Where is the Map of all My Listings?

You may have noticed that the map at the top of your listing page is gone.   We know that there have been quite a few changes to the Internet lately, and it can drive someone mad trying to keep up with all of it!  Google recently announced updates to their Google Maps Platform and you’ll need to make a change to accommodate it:

You’ll need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access our core products. Once you enable billing, you will gain access to your $200 of free monthly usage to use for our Maps, Routes, and Places products. As your business grows or usage spikes, our pricing plan will scale with you.*

*There is also a pricing calculator that may help.

If you read the comments at the bottom of the announcement, you will see that you’re not alone with the frustration this has caused.  This change is upsetting people and developers everywhere.

In order to continue using the Google Maps service on your website, we will need you to set up a Google Cloud Platform for your organization and generate a new API Key for your website.

Why does this affect me?

Previously, HERO PM  was able to take care of this service for all client websites under our account and use our API Key to generate calls to Google Maps for your website. With these new changes however, the daily quota of API calls has been reduced, and HERO PM can no longer cover the usage of all of our members in one account.

Your website is still likely to fall under the $200 free monthly usage, but you’ll to have a separate account under your control so that your usage is isolated. Your  Google account and API Key stays with your organization no matter what changes occur in the future.

What do I need to do?

You have several options on how to proceed

Option #1  –  DO NOTHING – If the listing maps are not important to you, you can simply leave them off.

Option #2 – GENERATE YOUR OWN API KEY WITH GOOGLE – Follow the instructions below under “Generating an API Key” and enter that API key in your HERO PM Control Panel on the Configuration Tab under RP/VR Preferences > Listing Webpage Options.  Select “On, billed by Google” in the drop down under Map Option.  This will bring up a box where you can enter the Google Maps API Key that you created following the instructions below.

Option #3 – ALLOW HERO TO BILL YOU FOR MAP USAGE – If you don’t want to go through the process of setting up your own Google Maps API Key but you want to use the map on your listing page, you have the option for us to bill directly for the calls to your map.   Simply go to the Configuration tab and select Listing Webpage Options from the RP/VR Preferences drop down menu.  Select “On, billed by HERO” in the drop down under Map Option.

 

Generating an API Key:

Sign in to your Google account

If you don’t have a Google account, you will need to create one.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough - Create a Google Account

Getting started

Once you are logged in to your Google account, navigate to https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/#get-started.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 1

Select the services relevant to your site

Which are Maps and Places, but if you’d like, you can also add Routes – you’re only “charged” for the services you use.

Enter project name

Create a name for your project and agree to the Terms of Service and click “Next”.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 2

Create a billing account

If you do not have a billing account associated with your Google account, you will need to create one by clicking “Create Billing Account”.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 4

Name your billing account and Continue

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 5

Select your Country and Currency and Continue

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 6

Create your Payments Profile

Then fill in your Customer Info and Continue.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 7

Enter Payment Info

Provide either a Credit Card or a Bank Account for the Payment Method and click “Submit”.
Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 8

Enable your Google Maps Platform

Now you can enable your Google Maps Platform APIs by clicking “Next”.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 9

Copy your API key

You will be given Your API key –  Enter that API key in your HERO PM Control Panel on the Configuration Tab under RP/VR Preferences > Listing Webpage Options.  Select “On, billed by Google” in the drop down under Map Option.  This will bring up a field where you can enter the Google Maps API Key.

Google Maps Platform Walkthrough Step 10

You did it!

Feel free to reach out

If you have any issues or questions, feel free to reach out to our HERO PM Support Team at 1-800-770-4376, option 1 for assistance.

New and Improved HERO Help Sessions

Do you wish that there was a training class for HERO PM that would let you get help with the parts of the system that are troubling you? Would you like to interact with other HERO PM users in the industry so that you could share best practices?

You are in luck!! We are switching up our HERO Help sessions to be more in line with the support you are looking for.

When will the sessions be held?

We will schedule several different times per month so that you can choose the one that best fits your schedule. The dates and times will be included in the invite

What types of topics will be discussed?

