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Tax Time: Tax Reporting Requirements for Property Managers

Web Admin - Friday, May 05, 2017

Tax Time: Tax Reporting Requirements for Property Managers

 

The beginning of each calendar year is a very busy time for many businesses, and Property Managers are not left out of that category! Whether you are a large Property Management Company or an individual Property Manager, this is the time when all tax forms should be issued for funds paid out to Rental Property Owners or Vendors during the previous calendar year. The form that is used to complete this task is the 1099-MISC, and this form must be submitted to the recipient and the IRS by a specified date each year. When 1099s are submitted to the IRS, they must be accompanied by a summary form, Form 1096, to meet the tax filing requirements.

- Why is the 1099-MISC necessary?

The IRS uses 1099s to monitor any income source that is not filed on a traditional W-2 form, which only shows income received as a salary or wage. This is a way in which the IRS captures any income received by an independent contractor or rental property owner that may otherwise go unreported. A Property Manager or Property Management Company is acting as a reliable source for the IRS to help enforce that all income is being reported.

- Who should receive a 1099-MISC?

  • Rental Property Owners - all rental property owners that have received $600 or more in rent disbursements in a given calendar year should be issued a 1099-MISC.
  • Vendors all independent contractors or vendors who are unincorporated and have received $600 or more in a given calendar year for services provided should be issued a 1099-MISC.

- When does a 1099-MISC NOT need to be filed?

Every situation has exceptions, and tax filing and reporting is no different. Here are some of those exceptions:

  • If the total payments to a rental property owner or vendor are less than $600, a 1099-MISC does not need to be filed.
  • If a rental property owner is a corporation, a 1099-MISC does not need to be filed.
  • If a vendor is an incorporated business, a 1099-MISC does not need to be filed.  

- What information is required on a 1099-MISC?

  • Tax ID # - this can be an individual’s SSN or an EIN for an unincorporated organization.
  • Address – this is needed for the 1099-MISC to be sent to the recipient.
  • Funds Paid – this includes a total of all income paid to a vendor or individual rental property owner during the previous calendar year. (Remember, only if the total is greater than $600)

- What boxes are used on a 1099-MISC to report income?

  • Rental Property Owners – all income collected that was for rent should be reported in box 1 “Rents” on the 1099-MISC. Any additional income paid (late fees, utility bill reimbursements, NTQ fees, etc.) should be reported in box 3 “Other Income” on the 1099-MISC.
  • Vendors – all payments made for vendor services should be reported in box 7 “Non-employee Compensation” on the 1099-MISC.

It is also good practice to send all rental property owners a copy of their financials for the previous calendar year so they can see where the amounts in each box on the 1099-MISC were derived from.

Not filing 1099s when required can lead to penalties and fines by the IRS, so it is very important to keep accurate records of amounts paid to each vendor and rental property owner and request any necessary forms that you may need to file the tax forms to be compliant in this process.

 

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/ .

Christie DeLaney is the Accounting Manager of Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manage over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation.   All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues.

 

 

 

Process to Collect Past Due Rent

Terri Ulaner - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Process to Collect Past Due Rent

 

I have developed a list of practices I use to facilitate the collection process. 

I have set up strict procedures that are followed each month.  I am aware of the financial implications that can arise from the monthly rent not being paid or being paid on time to an Owner.  Del Val uses many tools to ensure that the rent is paid in a timely fashion. 

  • We use a software program called Buildium which is a cloud-based property management software package. This software helps property management companies keeps track on what tenants owe. It also has the capability to be an intermediary between the tenant and myself.
  • I create a firm and friendly relationship with tenants, which can make it easier for them to communicate any financial difficulties they might be experiencing.  A positive open dialogue usually motivates a tenant to pay on time. 
  • Using Buildium, Del Val Realty provides an online tenant portal, which gives the tenant the option of paying the rent online and enables a tenant to pay on time. 
  • Having the tenant portal also allows us to communicate with the tenants electronically, which can remove the confrontational part of collecting the rent.  It also communicates with the tenants, sending reminders of upcoming rent charges, any late charges or utility charges. 
  • There is no doubt that clear and open communication in any business is essential, especially in property management and the collection of rent.  Keeping strong and detailed records are key in collecting and managing rental payments.

We believe in being fair in our efforts to collect rent by not crossing the line in Fair Debt Collections.  An example of being too aggressive would be to “threaten” eviction without the proper communication.  With following our Rent Collection Procedures, we are certain to treat everyone the same.   

 

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/ .

