daniel Craig, CEO of ProfitCoach Implementing an RBP Adopting a Resident Benefits Package might seem daunting, but as the insights below will reveal, it’s not as difficult as you might think. ‍ “The fear (that residents or owners will push back against change) is normal. No one ever wants to say, ‘Hey, you need to pay more money.’ I was the same. But I slowly introduced things like filter delivery, renter's insurance, and ancillary services. What I found was astonishing – nobody pushed back! Out of 300 residents at the time when we first started introducing this, maybe two or three asked, ‘Why why do I need this?’ And we simply explained to them, ‘This is going to make your life easier, and it's not going to cost much more than if you went to the store, spent all that time in the car, and bought it yourself. Plus, you might forget.’ It just made sense to them. Now, we sign residents up as they move in.” -DD Lee, PURE Property Management ‍ “Be ultra-transparent and get it done in the beginning, just saying, we're not hiding anything. This is what you're being enrolled in. This is what it is. I think that helped the adoption rate a little bit. And if people did call in with questions, we were happy to answer them and talk to them about it.” -Kyle Hendricks, VP of Hendricks Property Management ‍‍ Automation & AI in Property Management Leading experts emphasize the pivotal role of automation and artificial intelligence in reshaping the property management industry. Professional property managers are embracing these technologies not just to stay competitive but to elevate the overall resident experience and streamline operations. AI in property management is a big trend to watch. ‍ “People who are against automation say, ‘I don’t like automation because I lose that relationship with my clients.’ I would flip that and say: If I can automate eight of the ten tasks that need to be done, that means I have more time to build the relationships.” -Pete Neubig, CEO of VPM Solutions ‍ “Automation is the great equalizer. It allows us to compete with nationwide companies and to provide not only the same level of service but to be able to pivot and adapt much quicker than those larger companies can. If you're a smaller company, AI and Automation Tech is that equalizer that's going to allow you to shine just as well as these larger companies.” -Wolfgang Croskey, Founder & President of How’s My Rental ‍‍ “One of the things I want my clients to think about is that our tech is not just for our benefit. This is not just to make our lives easier and our jobs easier. It's to really be able to reposition our time so that we're focused on value creation.” -Rhianna Campbell, Property Management Consultant, Proper Planning LLC ‍ Innovative Revenue Streams & Ancillary Income By offering value-added services that residents genuinely need, property managers not only boost their profitability but also create a win-win situation where both parties benefit from added convenience and value. ‍ “Prop tech companies are making the mechanics of property management easy – rent collection, maintenance, screening, the day-to-day mechanics of property management. Thirty years ago, that’s what a property manager did. Now, though, when it comes to things like benefits packages, pet guarantees, and rent guarantees with security deposit alternatives, we can offer much more value.” -Todd Ortscheid, CEO of Revolution Rental Management ‍ “There are so many of these things – when you look through all of the different revenue-generating ideas – that are just good across the board for everybody. [The Triple Win] is where you should focus your efforts when you’re trying to bring in the most revenue and do the most good.” -Todd Ortscheid, CEO of Revolution Rental Management ‍‍ “When considering a service like pest control, our approach is, 'How can we take this off the property manager’s plate?’ We aim to create ancillary revenue for them, take an annoying task off their list, and enhance the resident experience.” -Landon Cooley, Co-Founder & CEO at Pest Share ‍ “Security deposits and tenant screening are two fascinating areas of real estate that tech companies are attempting to disrupt. Traditional security deposits are starting to become passé in some jurisdictions.” -Peter Lohmann, Co-founder & CEO of RL Property Management ‍ “I think the type of initiatives that we're having success with are those things that provide an enhanced lifestyle for our tenants or residents. And that's all often driven via surveys and input from residents. So instead of us pretending that we know every potential amenity they would like, we’re actually reaching out to them and asking them what the value proposition would be from their perspective.” -Steve Pardon, CEO of JMAX Property Management ‍ Hiring for Single-Family Rental Property Management (vs. Multifamily) Looking to hire this year? Single-family rentals have their own unique set of challenges and nuances that set them apart from multifamily units. Here’s a great tip from Matthew Whitaker to close us out. ‍ “When you add multiple investors and then the logistics of single-family, it becomes a much more complicated business. If you’re going to pull from the multifamily industry, you’re going to have to make sure that you’re hiring some of the best and brightest from that industry because, again, dealing with 300 homes and 50 investors is way more complicated than a 300-unit apartment community all together with one investor.” -Matthew Whitaker, Founder & CEO at Evernest ‍ Ready to Learn More? Wrapping things up, it's clear: nailing the resident experience is the secret sauce to elevating property management services and driving value for residents, investors, and your property management company. If you want even deeper insights into driving resident retention and investor value, check out our State of Resident Experience Report. The report deep-dives with studies on the value and impact of innovative property management services and explores the changing shape of the property management industry.

Calendar icon October 10, 2023

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Why Pest Control Is Important for Property Management

Why is pest control so important? It all comes back to the resident experience! Pests are not only a nuisance; they can contaminate food, ruin residents' belongings, spread diseases, and make your rental property unlivable. In today’s article, we’ll delve deep into the world of pests, discussing their impact on your property and the lives of your residents. We'll explore practical strategies to control these unwelcome visitors and delve into the benefits of a preventive approach to pest management. We’re doing it with the help of commercial pest control expert Landon Cooley, the Co-Founder and CEO at Pest Share. Meet the Expert: Landon Cooley, Co-Founder & CEO at Pest Share Cooley is a fourth-generation pest-control business owner and owns and operates a pest-control business in Idaho. Pest Share is a unique service targeted at single-family property management companies that streamlines pest control and takes the day-to-day work off PMCs’ plates. Pest Share is a part of Second Nature’s fully managed Resident Benefits Package (RBP). Why preventive pest control is a good strategy The most important part of pest control? Prevention. There are so many reasons that a good preventive pest control program can pay off for your company, your investor, and your residents. It sets professional property managers apart from the crowd. Here are some of the top reasons why preventive pest control works. Cost-effective in the long tun Investing in a preventive pest control plan can save significant costs in the future. While there is an upfront cost, it's generally far less than the expense of handling large-scale infestations or property damage caused by pests. Prevents Major Infestations Pests have a way of multiplying exponentially. A preventative approach can nip potential critter nightmares in the bud. By treating small issues promptly, you prevent them from developing into major infestations that are difficult and costly to eradicate. Enhances Resident Satisfaction Preventive pest control contributes to a comfortable and healthy living environment. By keeping pests at bay, you increase resident satisfaction, which can lead to longer tenancy periods and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Preserves Property Value Pests can cause significant damage to the structure and aesthetics of your property. By keeping properties pest-free, you protect and preserve the value of the property. Property managers are, in the most foundational way, asset managers for their property owners. This is a critical way to protect those assets. Reduces Health Risks Many pests carry diseases that can pose health risks to your residents. A preventive approach to pest control helps maintain a healthier living environment by reducing these risks. It also protects you and your investor from liability associated with those health concerns. Maintains Reputation Effective pest control is a key aspect of property management, and a preventative approach helps maintain a good reputation. It shows prospective and current residents that you are proactive and dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable living environment. Again, prevention sets you apart from hobbyists and amateur property managers. How to monitor and control pests in your property? Regularly scheduled inspections are the best mechanism for effective pest monitoring. Ideally, qualified personnel should conduct quarterly or bi-annual checks. These inspections will focus on identifying potential entry points for common pests, and might include checking for cracks in the foundation, gaps around pipes and wires, and proper ventilation in crawl spaces. Maintaining open communication with residents is equally important. Encouraging residents to report any signs of pests, like droppings or unusual noises, allows for early intervention. Property managers should have a clear procedure for responding to such reports, ensuring a swift and effective resolution to prevent infestations from escalating. Of course, understanding the problem only gets us halfway (if even!) to solving it. As property managers, the responsibility of dealing with pest issues falls squarely on your team’s shoulders. Great property management companies employ a strategic approach to integrated pest management (IPM), minimizing the possibility of pests – and dealing with them immediately when there is an issue. Along with routine inspections, here are some of the top property management pest control trips we’ve culled from the industry. Immediate Action Taking immediate action at the first sign of a pest problem is crucial. Delays can allow the pest population to grow, making the issue more difficult and costly to handle. A quick response to reported issues shows your residents that their comfort and safety are a priority and can often prevent minor issues from escalating into serious infestations. Whether you call an exterminator or handle it in-house, a swift response is key. Tenant Education Educating tenants on proper food storage and waste disposal can drastically reduce the attractiveness of your property to pests. Regular communication about cleanliness and preventative measures empowers residents to contribute to a pest-free environment. Professional Pest Control Services Sometimes, professional intervention becomes necessary. Pest control services can effectively deal with large infestations, employing safe and targeted solutions. They can also provide expert advice on preventing future infestations. When hiring pest control companies, Cooley says, it’s important to understand what types of specializations they offer. “There are several different segments of the industry, and not all companies do everything,” he says. “Some do only residential insect control, or maybe rodent control. Some are very robust and specialize in all these areas. Every company is a little different.” Landscaping and Exterior Maintenance Maintaining the exterior of your properties is as crucial as looking after the interior. Regularly trim overgrown plants, manage water drainage effectively, and keep outdoor trash areas clean to deter pests. Seal Entry Points Prevent pests from entering by regularly checking for and sealing any potential entry points. This includes filling cracks, fixing broken screens, and covering crevices. Keeping your property in good repair helps make it less accessible to pests. Proper Waste Management Secure and timely waste disposal is key to pest prevention. Ensure that all trash bins are properly covered and regularly emptied to avoid attracting rodents, insects, and other pests. Each of these methods contributes to effective pest control, helping to create a comfortable, pest-free environment for your residents. Property management pest control concerns H3: Who is responsible for pest control? The responsibility for pest control can vary depending on the state and the specific situation. In many states, landlords are largely responsible for maintaining a habitable dwelling, which includes addressing existing pest infestations and taking preventative measures. However, some states place more responsibility on residents, especially if the infestation arises from unsanitary conditions within the unit or from tenant's actions that attract pests. Lease agreements often address pest control by outlining each party's obligations. It's important for both property managers and tenants to understand these clauses to avoid confusion or disputes. H3: What are the most problematic pests? In terms of structural damage, termites and rodents are high threats due to their ability to gnaw and burrow. Ticks are significant health risks as they can transmit diseases. For general nuisance and quality of life issues, cockroaches and bed bugs are common culprits. Ultimately, the most problematic pests will depend on the specific location, property type, and potential health risks. H3: Do I need preventive pest control? If the properties you're managing have historically had pest problems, or are situated in an area with frequent infestations, then proactive measures will certainly be beneficial. Regular inspections and preventative treatments can offer peace of mind and potentially save money by stopping infestations before they start. Even if you have not had issues, a purely reactive approach can end up costing you. H3: How can pests enter my property? Pests can enter properties in a surprising number of ways. Cracks in foundations, gaps around windows and doors, holes created by utility lines, and damaged vents are all potential entry points. Even seemingly small openings can be enough for some persistent pests like rodents and insects. Additionally, pests can hitchhike inside year-round on cardboard boxes, used furniture, or on pets. Why Pest Control Is Important When we talk about property management, pest control isn't just an afterthought—it's a crucial component of providing the peace of mind that comes with a safe and comfortable living environment. Dealing with these “visitors” is important beyond just the ick factor. “The pest control industry only serves 15% of US residents, and yet 86% of US residents have an experience of pest infestations every year,” Cooley says. “So there’s a big gap.” Let's delve into some of the key reasons why pest control is so important. Pests Contaminate Food Many pests, such as cockroaches, ants, and rodents, are notorious for finding their way into food supplies. They can carry harmful bacteria and other pathogens, contaminating food and cooking surfaces. Mouse droppings, for example, can spread disease, in addition to just being… gross. This can potentially lead to foodborne illnesses amongst residents, causing unnecessary discomfort and potential health issues. Pests Destroy Property Pests like termites and carpenter ants can cause costly damage to the property structure, eating away at wood and compromising the integrity of the building. Other pests may gnaw through electrical wiring or insulation, leading to costly repairs. By maintaining consistent pest control measures, you can prevent such destruction and safeguard your property, making it a more secure and stable environment for your residents. Pests Destroy Resident’s Belongings Some common pests, like carpet beetles or silverfish, may seem small and harmless, but they can wreak havoc on a resident's personal belongings. These pests can destroy everything from clothing and books to upholstered furniture, causing financial stress and discomfort to your residents. Pests Spread Diseases Pests are known carriers of a variety of diseases and can be a public health risk. Rodents can spread hantavirus and salmonella, mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus and Zika virus, ticks carry Lyme disease, and fleas are known to carry several diseases or allergic reactions, to name a few. Roaches carry any number of bacteria and diseases. Keeping these pests at bay is critical to maintaining the health and well-being of your residents. Pests Make It Difficult to Live Beyond physical health risks, pests can create an uncomfortable, even distressing, living environment. The presence of pests can lead to anxiety and sleep disturbances, negatively affecting residents' quality of life. Pests like fleas and bedbugs cause physical discomfort if not outright health problems, and many pests like mites spread or trigger allergens. In short, effective pest control is essential to maintain the integrity of your investors’ property assets, the health of your residents, and your reputation as a caring and responsible property manager. How Much Does Pest Control Cost? The last – and sometimes biggest – hurdle when it comes to pest control? Cost. General pest control methods can cost hundreds of dollars per service. Here’s an average breakdown for budgeting purposes: Cockroach/flea treatment: $350-$750 per service Bed bug treatment (heat): $1500+ per service Bed bug treatment (chemical): $1000+ per service Rodent trapping service: $250+ per service Quarterly general insect service: $40-$50 per month How can property managers find a cost-effective solution that drives value and comfort for their residents without breaking the bank? Throughout his years of experience, this is the question that Landon Cooley found was nagging the property managers he met. “We wondered: Can we take these specific pain points – bedbugs or cockroaches or fleas – and find a solution that we can build into our Resident Benefit Program?” A Pest Control Solution for Property Managers Cooley’s solution? He co-founded Pest Share, which is a new service in Second Nature’s fully managed Resident Benefits Package. The Pest Share model is a subscription model that works like a co-op: everyone pitches in, and the collected funds go to the more expensive parts of the plan without burdening any one client with too much cost. Property managers simply select the Pest Assurance plan from four tiers of service levels. They add that plan to their RBP or OBP and pay a flat rate for it, which they can also roll into their overall RBP ancillary fees. Their residents can then go directly to Pest Share on their mobile phones to get pest services for no cost. “What we’re offering is unique, on-demand, and very tech-forward. Pet Share gives quick access to service but allows us to offer cheaper price points for the same end result,” Cooley explains. “Our approach is, 'How can we take this off the property manager’s plate?’ We aim to create ancillary revenue for them, take an annoying task off their list, and enhance the resident experience.” The result? Pest Share has helped their property management clients increase their Benefit Package ROI by 75%. For Second Nature, including Pest Share’s model in our Resident Benefit Package – and upcoming Investor Benefit Package – was a no-brainer. Learn more about Pest Share by getting in touch, or read our latest study on the impact of our RBP on the resident experience.