  • Online Applications
  • Online Payments
  • Setting Owners Up Online
  • Inspections
  • Listing Reports
  • Online Work Orders from Configuration to Completion

We will also be looking at the most commonly asked questions coming into our Support Team and making sure that we are addressing them during the sessions.

How Do I Get An Invite?

Go to https://heropm.com/register-for-a-hero-pm-event and click on HERO Help Online and sign up.

Invites will be sent out at the beginning of the month so that you can get them added to your calendar.

We look forward to meeting online with you as we help you to get the most out of your HERO PM software.

Don’t Get Left Behind: A Comprehensive Breakdown on Why You Should Upgrade Your Website

Navigating technology in a rapidly changing world can be challenging and overwhelming. Our goal at HERO PM is to help bring you valuable information and tools to help you run your business more efficiently, and stay relevant. As you know having a functional, user-friendly, and up-to-date website is a crucial aspect of running a property management business or any business for that matter. It’s been a long time coming but we can finally say that HTML5 is the official new language of the Internet.

itshere

Apple and Google both pushed for HTML5 to become the new standard. We can surmise that both of these companies will be pushing for full adoption of the standard, by all websites. In doing so, we expect to see them rewarding HTML5 sites and penalizing older sites, as they move forward in their development of Google Search, Google Chrome, Safari, and iOS (iPhone/iPad). Although HTML4 is still in use you will soon find that your old HTML4 website is not working properly, not integrating well, or not performing well on search engines and in modern browsers. We cannot stress the importance enough to make the switch to an HTML5 integrated site.

All functionality aside having a dated website sends a message to clients and tenants that you are behind the times. A fresh, modern, professional look will give your business a competitive edge and outwardly show that you are the best company to work with.

HERO PM prides ourselves on providing the best solutions for property managers because we develop and design them specifically for you. Our newly reformulated design team produces world-class designs, highly targeted to achieve your business objectives. We are confident Websites v5 are the right answer for your website upgrade needs. Our HERO Websites v5 were created specifically for HTML5 and built from the ground up with your property management business in mind.

How your website ranks on major search engines can make or break your business efficiency and growth. HERO Websites v5 is the only solution with real-time SEO analysis for property management, analyzing your site in comparison to what owners and tenants are currently searching. We help you stay ahead of your competition with the most advanced tools and reports. Our goal is for your website upgrade to be a seamless transition, HERO Websites v5 integrates with all other HERO services, and connects with all other property management solutions, including Appfolio, PropertyWare, Buildium, Rent Manager, and more.

We are proud to say HERO PM has designed more property management websites than any other company, and this allows us to provide you the best product for the lowest price possible. HERO Websites designs are sold at-cost, and are a fraction of the price when compared to our competitors.

Be sure to order your v5 Website today, in January we will be increasing the price of our websites after 8 years! All orders placed in 2014 will be at our current price, visit our website for more details and examples!

 

 

 

 

5 Ways HERO PM Makes Your Life Easier

Running a business takes a lot of effort, there are so many working parts that can make or break your success. HERO PM is dedicated to making the lives of property managers everywhere easier by offering user friendly solutions created solely with your property management business in mind. Using the right tools can make a huge impact on how your business runs and how much effort is required to run it smoothly.

Here are just a few of the ways our solutions focus on improving the lives and businesses of our members:

Efficiency:

Our solutions are unique to property managers and their needs. Rather than using tools built for a generic business model, our tools were designed around streamlining the daily tasks of a professional property management company so their time can be used more efficiently. For example, our online portals allow you to provide clients secure online access to view statements, documents, and activity; as well as, make online payments, submit online work requests, authorize work requests, and more.

Online portals serve as an online filing cabinet for all documents and interactions between your client and your business. Having 24/7 access to information related to their homes, in one convenient location, helps you eliminate many of the inquiries associated with managing their homes.

Saving Money:

Efficiency and your bottom line go hand in hand. In addition to the time savings our solutions provide, our HERO PM payment system helps simplify the payment process by mitigating delinquencies, changing collections, and saving time as well as cost on processing physical checks. As a bonus, HERO PM does not assess any initial setup or hidden fees. The payment system is included with our RP Management System.

