Property Mgmt System

Property Management Systems

Property Management SystemsProperty management systems can make a huge difference in terms of both managing multiple properties and providing information to your clients. Information at your finger tips has been the desired approach for some time for most property managers and owners. With property management systems that are available online or on your smart phone, many property managers can now answer questions instantly using their smart phones that are connected to the property management systems online. Access to rental contracts, work orders, setting up tracking lists and much more are not only available to the superintendent, but also to the management team responsible to manage the overall set of property investments. These sorts of applications save a great deal of time which in turn saves money.

Property Management Systems – Server based

These systems have come a long way from the time they were run on local computers using DOS systems. They now run on servers that can be accessed from almost anywhere remotely from systems that are located at the actual rental building on a wireless basis, from home and from smart phones that are carried by the local property manager superintendent. Imagine you have a tenant with a problem in their unit. Not only can you log the problem immediately, provide a status when it is assessed and issue a work order to have the issue dealt with right from your smart phone. When the problem is resolved, it can be reported, pictures taken, transmitted and closed using a smart phone application and all information is available to management and their customers.

Modern property management companies are adopting this software and providing their employees with the latest capabilities to their customers or clients as well. Now they can provide online reports that management has reviewed to their clients as well. This changes the total relationship with the customer and the tenants and makes it much easier to manage all properties.

Dealing with Property Owners

Property managers also must report to their owners and to the investors that have invested in the property that they are managing. This is extremely important if they are to retain contracts, year over year based on relationships with the owners and providing real time summaries and answers to their issues. Providing up to date and accurate information regarding rents collected, expenses during the month and a year to date comparison to the budget are the usual kinds of reports that most investors will look for.

The annual report is also one of the most important documents that is produced by the property manager. It may be subject to an audit and may also provide the information needed by owners to file their income taxes. This information must be accurate and meet all federal tax guidelines otherwise owners could end up paying more tax than they would normally have to pay.

Some condo boards and property owners will request that these reports be audited to satisfy themselves that all transactions are accurate and allocated appropriately. This provides a sense of confidence to the owners and the investors that their assets are being managed properly and that funds are not being used inappropriately. The tax department will also look on claims etc more favorably as well when a year end annual statement has been audited.

Property Management Systems – Tenants

Many people who are living in rented apartments are dissatisfied with the way their buildings are being managed. They may report that some item needs to be repaired and then nothing is done. Not only is it not corrected, there is no record of any report being made. This is typical of the older antiquated systems which do not have online access and paper or someone’s memories can simply be lost or forgotten. With an online system using smart phone access, reports can be completed immediately,  with pictures taken and then the item can be easily tracked.

Property Management System

Property Management SystemA property management system must have a many features that help the property manager. They help manage the rent of the units they are managing but many other activities around the property. They must  keep track of all cash flows which include rent income and expenses. All work orders that are associated with the property for repairs and maintenance that need to be completed are included. Some owners want a lot of detail so they can review how costs are being managed and others do not. This is something that can be used by the property manager to differentiate your business from other competitors.

Property Management System – Information Readily Available

They must have these reports and information available should the board call for the information or the board asks for an audit of all cash flows and expenses. It is common for an audit to be completed every year to assure the owners that all cash flows are correct and that owner policies are being adhered to.

As a property manager you always need to be prepared to provide all of the information as needed. An excellent property management system will allow you to meet your own property management needs as well as the owners of the buildings that you are managing.

Reporting should be excellent as well so that the manager can quickly tell how many units are rented at what rent level, who is coming up for renewal and how much money is being spent on each unit. Units that are triggering a lot of unnecessary expenses should be flagged in some manner so that they are brought to the attention of the property manager immediately. Sometimes there are a lot of incidental expenses which by themselves are not very expensive, bit over a year can add up to more than expected.

Information for Owners from Property Management Systems

Reports also need to be available for the owner or investor of the building. Accounting reports showing the total income and expenses by all categories with bottom line summaries is usually the minimum that is required. These reports should allow drill downs to individual units that may have higher numbers than what are the average for advertising or repairs as an example. While paper copies are helpful, with today’s systems, online reports that allow browsing of the results and drill downs into more detail should be available.

Investors also want alerts for high expense, for rent renewal, for non-payment of rent etc. There are many items that should be tracked with property management software which helps the senior management team manage large numbers of units and stay on track with various issues. Weekly reviews and monthly reviews of all of the top line numbers with exception analysis should be the norm. A good property management system can help a great deal to make this process smooth, while providing the answers at the same time.

Complex Property Management Software

Property management software is becoming more and more complex all of the time. Property managers either must invest in training for their people to learn how to maintain and use these systems or they need to hire someone who knows your software inside out so they can deliver all of your needs. There is nothing more frustrating when the support people from the software company tell you that a feature or report is available, when your people should have been able to deliver these results from the beginning.

Software systems can be expensive, but they can deliver significant results. Invest in appropriate training for your system and utilize the train the trainer approach to keep everyone up to speed on all of the features. Once you have mastered their use, your customers will be impressed with the information provided and your attention to details which is enabled by the property management systems you are using. Invest wisely and use your customers requirements as a means to select the best system for your needs.


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