A property manager's work is never done.
The job's demands are broad and require constant multitasking. A shortlist of common responsibilities include:
- Collecting rent.
- Overseeing maintenance services.
- Managing security.
- Coordinating trash and recycling collection.
- Reviewing and adjusting accounting procedures.
- Legally representing property owners.
- Locating, screening, onboarding, and retaining quality tenants.
- Coordinating repairs and renovation projects with contractors.
As the U.S. population continues to gravitate towards renting and both home and office ownership declines, the demand for experienced, qualified property managers continues to grow. And why not! The job demands excellence in order to properly manage such a challenging list of duties.
Getting caught up in the day-to-day is a natural occurrence for such a fast-paced career. But setting aside time for personal growth and improving your operations are too important to continue putting off!
That's why Alco Windows and Doors assembled a handbook to help property managers identify and take action on how to take your properties to the next level in 2020.
We know the challenges you face because we work right alongside you, providing quality service and exceptional customer support for all your impact window and door needs. We're confident this guide will help you refocus and grow your organizations in a meaningful way in the coming year.
This FREE guide is yours to access. We believe when all our industry partners experience growth, our communities become stronger.
1: Refocusing Your Growth Model
NEVER STOP LOOKING FOR ways to expand revenue in today's ever-changing economy.
Regularly reviewing your revenue goals is essential in remaining proactive and always looking at ways to improve.
Taking the extra time to refocus and improve your revenue growth is a great way to become even more successful and help you maximize profit.
Here are the top five questions for property managers to consider in helping improve revenue growth:
#1) Am I Developing New Revenue Sources Regularly?
One of the primary keys to success for a property manager is to always look at more ways to develop new revenue sources frequently.
These additional revenue sources can play an essential role in improving the bottom line. A few ways to add new sources of income include offering rentable storage space, installing vending machines, or selling advertising space.
These extra revenue streams can quickly add up and make a big difference in helping generate more revenue.
#2) How Can I Use Search Engine Optimization to Expand My Business?
Another vital question to consider is how to utilize search engine optimization to expand your business. The vast majority of people will look for a rental property by performing a search on Google.
One of the easiest ways to rise above the competition is to focus on searching engine optimization by creating high-quality content consistently. You can also utilize specific keywords on your blog that can boost your website ranking in search results.
Ultimately, search engine optimization is well worth the effort in helping your business maximize its potential outreach. Seek out marketing firms or SEO freelancers in your area to begin optimizing your property listings and generate more web visits.
#3) Am I Taking Advantage of Referrals?
Each property manager has a wide range of customers, which gives you an excellent opportunity to take advantage of referrals.
Always providing top-quality customer support is a great way to build your reputation and make it much more likely for tenants to recommend using your services to others.
You can also develop a referral program that provides incentives for referring you to other potential tenants. The payoff for finding more tenants is well worth the effort, and the financial investment is relatively low in developing a referral program for your business.
Learn more in our blog post: 5 Questions For Property Managers to Refocus & Improve Revenue Growth
2: Tenant Law Updates
Not understanding tenant laws can cost you big money.
Understanding all of the different landlord and tenant laws in Florida is essential for property managers. Staying aware of these ever-changing regulations will ensure that you always remain in compliance while also creating a safe environment for your tenants.
Here are a few examples of the most critical laws in Florida that property managers need to be aware of at all times.
#1) A Tenant's Right to Have a Residence in Reasonable Condition
Florida Statute 83.51 requires property managers to keep a building in reasonable condition and code-compliant with the latest housing and health codes. In other words, a Florida residential tenant has the right to ensure that a landlord is responsible for maintaining the entire premise and keeping it in reasonable working condition. Some examples include:
- The roof must not leak.
- The stairs must be in good condition.
- The walls must be weather-tight.
- All houses must have working flushing toilets.
- Ceilings, outside walls, and inside walls must be in good condition and free from rodents.
- Window panes cannot have holes or cracks.
- There must be adequate garbage storage containers and disposal facilities.
The landlord may modify some of these obligations if it is a single-family home or a duplex.