Flexibility:

As a business owner and property manager, we understand that your job is never done. Having the freedom and flexibility to run your company from anywhere at anytime, keeping your team members and clients happy, is priceless. Whether you’re at home with your kids or you’re on vacation in Bora Bora, if an urgent matter comes up, you always have access to statements, client accounts, and your account. You can lookup client profiles, post statements, send messages, update your virtual boards, and process rent payments…essentially running your business from anywhere you might be.

Going Green:

Going paperless saves you time and money, increases your productivity, and brings awareness to your social responsibility. Sending a statement can include costs such as paper, printer/ink, envelopes, postage, time, etc. One of our members reported saving $5-$10 per month, per client by eliminating paper statements.

Our systems have made it, not only easy, but beneficial to go green! Your clients can access their online portal, from anywhere at anytime. This eliminates waste and can help attract customers based on your social responsibility.

Professionalism: 

Our systems allow your business to function like a well-oiled machine, as well as present a professional brand to your current and prospective clients.

A website portrays the image of your business and reputation of your brand to current and prospective tenants as well as owners. Our members love their HERO PM websites not only because they help them brand their business online, but because they were built from the ground up with their property management business in mind. In an era where people find you online before they ever even contact you, it is vital to have an optimized, attractive, and functional site that puts your brand first and foremost.

Have our solutions made your life easier? Let us know by visiting our Facebook page and leaving a review. We love hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

What’s Going on With Craigslist?

 

In early 2013, Craigslist started posting warnings about new posting rules. They determined that in certain categories, they would no longer permit stylized ad templates, including images. In late October, they imposed these restrictions on their real estate categories in most regions, and gave every indication this would be the new standard for all Craigslist ads.iStock_000011987584_ExtraSmall

This dealt a devastating blow to everyone who posted fancy ads to Craiglist. A lot of people asked why Craigslist would do such a thing, “uglifying” all ads equally. Some figure that since Craigslist’s original design was for locals to buy, trade, and sell, their users would have a better experience if they did not have to wade through commercial postings. Others think that this may be an initial step in preparation for Craigslist charging a fee at some point to allow fancy ads to be posted (right now there is no option to do so, all ads in a given region must conform to the same standards). Craigslist has not come out and made an official statement. What we do know is that this is now being enforced in certain regions of the country, and there’s no way around it if you want to use Craigslist.

We became aware of the change within hours of Craigslist imposing it. We knew that Craigslist was taking an additional step to make it difficult to post ads, but we also saw a way to make sure our members can still post the nicest possible Craigslist ads, in the fastest possible way. We know that many of you value your Craigslist ads, either because of the benefit in attracting tenants, or because of the importance of pleasing your owners. Rather than abandon or limit Craigslist postings, as some other companies have done, we created a way to make it simple for you to comply with the new restrictions.

Several months ago, anticipating the upcoming changes, our developers went to work to create version 5 of our Craigslist export. This set the stage for a speedy solution when Craigslist began rolling out their restrictions. Our developers used Craigslist’s new guidelines to develop a way for you to continue to post your ads directly from your Control Panel. Before most regions were even affected, we had a new solution in place. You may be in a region where this change has not yet taken place, but Craigslist says it’s coming, and we are ready! If you are already affected, or want to be sure your ads still display properly once your region is affected, simply choose one of your Unstyled template options when following the steps below:

Version 5 Craigslist Export

Begin by first logging on to your Craigslist account. Once you have logged on, you can exit to log on to your Control Panel. Select the RP Listings Tab > Listings > Find a Listing (or Show All) . Select any listing with an active status with the edit icon to the far left of the listing you wish to export. Select Export Options from the right margin of the Listing Master View, and choose the Craigslist Export. Select your region code, and select Next.

Open the Craigslist Posting Window. This will open a new window on your computer where you’ll make selections and post your ad. If you don’t see a window open when you click the button, it may already be open in the background from a previous posting.

