Calendar icon May 23, 2023

Investor Benefits Package™️ IBP™️

An Investor Benefits Package™️ (IBP) in property management is a suite of products, services, and benefits offered by property management companies to property investors. Just like a resident benefits package is a way to drive value for residents, investors, and property managers, the IBP is an innovative approach to property management that focuses on driving value for an investors assets and turning that value into profit for the property management company.

In this article, we’ll dig into the different features that an Investor Benefits Package can include, and how those benefit not just investors, but property managers and residents, too.

What is an investor benefits package (IBP)?

As stated above, an investor benefits package (IBP) is a comprehensive suite of services that offer property investors higher quality property management, stability, and profit. 

An IBP typically includes concierge-level services beyond basic property management – such as property insurance policy, eviction guarantees, rent guarantees, maintenance plans, asset performance reports, etc. These services are aimed at maximizing the investor’s assets, stability and convenience, profitability, and peace of mind in managing their properties.

The first step to outlining an IBP is to define what your basic management fee means and covers. If the answer is, it’s collecting rent, handling maintenance, and general communication – does that include maintenance coordination or is that a separate fee? Does it include asset reporting or is that an additional service? 

In your management agreement, define what the management fee is, what it covers, and how much it is. An IBP can be an effective tool for articulating the new and differentiated things that an investor wouldn’t be able to do on their own and that you are offering beyond basic property management. Articulate your unique and differentiated services (IBP) and use that as a tool for positioning and charge for what it’s worth.

What’s included in an investor benefits package?

An investor benefits package should includes a range of solutions to help deliver consistency, insight, and asset protection to a property owner’s portfolio. 

After all, professional property managers don’t have to be functional managers of a home – they can be strategic partners in the management of financial assets. You might hear services similar to the IBP called an “owner benefit package,” but at Second Nature, we believe that the “investor” term is useful in encouraging a longer term mindset, and emphasizes the economic value professional property management can bring.

According to Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives at PURE Property Management:

“As property managers, we need to think more like asset managers. This client made an investment, and we should be guiding that client through managing that investment, not just collecting rent.”
To build and manage a winning IBP, property managers need an investor experience platform™️ that unlocks scalable product and service customization, digitized onboarding, accounting policy automation, and more. Here are some of the most valuable services that property managers can offer through an innovative Investor Benefits Package. 

Property Insurance Program

Similar to offering a renters insurance program through an RBP in the lease agreement, property management companies can offer an insurance plan to investors to cut costs and ensure the safety of their assets. 

Most management agreements will include the requirement that the investor carries insurance on the property and that the property manager is additionally insured. But what if you as the property manager could help manage that for the investor – at scale?

Property Insurance for investors should have dynamic pricing based on individual investors’s property portfolio and needs. The benefit beyond flexibility is the savings they’ll see on their premiums while also getting insurance that’s tailored to the needs of their specific property class. At Second Nature, we work primarily with single-family rental properties and small multi-family residences. 

Property Insurance Programs can bring scale that will drive economic value for the investor over what they could get retail on their own. They’d still have the option to go get their own insurance that meets requirements, but they can pay you a small fee to manage it for them.

Rent Guarantee

An IBP can include a number of financial guarantees to protect property investors and drive ancillary revenue for PMCs. 

A rent guarantee, or rent protection, ensures a consistent rental income to investors by protecting them against resident defaults or non-payment of rent. If a resident fails to pay rent, the property management company covers the unpaid amount and takes necessary steps for eviction or collection, providing financial security and minimizing the risk for property owners.

Rent guarantees work for professional property management companies that have enough properties to balance the loss of rent if a resident doesn’t pay. The risk is low and the additional profit from fees for this guarantee can have a very high ROI, while driving satisfaction and stability for the investor.

Plus, if you’re using services in an RBP to help incentivize on-time rent payments, you’ll rarely find yourself out in the cold.

Eviction Protection Guarantee

An eviction protection guarantee also goes beyond the normal scope of property management services and can be used as a secondary source of revenue.

