Alert Solutions Blog

Property Management Home Repair – Can you Fix it or Not?

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 09:11 AM

Acting as a landlord or property manager can be hugely challenging, especially when it comes to the home repair projects that seem to crop up on a daily basis.

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A property management job can require skill in a wide variety of home repair work ranging from plumbing to electrical work to carpentry. The problem is, it can be near impossible for one person to keep up on codes, regulations, technological innovations and the latest repair techniques and materials inherent in each trade.

How can you know you’re both skilled enough and legally qualified to fix every kind of housing repair issue that rears its ugly head? Here are some guidelines when it comes to tackling property management projects yourself:

  • When in doubt, check state laws to determine whether you need a contractor’s license to complete a given home repair. Many states require licensing for any home repair project costing more than $1,000 including labor and materials, but many allow a “handyman’s exemption” for cheaper chores that don't require building permits.
  • Objectively evaluate whether you have the skills and experience to safely complete a home repair job, whether taking it on yourself would be cheaper than hiring a professional, and whether you can get the job done in a timely manner. If you have technical and/or mechanical acumen, you may be able to learn the nuts and bolts of some procedures through books or online tutorials.
  • As a home repair rule of thumb, you should leave roofing, electrical and major plumbing jobs to licensed professionals. Not only do they usually require specialized equipment, but they can raise significant tenant safety issues if you haven’t had formal background training in such systems.
  • Property management chores that can generally be completed with little or no formal training include repairing clogged or running toilets, fixing or replacing leaky faucets, fixing low-pressure shower heads, repairing ripped screen doors, replacing cracked caulk or filling in holes in drywall.

One more rule of thumb in property management: Try to establish open tenant communication shortly after they move in. If they can notify you of little home repair problems as soon as they occur, you can prevent those little tasks from turning into bigger and much more expensive problems as time goes on. 

For more tips and tricks on property management and tenant communication, contact Alert Solutions today at (800) 929-1643.

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Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant satisfaction

Property Managers – 5 Ways to Create a Positive Rapport with Tenants

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 @ 10:09 AM

The relationship between a property manager and its tenants doesn't have to be a contentious one. Property managers can expand beyond traditional tenant communication like late payment notices and routine maintenance calls and start providing helpful information using newsletters.

Sending a short monthly newsletter to tenants using a mass notification system like Alert Solutions is a great way to engage with tenants and create a positive relationship.

Here are five ideas on how to build a positive rapport with your tenants using a newsletter:

  1. Recap Recent Events
    Share details and photos from recent events you hosted for renters such as picnics or tenant appreciation nights. Create an opportunity for engagement by asking people to submit their photos or by including a poll of what to do for the next event.
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  2. Share Restaurant Reviews
    Highlight local restaurants for those who are new to the area or simply haven't tried everything yet. Include details about what you ordered, how the service was, etc. to give it a personal touch.
  1. Give Decorating Ideas
    Tenants like to be able to make their place feel like home, but are sometimes restricted when it comes to making changes to a property. Provide helpful tips about what they can and can't do when it comes to decorating.
  1. Suggest Technology Tips
    Explain any type of technology you offer to make their lives easier. Do you have an app for easy online payment? Can renters sign up for a text message reminder when rent is due? Feature one technology tip per newsletter. 
  1. Promote Local Activities
    Share a calendar of local events like festivals, concerts and celebrations. Help Tenants feel part of the larger community in which they live. You could even consider planning an outing for everyone to attend together.

Keep newsletters positive. Enhance your property management reputation with a focus on providing a sense of community and being a trusted source of helpful information for tenants. 

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Topics: property management, tenant communication, email newsletters

Property Managers - Tackle These 6 Summer Property Maintenance Chores Now

Posted by Tara Gibson on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 @ 10:07 AM

If your job is property management, you need to remember the clock is ticking in terms of property maintenance for the season.

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Not only can the heat cause wear and tear to yards and buildings, but you’ll be kicking yourself if you wait until colder weather before finally addressing key issues. And the availability of area labor could be another issue.

“Summertime offers favorable weather for all sorts of projects, yet it is also a busy season for most contractors,” notes Rweiler.com. “Make sure you conduct the necessary research, budgeting and coordination before the sidewalk starts to show from underneath the snow.”

