Property Management Considerations Concerning COVID-19

As we all make efforts to flatten the curve of the spread of Coronavirus, ensuring sufficient resources are available to our vulnerable and at-risk neighbors, there are things we might consider changing in the way we conduct our property management business. Please read on for various recommendations and practices.

General Guidance

The CDC provides specific recommendations for employers and workplaces, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html This is a comprehensive summary of policies and procedures that you should be enacting, and includes items for future planning that you may not have considered.

Office

  • Per the CDC guidelines, sick employees should not be coming to work. Ensure that you are enforcing compliance with an abundance of caution to preserve a sick-free workplace.
  • If you have a work-from-home policy, expand it. If you do not have a policy, now is the time to create and implement it. Many property managers have been working in an office-less environment for years. It’s possible, but requires flexibility and a little creativity.
  • Consider closing your office to all walk-in traffic, both public and current residents. Post a large, clear notice on your door with instructions for all walk-up visitors to call, text, or email your staff. Monitor the provided contact methods in real-time to provide quick responses.
    • Consider meeting walk-up visitors outside your office, with sufficient social distancing, in cases where an in-person interaction is required.
    • Consider requesting that walk-up visitors, including delivery personnel, leave any correspondence or packages outside your door when they are bringing something to you. Once an item is dropped off, collect it to bring it into the office.
  • When receiving a package, payment, or correspondence, handle it with gloves and disinfect it with spray and/or wipes where possible.
  • Frequently disinfect anything that may be touched by multiple people, including door handles, light switches, phones, etc.

Showings

People need to have a place to live, and we are the people who facilitate that for millions of Americans. During the pandemic, many things will slow or stop. However, there will still be people who find themselves needing to locate and secure housing.

We should consider limiting showings based on need. If you are performing a showing, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Enact policies on protective measures, including using gloves, sanitizer, and masks as necessary.
  • Keep a barrier of physical distance between yourself and your prospects. While it may seem awkward, inform the prospects that your company policy currently dictates that you keep a minimum distance from all other people.
  • Avoid touching, and instruct your prospect to avoid touching, anything that does not need to be touched. We impulsively feel things to sense them, so it requires conscious effort to keep our hands out of contact.
  • Disinfect all items that are touched, like light switches and door handles, both before and after contact.
  • Disinfect surfaces that could come into contact with airborne droplets from coughs or sneezes.

Common Areas of Properties

Indoor common areas should be closed, including clubhouses, gyms/exercise rooms, and any other area where people would congregate.

Common area pools, hot tubs, and play/recreation areas should be closed.

Outdoor park/sitting areas, designated smoking areas, and the like should have notices posted advising of social distancing recommendations.

Maintenance and Repairs

It is imperative that we keep our residents’ homes in safe working order. However, with people staying home more than ever, they may find non-essential repairs that can wait, or may feel this is an ideal time to request maintenance that they’ve put off because of scheduling difficulties. Consider enacting an essential maintenance only policy, and informing your residents. Be sure to record all maintenance requests regardless of urgency, but postpone those that are not immediately necessary to ensure safe and healthy habitation.

  • When maintenance can be postponed:
    • Assure the resident you have received and recorded their request, but you are postponing scheduling at this time because of the pandemic.
    • Advise the resident to turn off, disconnect, or stop using the affected item as necessary to prevent further problems and/or damage.
    • As necessary, inform the resident that they are encouraged to contact you to escalate the issue if it becomes something that interferes or threatens to interfere with health and safety, or threatens further damage to the unit or property.
  • When maintenance must be performed:
    • Ensure that your staff and vendors maintain distance between themselves and the resident.
    • Have your staff and vendors use gloves, and face masks as advised.
    • Disinfect anything that is touched, both before and after contact.

Legal Issues Including Notices and Evictions

  • Check with your attorney before making decisions regarding posting of notices and/or filing of evictions.
  • Be aware that many courts are closed, while those that are open may not be processing or enforcing evictions.
  • Understand that we are in an environment of fear and uncertainty. Make every effort, in all of your interactions, to promote peace and calm where possible. Understand that when your tenants and owners act with you out of fear, it rarely promotes your mutual best interests.
  • Consider creative and alternative methods to deliver or delay bad news, with an eye on the big picture, understanding your fiduciary duty to your owner.
  • Keep your owners and staff closely in the loop – now more than ever.
  • Remember that we are all in this together, and together we win or lose. Take the high road, and work to agree with your owners that sometimes we must make short-term sacrifices for the long-term outcome we desire.
  • If all this feels brand-new, consider consulting with a property manager who has been through a natural or other disaster to help you gain perspective and learn creative approaches to problem solving in a high-stress environment.

The Social Media Frontier 2016: Top 4 Platforms in the Business Realm

Social media has grown beyond expectations within the past few years, with terms like “Facebook me” becoming a part of the lexicon of everyday life.

We hear from property managers at both ends of the spectrum, some with the impression that they need to have a presence on all social media sites; others feel they can avoid social media entirely. The truth is in the middle. Current research shows that increasingly large numbers of consumers are using social media to evaluate the worth of a company. They consider the reviews that exist on a company’s social media pages when making a decision of what product or service to choose.

