Calendar icon May 17, 2023

Benefits of Outsourcing Property Management Services

Property management services have changed in leaps and bounds over the past 5-10 years. And property management outsourcing services have grown along with it. 

While the traditional approach to property management simply provided the basics – maintenance, rent collection, etc. – entrepreneurial PMs saw a massive gap in that value proposition and have transformed the real estate industry. Now, property management services are increasingly seen as a way to generate value for residents, real estate investors, and property management companies. PMCs are delivering resident benefits like credit reporting, renter’s insurance programs, pet guarantees, and more. And each of these services acts as a value add for everyone involved. 

But that can also add extra burden and cost to your property management business when your team is already spread thin. One of the best ways to offer value without overextending your team is to outsource some of those PM services to PropTech products, contractors, or a fully managed solution.

Today we’re going to talk about this option in more detail. Whether you’re just getting started in property management or a seasoned pro, we hope you’ll find something here to help. 

Key Learning Objectives:

  • What is outsourced property management?
  • What services add the most value to the resident experience?
  • What property management services are most easily outsourced?
  • What are the costs associated with outsourcing PM services?
  • What are the benefits of outsourcing PM services?

 

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What is outsourced property management?

Outsourced property management refers to the practice of paying for a third-party company or product to handle certain tasks or operations for your property management company. This could include tasks such as tenant screening, resident benefits, renters insurance programs, rent collection, maintenance and repair coordination, lease enforcement, financial reporting, and more.

Property management is in itself an outsourced service for real estate investors/property owners. Just as property owners often choose to outsource their property management to save time, reduce stress, and ensure they stay profitable – property management companies may outsource several of their services for the same reasons. 

Property management outsourcing services, whether PropTech products or fully managed solutions, allow property management companies to build efficiencies and focus on quality and growth. Outsourcing certain services can give residents more of what they need and investors more value for their dollar. 

 

What property management services can property management companies outsource?    

Advances in technology and innovation within the property management industry have given PMCs greater flexibility in terms of outsourcing key services. 

As a property manager, you may outsource for a range of reasons. Maybe you’re still building up your team and need cost-effective expertise in a certain area. Maybe you have core products you want to focus on and want certain services to take less of your time. Maybe your investors or residents are asking for out-of-scope services that you can offer for an additional fee.

Overall, outsourced property management services can help PMCs save time, reduce stress, and maximize the profitability of their company. 

So, what are some of the most commonly outsourced property management services? They can be grouped into a few categories:

Let’s dig into the services that might be included within each of those larger categories. 

Rent collection   

Third-party payment processing companies can handle the actual collection and processing of rent payments for the PMC. 

The property management company will provide the payment processing company with the necessary information and details about the residents and the property, including lease terms, payment due dates, and amounts owed. The process may involve various payment methods, such as online payments, credit card payments, ACH transfers, or other payment options.

Some popular outsourcing solutions that help collect rent include Buildium, Propertyware, and AppFolio. Second Nature provides a fully managed service that helps ensure your residents pay rent on time.

Repair and maintenance 

Many PMCs outsource repairs and property maintenance. We’ve spoken with experts like Bob Preston, who run their own maintenance companies separately as another source of income and an added value to their clients. 

When a property management company outsources repair and maintenance, it typically involves hiring third-party contractors or service providers to handle the actual repair, upkeep, and maintenance tasks required for the property. 

Outsourcing repair and maintenance can offer several benefits for property management companies. You can access a broader range of specialized skills and high-quality expertise, which may not be available in-house, and save time and resources by avoiding the need to recruit and manage in-house staff to handle repair and maintenance tasks.

Marketing and advertising   

Marketing isn’t everyone’s strong suit, and that’s okay!

When a property management company outsources marketing and advertising, it typically involves hiring a third-party marketing or advertising agency to handle the promotion and advertising of the rental properties. The agency will work closely with the PMC to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that aligns with the property's unique selling points and target audience.

The marketing agency may use a variety of advertising channels and mediums to promote the property, including social media marketing, search engine marketing, online advertising, email marketing, print advertising, and other marketing channels. They may also create engaging content and visuals, such as videos, images, and virtual tours, to showcase the property's features and amenities.