#2) A Landlord Must Issue Proper Written Notice to a Tenant
The tenant has the right to receive a notice in advance if the landlord plans to end the residential lease. The written notice must also follow specific guidelines and must be delivered by mail or delivered to the property.
Specific language is required to be used in the notice to ensure that it remains a legal document. Always review your language before sending a notice to a tenant.
Learn more in our blog post: Tenant Laws Property Managers in Miami Can't Ignore
3: In-Demand Renovation Ideas
Looking to attract or retain more reliable or better-paying tenants?
Keeping your rental properties modernized, attractive, and comfortable is critical to high tenant satisfaction, which is, in turn, vital in raising your rental property values over time.
Property managers, here are five potential renovations sure to improve your apartments in a tangible, profitable way.
1) Update Kitchen Appliances
Updating kitchen appliances is perhaps the simplest way to improve an apartment significantly. A potential tenant may not remember all of the details of the kitchen appliances, counter space, or cabinets—but if something is in bad condition or is brand new, it's going to stick.
If you're aiming for higher-value renters, it's probably best to focus on eliminating old appliances before investing in high-value upgrades. Savvy, responsible tenants will notice a dated kitchen or laundry space quickly - and it will negatively impact the impression of your property. Cutting-edge gadgets such as smart thermostats don't mean much when surrounded by useless junk.
2) Provide Ample Parking
Property owners often underestimate the value tenants place on quality parking options. It's not something that stands out during a walkthrough unless you're looking for it, but those tenants who care will likely find poor parking options a dealbreaker.
The parking improvements in demand will depend on the nature of your rental property. For some, it may mean covered spaces, especially for tenants who live in seasonal regions where rain and snow are a regular occurrence. For others, it could mean wholly enclosed private garages. It may even just mean guaranteed spaces off the street if the parking situation is currently inadequate for your tenants. Take time to study the needs of your target customer.
Higher-end properties may also want to consider modern amenities such as charging stations for electric or hybrid vehicles. These are much more common among high-value tenants, and thus, charging stations are an excellent improvement for your rental property.
Learn more in our blog post: 5 Apartment Renovation Ideas to Increase Property Values
4: Hiring & Retaining Quality Staff
Few things are more important (or difficult) than finding and maintaining a team of superior staff members.
Poor staff or high turnover negatively impacts every component of a rental property: property upkeep, renter satisfaction, the first impression of potential renters, and more.
Unfortunately, property managers in 2020 face several unique challenges - in both the initial hiring process and the continued retention of high-value staffers.
This issue is in part due to a mismatch between traditional rental property staffing structures and the preferences of millennial workers—but don't worry, these challenges have solutions.
Know the Challenges
There are two separate-but-intertwined areas related to staffing problems: Hiring and retention. Inadequacies in your hiring process can result in team members who don't pull their weight. They subsequently get fired and force property managers to go through the entire process again.
This cyclical process can discourage your existing high-quality hires by forcing them to pull extra weight during gaps in staffing, increasing friction with the employees you value most! Even when you bring in bright young talent high potential, you may find that it's challenging to retain such employees in the long-term.
This retention problem can be partially alleviated by looking at long-term changes in your company's work environment, structure, technology use, and overall culture.
Let's look at strategies property managers can implement to hire and maintain quality staff effectively.
#1) PLAN OUT YOUR HIRING PROCESS THOROUGHLY
Thoughtful planning of your hiring process, from the job description to the onboarding process, is essential if you want to secure quality interviewees.
It's essential to start with a clear idea of what kind of person you need to hire; vague recruitment will get you hires who don't fit the position well. This sort of incompatibility creates inefficiency and leads to employee turnover.
Concrete goals, concrete questions, and plenty of quantifiable measurements should go hand-in-hand with a more intuition-based interview and recruitment methods. If you need a professional with experience in conflict management, create hypothetical scenarios to gauge how they would handle specific situations that have occurred at your property.
If you need an employee to handle a specific maintenance area of your property, state the specific licenses and certifications required for them to be included with any resume submission.