To effectively reach your target market, your property management business must capitalize on the potential that social media offers. Check out this helpful infographic for more insights about social media usage. At HERO PM, we believe these findings relate directly to your prospective tenants and the growth of your business with owner clients. We recommend targeting four social media environments to reach the best audience:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Youtube
  4. LinkedIn

If you are not already using these platforms to fill your vacancies and build your company’s brand, we highly recommend you start. Doing so allows you to thrive in your region and rise above those companies that are behind the times. At HERO PM, we have pre-built website integrations for all of these (and more), and can build custom integrations for other social media sites. Integrating social media with you website will help “push” leads to your site and ultimately help you acquire the prospects you need to build your business and fill your vacancies.

Let us know how we can serve you to put your company at the top of internet food chain with cutting-edge social media integration.

Jump on the HTML5 Train, Why Upgrading Your Website Can Improve Your Business

As we rapidly approach the days when HTML5 is the new standard we believe its vital for our members to know what the big hype is behind this code craze and why its important you tune into the conversation. We realize anything code-talk is enough to make most people run, this isn’t your typical techy-talk article about HTML5, just the facts that pertain to you and your business.

 

HTML4 has long been on its way out and HTML5 has been sneaking in here and there with the intention of becoming the new standard by the end of 2014. Although a jump from 4 to 5 may not sound like a huge deal, it is. We are here to walk you through the basic pro’s of HTML5 along with the next steps for you to ensure your website is upgraded in time for the full integration.

 

3 Reasons Code Connoisseurs Are In Love With HTML5

1) Simplified, cleaner code: The basic makeup of any HTML page has headers, footers, a navigation bar and much more. HTML5 has simplified the look of the code by assigning element names for the basics.

HTML5

2) Mobile Friendly: HTML5 is flexible and scalable enough to work across multiple platforms. This offers a cost effective solution to a society that is consuming information from a variety of devices.
3) SEO friendly: Ahh, the magic word…SEO. Heads turn and ears perk up at the mention of SEO!
According to InfoWorld representatives from Apple, Google, and Microsoft are prepared to use HTML5 in their rich media Internet and mobile content delivery. When the “big players” start speaking up we know its time to listen up and make every effort to transition. Once HTML5 is fully integrated and has been established as the standard, HTML 4 sites will begin to lose functionality, the ability to upgrade and will experience bugs and breaks. A proactive approach to adopting HTML5 will mean you are not only ahead of the game, but your website is adapting to the latest upgrades and will be compatible with the newest technology out there.

 

If you’re ready to start transitioning your HTML4 site to a new HTML5 site our support team is ready to make that process smooth and seamless! Our v5 websites set the standard for the industry because they are designed for Property Managers by a team who understands your needs. Unlike development companies who build websites for a slew of industries, HEROPM is 100% focused on the needs of Property Managers. A major benefit to transitioning to a v5 HTML5 based site is the potential for SEO to skyrocket. HTML4 sites are already outdated to the end user and search engines, because most major browsers have already adopted HTML5 and their algorithms pick up on new content and simplified code their potential to be optimized is greater, meaning higher search rankings and more traffic for your business! To learn more about our v5 websites and how they can benefit your business visit us here: v5 Websites
Resources:

Infoworld 

Big Changes Coming in April and How They Will Affect Your Business

Many of us don’t remember the day that Microsoft endedHourglass on computer keyboard support for Windows 95. We don’t remember where we were or what we were doing the day we were forced to transition from Internet Explorer 5 to IE6. This is because likely none of us had to log on daily to post fresh, exciting content on our Facebook, upload our latest video blog to YouTube, and upload a new listing to export onto the web, all before beginning our day’s work at the office. Operating systems and browsers have and will continue to come and go. But, in the day and age where technology is now so intertwined with the day-to-day functions of our business, and we find it increasingly difficult not to rely on the Web, we need to learn the basics of technology. And, with big changes coming to the world of the Internet in April, we need to know how these things affect our property management business. Here is the breakdown of what’s coming in 2014 and how to best be prepared for it.

Microsoft has announced that Windows XP’s “end of life date” is April 8th, 2014. Does this mean you won’t be able to use your Windows XP computer? Not at all, but a word of caution if you do. End of life means that there will no longer be security updates provided to the user. You will no longer have access to patches and support for your XP system. Anyone who chooses to run XP will be extremely vulnerable. There were over 30 major XP attacks in 2013, which means without XP support, there would have been 30 different zero-day vulnerabilities for users on an XP computer in 2013 . Attackers will have the advantage over users still on an XP machine that is connected to a network.

In addition, if you are one of the last holdouts still on Internet Explorer , it may be time to check which version you are using and have a back up plan. IE 7 and 8 are currently in “extended support mode.” This means you have possibly three to four more years to continue to use these browsers, however, most websites have been built to be compatible with only what can be considered “modern browsers.” Google defines this as the latest two versions of Chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari that also support HTML5 without any special back end coding or tricks. This means that when it comes to using Google apps and Google Analytics, Google is only concerned with functionality in IE 10 and 11.