Consider tackling these property maintenance tasks now to get ahead of the game:

  1. Clear Out Gutters
    Pull together your blowers, rakes and brooms so you can take care of debris now, before falling leaves compound the problem. You might also invest in spout screens or gutter caps to help prevent future issues.\

  2. Evaluate Driveways, Walkways and Patios
    Seek signs of cracking, chipping, crumbling or holes. Use stone filler or wood putty for minor issues and hire a contractor for major ones.

  3. Monitor Windows and Doors
    Leaked air along doorways, windows, foundations and other seams could stress your AC now and your heaters later. Weather stripping, caulking and/or replacements may be necessary. A certified technician could conduct energy audits, including blower door tests, to identify such leaks.

  4. Eliminate Pests
    Look for signs of pest problems such as gaps in foundations, displaced materials, scurrying sounds, swarming, sagging floors and ceilings, termite excrement, chewed-off wings, odors and/or the mud tubes built by insects to facilitate movement. If you suspect a major infestation, call in a professional.

  5. Clean Chimneys
    Fireplace flues and liners should be swabbed out annually to prevent ash and soot build-up.
     
  6. Communicate Improvements with Tenants
    Do yourself a favor by ensuring your tenants know about any ongoing projects, including timelines and expected outcomes. By keeping an open line of tenant communication, property managers and the property maintenance service team can address problems with tenants that might otherwise lead to an empty unit.

Property management is a 24/7 job. By planning ahead, you should be able to wrap up many of your important tasks before the weather turns. Happy summer!

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Topics: tenant communication, tenant satisfaction, property managerment

Smart Property Management – Tipping Off Tenants About Memorial Day Parades

Posted by Philip Young on Mon, May 21, 2018 @ 10:05 AM

If your home or apartment has ever been located on a Memorial Day parade route, you understand how the blocked-off streets, added traffic, loud noises and music and sidewalk-lining spectators can be major inconveniences.

That said, no one wants to be the curmudgeon complaining about time-honored American traditions, especially if they’re commemorating noteworthy people and events. So, what’s the answer? 

Memorial Day Parade

Keep tenants informed about all the logistics related to the Memorial Day parade so you can plan ahead. In property management, that’s especially important if you’re aiming to be as transparent with your tenants as you can possibly be.

“You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the human factor when it comes to tenants,” advises Andrea Collatz on MySmartMove.com. “Maintain open communication to reduce misunderstandings. Being courteous and respectful goes a long way to make a tenant feel comfortable in the unit.”

If you’re a property manager anticipating complications from a Memorial Day parade this year, here are some ways you could help tenants prepare:

  • Maintain regular tenant communication! Ensure they’re notified several days ahead of exactly what’s slated to take place before, during and after the Memorial Day parade. New tenants might need thorough instructions, while longtime tenants may just need reminders.

Bonus Tip! Use a tenant notification system like Alert Solutions to communicate more effectively! Alert Solutions helps property managers provide personalized tenant communications instantly via popular communication channels including voice, text and email.

  • Let tenants know where they can park, where parking is banned and how they can take alternate routes in and out of the Memorial Day parade area if necessary.
  • Inform tenants to what extent spectators are legally allowed to sit on front lawns and curbs, adding which concessions and exceptions are typically made due to local custom.
  • Keep tenants safe by providing info about any possible safety hazards, including the risk of children running into streets to retrieve tossed candy and free promotional items.
  • Let tenants know if and how incidental trash will be disposed of during and after the event.
  • Provide contact info for city officials or other Memorial Day parade organizers for tenants who have questions.

In property management, encouraging your tenants to strive for extra patience and understanding during unavoidable but potentially stressful events — even those as fun and meaningful as Memorial Day parades — can only be a win-win.

“A cooperative attitude sets the expectation of how you want to be treated in return, which makes it more likely your tenants will respect you and your property,” concludes Collatz.

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Topics: property management, tenant communication

Delinquency Dilemma? 6 Tips for Reducing Late Rent Payments

Posted by Tara Gibson on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 18:03 PM

If you’re in the business of rental properties, you’re likely well aware of its advantages and challenges.  

