Tag: Residential Property Management

Residential Property Management Services Explained

Consumers require residential property management services for a variety of reasons. As a result some buy rental properties and need need someone to look after the property. Other consumers will be absent from their homes for a long period traveling. Look after your home. We will review these issues and others in the following post.

Residential Property Insurance Requirements

Many homeowners just close their doors and leave for their vacation. Many are very excited about getting away. They do not give a seconds thought about looking after their home. Many insurance companies have specific requirements about vacant homes. These requirements depend on the company, the time of year, where you live and your heating system. Your insurance company may want someone to check your home every day. Call your residential insurance company to confirm their requirements to maintain insurance on your home. Also condominium owners need to do this.

Temporary Absence Management

Many residential property management services companies will offer services to home owners in this situation. Management companies can check your home for water leaks, power outages, heating system failures and break-ins. Always have them check your home and report back to you after every visit. The report will be especially useful if you need to make a claim to your insurance company. They want to know that someone is checking your home for all potential emergency conditions.

Extended Absence

Arrange for residential property management services if you are leaving for an extended period. They will check for water leaks and heating system malfunction. For example they may also provide landscape management, snow removal and even water the plants. In other words consumers can arrange for all of the services they need. Therefore they can leave their home with confidence.

Rental Residential Property Management Services

Many consumers purchase rental properties as investments. Some consumers will manage their own properties. However others do not want to deal with tenants or some of the problems that arise. In other words residential property management services can put your mind at ease. For example services included are:

  • Tenant selection and approval
  • Rent check collection
  • Deposit to bank accounts
  • Property management services
  • Property repairs
  • Regular monthly reporting

Property management covers all of the things that most consumers take for granted about maintaining a home. In addition this area of services may include the following depending on the building type:

  • Cutting the lawn
  • Hedges and shrub maintenance
  • Maintain watering system and watering the lawn
  • Routine repairs to appliances
  • Painting and cleaning after tenants leave
  • Management of special projects e.g. window replacement etc.

Summary

There is a property management solution for all situations. To clarify, decide how much time you will need a property manager. Subsequently give your insurance company a call to confirm their minimum requirements. After calling your insurance company call the management company. In addition make sure that you will receive appropriate documentation from the residential property management company. After that if you have to file a claim you will need these documents to make an insurance claim.


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 you will want to consider hiring a property manager. Someone who is familiar with managing residential properties. It does not matter if they are residential properties, single family homes, town homes or apartment buildings.

There are various bylaws and government laws that are specific to residential property. Find companies that have the experience. They need to know how to deal with these requirements. The tenants are also very different and have many different needs. They 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. They 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. Competition ruling the rent levels and the services provided. Managers deal with far fewer 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. There are many more tenants to deal with per building. 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. Then they hire a management company to manage the rental building for them. There will be multiple objectives on one side and multiple needs on the other.  As a result 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 are needed. Also 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. The property manager is hired to manage all of the common elements of the building. They have 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. Talk to current customers of the property management company to confirm satisfaction levels.

The type of information that is needed and provided may be quite different depending on the owners and the property management companies. Also 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 . Do what is right. Be fair to all parties. Make 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!

For many more posts about property management topics, click here.


Property Management Information

Property Management InformationOwners of rental buildings want a lot of property management information from their property managers. They look for regular reports at the end of each month. These include rent rolls, status reports on various activities, annual reports, tax reports for filing with the government. As well as rental reports to substantiate rent increases. Most of all they want to make sure that there are no surprises.

Property Management Information – End of the Month Reports

At the end of each month, property management information should include a total income and expense report. It should show the rental income for the month and the year to date numbers. It should also show the expenses in the same format for all categories.  Rental units rented and the rent collected, end of lease projections, empty units, and collection activities should also be reported. They also want to be made aware of any special issues that should be brought to their attention. For example renters that skipped on their rent. Also renters that are behind on their rent.

Status Reports

There may be various projects and upgrades that are underway. A status report is usually provided to give owners who cannot get to the property an update. Include picture as required. Discuss issues as required.  Some owners will want a monthly meeting to review this information. However more often it will be a quick conference call which saves everyone time.

Annual Reports

Annual reports summarizing the year and projections for the coming year are also needed. In addition these reports allow owners to budget properly. Review every line item and adjust based on inflation. In addition specific needs of the property and even specific agendas of the owners.

Tax Reports

Tax reports are also provided on an annual basis as part of the annual property management information flow. These reports can be provided to accountants. They will incorporate the appropriate cash flows into the owners income tax reports to the government. This is not an audit. It is a tax report based on the information provided to the accountant.

If there is only one owner, discussions and decisions are often very straight forward and can be conducted easily. If there are multiple owners, the decisions take longer. Often a board of directors will interface with the property manager. They will go over all of the property management information. The job of the board is to review all reports and make sure that results are in line with expectations.