Mary Ann Brennan is Manager of Delinquent Accounts at Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manage over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation.   All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues.

How to Simplify Accounting Statements for Rental Property Owners

Terri Ulaner - Friday, March 17, 2017

It is very important that rental property owners understand the activity in their account each month. This is, after all, their money and they should feel confident that their property management company is portraying to them an accurate and easily read accounting of where their money is coming from and what it is being spent on.

One of the most common reasons I have seen rental owners change Property Managers is due to lack of communication in regards to their financials. If their funds are not being reported to them in a logical fashion, on a consistent basis, it creates a lack of trust with their Property Management Company. This can also lead to the rental property owner feeling that they are being taken advantage of, even to the point of them feeling like they are being robbed!

So, how can this be prevented? We prepare not only monthly financial reports, which rarely make sense to anyone who is not an Accountant, we also take a little extra time to give our reporting a personal touch. This includes providing all the transactions that have taken place in their account each month in a simplified, easy to read and understand Owner Statement Summary Sheet.

It is a great way for the financial team to become familiar with each owner’s properties and cash flow so when you do receive an occasional call you will already have the knowledge of their account.

Here is a list of items that can be extremely helpful to a rental property owner, when viewing their summary sheet:

·        A section that includes a total dollar amount of revenue collected that month, broken out between rent, utility reimbursements, late fees, etc.

·        A listing of which units have outstanding balances owed at the end of the month.

·        A section that includes all expenses for the month. This doesn’t have to be detailed, a simple line marked electric bills, or maintenance costs is sufficient. If they do need more detail of the specific charge and what it entailed, they can reference the financial reports, which will provide this information for them. 

·        A total amount of owner disbursements that were paid that month.

The summary sheet should always include the beginning balance in the owner’s account, as well as the ending balance. The rest of the information doesn’t do much good if the owner doesn’t know where they stand when the month is over.

As I mentioned before, not all rental property owners are Accountants and do not want to take time digging through debits and credits. That is that the reason they chose a Property Management Company in the first place! They want to know what rent money came in, which tenants are delinquent and the biggest question: Where is my money being spent?

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/ .

Christie DeLaney is the Accounting Manager of Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manage over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation.   All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues.

The 7 Crucial Parts of the Application Process when Renting an Apartment / Home

Terri Ulaner - Friday, March 03, 2017

The 7 Crucial Parts of the Application Process when Renting an Apartment / Home

Rental applications, whether submitted on line via a website or by hard copy, should go through a standard process to determine the eligibility of the applicant. Here are some criteria that should be considered:

1.     Application fee.  This will cover the costs of processing an application and should be paid with the application submission. Many companies charge between $30 and $60 per application.

2.     Income.  A good standard measure is an Income to Rent Ratio of 3.0, (gross monthly income of three times the monthly rent).  This income could be from current employment, Government payouts such as SSI, Child Support, Assistance agencies such as Section 8, and Pensions.  The Applicants must supply confirmation for all their income.  An applicant which does not meet the 3.0 requirement may be required to have a Co-Signer who would also need to meet the requirements.  For payroll income, it is best to have a current paystub which shows the Year-To Date income over a period of time, rather than a onetime payroll amount.

3.     Criminal Background. A good credit reporting service will give at least 10 years of law enforcement records on an applicant. 

4.     Eviction History. It is important to know if the applicant has had any evictions over the last 5 to 10 years.

5.     Credit History.  It is advantageous to use a service which gives a concise summary of the credit background.  The important items are the number of positive and negative trade lines, past due amounts and current collections.  Medical bills and student loan debt does not receive the same weight as outstanding charges from utilities and credit card accounts.  A good report service will also give a list of civil judgments, bankruptcies, etc.

6.     Rental History.  Applicant should supply at least two years of verifiable residency.  If the applicant is breaking a lease, they should supply a written release from the current landlord.

7.     Age of Applicant.  The applicant should be at least 18 years of age and all adult occupants should be required to complete a separate application and submit it along with income verification.

The preface to the rental application should enumerate items that would disqualify an applicant, such as eviction by previous landlord, undisclosed criminal record, conviction of certain crimes such as child abuse, current Bankruptcy proceedings, false information on the application, etc.

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/ .

De Mattie is the Leasing Coordinator of Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manage over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation.   All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues.

 

Six Critical Elements of Great Ad Writing for Rental Properties

Terri Ulaner - Thursday, February 23, 2017

As marketing coordinator for Del Val Realty & Property Management I write ads every day and follow the 6 rules below to make our ads standout.

