A 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. Include all work orders that are associated with the property for repairs. In addition any maintenance that needs to be completed. Some owners want a lot of detail. They review how costs are being managed. This is something that can be used by the property manager to differentiate your business from other competitors.
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. Complete an audit every year. Assure owners that all cash flows are correct.
An excellent property management system will allow you to meet your own property management needs. In addition as well as the owners of the buildings that you are managing.
Reporting should be excellent as well. The manager can quickly tell how many units are rented at what rent level. Who is coming up for renewal. How much money is being spent on each unit? Flag units that are triggering a lot of unnecessary expenses. Sometimes there are a lot of incidental expenses which by themselves are not very expensive. But over a year can add up to more than expected.
Reports also need to be available for the owner or investor of the building. The minimum requirement is accounting reports showing the total income and expenses by all categories. Also bottom line summaries. 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. Track large numbers of items with property management software. This 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.
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. Invest wisely and use your customers requirements as a means to select the best system for your needs.
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