Calendar icon October 10, 2023

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How to Optimize Your Tenant Move-in Checklist

We get a lot of questions here at Second Nature about the ideal tenant move-in checklist. After all, whether you're new to the realm of property management or a seasoned expert, one common goal unites us all: creating an excellent resident experience. The move-in process marks the beginning of your resident’s journey, and it's an opportunity to make a great first impression. A well-crafted resident move-in checklist can make this process smooth, efficient, and stress-free for all parties involved. In this article, we're talking to a leader in the single-family rental property management space to help us delve into the essentials of a resident move-in checklist, its benefits, and how it can enhance the overall resident move-in experience. Let's dive in and discover how a simple checklist can streamline your move-ins. Interested in reading more about resident experience management? Read our 2023 State of Resident Experience Report. Meet the Expert: Janet Sprissler, Broker/Owner, Rent 805 Janet Sprissler has over 20 years of experience in property management and a philosophy of working with residents to bring them value and help communities thrive while providing investors with a positive net operating income. She started her career in Los Angeles with 24 units and grew to a multi-family fixer for over 400-unit buildings throughout Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties. Janet left multifamily to consult with single-family residential managers to bring her problem-solving philosophy to life. Starting Rent 805 has been a lifelong dream of hers to bring investments, housing, and a positive impact in the property management community. Janet also received the 2023 Triple Win Property Management Award for Leadership in Resident Experience. What is a Tenant Move-In Checklist? A tenant move-in checklist is a detailed document that records the condition of a rental property at the time a resident moves in, serving as an essential tool to prevent potential disputes over property damage during the lease period. Some consider this a landlord-tenant agreement but can be between property managers and residents, as well. This checklist is a lifeline for both property managers and new residents. From the state of the kitchen appliances to the condition of the flooring, this checklist serves as a comprehensive record of the property's state. Other names for the checklist could include: Move-in move-out checklist Inspection checklist Tenant walkthrough checklist Rental inspection checklist Move-in inspection checklist Move-out inspection checklist Rental walkthrough checklist Think of it as a snapshot in time, providing a clear reference point for both parties. It's not just a piece of paper; it's a roadmap to a smooth tenancy for everyone involved. Now, that's a win-win! Note on Language: At Second Nature, we like to say “resident” rather than “tenant,” but will use the terms interchangeably since many property managers have official terminology around these checklists. Benefits of Using a Move-In Checklist Using a well-crafted checklist has far-reaching benefits for property owners, property managers, and property residents. We’re breaking down the benefits based on each of these perspectives. Benefits for Property Owners Protection of Property: A move-in checklist includes a detailed property inspection, protecting owners from damage disputes at the end of a lease. Compliance with Local Laws: Some jurisdictions require move-in checklists for legal protection. Maintenance Tracking: Early identification of maintenance issues can help property owners address them proactively. Benefits for Property Managers Streamlined Process: A move-in checklist provides a clear process, helping property managers to stay organized and ensure all essential tasks are completed. Improved Communication: A checklist sets clear expectations for the move-in process, promoting transparency and minimizing misunderstandings with residents for the lease agreement. Property Protection: By signing off on a detailed checklist, property managers ensure their good work is documented and any issues can be clearly identified as resident responsibility. This is critical when it comes to the security deposit if there is damage. Increased Efficiency: Using a checklist can speed up the move-in process, maintenance before move-in, etc., saving property managers valuable time. Benefits for Residents Clarity and Transparency: A checklist provides residents with clear expectations of what the move-in process involves and their responsibilities. You will have a document of pre-existing damage and know what repairs are needed, plus what’s just normal wear and tear. Peace of Mind: A detailed property inspection at move-in provides a record of the property's condition, protecting residents from unjust damage claims. It also helps them ensure any open issues are repaired. Smooth Transition: A well-organized move-in process can ease the stress of moving, enhancing the resident’s initial experience and ensuring they move into a space that’s ready for safe living. What should be on a Move-In Checklist? With those benefits, it’s clear that having a move-in checklist is critical for any property manager. Some states require property owners to provide new residents with a renter move-in checklist. So, what should you include? Is anything optional? While legally, you may have some leeway, Janet Sprissler says that if you want to truly focus on the best experience, nothing is optional. “Everything with us is a must,” Sprissler says. “That’s why it’s a checklist, you have to check everything off. I don’t have any nice-to-haves on my checklist because everyone is treated the same. We don’t do for one new resident what we won’t do for the other.” Here are the primary things that property managers include in a move-in checklist. Depending on your type of property, real estate investor preferences, and location, this list may change slightly. A comprehensive resident move-in checklist should include: Details of the Resident and Landlord/Property Manager: Full names, addresses, and contact information. Property Details: Full address of the property, the date of the inspection, and the move-in date. Room-by-Room Assessment: This is the bulk of the checklist. An evaluation of each room's condition, including walls, flooring, windows, countertops, faucets, doors, light fixtures, and any furniture or appliances. This should include specifics like paint condition, carpet stains, appliance functionality, etc. Note if anything needs repair, updates, etc. Include all rooms, such as: Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Bedroom(s), Bathroom(s), Laundry Room, etc.‍ Exterior Assessment: Notes on the condition of the property exterior, including yard, light fixtures, fencing, roof, gutters, and driveway. Note if anything needs repair, updates, etc.‍ Utilities: Information about the functionality of utilities such as electricity, water, gas, heating/cooling systems, and internet. You can also include information about a move-in concierge in a Resident Benefits Package through Second Nature.‍ Safety Features: Status of smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, locks, and any security systems. Note if anything needs repair, updates, etc.‍ Signatures: Both the resident and property manager should sign and date the document to confirm their agreement on the property’s initial condition.‍ Photographs: Include clear photos of each room and any existing damages to provide a visual record and clarify any potential disputes. Remember, this is a basic checklist, and depending on the property type and local landlord-tenant laws, there may be additional items to include. How to Optimize Resident Move-in Experience A checklist is the foundation of a wonderful move-in experience. But it’s just the starting point. How does a property management company set itself apart from others in the move-in experience? Here’s where we went to Janet Sprissler and others in our Triple Win Property Managers community for input. Use the Right Tools It’s easy to forget a step if you don’t have tools that help automate your process and keep your whole team on the same page. The most important thing? “You don’t forget a step!” Sprissler says. “Without a checklist, you’re pretty much setting yourself up to fail,” she continues. “You will drop things, things will be missed, they’ll move in, and there’s going to be a problem. When you set the tone that ‘this is going to be a hot mess,’ you’re setting yourself up to have disgruntled residents, and disgruntled residents never take care of the property well.” Sprissler especially recommends Monday.com for tracking the checklist and process with your internal team and tools like Tenant Turner to help on the resident side. They use zInspector to ensure they are on top of property inspections. “I’m not big on a bunch of papers around,” she says. “I want to see it all automated, I want any of my team members to be able to dive into Monday.com and see what’s missing or needed right away. That system runs so much, I’m a huge fan of it.” Treat all Residents with Equal Care Sprissler says focusing on making residents feel that “WOW!” is critical to their longevity and care for the property. At her company, they focus on seamless processes, transparent communication, and even gifts! The key is that every resident gets that same treatment. “New residents MUST have a move-in gift,” Sprissler says. “They must all get the procedures we’ve set ahead of time. They must receive their birthday gift, they must receive access to our First of the Month Club. We do a move-in concierge through Second Nature – they must have that touch point. We don’t ever say, ‘Hey, this is going to happen,’ and then it doesn’t happen.” Design the Ideal Move-in Process We asked Sprissler how they create an ideal resident experience throughout the move-in process, and this was her top recommendation. “We make it seamless. SEAM. LESS,” she said for emphasis! “On the move-in side, our new residents go through Tenant Turner to get onto the property with an access code. Move in and move out is on Tenant Turner. We make it very simple for them to get access to the property. We don’t play around with it.” “At every stage of the process, prospective and new residents have had conversations with us so that they’re set up, and they know what’s going to happen next.” For Sprissler, it’s about thoughtful touches that give residents a sense of a VIP experience. “For example, people get hungry!” Sprissler says. “We have pizzas delivered on a moving day. One of our move-in questions is ‘What’s your favorite pizza?’” Be Willing to Go Above and Beyond Added touches – like the pizza on move-in day – go a long way to establishing the best resident experience and behavior. “When tenants have those touches, it makes life better. It just does,” Sprissler says. They provide birthday gifts and move-in gifts and will add items for pets or children customized to those residents. “People often say, ‘How are you recouping that?’” Sprissler says. “I’m recouping that by having great units when I walk through the door. You cannot pay someone to take care of a unit. But if they feel the worth of themselves and how you feel about them, they take great care of the unit.” Provide a Move-In Concierge Second Nature includes a move-in concierge as part of the Resident Benefit Program. Sprissler says this is one of the best parts of a seamless move-in. “We use a move-in concierge through Second Nature,” Sprissler says. “People really like it when they’re being reached out to, and all of that is handled. Moving is one of the top five stressors people experience in life. You have to realize as a property manager that you have to take some of that pressure off them. Take it off their plate! Are you making a better experience by piling stuff up on them?” “When people come into my office and say this is the best experience I’ve ever had, I know we’ve done our job,” Sprissler says. Provide a Renter’s Insurance Program Making sure that residents have insurance coverage from day one is key. You never know when something could happen, and protecting residents is the foundation of a good experience. Second Nature’s RBP includes a renter’s insurance program that has 100% compliance across its use. Sprissler is one of the people who use this program, and she says it’s critical to have for her residents. Set Clear Expectations and Incorporate Incentive Fees Sprissler recommends requesting a tenant ledger so you have the clearest information about the resident before move-in. “You can see if they’ve been charged for maintenance requests, you can see what day they pay – it really is a black and white of how they treated that previous unit,” she says. And then, of course, that clarity should be reciprocated. Sprissler emphasizes transparency upfront and excellent follow-through. Be clear, but also show that you are willing to listen. “Say what you mean and mean what you say,” Sprissler says. “I have Rent 805 rules and regulations, and any delinquency is heavily fined. Those are behavioral fees. For example, my late fee is very high, but then it’s also part of my resident benefit package to forgo that one time during the life of the tenant being in the unit. It just sets expectations.” Ultimately? “If you use good software that does a good job of screening, these questions are all resolved for you.” Final Thoughts Remember, a move-in checklist is not just a document; it's a tool to enhance communication, establish expectations, and create a positive resident experience. Our top recommendation for ensuring a world-class resident experience is to build a resident benefits program. Second Nature has pioneered the only fully managed Resident Benefits Package for single-family property managers. Learn more about resident experience management in our State of Resident Experience Report, or explore the benefits of a Resident Benefits Package.

Calendar icon July 24, 2023

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9 Ways to Improve Your Resident Experience