This also affects the way most website designers are currently building websites as well, as catering to an older browser often times requires building a completely separate site. Websites were at one time built with an entirely different code, a different language. Technology has now transitioned away from traditional monitor sizes and needs to consider various shapes and types of devices. When you hear terms like HTML 5, CSS 3, and JQuery 2, know that these are all things that are part of the current and upcoming age. These bring some exciting new capabilities to the web, but it means that a site built with these won’t function on a browser that was built before their time. And, it just doesn’t make logical sense to build a second site for every site with an older language that works similarly to try and keep an old and unsupported browser alive. There is a bit of a catch 22 for XP users, as a logical option would be to upgrade their current browser to a newer version of IE. XP will not allow IE9 or newer to run. So, you are left with a computer open to security vulnerabilities with a browser that no longer works with current and upcoming technology.

The next logical option would be to upgrade your operating system on your computer from XP to Windows 7. And this makes some sense. In fact, a lot of companies have chosen this migration path over the last year. Mainstream support for Windows 7 also ends in January of 2015, leaving only the OS to be supported until 2020. Upgrading to Windows 7 comes at a cost, both in time and money. It is possible your current applications will require being re-written. If your business relies on custom built applications, like for an example, a database of vendors for your maintenance, you may want to take a moment to fully explore what will be affected and non functioning with the upgrade. And if you were going to go to great lengths to upgrade your XP system, it may be cheaper looking at long term costs to upgrade to brand new hardware with a new operating system and software already installed that has not already lived out over half of its support life.

There is an option here that has been left out, and not one that isn’t feasible, but is well disputed. What about Windows 8? With the release of Windows 8, the world of technology has been left in a stand off. For the first time ever, Microsoft built a User Interface entirely with touch screens in mind. The first release was not well received, and Microsoft was quick to release version 8.1 to appease some users that were strongly opposed to such a drastic change. While you may still find purchasing hardware with 8.1 challenging, the upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1 is fairly simple, and well worth having some of the familiar features back. Here is a link to some FAQ’s about this with instructions for the next step in your migration path:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-to-windows-8

Here is the breakdown of changes in simplest terms. Remaining on an XP device poses certain security threats that most property managers will not have the time to troubleshoot. In the event that your computer is no longer functioning, you will be hard pressed to want to invest that amount of money into an IT person restoring an old computer. It may be time now to look into options to upgrade your hardware. Knowing also that the life of IE 6-9 is coming to a dead end soon makes it easier to consider what option fits your business best. There will always be kinks with different browser options, but you may consider having back up browsers downloaded on your computer to do additional testing with in case things don’t seem right and you have to troubleshoot whether it is your computer or a browser causing you an issue. In the event that your IE is no longer functioning, do you have access to a browser to be able to connect online to upgrade to a newer version?

These changes are costly to you in your office, however the cost of downtime may have a greater impact. In addition, it is important to make sure your devices are current and remain unaffected, as you consider the possibility of having to support your owners and tenants through this transition as well. What happens to a tenant that goes online to make a rent payment and finds his XP machine no longer functioning? What happens when an owner has corrupted data and can’t find a way to get online to download his annual statement during tax week? (Yes, this is happening one week before taxes come due.)

Most property managers did not sign up to be computer experts when they decided to manage homes. In fact, as we move more of the day-to-day functions to cloud-based providers, many property managers are finding that they need to bring in the next generation to assist with merging their established businesses with emerging technology. Having a tech savvy member of your team on standby, read up, and ready to support your owners, tenants, and staff through this transition may be a good idea.

There are endless possibilities in the way that technology changes can affect your office. It is possible you can remain on the same computer you have always used and still be able to function with little or no ill effect at all for a very short while. Many companies are willing to take this risk and won’t upgrade until they absolutely have to. But, when you go to visit a website written with the new language of the Internet, you may experience longer load times and be on a more basic version of that site written for your older browser. The typical property manager’s office has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to introducing new technology to your team. With April as a fast approaching deadline, there isn’t a whole lot of time left on the clock. In the world of property management, efficiency is key, and technology is quickly becoming the vehicle to increasing your efficiency. Is it time to opt for the new car with better gas mileage and a few new bells and whistles?

HERO PM and the 2013 NARPM National Convention

keys1

Now that things have wound down from the NARPM National Convention in San Diego, we want to take a moment to send our members the latest news. Seeing our members and partners is something we look forward to all year long. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, HERO PM announced some big-time news that had attendees buzzing!

As you may have read, HERO PM has launched our SEO-Amazing website system – Websites version 5. People at our booth had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of upgrading to a custom v5 website for only $499. A necessity for growing your business, your website should work to increase your SEO, and should be built to work with the next generation of the Internet. As HTML 5 is in full swing and big changes in the Internet world are scheduled for 2014, you will want to make sure your website is ready! We’ve watched the industry closely, and there is no better website solution for property managers. If you think it may be time for a website upgrade, visit WebsitesV5.com

HERO PM also announced the development of a brand new, web-based accounting solution! There is a need in the industry for a rock solid, web-based, all-in-one solution for your business, and that need has been heard. As we move forward in the creation of this much-needed solution, we want to hear your wish list of features for an accounting package. We have built an advisory panel, and have worked to identify a group of beta testers for this new solution. If you are interested in being a beta tester or participating on the advisory panel, or have ideas for the industry’s perfect solution, visit HEROAccounting.com and submit your request!