The property management industry can be lucrative, and demand is healthy. As of 2016, 35 percent of U.S. residents were living in rental housing, and a Forbes article points to 6 to 8 percent growth in rental prices over the past several years.money-2212965_960_720.jpg

At the same time, late rent payments can be a serious problem for property managers. In fact, a recent study found 35 percent of Americans with credit records have been reported to credit agencies for nonpayment of rent, credit card charges, medical fees or other debts.

Fortunately, property managers can take several steps to reduce their chances of chronically late rent payments. Before tenants move in, preventatives might include the following:

  • Scrupulous Screening - Complete due diligence by setting income standards, running credit checks, checking prior landlord references, confirming employment, etc.
  • Preemptive Rent Payment Due Dates - Anticipate tenant issues ahead of time and set the rent payment deadline for a week or more before you really need the money to meet your own financial obligations.
  • Automatic Tenant Reminder Systems - Tools like Alert Solutions allow you to automatically send tenants reminders via text, email and/or phone, letting them know their rent payment date is coming up or has already passed. That helps ensure good tenant communication and saves you from many of the necessary awkward conversations when rent payments are late.
  • Electronic Rent Payments - In this digital age, many tenants find it much easier to simply send their rent online rather than writing a check, finding an envelope and stamp and locating a mailbox. Seek out an efficient property management software that can process online payments while taking care of many other administrative tasks.

Once tenants move in, landlords might consider:

  • Ongoing Tenant Communication with the Chronically Late - If you notice consistently late rent payments from certain tenants, reach out to them, listen to their reasons and consider solutions. Some tenants may need slightly different payment schedules according to when they’re paid, when they receive child support, etc.
  • Enforced Late Rent Payment Fees - Chances are your lease agreements stipulate when and how late rent payment fees will be enforced, but you haven’t always enforced them. If tenants are starting to take advantage of that leniency by surpassing deadlines — sometimes it’s human nature to disregard a rule that’s never enforced — you may need to be stricter about adding such fees. Just be sure you enforce the rules fairly and consistently among all tenants.

Late rent payments can put a serious dent in your ability to turn a profit on your rental properties. Call Alert Solutions at 800-929-1643 to learn more about how our tenant communication system can help keep tenants informed.

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Topics: tenant communication, tenant notifications, property managerment

3 Tenant Retention Tips for the Newest Wave of Renters: Generation Z

Posted by Sarah Autore on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

In the world of property management, it’s important to stay informed and prepared of the latest rental trends. It’s also important to understand the different audiences and demographics of the tenants you’re renting to. Perhaps the newest of those demographics are renters from ‘Generation Z’.

Generation Z is generally defined as people born between 1995 - 2010. As this age group is starting to come of age and venture out on their own (23 million of them, in fact) – property managers should start paying attention to this next wave of tenants.

Generation Z is rapidly increasing in the rental market (already 14% and growing), and many rental properties are beginning to adjust and modernize business practices to attract these tenants.

Here are 3 notable tenant retention tips for Generation Z:

1. Online Capabilities are Non-Negotiable youngadults.jpg
Those part of Generation Z have never known a world without technology and automation. This age group grew up  right in the midst of the internet boom, smartphones, and social media – meaning it’s the only way they do business with these types of tenants. To achieve tenant retention and tenant satisfaction with this group, property managers will need to first have the understanding that technology is no longer seen as an ‘amenity’ or ‘luxury’, but rather the bare minimum.

2. Social Media is Held to a High Standard
Before even stepping foot on your property for a tour, Generation Z tenants likely already know every detail about the space. Thanks to social media and online review platforms – there’s an endless amount of information at their fingertips. In fact, if this group of renters can’t find any pictures or information about your property online first, it’s likely they won’t even waste their time coming to look in person. Generation Z renters also have a lack of trust towards typical marketing efforts, and are much more swayed by tenant communication tactics like online referrals and social word of mouth.

3. Fast Response Times are Expected
Generation Z renters are accustomed to tenant communication that is instant. After all, they grew up in an age where text messages and emails were the most common forms of communication.  To achieve good tenant communication with them, property managers will need to have quick response rates to any tenant inquiries, questions, or maintenance issues. Many property managers are investing in property management systems that allow them to reach tenants with the push of a button through voice, email or SMS text message.

