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10 Best Property Management Maintenance Software

In the property management world, tech solutions abound. There are so many different players on the market, but sometimes, that wealth can be tough to navigate. When it comes to property management maintenance software, single-family property managers have to identify, first, how they approach maintenance and, second, what tech solution will best support their team, workflows, and operational structure. It’s a daunting task! That’s why Second Nature builds integrated solutions to support residents in preventing issues from ever developing. These solutions reduce maintenance needs through preventive maintenance strategies and take work off the property manager’s plate. But no matter how much prevention you build in with tools like our Resident Benefits Package, you’re always going to need some maintenance management. So, today, we’re going to look at some of the best approaches you can take and the best software available to you for property management maintenance. Property management maintenance software solutions come in two basic categories: Platform Solutions: Property management operations platforms or accounting software that include maintenance support, among other full-service property management solutions. Dedicated Point Solutions: Property management software designed to tackle one specific problem – in this case, maintenance. We’ll explore solutions that fit into both of these categories and how to weigh the pros and cons of each. 1. Property Meld Property Meld is a leader in the small to medium-sized property management business space. It’s a maintenance point solution to optimize work order management, response time tracking, vendor and resident communication, scheduling, and analytics. Its built-in “Owner Hub” helps provide the right amount of transparency to your clients. Perhaps the best feature is the Insights Tool, which helps you track metrics like the median speed of repair, average resident satisfaction, vendor health score, total spend per unit, and more. Pros: The user interface is intuitive for PMs and residents Opening repair tickets takes just minutes Tracking repairs and resident satisfaction is easy and transparent Powerful analytics help you see your success at a glance Cons: If you’re looking for a full-service operations platform, Meld won’t be the solution for you. 2. Lula Lula is another dedicated point solution focused on property maintenance technology. They leverage a network of vetted contractors to make finding the best technicians easy. Lula’s team becomes an outsourced extension of your property management company, troubleshooting, coordinating, and managing maintenance tasks. They operate in over 30 markets in the US and boast results like 80% one-trip resolutions and a net promoter score of 80. Pros: They do the work to vet and provide the vendors You can bring your own vendors in if you want to Integrates with any software Customizable plans for self-service or full-service Cons: May not yet be available in your market Only focuses on maintenance 3. Buildium Buildium is a popular all-in-one solutions platform and property accounting software with excellent management features. The web-based solution and app provide support in accounting and invoicing, communications, leasing, and maintenance activities. Their portals provide tenant support, maintenance management, and templates to make every part of property management easier. Pros: A near-complete solution for property management Excellent tenant and owner portals and communication hubs Analytics and tracking to streamline operations and results A 14-day trial helps you evaluate if it’s a fit Customizable packages Cons: Lack of transparency for owners The listing process isn’t as comprehensive as some users want Can be pricey 4. Mezo Mezo is an AI-driven, cloud-based property maintenance management software. The aim of the app is to take work off your plate by automating maintenance ticket responses, resolutions, and insights. Mezo takes requests directly from residents and uses conversational AI to ask questions in real-time, identify problems, and diagnose the issue. It will support residents in resolving the issue on their own or integrate with your management system to get work orders quickly sent. Pros: Residents can get help immediately when they have issues and potentially resolve themselves with Mezo’s chatbot support Technicians arrive with Mezo’s analysis and diagnosis, allowing them to come prepared and resolve issues quicker Integrates with most PMS options Cons: Doesn’t integrate with all other PM tech solutions As a newer technology, still has some bugs and gaps 5. Lessen Lessen, formerly SMS Assist, is an enterprise-level solution providing tech-powered renovations and maintenance at scale. It’s an end-to-end platform for maintenance operations with a vetted vendor network and provides everything you need for maintenance or turning projects. PMs simply use the app to request projects, deploy Lessen network pros, track progress and checklists, check for quality control remotely, and process payments – all in one slick tech solution. Pros: Excellent, seamless tech that’s easy to use and deploy A fully vetted vendor network takes that work off your plate An established brand that has worked out the “kinks” in service Cons: More ideal for more enterprise companies who need scale (rather than smaller SFR PMs) 6. AppFolio AppFolio is a full-service rental property management platform solution that is very popular with single-family property management companies. The web-based app streamlines and automates every stage of real estate management, including management, training, marketing and leasing, maintenance, accounting, reporting, and communications. For maintenance, AppFolio includes workflow automation, work order managemen toolst, online maintenance request, mobile inspections, and more. Pros: Easy-to-use technology with great UX Fully mobile and automated Customizable dashboards and advanced reporting Cons: An expensive platform if all you need is a maintenance point solution Customer service is not always available for maintenance line 7. Rentvine Rentvine is a full-service property management platform that focuses on communication support between PMCs, residents, and clients. The platform streamlines application and tenant screening, inventory management, accounting with a manager’s ledger and client money tracked separately, marketing, leasing, and – of course – maintenance. The app tracks all your work orders from start to finish and supports communication between residents, property managers, and vendors throughout. Pros: Easy to use with excellent customer support Owner and tenant portals work seamlessly Excellent accounting process Cons: Has fewer features than some competitors but is continuously improving 8. DoorLoop DoorLoop is another full-service property management software that provides all the features a property manager needs to manage their portfolio. You can handle accounting, maintenance, listings, marketing, client success, and more, all from the app. For property management maintenance, their software helps manage work orders, handle vendor payments, and track the process from start to finish. Pros: Intuitive, streamlined UX that’s user-friendly Great customer service Excellent integrations Cons: Expensive if all you need is a maintenance point solution rather than a full platform Some functionalities are still being developed 9. FTMaintenance FTMaintenance is a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) point solution platform designed for maintenance managers, executives, and technicians. While it’s not specifically designed for property management, the software streamlines work order management, vendor payments, tracking, and more. For some PMs, this could be the added solution they need to focus simply on complex maintenance jobs. Pros: Robust work order tracking Excellent mobile app for vendors and maintenance managers Analytics and organization Cons: Not designed specifically for property managers, focused more on commercial properties Complex if you are not tech-savvy 10. Latchel Latchel is a property maintenance point solution that helps automate maintenance communication, scheduling, work orders, etc. Your residents message the Latchel team directly on the Latchel platform and get an immediate response to begin troubleshooting the issue. If the problem requires a maintenance visit, the Latchel team will deploy that and follow up with the resident. Pros: Fast response times Easy to use for maintenance communication Cons: Many reviews say the issues didn't get fixed correctly App is great for communication but sometimes requires the PM to step in and manage How Second Nature Helps with Property Management Maintenance When it comes to maintenance, at Second Nature, we’re always looking to empower the resident. Our Resident Benefits Package provides solutions that minimize maintenance needs and costs in the first place. From HVAC/air filter delivery to on-demand pest control to rental rewards, we aim to incentivize residents to care for their property and take work off the property manager’s plate. We also work closely with other property management software providers to ensure you have everything you need for success in your SFR property management business. Learn more about the Second Nature RBP and how it can bring ease to your work.

Calendar icon November 17, 2023

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Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Property Management

