General Property Mgmt

Real Estate Sales Management

Certified Property ManagerReal estate sales management involves many different aspects beyond the obvious of selling a home, setting it up for sale and managing open houses etc. for example some clients have to move right away and they leave the home vacant, which in some ways is a good thing since there is typically less clutter. The agent may request that the owner do a couple of things to enhance the opportunity of selling this house for the price they are looking for. At the same time they must also ensure that the home is looked after and meets all insurance requirements to keep the insurance valid.

A home should also looked lived in or at least taken care of even when it is vacant. Sometimes a real estate agent must also look after this activity themselves or subcontracts these services if they want to get the house sold. This is just part of the job on the way to a successful sales career.

These steps include the following:

  • Making sure that the house is clean and neat
  • Possibly staging the home with rented furniture to make it look presentable
  • Arranging or causing to be arranged by the owner for someone to maintain the home while it is vacant

We will discuss each of these in a little more detail. Note that the person selling the home i.e. the owner will have to decide how much of this they decide to do and how much they will look after vs. how much they will ask the real estate agent to do on their behalf. Some agents will automatically include this effort and even furniture rental in their fee, while others will suggest that the owner pick up these extra costs.

Making sure that the house is clean and neat:

The last thing that buyers want to see is a messy home which they not only will have to clean if they buy it, but it also indicates a general attitude of not taking care of the home. Your agent will push you to clean up this situation and may even arrange for cleaners at your cost to come in and clean up after you. The same applies to the outside curb appeal. Nice landscaping, a newly cut lawn and healthy plants indicates that the current owner cares about his or her home.

Possibly staging the home with rented furniture to make it look presentable:

if you have moved and the house is empty it is much harder for a prospective buyer to visualize what the home looks like with furniture in it. Some agents will place furniture and some pictures in the home to help buyers with this issue. They may already have furniture of their own they use for this purpose or they will rent them for you at your cost.  Real estate management may include this kind of staging to help sell a home.

Arranging or causing to be arranged by the owner for someone to maintain the home while it is vacant:

this item is particularly important for people who have been transferred and have had to move before the home is sold. In order to maintain your insurance on your home, there will be specific things that must be done. For example many will ask that the water be shut off and the house checked once a week. Checks more often may be required if the outside temperature is below freezing. Real estate agents want to ensure there are no delays in selling a home due to damage cause by water leaks and other problems that occur from time to time.

Real estate property management can encompass more than just these items, however we decided to focus on those associated with selling a home.


Residential and Commercial Property Management

Residential and Commercial Property ManagementThe management of residential and commercial properties is similar in some ways and very different in others. If you happen to be a landlord of residential properties, either single family homes, town homes or apartment buildings you will want to consider hiring a property manager who is familiar with managing residential properties. There are various bylaws and government laws that are specific to residential property and you need companies that have the experience and knowledge on what is required and how to deal with these requirements. The tenants are also very different and have many different needs, come from various income strata’s and there are also many more of them as well.

Commercial Property Management

Commercial property management can be anything from large corporate malls to large office buildings that require building upgrades and modifications to meet the customer’s professional requirements. Long term leases with rental guarantees etc would be the order of the day and competition ruling the rent levels and the services provided. Managers deal with far fewer tenants. In some cases the building may be rented by one large tenant, while in others floors may be subdivided to accommodate multiple tenants.

Residential Property Management

Residential property management on the other hand is governed by the rent levels that the market will bear along with what increases the government will allow in many cases. Many more tenants to deal with per building and perhaps even many owners if it is a multi unit condo for example with many owners for the individual units. In some cases there may be a group of investors who purchase a building and then hire a management company to manage the rental building for them. With multiple objectives on one side and multiple needs on the other, the job of being a residential property manager can be quite complicated and time-consuming. This leads many property managers of residential homes to charge more per door than they would for a single owner building.

Professional Systems

In both cases professional level cash flow tracking systems, asset tracking systems and a method of reporting that meets the needs of the owners and / or the board of directors of a condominium board. Condominiums represent another type of property management, were the property manager is hired to manage all of the common elements of the building and has virtually nothing to do with the interior of the units. Some units could even be rented and managed by different property management companies all together. This also adds complexity in terms of finger pointing on some issues.

Hire Experienced People

A property management company must have the right people in place to manage all different sorts of situations and buildings. If you are a customer, paying attention to the kinds of buildings currently managed and the level of skills, reporting etc is important. You may also want to talk with current customers of the property management company to confirm satisfaction levels and ensure that their customers are satisfied with the services provided.

The type of information that is needed and provided may be quite different depending on the owners and the property management companies. the number one objective is to provide excellent customer service to both tenants and owners. But sometimes you cannot satisfy everyone and that then becomes the biggest challenge of all. Property managers must first make sure they are following the laws, they must be fair and honest and they must answer to the person or group that pays them. Ultimately that is what it comes down to . Doing what is right, what is fair to all parties  and making sure that to the extent you can everyone’s expectations are met. If they are not met, you had better have a good reason and a good explanation to explain why it is not the way they would like to be!


Residential Property Management

Property ManagementIn every major city and most small cities and towns across the country there are Property Management firms offering a variety of services to clients who need to have someone look after their home, their apartment or their rental property.  You can have an excellent service or end up with a nightmare if you are not careful.

Hopefully some of the things we talk about in this web site will help you in your selection of a residential property management company for your home while you are away or for a rental property that you own.

This web site is focused on property management for urban consumers who are either renting a home out to a 3rd party and want someone to look after the rental and the management of their home, the rental contract etc or are leaving their home vacant for a long period and need someone to look after their home while they are away.