1)    Headline / Ad Banner

I write my Ad first and see what details jump out at me for the Ad Headline. Is it on tree-lined street?  Is it near a park or something of interest? Then I incorporate the most important items, like number of bedrooms, the address and points of interest into the headline. For example:

“3 Bedroom Condo for Rent – 123 American Drive – Award Winning School District”

2)    Use Key Words in your Headline /Ad Banner and the Ad

      A keyword is generally a word or phrase that is a topic of significance. Prospective tenants use keyword searches as a way to identify and locate a property that will suit them. They can enter this word when searching for a property online.  For example:

“3 bedrooms”, “single family home”, “Valley Forge Park”, “fenced yard”, “pets allowed”

3)    Details, Details, and more Details!

Beyond the basics like number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage, include as many other details of the property that will appeal to your renter. 

  • Is there a microwave in the kitchen?
  • Does the home have a washer and dryer?
  • Does it have new windows or carpet?
  • Is there a fenced yard?

Always include information about the home’s neighborhood, access to public transit, shopping, school district, swimming pools or other area features that can effect a renter’s decision to contact you.

We recommend that ads are written in bullet point statements versus a full sentence. This allows the reader to scan ads versus reading long sentences or paragraphs.

4)    Take Great Pictures!

Every prospective renter looks for a property that suits them financially and aesthetically. There is greater turn off than too few photos, blurry photos or dark photos. Try to take as many photos you believe will result in a minimum of 10 great photos that capture the essence of the home. And be sure to capture both the exterior of the home and yard.

ü  Take pictures on a sunny day, everything looks better in sunlight

ü  Make sure blinds and curtains are open to maximize the natural light;

ü  Try for an angle to add dimension and visual interest (no corners of bedrooms!)

ü  Get rid of piled personal items in a room to let the room to be seen, not personal stuff.

ü  Follow bathroom photo etiquette, put the lid down!

5)    Make sure your Rental policy is clearly stated

Although the rental price, security deposit, any fees and lease term are important, be very clear about any policies that could threaten the deal with the prospective renters. Make sure they understand pet policies, smoking in the property, parking and anything else that might affect their rental decision. Also, if the property is located within a housing community that has their own set of rules and regulations, be sure it is clear in your Ad that the residence is in a housing community.

6)    Formatting the Ad Itself

There is sometimes a lot of information to include in the Ad. Paragraphs with lots of information and details are too hard to read and a prospective tenant will lose interest. Keep your Ad format the same each time and make it easy to read.  Use bulleted short statements in a list versus long sentences in a paragraph. Make sure they are clear and concise and add value to the Ad.

If you follow these SIX critical elements your Ad will give prospective tenants the desire and confidence to see the property. And in representing your rental property well, your prospective tenants will be assured they have found their new home!

 

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/.

Terri Ulaner is the marketing coordinator for Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manages over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation.   All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues. If you want to learn more about Del Val Property, please visit us at http://www.delvalproperty.com/

Respectful Communication and Teamwork Leads to Success

Terri Ulaner - Friday, February 17, 2017

Respectful Communication and Teamwork Leads to Success

 

There is an old saying that resonates in all aspects of life.  "Respect is earned."  A very wise former Manager of mine reminded his staff that we must respect our customers at all times.  In business, the customer is not our only client. Our co-workers are our internal clients.  The customer isn't always right, but every person deserves to be treated with respect and in adherence with the golden rule:  "Treat others the way you'd like to be treated."  There will be times when these adages are not being followed by your customer.

 

Communication: 

  • It is okay to respectfully disagree with a client, however there's a right way and a wrong way to articulate the organization’s point of view.  The resolution to an issue may or may not address the client’s concern form his or her perspective.  
  • Communicating effectively when the client may perceive a request or a complaint is not addressed the way that the customer would like is of extreme importance.  The customer will appreciate the fact that they've been heard and that their concerns have been acknowledged.
  • Document, document, document.  Communication is the key to excellent customer service.  Not everyone learns or comprehends the same way.  There are times when a conversation is more effective than an e-mail.  When you're speaking with a customer, they can hear the tone in your voice and pick up on nonverbal cues that an e-mail just can’t convey.  When information is communicated verbally, follow up reiterating what was said and agreed to in an email.  This way, there's a record verifying the conversation, and everyone is on the same page. 

 

Regardless of the position one holds within an organization, recognizing the importance of each person’s function to the success of the company helps to create a more cohesive work environment.  Every employee has an important role, independently and as a team, to adhere to the processes, procedures, and guidelines, to ensure that the company is successful. 