A big part of property management is prevention. Property managers anticipate issues, plan for problems, and execute solutions. For some, a key part of this prevention is to develop a property management preventive maintenance checklist. For multi-family property managers, a regular preventive maintenance check is standard–and easy. Their properties are often all contained to one apartment building or community, and it’s easy to do a walkthrough to ensure everything is as it should be. For single-family property managers, it gets a lot more complicated. With scattered-site properties, regular inspections are impractical and expensive. In fact, one of the best ways to approach prevention is to help equip residents to take preventive measures themselves. At Second Nature, that’s our approach: “How do we make it easy for residents to handle preventive care of the property?” In this article, we’ll explore both approaches to preventive maintenance: Doing inspections as a property manager – or finding solutions where residents support the process. Let’s dive in. What is Preventive Maintenance? Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach to keeping a property in good condition with the purpose of preventing unexpected failures and maximizing longevity. This type of maintenance encompasses a broad range of activities, from routine inspections (more common in multifamily) to air filter delivery services that keep HVAC systems running smoothly. By implementing preventive maintenance tactics, property managers aim to prolong the lifespan of property components, maintain property value, and provide a safe, functional, and appealing living environment for residents. What is a Preventive Maintenance Inspection – and Who Conducts It? A preventive maintenance inspection is a regularly scheduled, systematic evaluation of a property designed to identify and rectify any emerging issues before they escalate into serious problems. In other words, a preventive maintenance inspection is like a health check-up for a property. A well-documented inspection also provides a record of maintenance that can be valuable for insurance claims, move-outs, etc. Generally, SFR property managers find themselves in three different camps when it comes to property inspections: Those who visit sites only when an issue arises. Those who conduct scheduled annual preventive inspections, whether there are issues or not. Those who conduct biannual or seasonal preventive inspections, whether there are issues or not. But there’s also a fourth option: Those who rely on a partner who helps manage prevention for them. There is so much residents can do themselves to prevent larger issues from ever developing – they just need a little support. For example, if a resident is changing their air filter on time, the property manager is going to get fewer HVAC tickets, and the HVAC system is going to last longer. If you can provide scheduled air filter delivery, residents can stay on top of their filter changes. Whichever of the camps you fall into, we want to provide you with resources in this article to make preventive maintenance easier. If you’re the type of property manager who prioritizes regular preventive maintenance inspections, we have a checklist template for you below. If you’re the type of property manager who prefers to react when issues arise (often more cost-effective), we have some suggestions for how to help residents manage preventive measures on their own. What to Include in a Preventive Maintenance Checklist Let’s say you do prioritize regular inspections. Crafting a preventive maintenance checklist for property management is all about anticipating needs and averting potential issues before they arise. Building your checklist begins with a thorough assessment of the property's unique features and vulnerabilities. By understanding the life cycle of various components of a property across the seasons – from HVAC systems to appliances – you can prioritize tasks and schedule maintenance in a way that minimizes wear and tear. Your checklist will likely include the following categories: Structural Maintenance Electrical Systems Plumbing & Water Systems HVAC Systems (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Appliances (if provided) Lawn & Outdoor Areas Pest Control Safety & Security Systems Interior Checks Miscellaneous (Garage, waste disposal, etc.) Sample Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Property Management Companies With input from OnSightPROS, we’ve built a preventive maintenance checklist template for single-family rental property management companies. Use this template as-is or tweak it to fit your property needs! If you want a downloadable and more in-depth template for all types of rental inspections, check out our original post on rental inspection checklists and Get the download here. Structural Maintenance Roofing: Inspect for leaks, damaged tiles, or shingles. Check gutters and downspouts. Foundation: Check for cracks, water damage, or shifting. Walls and ceilings: Look for cracks, dampness, and signs of mold. Electrical Systems Safety checks: Ensure that outlets, switches, and wiring are in good condition. Lighting: Regularly test all indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures. Inspect circuit breakers and panels. Plumbing & Water Systems Drains and pipes: Check for leaks or buildup. Water heater: Test hot water temperature and pressure relief valves and inspect for signs of wear. Faucets and fixtures: Ensure proper flow and check for leaks. HVAC Systems (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Filters: Ensure they are up to date. With Second Nature’s Air Filter Delivery, you’ll have the date stamped right on the filter itself. Ductwork: Check for mold or leaks. Seasonal checks: Ensure the heating system is ready for winter and cooling for summer. Appliances (if provided) Oven, range, microwave: Check for cleanliness and ensure they are working efficiently. Refrigerator: Check coils and inspect seals. Washer and dryer: Inspect hoses and ensure the resident is keeping lint and drainage clean. Lawn & Outdoor Areas Landscaping: Ensure that the landscaping is tidy and up to HOA standards, if applicable. Paths and driveways: Check for cracks or tripping hazards. Pools: Ensure safety measures are in place. Pest Control Notice any signs of pests With Second Nature’s On-Demand Pest Control, you can be sure residents can call a professional immediately if they ever have issues. We handle it for you. Safety & Security Systems Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Ensure residents have kept up to date and they are installed properly. Fire extinguishers: Check expiration dates and ensure they're easily accessible. Emergency exits and paths: Ensure they're clear and well-marked. Interior Checks Floors: Look for damaged tiles, caulk problems, carpet wear, or wood floor issues. Windows and doors: Ensure they open and close smoothly, and check seals. Miscellaneous Garage and parking areas: Check for proper lighting, security, and cleanliness. Waste disposal: Ensure trash bins are clean and in good condition. The Importance of Preventive Maintenance Did you know that something as simple as getting air filters delivered on time can reduce HVAC costs by hundreds of dollars annually? More on that in a minute, but it’s clear that for property managers, preventive maintenance isn’t just about keeping the property in good shape—it's a strategic approach that yields all kinds of benefits. By prioritizing prevention, you can: Minimize costly repairs: Regular maintenance can prevent small maintenance issues from escalating into expensive emergencies. Extend asset longevity: Helping residents proactively care for components like HVAC systems extends their lifespan, saving money in the long run. Enhance resident satisfaction: Supporting a resident in maintaining their property means fewer complaints and issues, leading to higher retention rates. Ensure safety: Regular checks keep safety hazards at bay, reducing the risk of accidents and liability. Improve property value: Consistent upkeep maintains or even increases the property's market value. Stay compliant: Keeping up with building codes and safety regulations is non-negotiable, and preventive maintenance ensures compliance. By incorporating a preventive maintenance strategy, property managers not only safeguard the property's physical health but also its financial viability and desirability in the market. It's a proactive measure that resonates well with residents and investors alike. Best Tools to Support Preventive Maintenance Here’s the big question: How can property managers for single-family homes make preventive maintenance easier? Scattered-site properties don’t lend themselves to regular inspections. So, the best solution, as we mentioned above, is to help your residents do it themselves. Here are three of our favorite products to get that done. Second Nature We’ve built a Resident Benefits Package with proactive property management in mind. Each feature – from renter’s insurance to on-demand pest control to air filter delivery – aims to address ongoing needs and prevent common issues from escalating. Let’s take air filter delivery as an example. In the largest HVAC data study of its kind, filter delivery service reduced HVAC ticket requests by 38% Just by including a filter subscription for your residents, you can help them cut energy costs and ensure your HVAC system lasts for the long term. Learn more about all of the features of our Resident Benefits Package and how it delivers results for residents, property investors, and property management companies. RentCheck RentCheck is a property inspection app built to help residents do inspections on their own. The property manager can request and track routine inspections from the resident. You can set up any cadence you want and customize the self-guided inspection requirements. RentCheck will fully automate reminders and support residents in completing a video inspection that then gets sent to you as a shareable report. zInspector zInspector is another very popular rental inspection app in the SFR property management space. Like RentCheck, property managers use zInspector to schedule, customize, and receive inspections conducted by residents themselves. The app also includes a toolkit with an evolving set of property and task management tools. You can get 360 photos and virtual tours with a compatible 360 camera and printable, customizable inspection reports. FAQs Q: What are the benefits of preventive maintenance? Preventive maintenance offers a multitude of benefits, including: Cost Savings: It reduces the likelihood of incurring expensive emergency repairs and extends the life expectancy of property assets. Efficiency: Regular maintenance ensures that all systems and appliances are running at optimal performance, which can lower energy costs. Tenant Retention: A well-maintained property leads to higher tenant satisfaction, which can decrease turnover rates. Safety: It helps identify potential safety issues before they become hazardous, promoting a safer living environment. Value Preservation: Ongoing care maintains and can enhance the property's value over time. Compliance: Ensures that the property remains in compliance with the latest building codes and safety regulations. Overall, preventive maintenance is essential for maintaining a property's integrity, ensuring tenant satisfaction, and optimizing operational budgets. Q: What is included in basic preventive maintenance? Basic preventive maintenance for property management typically encompasses: Routine Inspections: Regularly checking the structural integrity of the property, including roofs, walls, and foundations. HVAC Maintenance: Ensuring heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are clean and functioning properly. Plumbing Checks: Looking for leaks, clogs, or wear in pipes and fixtures. Electrical System Audits: Inspecting electrical panels, wires, and safety systems to prevent malfunctions. Groundskeeping: Checking outdoor areas, including landscaping, gutters, and drainage systems. Appliance Upkeep: Servicing provided appliances to prevent breakdowns and extend their lifespan. Safety Inspections: Verifying that all safety equipment, like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, is in working order. These tasks are designed to identify and address issues before they develop into more significant problems, helping to ensure the property remains safe, functional, and appealing to tenants. Q: What’s the ideal schedule for preventive maintenance? The ideal schedule for preventive maintenance can vary depending on the specific needs of a property, but a general guideline is as follows: Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly: Regular checks on a weekly to quarterly basis are more common for multifamily properties and apartment buildings, with quick checks on high-usage areas and equipment, such as communal spaces and gardening upkeep. Quarterly maintenance inspections could include more in-depth inspections of HVAC systems, plumbing and electrical systems, and seasonal preparations. Annually/Seasonally: A small number of SFR property managers will conduct seasonal or semi-annual inspections. A few more conduct annual inspections (unrelated to move-in or move-out, which always includes inspections). These are more in-depth inspections to keep an eye on potential issues.

Calendar icon November 15, 2023

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Property Management Rental Inspection Checklist [Free Template]