Eviction Protection is a service provided by property management companies to property investors that offers additional security and financial protection in the event of an eviction. 

Under this guarantee, the property management company assumes the costs associated with the eviction process, including legal fees and court expenses. It helps alleviate the financial burden on property investors and provides peace of mind by ensuring that they are safeguarded against potential losses resulting from resident evictions. 

The eviction guarantee helps protect property owners from the complexities and potential costs associated with evictions, ensuring a smooth and efficient resolution to tenant-related issues.

Pet Guarantees & Other Guarantees

A pet guarantee is a service offered by property management companies to property investors that aims to address any potential issues related to allowing pets in rental properties. It typically involves implementing policies and procedures to ensure responsible pet ownership, such as thorough pet screening, pet agreements, and collecting additional pet deposits or fees. 

The pet guarantee may also include services like pet damage insurance or assistance with pet-related issues during the lease term. It provides property investors with a framework to accommodate residents with pets while minimizing risks and maintaining the condition of the property.

For many residents, finding a pet-friendly apartment increases retention and profitability. They’re willing to stay longer and pay more for a pet-friendly place. And–get this–pet damage is less likely to happen than damage from kids! It’s not a huge risk to the asset, but can provide a big benefit in terms of satisfied, longer-term residents.

Maintenance Plan

Home warranties are a four-letter word for property managers. They’re a massive headache to deal with, and yet there’s high demand for them among property investors. Because of that, most property mangers charge a fee for home warranties, for each they have to file.

Imagine if there was a world where home warranties weren’t needed.

Here’s the thing: Professional property managers already have the vendor network and the know-how to coordinate maintenance jobs. What they don’t usually have is a product that’s priced to give the investor the experience they want. 

Let’s say right now an investor is paying $50 a month for a cheap home warranty. The warranty only covers 40% of issues and it creates all these extra people and friction in the middle. For anything moderately significant that goes wrong with a property, PMCs generally must contact the investor for permission to get work done. It’s all a massive hassle and loses time in maintenance requests that leaves residents frustrated. 

What if there was a product that cost, say, $150 to $200 a month but it actually covered everything? Instead of having sudden expenses and emergencies, this maintenance plan smooths out the experience and makes it more predictable for the investor. For PMs, it means taking initiative on fixes without waiting for approval. Imagine a world where you didn’t have to get owner approvals for 95% of maintenance issues – because they’re already budgeted for and already paid for. For residents, it means better maintenance, faster.

Another Triple Win!

Asset Performance Reports

Another piece that focuses on property managers as asset managers. 

Think about any investment app, like RobinHood, Acorns, etc. You can log into those app any time, 24/7, and see how your stock and ivnestments are performing. In most investment classes, you can see in realtime how your assets are performing. Why shouldn’t property investors have that as well?

An IBP can include exactly that: a dashboard or online portal that shows investors regular reports on how their property is doing. They could get updates on the value of their home over time, the home price appreciation, rent price over time, and project rent growth, typically maintenance costs and how they’re doing against that, and more.

Resident Benefits Package

Another piece to include in your IBP is to highlight the benefits of your resident benefits package to your investors. Explain how features like a filter delivery program protect their assets and reduce HVAC repair costs. Show how a renters insurance program can ensure coverage and protection. Give numbers on how credit reporting incentivizes on-time rental payments and helps ensure financially stable renters. Explain how a movie-in concierge saves both time, headache, and money. 

Each of the pillars of an RBP are critical to encouraging better resident behavior, increasing renter retention and lease renewal rates, reducing vacancies, and more – all primary goals for a property investor. 

A note about Rent Advance Programs

There’s been due buzz about “Rent Advance” offerings, though many advise caution when approaching this financial product.

It works in some ways like cash advance programs, which can satisfy urgent needs, but not be more valuable for anyone long term. The way it works is PMs offer to send a year of rent upfront to the investor in a big chunk, and collect monthly from the resident. The investor typically pays a 5-10% premium on the advance, which can be their entire expected return. So the question becomes, where do they put that cash to get a better return instead?