Resident experience is the sum total of interactions and experiences a resident has with their property manager and the rental property itself – from the initial lease signing to the eventual move-out and all the day-to-day living moments in between. It encompasses everything from the quality of services provided, like timely maintenance and communication, to the overall livability and enjoyment of the property. In essence, it's how a resident perceives their rental journey in its entirety. Excellent resident experience management is the mark of a top-tier property management company. It boosts resident retention, satisfaction, and outcomes. In this article, we delve into nine actionable ways to enhance the resident experience in your single-family rental properties, fostering stronger relationships and, ultimately, achieving greater success in property management. Read the full report! If you haven’t already heard, we recently published our first-ever State of Resident Experience Report, which explores resident experience management: the pivotal touchpoints between a resident and a property manager. The report draws fresh insights from the SFR property management industry and explores the three top factors impacting resident experience right now. 1. A Seamless Move-In Experience Ah, the move-in process – the start of a beautiful friendship between the resident and the property manager. It's a bit like a first date – you're setting impressions that could make or break the relationship. A seamless move-in experience is your chance to roll out the red carpet for your new residents, showing them they've made the right choice (and have definitely swiped right on the best property around). And guess what? A resident who's had a great move-in experience is a happier one. Happier residents stay longer, pay on time, take care of the property, and make positive recommendations. Resident experience examples: How to build a perfect resident move-in experience Here's how to ensure your move-in experience hits all the right notes. Clear Communication: Provide detailed information about the new home and move-in process, including key collection, utility setup, and property rules. Who's handling utilities? Where's the best pizza joint nearby? Share all the important details. Welcome Packet: Roll out the resident red carpet with a welcome packet. Not only does it have all the must-know info, but it also says, "Hey, we're glad you're here." Include essential information such as garbage collection days, rules, important contact numbers, and a neighborhood guide. Property Readiness: Nothing dampens spirits like a flickering light on the first day. Ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned, all appliances are working, and any previous damages are repaired before the move-in date. Efficient Paperwork: Let's face it, nobody loves paperwork. Make it painless with easy online forms and digital sign-offs. Personal Touch: A little welcome gift can go a long way. It's like saying, "Welcome home, neighbor. We're going to rock this thing." Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package includes a Move-in Concierge to ensure the process is seamless and personal. 2. Responsive Communication In the symphony of successful property management, responsive communication is your melody. It's the backbone of a harmonious resident experience, and when done right, it can elevate your property management status from “forgettable” to “virtuoso.” The sooner you respond to your resident’s queries or concerns, the more they'll feel valued. And a valued resident is a happier resident. Remember, good communication isn’t just about speed—it’s about clarity too. It's like being a great tour guide in the bustling city of property management—clear, informative, and always ready to help. Ways to improve communication with your residents Let's explore some best practices: Multiple Channels: Embrace the digital age! Offer various communication channels like emails, text messages, phone calls, and even a resident portal. Variety is the spice of life, right? Be Proactive: Don’t wait for your residents to reach out with issues. Regularly check in and ask if they need anything. Set Expectations: Be clear about your communication protocols. Let your residents know when and how they can reach you and when they can expect a response. No one likes to be left on read! Listen Actively: When your residents speak, lend them your ears! Show understanding and work collaboratively towards solutions. It's a two-way street, after all. Be Respectful: Always communicate with respect and professionalism. Treat your residents the way you’d want to be treated – it’s the golden rule, even in property management! 3. Better Maintenance Services with Quick Response Times Think of maintenance services as the superheroes of the property management world. When done right, they swoop in to save the day, ensuring minor issues don't escalate into supervillain-sized problems. Quick response times? That's your superhero's super speed. The quicker the response, the happier your resident, and the safer the day. How to improve maintenance services and response times Here's how to get your property management cape (sorry) flapping in the wind: 24/7 Maintenance Line: Offer a dedicated line for maintenance requests. To belabor our superhero analogy, it’s like having a bat signal for your tenants – they know help is just a call away. Online Reporting: Make it easy for tenants to report issues. An online system can keep things organized and ensures no request gets lost in the shuffle. Prompt Follow-up: Act swiftly on maintenance requests. Even if you can't fix the issue immediately, acknowledging the request and providing a timeline can ease the resident's mind. Regular Inspections: Regular property inspections can help you catch potential issues before they become major headaches. It's all about that ounce of prevention! Trusted Vendors: Work with reliable and professional vendors who provide quality work in a timely manner. They're your sidekicks in maintaining property harmony. 4. Resident Surveys and Active Feedback Gathering Resident surveys and feedback gathering are your property's annual check-up, a key health indicator for your relationship with residents. These invaluable tools allow you to take the pulse of resident satisfaction, uncover hidden issues, and celebrate what's working well. When residents see their feedback being valued and acted upon, it creates a sense of involvement and community, enhancing their overall living experience and driving resident retention. Importantly, active feedback gathering shows your residents that their voices matter. It instills a sense of ownership and care that can often lead to better property care and longer tenancies. How to turn resident feedback into a better resident experience Here are some ways to champion feedback in your property management: Regular Surveys: Don't just wait for the annual survey. Keep the feedback coming in regularly, like a monthly check-in or a quick poll after a service call. It's like catching up over a virtual cup of coffee – relaxed and informative. Feedback Boxes: Consider setting up a digital feedback box where residents can drop their thoughts, ideas, or concerns anonymously. Think of it as your modern suggestion box. Act on Feedback: Here's the real deal – taking action. Show your residents that their feedback isn't just being heard, it's being actioned. 5. Resident Rewards Resident Rewards are a huge factor in resident retention and satisfaction. Rewards make residents feel appreciated and have proven to incentivize habits like on-time payments and better care for the property. Perks like this can significantly boost resident satisfaction, increase lease renewals, and even stimulate referrals. It's a win-win all around! For multifamily and apartment community managers, that might look like community-focused programs. For single-family property managers, we’ve got some other tips. Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package includes a robust resident rewards program. How to improve the resident experience with resident rewards Here's how you can sprinkle some rewarding magic into your resident experience: On-Time Rent Rewards: Create a system that rewards residents for consistently paying their rent on time. It could be a small discount or a gift card to a local coffee shop. Longevity Rewards: Celebrate lease renewals or long-term residents. A gift, a discount, or even a personalized note can make your residents feel valued for their loyalty. Referral Rewards: Turn your residents into ambassadors! Offer a discount or a bonus for any referral they make that signs a lease. Surprise Rewards: Keep the excitement alive with occasional surprise rewards. It could be as simple as a movie ticket or a voucher for a free car wash. 6. Incentive Programs Incentive programs are the next level of resident engagement that professional PMs offer. They can positively influence resident behavior, promote a sense of belonging, and even enhance your property's appeal to prospective residents. When residents feel that their good habits (like timely rent payments) are being recognized or they're being offered valuable services (like credit reporting or identity protection), it builds loyalty and satisfaction. It's like saying, "We're in this together, and we've got your back!" How incentive programs can boost the resident experience Here's how to serve up a great menu of incentives for your residents: Credit Reporting: Offer a program that reports timely rent payments to credit bureaus. It's a win-win: they pay their rent on time, and they build their credit! Identity Protection: In a world where digital safety is paramount, offering identity protection services can be a powerful incentive. It's like providing an invisible, protective bubble around your residents. Rent Discount for Referrals: Encourage residents to become your ambassadors. Offer a rent discount or a gift for successful referrals. It's like having your very own fan club. Early Payment Incentives: Reward residents who pay their rent well before the due date. It could be a small discount or a token gift, but it makes them feel appreciated. Rewards for Green Habits: Encourage residents to adopt environmentally friendly habits, like recycling or energy conservation, and offer incentives for their green efforts. This can really help in SFR when you don’t have the same level of control as PMs managing an apartment building. 7. Support Tools Support services work behind the scenes, often unnoticed, but they play a crucial role in streamlining the resident experience. From filter delivery subscriptions to online payments, these services add a layer of convenience and assurance for your residents. Integrating support services into your property management strategy can not only elevate resident satisfaction but also reduce your workload. It's like having a friendly assistant who's always ready to lend a hand, both to you and your residents. How to create support services that add convenience to your resident experience Here are a few ways you can amplify your resident experience through support services: Filter Delivery Subscription: Offering a filter delivery service for your residents ensures their HVAC system is always protected. It reduces your maintenance issues and costs and ensures they have a safe living environment. Second Nature’s filter delivery reduces resident and PM costs by hundreds of dollars a year. Online Rent Payment: Providing an easy-to-use online portal to process and automate rent payments and lease renewals adds a layer of convenience for you and your residents. Maintenance Request Portal: An online system for maintenance requests helps keep track of issues and ensures timely response. It's like having a 24/7 maintenance desk at their fingertips. Digital Notifications: Use email or SMS notifications to keep residents updated about important things like maintenance schedules, community events, or changes in property rules. Proptech solutions can help with digital support. Resident Portal: A comprehensive resident portal where tenants can access services, find information, and connect with management can significantly enhance the overall resident experience. 8. Concierge Services Concierge services are the above-and-beyond offerings that can truly set your property apart from the rest. This personalized attention can transform the often stressful processes into a smooth and enjoyable experience. How concierge services help with resident experience Here are some other examples of concierge services: Move-in Concierge: Who doesn’t want a personal assistant during the often chaotic time of moving? A move-in concierge helps with utility setup and pricing comparisons and provides local area information. Learn more about Second Nature’s Move-in Concierge in our Resident Benefits Package. Cleaning Services: Offering access to trusted cleaning services, whether for regular use or during the move-out process, can be a huge convenience. Maintenance Scheduling: A service to help residents schedule routine maintenance can keep their homes running smoothly without them having to worry about coordination. 9. Insurance While, as a property manager, you carry insurance for the physical property, it's equally important for your residents to have renter's insurance. Your coverage protects your owners' real estate investment. Renter’s insurance protects residents’ personal belongings and covers them for liability, and it's a small investment for significant protection. Plus, in case of a mishap, it can help the recovery process go much more smoothly. Resident experience examples: How to leverage a renter’s insurance program Here's how you can integrate insurance into your resident experience: Educate Residents: Make sure your residents understand the importance of renter's insurance, what it covers, and what it doesn't. This is critical information that every renter should know. Insurance Requirements in Lease: Include a clause about renter's insurance in your lease agreement. This helps to set the expectation right from the start. Annual Reminders: Send out annual reminders for policy renewals. It's a small step, but it ensures continuous protection for your residents. Renter’s Insurance Program: While most property managers require insurance, less than half of renters maintain coverage. Second Nature has developed a renter’s insurance program that has 100% compliance and leaves residents – and you – with the coverage they need. How SecondNature Improves Resident Experience Resident experience – those pivotal touchpoints between a resident and a property manager – can significantly shape the success of a single-family rental home. At Second Nature, we’ve built our entire company on the idea that resident experience can change the game in property management. Our Resident Benefits Package wraps up each of these strategies into an all-in-one resource for property management companies. It saves money for you and your residents and delivers the best in convenience and resident experience. Learn more about the Resident Benefits Package or read our State of Resident Experience Report.

Calendar icon July 18, 2023

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Why is Resident Experience Important?

Have you heard? We just published our first-ever State of Resident Experience Report! The report draws fresh insights from the SFR property management industry and explores the three top factors impacting resident experience right now. Download the report to see the results! In the meantime, today we’re getting started with a related topic: Why is resident experience so important? Resident Experience is the cumulative effect of all interactions and engagements between a resident and a property management company throughout their leasing lifecycle. It encompasses every touchpoint, from the initial viewing and leasing process all the way to maintenance services, communication, amenities, and lease renewal. In many ways, the resident experience is the heart of professional property management, encapsulating the quality of living provided beyond just a physical living space. In this article, we will: Explore the paramount importance of resident experience to property management Outline how it can directly impact factors like retention rates, profitability, and reputation Share insights from leaders in the single-family rental property management industry Buckle up as we delve into the power of stellar resident experience – and how it’s becoming a strategic imperative in the current real estate landscape. Here are 8 ways resident experience management can make a difference for residents, investors, and property management companies. 1. Improves Retention Rates Retention rates, or the ability to keep residents renewing their leases year after year, are a key metric of success for any property management operation. High retention rates mean stable revenue and reduced costs associated with vacancies, marketing for new residents, and turnover maintenance. But what fuels high retention rates? The answer is an exceptional resident experience. When residents feel heard and valued, they’re a lot more likely to renew their leases. This positive resident engagement is just as important in single-family rentals as it is in multifamily apartment communities, where it often gets more attention. In essence, the resident experience is your tool to turn the transient nature of renting into a long-term relationship. It's not just about providing a day-to-day place to live; it's about designing a product and service that residents will pay for and stay for. A truly positive resident experience can convert short-term leases into long-term homes, making it a strategic focus for effective property management. “I think ten years ago, property managers were only concerned with collecting rent and keeping tenants from doing damage to properties. It was a much more adversarial relationship than it is today. Today, the best PMs know that resident experience is vital to minimizing vacancy and creating a resident that strives to be a higher quality tenant.” - Jonathan Cook, Business Development Manager, Revolution Rental Management 2. Reduces Vacancy Costs One of the most substantial costs that property managers (and their investor clients) face is the cost of vacancy. Each day a property remains unoccupied equates to lost revenue. Not to mention the additional expenses associated with marketing the property, move-out costs, screening new residents, prepping the move-in process, and preparing the unit for occupancy again. When you add it all up, the costs can be quite significant. This is basically the flip side of the coin of “resident retention.” Good resident experience → Resident retention → Reduced vacancy costs. A positive resident experience can act as a powerful retention tool, encouraging residents to renew their leases and reducing the churn that leads to vacancies. “We’ve really started to notice that the better experience we can make with the tenants, the more they want to come to us as opposed to our competitors. It's all about experience. We’ve held onto this idea that we want to provide the experience that residents gravitate to.” - Chenoa Stark, Property Manager at American Leasing and Management After all, happy residents can become your advocates. They are likely to spread the word about their experience, drawing in potential new residents. By delivering an exceptional resident experience, you're offering them just that, making your property stand out in a crowded market. 3. Increases Profitability “Property Managers who are on the cutting edge realize that by focusing on the resident experience, they will earn better returns on investment for their company and their investor clients.” - Gregg Cohen, Co-Founder of JWB Real Estate Companies. A compelling resident experience is a secret weapon for driving profitability in property management. It's like a strategic chess move that not only strengthens your relationship with residents but also contributes to your bottom line in several key ways. Reduced Acquisition Costs: We’ve already discussed how, by keeping your current residents happy and renewing, acquisition and move-in costs are drastically reduced. Increased Ancillary Revenue Opportunities: A positive resident experience can open the door to various ancillary income opportunities with strategic pricing. Services like an RBP can boost your profitability while simultaneously improving the resident experience. Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Satisfied residents are your best brand ambassadors. They can spread positive word-of-mouth about your property, attracting new prospects and reducing marketing expenses. Operational Efficiency: Elements that enhance the resident experience, such as digital communication portals or automated maintenance requests, also lead to operational efficiencies. These improvements can streamline and automate processes, saving time and reducing costs. In essence, a robust resident experience strategy is not just about resident satisfaction; it's a profitability powerhouse. It allows property managers to attract and retain residents more cost-effectively, uncover new revenue opportunities, and operate more efficiently, all of which positively impact the bottom line. 4. Boosts Reputation In the age of online reviews and social media, reputation is everything, especially in the property management industry. A strong, positive reputation can be one of your most valuable assets, attracting potential residents and providing a competitive edge in the market. The cornerstone of a great reputation? You know the answer already: An exceptional resident experience. When residents have positive interactions with your property management team, they're more likely to share their experiences. These shared experiences, whether through word-of-mouth or online reviews, contribute significantly to your company's reputation. Positive reviews can attract new residents looking for a new home, reducing the time and cost of filling vacancies. They also provide a form of social proof, assuring prospective residents that they're making a good choice by choosing your property. Furthermore, a stellar reputation can strengthen relationships with investors, vendors, and other stakeholders. It can lead to new business opportunities and partnerships, further boosting profitability. In essence, cultivating a superior resident experience is like planting the seeds of a robust, positive reputation. As you nurture these experiences, your reputation can grow, reaping benefits in terms of resident attraction and retention, stakeholder relationships, and overall business growth. 5. Simplifies Rent Collection Rent collection is a critical component of property management, and any strategy that can streamline and improve the efficiency of rent collection is worth its weight in gold. That's where a stellar living experience comes into play. Satisfied residents are generally more cooperative and timely in fulfilling their financial obligations, including paying rent. Positive relationships between residents and property managers foster a sense of mutual respect and understanding, which can go a long way in ensuring smooth rent collection. The resident experience also extends to tools and incentives for on-time rent payments. For instance, an easy-to-use online portal for rent payment can lead to faster, more reliable rent payments. One of the best ways to ensure on-time payments is by providing incentives in a Resident Benefits Package (RBP). An RBP can provide credit reporting for on-time payments, resident rewards for early payments, and more. A great resident experience doesn't just make residents happier; it makes the fundamental aspect of rent collection easier and more efficient. It's a testament to the idea that good relationships make good business sense. 6. Reduces Maintenance Issues Maintenance is a significant part of property management, and it can be a substantial cost center. However, by offering a superior resident experience, you can reduce the frequency and severity of these issues. Residents who feel taken care of are more likely to reciprocate those feelings towards the property. A positive resident experience can also foster better communication between residents and management. Residents are more likely to report minor maintenance issues promptly before they escalate into major, costly repairs. For instance, a leaky faucet reported and repaired promptly will cost much less than ignoring it until extensive water damage occurs. Again, one of the best ways to boost resident satisfaction and reduce maintenance costs is to provide a Resident Benefits Package. At Second Nature, our RBP provides things like scheduled filter delivery to ensure air filters are changed on time and reduce HVAC costs. The mantra is simple – take care of your residents, and they'll take care of your property. 7. Creates Satisfied Investors Property owners are investors who seek returns on their investments and the preservation of their properties' value. A vital element to achieving this is through offering an exceptional resident experience. When residents are satisfied, they tend to stay longer, pay rent on time, and take better care of the property. This leads to consistent income, reduced expenses, and fewer maintenance issues — all key elements for maintaining a property's value and ensuring strong returns. And remember: properties known for their superior resident experience tend to attract quality residents faster, reducing costly vacancy periods. They're also more resilient against market fluctuations, preserving investors' returns. Property investors value professional property management that focuses on resident experience because it signifies competent handling of their investment. It displays a forward-thinking approach that aligns with today's renter expectations. It leads to a virtuous cycle of high-quality tenancies, stable returns, and preserved property value – a “triple win” for residents, PMCs, and investors. “When you're giving that great experience to your residents, you're also giving that great experience to your owners. They have less lost vacancy, they have more care and more respect given to their property, and that's going to protect their assets. That shift in the industry is already happening, and those that are able to make that pivot quickly are going to be able to level themselves up and really get ahead of the curve.” - Kelli Segretto, Property Management Inc. 8. Builds Competitive Advantage “As the operator of a business, how can I get from something transactional to something transformative – so that people are getting something from me that they aren’t getting from most other businesses.” - Jordan Muela, CEO of LeadSimple In today's competitive property management landscape, offering an exceptional resident experience is not just a perk, it's a differentiator. It's what sets a property management company apart in a crowded market and makes it a preferred choice for residents. A positive resident experience leads to higher resident retention, reducing vacancy rates and the costs associated with acquiring new residents. It allows property managers to maintain steady rental income, creating a solid financial foundation that competitors might struggle to match. In a nutshell, a commitment to providing an exceptional resident experience can provide a significant competitive advantage for all the reasons listed above – positioning a property management company as a leader in the field. How Second Nature Helps Optimize Resident Experience Second Nature built a product based on the idea that creating a world-class resident experience could make a difference in profitability and value for residents, property managers, and property owners. We designed a fully managed all-in-one Resident Benefits Package that does just that. The RBP provides benefits, incentives, and concierge services that residents want to pay for and stay for. It drives up value for everyone involved and delivers a unique and elevated experience. “A resident benefits package – you hear people call it the easy button. That’s because it is essentially all of these different services and all of these different, valuable add-ons for your residents that are done for you.” - Kelli Segretto, Property Management Inc. Learn more about the Second Nature RBP, or dig into our 2023 State of Resident Experience Report.