After making your selections for region and ad type, Craigslist will display the ad entry form.
On the HERO PM Posting screen, you will see several template options for the Posting Description. If you are in a Craigslist region that does not allow fancy stylized ads, select one of the Unstyled templates (templates 4 and higher). If your region still supports the fancy ads, you can use any of the available templates. You may select the preview to determine which template you prefer.

From the HERO PM Posting screen, copy each item in sequence, and then paste it into the corresponding field on the Craigslist ad entry form. Use the copy button beside any field to make copying easier and track your progress.

Once you have entered all of your listing information, select “continue” from the Craislist ad entry form. Craigslist will then allow you to edit your mapping information; configure if current map location is not already accurate, and select “continue”.

If you selected one of the styled templates, your listing will already export with photos. (If you don’t see them on the unpublished draft, or if you see a notice on Craigslist that IMG is not supported, then you’re in a region where an Unstyled template is required.)

No matter which template you use, Craigslist will allow you to manually upload your photos. You can add up to 12 images, that are saved locally on your computer, to your ad. If you don’t already have your photos saved on your computer, you may save your photos from HERO PM’s Posting screen by right-clicking and selecting save-as. You will want to upload best image first, as it will be featured. Once you finish uploading your images, select “done with images”. Craigslist will display an unpublished draft of your post. Confirm that your ad information is correct, and select “publish”. Craigslist may send an email to you allowing you to complete/confirm the publishing process. (This step is also only by region.) Once you have following the instructions in the Craigslist email, your ad will be posted online.

We have had several of our beta testers give us some valuable feedback on this since we first released our v5 export. A common misconception has been that you can no longer post ads. Another is that HERO PM changed the way we export, and that you should try posting from another source, as it is easier. It’s important to understand that HERO PM provides the simplest, most effective Craigslist posting that Craigslist will allow. We encourage our users to do their research, and know you will be confident that we are looking out for you every step of the way. We know the value of your time. While it seems like we added additional steps to your export, this was in an effort to make sure your postings display, with your images, in the best way possible. We have a support team standing by ready to help you through this process, and appreciate you allowing HERO PM to help you achieve a High Efficiency Rental Office!

Did you know:

HERO PM gives you the fastest, most effective, way to post your Craigslist ads in all regions of the country?
HERO PM gives you a way to track which listings have been posted to Craigslist, and when?
HERO PM gives you easy-to-use photo management tools, so that after you post them once, you can continue to use the watermarked, logo stamped images in all exports,  including Craigslist, Twitter, Blogs, and Facebook?
HERO PM provides more export options, to more websites, with better placement, than any other service in the industry?
HERO PM invented Internet rental listing exports/syndication, and continues to lead the way in effectiveness and performance for your rental listings?

 

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.

The Evolution of the Web…Is Your Website Evolving With It?


Technology changes rapidly, and keeping up with the latest and greatest is a challenge. In the world of the Internet, the technology for websites is constantly changing, and the way people interact with the web is continually morphing. The result? Your website may hurt your business more than it helps. Like it or not, an out-of-date website can affect your business’ credibility and potential clients will make quick decisions about whether or not they want to work with you – based on your website.

If you want to remain competitive in today’s property management industry, then it’s vital to keep abreast of emerging technologies and implement ones that will benefit your business. Your website is one of the best (if not the best) marketing tools you have available, so ensuring that it’s up-to-date, responsive, mobile-friendly, SEO-optimized, well maintained and easy to use is essential. If visitors can find you online, easily navigate your site to find the information they need (whether they’re on their computer, phone or tablet), and gain a positive impression of your business, then your website has done its job. However, if you’re unsure whether your website is pulling its weight, it may be time to consider a website revamp. Luckily, HERO PM has the perfect solution!