Another thing to think about is who would actually use this product? Investors who don’t have enough cash on-hand? How does that benefit anyone in the long run? What happens when there’s a big maintenance bill later? Does this encourage better decisions and practices by the investor?

To date, there’s been pretty low adoption of this program, which is another sign it may not be hugely beneficial to everyone involved. But plenty of innovations start that way, evolve, and find traction. One case where it might be a value generator is if an investor is looking to take a cash advance and put it toward a down payment for another house. That would benefit the property manager as well, promising more business, and the PM could offer a lower rate for getting more properties to make the financing more attractive than hard money loans or other alternatives.

The jury is still out here, it’s an interesting one to track.

How can investors and property managers benefit from an investor benefits package™️? 

Investors and property managers can benefit from an investor benefits package in several ways. They’re also great for residents in the sense they build more stability and quality into the renting process. 

Here are just some of the benefits of an IBP.

Enhanced investor attraction

An investor benefits package provides incentives and advantages that can attract more investors. Financial guarantees and protections against the risks associated with evictions or late payments can increase stability, while services like a maintenance plan can ensure premium care of their property assets without increasing their workload. By offering attractive perks, property managers can differentiate their offerings and generate greater investor interest.

Increased investor retention

Both IBPs and RBPs help build loyalty with residents and investors. By fostering a strong relationship and demonstrating ongoing value, property managers can build trust and loyalty among investors, and retain them over the long term. IBPs help establish the stability, transparency, and asset growth for a real estate investment that an investor hopes to achieve.

Improved property performance

An investor benefits package can also contribute to improved property performance. For example, by offering discounted property management fees or access to professional services at reduced rates, property managers can help investors optimize their returns and reduce costs. Additionally, incentives such as rent guarantees or eviction protection can mitigate risk for investors and attract more capital to the property.

Streamlined communication and transparency

A well-designed investor benefits package facilitates effective communication and promotes transparency between property managers and investors. This can involve regular reporting on financial performance, property updates, and the sharing of relevant market insights. Transparent and consistent communication builds trust and confidence among investors, fostering a positive and long-lasting relationship.

Competitive advantage

A comprehensive investor benefits package can give property managers a competitive edge in the market. When investors have access to exclusive benefits and advantages, they are more likely to choose a property managed by a company that offers a compelling package – and to recommend them to others. Say hello to increased investment inflow and a stronger market position for your PMC.

Should you make an investor benefits package mandatory?

The first thing most property managers ask us when we’re talking about an RBP or an IBP is: Should I make this mandatory for all investors or do I make it a flexible opt-in/opt-out program?

Unlike RBPs, where best practices are more proven and established, different PMs are taking different approaches with their IBPs. Some have a mandatory level of service set at a flat price. Others may say they’re fine offering a base level of service without these differentiated products, giving investors the choice to simply pay a baseline management fee and to opt out of the IBP premium service. 

Some may offer a baseline to all investors and then give them the chance to opt in for premium IBP services.

There are a lot of ways to do it. With the RBP, we’ve found that making it mandatory does not generate nearly as much pushback as people expect – and can be a strong value add overall.

Final thoughts about an investor benefits package

The Investor Benefits Package is an innovative way to generate ancillary income and create more value for investors and residents. Similar to Second Nature’s premier Resident Benefits Package, the IBP can deliver high-quality service for investor experience – and help create a triple win for investors, residents, and property management companies. 

The IBP reinforces the value of a professional property management company for investors and helps differentiate you from the crowd. Stay tuned to learn more about the latest in the IBP space, or learn more about how a resident benefits package can launch a whole new level of value for your PMC.

Keep learning

How to Optimize Operational Frequency with Processes and Software

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

Calendar icon April 19, 2024

Read more

Why offer a tenant benefits package?

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

Calendar icon April 2, 2024

Read more

Receive articles straight to your inbox

Deliver the ultimate resident experience

Our Resident Benefits Package gives residents everything they want without all the work.