As a thank you from HERO PM, our members in attendance received a special gift! Members were given a lightweight, easy to carry, wide-angle lens for phones and tablets, making it even simpler to get those listing videos done! HERO PM’s listing video system syndicates to YouTube, bringing added SEO benefits to the table while filling your vacancies and keeping your owners happy. Also, congratulations to Melissa Prandi for stopping by our booth and winning our raffle – an iPad mini!

The NARPM National Convention theme, Keys Of Excellence, tied in perfectly with HERO PM’s current focus. Over the past year, HERO PM has focused primarily on providing excellent support, and striving to improve the lives of our members by being there when you need us most. Many members expressed positive feedback regarding our improved customer service. It was encouraging to hear our efforts to consistently serve you better have not gone unnoticed. We look forward to partnering with our members over the coming years to continue to build long-lasting relationships, focused on using our technology to increase efficiency and grow your business.

If you would like more information about continued education opportunities, industry events, and the benefits of being a member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, visit NARPM.org . We look forward to connecting with you at the NARPM regional events scheduled for this coming year! That’s a wrap for our recap, however be sure to like us on Facebook (facebook.com/HEROPM ) for real-time updates on all things HERO PM, and exclusive announcements following the progress of HERO Accounting.

New Accounting?… What about PROMAS?

iStock_000026691976_XXXLargeSince we announced the news in October of our current development of a new web-based accounting software, we have heard one question repeatedly: “What about PROMAS?”

 

In 2001, we rocked the industry with an idea that, at the time, most thought would never catch on. We were the first company to create portals for owners and tenants to view their statements and documents online. We knew our web-based Management system would work with any stand-alone accounting software, but would even better as a software-integrated tool for property managers. PROMAS had pioneered accounting software in our industry and was built on over two decades of property management accounting experience. Because PROMAS was (and still is) far and away the most reputable, rock solid accounting solution in the industry, it made sense to partner with them and bring you a complete solution that tied the benefits of Internet technology to the security and reliability of rock solid accounting.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a shift in the industry. Property managers have found the ease of accessing their data in the cloud convenient, and have been drawn to the idea of all-in-one web-based software. We have always stood by, and still stand by, the importance and value of owning your own data. At the point that your cloud-based provider has an outage, or changes their offering, you are stuck. There is a risk involved with keeping your core data in the cloud. But, this risk seems to be one that property managers are less hesitant to take as they see the benefits that web-based solutions bring to the table. It will be years before there is a web-based solution as solid as PROMAS, but that hasn’t seemed to dissuade property managers from taking a big risk and moving to the cloud.

As HERO PM has heard your feedback and watched the approaching release of HTML 5, we have looked at the risks and the current offerings in the industry. We still hear from current users of web-based property management software that there is no solid, trustworthy, web-based solution that meets their needs. We know that it is very frustrating when you take the risk and find yourself holding the bag with a solution that falls short. And, even more frustrating is making a move that you cannot un-make, because your provider now owns your data and makes it nearly impossible to switch away. We have had member after member come back to us from their new web-based solutions because they refused to sacrifice their marketing and website needs to an inferior solution. Over and over again we have heard how the switch away has been detrimental to their business, but they do like the flexibility of being able to access their accounting data at any time, from a web interface. Property managers have begged for someone to build a web-based accounting solution that works, but allows them to back up their data when they see fit so they can minimize the risk. We heard this, and we are answering.

As for the PROMAS and HERO relationship, we continue to build on this strong relationship to serve those who are not ready to make the risky, still inferior move to the cloud. We firmly believe that the most secure solution for this industry can be found when partnering your robust, audit proof, accounting solution from PROMAS with the experience in Internet technology tools for property managers that HERO has offered for over 17 years. The recent announcement of HERO PM’s web-based accounting will nicely complement the offering we currently have with PROMAS to make sure that you can select the right fit for your business. Whether you are looking for a robust, non web-based solution with the online connection for portals and payments, or you are looking for an all-in-one, web-based solution, we’re here to help you make that choice!

Tips and Tools to Help You Reach Your 2013 Business Goals

As we approach 2013, many of us have already considered the goals (dare we say resolutions!) we’d like to accomplish in the New Year. Of course many of our goals are personal (lose those last 10 pounds, take an underwater basket weaving course, sail around the world, etc.). Many of us also set professional goals. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of common goals that may be on your list as property managers. And we’ve outlined some tips, tools and ideas to help you reach those goals. Of course this list isn’t comprehensive, so if you have other goals not on our list, please let us know. We’d be happy to send you some specific ideas and tools we have available to help you accomplish them.