In single-family property management, there's a hero tool that stands between you and potential disputes, wear and tear issues, and even costly oversights. It's not a fancy gadget or software for single-family property management – it's a Property Management Rental Inspection Checklist. Now, someone who isn't in property management might think, "It's just a checklist, right?" But professional property managers know that without it, everything can kind of fall apart. Throughout this article, we'll dive deep into what rental inspections are, their undeniable importance, the key items you shouldn't overlook, and – because we love making your life easier – we're gifting you a comprehensive checklist template. Stick around to have all your pressing questions answered in our FAQ section and discover how Second Nature can be your partner in acing rental inspections. What is a Rental Inspection? A rental inspection is a systematic evaluation of a rental property's condition carried out by the property manager, landlord, or a dedicated inspector. It’s not just a casual walkthrough of the premises. The inspector will thoroughly assess, every nook and cranny of the property – from the foundation to the roof, from the plumbing to the electrical fittings – is thoroughly assessed. The primary goal? To ensure that the property meets all safety and maintenance standards, that the residents are complying with their lease agreements, and that potential issues are identified and addressed before they escalate into major, costly problems. Think of it as a health check-up, but for properties. It provides an objective snapshot of the property's current state and offers insights into areas that might need attention or repair. Why Are Rental Inspections Important? Rental inspections play a crucial role in the property management world, and here’s why: Resident Experience: A well-maintained property is a happy home for residents. When renters see that the property management company is proactive about upkeep, it fosters a sense of value and respect. This can translate to longer tenancies, on-time rent payments, and even positive word-of-mouth referrals. (Learn more about this in our State of Resident Experience Report.) Protection of Assets: Your rental property is a significant investment on the part of your client. Regular inspections ensure it remains in top condition, preventing minor issues from escalating into costly repairs, and protecting your clients’ real estate investments. Safety Assurance: By checking everything from electrical fittings to potential structural issues, inspections make certain the property is safe for habitation. No landlord wants to be on the receiving end of lawsuits or liabilities. Lease Compliance: Regular inspections ensure that tenants are adhering to the terms of their lease, such as not making unauthorized alterations or keeping pets when they aren’t allowed. Predictive Maintenance: Rather than always being in a reactive mode, inspections help in predicting potential issues. This way, you can schedule maintenance tasks before problems arise, which can be more cost-effective in the long run. Property Value Preservation: A well-inspected and maintained property not only attracts and retains quality tenants but can also help maintain or even increase its market value over time. In essence, rental inspections aren’t just a formality; they're a pivotal tool in ensuring the long-term success of your property management endeavors and in enhancing the overall resident experience. What to Include in a Rental Inspection When you're planning a rental inspection, your approach should be methodical and thorough. As Janet Sprissler, Broker/Owner at Rent 805, puts it: “There are no optional parts of the checklist. 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 resident what we won’t do for the other.” Organizing your checklist by room or space is a practical way to ensure no corner is overlooked. For each item listed within these spaces, always include a status, such as "Good," "Requires Maintenance," or "Replaced." This helps in keeping track of the condition and any changes over time. You should also consider what type of inspection you’re conducting and may want to tweak what you include depending on where the property is in its rental cycle. Different types of inspections include: Move-In Rental Inspection: Conducted right before a resident moves in, the move-in inspection serves as a benchmark for the property's condition at the start of a lease. It helps to document the existing state of the property, from the functionality of appliances to the appearance of the interior and exterior. This documentation can be invaluable in resolving potential disputes over damages when the resident eventually moves out. Move-Out Rental Inspection: Carried out once the resident vacates, this inspection compares the property’s condition to its state during the move-in inspection. It identifies any damages or changes that have occurred during the tenancy. Based on this, you can decide what portion of the security deposit needs to be returned. Routine Rental Inspections: These are regular checks conducted during a resident’s lease period. Typically done every six to twelve months, routine inspections monitor the ongoing condition of the property. They're also a great way to catch and address issues early, as well as to ensure lease compliance. “Drive-By” Rental Inspections: These are less invasive checks where property managers drive by the property to ensure its exterior is in good shape and being maintained appropriately. This type of inspection is less about detailed checks and more about getting a general sense of the property's outward appearance and ensuring no major lease violations are visible. For single-family property managers, these inspects may be less frequent since properties are often spread out from each other geographically. As you create your rental inspection report, remember that every property is unique. While categorizing by room ensures thoroughness, it's essential to adjust and add specific items tailored to each property’s unique features and needs. And always remember, communication is key. Ensure that residents are aware of inspections, their purpose, and the schedule to foster a transparent relationship. Property Management Rental Inspection Checklist With the help of OnSightPROS, we've developed a rental inspection checklist template for single-family rental property management companies. Use this template to build out your checklist. General Overview Date of Inspection: Inspector Name: Tenant Name: Address: Previous Inspection Date: Front Exterior Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Mailbox: Functional door and flag, no damage Lawn and garden: Well-maintained landscaping free of debris, no bald grass spots Driveway and walkways: No cracks or obstacles Fencing: In good condition, no damage Exterior lighting: All bulbs functioning Windows/Screens: Clean, no cracks, seals intact, screens intact Walls/Siding: No damage or cracked/peeling paint or caulking, no insect damage Downspout/Splash Blocks: Attached properly Light Fixtures: No missing bulbs or broken fixtures Roof/Trim/Gutter: No visible damage or leaks, discoloration, holes, clogged or loose gutters Rear Exterior Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Lawn and garden: Well-maintained, free of debris, no bald grass spots Patio/Walkways: No cracks or obstacles BBQ Grill: Set away from house, not under awnings Rear Door: Weather stripping intact, locks installed as needed Possible Hazards: Trampoline, open fire pit, swing set Pool: Clean, clear water, no damage, fence and lock in place Fencing: In good condition, no damage Exterior lighting: All bulbs functioning Windows/Screens: Clean, no cracks, seals intact, screens intact Walls/Siding: No damage or cracked/peeling paint or caulking, no insect damage Downspout/Splash Blocks: Attached properly Light Fixtures: No missing bulbs or broken fixtures Roof/Trim/Gutter: No visible damage or leaks, discoloration, holes, clogged or loose gutters Entry Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Patio/Porch: No cracks in concrete, railing, stair intact Front door exterior: No scratches, chipping, stains Locks/Keyless Deadbolts: Check for installation, functioning correctly Front door interior: No gaps in weather stripping, clean Walls and ceiling: Clean, no signs of mold or damage Closets: Shelves stable, no stains or damage to walls Flooring: No damage, carpets clean Lighting fixtures: Operational Electrical outlets: All functioning, no visible damage Blinds/Drapes: Fully functional and clean Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Living Room Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Door/Door stops: Fully functional Walls and ceiling: Clean, no signs of mold or damage Ceiling fans: Working properly Closets: Shelves stable, no stains or damage to walls Flooring: No damage, carpets clean Lighting fixtures: Operational Electrical outlets: All functioning, no visible damage Blinds/Drapes: Fully functional and clean Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Kitchen Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Door/Door stops: Fully functional Flooring: No damage, carpets clean Walls and ceiling: Clean, no signs of mold or damage Lighting fixtures: Operational Cabinet under sink: No leaks with running water, no standing water Countertops/Backsplash: Clean, no damage, caulking intact Cabinets: Doors/drawers work, no damage Sink/Faucet: No leaks, drains well, spray hose works Pantry: Shelves intact, walls clean, lights functioning Appliances (oven, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, etc.): Clean, functional Exhaust fan: Functional, no excessive noise Electrical outlets: Functioning, GFCI where required Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Hallway/Stairway Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Door/Door stops: Fully functional Railings: No loose or missing spindles Walls and ceiling: Clean, no signs of mold or damage Closets: Shelves stable, no stains or damage to walls Flooring: No damage, carpets clean Lighting fixtures: Operational Electrical outlets: All functioning, no visible damage Blinds/Drapes: Fully functional and clean Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Bedrooms (repeat for each bedroom) Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Walls and ceiling: Clean, no damage or mold Ceiling fans: Working properly Flooring: No damage, carpets clean Closets: Shelves stable, no stains or damage to walls Lighting fixtures: Working Door/Door stops: Fully functional Electrical outlets: All functioning Blinds/Drapes: Fully functional and clean Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Bathrooms (repeat for each bathroom) Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Door/Door stops: Fully functional Flooring: No damage, no sagging floorboards or discoloration Walls and ceiling: Clean, no damage or mold Exhaust fan: Working properly Closets: Shelves stable, no stains or damage to walls Lighting fixtures: Working Toilet: Flushes correctly, no leaks Sink/Faucet: Drains well, no leaks Cabinet under sink: No leaks with running water, no standing water Shower/bathtub: Drains well, faucets work, no mold Towel bars: Present and functional Mirrors: Clean, no damage Electrical outlets: Functioning, GFCI installed Blinds/Drapes: Fully functional and clean Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Utility Spaces (if applicable) Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Door/Door stops: Fully functional Flooring: No oil stains or cracks Electrical outlets: Functioning, GFCI installed Lighting fixtures: Working Walls and ceiling: Clean, no damage or mold Closets: Shelves stable, no stains or damage to walls Blinds/Drapes: Fully functional and clean Cabinet under sink: No leaks with running water, no standing water Windows: Open and close easily, locks work Washer/dryer: Functional, no leaks Water heater: No visible damage, no leaks HVAC system: Operational, air conditioning filters clean, no moisture issues around drip pan Satellite dish: Attached to house correctly Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Garage (if applicable) Status: [Good / Needs Maintenance / Poor] Smell test: No odors from animals, smoke, waste, must Interior door/Door stops: Fully functional Garage door opener: Functions correctly Flooring: No oil stains or cracks Walls and ceiling: Clean, no damage or mold Lighting: Functional Electrical outlets: Functioning, GFCI installed Windows: No damage, hardware intact, no evidence of moisture Storage areas: Organized, no damage Smoke alarm/Carbon monoxide alarm: Up to code, batteries good, working order Additional Notes: Space for the inspector to make any additional comments or observations. Signature: Inspector’s signature, date. FAQ Here are a few frequently asked questions about rental inspections. Q: How often should you conduct rental inspections? A: The frequency of rental inspections can vary based on several factors, including local regulations, lease agreements, and the specific needs of the property. Generally, here's a recommended guideline: Move-In Inspection: Once, right before a new resident moves in. Move-Out Inspection: Once, immediately after the resident vacates. Routine Rental Inspections: Typically, every six to twelve months. It's a balance between ensuring the property is being maintained without being overly intrusive to your residents. Drive-By Rental Inspections: These can be conducted more frequently, perhaps quarterly, since they are less invasive and don’t require entering the property. However, always consult your local laws and regulations, as some areas might have stipulations on how often you can inspect a rented property. Also, it's crucial to provide residents with proper notice before any inspection, respecting their privacy and rights. Q: Can a tenant refuse a rental property inspection? A: While rental inspections are essential for property managers, tenants have rights, and their privacy must be respected. Generally, a resident cannot outright refuse a rental property inspection if: It's Stipulated in the Lease: Most rental agreements or leases have clauses that allow for periodic inspections by the property manager or landlord, given proper notice. Adequate Notice is Given: Many jurisdictions require landlords to provide a specific amount of notice (usually 24-48 hours) before entering the property unless there's an emergency. The Inspection is Conducted at a Reasonable Time: Inspections should be scheduled during reasonable hours, avoiding early mornings, late nights, or any time that might intrude on the tenant's reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment. However, if a resident has a valid reason like health concerns, religious reasons, or personal issues, it might be possible to reschedule the inspection to a more convenient time. Always be sure to check local laws and regulations as tenant rights can vary by jurisdiction. Open communication and understanding between both parties can help mitigate any concerns or conflicts. Make Property Management Easier with Second Nature At Second Nature, our goal is to make property management easier for professional property managers. We built our Resident Benefits Package to support property management companies in delivering the best resident experience on the market. From a move-in concierge to air filter subscriptions to rent reporting, we deliver the services that residents will pay for – and stay for. Learn more about our RBP today!