 

HERO PM Introduces Websites Version 5

Keeping our members well-informed of the latest updates, and providing the right solutions to property managers, is our constant goal. We’re excited to introduce our new PM Website System version 5. Websites version 5 is by far our best ever…it’s based on HTML5, the new language of the Internet, and has stunning visuals, interactivity, mobile tools, and SEO tools that can’t be beat. Website version 5 is optimized for the latest generation of search engines, and makes mobile site additions easier than ever. In many ways, the jump from HTML4 to HTML5 is like upgrading from a 1997 car to a 2012 car – it’s still a car, and still does all the same things, but is loaded with new features, new comforts, and new efficiencies. With Websites version 5, we include Portals version 5 – the next generation portal for your owners, tenants and vendors. Portals v5 includes the same fundamental features as the current v4 portal, in a cleaner, slicker, faster, and easier to use interface. It also improves vendor tracking, workorder mangement, and document management.

To help you determine if your current website is doing it’s job, and if Websites v5 is right for you, consider the following:

Is your website… HTML5-based?

HTML5 is the new language of the Internet, and is the successor of HTML4, which has been around since 1997…an eternity in tech time! Among other things, HTML5-based websites function better, they work better on new devices and screen sizes, and they have improved performance. Eventually, the entire Internet will be based on HTML5.  Websites v5 is based on the new HTML5, and provides you all the benefits of this new technology.

Is your website…. Property Management Specific?

Is your website system trying to fit the square peg of property management into the round hole of retail or e-commerce? Are you settling for limited template options, or having your site look like another property manager’s site? We offer options to ensure your site is unique to your company! Have us convert any design from your local designer or have our designers create a custom design from scratch. Websites v5 offers the best price and the fastest setup and desing options in the industry. The user-friendly interface allows you to easily edit your own website, or take advantage of our personal webmaster service and we’ll make the changes for you. Did we mention our websites have dedicated email that can stand-alone or integrate with Google or Microsoft? Having customized email addresses for you and your team add an element of professionalism and credibility.

Is your website…. SEO Optimized?

Websites v5 is structured exactly as Google likes it. With native keyword conversion, page titling, header controls, site map generation, embedded listings, and SEO audit reports, you’ll get to the position you want to be. The new V5 sites offer real-time SEO analysis, letting you know exactly how you can change your site to improve your ranking.

Is your website…. Fully Customizable?

Are you tired of paying a website designer or manager to make small changes to your site? The ability to control your site ensures positive user experiences. The more information a user can find on your website, the higher retention you will have. HERO PM websites allow you the option to include snazzy pre-defined interactive WebGadgets or create your own. Forms, FAQ’s and Blogs each have multiple layout themes and unlimited custom design options. Manage images, files, and videos through powerful libraries, helping you store and organize files easily.



Is your website…. User Editable?

Are you tired of paying a fee every time you want to make a simple update to your website? Edit your website with management tools designed for anyone who can edit a word document. Make the changes you want, when you want, without paying a fee. For more advanced users, you have access to optional advanced editing tools for under-the-hood control.

Is your website…Video Integrated?

Video is the new standard of the Web – having effective videos integrated into your website puts you into the class of the website elite. Websites v5 offers point-and-click video integration to showcase your company and listing videos online.

Is your website… Responsive?

Responsive web development is an approach aimed at creating websites that optimize the viewing experience, independent of the device a visitor uses. To test your site’s responsiveness, go to a site such as ami.responsivedesign.is and enter your website URL. How does your website display on the various devices? With today’s wide range of devices and screen sizes, it is imperative that your website is a responsive site. Thankfully, HERO PM website v5 gives you that option.

Is your website…. Interactive?

Websites have evolved over the years from being static one-way communication channels (i.e. a company brochure), to being social and interactive. An interactive website draws visitors, holds their interest, and encourages them to take some kind of action. Making your website interactive can be as simple as adding a contact form for people to easily reach you, integrating social media feeds on your website for people to comment on, or including various WebGadgets like clickable maps, scrolling featured listings, featured blog/video blog posts, , etc. to customize the visitor’s experience. These functions, and many more, can be easily incorporated into your site with the Website v5, and best yet, you can add them yourself.

Is your website…. Visually appealing?

Having relevant content is essential for your website but visitors build their first impression around your website’s visual appearance. Some studies reveal that users make a decision about your website in approximately 50 milliseconds ( That’s just 1/20th of a second!) That being said, is your website esthetically pleasing? Can it captivate users within seconds and hold their interest? With our custom design services, and experience building more property management websites than any company in the world, we will create a website that represents the professionalism of your business, exactly as you want it.