 

  • The Owner or CEO of an organization plans, budgets and works so that the company's vision and success will come to fruition.  
  • It has been said that the janitors carry and distribute the most important paper in an organization!
  • Every level and department in an organization matters.  If an area is weak, the company may not succeed to the level that it should.  
  • Treating everyone with respect creates an environment where ideas, knowledge and experience are freely exchanged and where people support one another.  Such a team environment allows the organization to thrive, expand, retain and attract the best people.

The "sundown rule" (answer all e-mails or return all phone calls by the end of the business day) is a good rule to follow.   Occasionally, it will be necessary to take time to gather all of the pertinent information to accurately respond to a client’s concern or request.  Let them know that!  Even if you respond advising them that you will get back to them at a later date, their concern has been acknowledged and they’re aware that you’re working on a resolution or response.  When the customer is happy, the business will thrive.  Word of mouth endorsements and referrals can be as, or even more effective than paid advertisements.

 

Team Work:  Be excited to work for your company!  The more successful each individual is, the more successful your team will be.  

 

  • Working as a team, with mutual respect and effective communication, provides an opportunity for each individual to succeed and as a result, the organization will grow.  
  • Give credit where credit is due.  Engaged employees are happy and productive employees!   Happy clients are committed clients.  It's a win-win for all!  

 

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/ .

Harumi Russell is the Office Manager at Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience.   Del Val manages over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   In addition, we advise and manage homeowners and condominium associations on the daily operations of their communities.  This includes but is not limited to sales, collections, maintenance, contract negotiations and management as well as various accounting functions.

5 Rental Market Predictions: What to Expect in 2017 (and Beyond)

Michel Lautensack - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The rental market has been growing at an accelerated pace for several years — with rental appreciation outpacing home value appreciation in many regions — but as the rate of growth has started to slow, what can we expect in 2017?

Zillow’s senior economist, Dr. Skylar Olsen, predicts that rent growth, which peaked in July 2015 and has since slowed in some areas, will continue at a steady but more moderate pace across the U.S., with notable exceptions in hot markets.

Here are five top predictions for the rental market this year.

 

1. Rental affordability will improve as incomes rise and rent growth slows

Skylar expects that rising rents will stabilize throughout 2017, with overall U.S. rental appreciation remaining flat, around 1.5 percent. Booming markets — notably West Coast metros like Seattle, Portland, the Bay Area and San Diego, as well as Denver — will continue to see appreciation above 5 percent (and much higher in some neighborhoods), so it could take several more years before those regions cool down.

Why has appreciation slowed? The deceleration is largely a result of more rental inventory. Additional housing units are being added, with construction of multifamily buildings (those with five or more units) nearing pre-recession levels. Construction of single-family homes is still low, with approximately 740,000 building permits issued in 2016 compared to pre-recession averages of 1 million or more (soaring close to 2 million during the building frenzy of the housing bubble).

 

2. The homeownership rate will go up as millennials age

Homeownership is still at near-historic lows, falling annually since 2006. Most new household formation in recent years has been in the form of rental households. This trend may soon change, however, as millennials age and approach major life events, such as getting married or having children. While they’re not buying in large numbers just yet, they plan to: A Zillow survey found that millennials, more than any other demographic, consider homeownership integral to the American Dream and see it as a path toward greater personal freedom.

Does that mean you’ll soon be struggling to fill vacant units? Not likely. There are still plenty of young people left in the rental pool, and there are barriers to homeownership. Even if all the millennials in the 33-year-old range — the median age for first-time buyers — decided they wanted to buy, there’s not enough inventory to accommodate them. In addition, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, almost 70 percent of millennials who’ve been renting for more than a year make less than $50,000 annually, putting a home purchase out of reach for many. Thus, the shift toward homeownership will be a gradual one.

 

3. New development will prioritize smaller homes close to public transit, but many renters will still be pushed to the suburbs

As baby boomers downsize and seek out smaller homes in walkable neighborhoods, competition for housing in urban areas will increase. In many areas, rents have risen fastest near the downtown core; this combination of low inventory and high rents means more people, especially those with low incomes, need to move farther away from the city to find affordable rentals. As a result, more people will be driving to work — a reversal of a decade-long trend — as they move outside areas served by public transit. Denser development of smaller homes near public transit and urban centers is a likely solution to this problem and is expected to increase in 2017.