This latter group comprises snow birds who are spending the winter in the south, business people who are away traveling or people who have been transferred to other locales. Property managers also looks after rentals in the same city that you live in as well as properties that are located in other cities from were you live.

What Should You Look For in Property Management Company

There are numerous items to consider and we have tried to list some of the more important things in this post. If we miss any that you feel are important, please leave us a comment so that we can update this post to alert our readers.

  • Contract that states the services they will provide to you
  • Rental philosophy that matches with you and the type of person you want to rent to
  • Regular reports that clearly show revenue and expenses
  • Final annual report you can use for tax purposes
  • Emergency number to call for your renter and yourself
  • Designated contact for you to call
  • Process for collecting rents, payment of bills and deposit of rents to your account
  • Reasonable property management fees
  • Advertising costs are prorate across all rental units they manage
  • Emergency repair process
  • Repair approval process
  • Handy men at reasonable rates for standard repairs
  • References from other property owners
  • Monthly, quarterly reports that meet your needs

These are just a few of the areas you want to consider. We will discuss some of them in more detail to give you a flavor for what we are considering in these items.

Rental Philosophy

At one time we had a property manager who believed that having a low vacancy rate was the right way to manage a property. Yes, the property was always rented, however the people we rented to were not some of the best people to have in our units. All of the bad things that you can imagine occurred. They skipped town, they had a lot of damage in the unit, they missed rental payments and on and on.

It is very difficult in some jurisdictions to collect from these delinquents and it costs more money to collect from them for missed rent and money to cover damages. We came to the conclusion it was better to have a unit sit vacant for a month while we found a better class of tenant who had great references and was not going to wreck the place! The cash flow was usually better even though the unit sat vacant for a month.

Property Management Reports

  • Look for regular reports that meet your needs. They should include:
  • Monthly cash flow for your unit
  • Quarterly cash flow for your rental unit
  • Comparison to forecast so that you can see how you are doing
  • Annual statement for tax purposes
  • A managers report in narrative summarizing activity concerning your property

This seems like a lot, but it is necessary to ensure that there are no surprises. Some people will not hear anything regarding their property for an entire year and then get a big surprise when they find they have to pay more money for major repairs or that cash flow is not what they expected.

Property Management Contacts

This applies equally to your renter as well as yourself. The renter needs to have someone they can contact in case of an emergency to solve his or her problems. If there is a water leak on a long weekend, you want it fixed that day and not after everyone comes back to work. Also if you the owner have a question, who do you call to get answers to your queries about information given to you on the property management reports. Remember to not be a pest either. Be professional and business like in your dealing with the property manager.

References for Property Managers

Always get references, although sometimes that may be suspect. Spend an hour talking to other owners to compare notes. There are two fundamental things to look for:

  • Does the owner you are speaking with have the same business approach as you do
  • If so, are they satisfied with the service they get from the property management firm?

There is really no sense in speaking with someone who never talks to the property manager, does not want reports and only wants to be called if there is a problem. Of course they will be happy with a property manager who never calls them and gives them the annual report they need for their taxes. I am exaggerating a bit here, but hopefully you get the point.

If you both want monthly results with an accounting report and a narrative report and the person you are speaking with finds the reports meet their needs, then there is a better chance that you will also be satisfied with the firm you are considering.

As we said earlier, if there are major thoughts missing in this post about property managers, please feel free to leave a comment.

 

 


Residential Property Management Categories

Residential Property Management CategoriesBelieve it or not most people are concerned about someone breaking into their homes while they are away on vacation or business. The reality is that there is more danger of damage from a variety of other things than what you might not think of. One of the main ones is that your insurance company may require someone to check on your home every couple of days. They need to make sure that the furnace is running and that there is no leaking water. This could be a condition of insurability so we tell everyone to check with their insurance company. Determine what is actually required before they head off on vacation for a couple of weeks. They are all different.

Residential Property Management Categories

There are lots of reasons for hiring someone or arranging with a neighbor or family member to look after your home while you are away. These categories cover the occasional all the way through the full time professional. The following list comprises some of the main reasons why you may want to consider having some one do this on your behalf ( In all cases except for pets, we assume you are gone for a week or more):

  • Pets at home ( Have someone come in to feed and care for your pets)
  • Insurance requirements (24/48/72 hour intervals)
  • Landscaping ( including cut the grass, water the plants)
  • Water indoor plants
  • Make the home look lived in(lights on timers, move lights)
  • Pick up the mail ( hold or send to the homeowner)
  • Remove advertising and papers from front step
  • Check on the water, including sump pumps
  • Turn on the water to fill traps(if vacant for more than 2 weeks)
  • Check security of the home
  • Snow removal
  • Check on the home and report to the home owner
  • Monitor home improvement while the homeowner is away
  • Rent the home
  • Rental property management

There are probably many other reasons for having someone look after your home while you are away or if you plan to rent your home out to someone while you leave the country. It also may be a vacation property or an investment property. If you are reading this post and notice something missing please feel free to leave us a comment.

Additional Property Management Requirements

The requirements are also much different depending on whether you have a traditional home with a front and back yard, vs. a townhouse, a condo or a rental property. The time of year also is a factor since you must arrange for someone to cut the lawn and trim during the summer , while the winter requires someone to clear the snow from the walkway and driveway if you live in areas that receive snow. These all need to be taken into account if you planning on hiring a residential property manager, a house sitter or arranging for some one to look after you home while you are away.

We will be developing customized checklists for people in these various categories.  If they do not quite fit or you have a special situation that we have not covered, please leave us a comment and we will update our lists. We plan on issuing a new post every two weeks so stay tuned to watch for our latest post.

 


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