 

Goal: Fill Vacancies Quicker

Consider the following tools and tips to help you market your listings more effectively, and fill your vacancies quicker:

  • Confirm a competitive monthly rent for the listing – use the Comparable Rents report in your Control Panel (RP Listings > Reports > Comparable Rents) to view comparable rents in a zip code region. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Most people conduct their rental search online, so give them a good feel of the property by including at least six photos, plus a video walkthrough or virtual tour in the listing.
  • Make sure the property is appealing in photos, videos, and in person, and pay attention to details. Pick the right angles that best highlight the property (i.e. avoid taking a photo of the master bedroom with the full laundry basket in view).
  • Place a QR and/or text code on your print media – property flyers, yard signs, etc. for potential tenants to conveniently access listing information.
  • Determine your listing’s market effectiveness by running a Marketing Audit report in your Control Panel. This report rates your listing’s marketing effectiveness and provides suggestions for making your listing more market ready. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Write effective property descriptions – since many Internet users glance through text instead of reading it, use short bullet points to highlight the property details. List the most important “selling points” in the beginning to get their attention quick.
  • Get maximum Internet exposure…HERO PM has the largest syndication/distribution list in the industry. This means your listings will get viewed on more sites by more people with our Listings systems. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Market your listings on social media.
  • Offer an online application for prospects to quickly and conveniently submit their applications and pay their application fee online. (Submitted online applications can be instantly screened in real time by one of our Integrated Screening Providers.) (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)

 

Goal: Improve client satisfaction and retention

At the very core of every successful business is the relationship that it has with its clients, so connecting with your clients and improving client satisfaction is important! Consider the following tools and tips to help you improve client satisfaction and retention:

  • Start at the top! Your team will follow your lead…so make client satisfaction your top priority and it will work its way down through your business.
  • Many times client dissatisfaction is due to a lack of communication. So, communicate with your clients regularly through multiple medias and venues. Consider sending a regular newsletter to clients with updates on industry news, opportunities, interesting articles, etc. or adding a blog to your website.
  • Use the owner marketing report to keep owners updated on activity generated on their property. The marketing report displays the number of times the property has been viewed, the number of online inquiries that you’ve received, the number of days the property has been advertised online and more. (Email the report to your owner directly from your Control Panel in the Listing Master View > Flyers/Reports > Marketing Report.) (requires RP Listings system)
  • Create an online website feedback form and request candid feedback from clients on what your company and team does well, and ways you could improve. Then use their responses to make positive changes.
  • Be tech savvy…and advertise it. Make sure clients understand what tools you use to market their listing and maintain their property through the course of the rental period.
    • Give your owners the most online exposure for their listings by using the RP Listings system. The HERO PM RP Listings system exports (syndicates) listings to the nation’s largest network of rental and housing related websites. (requires RP Listings system)
    • Promote your listings with social media – post your listing to Craigslist and Twitter from the Listing Master View in your Control Panel.
    • Create a customizable online application that allows prospects to fill out the application through your listing; the application data displays in your Control Panel for quick and easy processing. (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)
    • Use one of our Integrated Screening Partners to screen submitted online applications in real time and quickly determine whether applicants are qualified. (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)
    • Utilize Online Workorders to make it easy for tenants to submit structured maintenance requests from their phone or computer, ensuring repairs don’t go ignored. The workorder is sent to the vendors quickly so they can respond and react quickly and accurately. (requires RP Management system)
    • Accept rent payments online via the HERO Payments system to increase on-time rent payments. (requires RP Management system)
  • In today’s world, most clients want to be able to access information, make payments and execute other routine processes online, so offer useful and convenient tools and options to your owners.
    • Allow online account access, so owners can view activity and monthly statements. Give owners access to see all current income and expenses pertaining to their property as well as monthly statements online. (requires RP Management system)
    • Give owners the convenience of making online payments through their account. (requires RP Management system)
    • Order a mobile website, and give owners access to their online account from their mobile phone to access their information anywhere. (requires PM Website)
  • Set client satisfaction guidelines and make sure your entire team is on board with them. It will take an effort from your entire company to boost client satisfaction levels, but it’s worth it!

 

Goal: Streamline processes in my office procedures

Streamlining processes in your office involves reducing duplications and automating office procedures where possible. This increases productivity and efficiency, minimizes unnecessary costs, and promotes a better working environment for your team. A win-win-win!

  • Research all of your company’s procedures, and determine redundancies. If there are duplicate processes that occur, such as the review of a document by several different people when only one reviewer is necessary, then eliminate the duplication.
  • Request input from your team about how to improve efficiency. (Be sure your team knows the goal is not to improve their efficiency, but rather work-flow procedure efficiency…there’s a difference!)
  • Make marketing your listings work for you…rather than posting rental listings to multiple sites, post your listing once to your Control Panel, make it active, and it’s exported to your website (with the integrated listings page), our company websites, our partner sites and more. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Instead of mailing online statements each month to owners and tenants, consider posting statements online. With the HERO PM RP Management system and PROMAS (and even without PROMAS!), you can easily publish activity, documents and monthly statements to your clients’ accounts. (requires RP Management system)
  • Utilize the Online Workorders tool that allows tenants to submit an online work request to you. View the work request in your Control Panel, and generate a workorder, which can be emailed directly to your vendor, and posted to their online account. (requires RP Management system)
  • Create a customizable online application that allows prospects to submit an application from your active listing. The data is posted to your Control Panel, and from there can be submitted to one of our Integrated Screening Partners. (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)
  • Offer online rental payments to your tenants via the HERO Payments system, which saves you time and money processing their checks each month. (requires RP Management system)

 


Goal: Increase company revenue by growing my client base

Consider the following tools and tips to help you increase company revenue by growing your client base:

  • Make sure your current clients are happy! Word of mouth from satisfied clients is the most powerful tool in your arsenal, and can save significant money spent on other forms of marketing.
  • Give your PM website a facelift to improve your marketing efforts – most new clients will visit your website before contacting you, so be sure your website makes a good first impression…and makes them want to work with you.
  • Ask current clients for their referrals and consider providing an incentive for the referring client.
  • Include client testimonials on your website…they help to add credibility and trust in your business, and may be the needed “push” a prospective client needs to work with you.
  • Reach out to other successful professionals – both within the property management field (i.e. NARPM®) and outside it – for ideas on how they grow and develop their client base. Meet with them regularly to share ideas and get input and feedback.
  • Connect and network with clients via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), which enables them to easily share your message with others.