As an interesting twist on transit, what about self-driving cars? Skylar noted that autonomous vehicles have the potential to impact housing in a positive way: Used efficiently, they could ease congestion in cities and reduce the need for parking lots, which in turn would free up space downtown for housing. Of course, improvements in technology and new infrastructure will have to come first, so expect a long wait.

The suburban migration is not just a reaction to affordability, however. More millennials will choose to move to the suburbs as they age and start families in pursuit of good schools and security. The Zillow Group Report found that after affordability, renters’ top priority when seeking a home is neighborhood safety (a concern of 90 percent of respondents).

 

4. New homes will cost more as construction becomes more expensive

Construction of single-family homes is not keeping up with demand. This is due, at least in part, to labor shortages and rising construction wages. Labor may become even scarcer as immigration policies tighten: It is estimated that 10-20 percent of the single-family construction labor force consists of undocumented workers, and the potential loss of this workforce would drive up wages even further.

With the cost of construction and the price of land on the rise, more builders are looking to increase profits by focusing on high-end homes — which are not affordable for many first-time buyers. Renters, like buyers, list single-family homes as their first choice in housing (vs. multifamily units or condos), according to the Zillow Group Report. If there aren’t enough entry-level single-family homes to purchase, they will continue to rent.

 

5. Interest rates will increase (no, really!)

Economists have been expecting interest rates to go up for some time now, but their predictions have been foiled by stagnant wages (until recently) and volatility in foreign assets markets over 2016. Given falling unemployment rates and recent wage growth, Skylar believes the time is right for the Fed to act. With a new administration in the White House supporting low interest rates, however, the Fed may encounter renewed pressure to keep rates down.


Customer Service Rules for Success with Your Clients

Terri Ulaner - Thursday, February 09, 2017

As Director of Operations, my primary responsibility is to oversee our HOA division.  I have found that one of the main keys to success is Customer Service.  The following rules will help you stand out over your competitors and give you credibility with your clients:

 

1.     An effective Property Management software solution.

·       Communication can be automated so nothing gets forgotten.

·       Conversations can be automatically tracked and documented.

·       Real time information and updates, keeping homeowners informed.

2.     Answer the phone!

·       When an owner calls, their expectation is to speak with someone.  If the phone is not answered, they may feel their property is not being looked after.

·       Owners want to know you are on top of things.  A simple acknowledgement goes a long way.

3.     Answer your email

·       Similar to the importance of answering the phone, respond to your emails in a timely manner, even if it just a reply acknowledging receipt of the email and you will get back to them.

4.     Set expectations

·       Inform owners when they can expect to hear back from you, and honor it.  They will respect you for it and then be properly trained on the expectation of timely communication with you.

5.     Follow up and Follow through

·       Keep people in the loop.  Lack of information and follow up gives the perception nothing is being done and they are forgotten about.  Perception is reality.

·       Do what you say you are going to do.  This makes you credible.

·       When getting back to someone, do your research and give correct information.  Don’t convey assumptions as fact.  If you do, it will come back to haunt you eventually.  If you don’t know something, be honest about it and get the information.

 

By following these rules, your owner’s minds will be at ease that their properties and Associations are being cared for and looked after by someone competent, giving them the “warm and fuzzies” they are looking for.

 

Alan Silverman is the Director of Operations of Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val"). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manage over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   In addition, we advise and manage homeowners and condominium associations on the daily operations of their communities.  This includes but is not limited to collections, common area maintenance, contract negotiations and management as well as various accounting functions.

How to make and keep your Tenants happy - good business in the long run!

Terri Ulaner - Friday, February 03, 2017

Retaining Residents

Posted on 27. Oct, 2011 by Mary Girsch-Bock in Resident Retention

While the number of renters in the market has increased in the last few years, retaining good tenants can still pose a problem for property managers. Maintaining a current resident is much less expensive than locating, approving, and moving in a new tenant. Of course the nature of renting itself is often transient; many people rent while looking for a home to buy, others only in the community for a short period of time.

But there are a select group of tenants that would be more than happy to stay in the community where they rent; provided that they’re happy.