Legal

Most PMCs outsource their legal services to a third-party law firm or attorney to provide legal advice and representation on various matters related to the property or properties. 

Legal services that may be outsourced can include lease agreements, evictions, compliance with local and federal laws and regulations, dispute resolution, and other legal matters that may arise in the course of managing the property. 

Outsourcing legal services helps minimize legal risks and liabilities, ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and protect the property investor’s interests. 

 

download rental inspection checklist template

 

Accounts and finance   

Many PMCs outsource to an accounting firm or financial service provider to handle the financial management and reporting. The outsourced firm will work with you to manage financial records, provide financial reporting, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations.

The accounting and financial services that may be outsourced can include bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, tax planning and compliance, budgeting and forecasting, and other financial reporting and analysis.

Overall, outsourcing accounts and finance can help property management companies to operate more effectively and efficiently and achieve their financial objectives while minimizing financial risks.

Insurance     

PMCs often work with a third-party insurance broker or agent to provide insurance coverage and manage insurance-related issues for the property or properties. The insurance coverage that may be outsourced can include property insurance, liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and other types of insurance coverage that may be necessary or recommended for the property. 

Another way to outsource insurance is to find a service that provides a renters insurance program like Second Nature’s. Ensuring that residents have insurance coverage is a priority for 90% of property managers, but only 41% of residents maintain compliant coverage.

At Second Nature, our renters insurance program has 100% compliance. You can learn more about our coverage and fully managed Resident Benefits Package in our 2023 Resident Experience Report.

Safety and security

Many PMCs outsource to a security company to provide safety and security services. The security company will work closely with the property management company to assess safety and security needs, design and implement safety and security protocols, and provide safety and security personnel and equipment as needed.

Security services that may be outsourced can include security personnel, security systems and equipment, safety training and education, emergency response planning and execution, and other safety and security-related services.

 

What are the costs associated with outsourcing PM services   

The cost for a PMC to outsource some property management services can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the scope of services required, the complexity of the work, the location of the service provider, and the level of expertise required. Some service providers may charge a flat fee, while others may charge an hourly rate or a percentage of the property's rental income.

The cost for outsourcing property management services can range from as low at $1 per property per month to much as hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, depending on whether it’s a full-service tech solution, simple maintenance services, a Resident Benefits Package, etc. 

It's important to note that while outsourcing property management services can come with a cost, it can also provide benefits such as increased efficiency, reduced workload, and access to specialized expertise. Before outsourcing any services, it's important to carefully consider the potential costs and benefits and to choose a service provider that offers high-quality services at a reasonable price.

 

How outsourcing property management services benefits you  

Outsourcing property management services can have a massive impact on your return on investment per door and per client. Outsourcing also helps with scaling when you can’t afford to run every service in-house. With the ability to outsource, you can offer more value to your clients without skyrocketing your operating costs. You can also drive secondary sources of revenue through outsourcing.

Not convinced? Let’s go over some of the real-life benefits we’ve seen PMCs leverage with outsourcing select services.

Cost savings

Outsourcing property management services can save property management companies significant costs associated with hiring and managing in-house staff, as well as investing in technology and infrastructure. Outsourcing can also help to minimize overhead costs, such as office space, equipment, and supplies.

Let’s think even bigger. Outsourcing value-generating services like a Resident Benefits Package has multiple benefits: boosting resident satisfaction, incentivizing on-time payments, and reducing vacancy rates

Talk about a cost-saving win!

Increased efficiency

We’ve seen PMCs use outsourcing to streamline their operations, reduce administrative property management tasks, and increase productivity. This can free up time and resources for property management companies to focus on core business functions and strategic planning. Instead of using your own team for time-consuming tasks, you can outsource them.

Access to expertise

Outsourcing property management services allows PMCs to access specialized expertise and skills that may not be available in-house. This can include legal, accounting, marketing, and maintenance expertise, among others. Outsourcing can also provide access to the latest technology and software, which can improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Better risk management

Property management inherently involves risk. You’re managing people’s lives on the one hand (residents) and investments on the other (owners/investors). Outsourcing can help better manage risks associated with property management, such as legal liabilities, compliance issues, and safety and security concerns. This can help to protect your company from financial and reputational damage.