Calendar icon July 18, 2023

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Mastering Lease Management for Your Property Management Company

In the dynamic world of residential property management, mastering the art of lease management is more than just a strategic business move; it's the cornerstone of cultivating strong, trusting relationships between investors, property managers, and residents. After all, at the heart of every lease agreement is something profoundly personal: a person's home. Lease management extends far beyond the realm of contracts, finances, and legal compliance. Yes, these elements are undeniably crucial, but effective lease management is also about understanding and respecting the unique needs, expectations, and concerns of the people we serve. It's about combining professional acumen with empathy, maintaining a human touch in an industry that can often seem dominated by numbers and legal jargon. In this article, we have three experts who know what that’s all about. With them, we'll explore the lease management process, focusing not only on the technical aspects but also on the human elements that can make all the difference. We'll delve into why a compassionate approach to lease management can lead to better resident relationships, improved resident retention, and, ultimately, a more successful and rewarding property management experience. So, whether you're a seasoned property manager or just starting your journey, there's something here for you. Let's get started. (Or, if you prefer listening over reading, you can hear our full discussion on the Triple Win Podcast!) Meet the Experts Melissa Gillispie JWB Property Management Director of Leasing & Property Management Located in Florida - 5,600+ Doors Under Management David Galant Pathway Properties, LLC Owner / Principal Real Estate Broker (Licensed Broker in Utah & California) Licensed Continuing Education Instructor Utah Division of Real Estate Most recently, with Atlas Real Estate as a Regional Director Located in Utah - 50 Doors Under Management - started up 3.5 months ago Kristin Leet One Focus Property Management Leasing Agent - Boots on the Ground North Central Pennsylvania - 600 Doors Under Management Understanding Lease Management: What It Is Lease management is the process of overseeing and controlling all aspects of lease agreements between a landlord and tenant – or, in the language that we prefer to use here at Second Nature – the investor and resident. It includes tasks such as drafting lease agreements, screening potential tenants, handling rent collection, managing lease renewals, and maintaining clear communication lines between all parties involved. Effective lease management ensures a seamless experience for both residents and property owners, aiding in resident retention and maximizing rental income for your investors. Understanding Lease Management: Why it Matters Our panel has tons of advice on tactics, KPIs, and processes for effective lease management. But first, they say, it’s important to establish why it matters to get it right. “When you think about housing, it’s a basic human need,” Melissa says. “That’s the human element. Obviously, we lean on automation and technology to support us, but I think that as things have changed in our industry – and this generation of renters has changed – so must our processes evolve in order to meet the needs of the people that we serve and to impact our local communities.” David adds: “One of the basic human needs is shelter. Another way to look at it is some of the most stressful events in your life are death, divorce, and moving. So we’re dealing with high-stress situations. To be fair to the owners, to the prospective residents, and to your team, the lease management process needs to be efficient, organized, and systematized.” According to Kristin, that’s part of achieving a Triple Win: “A guiding principle is helping qualified tenants find a place that is safe, affordable, and something that they can be proud of. I’m also making sure that I’m doing my due diligence to our clients so they’re getting the best return. We want to give everyone involved an experience that's worthwhile and makes them want to continue to do business with us.” Steps in the Lease Management Process So, with a lease agreement established and prepared, let’s get to the meat of the conversation: each step of the lease management process. We’ll talk through the process and share insights from our panel on each 1. Preparing the Property Before listing a rental property, ensure it's in excellent condition to attract potential residents. This may include repairs, painting, professional cleaning, or upgrading certain features. “We have what's called our JWB Livability standards,” Melissa says. “Does this home meet our company standards? If it doesn't, then we need to make sure we're addressing those things. The more that you invest on the front end in making sure that a property is showing in an amazing way you're going to get that back with a resident who is proud of the place, going to take care of it and lead to a hopefully long-term resident.” 2. Marketing the Property Effectively advertise your property on appropriate platforms to reach your target audience. Quality photos, detailed descriptions, and highlighting of key features can help attract potential tenants. Kristin describes how important the details are here: “Are your pictures fantastic? Are there clear pictures of each room? I get comments all the time from people who say they love that you can get a feel of the property from our ads, just from the pictures or video. Video is such a powerful tool.” 3. Property Tours Hosting property tours is an integral part of the lease management process. It's an opportunity for potential residents to view the property firsthand and for you to showcase the property's best features. This is where your best sales skills come in. Kristin talks about how this is the chance to be the face of your brand. “I'm the one they see in the beginning, I'm the face that welcomes you in, makes you love the place. It’s so important to be positive and create this sense of home and comfort because the rest of it can be more stressful.” Melissa emphasizes that the property tour is the time to “warm it up. Our leasing agents are the ones who can draw people in and get people to open up and tell them what they're really looking for.” 4. Tenant Screening and Selection Next, you’ll conduct thorough background checks, credit checks, and rental history reviews on potential residents. This helps ensure you select reliable residents who will care for the property and meet their financial obligations. This is an intense part of the process for the potential residents. Kristin explains: “It’s meaty. We're going to ask for every single piece of information, and then we're going to let them know if they’re approved. As aggressive as that can sound, it's up to me to basically say, ‘Listen, we know it's a lot, but it's a lot because it's worth it.’” 5. Lease Signing Once a tenant is selected, you’ll conduct a lease signing meeting. Review the lease terms, answer any questions, and have all parties sign the lease agreement. It’s important to be transparent about the terms of the lease beforehand and ensure that residents feel comfortable and understand what they’re signing. Kristin again: “We have a very transparent website. Our leases are on there, so people can actually read the lease before they even come to us.” 6. Lease Renewals Monitor lease end dates and communicate with residents in advance about renewal options. Offering incentives or showing appreciation can encourage lease renewals and increase resident retention. Melissa explains that their company aims for long-term leases for a triple win: “A long-term lease is that security for the client, and it also locks in rental rates for the resident. It comes back to that triple win concept: the resident wins because they're not subject to significant rent increases based on the market every single year. It's great for the client because they have a little more assurance of long-term occupancy. And then we win because we hit our goals! And we all love to hit our goals.” Leveraging Technology for Lease Management Of course, one of the best tools at a property manager’s disposal for lease management is technology. Property management software and other digital solutions can streamline, automate, and simplify nearly every aspect of the lease management process. Especially since the 2020 pandemic, technology and automation have taken over in the industry. “That change [to digital] was inevitable,” David says, “but Covid really accelerated it. People were starting to dip their toes in the water with video tours and better pictures, and better online presence. And then Covid just forced that change.” Our panel shared some of their insights on the best places to leverage that tech to make your process the best it can be. Self-showings “Almost every company I've ever spoken with at this point does some level of self-showing,” Melissa said. “We use Tenant Turner and CodeBox,” David said. “And then leases are put in and automated through Buildium, which we use as our software suite.” Property management software We’ve written a lot about the best property management software, property management accounting software, and property management automation, so we won’t get in-depth about it here. The market has dozens of excellent solutions, and property managers are fantastic at sharing their knowledge. The software helps support client management, maintenance workflows, payment processes, resident relationships, and more. Virtual assistants Virtual assistants have grown as a major solution in the property management space. Especially in single-family rentals, jobs can be spread out across large geographic regions, and virtual assistants make it possible to serve those regions equally. Plus, they help PMCs maintain objectivity when it comes to the leasing process. Kristin explains the value of a virtual assistant: “So we have one dedicated person here at the company that does our applications, and the reason why we do that is that it eliminates any kind of discrimination. She is a virtual assistant, she does not meet with people in person. It eliminates her having a personal opinion while she's scoring the application. She has contact with them via email and things like that.” Digital solutions and video Digital marketing and video tours or social media posts are one of the leading ways to capture attention and serve potential residents. “I get in front of a camera with a tripod,” Kristin says. “I introduce myself and talk about the company that I'm from. I tell them what the address is, I give them a whole walkthrough tour, and I do an outro. When it’s over, they know what our website is, they know how to apply, they know how to book a tour.” “That personal touch right there helps get people in the door. It's not catfishing someone into believing that a property is any more than what it actually is because they're going to see it. It’s really presenting a property for what it is in the best way possible.” Best Practices for Effective Lease Management Melissa, David, and Kristin shared some of their top tips for building a better lease management process. Deliver digital content and contactless engagement The modern renter is looking for faster, more convenient, and, of course, contactless. “Renters more and more want contactless, like you get when you DoorDash something or order on Amazon and all of that – that’s the new norm,” David says. “The consumer is expecting a thorough, interactive, high-quality experience with digital solutions and online content.” Be flexible and responsive “Remote work has increased migration to different markets in different states,” David says. “Time zones have become blurred. Customers want responsiveness outside of normal Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours for inquiries on vacant properties.” He adds, “I think the pace of the leasing process has increased in terms of the speed. We're dealing with a more informed consumer. They want more information upfront, they want it quickly, and they want to make a quicker decision. There's a feeling that the pace is faster.” “I think that's the new norm, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It causes people to up their game and be better. And I think it benefits the property management ecosystem.” Stick to your criteria There are laws guiding leasing standards, and it’s critical that your criteria are fair and apply consistently. “Our criteria are firm,” Kristin says. “Every single applicant goes through the same criteria and same processes, and we don't deviate from that. We don't take your personal situation into account or make exceptions for people.” “Sure, you can customize and meet people where they're at,” Melissa says. “But there has to be some level of: what is the standard you are setting? Because ultimately, you want to treat people the same. And I think with leasing specifically, we are obligated to.” Clearly define workflows and process All three of our panelists describe clearly defined processes and roles within their company for the leasing process. Leasing agents provide that first touch and personalization; then you may have a virtual assistant or leasing assistant who helps follow up and get applications in; then it may go to a supervisor who approves the application, all the way back to the leasing agent who sends the lease out. “We use a process for every single thing that we do,” Kristin says. “If we follow it correctly from start to finish, there's not a point where anyone can say: ‘You didn't approve me because of this.’” Follow up on feedback David explains that asking for feedback is key to their leasing process. “We reach out to prospective residents that toured but haven't moved forward, and we ask them, ‘What did you see? Do you have any feedback on the property? We're very direct because it will help us market the property better.” “One thing we do in our department meeting with our leasing team every week is to have a structure for them to talk through any feedback they received from showings the previous week,” Melissa says. “Then we take immediate action on that feedback when needed. I think you get to make changes and actually improve when you ask for feedback.” Pay attention to pricing “You need to understand where your price is at,” David says. “Is it reflective of the market? Before we engage with an owner prior to a vacancy, we actually put together a spreadsheet that's almost like a rental analysis appraisal. And we'll have subject properties, we'll have adjustments, and we’ll make a recommendation.” If a property isn’t selling, evaluating price fit is a key step. “We have what's called a 10-day rule,” Kristin says. “If it's on the market for 10 days and we haven't gotten an application, we drop the rent. It's an expectation that we set with the owners when we put the property on the market: Is it better to take less rent, or is it better to just leave your property vacant? And nine times out of 10, they want to get the rent.” “One thing that's cool is we have rent escalations built into our lease agreements,” Melissa says. “And so even if we have to make a rent reduction while it's on the market in order to really drive in more leads and get it to move, we're then building in an escalation so that hopefully, by the end of that lease term, we sign long-term leases.” Focus on customer service “Since Covid, there seems to be a more consistent customer service experience across the industry,” David says. “Everyone's voice is amplified, especially the consumer. Their vote counts, thanks to things like Yelp, Google reviews, etc. They can really hurt or help your company's brand.” Balance tech with a human touch “There's one specific part of the leasing management process I think takes the most time,” David says, “and that's between the property tour and getting the application complete. Everything else is pretty automated. But getting that person over the hump to make a decision requires a human touch and follow-up. That's a big commitment. It takes the most amount of time, and you’ve got to be present.” “Ultimately, everybody needs to feel safe and secure with where they are,” Kristin says. “If we can get them on board with starting to get comfortable with technology right from the beginning, it helps eliminate hurdles that they have getting through the process and getting them into the place that they want to call home. But it takes that human touch.” Perfect your KPIs The last step, but what Melissa says could be the most important step: Analyzing the data with KPIs. “We lean heavily on data in our office,” Melissa says, “and I think it's really important as a professional property manager that we all have something that tracks and measures how we're doing compared to the industry, our peers, and benchmarking even against ourselves year over year.” Melissa says they use data to track conversion at every stage: from lead to showing schedule, showing scheduled to showing completed, showing completed to application submitted, and application submitted to application approved. “This is a benchmark against ourselves to help understand if there's any cyclicality to leasing, which I think there is. We track those metrics to say, What's in our pipeline at any point, and then how are we converting from each to the next?” David adds that in addition to seeing annual seasonality, it helps to see daily trends. “It’s not only the time of year, but are they looking more on the weekend or in the evening, or on a Wednesday?” A few other favorite KPIs from our panel: “Market to Move-in” - the time from when a home hits the market to the time someone moves in Time from viewing to application submittal Time from application submittal to turnover Clicks and engagement with ads Application count Average lease term Final Thoughts: Focusing on the Triple Win In the end, the most successful leasing process will focus on driving maximum comfort and value for your client, your residents, and your team. “We’re basing our leasing process on the Triple Win philosophy,” David says. “You're matching a resident with their home, you're helping them out, they're getting sheltered, they're happy, they're comfortable. If you do it right, you’re minimizing their stress. “You're also stabilizing the property or the asset and securing income for the owner. “And finally, it’s a win for your team and your company because you have a satisfied resident, a satisfied owner, and you're building goodwill for your business from these positive interactions.” Learn more about our study on what’s making residents happy in 2023.