So how do you make…and keep your tenants happy? Perhaps most important is good customer service. Most people, by nature, do not really enjoy moving frequently and will likely find reasons to stay where they are, providing that they receive the following:

  • Good staff responsiveness – Do you always respond promptly to tenant requests? Are maintenance issues resolved quickly and professionally? Are complaints or other issues handled properly, or are they just put aside? These are all important issues and tenants will remember how they are handled (or not handled) at renewal time.
  • Maintaining the look and quality of the property – Obviously, your properties should be maintained anyway, but many tenants that do become dissatisfied with their apartment home cite issues such as “the property went downhill.” While not very descriptive, this can mean anything from neglected landscaping, trash scattered throughout the property, or becoming careless about whom you rent to. Tenants think of their apartment as their home, and coming home to suspicious characters hanging out in the parking lot, or trash blowing around in the wind will make a tenant seriously consider moving come renewal time.
  • Keep them informed and involved – What’s going on in the community that you can share with your tenants? A monthly newsletter, holiday wine & cheese parties, an annual property yard sale, all of these things help to create a feeling of community, and that can be potent.
  • Consistency in Staffing – While a change of staff cannot always be prevented, it’s important to maintain some consistency in the rental office. Tenants often become very attached to office personnel, and frequent staff turnover may not only affect property performance, but tenant turnover as well.

While there will always be tenant turnover, building and maintaining a solid community will help you maintain more of your tenants come renewal time.

Terri Ulaner has worked for Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val") for ten years in the capacity of administrative and executive assistant and marketing coordinator. Terri brings over thirty-five years’ experience to Del Val.  Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 15 years' experience and manages over 2,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA.   We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO "Hassle" FULL Service Management Program.   This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation.   All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues.

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program, please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/

Sensors poised to transform property management

Michel Lautensack - Wednesday, January 04, 2017

By Nicholas Gill

 

It’s an exciting time to be involved in residential property management. Technology is developing rapidly and permanently altering the residential landscape for managers, staff, and residents. Several companies are invested in developing the next generation of innovative tools for residential property management. Sensor technologies in particular are bound to make huge waves in the future.

One of these solutions is currently in beta testing in the fitness centres of high-end residential buildings in New York City. Over the next few months, there are plans to expand the solution to several other cities, including Toronto.

These fitness centres use a network of smart sensors to determine which exercise machines are currently occupied while monitoring the temperature and humidity in various parts of the facility. Residents can view availability of exercise equipment — down to a specific treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike. By tracking usage statistics property managers are equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions on upcoming equipment purchases, which equipment is being underutilized and which require service. Management and residents can easily access these and other usage details via a dashboard or mobile apps.

Other sensor solutions in development could help revolutionize residential living and operations in other areas as well: noise complaints, leak detection, parking space availability, mail arrival, and elevator operations.

Nearly every building has to deal with noise complaint quarrels between its residents. Imagine a network of sensors that can detect where loud noises are coming from and that can also measure their decibel levels.

Leaks are another persistent and seemingly unavoidable issue in residential buildings. Sensor technology could help discover leaks early, minimizing severe damage and costly clean-ups. Sensors can not only detect water dripping down a wall, but even detect atmospheric moisture levels, helping to determine if a leak is imminent. Imagine sensors placed in common problem areas, such as under kitchen sinks and in bathrooms, that could detect a pinhole leak before it becomes a major flood. Sensors could also measure water flow in pipes to determine irregularities and notify management of these issues. The potential cost savings to corporations, owners and insurance companies is huge.

For the most part, parking lot sensors have been limited to high-end retail centres, but will soon be available in residential buildings. Consider the convenience and customer service improvements in residential environments if sensors could easily detect parking space availability. Sensors would save residents and their guests the hassle and frustration of physically checking availability in the parking garage only to find out that no spaces are available. Imagine the improvement to customer service if the concierge staff were provided with a dashboard that could provide both the availability and exact location of the parking spot?

Today many buildings are now using software to manage packages and automate the notification process, but what about mail delivery? It can be pain for residents to keep checking to see if that important envelope has arrived. An easier way? Use sensors to keep residents posted in real time. A sensor at the back of the mailbox that pings when mail has arrived could be posted to an app and/or trigger a text notification, providing real-time updates and eliminating needless trips to the mailroom.

Sensors could also help clear up murky areas such as elevator operations. Imagine placing a group of sensors at the bottom of an elevator shaft. They could easily measure the distance from the shaft to the elevator’s current location, making it possible to determine which floor the elevator is on, for how long, and at what times. Residents could decide whether to wait or take the stairs, while managers could easily view usage trends.

As technology improves and new ideas emerge, expect to see more sensor solutions in residential building management. Sensor technology is poised to become a massively influential tool in improving residential building operations in the near future.

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Del Val Realty & Property Management

81 Lancaster Avenue, Suite 218
Great Valley Shopping Center
Malvern, PA 19355
484-328-3282 - Office
610-500-5682 - Fax