Vacant Home Property Management

Vacant Home Property ManagementVacant Home Property Management

We recently received an email from a client who was looking for someone to look after their home for a one year period. This person is with the armed forces and is being posted out of the country for a period of one year. They have obviously decided that they do not want to rent their home to someone while they are away and they also want to be able to return from time to time during vacation periods and other time periods. They need a number of services which we will discuss in this post.

Vacant Home Property Management Services

They are taking the right approach to ensure that their home is looked after while they are away. This is where vacant home property management comes in, regardless of whether you have a friend, a neighbor or a family member look after the home. There are two really important things to consider when you hire someone or ask a favor of someone.

First you need to always check with your insurance company to ensure that you meet their requirements for monitoring while the home is vacant. Failure to have the home monitored adequately could void your home insurance and void any claim you might have while you are away.

Each insurance company is different in their requirements. Some want the water turned off and they want someone to check on the home every day. While other insurance companies are ok as long as someone checks on the home at least once per week. We will touch on pricing in our next post, Charges for Vacant Home Management.

The second item to consider that is important is who you have look after your home while you are away. Regardless of who you have do this important task, they need to be dependable. They need to be able to always check your home according to the schedule you set and they need to be able to deliver a report to you after each visit.

Claims for Home Insurance

This is so important because if there is a claim to you insurance company, you will need to be able to confirm that someone was visiting the house according to the schedule they require. Hopefully there will be no situations that require the involvement of the insurance company etc, however these same people should also be able to deal with these situations under your direction.

Choose your home sitter or property manager carefully and not just on price alone. Price is important, however you really need to make sure that you have the services you need. Most professional companies will have a checklist that they will walk you through to confirm all details associated with management of your home. After all, your home is your most valuable possession as are the the things in it. Why would you take a chance with your most important possession.

What are Insurance Companies Concerned About

For most insurance companies the major worry is water damage from leaking pipes. If you live in a cold climate were the pipes could freeze you are going to need someone to check more often unless you drain the pipes and turn the water off. Of course they want the security of the home confirmed each time, but the big worry is whether the furnace is working and the temperature is high enough inside the home to avoid water freezing in the pipes.

This is where a professional property management company can really help you. They should visit your home on a regular schedule defined by you and they should also provide you with a report confirming that someone from the property management firm visited the home and verified the security, the temperature inside the home and that there are no water leaks.

They are also concerned about break-ins, however there is not much you can do about this other than make sure that the home looks like it is lived in. Make sure that all newspapers and flyers are taken in every day and that the lawn is cut on a regular basis. These are dead give indicators to a vacant home.

Make it Look Lived In

Some home owners will also arrange for lights on timers to come on at regular scheduled intervals in the rooms that you use. It makes no sense to have lights on in rooms that you do not use normally. Have the lights and timers in the rooms that you use and follow your regular schedule.

In our next post we will discuss Charges for Vacant Home Management. If you have comments on this post please leave them. We love to get comments that our readers will enjoy and find helpful.

For more information on vacant home checklists, click here.

 


Residential Home Management Check Lists

Residential Home Management Check ListsAs a property manager of a home on behalf of a client, what are the things you need to pay attention to? There are many, but some are more important than others and we will try to cover a few of these here. This web site is aimed at the home owner and although this particular post is about property manager’s, we thought it would be useful to understand how a property manager looks at the job! If you understand the other person’s objective, then you will have a better perspective on how to deal with property managers and what to look for when hiring a property manager! This is important for a number of reasons – peace of mind, financial and contractual!

Primary Focus of a Property Manager

It does not matter what anyone tries to tell you, the fundamental focus of a property manager is to make money. If they cannot make a profit in the services they are offering to you, they may just refuse to take you on or keep you on as a client. If you can recognize this fundamental truth, then you may be able to get the services you need at a price that you can afford! It is all about compromise and negotiation after that.

Most property managers will talk about the great service they offer, the reports they provide and the communications they provide to you the client. They will indicate that this is their number one objective.  Avoiding putting this down on paper in a contract is one way of retaining some control over what is contractually required. If you want something done, make sure it is listed in the contract, for how much, when it is to be done and to what level of quality! This may seem like overkill or indicate that you may not trust a person. It is really just a professional way to do business.