Calendar icon July 11, 2023

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Property Management FAQs about Resident Experience

Resident expectations are changing. In today’s “experience economy,” residents and consumers alike are looking for experiences that make them feel taken care of, bring more ease into their lives, and set businesses apart. With these changes in mind, property management companies are developing innovative strategies to build better resident experiences – experiences residents will pay and stay for. Today we’re sharing a Q&A about the resident experience with Melissa Gillispie, the Director of Leasing & Property Management at JWB Real Estate Capital. Here’s what you’ll find in the article. ‍ Key Learning Objectives: Core tenants of resident experience Steps to improve resident experience How improving resident experience can save money for property managers Resident experience examples that have worked Resident experience examples that haven’t worked How to monitor resident experience Meet the Expert: Melissa Gillispie, Director of Leasing & Property Management at JWB Real Estate Capital Melissa started her career with JWB in 2013 and is currently the Director of Property Management. She is the licensed real estate broker for JWB and plays an integral role that has led JWB to manage over 4,900 single-family homes in Jacksonville FL, being the largest local rental management company in Northeast FL. Under her purview, JWB has delivered over 26 million dollars in cash flow to its current clients through exceptional management services. Melissa also sits on the Board for NARPM Northeast FL as the Membership Co-Chair. She won the 2022 NARPM Rocky Maxwell award for dedicated service and contribution to NARPM. She is married to her husband of 14 years and has three sons aged 11, 9, and 6. When she is not working, she can be found at the football and soccer fields cheering her sons on! Why should property managers pay attention to the resident experience? What steps can property managers take to improve the resident experience? Happy residents stay longer, take better care of the home, and provide better long-term stability and return on investment for clients. They also spread the good word locally and refer more renters to you. And happy residents are usually nicer, leading to happier staff! Residents (and customers in general) are increasingly driven by instant gratification. They expect immediate communication, results, and benefit. Due to this, we have to increase our speed to outcome for them and set great expectations so that we can "under promise and over deliver" – one of our JWB core values! Some key steps to improving resident experience include: A great lease signing experience with impeccable expectation setting. If everyone knows from day one, who is responsible for what, we can avoid tough conversations down the road. Timely communication. Knowing the type of communication each resident prefers. We have a field in our system called "preferred contact method" – if it is via phone, pick up the phone. If it is text, text away. It helps the resident feel like you're willing to customize their experience. Answer the phone! Like any place open for business, you need to be reachable during office hours. Solve their maintenance issues. Make it easy for them to report those issues to you. If I had to give just one: Clear communication is EVERYTHING. Clear expectations, timely responses, and thoughtful and respectful interactions make us a professional industry vs. a mom-and-pop one. How can improving the resident experience save property managers money? Do you recommend hiring a dedicated resident experience specialist, resident manager, or separate team? Improved experience saves TIME. Time is money. Fewer tough conversations, supervisor calls, upset people impacting employee satisfaction, etc. Great experience leads to retention, which saves money and increases revenue for the business. I think the idea of a dedicated specialist or team is great in theory, but many places want to scale back on staffing (employees are expensive!). I also think that putting the responsibility on one person/group of people in the organization is a mistake to some degree. This limits creativity and reach. At JWB, our approach is that it is every teammate’s responsibility to dedicate effort and time to a great client/resident experience. This allows a wide range of ideas to generate and gives the feeling of impact and satisfaction to every teammate for their contribution. Do you recommend using software or tools to help improve resident retention? Here are some of the best tools we’ve used. Automation: Implementing things that don't require a ton of person-hours will allow you to scale your business at a lower cost. The automation/technology investment is worth it in the long run. The Resident Benefits Package (RBP) by Second Nature: DO IT! Find a mail fulfillment house in your city and rely on them to send mass communications via snail mail. Partner with local businesses for discount codes. Text Magic and Call Fire are great automation tools for communication via phone and text. What are examples of resident experience initiatives that have proved effective? On the flip side, what doesn’t work? Residents need to see the value in any initiative. Knowing your audience/clientele and what matters most to them is important. Is it time savings? Money saving? RBP from Second Nature has been a game-changer. It meets a real need and serves a purpose. We also do a monthly resident newsletter. We send out automatic happy birthday emails to every resident on their birthday (we have been able to automate this completely, so 0 time for staff and 100% feel-good for residents). We do "get to know your city" marketing for new residents with mural maps, restaurants and grocery stores near them, etc. We include a magnet at move-in on their fridge with our contact information and after-hours information. These all create moments that show care and concern, and we sprinkle in love for our city. When you miss the mark on providing value or miss the need the resident actually has, that experience moment may fall flat. So we constantly focus on who our residents are and what will fill their cups. How do you monitor or measure the resident experience? We love surveys! We have maintenance and resident net promoter score (NPS) surveys. Every time a work order closes, the resident receives a survey to give feedback on the experience. We review that weekly. For positive surveys, we ask for reviews. Supervisors reach out for low scores to see how we can improve. For the NPS surveys: If they leave a high score, we ask for a positive review on one of our online platforms (Google, Facebook, BBB). If they leave a low score, supervisors seek feedback to improve. The key is DOING SOMETHING with the information you receive; otherwise, there is no value. Don't just let a low score come through and then do nothing. Reaching out shows the resident you pay attention, value the feedback, and want to improve. Reviews online are also a good way to gauge experience. Take those with a grain of salt, however. People are much more likely to leave a bad review than a good one, so it is a lot of work to win here! We ask for positive reviews anytime we have a great interaction with a resident – a phone call where we solve a problem, an email where they say thank you, or anytime someone pays on time or renews their lease – we ask. You don't get positive reviews you don't ask for! How do you use the information you receive in resident feedback or surveys? There is value to it. You can gather a lot of good information and start to identify trends in the data. We can pinpoint areas as a team to improve and celebrate the things we do well. I do think you have to take some of the responses with a grain of salt. You can't make everyone happy even when you try. View it as information to help make decisions vs. the end-all-be-all to measure your worth as a company. We survey on maintenance every time a work order closes, and we get about a 3-5% completion rate. For the NPS surveys, we survey 60 days after move-in and then every six months. We get a 10% completion rate on those. What questions should you ask if you are considering a resident experience survey? What’s a good sample size for a survey? Are there other tips and tricks to keep in mind? For our NPS survey, it is one question: “How likely are you to refer your friends and family to rent from us?” They score us 1-10, and then we allow an open text response field that is optional if they have more to say. For the maintenance surveys, we ask: “On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied were you with 1. the work order submission process; 2. Your maintenance coordinator, 3. The vendor who performed the work, 4. The amount of time it took to complete the work; 5. The overall experience?” Each star scale also allows for open-text responses (again, not required). I think a good sample size is when at least ¼ of your customers have had the opportunity to review. Until that point, the results seem to be all over the place. We track results monthly, quarterly, and annually, as well as by the property manager and maintenance coordinator, work order category, and property type (multi-family, single-family, condo, townhome, etc.). All of this helps us put together a comprehensive picture of where we stack up against ourselves over time. I think it is important to benchmark against yourself. Each business runs in a unique way, so I get less caught up in how other people are doing compared to me and more caught up in how I am doing compared to myself/my business three, six, or 12 months prior. Perspective is important when you are being vulnerable and asking for feedback! Easily Manage and Improving Resident Experience With Second Nature RBP As Melissa mentioned, the Resident Benefits Package (RBP) by Second Nature goes a long way to creating premier resident experiences. And as the country’s only fully managed RBP, it doesn’t take up your team’s time or bandwidth. We designed the RBP to solve headaches for property managers and help them deliver world-class resident experiences that delight residents and build long-term retention. Happy residents = happy clients = happy PMC teams. A triple win! At Second Nature, we’re all about building experiences that residents will pay for and stay for.

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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Property Management Profitability: FAQs on Profit Margin

Property Management profitability is, of course, how much money a property management company keeps of their revenue after their expenses. But Daniel Craig, the CEO of ProfitCoach, wants PMCs to think of profitability far more expansively. “We recommend that you think about profit as the opportunity to reinvest in the business,” Daniel says. “Your business isn’t just a machine that makes a profit; it's a machine that turns profit reinvested into more profit.” In other words, profit is a virtuous cycle that, once started, can deliver increasing ROI, better value, and better business. The big question is: How do property management companies increase profitability? That’s what we connected with Daniel to talk about. We’re sharing some of Daniel’s insights on property management profits and experiences we’ve gathered over years of working with property management companies across the country. Key Learning Objectives: How property management companies increase profit How long it usually takes to become profitable Common mistakes property management companies make when trying to build profit How to optimize operating costs How to find the right residents and property investors Tools for helping to increase profitability Meet the Expert: Daniel Craig Daniel Craig is the CEO of ProfitCoach, which provides property management entrepreneurs with financial knowledge, tools, and strategies to drive greater profits. How do Property Management Companies Make Money? In the most basic terms, property management companies make money through real estate investors paying for the services they offer. The more value a PMC can drive for its property investors and residents, the more revenue they generate. The profit, of course, is how much is left over after paying all your expenses. “We've worked with hundreds of residential property management companies and seen a wide variety of profitability levels,” Daniel says. ProfitCoach and NARPM started benchmarking profits with the NARPM Financial Performance Guide and Daniel says they’ve seen a significant shift in the past few years. In 2017, the average profitability in the property management space was 6%, and the top 25% of performers’ profitability was 25%. In 2021, the average profitability was 11%, and the top performers were 32%. The important nugget in these benchmarks? Seeing what’s possible. Many rental property managers may not realize they could strive for anywhere from 25% to 32% profitability. But if the target is that high, how do you get there with your business? At ProfitCoach, Daniel and his team have outlined the “Three Steps to 3X Profitability.” 3 Steps to 3X Profitability Here’s what Daniel has to say about the three steps to 3X your profitability. 1. Get Clear PMs need to get clear on where they are, where they want to be, and what they can achieve. It’s important to know: What’s possible across the industry Trends in your local market How you compare If you're not clear on the potential, then you're not going to be clear on what you should strive towards. If you're not clear on where you are today, you're not going to be clear on whether you need to change. 2. Define Your Target Compare your performance to the latest NARPM numbers and benchmarks and determine your target for each of the six Do-or-Die metrics. Maybe the benchmark isn't your target, and that's fine, but you need to know what's possible. Many people go through their business lives without engaging the possibilities. They operate within certain boxes, and those boxes need to be compared to what other people are doing. Then you can adjust your perspective of what's possible and set realistic targets. Next, build a realistic financial forecast that helps you chart the course from where you are to where you want to go based on your financial goals. 3. Stay on track Now it’s time to bring the team into the conversation and basically say, “Here’s our roadmap. What specific tactics and strategies will we enact to accomplish the financial shift we need in each of these six areas of our business?” And once you have those defined, measure your progress against your goals monthly or quarterly. Engage your whole team in the conversation and engage a coach to help you define a financial performance improvement action plan and hold you accountable. How Long Does it Take for a PMC to Increase Profitability? According to Daniel, businesses should give themselves between one to three years. “We've seen companies make massive changes in 12 months, and we've seen companies make massive changes across several years,” Daniel says. “But generally speaking, I would say to give yourself one to three years to make a major shift – if you want to go from an average company to a benchmark company.” How to Set Up a Property Management Business For Profitability Setting up your business for profitability is often about avoiding the most common mistakes other businesses make. We asked Daniel about where he sees professional property managers most often go wrong. Daniel says three major mistakes affect how profitable your business is. 1. Financial Fog Daniel defines financial fog as “Not having clarity on where you are, where you want to go, or what's possible in the industry.” “One of the cool things about this industry is that it's such a unique opportunity,” Daniel says. “I don't think that many property management owners realize the extent to which they can drive profit in this industry. They often don’t have a clear sense of what the real opportunity is.” 2. Financial Isolation “At ProfitCoach, we believe that finance should be done in community,” Daniel says. “We are advocates of what we call community-driven finance, which is essentially engaging with community-based benchmarks, community-based best practices, and community-based scoring.” Community-driven finance helps individual rental property managers and businesses know how they’re stacking up against top performers. It also helps generate value for everyone, where each PMC can benefit from best practices from those top performers. “One of the wonderful things about the property management space is that it truly is a community space in which there is a lot of idea sharing,” says Daniel. “We think that when you bring that idea sharing into a conversation that is also numbers-based, you can begin to see the strategies and tactics that will be most effective as indicated by the data.” “Staying in financial isolation is a huge mistake,” he says. 3. Not Being Mission-Driven Being mission-driven is all about thinking in terms of customer lifetime value. Sure, it’s possible to get a quick win on pricing, but it may cost you in the long run if you’re not thinking about lifetime value. Rather, Daniel says, “you want to make sure that your approach to pricing, marketing, everything in your business is values- and mission-driven.” “What is your mission as it relates to your employees? What is your mission as it relates to your stakeholders? What is your mission as it relates to your owners/investors? What is your mission as it relates to your tenants/residents?” How to Reduce Operating Costs to Increase Profitability So, once you’ve considered the three steps to 3X your profit and evaluated the pitfalls of profitability – what next? How do you actually optimize your operating costs and increase profitability? Daniel advises every PMC to adopt the NARPM Accounting Standards Chart of Accounts for their bookkeeping. He says the best part of using the NARPM Chart of Accounts to optimize your profit is the six “Do-or-Die” metrics. These property management KPIs are critical to business success: Profitability Direct Labor Efficiency Ratio Revenue Per Unit Unit Acquisition Costs Churn Expenses as a Percent of Revenue “It’s critical that property managers get a clear line of sight on how they stack up in terms of specific rental property management metrics that have an operational connection.” For example, an income statement will tell you how much revenue you have but won’t tell you how much revenue per unit you have. By building off your income statement with the PM-specific metrics, you’ll be able to tie it to a more operational connection. For example: From profitability to profit per unit From revenue to revenue per unit From sales and marketing spend to unit acquisition costs In this way, you can understand on a per-unit basis how your business is performing operationally. Daniel says: “The problem with the standard income statement is that it doesn't often give property management owners and entrepreneurs a lot of clarity on specific operational shifts that they need to make in your business. When you implement the NARPM Chart of Accounts, you can then implement a whole suite of metrics that does give you that operational clarity and insight to drive action and improvement in your business.” How to Increase Profitability in Property Management Increasing profitability takes time and should be done in a few different steps across your business model. These steps are the same whether you are a large or small business. Daniel breaks down the work between developing your pricing, labor, expense, and growth models. Look at Your Pricing Model Your pricing model is a significant driver of profitability. Getting your pricing right is one of the pillars of profitability. A few things to consider as you are managing properties: How does your pricing compare to the local market in your area? Are you offering any property management services that you should charge management fees for? What are you doing beyond rent collection that you should charge a flat fee for? Are there more services you could offer and charge for their value? How is your cash flow? Daniel cautions that it can take time. “If you roll out a new pricing model to tenants and owners, it takes time to implement. You should give yourself about a year to get that fully implemented.” Look at Your Labor Model Your labor model is the next big thing, as labor is your biggest expense and could also be a driver of inefficiency if you don’t have it right. Daniel recommends asking: Do we have all the right people in the right seats on the bus? Do we have the right mix of U.S. talent versus global talent? Do we have retention strategies in place? Do we have the right systems in place to enable each team member to be maximizing their productivity and their effectiveness in the organization? Again, these questions may lead to significant strategic shifts that you should give yourself time to implement. Look at Your Expense Model This one is a little bit easier but just as important. You can trim expenses fairly quickly once you identify where to cut back. Are you spending too much on overhead? Could you engage property management software to help with bandwidth? In some cases, changing your expense model may take some time – for example, if you need to renegotiate a long-term lease. Look at Your Growth Model Evaluating and updating your growth model is another opportunity for maximizing profitability. Once you’ve identified and set your targets, here are some potential next steps for growth: Finding and hiring a high-performing business development manager Get a new sales process in line Dial in your lead generation strategies so that you have enough leads for that BDM Etc. Again, this shift may take several months or years to integrate into your business processes fully. Launch a Residents Benefit Package Ultimately, one of the best ways to increase profit and influence your bottom line is by considering where you can add more value for your residents and residential property investors. Daniel recommends starting small tweaks to your Revenue Per Unit. “We have seen repeatedly that a 10% improvement to revenue per unit can easily result in a 100% increase in profit per unit. So, look for ways to get small wins on value creation, value communication, and value realization.” Daniel says one of the quickest and most practical ways to adjust Revenue Per Unit is to implement a Resident Benefits Package. (And we didn’t even put him up to it!) “A resident benefits package alone can result in that 10% bump to revenue per unit, which can result in that 100% increase to profit per unit. This profitability can result in more fuel to your freedom, more fuel to your mission, and realizing all the things you went into business for in the first place.” How to Find Profitable Residents & Investors and Keep Them Happy Daniel says they’ve seen significant profitability gains when a company identifies the right-fit and wrong-fit clients. “We have seen significant profitability gains come about for those who are looking through the client list, finding the misfits accelerating, and then getting those misfits out of their portfolio so that they can bring in the right-fit clients who are going to be a better fit from a value proposition perspective. Getting rid of low-performing clients and then backfilling those with the right kind of clients is a great way to improve profitability.” Daniel says that this goes back to being mission-driven. By identifying your point of view on your industry, your values, etc., you can build a “why” for your company that can help you define the right new clients for your business. Daniel uses his own company as an example: “At ProfitCoach, we believe in community-driven finance. If we come into contact with a potential client who's all about financial isolation – they don't want to share their numbers with anybody, they don't want to engage in a community conversation, they don't wanna learn from the best practices in the industry – that's not a good fit for us.” So, the two questions to define are: What is your point of view? What is the value proposition that comes out of that? Based on that value proposition, there will be a certain set of criteria that will define what a right-fit client is and what a wrong-fit client is. Learn more about SecondNature’s Resident Benefits Package, which is designed to generate revenue and “Triple Win” conditions that benefit residents, investors, and property managers alike.