 

Goal: Improve communication within my team

Effective communication is an important part of any successful team. It helps to boost team morale and improves efficiency and productivity. Consider the following tools and tips to help improve communication within your team.

  • Encourage an open work environment, and be available to meet with team members. Keeping the communication channel open encourages your team to come forward with any problems they may be experiencing before they become too big, as well as helping to establish two-way trust.
  • Part of good communication involves conducting meaningful meetings. Regular team meetings help keep everybody in the loop, but many of us spend time in meetings that are unproductive and often unnecessary. Have an agenda for your company meetings, be sure the necessary people attend, and keep to the appointed start and end times.
  • Utilize the Calendar tool to keep your team organized and on the same page with activities and events. Your team can schedule projects, tasks and appointments, and easily access and view the events in their Control Panel > RP Management > Calendar. (requires RP Management system)
  • Connect with your team outside the office – through community service activities, sports activities, company picnics, etc. Sometimes interacting in a different setting with your team helps to open the doors of communication.
  • Communication breakdown is often caused by ambiguity, so be clear in your objectives, expected outcomes and deadlines. Consider using Virtual Boards to easily track and manage team tasks such as new owner onboarding, move-outs, marketing campaigns and more. You can set deadlines, assign tasks, and track progress all in one location. Everyone can see who’s responsible for each task, its priority level and when it’s due. (requires RP Management system)
  • Empower your team and involve them in company goals. Put together a task force and ask them to help you create the plan. Or hold brainstorming sessions to deal with issues that arise.

Members Spotlight: 2012 NARPM® Convention

Congratulations to Rappold Property Management with Troy Rappold (HERO PM member) as well as Prudential Tropical Realty, who were both awarded the CMRC®. This esteemed designation is awarded to those professional property management firms that demonstrate a high standard in both procedures and customer service. We also recognize those who received the following designations:

Rappold Property Management (Troy Rappold) was awarded the CMRC®.

MPM® Designees: Daniel Scott, John Bradford, Keith Becker, Kellie Tollifson, Shana Smith, Tony Sims, Daniel Wilhelm, Scott Abernathy, Greg Doering, Shawn Beard, Tracey Norris, Darlene Higa

CSS® Designees: Annette Micho, Tawny Worth

RMP® Designees: Stephanie Christensen, Alexander Yoder, Linda East, Charlene Minor, Lyle Haas, Merlyn Banks, Mohamed Sulthar, Eric Bessett, Robert Massey, Alexandra Goldthwaite, Johleen Belliston, Claudia Host, Kathleen Gaspari, Kim Meredith-Hampton, Cyndy Starr, Barbara Barrows, Elaine Saigusa, Angela Lepori, Kimberly Mulligan, Debbie Jackson, Robert Thomas, Melissa Riqueros, Darron Dowda, Douglas Maschoff, Alejandro White, Amy Newell, Angelia Lauster, Margaret Steacy, Megan Zellers, Steve Schultz, Bill Williamson, Cindy Rampley, Dennis Dodson, Alicia Hay

 

We had a great time with our members at the convention in October, and collected some photographic evidence of the events…

Building Owner Accounts with HERO PM

Filling the Pipeline…Getting Owner Leads. 

The Online Business Card
HERO PM distributes your online business card to numerous websites where owners are looking for property managers, such as ResidentialPropertyManagers.com. Be sure your online business card, which can be edited from the Configuration tab in your Control Panel under Company Info, contains all of the following elements:

  • A stunning logo
  • Information about your company that inspires confidence
  • Specialization information that attracts the kind of business you do best, while eliminating the stuff that you want to avoid
  • Geographic information that includes a list of cities and zip codes where you manage

 

Your Company Website

Your website can be the most valuable tool you have in your marketing and information delivery arsenal, if used correctly. We suggest focusing on these three elements:

1.  The Content.  Your website content must clearly communicate the value you bring to an owner or investor. Remember that your prospect isn’t always just comparing you against other property managers, but is often working to determine the value of professional management as opposed to personal management. To be most effective, address both segments by answering the following questions on your site:

  • What are the biggest pain points of personal management; what is the value of professional management?
  • Where and how will my company help reduce or eliminate your pain?
  • What is unique about my company and why are we the best choice for your needs?
Remember to write in terms of benefits, rather than features. Put yourself in an owner’s shoes; which of the following communicates most powerfully to you?
  • Feature: “We’ve been in business over 20 years.”
  • Benefit: “With over 20 years of property management experience, we’ve seen it all and can help you avoid problems that someone else would never think of.”
  • Feature: “We offer online applications.”
  • Benefit: “With our online application offering, we receive more applications per property, and can get your home rented faster – choosing the best tenant from a larger pool of applicants.”
2.  The Call to Action.  One of the biggest mistakes when trying to woo prospects is the failure to call them to action. We often deliver compelling information, which is great for the education of our prospects. But to build a business, our prospects must do something with the information they just read. While offering a phone number or email address for prospects to call is a good step, the “Request Management Proposal” seems to work even better in many cases. With your website, you can make this simple and effective.
  • Create a form page in your website, asking for information like the owner’s property address and contact information. Ask for the least amount of information you need; long forms can be perceived as scary and are more likely to be abandoned.
  • In the intro, be sure to communicate how you’re going to use this information, and that it does not create an obligation on the part of the owner.
  • In the Success Response (the page that an owner sees after successfully completing and submitting the form), consider offering the owner more detailed information, a link to your listing packet, a video of your offering, and what to expect next.
  • Track submissions with the Form Results for this page, and be sure to follow through quickly and thoroughly.
3.  The Circulation.  Like a store needs a road leading to it, you need to make sure prospects are reaching your website so you can explore doing business with them. Your website must be where people are looking.

Focus on two areas:
a)  Direct navigation traffic. Be sure your website address is short, memorable, and everywhere. Put your website, as well as scannable QR code that directs traffic to your site, on your yard signs, on envelopes you mail, letterhead, business cards, on your car, on park benches, on Super Bowl ads (well, maybe not that one). When someone is thinking about property management in your area or in your market, you want them to run across your website address in their memory or their field of vision, somewhere.

b)  Search Engine Traffic. If someone is going to Google and specifically searching for property management, you want to be found. While the science and art of this is outside the scope of this article, here are a few pointers:
    • Be sure you have at least version 4 of the HERO PM Website System. Version 4 complies with all of Google’s advice for effective ranking, and adds a bunch of automated processes and industry-specific user tools to maximize ranking.
    • Use the version 4 SEO Tools found in your Site Administration.
    • Be sure you have the keywords in your website that you want to be found on. Be specific; don’t try to fight for a top position for “property management”, instead, try to get the position for “residential property management,” or “property management in Des Moines”.

2012 Presidential Elections: 69.6% of Americans Said Housing Will Influence Their Vote

Housing Survey Reveals Voter Perceptions, Supply vs. Demand, and the Millennial Mindset

Nov 8, 2011, Reposted with permission from Move.com

CAMPBELL, Calif., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Candidate positions on housing will be important considerations to nearly seven of 10 Americans (69.6%) in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, according to a new national survey on housing released today by online real estate leader Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE). This is especially true for Millennials(1) (70.7%), the next generation of homebuyers and the segment expected to play as important a role in the 2012 elections as they did in 2008.

The Move, Inc., survey underscores the depth of national concern over the housing situation and the importance housing will play in next year’s national elections.  According to the survey, four out of five (81.7%) Americans consider housing to be a critical piece of our national economic recovery.  Nearly three quarters of Americans (73.1%) believe conditions for buying a home a year from now will be the same or worse than today, while just under a quarter (23.2%) expect home buying conditions will be better.

Helping homeowners in trouble avoid foreclosure, an issue tracked in Move, Inc., surveys since October 2008, remains a top housing priority for the next president’s first 100 days in office. In fact, one in three (30.9%) Americans today think helping homeowners avoid foreclosure should be the next president’s priority in the first 100 days in office. Keeping interest rates low (26.4%) ranked second and making more affordable mortgage credit available (14%) placed third.

However, views are mixed when it comes to increasing or decreasing the role of government in housing.  The Move, Inc., survey found one in three Americans (31%) said the role of government in housing should remain the same as it is today, while one in five (21.3%) said it should be increased.  Forty-two percent said government’s role in housing should be reduced, especially Americans ages 35 to 64 (56.7%). Just over two-thirds (67.4%) of Millennials said the president and Congress should reduce or keep the role of government in housing the same.

“After four years of living in a housing downturn, American voters clearly want answers and are looking to our elected leaders for solutions. Our survey found that while some people may be frustrated or pessimistic, 27.3% of Americans(2) still plan on buying a home,” said Errol Samuelson, chief revenue officer of Move, Inc. “The survey illustrates candidates who share the concerns of the American people and make housing a top priority will win their confidence.”

KEYS TO DEMAND FOR HOUSING:  PERCEPTIONS ON PRICES, JOBS AND AFFORDABILITY

While one quarter of all Americans (27.3%) plan to buy a home in the future, only two percent plan to purchase in the next 12 months and 23.1 percent say they’ve delayed purchasing a home because of the real estate market in their area.  Three factors – uncertainty about future prices, concern about the economy and jobs, and difficulty saving for down payments – are causing buyers to delay their purchases, effectively reducing near-term demand.

Based on survey results, half (55.1%) of those planning to buy in two or more years are waiting in part because they lack the money for a down payment or closing costs.  Some 52.5 percent said they’re concerned about their jobs or lack confidence in the economy as a whole.  Half (53.1%) of today’s future buyers said they’re waiting because they expect prices to stabilize or increase. More than one third (34.6%) said their inability to get credit or find affordable credit is a reason why they’re waiting to buy a home.