Improved resident satisfaction

You can more seamlessly and reliably improve resident satisfaction by providing better maintenance and repair services, more efficient rent collection, and faster response times to tenant concerns and requests. This can help to increase tenant retention and attract new tenants.

Higher employee satisfaction

Outsourcing services to a third party is a direct way to impact your employees’ satisfaction. How? Outsourcing helps reduce workload, gives access to better training and development, improves working conditions, and provides a better work-life balance. Often, outsourcing means that your employees get to focus on the core functions that they love instead of getting bogged down in tasks they don’t love or don’t feel equipped for.

 

How thousands of PMCs are outsourcing services for better resident experiences

Property management companies are always looking for new ways to generate value for themselves, their residents, and their investors. One of the quickest ways to scale and increase return on investment can be outsourcing property management services. 

At Second Nature, we’ve pioneered the first-ever fully managed Resident Benefits Package in order to support PMCs with just that goal. Our RBP provides services that residents are proven to pay and stay for – and our team manages every part of the process so property managers can focus on strategy, growth, or work-life balance.

We’ve helped thousands of property managers transform their services and their operations with a customized RBP providing services they couldn’t do alone. Our goal is to make property management easier for PMs, residents, and investors – and drive value that benefits all three. We call it the Triple Win.

Keep learning

SFR Property Management Problems and Solutions

In recent years, the single-family residence (SFR) rental market has seen significant growth as more property owners recognize the potential for steady income and long-term appreciation. With this rise in popularity comes a unique set of challenges for the rental property managers (PMs) who are tasked with overseeing these properties. Unlike multi-family units, managing single-family homes can present a range of issues that require tailored solutions. Scattered-site properties also present a logistical challenge, as they are by nature harder to service and manage. From finding quality residents to handling unexpected maintenance emergencies, a strategic and proactive approach is required to ensure a smooth and profitable rental experience. Note that even though we here at Second Nature prefer the term "resident" over "tenant" in order to foster the human element, the word "tenant" may still be used occasionally due to its long-standing legal and real estate context. What Are the Most Common Property Management Challenges? The most common problems faced by SFR property managers generally fall into three buckets: finding quality residents; maintenance and repairs; and time management and communication. Let's explore each. #1 Finding Quality Residents One of the most critical aspects of managing SFRs is resident placement. Indeed, inadequate resident screening processes can significantly impact resident retention as well as profitability. That’s because poor screening can lead to high turnover rates (including evictions), increased property wear and tear, and ultimately, financial strain. Additionally, attracting responsible residents who will treat the property with care and adhere to lease agreements can be particularly challenging in competitive rental markets. #2 Maintenance and Repairs Unexpected maintenance issues are a common hassle for SFR property managers. From plumbing leaks to HVAC failures, emergencies can arise without warning, leading to unplanned expenses and logistical challenges. Finding reliable and responsive contractors who are able to address repairs promptly adds yet another layer of complexity. The inability to swiftly manage these issues can result in resident dissatisfaction as well as potential property damage. #3 Time Management and Communication Managing multiple single-family homes requires excellent time management skills. Balancing the diverse needs of residents, coordinating with vendors, and ensuring regular property inspections can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s