Calendar icon November 6, 2023

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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 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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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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Why Pest Control is Important for Property Management

Welcome to a topic that may make your skin crawl, but it's a crucial one: pest control in property management. For property managers, providing a pest-free environment is more than just a courtesy; it's a responsibility. 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 property unlivable. In this 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 a pest control expert, Landon Cooley, the Co-Founder and CEO at Pest Share. By the end of our conversation, you'll see that effective pest control is less of a bugbear (get it, “bug”?) and more of a necessity in providing a safe, comfortable home for your residents. Let's get started, shall we? 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. In 2018, he started Pest Share with co-founders and business partners Justin and Tom Clements. Pest Share is a unique service targeted for single-family property management companies that streamlines pest control and takes the day-to-day work off PMCs plates. “Our focus is providing excellent resident experiences and minimizing cost and effort for our clients, the property managers,” Cooley says. We gathered Cooley’s insights and expertise to contribute to this article. To learn more, check out Jordan Muela’s podcast episode featuring Cooley, “Creating a Vision with Landon Cooley.” Pest Share is a part of Second Nature’s fully managed Resident Benefits Package (RBP). 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 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 to Control Pests on Your Property Of course, understanding the problem only gets us halfway (if even!) to solving it. As property managers, the responsibility of dealing with pests falls squarely on your team’s shoulders. Great property management companies employ a strategic approach to integrated pest management, minimizing the possibility of pests – and dealing with them immediately when there is an issue. Here are some of the top property management pest control trips we’ve culled from the industry. Routine Inspections Regularly inspecting your property or hiring a pest control company to monitor them can help identify potential pest issues early on. This proactive approach allows you to treat minor problems before they escalate into major pest infestations, saving time, money, and stress in the long run. 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 a pest control company, 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. 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 strategy 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 Run Investing in preventive pest control 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 preventing pest problems, you protect and preserve the value of your property. Property managers are, in the most foundational way, asset managers for their property investors. 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 Much Does Pest Control Cost? The last – and sometimes biggest – hurdle when it comes to pest control? Cost. General pest treatment can cost hundreds of dollars per service. Here’s an average breakdown: 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? 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?” Pest Control Solutions 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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8 Strategies (+20 Tactics) to Get More Property Management Leads