Did You Know? Alert Solutions can help. Download our tenant communication brochure to learn more about personalized tenant communication channels.

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Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant satisfaction

Increase Tenant Safety This Winter Season - 3 Tips for Property Managers

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 @ 13:12 PM

The winter season provides many opportunities for cold-weather hazards and safety threats to property managers and tenants. The good news is that many winter-related issues can be prevented through ample preparation and efficient tenant communication.

Consider the following tenant safety tips for your property this winter season:

1. Establish a Snow Removal Plansnowremovalproperty.png
Snow and ice are perhaps the biggest
tenant safety winter hazard, especially if you live in the 
Northeast. However, even small amounts of snow in uncommon areas like the South and West Coast have proven to shut cities down due to lack of preparation. No matter your geographic location, being prepared for snowy conditions at your property will keep tenants safe and increase tenant satisfaction. Have a plan in place and inform residents ahead of time how snow and ice removal will be taken care of throughout the property.

2. Educate Tenants on Winter Property Guidelines
Sometimes the winter sneaks up on us, seemingly appearing out of nowhere and leaving many property managers scrambling to prepare. At the the first sign of chill, be proactive and provide your tenants with some winter tenant safety reminders. Threats like carbon monoxide, power outages, bursting pipes, and issues due to open flames from a fireplace or candle are all common tenant safety issues during the winter. Consider communicating with tenants about your guidelines surrounding these hazards, and provide advice on what they can do to prepare.

3. Have a Tenant Notification System in Place
Having a tenant communication plan in place during the winter months will alleviate a lot of stress for both property managers and tenants alike. Especially during the winter, the ability to reach all tenants quickly in case of an emergency or to provide updates during a storm is essential to tenant safety, tenant retention and tenant satisfaction. The best way to ensure tenant safety is to clearly communicate all rules, guidelines, and updates to your tenants through their preferred communication methods.

Alert Solutions can help you automate tenant communication easily and effectively through email, voice, and SMS text messaging. To learn more, download our best practice guide today.

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Topics: property management, tenant communication, tenant safety, tenant satisfaction

Improving Tenant Retention During the Slow Season - 3 Tips

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 @ 14:11 PM

It’s no secret that the bustle of summertime begins to wind down as we approach the fall and winter months.  This is especially true in the property management business, as filling vacant units during the off-season is almost twice as difficult, according to a recent survey.

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This slow season - typically October through March - can be a challenge for property managers, with empty units causing frustration and decreasing revenue.  But, there are steps a successful property manager can take to improve tenant retention and better offset the slower months.

Consider these 3 Tenant Retention tips:

1. Focus on Tenant Satisfaction Initiatives
Happy tenants are more likely to renew or extend leases, leaving you with less vacancies to fill during those fall and winter months. If your property finds itself vacant often, try revisiting some basic approaches that are likely to increase tenant satisfaction and tenant retention. Consider whether tenant grievances are being followed-up on in a timely manner, if property maintenance is regularly kept up, and if tenant communication is effective.

2. Evaluate Rental Terms and Pricing
Increasing tenant retention may be as simple as re-evaluating the rental agreements you set forth. If new business is consistently non-existent from October - January, than you might consider standardizing longer rental terms, or adjusting them accordingly to last through those harder-to-rent months. Another tenant retention factor to watch is whether your pricing aligns with market value and surrounding competition. If your pricing is substantially higher than the rest, you can offset those slow months with a lower cost offer.  

3. Invest in Digital Property Management Tools
Implementing digital property management tools is one of the most effective ways to strengthen tenant communication and improve tenant retention. The importance of capabilities such as paying rent and checking the status of maintenance online is on the rise, and property managers who can accommodate this newer tenant need are more likely to increase tenant retention and keep units full year-round. Not only that, but implementing a digital tenant communication system  property management system enables property managers to reach tenants at various properties with the push of a button – reducing both time and cost!

Did You Know? Alert Solutions can help. Download our tenant communication brochure to learn more about improving tenant retention through the use of multiple personalized communication channels.