essential to establish clear and timely communication channels to maintain good resident relationships and efficient operations. However, juggling these responsibilities can lead to lapses in communication, resulting in time-consuming misunderstandings and unresolved issues. Solutions for a Smoother SFR Rental Experience While the challenges of managing SFR rentals are significant, there are effective strategies and tools available to streamline operations and enhance resident satisfaction. Here are some solutions to common property management business problems. Strategic Resident Screening Implementing a robust resident screening process is crucial for minimizing vacancy rates and securing responsible residents. To this end, utilizing professional screening services can help identify prospective tenants by thoroughly evaluating their rental history, credit scores, and background checks. Clear lease terms and expectations should be established from the outset to ensure residents understand the responsibilities and obligations that occupancy brings. Learn more: Tenant Screening Tips for PMs 10 Steps to Onboard New Tenants Proactive Maintenance Proactive maintenance is key to preventing costly emergencies and maintaining the property’s condition. Scheduling regular preventative maintenance inspections allows property managers to identify and address potential issues before they escalate. Building relationships with reputable and responsive repair professionals ensures that maintenance tasks and requests are handled promptly. Consider leveraging technology that allows residents to conduct their own regular inspections to provide early detection of problems and streamline the property maintenance process (learn more). Vendor and Supplier Selection Choosing the right property management service providers and vendors is crucial to successful property management. Establishing relationships with reliable and responsive contractors ensures that maintenance and repair issues are addressed promptly, reducing downtime and inconvenience for renters. It’s essential to vet vendors thoroughly, checking their credentials, references, and reviews to ensure they meet the necessary quality and reliability standards. Building a network of trusted professionals can lead to better service rates, priority scheduling, and consistent adherence to due dates as well as work quality standards. Additionally, negotiating long-term contracts with preferred vendors can offer cost savings and a more streamlined management process. By prioritizing quality vendor and supplier selection, property managers can enhance the overall efficiency of their operations and maintain high tenant satisfaction. Technology and Automation Incorporating technology and automation into property management can significantly enhance efficiency and communication. For instance, online portals for collecting rent payments and addressing maintenance requests simplify transactions and ensure transparency. They can also facilitate incentives for prompt rent payment, follow up on late payments, and generally optimize rent collection with an eye to optimizing cash flow. Property management software can also streamline vendor and tenant communication, track maintenance schedules, and provide detailed financial reporting. These tools not only save time but also build trust and improve resident satisfaction by ensuring quick and effective responses to their needs. Naturally, you will need to conduct a due diligence process of technology selection and provider assessment that addresses pricing, customer support, and support for the features that are mission-critical for your organization. Second Nature’s Outlook Effective property management is essential for maximizing the profitability and longevity of single-family home rentals. By addressing common challenges with strategic solutions, property managers can enhance resident satisfaction, reduce vacancy rates, and maintain the property’s value. Embracing technology and proactive management practices are critical components of any successful SFR business strategy. Property managers are encouraged to explore these solutions and adopt the approaches that best suit their specific needs. Learn more about property management company best practices, marketing, and more in our Second Nature Community.