Navigating the world of property management can often feel like a high-wire balancing act, particularly when it comes to securing the right property management leads and clients. But fear not! The path to success becomes clear when you understand your target market, communicate effectively, and employ savvy lead-generation strategies. More good news: We know a guy who happens to be an expert in scaling up residential property management companies – Jeremy Pound, CEO of RentScale. We reached out to Jeremy to talk about the ins and outs of successful customer acquisition strategies for residential property managers. In this article, he’ll help guide us through key steps, providing actionable insights to help you attract and secure your ideal property management clients. Let's turn those leads into lucrative opportunities! Meet the Expert: Jeremy Pound, CEO of RentScale Jeremy Pound is the CEO of RentScale, the largest sales consulting and coaching company in the residential property management industry. They’ve trained over 400 companies on how to successfully grow their property management business by becoming “new customer machines.” He is also the publisher of Strategic PM - The Magazine for Property Management Entrepreneurs and Executives. 8 Strategies to Get More Property Management Leads 1. Define Your Ideal Target Market Not every prospect is a fit. And the key to growth is targeting the right people. When first starting out, a property manager might focus on pure hustle and price. But eventually, that’s no way to scale for profitability. (On that subject, Pound recommends the excellent management book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” by Marshall Goldsmith.) “Something I talk about all the time is that the opposite of ideal fit client is a misfit,” says Pound. “You want to work hard to avoid those misfits, which means you need to label the right-fit clients, know who they are, and describe them. That's the best way to grow: not just getting more net clients, but getting better and better quality clients.” In short, build high-quality leads by defining your ideal customer. Pound outlines the specific types of property management investor clients: Experienced investors: “There are different types of experienced investors. Are you going after those who value risk aversion and peace of mind? Maybe you're charging a little more and adding more ancillary services, but you're protecting them from all the things that can go wrong. Or are you going after really aggressive risk-takers who are looking to optimize every dollar possible?” Accidental landlords: “Are you built to serve accidental landlords? Oftentimes homeowners move on, they move up, or they downsize, and they look to keep their very valuable properties as rental properties.” Working professionals: “Maybe you’re going after working professionals, such as high earners who are building a portfolio. They got the real-estate investing bug, they know that maybe they don't want to pull their money into 401K and index funds, and so they're actually building a portfolio for retirement.” Out-of-town investors: “Are you really built to serve out-of-town investors? There are a lot of people, myself included, trying to build a diversified national portfolio of single-family rentals, and [some PMCs] are really built to serve that person because they need somebody local who's an expert and understands that market. Once you define your ideal customer, which is the most important step, everything comes from there, Pound says. 2. Clarify How You Are Built To Serve Those Clients Best According to Pound, the simplest next step is to build your processes and procedures around that target ideal client. “Everything we do should be a story around why all of our policies, our pricing, our procedures are all built to best serve that client,” he says. “I like to call this ‘avoiding the commodity tax.’ If you go out and spend money on advertising, or if you're buying new leads, or you're trying to spend money on SEO as if you're just a commodity and you've got nothing exciting to say – no sharp story, no compelling positioning – then you're basically paying the commodity tax.” “You're going to have to buy all these leads, and most of those people are not going to buy from you,” he continues. “You might be buying 10 leads to close one deal, or you might be spending a bunch of money on advertising that's just going over everybody's head. Nobody's paying attention to it because it's not exciting.” This brings us to the next strategy… 3. Use Dog Whistle Language Pound emphasizes that what catches our attention is the uncommon, the novel, and the specific. Our marketing should cultivate that specificity. Here’s how: “A term that we like to use around here is Dog Whistle Language,” Pound says. “If you know a dog whistle, only a dog can hear it. So when you know who your client is, it allows you to speak Dog Whistle Language – their language.” “I always try to enter the conversation that's already happening in their mind. If we have a very specific client, we know the problems that they're trying to solve, we know the frustrations they have and the goals they have. So let's just enter the conversation that's already happening in their mind! That’s going to make your marketing less expensive and way more effective, and it's going to make your sales process even better.” “If we can say what our prospects are already thinking, but we can say it better with more clarity, then they're going to key into that.” Ask yourself: What are they already thinking? What is the problem they're trying to solve? What are the frustrations they have? Then, describe it even better than they can, says Pound: “That has been proven to create trust, to create authority. and to make them remember you.” 4. Understanding Demand Generation versus Demand Fulfillment “We want all our clients generating demand for their service,” Pound says. Demand fulfillment is “just going out and buying pay-per-click ads because people are already searching for your product.” This is a commodity-based approach. Let’s say something needs a new roof. They’re just going to type “roofer Boca Raton.” Pounds says that’s demand fulfillment: “You're just fulfilling the demand that's there, right? You're just hoping to get lucky. You're spending as much money as possible and just showing up.” Instead, Pound says, “Demand generation might be going out and talking to people about how if they've had any storm damage, they might be able to get their roof replaced through their insurance.” “There's a lot of examples of this in property management,” Pound says, “especially when you're going out, and you're teaching people to invest in real estate – actually going out there and creating the market for your product. It's more sophisticated, but it's way more profitable, and you have way more control over that than just sitting around and playing the demand fulfillment game.” Pound gives an example of a PMC going after high-net-worth individuals. “Let’s say you’re in Florida, where Publix is headquartered, you might be going after all the executives at Publix. You’re basically saying, ‘Look, there are other ways to pay for your kids' education. There are better ways to save for retirement. You can live a better life if you get involved in real estate investing.’” That’s demand generation. 5. The Buyer’s Pyramid: Have Campaigns For Each Level of The Buyer’s Journey Source: "The Ultimate Sales Machine" by Chet Holmes ‍ Time to get into the Buyer’s Pyramid. The top 3% are in the demand fulfillment mindset. They know what they need, they’re searching for the service or product, and they’re ready to buy. Then there’s 7% that are loosely open or becoming open to the idea of needing a product or service. As Pound says, “Maybe they're kind of frustrated with their property manager, but they're not so frustrated yet that they're ready to go search on Google.” That’s the moment to hit them with direct mail or messaging that enters the conversation that’s already happening in their mind. Pound says to aim to say what they were thinking better than they can say it. Then they may move up into the 3% who are ready to make a decision. Below that is 30% of the potential market that isn’t aware of the existence of your product. They may be renting their homes or about to sell and simply don’t know that property management exists. Then there's another 30% of the market that just misunderstands. Pound elaborates: “Maybe they’ve been self-managing forever, and they think that property managers just take a piece of the pie rather than make the pie bigger.” “Really good property managers explain to their prospects that they don't just take a piece of the pie,” Pound says. “Really good property managers actually expand the pie. They get more money for the property either by being able to charge more through marketing or reduce vacancy and turnover – and therefore, they're able to actually reduce all the losses that you would have from a rental property.” In the end, you can focus on each of those separate types of prospects and build campaigns that speak directly to them. 6. Track The Numbers and Optimize: Unit Acquisition Cost & ACV To optimize your acquisitions, it’s key to understand your numbers. That’s obvious, but how do you do it, and what are the most important numbers to track? Pound points to unit acquisition costs (UAC), customer lifetime value, and annual contract value (ACV). “We have monthly recurring revenue for months and months, if not years and years,” Pound says. “So you have to understand some of these numbers.” Unit Acquisition Costs (UAC): “How much does it cost you to acquire a door?” Annual Contract Value (ACV): “How much does each customer bring me annually?” Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): “How much does each customer bring me over their entire lifecycle as my client?” Pound breaks down how CLV affects your judgment on UAC. If a customer stays with you for five years and you're making $200 a month, their lifetime value is going to be $12,000. “You start to understand that you're willing to invest a little bit more than you thought to acquire that customer,” Pound says. This brings us to…. 7. Build The List And Lower Your Costs You want to be always building your list of potential clients. “Think about that buyer's pyramid,” Pound says. “Think about attracting and courting those people that are lower in the pyramid before they're ready to buy. We can actually acquire those people for pennies on the dollar versus the really high expense of going after Google pay-per-click or buying leads.” “Let’s say one day, a major life or business event will happen that will turn a prospect into a buyer today. Instead of having to go to Google to look for you, where you have to spend $17 per click, they already look to you for advice and help because you’ve courted them over time. When the life or business event happens, they’re ready to buy from us.” 8. Sweat Equity or Check Equity It takes investment to create clients. In the end, Pound says, that investment decision comes down to: “sweat equity or check equity.” Sweat equity = time spent Check equity = money spent “Some entrepreneurs and business owners have more time than money, and they're going to want to spend money on advertising that works,” Pound says. “On the other hand, some entrepreneurs or property management owners have more time than money, and they're going to want to invest their time.” Sweat equity could look like: Networking with referral partners Direct outreach (outbound) to investors Calling FSBOs Hosting events or going where the investors are Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, FB, Bigger Pockets) Check equity could look like: Direct mail Digital marketing (Google PPC, YouTube, LinkedIn, Bigger Pockets, FB) Radio and TV Outdoor Hosting premium events with recognized speakers 20 Tactics to Generate More Leads for Property Management Companies The sweat equity vs. check equity conversation brings us to a final, more tactical piece to end on. We’ll briefly go over some of the best lead-generation tips for new and growing property management companies. Your PMC can assess which of these are the best strategies after going through the steps above. For new companies, we have tips that can help generate your first 10, 20, and 50 clients. Or, if you’ve been in the business for a while and are looking for new ways to grow, we’ve got tips for that, too. 1. Referrals This is a great step for new businesses. You can get referrals from friends and family, realtors, and other clients. Leverage your existing network and ask for referrals. Satisfied clients and professional contacts can often provide recommendations to potential leads. 2. LinkedIn Another good one for new business, use LinkedIn to connect with potential clients, join industry groups, and share valuable content. It's a powerful platform for B2B lead generation. 3. Event Marketing New companies can host or attend industry events to network with potential clients. These can range from local real estate meetups to larger industry conferences. 4. Cold Calling While it may seem old-fashioned, cold calling can still be effective, especially if you’re just getting started. Just ensure you're targeting the right property owners and investors and offering clear value. 5. Facebook Facebook is effective for new and growing companies. Use targeted Facebook advertising or post in local groups to reach potential clients. Consider running ads targeting landlords or real estate investors. For growing companies, use advanced targeting options in Facebook Ads to reach a larger, more specific audience. Consider retargeting ads to website visitors or people who have interacted with your content. 6. Podcasts Podcasts also work well to launch your first marketing strategies or to help boost a growing company that has plateaued, or just needs a fresh take. Start a podcast or guest on existing ones (like our Triple Win Podcast). Discuss industry topics to establish your expertise and reach a larger audience. 7. Local Businesses & Strategic Partnerships When you’re just getting started, it’s a great idea to partner with local businesses that serve the same market. For example, a local moving company might recommend your services to new residents. You can also join local clubs and the Chamber of Commerce and attend meet-ups to build a network that refers leads and clients. 8. Direct Mailing New companies should send targeted direct mail campaigns to potential leads. This could include newsletters, postcards, or informational brochures about your services. 9. Niche Forums Launching a new business requires support and community. Participate in online forums related to property management or real estate. Answering questions and sharing insights can help attract potential clients. 10. Read Local Listing Reviews Looking for your first few clients? Monitor local listing reviews such as on Google and Yelp to find landlords who may be having trouble with their properties. Reach out to offer your services. 11. Browse Newspaper Ads Another great way to find those first 10 or 20 clients is to look for rental listings or properties for sale. Reach out to the owners to offer your property management services. 12. Content Marketing Now we’re getting to a strategy for a growing and established company. Create valuable content on your website and social media channels. This can include blog posts, infographics, or eBooks that provide insights to property owners. A good example of content marketing for lead generation is Realty Medics. 13. Google Ads (PPC) Established PMCs can run pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google to appear in search results for relevant keywords. This can help attract landlords or property owners searching for management services. 14. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) A great step for companies looking to keep growing is to optimize your website and content with relevant keywords to rank higher in search results, increasing visibility and attracting organic traffic. 15. Email Marketing Worried about your company’s growth plateauing? Nurture your existing email list with regular newsletters or updates, providing valuable information and promoting your services to encourage conversions. 16. YouTube (Videos and Ads) Create educational videos on property management topics or advertise on relevant channels to reach a wider audience on YouTube. This is ideal for a company that already has a network of clients, but could also help you start out. 17. Webinars Once you have an audience established, host webinars on relevant topics to provide value to your audience. This can help position your company as an industry expert and attract potential leads. 18. TV Ads Depending on your budget, consider TV advertisements. Although more costly, they can reach a wide audience and increase your brand visibility. These are ideal for larger or growing companies. 19. Billboard Ads Outdoor advertising, like billboards, can help increase local visibility for companies that already have an established reputation. However, it’s best suited to companies targeting property owners in specific geographical areas. 20. Pay-per-Lead Services Use services that sell qualified leads. While this involves upfront costs, it can provide a stream of potential clients that are actively seeking property management services. Optimizing Lead Management Process and Conversion Rates Conversion optimization is a critical component of any lead generation strategy, not an afterthought. It's not enough to attract leads; the goal is to convert them into clients. Without a focus on optimizing the conversion process, valuable leads can slip through the cracks, leaving potential business on the table. By fine-tuning your lead management process, you ensure that every interaction with a potential client is an opportunity maximized. A well-optimized conversion process can mean the difference between a lead merely expressing interest and a lead becoming a long-term, profitable client. That’s what Jeremy Pound’s advice above is all about! Final Thoughts In the end, though, whichever tactic you choose, getting new clients – ideal new clients – is all about targeting and positioning. As Pound says, “The punchline at the end of the day is: If you’re going to spend money and time, you might as well be positioned. You might as well have the right language – the dog whistle – so you can get more out of every ounce of your sweat equity or every penny of your check equity.” For more insights from leaders like Jeremy, check out our Triple Win Podcast for residential property managers. Or, here are a few places to keep reading about growing your PMC: ‍ How to Create a Property Management Business Plan [Free Template] 15 Strategies to Grow Your Property Management Business Marketing Ideas for Property Management Companies

Calendar icon June 28, 2023

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Property Management Strategies to Grow Your Business Without Burning Out