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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How to Create Property Management Business Plan [Free Template]

There are as many different perspectives on property management business plans as there are different PM businesses. But one thing holds true – in the classic adage usually attributed to Dwight D. Eisenhower – it’s not the plan that matters so much as the planning. Outlining a detailed business plan isn’t just important for defining your own goals, it’s key to communicating those to potential clients and investors. It also requires deep insight into what residents want and are willing to pay for. Whether you’re new to property management, have been managing properties for years and are ready to start your own business, or own property management business but are looking for greater investment, we’ll cover important topics to address business plan creation. We’ll explain why business planning can be so important, as well as who to target with your plan. We’ll also share a free template to get you started. Key Learning Objectives: How to identify and find your ideal clients How to articulate your value proposition What to include in your business plan How to outline your business plan A free property management business plan template Meet the Expert: Peter Lohmann, CEO RL Property Management What to Know before Creating a Property Management Business Plan Not to get too deep down the rabbit hole, but the first step to creating a high-quality business plan is – you guessed it – to make a plan for the plan. For entrepreneurs, planning is the key to success. Going through the following steps first will make the process much easier and more effective in the long run. Here’s what you need to get clear at the outset. State Laws governing property management business As you know, each property management company’s approach is very dependent on regional or state regulations. Before taking any steps to either start or change your business, you need to have a clear understanding of the local laws governing your business venture. We highly recommend hiring an attorney who can help you navigate those laws and regulations. Who are your ideal clients Lohmann lays out three critical steps to crystalizing a successful business plan: Identify your ideal clients. Articulate your unique value proposition for those clients. Go out and find leads. So, first: Who are your ideal new clients? “Get really clear on who your ideal customer is,” Lohmann says. “Are you managing associations, office buildings, big apartments, single-family rentals, etc.? The narrower and more specific you can be, the better your life is going to be and the more money you’re going to make.” In other words, anything outside of this target market is going to be a waste of your time. That’s why this is the first step. “The more narrow and specific you can be here, the more directly you can speak to your prospects in a way that’s compelling,” Lohmann says. “Everything becomes easier – content strategy, sales conversations, even operations become easier – if you know who you want to manage for and what types of properties you want to manage.” What type of property management company you are The next step is to identify your unique value proposition. There are tons of property management companies out there. Why should your ideal client choose you? In Lohmann’s words: “Your second step is to ask, ‘Why should anyone care?’ Property management isn’t a new concept; there are tons of property managers. So, identify what your unique value proposition is.” This is key to figuring out not just who to pitch to but how to pitch to them. “What are you going to talk about?” Lohmann says. “You can’t just say, ‘Oh, hire us, we’re the best!’ You need clear examples that say, ‘Our company does something a little different.’” For RL Property Management, that started as a promise that they would never charge a leasing fee. “Sure, it’s kind of crazy, and I don’t know anyone else who doesn’t charge that, but it worked,” Lohmann says. “We were trying to figure out why everyone hated their property manager. And we decided that it might be an incentive problem where the property manager’s incentive is to fill the unit as quickly as possible so they can get that big leasing fee, and that was creating bad outcomes for property owners. So we decided that we weren't going to charge a leasing fee, and we've stuck with it ever since.” How to find your ideal clients The third and final step of preparation is to identify where you need to go out and find leads and engage property management marketing. “Given what you know about how you defined your ideal prospect and your company and what they offer, the next question is where you go and get these leads,” Lohmann says. “A lot of property managers start with this third step. They just say, ‘How can I get more leads?’ But that’s the wrong question. Why do you deserve those leads? Answer that first. Downstream of that is ‘Where are those people hanging out, and how can I get this to them?’” Getting this step right involves researching property management and real estate property in your area and getting familiar with industry news, conferences, and listings. What should a property management business plan include? Now, let’s talk about the actual outline of your PM business plan. If you’re starting a new business and aiming to present a business plan to investors, or even business partners, you should outline each section below as a presentation deck. The information presented in this section needs to read like it is designed for investors and should highlight key terms and concepts they care about. Here’s a sample property management business plan outline, followed by a detailed explanation: Executive Summary Company Overview Market Analysis (Industry, Customer, and Competitive Analysis) Services Marketing Plan & Sales Strategy Operations Management Management Team Financial Plan Growth Opportunities Executive Summary This is a high-level overview of your entire presentation. As such, it should be the last section that you write. You want to be concise but interesting and hook the reader quickly. Outline the following in broad strokes: The type of property management company you are operating Your target market Your objectives Your plan for meeting these objectives Company Overview The company overview will dive deeper into your property management niche and business model. Explain what types of properties you manage and how you operate. Options include single-family residential property management (SFR), multi-family property management (MFR) or residential apartments, HOA management, and commercial property management. Give a brief history of your company and your legal business structure. Other important information might include: Your key competitive differentiators and core competencies Your metrics for success Your management team Financial details Mission and vision statements Market Analysis (Industry, Customer, and Competitive Analysis) This section benefits you almost as much as it does your audience. Researching for this section will help you more deeply understand the industry, customers, and competition. Industry analysis should include details on the trajectory of the market, its size, and key trends, along with challenges and opportunities. Customer analysis should include details about your target customers, their wants and needs, etc. Competitive analysis should outline direct competitors (PMCs in your area) and indirect competitors like in-house managers, automated tools, etc. Explain why your value proposition is unique. Ideally, present a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Services This section should describe the property management services the company plans to offer, such as leasing, maintenance, and rent collection. Depending on the jurisdiction, legal compliance and documentation services may be relevant as well. This section should also discuss the pricing strategy for these services. Marketing Plan & Sales Strategy This section should describe the company's marketing plan and sales strategy, including how it plans to attract and retain clients. It should also discuss any advertising or promotional campaigns the company plans to undertake. Promotions could include paid advertising in print and on websites, social media marketing, radio advertising, SEO marketing, and more. Here, it’s important to document your marketing channels (organic online, targeted online, print advertising, professional networking) as well as ongoing sales and marketing programs. Operations Management Outline your short-term processes and long-term business goals, as well as estimate day-to-day operations. What property management software are you using in the business? What bottlenecks slow down work that’s moving through the organization? How will you structure your company and your teams? It may also be helpful to include details on critical process workflows, risk mitigation strategies, and technology integrations and updates. Management Team Outline your management structure and the skills and experience of your management team. You’ll particularly want to highlight property management and real estate experience. This is a key moment for you to consider who you have in the company, who is a right fit, and who needs to be looked at as not a great fit. Financial Plan This is where you give your financial projections and approach. Outline your major cost centers and revenue drivers. What management fees are you going to charge? You should include a profit and loss statement, balance sheets, and a cash flow statement. Growth Opportunities Identify and outline the most targeted growth opportunities for your business right now and over the next five and ten years. Knowing your long-term goals requires you to gain a deep understanding of the real estate and property management market in your area and to understand clearly where you fit in and how you can generate growth and value for years to come. Typically, in this section you might include: Expansion plans Strategic alliances Technology upgrades Emerging market trends Property Management Business Plan Free Template Although you may prefer to draft your own property management business plan from scratch, there are a couple of options for short-cutting the process. You can use the checklist below to organize your plan, or else simply download our free PMC business plan template to customize as you see fit. Executive Summary The type of property management company you are operating Your target market Your objectives Your plan for meeting these objectives Company Overview Mission and vision statements Your property management niche and business model How you operate Company history Your legal business structure Your key competitive differentiators and core competencies Your metrics for success Your management team Financial overview Market Analysis Industry assessment Customer analysis Competitive analysis Services Marketing Plan & Sales Strategy Outline of sales and marketing plans Marketing channels Ongoing sales and marketing programs Operations Management Long-term business goals Current processes Critical process workflows Risk mitigation strategies Technology integrations and updates Management Team Management structure Skills and experience Financial Plan Financial projections Cost centers and revenue drivers P&L statement Balance sheet Cash flow statement Growth Opportunities Targeted growth opportunities Expansion plans Strategic alliances Technology upgrades Emerging market trends ‍ Get your free PMC business plan template here. Beyond the business plan: Focus on retention with the Second Nature RBP At Second Nature, we work with property managers around the country to develop better resident experiences that will generate more value for their clients and more profit for their companies. The product we have found most helpful to property managers at every stage of their company’s growth is a fully managed resident benefits package or RBP. Each product in this package aims to deliver something residents want or need and a service that helps set your PMC apart. We want to help make running your business as easy as second nature.

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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How to Create Self-Service Tenant Onboarding Workflows