Calendar icon June 7, 2024

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How to Craft a Notice to Tenant to Clean Property [with Template]

Ensuring that rental properties are well-maintained is crucial for property managers and landlords, not only to protect the value of their real estate investment but also to provide safe and pleasant living environments for residents. One important tool for maintaining property standards is a "Notice to Tenant to Clean Property" letter that communicates concerns about cleanliness and outlines necessary actions for residents. In today’s post we’ll cover essential elements you should consider around transparency and effectiveness, as well as a sample letter you can use to craft your own notice. A note on language: Here at Second Nature, we prefer to use the terms "resident" and “residency” rather than “tenant” and “tenancy,” in order to emphasize the human element of property management work. However, there may be instances where terms such as "tenant" are used for legal or industry-standard purposes within documents or communications. In these cases, please understand that our intent remains the same – to provide clear, accurate, and meaningful information to all people involved in the business relationship. What to Do When Your Tenant is a Hoarder? Hoarding can present significant challenges for property managers. It not only poses health and safety risks but can also lead to severe property damage. Here are steps to take when dealing with a hoarding situation: Understand the issue Hoarding is often a complex psychological condition that requires sensitivity and understanding. It’s important to approach the situation with empathy and awareness of the resident’s potential mental health needs. This understanding can guide your interactions and help you manage the situation more effectively. Conduct thorough inspections Regular property inspections are crucial for identifying hoarding behaviors early. These inspections should be conducted in accordance with the lease agreement and local laws. Document any findings with photographs and detailed notes to provide a clear record of the condition of the property. Communicate clearly and compassionately When addressing the issue with the resident, clear and compassionate communication is key. Explain the concerns and the potential consequences if the situation is not addressed. Emphasize that the goal is to ensure a safe and habitable living environment. Provide a formal notice If the hoarding issue violates the lease agreement, a formal "Notice to Clean Property" may be necessary (more on this below). Collaborate with professionals In severe cases, it may be beneficial to involve professionals who specialize in hoarding disorder. This can include social workers, mental health professionals, or professional organizers who can provide the resident with the necessary support to address their hoarding behavior. Follow legal procedures Ensure all actions taken are in compliance with local and state laws. This includes providing the correct amount of notice, following proper eviction procedures if necessary, and respecting the resident’s rights throughout the process. Document all actions Keep thorough records of all communications, inspections, and notices related to the hoarding issue. This documentation can be crucial if legal action becomes necessary and helps protect you as the property manager. By addressing hoarding with a combination of empathy, clear communication, and adherence to legal requirements, property managers can manage these challenging situations more effectively while maintaining the safety and integrity of their properties. Identifying When a "Notice to Clean Property" Letter is Necessary A "Notice to Clean Property" letter becomes necessary under various circumstances. It's essential to recognize these situations in order to maintain the property's value and condition, and to ensure compliance with lease agreements. Routine inspections Routine inspections are an integral part of property management, allowing managers to identify issues early and address them before they escalate. If an inspection reveals unsanitary conditions, excessive clutter, hoarding, or neglect of cleanliness, a formal notice is warranted. This proactive measure helps maintain the property and encourages residents to uphold their end of the lease agreement. Failing to address these issues promptly can lead to severe problems such as mold growth, pest infestations, plumbing issues due to neglected maintenance, and increased costs associated with turnover when a property is vacated. Complaints Neighbor complaints regarding cleanliness issues, such as uncollected trash, odors, or visible clutter, can indicate a need for intervention. Addressing these complaints promptly with a notice demonstrates that management is responsive to concerns and committed to maintaining a harmonious living environment. Ignoring such complaints can exacerbate the problem, leading to pest infestations that can create an unhealthy living environment for residents. Lease violations Most lease agreements include clauses that outline residents' responsibilities for maintaining the property in a clean and sanitary condition. When these clauses are violated, issuing a notice is necessary to enforce the lease terms and remind residents of their obligations. Failing to act on these violations can result in significant property damage, including plumbing issues from unaddressed leaks or blockages, mold growth from damp conditions, and ultimately, costly repairs and renovations needed to restore the property for the next resident. This can also lead to increased turnover costs, as the property may need extensive cleaning and repairs before it can be re-leased. The Importance of Clear Communication Open and effective communication is vital in property management, especially when addressing cleanliness issues. A clear, well-crafted notice helps prevent minor issues from becoming major problems and sets the stage for resolution. Proactive approach Early intervention through timely communication can prevent minor cleanliness issues from escalating into significant problems. Addressing concerns as soon as they are identified shows residents that management is diligent and proactive. Setting expectations A well-crafted notice clarifies expectations for resident maintenance responsibilities. By explicitly stating what is required, renters understand their obligations and the standards of occupancy they must meet. Documentation The notice serves as a documented record of the identified issue and the steps taken to address it. This documentation is crucial for protecting the property manager's interests if further action is needed, such as additional fees or eviction proceedings. Note that property