Are you tired of the challenges that come with managing properties? From dealing with difficult residents to handling maintenance issues, property management can often feel like an endless list of responsibilities instead of a strategic small business venture. Fear not! In this article, we’ll unveil a range of effective property management strategies to alleviate your property management woes and empower you to achieve smooth operations and maximize returns. Get ready to discover practical tips and proven techniques that will revolutionize the way you approach property management. Here are the top 15 property management growth strategies to expand your business without burning out. Say goodbye to stress and hello to efficient, hassle-free property management. 1. Set core values In the renowned book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey outlines the second habit as: “Begin with the end in mind.” When building property management strategies, setting core values is the absolute foundation for everything else. We’ve spoken with hundreds of property management leaders, and all of them have reflected: Get your values right from the start. Your goals and growth come from that foundation. Kevin Hommel, COO of Memphis Turnkey Properties, puts it this way: “Anyone who encounters or interacts with your business needs to be able to feel your core values coming through when they meet with you, when they explore your company online, or if they talk to somebody else about you. You have to have your core values right there.” 2. Know your priorities The next step after outlining your values is to identify and document your priorities. For many of us, articulating core values or taking time to nail down priorities can feel like an important thing we’ll never get around to. The urgent tasks of managing a property portfolio often get in the way of important big-picture work. Many property managers find their teams spread too thin over too many tasks and responsibilities that really don’t iimpact their company’s bottom line. Or, maybe they’re focusing on too many areas, too many types of houses, etc. Setting priorities can help you niche down and then begin to see growth. Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy have an upcoming book about this called “10X Is Easier Than 2X.” We had Dr. Hardy on our podcast to explain what the phrase means and how getting the right priorities can make all the difference in growth and burnout: “Whatever your goal might be,” Dr. Hardy says, “it's not the obstacles between you and the goal that stops you. It's that you have too many competing priorities. Eighty percent of everything you're doing right now and the people you're working with are a distraction from 10X.” In terms of rental property management, that means that as a leader, you have to be able to delegate priorities. And that, of course, means getting the right people on board, which leads us to our next point… 3. Get the right people on board To grow property management without burning out, it’s imperative that you get the right people on your team. The reason staffing makes such a difference goes beyond just having more hands. Your team answers the question “Who, not how” – another principle from Dr. Hardy in his book of the same name. Peter Lohmann, Co-founder & CEO of RL Property Management, explained this concept in conversation with Dr. Hardy on the Triple Win Podcast: “The concept from the book Who Not How is that you need to stop thinking about ‘HOW can I do this,’ which is kind of our default framework for clients coming to us with a problem. They’re thinking, ‘How can I get this done?’ But as a property manager, you need to reframe that and ask yourself, ‘WHO can help me with this? Who’s the expert?’” 4. Hire based on culture fit Onboarding the right people brings us back to our first tip: Find people who embrace your core values. Hommel says he focuses on hiring motivated people who buy into what he’s trying to achieve – rather than people who necessarily have all the property management experience. “You don't want to let anybody through a round of interviews that you wouldn't love to come in and go to bat with everybody. And then you have employee retention, which we know creates a lot of efficiencies. So, define what your core culture is. Define who you want to join you.” Whether the team has previous SFR management experience is less important than ensuring they have a triple win mindset. Look for team members who understand that proactively driving progress and success for others (residents, investors, teammates) is the best way to achieve progress and success for themselves. These people are more likely to be A-players and grow in your organization over time and can help you deliver what “totally taken care of” feels like. 5. Build strategies with your team One of the best solutions for burnout is simply ensuring that you and your team are on the same page. Assuming you’ve hired people who are a culture fit, who get what you’re trying to do, and who think creatively and resiliently – they should be involved in building your business strategies, too. They need to be in the conversation around managing a property portfolio. After all, it’s important to be able to trust your people. Lohmann says: “I would challenge everyone to step back from the need to know everything that’s going on and ask yourself, ‘Why?’ Why do I need to know this information if it's being handled? The need to ‘stay plugged in’ is not going to help you unlock growth for your company. Time to work on 10x opportunities instead.” 6. Find your property management niche Setting the right priorities also means focusing on what you’re best at. Being “all things to all real estate investors” may help you add a new property in the short term, but you risk slowed growth and burnout. Instead, a more effective property management strategy is to double down on your specific property management niche. On this topic, we spoke with Bob Preston, CEO of North County Property Group, CRMC. Preston shared how he quickly learned to go deep, not wide, with his business. The result? A booming property management services company with some of the best real estate in San Diego county. “When I was starting things out, I learned really, really quickly that sometimes less is more. In the early days, when I would take on anything, the worst properties were taking up 80% of our time.” Based on their location, they ended up focusing on a specific region within the county – high-value coastal properties in the north part of San Diego County. These properties only made up about 20% of his total doors, but they made up 80% of the profit margin. So, he started to carve out a niche. Preston says, “At that point in time, we started all of our messaging, positioning, outreach, and pitch to the higher end of the market. We may not be the cheapest, and that's okay. If you don't like that, don't come to our company.” Instead of shrinking their business, they have $550+ monthly revenue per home, expanded their services to include maintenance, and have had zero evictions. To grow property management, the key is to niche down, not go broad. 7. Create more value & charge accordingly Finding your niche and saying no to properties may seem counterintuitive. So does our next tip: When you start finding ways to add more value, charge for what it’s worth. Evalute your current services and consider whether you are charging a reasonable price for them. On this topic, we had Mike Krause, Partner at Atrium Management Company, weigh in: “We were always afraid of charging more fees and owners being turned off. So we stuck to the big three: renewal fees, leasing fees, and management fees. And that's kind of what we lived on for a while, so we were staying kind of just barely profitable.” Krause and his team decided it was time to take a risk and make some changes. Atrium built new programs like a resident benefits package, which created fantastic new value for residents and investors – and brought Atrium new revenue streams. The result? They had their biggest year ever and are now on track to double that in the coming year. Krause says: “We stopped being afraid to charge fees. We sat down and made a list of the fees we thought were valuable and what we wanted to charge, and we started charging more. And guess what? Not many people left. What we were afraid of – losing current owners or losing current management contracts or not winning new ones – just didn't happen.” When you start generating value beyond those core three fees, you can generate more revenue by monetizing those programs. Then you can reinvest in the business to bring more value to investors and residents. We like to say: There's no shame in making money in property management, the only shame is not putting it to good use. 8. Don’t be afraid to “fire” a client This is a question we see all the time. When you have a frustrating investor, do you just deal with it or cut them loose? While there are all kinds of nuances to that question, the long and short of it is that you can’t be afraid to get rid of a client. Bob Preston has experience “firing” investors and says it has contributed to his company’s ability to grow without draining his team. “I always try to save a client, but often it’s a small number of properties that are causing 80% of the problems – whether it’s an owner who likes to complain, who doesn't like to keep their investment property maintained, who drags their feet, who threatens to fire us, etc. For me, it's three strikes, and we're out.” Cutting difficult clients loose frees you up to focus on higher-value opportunities that don’t take away 80% of your resources. This brings us back to Dr. Benjamin Hardy. “You (have to) start saying no to the lesser goals. Then you start finding ways to get the opportunities at the level you want.” 9. Develop an excellent marketing strategy To develop the right marketing plan, you must apply all the skills we’ve discussed here. It means really digging into what works, what’s driving results with new clients – and getting rid of the rest. Hommel again: “One of the more important factors in driving revenue into the company is: How do I get new doors? Understanding your sources of marketing, what's effective marketing, and where are you wasting money. Where do you see fruits?” If you can drill down into the data and find which marketing messages, landing pages, blog posts, and campaigns drove your ideal client, you can start cutting out the messages that only bring in busywork or “bad” clients. This property management strategy ultimately helps your team by releasing them from any unproductive leads and focuses them on generating growth. 10. Use digital tools & AI solutions AI property management is growing and we have software tools that can make work so much easier for our teams. The current primary use of AI as a property management strategy is to automate workflows and repetitive tasks. AI solutions can seem daunting at first, but they are one of the best ways to take busy work off your team’s plate and let them focus on more strategic tasks that require human skills. AI and software solutions can help with processes like: Email marketing and communication Scheduling (with rules built in for your priorities and goals) Marketing listings Maintenance requests Rent payments tracking Etc. Automation tools are an incredible way to reduce burnout, increase productivity, and deliver better results. 11. Build SEO & social media strategies SEO and social media marketing are both strategies to grow your business without daily updating. Build your website and blog content with SEO practices in mind – or hire or contract an SEO expert to help optimize your website. If you’re already blogging, make sure to follow best practices in SEO so that your content actually draws new customers in. SEO can continue to organically grow your traffic – and your business. Social media is another great way to build your brand, influence, and client base without doing any aggressive marketing. Start growing your network in the property management industry and real estate world. Post things in property management that seem interesting to you and make them easily shareable. Follow best practices for social media, tag colleagues, and watch your following and your network grow. 12. Network with peers Networking is one of the best ways to grow your brand and your business – and for many, it’s fun! In property management, the network of professionals is an incredibly supportive community of tactical advice, generative solutions, and rigorous debate. We’ve seen so many companies grow simply through meeting with like-minded professionals and sharing ideas, strategies, and referrals. One great place to plug in is in various Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, and other social media. Wherever you are in the country, you can share questions, solutions, frustrations, and wins. Check out the Triple Win Property Managers Facebook Group for a thriving community of PMs. 13. Stay familiar with local businesses and listings SFR property management is all about local communities and regional reach. To grow without burning out, it’s critical for your property management company to have a good reputation in your community, and to be visible to property owners or anyone looking for property management solutions. Make sure your information is up to date in local business listings, and think about places to drive more visibility in your specific market niche. This connects with the point above about networking. The more your community knows you, the more leads you’ll see coming in without putting extra pressure on your team. 14. Improve current properties This might not seem like a growth strategy, but improving your current properties can do a world of good for your property management company’s reputation. Happy residents make referrals, as do happy investors. In your efforts to grow, you need to first ensure your foundation is strong. Visit your current properties and discuss with your team if there are any ways to improve the quality of resident experiences. The better the resident experience, the more easily you can leverage growth opportunities. 15. Invest in resident experience All of this leads to one thing: better resident experiences. Ultimately, growing your property management business without burning out your team is about providing winning experiences for residents. You do this by defining your business goals, carving your niche, building a high-quality team, and staying laser-focused on your priorities throughout. Starting with experiences residents pay for and stay for leads to better retention, which reduces turnover costs, which brings in more revenue – makes your business more attractive to investors and talent, and the virtuous cycle goes on. At Second Nature, we believe in the power of saying yes to what benefits you, your investors, and your residents – and cutting out anything else. That’s why we’ve built the first fully managed Resident Benefits Package. The RBP is the most powerful way to transform your resident experience, without adding a burden on your team or a cost to your investor. Talk about a Triple Win! Learn more about how property managers are building better resident experiences and turning it into profit.