A tenant self-service onboarding workflow is a system that enables new residents to complete the onboarding process by themselves using online portals, automated communication workflows, and chatbots, with minimal involvement from property management teams. Why automate? Automation can provide smaller property management companies with an edge by streamlining processes, improving communication with residents, and reducing manual workloads. By leveraging tech tools such as property management software, online portals, and automated workflows, smaller companies can increase efficiency, provide better customer experiences, and compete with larger players in the industry. Implementing tech is especially important – let’s actually say it’s imperative – in today's digital age, where residents expect instant communication and online access to property information. By embracing tech solutions, smaller property management companies can not only keep up with industry trends but also stay ahead of the competition. Today we are talking with a leader in property management who has also been an early adopter of some of the most innovative new AI and tech solutions for the property management industry – Wolfgang Croskey. Wolfgang shares some of the best ways to automate your resident onboarding process and how to avoid pitfalls along the way. Key Learning Objectives: Do I need to implement self-service workflows for resident onboarding? What are the greatest benefits of implementing this automated process? What are the pitfalls of tech and automation in resident onboarding? How do I create self-service onboarding workflows? Meet the Expert: Wolfgang Croskey, Founder & President of How’s My Rental Wolfgang Croskey has been working in real estate since he was a little kid. From stuffing envelopes, unclogging toilets, and serving notices to creating leases, he has touched on all aspects of property management. He is a well-respected member of NARPM, a servant leader to his community, and, to top it all off, a father of 6. Wolf has been a board member and president of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, where he is currently the CEO, providing leadership and direction to the Chamber in their daily activities. He is also the Founder of How's My Rental, a site-awareness servicing California landlords as well as the founder of The Perfect Tenant, a Master Leasing Company. A Note on Language: At Second Nature, we prefer the term “residents” over “tenants.” It’s our belief that focusing on the people in every interaction helps us to create better, more valuable, and more profitable business strategies in the long run. Property management is all about focusing on what residents and investors – human beings – want and need! But through this article, you’ll see us use both “tenants” and “residents” due to the fact that many parts of our industry are very technical and require accurate terminology. Why should you implement tenant self-service onboarding workflows? Tenant, or – as we prefer to say here at Second Nature – resident onboarding is an essential aspect of property management. But as any PM will tell you, it can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. That's why a resident self-service onboarding workflow can be a game-changer for property managers. By providing residents with online self-service portals, automated communication workflows, and chatbots, self-service onboarding workflows can reduce the need for manual work, streamline the onboarding process, and improve tenant experiences. According to Croskey, property managers across the country are adopting self-service workflows and automation – but there’s still a lot of room for growth. “There is a growing trend towards adopting self-service onboarding workflows in the property management industry, driven by the numerous benefits they provide, such as reduced manual work, faster lease execution, and improved resident experience,” Croskey says. “However, there may be some pushback from property managers who are hesitant to adopt new technology or concerned about potential security risks. Addressing these concerns through education and demonstrating the benefits of automation can help encourage wider adoption.” As we’ve mentioned before, Croskey has called automation the “great equalizer.” How? According to Croskey, “It allows us to compete with these nationwide companies and to provide not only the same level of service but to be able to pivot and adapt much quicker than those larger companies can. So for me, you're a smaller company, AI and Automation Tech is that equalizer that's going to allow you to shine just as well as these larger companies.” Are there disadvantages to adopting more automation? Croskey says there are areas of vulnerability for PMCs looking to automate their processes more deeply. The issue? Not having those processes right in the first place. Croskey says he’s seen many property managers assume that AI is going to fix their problems. “The reality is, if you don't have your policies, procedures, and processes in place, there is no tool on earth that's going to be able to save your bacon,” says Croskey. “Look at McDonald’s: At one point, some team had to roll up their sleeves and make the process of how to build the Big Mac. And it probably took quite a while to do that. But now that it's done, they haven't changed the Big Mac for at least 40 years. It's still the same nasty hamburger.” With a chuckle, Croskey continues: “A lot of times, myself included, we try to find technologies that can help us avoid that initial work. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves, and you’ve got to get through that.” How to create tenant self-service onboarding workflows So, let’s say you’ve accepted that building self-service workflows gives massive advantages to your PMC. And let’s say you’ve established your processes in a way you’re confident is efficient, legal, etc. Now how do you create the automation to help new residents help themselves? Here’s what Croskey advises, in his own words. To create a resident self-service onboarding workflow, property managers should consider the following steps: Select Software: “To optimize your property management process, it's crucial to select software that offers robust onboarding automation features such as online applications, tenant screening, and digital lease signing.” Integrate Workflows: “Ensure the workflow is tailored to your needs and seamlessly integrates with your existing accounting, maintenance, and communication platforms.” Implement Data Security: “It's equally important to implement stringent data security protocols to safeguard resident information during the onboarding process.” Equip Resident with Resources: “Finally, equip residents with the necessary resources to familiarize themselves with the self-service workflow and provide comprehensive training to your team to ensure a smooth transition.” With those steps in place, let’s look at some of the specific aspects of the onboarding process that property managers can start with when building self-service tools. Virtual tours Croskey explains that AI-powered chatbots can provide virtual property tours – answering questions, and offering additional information to potential residents in real-time. Here’s how it works: Prospective tenants can access an online customer portal or chatbot that offers virtual tours of the property. They can interact with the chatbot to select a specific unit or area of the property they want to tour. The chatbot or other AI tech can then use VR or AR technology to provide a 360-degree view of the selected area. Prospective tenants can move around and explore the space as if they were physically there. The chatbot can also provide additional information about the property, such as floor plans, rental rates, and amenities. Rental application Nearly all automated property management solutions can provide automated rental applications. Here are some tips on how to ensure you’re deploying it effectively: Provide residents with an online portal where they can submit their rental applications and supporting documents electronically. This can include personal information, employment history, rental history, and financial statements. Use automated workflows to guide residents through the application process and send notifications when additional information or documents are required. Implement electronic signature software to enable residents to sign and submit rental agreements and other legal documents online. Integrate the rental application process into your property management software to streamline the process and reduce manual workloads. Beyond that, Croskey explains that “Chatbots can guide residents through the online application process, answering questions and providing support as needed.” Tenant verification Property managers can make tenant verification self-service by implementing tenant verification software into their property management system. These software solutions will help by: Leveraging an online portal where residents can submit their information and documents for verification, including rental history, employment verification, and credit checks. Using chatbots or automated workflows to guide residents through the process, answer questions, and provide them with updates on the status of their applications. Implementing secure authentication measures to ensure only authorized individuals can access and submit sensitive information. Lease negotiation Here are some steps to make lease negotiation automated or self-service: Property managers can create an online lease agreement platform accessible to residents via a unique login and password. The platform can provide residents with the ability to view and select available properties and rental units, along with the associated lease terms and rental rates. Residents can submit a lease application online, which can include information such as their employment history, income, and rental history. The platform can automatically screen the application, verifying information such as credit score, employment status, and income. Once the application is approved, the resident can negotiate lease terms such as the lease duration, rental rate, and security deposit directly with the property manager via the online platform. The online platform can use AI to generate a lease agreement that reflects the negotiated terms, which can be reviewed and signed by the tenant and property manager online. Property services onboarding Getting residents set up with all the services, utility connections, etc. that they need can be a hassle for everyone. You can end up answering several calls and questions, while they may spend hours on the phone trying to identify what they need and how to get it. Self-service onboarding can make a huge difference. One example is Second Nature’s Movie-In Concierge, part of our full-service Resident Benefits Package. In one phone call, residents find out what their best options are and can even get help simplifying setup. An experienced concierge confidently guides multiple people every day to properly set up their utilities. We’ve also automated filter delivery to ensure residents replace filters on time, which saves them roughly $15 per month in HVAC fees. Document management Property managers can make document management self-service by providing tenants with an online portal where they can access, upload, and sign documents. Here are some steps to make document management self-service: Property managers can create an online portal accessible to residents via a unique login and password. Set up permissions so residents can upload documents such as lease agreements, rental applications, and move-in checklists to the online portal. Property managers can upload documents such as rental payment receipts, notices, and lease addendums to the online portal. The online portal can provide residents with the ability to digitally sign documents, eliminating the need for paper-based signatures. Property managers can use automated workflows to track document submissions, ensure that all documents are complete, and send reminders to tenants who have outstanding documents. The online portal can be integrated with the property management software, ensuring all documents are properly filed and easily accessible. Croskey adds that “AI can help organize, store, and retrieve documents related to the onboarding process, streamlining the experience for both property managers and residents.” Resident communication Here are some steps to automate resident communication and ensure residents can help themselves to the info they need. Property managers can create an online portal that can provide residents with information about their lease, rent payments, and property services, as well as the ability to submit service requests and communicate with the property manager. Chatbots or other AI tools can provide instant communication to residents during the onboarding process, answering questions and addressing concerns efficiently. Property managers can use automated workflows to send reminders to residents about rent payments, lease renewals, and move-in/move-out procedures. The portal can provide residents with the ability to report maintenance issues, request repairs, and track the status of their requests. Property managers can use automated workflows to manage and track service requests, assign tasks to maintenance staff, and ensure the timely completion of service requests. The portal can provide residents with access to a knowledge base or FAQs, where they can find answers to common questions about their lease and the property. Maintenance coordination AI and chatbots can help coordinate move-in inspections, maintenance requests, and repairs, ensuring a smooth transition for new residents. The best way to do this is to implement a maintenance management system that integrates via an API with the resident communication platform. Property managers can provide new residents with access to the online portal, where they can submit maintenance requests and track the status of their requests. The portal can include a list of frequently requested maintenance tasks and allow residents to select the task and provide details about the issue. You can use an automated workflow to assign maintenance tasks to the appropriate staff member, schedule the task, and notify the resident of the scheduled date and time. The maintenance staff can update the status of the task on the portal, allowing the resident to track the progress of the repair. You can use data analytics to identify recurring maintenance issues and proactively address them before they become larger problems. Finally, you can provide residents with the ability to rate and provide feedback on the maintenance staff's performance, allowing property managers to continuously improve their service. What are some of the best tools for implementing self-service onboarding workflows? Several automation tools have emerged as industry leaders in resident onboarding. The best tool for your property management business will depend on your specific needs and requirements, says Croskey. He recommends looking into some of the more popular options online, including: AppFolio: AppFolio is a comprehensive property management software that offers automated tenant onboarding, including online applications, screening, and lease signing. Buildium: Buildium provides an end-to-end resident onboarding solution, including application management, tenant screening, and electronic lease signing. LeadSimple: LeadSimple provides a process-oriented solution to onboarding a tenant. By using reactive templated emails, tenants have the ability to select options and then drive the process along. What does the future of self-service onboarding look like? We asked Croskey, and he answered: As technology advances, self-service onboarding workflows can become even smarter by: Personalized onboarding experiences: AI can analyze resident data to tailor the onboarding process based on individual preferences and requirements. Integration with IoT devices: The onboarding process can be integrated with smart home devices, enabling residents to set up utilities, internet, or other services through voice assistants or other IoT interfaces. Enhanced data security: Advanced encryption and AI-driven security measures can better protect resident data during the onboarding process. Automated compliance checks: AI can automatically verify that leases and other documents comply with local, state, and federal regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues. Final thoughts: Just get started! Croskey says the key is to start learning how to use automation and AI now – and make sure you provide your team with the training and support they need. “My recommendation is just to get started and try these new tools,” he says. “And as you grow more confident, make sure to do your team justice by providing them training and providing them opportunities to learn how to use these tools as well. It’s not fair to say, ‘Okay, starting tomorrow, we're using this brand new tool, have a nice day.’ Really focus on some training.” You can learn more by listening to our podcast with Wolfgang: Everything You Need to Know about Practical AI for Property Management. We’re keeping our fingers on the pulse of this space – stay tuned for more!

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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Property Management Fees: Opportunities for Growth

If you’re familiar with Second Nature, you know that supporting SFR property managers in building triple win experiences is our focus. So today, we’re taking on the thorny topic of property management fees within SFR property management companies. And we’re turning to one of the leading industry educators on the subject: Todd Ortscheid, owner of PM Assist. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article. Key Learning Objectives: How to structure your property management fees for growth The benefits and challenges of charging property management fees How you can use fees to add value for yourself, your clients, and your residents How to introduce fees without turning clients off Examples of property management fees you might not be employing (yet) Meet the Expert: Todd Ortscheid Todd spent 14 years as an airline pilot – an industry known for capitalizing on fee structures as a growth strategy. He took over his father’s property management company after the 2008 real estate crash and eventually tripled the company’s number of doors. As the co-owner of PM Assist, he offers training and counsel on finding new ways to increase company revenue, process automation, and profit per unit. Todd is a true entrepreneur and creative thinker, with ideas that challenge the status quo and may even ruffle some feathers. But Todd’s strategies have proven to help grow property management companies, and we’re thrilled to share his insights. Related: State of Resident Experience Study What Property Management Fees Are Standard? You should be seeing income on anything you’re spending money on as well. Anything you want to do to create more value for residents or investors? You should charge a fee for that so your company can stay competitive and your employees can get paid. Here are a few examples to get you started. Inspection & Maintenance Fees How much time are you spending on periodic property inspections? How much money are you spending on maintenance costs? How valuable is your staff's time? Todd says, “You have to be charging for this. Don't just include maintenance requests and inspections as part of your monthly management fee.” Marketing Fees Todd says, “I'm sure a lot of you are probably in markets where Zillow started charging you to put your listings on their website. And I've heard a lot of property managers say it's just a cost we're absorbing. Don't do that. Pass on that cost. Call it a marketing fee or the Zillow fee or whatever you want to make sure you're making money on that. Never pay for your own property management costs – come up with some way to cover all of these costs that you have for your business.” Insurance Risk Mitigation Fees If your investor doesn’t have insurance, you are often the one who will suffer. Todd advises charging a fee if your investor doesn’t send a policy within 30 days. “Tell them, ‘This new fee will be charged as a mitigation fee for the additional risk we have.’ You will not believe how quickly people will send you their insurance policies if you do this. We only charged a nominal fee. But a flood of emails came in after I sent out that notice to owners. So this isn't about making more money. For the most part, it's about influencing behavior and ensuring you get the insurance policies you need.” Account Creation Fees As a property manager, you can charge a set fee to investors to create an account with your company. This fee may or may not cover various other costs such as any related property inspection requirements or tenant communications. Recurring Management Fees Recurring (typically monthly) property management fees are extremely common in the industry, and will be built into the initial contract signed between the investor and the property management company. The amount can be based on a flat fee structure, or tied to a percentage of the monthly rent collected. Vendor Screening Fees It’s a hassle to use vendors outside your usual network. “If you have property owners who want to use their vendor instead of your preferred vendors, that creates more work for you.” If you charge a flat fee, they’ll likely drop it, and you’ve saved yourself that extra work. If they want to keep their vendors and pay the fee, at least you’re getting paid for that extra work.” Rent Protection Fees or Eviction Fee A huge area of value for investors is protecting them from unwanted risk. Investors have to deal with concerns about evictions, lost rental income, and more. Property management companies can take on that risk for a fee. You can say you’ll cover missed rent if the investor pays a monthly fee. The win for PMCs is that the risk is often low, and you can often control it (controlling for on-time rent due by charging late rent fees, for example). You get the fee, and you will rarely have to take the hit on the month’s rent. The win for investors is they don’t have to worry about it at all. Contract resiliation fees For investors that terminate the property management contract prematurely, you can charge an early termination fee, the amount of which will vary depending on the contract's terms. The fee may cover a month or more of management fees. Resident Fees Todd emphasizes that the real moneymaker is resident fees. Plus, charging fees for unwanted behaviors – like late rent, paper leases, failure to change HVAC filters, etc. – can help drive better behavior. Todd uses examples like Security deposit processing fee Leasing fee or a lease amendment fee Paper lease setup fee Lease renewal fee Late fee Special programs fee “Of course, the resident benefit package is the big one. This is a way for you to provide additional services to your residents and make some money off of it.” What Are the Factors that Influence Property Management Fees? Ultimately, the fees you charge should reflect your operational reality, and can vary depending on a range of factors: Property location: Properties located in areas with higher operational expenses may incur higher management fees compared to those in other regions. Property condition: The condition of the property, and whether it is new or renovated, affects maintenance requirements and thus can influence management costs. Property size: The size of the rental property directly influences the workload of the property manager, with larger properties typically incurring higher fees. Scope of services: The range of services provided by the property management company significantly impacts the fees charged. Basic services like rent collection command lower fees, while comprehensive management services covering rent collection, vacancy filling, repairs, evictions, and financial record-keeping for taxes entail higher costs. How Should Property Managers Structure Fees? Real estate investors often focus on determining what fair or typical property management pricing should be. A general rental property management fee includes collecting the month’s rent, following up on arrears, organizing property maintenance and repairs, and keeping abreast of legal requirements. That’s the baseline. But the growth is in what you do on top of that baseline. Todd breaks down pricing like this: “Only 40% of your revenue should come from your property management fee. 60% of our revenue is not management-fee related. If most of your money comes from your management fee, you're doing it wrong. That's not going to last very long.” And here’s the difference those added fees can make to your bottom line: “According to recent numbers from Profit Coach, the average PM company gets about $170 a month in revenue. $170 per door per month. I just looked at the profit coach dashboard for my company, and over the last 12 months, we have averaged $320 per unit per month.” The nugget in there is that the market should determine your base property management fee. But that often cheats PMCs, giving property managers extra work without fairly compensating them for the additional time, effort and cost. You can – and, according to Todd, you should – be charging for that extra work and extra value that you provide as a professional. Note: Todd emphasizes that ALL fees should be communicated upfront during the onboarding process and lease agreement. Fees aren’t about tricky pricing or hidden markups. They’re about charging for value and driving behavior. What Are the Benefits and Challenges of Charging Property Management Fees? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of charging additional fees for your additional property management services. Benefit 1: More Revenue = Better Service Todd points out that you can't really provide the level of service that you want if you don't have enough revenue coming in. “We've got to be able to provide fantastic service, and the only way you can do that is with revenue. You have to start looking at this as something that you have to do. Your clients and your residents are suffering if you don't.” It’s a fantasy to think we can offer premium service without paying for the resources they cost us. Benefit 2: More Revenue = Happier Employees Your team deserves to be paid for their work, especially if it’s extra work caused by a difficult resident or investor. Fees help reduce workload because they discourage behaviors that add to busy work. But more on that in the next section. Todd says: “Property management company owners talk to me all the time about how they can't afford to pay higher wages in the current market. The reason you can't take better care of your employees is that you're struggling to get by just on a basic management fee. Charging fees for what your services are worth is the only way you’re going to be able to provide competitive wages and benefits.” Benefit 3: Charging for Service Drives Better Habits According to Todd, fees drive behavior. Your investors and residents will respond to fees in a way they may not respond to anything else. For example, home warranties are a huge hassle for everyone. If you want to discourage investors from using a warranty company, simply charge a fee for anyone that does. On the resident side, an example is late payment fees. If you communicate from the start that late payments will draw a fee – you’ll notice how payments come in on time much more often. Benefit 4: Greater Profits This one speaks for itself. But here’s what Todd says: “Never pay for your own cost of running your business. This isn't a charity. Every single expense in your company should be tied to some income you're going to make.” Challenge 1: Will Investors Be Turned Off by Fees? In the long run, if you’re charging fees for premium services, you can provide a better outcome for investors. But how can you get them on board with this concept? Todd says it’s all in the language we use. “People don't understand that the management fee is really a rent collection fee. We shouldn't call it a management fee because it makes it sound like everything we do is included, which is of course, crazy. There's so much that can't be looped into that one thing. We should call it a rent collection fee because that's really what it is. You've got to get your mindset right on this stuff. Don't be afraid of it.” Challenge 2: Regulations (AKA: Always Talk to Your Attorney First) Regulations vary across regions, so rental property managers must be familiar with local laws. You may not be allowed to charge fees for certain types of services. But you can almost always categorize a service within an administrative fee. But discussing any fees and contracts with your attorney before implementing them in the real world is key. Oh, and you should charge for your legal fees! How Do Fees Help Property Managers Add Value and Create a Positive Resident Experience? The additional fees generated by delivering new and higher service levels are a reflection of a positive, resident-focused experience. In fact, such additional services are exactly what can set professionals apart from amateurs. Instead of letting increasing competition cut your legs from under you, Todd advises finding ways to generate value that the amateur property managers or real estate agents-turned-property-managers can’t compete with. And, of course, charge for that value. “I always tell people that I don't like to say no to clients or residents,” Todd says. “Instead, I like to say, ‘Sure, we're happy to do that. And this is how much that costs.’ You just want to be careful and ensure you’re actually doing things that the owners will find valuable. Charging fees allows a property management company to offer premium services and benefits they couldn’t if they didn’t have that extra revenue. It’s a perspective shift, but Todd believes we need to start viewing fees as a generative, value-driving approach to property management. How Can I Use Fees to Generate Ancillary Income? In the end, you might think of fees as a burden that will drive away investors, but the truth is the exact opposite. Fees help you drive more premium value for both your investors and your residents – and support your business and employees at the same time. At Second Nature, that’s what we call a Triple Win. We aim to help property management companies drive Triple Wins like this all the time. We do it through the value proposition of a Resident Benefits Package. An RBP offers value to investors by delivering a full-service resident experience. And, yes, that’s something property managers charge a fee for! Since it’s fully managed by our team, you can basically plug it in and let it drive value for you, your investors, and your residents. Fee FAQs Q: What is included in the property management fee? Property management fees typically cover a range of services, which vary from company to company. Sample inclusions: inspection & maintenance fees marketing fees insurance risk mitigation fees account creation fees recurring management fees vendor screening fees rent protection fees or eviction fee contract resiliation fees security deposit processing fee leasing fee or a lease amendment fee paper lease setup fee lease renewal fee late fee special programs fee Q: What is the average property management fee? The average property management fee varies according to region and state, as well as from company to company. In addition, these fees are largely dependent on the value, responsibilities, and services the property manager brings to the table. Generally, they amount to a fixed percentage of collected rent, as opposed to a flat fee.