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Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant satisfaction

3 Tenant Safety Tips for Property Managers this Halloween

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

Halloween often brings fun and excitement into most homes, apartments, and neighborhoods – But it can also bring concerns of increased tenant safety risk to many property managers.

You don’t have to ban the festive celebration from your rental properties all together, but some advanced preparation will help you increase tenant safety and reduce the risk of property damage to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

Here are 3 areas property managers can focus on this Halloween season to ensure tenant safety:

1. Increase Tenant Safety by Preparing for Large Gatherings
Between trick or treating, costume parties, and spooky attractions – the foot traffic in most neighborhoods skyrockets on Halloween night, bringing additional tenant safety halloweenblogimage.jpgrisks. A little extra preparation will not only minimize risk at your property, but will also help increase tenant satisfaction. Ensure all areas of the property are well lit and pathways are cleared for trick-or-treaters. The risk of fires also increases on Halloween night, meaning you should check that all property units have functioning smoke detectors and fire alarms.

2. Increase Tenant Safety and Minimize Damage by Inspecting the Property
Inspecting your property areas before and after Halloween is an effective way to demonstrate your commitment to tenant safety. It also sends a message to tenants that they’ll be held accountable for any damage they cause to the property and surrounding areas. While instances of vandalism or theft may not necessarily be the fault of your renters, a property inspection will encourage them to be a little extra vigilant on Halloween night and hopefully improve tenant safety and minimize damage to their belongings and your property.

3. Increase Tenant Safety by Having Good Tenant Communication
Effective tenant communication is a must around Halloween. The best way to ensure tenant safety is to clearly communicate all rules, guidelines, and restrictions to your tenants prior to the holiday. Send a friendly reminder that outlines policies on parties and gatherings - including any curfews, parking restrictions, or noise ordinances. Clearly state any regulations regarding candles and use of open flames. And ensure that no confusion exists regarding use of shared or common areas within your property.

Preserve the festive nature of Halloween while promoting tenant safety and property regulations. Alert Solutions can help you automate tenant communication easily and effectively through email, voice, and SMS text messaging. To learn more, download our best practice guide today.

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Topics: property management, tenant communication, tenant safety, tenant satisfaction

Improving Tenant Retention - 4 Tips for Property Managers

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Oct 05, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

What makes a good tenant? Many property managers would answer that question as someone who pays their rent on time, takes care of their rental space, and is courteous and respectful of policies and procedures. Tenants like this can often be more difficult to find, and one thing’s for sure – when you find them, you want to keep them around.

Good property managers know that the cost of attracting new tenants is much higher than the cost of effective tenant retention. In fact, tenant acquisition costs five times more than tenant retention on average.

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If you’re fortunate to have good tenants, consider the following tips in order to increase tenant retention:

1. Practice Good Tenant Communication
Effective tenant communication is the first step in creating positive tenant relationships and promoting high levels of tenant retention. Studies also show that interacting with tenants through their preferred method of communication increases all around tenant satisfaction. Implementing a Property Management System that allows you to share important information via popular methods like voice, text, and email can help maintain a personal touch.

2. Take Your Tenant Communication Digital
Adopting a digital tenant communication platform is one of the most effective ways to increase tenant satisfaction and tenant communication. Online capabilities like paying rent or service fees, messaging property management, and checking the status of maintenance requests is priceless for many tenants – not to mention, the new normal.

3. Train Property Management Staff
Property management staff can have a huge impact on tenant retention. They likely interact with tenants more regularly than property managers, and often have a daily on-site presence. They are a direct reflection and your first line of defense for handling many tenant or property issues, so ensure your property staff are adequately trained in accordance with your policies and procedures.

4. Maintain a High Standard
Tenant retention will depend largely on your maintenance and response of common issues. The best way to demonstrate that you care about tenant safety and well-being is by taking excellent care of your property. If tenants have to deal with things like overgrown landscape, malfunctioning heating and cooling, lengthy repair times, and poorly cleared snow – they will consider other options when renewal time comes along.

Alert Solutions can help. Download our tenant communication brochure to learn more about increasing tenant retention through the use of multiple personalized communication channels.

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Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant satisfaction

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