What do you need, and how are you assessing if a candidate can fill these? It's a simple yet often overlooked step in the hiring process.
2) HIRE WITH PEOPLE IN MIND
You rarely hire staff who will not need to interact with other people - be they, coworkers, or renters. Make sure you're hiring people with social skills, even for positions that you wouldn't normally associate with these talents.
Personable maintenance staff, for example, can go a long way towards alleviating renter frustrations—the sort of issues that lead to increased tensions, which in turn drive away your most productive staff members.
When building your team, also, don't forget you're building a shared corporate culture. There's no right answer to company culture. However, there are plenty of wrong ones. Just make sure you're mindful of what type of workplace culture you're trying to create. Use your hiring process to recruit people who won't chafe against that environment!
Learn more in our blog post: When Property Managers Need to Hire & Retain Staff, Use 3 Strategies
5: Where to Post Rental Vacancies
The right digital rental advertising platform makes a huge difference in both client quality and revenue.
The internet has transformed the way we advertise for rentals and has replaced older methods such as putting a sign in the yard or displaying an ad in the local newspaper.
You can now choose from an almost countless number of websites and digital platforms to list your rental property. Some of these sites are entirely free to use, while others may charge posting fees. However, these digital platforms are one of the best ways to fill vacant properties as quickly as possible while minimizing lost revenue.
Here are the top five digital platforms to use for advertising rental properties:
Craigslist is one of the most popular sites for local purchasing, with over 50 billion page views each month. Property managers can easily upload photos and write a description of the rental property for only a small fee.
These online classifieds are also divided by cities, which makes it simple for potential tenants to find your property in a specific area. One of the keys to succeeding on Craigslist is to keep updating your ad every few days to maximize exposure. You can also use the Craiglist app, available on iOS and Android, for additional convenience when posting and updating property listings.
Cozy is free-to-use and can be highly effective in helping you find top-quality leads for your rental property.
The platform uses a property management tool that provides property managers with a variety of features, including background checks, online rental applications, credit checks, and rent collection portals.
Cozy sets itself apart from other sites by allowing apartment postings to go out via an email list or to social media accounts with the click of a button. The listings on Cozy also sync with other popular websites, such as Oodle, Doorsteps, and Realtor.
Property managers also have the flexibility to share a URL listing via text message with potential tenants. Cozy also provides an app to make it easy to access all of this information on your smartphone.
Learn more in our blog post: The 5 Best Sites to Advertise Your Rental Properties
6: Time Management Tips
Few resources are so precious as time.
No matter how well your rentals are performing, how effective your staff, or how precise your budgeting, you can't create more time out of thin air!
So, how do superior property managers make the most of their 24 hours?
Let's look at some tools and strategies you can use to create more time in your workday, thus lowering your stress and helping you perform more effectively.
Tools for Managing Your Time
1) Block Out Your Time in Advance
This tip may seem a bit obvious, but the best way to manage your time is to sit down and manage it—don't just guess your way through each day, hoping to achieve your goals in no particular order.
By figuring out what you need to do on a given day and then allocating time appropriately, you can prioritize more effectively. By planning ahead, you can gain insight into workplace time wasters, what you could do faster, and tasks prioritization.
This sort of planning is crucial if you want any of the other tools on this list to work; if you don't know where your time is going—or where it should go—then you can't implement any other improvements.
2) Start the Day Strong
A general rule for conscious time management, for any position, is to start the day strong. This rule holds as true in property management as it does anywhere else.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's quite simple: figure out something important that you don't want to deal with, and get it out of the way first thing in the morning instead of leaving it to linger until midday or later.
This strategy helps put you in the right mindset for efficient work, helps take the stress of the unfinished task off your mind, and avoids the nasty situation of an unpleasant but critical task going undone until it becomes a disaster.
3) Document and Take Notes
Good property managers know to document everything—not for liability purposes or general bookkeeping, but because it helps you to run a stronger organization.