Residential Home Management Check Lists

With that said, we collected a list of things that can be considered when you provide services as a property manager to look after someone’s  home while they are away on vacation:

  • Frequency of visits to your clients home
    • Daily, 48 hours , 72 hours etc
  • Reporting requirements
    • Paper record
    • Email
    • Text msg
    • How soon after each visit
  • Specific items to check while in the home
    • Doors
    • Windows
    • Alarm system
    • heating system
    • Water leaks
    • Snow load
    • Pool
  • What to do in case of an emergency
    • Contact emergency contact
    • Call police
    • Advise insurance company
    • Call family , family friend or neighbor
  • Phone numbers to call
    • Your emergency number
    • Your insurance company
    • Police
  • Authority to make repairs
    • Specified limit with no authority
    • Temporary repairs to prevent further damage
  • Other Services that you may require
    • Water plants indoors
    • Water gardens outdoors
    • lawn care
    • Pool care
    • Snow removal
    • etc

These are the basics and everyone who needs their homes looked after will have more items to add to the list based on their own particular situation. We have not addressed pets in this case, however for those that need these services, you should add feeding, medicine requirements, exercise and emergency veterinary directions. As a property manager you will need to decide what services you will after including looking after pets, dog walking etc. Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of looking after pets.

Providing Services as a Property Manager

Always have a contract and spell out the terms you need to have in it regarding the services you are offering to a residential consumer. This is a great way to manage expectations and avoid customer disappointment. We always include a questionnaire which we ask the client to fill in were they outline exactly what they need and any special instructions they wish to provide.  This is basic communications were you make it clear to both what is needed. I even have the client sign or initial each page.

Permission slips with the associated information are also included to allow us to contact insurance companies, alarm companies and veterinarians that might be needed in case of an emergency with one of the pets.

While this is not a complete checklist, it is a general guideline were we urge both parties to communicate the services provided and the services needed so that there are no misunderstandings.

Your comments are welcome. For more posts about property management topics, click here.

 


Residential Property Management Ottawa

Residential Property Management OttawaThere are many residential property management companies in the city of  Ottawa. How do you know which one to utilize and contract with to manage the rental of your home or apartment. Or your investment property? Perhaps you just need someone to look after your home while you are away on vacation to satisfy your insurance company!

Ottawa property management companies offer a variety of services. For example some are city-wide while others cover only specific areas of the city. Hence this is designed to minimize travel costs and the subsequent charges to their customers. In addition there are very large property management companies. There are also small mom and pop companies in the city of Ottawa.

Residential Property Management Ottawa Services

For example some of the basic services that you need to consider are:

Administration:

  • rent collection in trust
  • payment of invoices, property taxes, utilities, insurance
  • in addition monthly reports, annual reports
  • maintenance of property records
  • in addition cash flow management
  • property inspections
  • receive and respond to tenet inquiries 24/7
  • hence representation on all rent review matters

Leasing:

  • advertising of rental unit
  • receive leasing inquires 24/7
  • schedule showing of property
  • in addition complete rental application
  • tenant screening process
  • execute lease
  • subsequently collect deposits and post-dated checks

Residential Property Management Ottawa Companies

Here is a brief list of some of the companies in the city of Ottawa that provide residential property management services

  • Sleepwell Management
  • Marklyn Property Management
  • Taggart Realty Management
  • CLV Group
  • District Realty
  • Gow Property Management
  • Megacorp Property Management Inc
  • Woodbridge Management
  • Apollo Property Management
  • Metcalfe Realty Company Limited
  • Just Imagine Realty Inc
  • Affordable Property Managément
  • Merkburn Holdings Ltd
  • Immogest Property Management Inc
  • Attaché National Capital Management
  • Rest Easy Property Management
  • Elk Property Management
  • Deerpark Management Limited
  • Executive Home Mgmt
  • A Premiere Property Management Associates
  • Axia Property Management
  • Capital Concierge
  • Sentinel Management
  • Beauregard Property Management corp
  • Reid Property Management Ltd

While we cannot vouch for any of these companies we urge you to review our post about residential property management. Understand some of the things you should take into account when you are considering hiring a property management company. This list has a lot of common sense items on it. You may find helpful when you are interviewing some of these companies.

About Ottawa

Ottawa has approximately a million people living in the area and is spread out along the Ottawa river. Hiring a local company that is based in your area may mean that you can get a more competitive price. However be careful that you do not sacrifice services to yourself or your tenant to get a lower price. For example it could end up costing you a lot more money in lost rent or damages that you must repair. Especially if your tenant causes a lot of damage. Then skips out with out your property managers knowledge.

If you are leaving on vacation for a few weeks, check with your insurance company. For example ask what the requirements are for someone checking on your home. Hence failure to have some one check on your home could mean that your home insurance is invalid. As a result claims may be denied.

If you are a property manage and do not see your name on the list, leave us a comment. Subsequently we will be happy to add it. For more information on Residential property management, click here.

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Residential Property Management

Building Manager TrainingIn 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.

For more posts about a variety of property management topics, click here.

 

 


Residential Property Management Categories

Keep your Lawn Healthy over WinterBelieve it or not most people are more 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.

For more posts about a variety of property management topics, click here.

 


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