Calendar icon May 23, 2023

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How Property Managers Can Address An Evolving Industry

“PropTech 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 – these are all things you can’t do with software. Software doesn’t solve this problem, especially for landlords trying to manage their own smaller-scale properties. The fact that we manage a lot of properties as opposed to just being a software solution, we can offer much more value.” - Revolution Rental Management CEO Todd Ortscheid ‍The basics of property management, that is collecting rent, conducting maintenance, and listing and filling properties, have never been easier. The wave of investment into the industry in the form of proptech companies, as described above by Ortscheid, has stimulated this change. This is a good thing in some respects, but it also poses new challenges for PMCs. As technology makes property management’s core competencies easier, the need for an owner to hire someone to do those core competencies decreases. The service is being commoditized, which is to say that the ability to differentiate your business simply by being proficient at those core competencies is approaching zero.This creates a need for property managers to offer something beyond the core competencies, to offer something that can’t be easily replicated by technology or the accidental landlord using that technology. Thus, the focus for the property manager has changed. Good property management is no longer just taking on screening, renting, maintenance, and so on for the client. Good property management is now about maximizing the investor’s ROI via innovative value-creation programs that technology cannot duplicate.‍ "So the advent of resident benefits packages really grew out of that. There was just more demand to be something more. This took property managers from being just a kind of a lackey to really being the professionals, to understand the laws, to understand who protects our clients and income streams.” - Formatic Property Management CEO Matthew Tandy‍ So how do you as a property manager offer something more in order to protect your clients and their income streams? You start upstream with the resident. ‍“The experience of the tenant is paramount in this industry. Our product is tenants. It's not all the systems. It's not all the organization. Our product to the homeowner is the tenant. Now we can go into psychological studies about making tenants happy and how they treat products better and treat the properties better, but you can have that conversation just from a logical standpoint with your homeowner. Let's talk about the resident experience in your property. And if we give them the best experience possible, they're going to feel appreciative of this address and of you as a landlord, and of us as a property manager. The better experience you can give them, the more likely they are to take better care of your property, pay you on time, stay in your property, and lower your vacancy costs. It's like a literal triple win in this case.” - RevUp Consultant Jonathan Cook ‍Obviously, the resident is the source of the monthly income for the investor, so protecting that income stream and maximizing ROI from it means protecting the resident’s interests. You need them to stay. Making the property and the rental experience as good as possible for the resident incentivizes them to stay, and less turnover means less lost vacancy and turnover costs to the property’s owner. A winning experience for the resident becomes a winning experience for your clients. Property managers have gotten ahead of the curve in the evolving market by redefining the resident’s role in the business. They’re not just a necessity anymore. They’re an opportunity to install a resident experience program that creates value for investors that the investors don’t have the capacity to create themselves. This committed evolution from a service provider to an experience provider is making all the difference for America’s top PMCs. Related: State of Resident Experience Study ‍ Four Keys to A Successful Resident Experience Platform 1. Create value This is the single most important part of an ancillary income program. Ancillary services are not just money grabs. Treating them as that will have undesirable long-term consequences. To be sure, there is money to be made for you as the property manager, but unless you’re also creating a desirable situation for residents, you’re not helping your clients, which threatens the long-term viability of your business. Vision is important here. Creating that undeniable value for your residents is the origin point of this entire strategy. It is the cornerstone without which the whole thing crumbles. There’s a long list of pretty easily accessible programs that are proving to be welcomed by residents, including things like air filter delivery, credit-reporting tools, security deposit alternatives, resident rewards, gifting programs, home-buying assistance, and more. 2. Convenience Residents perceive value in a number of different ways, but one of the big ones, especially in modern America, is through convenience. ‍ “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. That's what our residents want. So everything we do from showings to moving into the experience after they move in is all revolved around design for that expectation.” - Skyline Properties Broker DD Lee ‍Delivering convenience really means making the obligations of the resident as easy as possible to fulfill. The resident is required by the lease to pay rent, they’re required by the lease to keep their air filter changed, they’re required by the lease to have renters insurance. A great resident experience doesn’t require a huge dog and pony show. Just making these basic things as easy as possible will thrill residents, especially considering how common negative perceptions of property managers can be. 3. Protect the asset Certain convenience programs for residents can also serve to create value for the investors by protecting their asset. Services like filter delivery and comprehensive auto-enroll renters insurance help minimize maintenance and the risk of charges coming back to the client. Studies actually show that filter delivery service decreases the number of HVAC maintenance tickets. This is not only a convenient service for residents, eliminating their need to go to the store and buy a filter, but it also extends the life of the HVAC system, which is one of the most expensive things in a home to replace. 4. It all adds up When you can create a ton of value for your residents, you can keep those residents in the properties. When you can show your clients that you can not only rent their properties, but rent them to residents who will stick around and take care of the property, while also providing services that make taking care of the property easy, you’re offering them more than technology can create. That’s how you differentiate your business in the modern era.

Calendar icon May 17, 2023

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Property Management Referral Program: Create, Promote & Track Success