managers can proactively address cleanliness and maintenance issues by clearly setting expectations with new tenants from the outset. This can be achieved by including a detailed cleanliness clause in the lease agreement, conducting a thorough walkthrough of the rental unit at move-in, and providing a welcome packet to ensure each tenant knows their responsibilities. During the initial walkthrough, managers should highlight specific cleaning requirements and standards, demonstrating proper care for different areas of the property. Regular communication, such as periodic reminders and tips for maintaining the property, can further reinforce these expectations and prevent issues from arising, ensuring a smooth and mutually respectful resident-PM relationship. Crafting a Compelling and Effective Notice Creating an effective "Notice to Clean Property" involves several key elements that ensure clarity and encourage compliance. Introduction Begin the written notice with a clear statement of its purpose as a formal notification regarding the property's cleanliness and upkeep condition. Include the property address and the resident's name(s) to avoid any confusion. Specific observations Detail the cleanliness issues observed during the inspection or reported by others. Use clear, descriptive language to ensure there is no ambiguity about the concerns. For example, instead of saying "the property is dirty," specify "dirty dishes are piling up, attracting roaches/pests; or “an abundance of waste materials is creating a health hazard/fire hazard." This also helps differentiate the cleanliness issue from normal wear and tear. Reference to lease agreement (optional) If applicable, cite relevant clauses in the rental agreement that outline the resident’s responsibility for maintaining the property in a clean and sanitary condition. This reference reinforces the legal basis for the notice and the resident's obligations – and helps ensure that you are respecting applicable tenant rights and state laws. Outline of expectations Clearly define the expected level of cleanliness and specific actions required to rectify the situation. A timeframe for follow-up is useful for helping the resident to address the issues, such as a 7-day notice period to clean. This approach gives residents a clear understanding of what needs to be done and by when. Consequences for non-compliance (optional) Briefly outline potential consequences for failure to address the cleanliness concerns within the designated timeframe. This might include increased inspections, withholding of security deposits, or legal action, including a potential order to vacate/eviction notice. Note that although it may well become necessary to instigate an eviction process, it’s important to maintain a professional tone and avoid excessive threats to encourage cooperation. Additional Considerations for Specific Situations Different scenarios may require tailored approaches when issuing a proper notice to clean the property. Health and safety hazards If the cleanliness issue poses a potential health or safety hazard, such as mildew/mold growth, pest infestations, or overflowing sewage, prioritize immediate action. In such cases, involving relevant authorities might be necessary to ensure the issue is resolved promptly and safely. Chronic offenders For residents with a history of neglecting cleanliness standards, consider outlining a stricter course of action. This might include increased inspections or even potential lease termination if the behavior continues. Clear documentation and a consistent approach are essential when dealing with chronic offenses. Delivery Methods and Maintaining Records Ensuring that the notice is delivered and documented correctly is crucial for effective property management. Delivery methods Consider the following methods for delivering the notice: Hand-delivery with a signed receipt: This method ensures the resident receives the notice and acknowledges its receipt. Certified mail with return receipt requested: This provides documented proof that the notice was sent and received. Other methods with documented proof of delivery: Any method that provides verifiable proof of delivery is acceptable. Maintaining records Retain copies of the notice, delivery confirmation, and any relevant communication for your records. This documentation is crucial if further action is necessary and serves as evidence that the issue was addressed appropriately. Free “Notice to Tenant to Clean Property” Template Providing a template can simplify the process for property managers. However, it's essential to note that legal advice is recommended to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. ``` [Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] [Date] [Resident's Name] [Property Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] Re: Notice to Clean Property Dear [Resident's Name], This letter serves as a formal notification regarding the cleanliness condition of the property located at [Property Address]. During a recent inspection conducted on [Date], the following issues were observed: - [Detail the specific cleanliness issues] As per the lease agreement, Section [Lease Section], you are required to maintain the property in a clean and sanitary condition. To rectify the situation, please take the following actions by [Specify Deadline, e.g., 14 days from the date of this letter]: - [List the specific actions required] Failure to address these concerns within the specified timeframe may result in [potential consequences, such as additional fees, increased inspections, or eviction proceedings]. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. Please contact us at [Your Phone Number] if you have any questions or need further clarification. Sincerely, [Your Name] [Title] [Contact Information] ... Promoting a Culture of Responsibility Maintaining a clean and well-kept property is a shared responsibility between residents and property management. By promoting a culture of responsibility, property managers can create a positive living environment that benefits everyone involved. Encouraging residents to take pride in their living spaces and providing resources such as Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package (RBP) can foster this culture. The RBP can include regular maintenance tips, access to cleaning services, or rewards for maintaining high standards of cleanliness. Ultimately, a collaborative approach leads to what we at Second Nature call a "triple win" — residents enjoy a pleasant living environment, owners maintain their investments, and PMs have an easier role to play in maintaining these thriving, beneficial relationships. Learn more about Second Nature’s RBP.

Calendar icon June 7, 2024

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