Documentation habits help property managers better understand the state of all properties, including identifying important to-do's, optimizing staffing workflows, and planning long-term projects. What are you doing with your time and other resources, and where are you losing efficiency?
Your impression of how you spend time might be distorted by personal biases, preferences, and things out of your control. Proper documentation practices, including good note-taking, will help you keep an accurate picture of the scene on the ground, keep poor time management at bay, and make more informed decisions.
It's also an excellent way to stay on top of little problems while they're still small and easily manageable—warning signs you might overlook without note-taking can blow up in your face in a big way down the line.
Learn more in our blog post: Property Managers Can Improve Time Management With These Strategies
7: Streamlining Inspections
Staying aware of typical window issues is critical.
One of the primary points of property manager inspections are to carefully examine each window in the home. A window can experience a variety of issues over time due to standard wear and tear.
Staying aware of typical window issues is critical to ensure that dwellings remain attractive, functional, and perform optimally for HVAC efficiency.
Here are five window issues that every property manager should look for during an inspection.
#1) Check for Broken Glass or Cracks
One of the most apparent signs of a window problem is broken or cracked glass. A broken window can happen due to a variety of reasons, whether a child accidentally hits a baseball through the glass or if a large bird flies into the window.
A property manager needs to carefully inspect each window to ensure signs of splintering, especially small ones. Even a hairline crack can grow over time, causing more and more issues as a result. Take time to make sure each window remains in optimal condition without any small cracks that can eventually get bigger over time.
#2) Look for Condensation Between Panes
Another important tip is to look for condensation between the window panes that may signal potential problems. Condensation usually occurs due to a hole in either the glass or frame. Re-sealing can sometimes be an option before completing an outright replacement.
Window condensation can lead to a higher energy bill while also negatively impacting the appearance of the home. Always verifying that the seal remains unbroken in each window is a top priority during a property inspection.
#3) Verify Window Opens & Closes
Checking to see that each window easily opens and closes is always a good idea during a property inspection. A window may initially appear to be in good condition, but not being able to open a window is a major red flag for both the resident and property manager.
A window may also be difficult to open due to lack of use. Areas with consistent hot and humid weather, such as South Florida, mean windows are infrequently opened and closed. This lack of use leads to sticking and hinge issues.
Taking the time to open and close each window is well worth the effort to ensure that a window is working correctly. The ability to open windows is critical, especially in emergencies.
Learn more in our blog post: 5 Window Issues to Examine during Property Manager Inspections
8: Why Impact Windows & Doors?
Impact doors and windows offer a host of advantages for property managers.
Impact doors and windows offer many advantages for property managers considering apartment renovations in Florida. These impact doors and windows are incredibly durable and are an excellent long-term investment.
Impact doors and windows are easy to maintain and are also energy efficient. Ultimately, this results in significant cost-savings for anyone considering these products.
Here are the top three benefits of using impact doors and windows for your apartment renovation:
#1) Protection From Storms
One of the primary benefits of using impact doors and windows is that it gives you the ultimate protection from storms. Hurricanes can cause massive damage and are an all too common occurrence for Florida residents.
However, the use of impact windows and doors will minimize property damage due to the additional layers of glass and synthetic material. Ultimately, this makes it much more difficult to shatter even against the strongest winds.
#2) Increased Property Security
An additional benefit of using impact doors and windows is that it significantly increases the safety of your tenants. These products not only protect tenants from intense storms, but also make home invasions much more difficult.
Thanks to their sturdy construction, impact windows are incredibly resilient to any blunt force hits, cracking but rarely shattering.This added layer of safety will give your tenants the peace of mind to know that they are much safer on your property compared to apartments using traditional glass windows and doors.
#3) Enhanced Marketability
Marketability is key to finding the right tenants for your apartment buildings. Impact doors and windows are a great marketing tool to attract desirable potential residents, as the increased safety from storms and break-ins offers increased peace of mind.
Property managers can also choose from numerous design styles to match existing architectural styles, as impact products are a fantastic way to improve curbside appeal. Add it all together, and impact windows and doors are one of the best investments for anyone considering an apartment renovation.