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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Types of Tenant Problems and How to Deal With Them

Google “how to deal with problem tenants,” and you’ll see dozens of articles, probably written by people who have never managed property in their lives, about how to react when you have an issue with a resident. What these articles don’t understand is that thinking about “problem tenants” doesn’t get you anywhere. After all, if the problem is the person, your only real recourses are eviction or non-renewal. Not ideal! You’re also left reacting to issues after they’ve become emergencies rather than focusing on a proactive, positive resident experience in the first place. Instead, property managers across the industry are starting to redefine the issue as “problem behaviors, habits, or situations.” While they can't control what others do, expert rental property managers are absolutely in a position to influence change in behavior, habits, and situations. Here’s how we’ve seen professional property managers approach difficult situations and turn them into wins. Types of “Problem Tenants” (hint: it's problem behaviors!) Success for a property manager means creating and delivering the best experiences for 1) residents, 2) investors, and 3) property managers – a Triple Win. The Triple Win means finding solutions that benefit everyone. Rather than automatically assuming the resident is the problem, some property managers approach resident issues as a behavior that can be changed. They ask, “What are the behaviors and habits that I want to prevent, and the ones that I want to encourage?” Often the root cause is addressable and the behavior changeable. So, first, it’s important to identify those common problem behaviors and then how to prevent them. Partial payments, late payments, and nonpayments Can we get an amen? Late payment is probably the most common complaint among property managers since on-time rent payments are critical to managing your business. In aiming for a triple win, on-time payments are one of the top needs for property managers and investors. Residents may have any number of reasons they struggle to pay rent on time. Here are some of the most common reasons we’ve heard from PMs for why residents have late rent or unpaid rent: The resident’s paycheck comes after the month’s rent is due. There are financial products coming to the industry that allow residents to split rent payments and pay back a third party before the month’s end for less than the cost of a late fee. Also, some PMs are providing financial literacy and education resources through partners like Operation Hope. Residents are stuck sending checks in the mail. Most PMs are now leveraging tech platforms that can make payments easy-breezy. The issue may be more a matter of encouraging more residents to use it. Some accounting platforms are tricky to use. The more convenient your accounting platform interface is, the more residents are likely to use it. It’s possible a resident had a large unexpected medical bill or other expense. You can set up systems to help them stay in communication with you about payments and set up payment plans for late fees if they miss. Some PMs are even allowing residents to access their security deposits and switch to a monthly alternative instead. It’s always possible that they simply don’t have the income to pay the rent. PMs know this is a risk, and many focus on implementing better financial tools for their resident screening process. Property damage Another common issue is rental property damage. Most residents take care of the property — after all, it’s where they live! But we’ve all seen residents whose footprint goes beyond normal wear and tear, whether it’s due to negligence, abuse, unapproved changes, or DIY projects gone wrong. Again, we’ve learned from innovative property managers that the best approach is to proactively create an environment where residents are motivated to take great care of the property. They ask themselves: How do we make it easier to take care of the property than not? Think of it as putting the cookies on the bottom shelf. How do PMs get this done? Often, through a resident benefits package. A resident benefits package rewards residents for taking care of the property. A good package includes things like air filter subscriptions, credit support, and great insurance. After all: When changing air filters is as easy as opening the front door, it gets done more often. When getting proper insurance coverage is as easy as signing the lease, it means fewer residents fall out of compliance. Lease violations Lease violations put everyone at risk. Here are a couple of examples: Unauthorized occupants and animals – i.e., people or pets that didn't go through the proper screening and approvals process. Unexpected roommates or pets can become liability risks or cause revenue loss if the resident should be paying pet fees, etc. HOA violations – i.e., breaking the agreements made with the homeowners association. Most single-family rentals are subject to some kind of HOA. Violations may relate to poor maintenance of the lawn, noise violations, or other "bad neighbor" behavior as the HOA codifies it. Illegal sublets Subletting may fall under HOA violations or other issues. One particularly controversial type of subleasing is Airbnb or other short-term rentals. Some cities and districts ban these kinds of rentals. Property managers are often experts on local regulations around rentals and help communicate those local and state laws with their residents. A legal advisor also goes a long way to help build a clause in the lease agreement. Excessive complaints Reasonable complaints from residents help PMs stay on top of issues on their properties. Broken AC? They’ll let you know. Gas leak? You depend on them to tell you if something is amiss! But there’s a flip side to resident complaints, too. The unreasonable complaints. These are the phone calls that wake you up in the middle of the night over something you’ve already resolved. Or the complaint about something out of your control. Or maybe just incessant contact about little things that the resident could easily address themselves. Tips to Deal With Difficult Tenants Before we talk about strategies to build good habits among your residents, we’ll also touch on some practical tips to deal with difficult residents – whether you’re looking to avoid the experience altogether or if you’re already facing major obstacles. Ensure you have a robust applicant vetting process Obviously one of the best ways to deal with difficult residents is to avoid them in the first place. That might sound like a cheat of an answer, but any property manager will list this as one of the most important factors to success. Every applicant should be given the same requirements in a tenant screening process, to avoid any discrimination and protect yourself, the applicant, and your investor. You should include a background check for criminal history and credit checks into credit reports, proof of income, employer and previous landlord references. Make sure you're aware of tenant rights laws in your area and taking care not to discriminate. Keep written records of everything Leaving a paper trail helps protect your job and your assets. If you’re a property manager, it helps build trust with the investors; if you’re an investor, it helps keep you legally protected and the trust of your other residents. Call law enforcement when dealing with lawbreakers Don’t try to deal with lawbreaking alone. Call police or community officers to help you deal with illegal activity. Keep your leases updated and bring up details when needed Make sure that you and your attorney are regularly updating the terms of your standard lease and rental agreements. This helps to avoid any legal issues or additional expenses. Reminding residents of the details of the lease can help calm them down and establish clear boundaries around what they can and can‘t ask for. Follow an eviction process if necessary No one wants an eviction. But if your residents are putting you and other residents at risk, or breaking the terms of the lease, it’s time to consider giving them an eviction notice. Start with a written notice. Make sure you consult with a legal advisor to avoid an eviction lawsuit. Be sure you understand local ordinances around eviction. Stay familiar with local laws and regulations And, of course, all property management companies should stay up to date with their local laws and regulations. These differ widely from city to city and state to state, and are critical to stay safe, avoiding penalties, and providing fair service to every resident. How to Turn “Problem Tenants” into Happy Residents These are helpful tips, but I’m sure you’re all nodding along like, “Yes, but this is the bare minimum!” After all, these steps are reactive. The Triple Win mindset is proactive. In addition to following the best practices above, Triple Win PMs ask: How can we make the resident experience so good that they want to stay, pay, and play by the rules? Here are some of the best tips we’ve learned from years in the industry. Resident benefits package One of the most practical solutions we’ve seen is providing a robust Resident Benefits Package that delivers on what your residents need. Benefits are extremely important to residents in single-family properties. In fact, a recent study found that 22% of residents planned to move to a rental with more appealing amenities better suited to their needs than where they currently lived. PMs attract the right residents and encourage the best behaviors with amenities and benefits. A resident benefits package can boost the resident experience and help influence resident behavior. The next tips can be included in an RBP or separated out on their own. Create an incentive program that rewards residents for good habits like on-time payments Our resident benefits include monthly rental rewards for residents who pay their rent on time. Property managers are also able to create custom incentives to reward on-time renewal decisions, prompt survey replies, and more. It's a rewards platform for residents, but an incentive platform for PMs. This is the definition of a triple win! Support residents in building credit Credit-building tools are another incentive for residents to pay on time – but it goes even further by actively supporting residents in their financial stability. Our credit building program automatically reports on-time payments to the credit bureaus, which has increased resident scores by as much as 20-40+ points. Provide easy-to-use tech tools to support their experience An online portal can make everything easier – from paying rent on time, making timely maintenance requests, and checking important rental unit information. Build ease into property care tasks like air filter changes PMs are increasingly ensuring that things like air filters are taken care of automatically. Our resident benefits package includes regular filter shipments, which reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 15% and reduce HVAC work orders by up to 38%. Provide a move-in concierge Make your job easier with a move-in concierge service included in your resident benefits package. Residents turn four phone calls into one, and get their utilities and home services set up at their new address conveniently. When it’s that easy, it gets done more often. When there’s an experienced person helping, it also eliminates more mistakes. Provide failsafe insurance coverage The master policy included in RBP allows property managers to submit damage claims directly and immediately. And over 95% of residents choose it due to the competitive pricing, coverage, and convenience of just signing their lease. Our insurance program turns 41% lease compliance into 100% compliance. These are just a few examples of how property managers are using benefits to encourage the best resident behavior. In fact, at Second Nature, we built every feature based on feedback from professional PMs who have explored how to turn problems into a Triple Win experience. Why a Professional Property Manager is Critical To Manage Difficult Tenants All of this is made possible with a professional property manager. What differentiates the pros from a “commodity property manager?" Commodity property management is built on a belief that property management is just a basic service of collecting rent and handling maintenance – a support function. This competitive approach is resigned to differentiating on old approaches by being a little bit cheaper. It’s a zero-sum game with winners and losers. And it leaves problem behaviors from residents unaddressed until after the fact. Professional property managers are getting proactive about building triple-win experiences – built on the belief that property management is positioned as a strategic function for creating value. It’s generative. More property managers are asking how to grow the pie, so everyone gets bigger slices, and everyone wins. By stacking aligned, experiential value over time… it creates business relationships residents, investors, and team members want to stay for. How the SecondNature RBP Helps in Managing “Problem Tenants” and Making Residents Happy In the end, even most inexperienced managers typically know what's supposed to happen – i.e., rent on time, change filters, maintain insurance, etc. But the best property managers know not just what’s supposed to happen, they know how to make it happen. There are all kinds of exciting innovative approaches out there, and professional property managers are leading the way. We believe it will be the dedicated, passionate professionals who innovate and solve old problems in new ways. Learn more about how Second Nature partners with professional PMs on Resident Services that drive Triple Win outcomes.

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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