The survey also found perceptions on affordability have deteriorated in the past 18 months.  In March 2010, 45.4 percent said they thought a median income family could afford more than half (50%) of the homes for sale in their neighborhood.  Today, only 32 percent said they think median income families can afford more than half (50%) of the homes for sale in their area. In August 2011, the median priced home sold for $168,400 and the qualifying income was $33,504(3). The real median household income in 2010 was $49,445(4).

“Perceptions as much as the realities of homeownership are standing in the way of boosting demand for housing,” said Samuelson.  “Concerns that the economy will continue to put jobs at risk and that prices won’t rise near term are keeping buyers on the sidelines as much as the difficulty they’re having in getting credit or saving for down payments. Until these concerns are resolved, we expect both buyers and sellers to remain on the sidelines.”

SELLERS ARE LESS MOTIVATED BY PRICE

The number of homeowners who delayed selling their home because of the real estate market (17.5%) has not grown in the past 18 months but actually declined slightly (-1.7%), which suggests the pending supply of ‘visible’ homes is showing signs of stabilization.  However, more homeowners ages 35 to 49 (22%) and those making $40,000-$49,000 a year (21%) said they’ve delayed selling their home in the past year as compared to other respondents.  This may indicate growing families in need of more space are having a difficult time moving up as a result of today’s market conditions.

Moreover, after years of low prices that left many with negative equity, today’s homeowners are less tempted to sell in response to incremental price increases than they were in 2009.  Price increases in June 2009 of 20 percent or less would have motivated 61.6 percent of homeowners to sell. Today, however, price increases of 20 percent or less would motivate 55.4 percent.  Based on the survey, a 5 percent increase in prices today would motivate 11.7 percent of owners to sell their home.  The decline in pending price-motivated inventory suggests many owners may have sold their homes when the tax credit temporarily raised prices in 2010.

MILLENNIALS:  PERCEPTIONS FROM AMERICA’S NEXT GENERATION OF HOMEBUYERS

The survey found that Millennials share many of the same intentions and values as other Americans on a host of housing issues, but differ when it comes to expectations and budgets.  According to the Move, Inc., survey, two-thirds of Americans (61%) that plan to purchase a home say they’d be first-time home buyers, and slightly more than three-quarters of them (76.6%) are Millennials. Large majorities of Americans — Millennials included — believe their family must be happy in their home (94.1%), that they are very picky when it comes to finding a home (80.3%), and that their home defines them; it’s part of who they are (75.1%).

However, when it comes to setting budgets aside to pay for housing, Millennials and older Americans have very different perceptions.  Two out of five (40.9%) Millennials think they should spend 30 to 60 percent of their gross monthly income on housing, while older Americans (56.4%) said they plan to spend less than 30 percent of their gross monthly on housing. The housing expense ratio used by lenders to determine recommended spend of annual gross wages on housing costs such as principal, interest and taxes is 28 percent.(5)

Millennials also tend to place slightly less emphasis on the investment value of a home and more on its value as a place to live.  The Move, Inc., survey shows three out of five (61.9%) Millennials think of their homes as a place to live compared to 24.8 percent who think of their homes as an investment.  Almost all Millennials (95.3%) say they think of their home as a place where they can retreat from the world and relax.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted by OmniTel, the weekly national RDD Probability Sample telephone omnibus service of GfK Custom Research North America. It is based on interviews conducted October 7-9.  Each OmniTel study consist of 1,000 completed interviews, made up of male and female adults (in approximately equal number), all 18 years of age and over.  The margin of error on weighted data is +/- 3% and higher for subgroups. The raw data are weighted by a custom designed computer program, which automatically develops a weighting factor for each respondent. This procedure employs five variables: age, sex, education, race and geographic region. Each interview is assigned a single weight derived from the relationship between the actual proportion of the population with its combination of age, sex, education, race and geographic characteristics and the proportion in our sample. Tabular results show both weighted and unweighted bases for these demographic variables.

About MOVE, Inc.

Move, Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE) is the leader in online real estate with 20.3 million monthly visitors(6) to its online network of websites. Move, Inc. operates: Move.com, a leading destination for information on new homes and rental listings, moving, home and garden and home finance; REALTOR.com®, the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®; MortgageMatch.com, Moving.com; SeniorHousingNet; ListHub; and TOP PRODUCER Systems. Move, Inc. is based in Campbell, California.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including information about management’s view of Move’s future expectations, plans and prospects, within the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the results of Move, its subsidiaries, divisions and concepts to be materially different than those expressed or implied in such statements. These risk factors and others are included from time to time in documents Move files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to, its Form 10-Ks, Form 10-Qs and Form 8-Ks. Other unknown or unpredictable factors also could have material adverse effects on Move’s future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. Move cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Finally, Move expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

(1) Demographers differ widely on what ages define Millennials, using birth dates ranging from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, with some including as late as the early 2000s.  For the purpose of this survey, Millennials are ages 18 to 34.

(2) 85,313,753 American adults – US Census Bureau

(3) National Association of Realtors® Housing Affordability Index

(4) Census Bureau – Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States 2010

(5) Federal Reserve Board.  “Home Mortgages: The Mortgage Application Process.”

(6) comScore September 2011 Media Metrix, Key Measures Report

SOURCE Move, Inc.