Learn more in our blog post: Save Money on Apartment Renovations With Impact Doors and Windows.
9: Considering Retrofits
Choosing to install impact windows offers a wide range of benefits for landlords retrofitting their properties in Florida.
These windows are a worthwhile investment that will enhance the value of your unit while also creating a safer environment for your tenants.
Property manager retrofits offer excellent value as they improve energy efficiency while only requiring a one-time installation.
Interested in learning more? Here are four more reasons why property managers should consider impact windows for retrofits.
#1) Minimize Property Damage from Severe Weather
One of the main advantages of installing impact windows is that it minimizes property damage due to severe weather. Florida residents are constantly dealing with the threat of hurricanes each year, and impact windows will give you the highest level of protection from these storms.
These windows consist of several layers of glass and synthetic material to significantly reduce the chance of shattering due to flying debris and strong winds. You can learn more about how impact windows are made in another article from Alco.
#2) Improve Sound-Proofing Between Units
Another benefit of installing impact windows is that they are an excellent way to block out sound. These windows are especially beneficial if you live by a nearby highway or a busy intersection. Improving sound-proofing between units will also create a much more relaxing environment for your tenants. Minimizing outside noise is just one of the many reasons why impact windows are a fantastic investment for property managers.
#3) Enhanced Lifespan & Durability
Impact windows are extremely durable and are specifically designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. These windows will keep your tenants safe and secure while also eliminating the need for shutters.
The durability of these impact windows is also an excellent way to prevent break-ins compared to traditional windows. You can also choose from a variety of different styles, whether you prefer fixed, single hung, casement, horizontal rolling, designer fixed, or awning windows.
Learn more in our blog post: 4 Reasons Why Property Managers Should Choose Impact Window Retrofits.
10: Window Installation Tips
Replacing older windows offers a variety of benefits for property managers.
New windows are a great way to improve energy efficiency while also improving the entire appearance of a dwelling.
Thanks to a wide selection of quality manufacturers, it's easy to choose from a wide range of styles to maximize curb appeal and boost the value of your property. Of course, it is always a good idea to keep a few installation tips in mind when you reach out to an installer for window retrofits.
Here are three window installation tips that every property manager needs to know.
#1) Always Consider Maintenance
Proactive maintenance is an excellent way to extend the lifespan of new windows and avoid expensive repair costs down the line. Considering all of the materials in your new windows can have a significant impact on future maintenance.
For example, modern wood window frames aren't nearly as durable compared to the wood sold fifty years ago. Purchasing modern windows with cheap wood frames will lead to rot and mold issues quickly. A significant decrease in the visual appeal of a dwelling can impact resident happiness.
You can, however, avoid this problem by installing windows with vinyl or aluminum cladding to cover the wood underneath. Both of these options will extend the durability of your windows and lessen the amount of ongoing maintenance.
#2) Consider Visual Appeal
Retrofitted windows are a fantastic way to improve the appearance and value of a residence. However, choosing the wrong windows can negatively impact their overall worth.
According to a recent study from the National Association of Realtors, owners get about 73% of their replacement window investment back once they resell a property.
Taking the time to choose the most visually appealing windows for your residences is a crucial step to ensure you receive the maximum return on your investment.
It is also important to partner with a trusted professional that has the experience to install window retrofits. Always check out references and read online reviews to see if an installer comes with expertise and recommendations to perform the task at hand.
Learn more in our blog post: 3 Window Installation Tips Just for Property Managers
Questions? Contact Us!
Impact windows can add significant value to your properties.
They are tested to withstand hurricane-force winds from severe storms. These windows are also a great way to reduce outside noise, provide protection against UV rays, and implement additional security against burglaries.
The professionals at Alco Windows and Doors specialize in retrofits for clients throughout South Florida. Satisfaction is always guaranteed, and you can always reach out to us at any time if you have any questions.
Learn more about growing your assets with our free guide just for Property Managers.
Contact Alco Windows and Doors to learn more about the benefits of installing window retrofits for your property!