A study by McKinsey found that the main factor behind up to half of purchasing decisions is word of mouth. A good referral can set up your property management company for the long term. A bad referral can lead to stress, late nights, and overwork. So how do you nail a good referral program? We sat down with an expert to get some answers. Jim Roman is the Director of Results at Business Owners Institute, LLC, and a speaker and coach well-known in the property management industry. Jim helped us talk through the best practices for getting referrals, how to build a (legal) referral program, and how to follow through for success. Key Learning Objectives: What you need for successful property management referrals How to optimize the referral process How to promote referrals How to track your success How to maintain and nurture your referral relationships Meet the Expert: Jim Roman, Director of Results at Business Owners Institute Jim Roman founded Business Owners Institute 18 years ago to help business owners and their teams make more money, have more time, and – most importantly – have a life beyond their business. He coaches leaders from many industries and has a strong client base in property management. From a course called “How to Double Your Income in 90 Days,” his work has grown into a nationwide coaching and consulting business. What’s needed for a successful property management referral program A property management referral program is a marketing strategy that incentivizes your current clients to refer new clients to your PMC and grow your doors. Referral marketing is one of the best ways to grow a quality client list in any business. But in the property management business – where relationships and word of mouth still reign supreme – referral marketing is an essential strategy. A relationship-based approach Roman urges property managers to keep local laws and regulations in mind when discussing a referral “program” rather than casual referral strategies: “A referral program would be that you get compensated for referrals,” Roman says. “You have to be careful in the property management industry when you do this kind of stuff. The laws are different throughout every state. For example, in Virginia, you’re required by law to give two to three people when asked about a realtor or realtor referral program.” Roman urges that a relationship-based, win-win approach – over a referral fee – is far more effective for long-term outcomes. He has coached hundreds of companies on how to build a successful, relationship-based referral strategy. Defined target audience A defined target audience is critical to the success of your relationship-based referral marketing. Roman outlines three key audiences for getting referrals: 1. Current clients According to Roman, the average investor has two to three property management relationships with many rental properties. You may not even know about those other properties if you don’t have a strong relationship with their investor. “One of the things I teach my clients to do is what I call an Owner Outreach Program,” Roman says. “Reach out to the property owner, check in on them and how they're doing. Tell them ‘We're not asking for money and there's nothing wrong with your property. I just wanted to check in and find out where your goals are for this year.’ Next thing you know, they go, ‘Well, it's funny you should call. I have a couple of properties I want to give to you.’” 2. Past clients The next strategy for your target audience is to check in with past clients. “You might check in with them and see how they're doing,” Roman says. “They might say, ‘Oh, it's funny you should call me. I'm not happy with my property manager. I should never have left you.’” He adds that if they are happy with their current arrangement, they likely won’t pick up the phone when you call anyway – “so you have nothing to lose.” 3. Strategic partners Roman says, “Think about people who have databases that you would want where partnering with them could be very profitable.” The number one source of business for property managers is real estate agents. After that, Roman lists CPAs, investment advisors, and estate planning attorneys. "If someone passes away," Roman says, "and someone else inherits some properties, who's going to know that? The CPA, the investment advisor, or the estate planning attorney.” Achievable goals for referrals The next factor is to set achievable goals for your referrals. Roman advises his clients to identify between six to eight referral partners to refer clients. “It only takes three technically, but you don’t know which of the six to eight will be your three,” Roman says. “If one quits, you’re down, losing a third of your referrals.” He advises a strategy to focus on the three target audiences above – current clients, former clients, and strategic partners. “I might have three relationships in each category,” Roman says. “Not all are going to refer you. But the key is that you can answer if someone asks you for a CPA, etc. Then, eventually, those partners will start returning the favor and referring you a lot of business.” A clear referral reward system Roman says that the best rewards systems give people options. He shares an example of a referral program he promoted. “It was a March Madness referral program,” Roman says. “For the month of March, if you refer us any clients, you get a choice of one of three things: $250 credit towards coaching in the future, $100 gift card to your favorite restaurant, or $100 to your favorite retail store.” The power in that is it’s giving you options, which helps ensure you’ve hit on something that each person might want. Note: Again, remember to follow your local laws. A marketing strategy to promote your referral program According to Roman, the key to any marketing strategy is to bring awareness to the fact you are looking for referrals. “This is important,” Roman says. “Some people think you’re doing so well you don’t need it. But who doesn’t want new business?” Romans says that he sends a survey at the 90-day mark of getting a new client and asks, “How are we doing?” Then, they add the question: “What could we do to make it easier for our clients to refer us?” “One woman said, ‘I just need a flier,’” Romans says. “That was so easy!” Optimize the referral process Next, Roman walked us through the steps to optimize the referral process. He advises his clients to use the RISEE process: build Relationships, Identify opportunities, Strategize, Execute, and Evaluate. Step 1: Build Relationships (R) At this point, it should come as no surprise that the “r” is for “relationships” – the most important part of any referral plan. Roman says, “One of the questions I love to ask people is how they got into their industry and what they enjoy most about their business. You're going to find a connection and build that relationship.” He also warns that how you approach is key. “You don’t say, ‘Let’s get together to see how we can help each other out.’ You should be trying to identify what is a good referral for them. So you should say, ‘I would love to learn about how we would be able to refer you and see if it’s something we can partner on.’ It’s about them, not you.” Step 2: Identify opportunities to refer (I) That leads us to the next step: Identify opportunities to refer – both for them and for you. Roman says it’s important to get very specific here. For example, if you’re working with a realtor, don’t just go with “they’ll take anybody looking to buy a house.” For your own referrals, be clear on what property management services you’re offering. Roman says, “That's not specific enough. Is someone upsizing? Downsizing? Is it a half-million-dollar house? A million-dollar house? Another way I go about this is I'll ask them to give an example of some of the types of clients they’re working with now.” “This identifying step takes some time,” Roman adds. “The whole process should not happen in one sitting.” Step 3: Strategize on how to do it (S) Roman says the key here is to identify what has worked before. “So when I ask how I should refer someone, they always give a sales answer. They'll give you the words that they would say if they were in front of the prospect. But you're not a salesperson for them, so you can't do it that way.” Instead, says Roman, “I might say, ‘What are different ways people have referred you in the past?’ Rarely does anybody ever ask that question, but it makes the strategy part so much easier.” Step 4: Execute that action (E) This is all about holding up your side of the bargain. Once you’ve identified opportunities and built a strategy for both of you to refer to each other, you need to actually execute. “Tell them, ‘I want to commit to giving you at least one referral by this month,’” Roman says. “And that's important because usually if I really want a referral relationship, I have to give first. A lot of times, people say, ‘Okay, this was great. I'll figure out how I can help you.’ Yeah. You're not gonna help me, you're gonna forget about me.” Instead, commit yourself to a goal and timeline so your partner knows you’re serious. Roman suggests a script like: “Okay, I’m looking to refer you in the month of April, and I'm going to work on getting you one referral. Is that okay with you?’” They’re going to say yes. Step 5: Evaluate how it went (E) “A lot of times there is no evaluation,” Roman says. “But the second E is the power in this whole process – debriefing, training me to know what worked. I need to learn.” “Ask ‘What would be better,’ rather than just asking, ‘Is this going okay?’” Roman recommends. Without following up, you can easily lose that referral to another relationship. Roman says he’s seen it happen time and again. Follow-up and evaluation are critical to generating more referrals. We’ll share more on evaluating your program below. How to promote a property management referral program Remember that when it comes to referrals, your state’s laws may have strict requirements on what is allowed. Keep those legal restrictions in mind. However, in terms of building referral partnerships and strategies, you can follow several paths to promoting your plan. Create a dedicated referral program landing page Again, people don’t know you need referrals unless you tell them. Create a landing page for your website that’s simple, clear, and lets people know exactly how to refer you. Use social media Reviews, likes, comments, and more on social media are one of the best ways to get word of mouth out there. (You can join Second Nature’s Facebook group of active, supportive property managers.) Send email marketing campaigns Once you’ve identified your target audience of current clients, former clients, and strategic partners, you can build email campaigns targeted specifically to each. Sign strategic partners for cross-promotion Strategic partners are any businesses that have a database that could add value to your company. As Roman outlined above, the best partners for property managers are real estate agents, CPAs, investment advisors, and estate planning attorneys. Remember: To get referrals, let people know you want referrals! Use hyperlocal advertising campaigns This is so simple but so effective. Roman says, “I always recommend going out to real estate offices on a frequent basis. Bring donuts or bagels or offer to do a real estate sales meeting and buy breakfast. Make it frequent, not just one and done.” It’s about relationships and being the first PMC that comes to mind the next time they’re asked for a property manager referral. How to track the success of a referral program This brings us back to the second “E” in RISEE – evaluation. According to Roman, this is the most overlooked but important part of the process. Here are his tips to track and build upon your referral success. Track best-converting referral sources The key here is talking to your referral partners about your definition of a good referral, a better referral, and the best referral. “In referral relationships, we don’t always talk about that,” Roman says. “What’s a good referral? What’s a bad referral?” In property management, he says, a bad referral would be someone who is not flexible with their property management team and management agreement, won’t let you make any changes, etc. By contrast, Roman says, “A great referral will be an investor who says, I don't care, just get it done. I trust you. You're the expert.’ A middling referral might be the landlord who has a personal attachment to the investment property and wants to know what's going on on a regular basis. It's profitable, but it's not like the investor is ready to say, ‘I trust you, you're the expert.’” So the key here is to track which types of referrals you get that most quickly convert into profitable clients. Then let your referral partners know exactly what that client looks like. Optimize the referral program based on your partnerships Set your success metrics for your referral program and optimize your program based on reasonable goals. “First is setting your referral goals,” Roman says. “How many referrals are you hoping to get on a monthly basis?” Decide how many referrals per month you want from each of your strategic partners. “An average door, let’s say, could be worth $2,000 of revenue a year for a property manager,” Roman says. “So if I get three realtors giving me all three referrals, that's $6,000 of revenue to the company. Plus the first month's rent if you charge something like that. So I would wanna have a referral goal and then monitor how many I'm getting from all my partners.” The goal, too, is to be sure you’re getting as many referrals as you’re getting. How to maintain and nurture referral relationships All of this is pointless, Roman says, if you aren’t nurturing those relationships. “It's important that you stay in touch with the person you’re referring and the person you’re referring to,” Roman says. “This is a team effort, not an individual effort.” Similarly, when you receive a referral, let the referring partner know how it’s going. Let them know if it was successful and how you’re nurturing that referral. They’re more likely to continue referring people to you if they know you’ll really follow through and take care of that person. Tiered reward system for best performers If you’ve built a reward system (within legal boundaries), consider creating tiers for the highest-converting referrals. Companies do this all the time with employee referrals. Set up rewards that correspond with the stages of growth or future sales with that referral. Do they convert into clients? Do they last over six months or a year or multiple years? Thank your referral partners by gifting them rewards for these milestones. This practice also helps to highlight for them what a good vs. better vs. best referral looks like for you. Understand what’s working by talking to your top-performing referral program partners Roman shares an example of how to really invest in those referral relationships. “I was working with a staffing firm where the boss was one of my top three referral partners. She told me, ‘If you can help Tracy, you'd be helping me.’ I said, ‘Consider it done.’ So I would get together with Tracy at least once a month for a cup of coffee to give her resumes. And she’d go, ‘Oh, thanks, Jim.’ And that was it. Six months into it, something told me to ask her, ‘Are these good referrals?’ She says yes, yet again. So instead, I asked, ‘Tracy, what would be a better referral for you?’ She had an answer: ‘Oh, a better referral would be orders. Resumes are great, but when companies give me an order, and they want me to place the person, that’s the best thing you could do for me.’ Within weeks, I came across a company that was looking to fill an order. I hooked them up with Tracy and followed up afterward. She told me it was the biggest deal of her career.” Roman says it’s critical to ask not just “Is this going okay?” but “How could it be better?” Again, that helps you nurture and understand their needs, and it’s likely they’ll return the favor. Property management referral program best practices Okay, let’s review all we’ve learned from Jim Roman and make one last list of best practices. Here are some best practices for property management referral programs: Offer a valuable incentive: A strong incentive can motivate your existing clients to refer new business. Roman says, “A strong incentive from my experience is doing a great job for the referrals received. If you are going to give them monetary incentive, give them options.”‍ Keep it simple: Make it easy for clients to refer others by providing them with a simple and streamlined process. This could include a referral form or a unique referral link that they can share with others. Ask for this from your partners, as well.‍ Communicate regularly: Keep your clients informed about your referral program by communicating regularly via email or newsletters. This will keep your program top of mind and increase the likelihood that clients will refer others.‍ Leverage social media: Use social media to promote your referral program and encourage clients to share it with their followers. This can help you reach a wider audience and generate more referrals.‍ Follow up quickly: When a new referral comes in, follow up with them quickly to show that you appreciate the referral and are excited to work with them. Follow up with both sides.‍ Track results: Keep track of the referrals you receive and the incentives you offer. This will help you assess the success of your program and make adjustments as needed. In the end, it’s all about building meaningful, effective partnerships that benefit everyone in the long run. Get more property management tips, insights, and expert advice in our Second Nature Community.

Calendar icon April 10, 2023

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