Is your website…. Mobile?

Mobile technology is becoming increasingly popular. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing someone browsing the web on their phone or tablet. And it’s no wonder! Mobile technology allows us to access information from practically anywhere, not just the confines of our desktop computer. Since more and more people are viewing your website on their mobile device, it’s imperative that your site is optimized to provide the best mobile user experience. A well designed mobile site improves user satisfaction with easy access to information, has faster download speed, allows for mobile-specific features like click-to-call and mapping, and helps you present a positive, contemporary brand identity for your business. Thankfully, with the v5 website, a customizable mobile version of your website is included to help you effectively deliver the goods to phone and tablet users. Combine this with HERO Listings Mobile Marketing features, and you’ve got the mobile market covered.

Is your website…. Blog Integrated?

Having an active blog with fresh content embedded in your website helps people and search engines.. This feature was available in V4 through blogging sites, and V5 has built it into the structure of your site. Blogging relevant industry related information and company updates are a simple way to keep a visitor on your site longer, encourage repeat visits, and boost SEO.

Is your website…. Supported?

 At HERO PM we understand your website is your livelihood, which is why we are dedicated not only to continually making improvements and fixing bugs, but to ensuring you and your end user have the best experience possible with your website. Our support team works around the clock to provide you with the quickest, most efficient customer service.

 

Getting Started with Websites v5

If you’re ready to upgrade your current v4 website,
 we would love to help you upgrade to v5. Do you currently have the PM Website in your HERO PM package? If so, you can order an upgrade to your current site. When upgrading your site, we will also include a fresh, new design suitable for HTML5 and Websites v5. Even if your web design was very good a few years ago, it still needs to be updated in order to appear fresh and relevant! If your website is lagging behind in terms of looks and functionality, we recommend you consider an upgrade.

If you do not currently use the PM Website System, you can start with a converted design (if you like the look of your current website), or order a custom design. With our custom design services, we will make a website that represents the professionalism of your business, exactly as you want it. With any design, your website will be built on our new v5 platform, and you’ll have access to all the tools and features of the v5 platform. When you want to make website changes, you can easily make them yourself, or order a project for one of our personal webmasters to make changes.

We have gone ahead and compiled a list of our frequently asked questions along with a portfolio of our most recent v5 sites for you to review. Go to websitesv5.com for answers and fresh design ideas!

We are excited to help you reach your business goals with the assistance of the fresh new look and functionality of our V5 technology! 

If you’re ready to upgrade your current v4 website,
 we would love to help you upgrade to v5. Do you currently have the PM Website in your HERO PM package? If so, you can order an upgrade to your current site. When upgrading your site, we will also include a fresh, new design suitable for HTML5 and Websites v5. Even if your web design was very good a few years ago, it still needs to be updated in order to appear fresh and relevant! If your website is lagging behind in terms of looks and functionality, we recommend you consider an upgrade.

System Highlights: Setting Up Clients Online

The RP Management system provides many tools and features to make your life easier, and your rental office efficient. One such tool is Online Portals, which allows you to provide clients secure online access to view statements, documents and activity, make online payments, submit online work requests (tenants), authorize work requests (owners) and more.

There are many benefits to using the Portal, including saving major time and money each month. According to one HERO PM member, he estimates saving between $5-$10 each month, per owner, by not having to mail statements. That figure takes into account paper, printer/copier, envelopes, stamps and mailing, staff time, etc. And his time savings is equally significant! Clients can also directly access their online filing cabinet of documents and transaction history anytime, giving them answers to many of their questions without needing to contact you. And you gain a competitive advantage over other property managers who do not use Online Portals by giving your tech-savvy clients what they want…their information quickly, and the convenience of making online payments, submitting online work requests, and more.

Do you prefer pictures over words?  Our diagram guides you through the A to Z of getting your clients set up in picture format: Xplain – Setting up Clients Online.

This article walks you through the steps to setting up owners and tenants with online portal access. (Setting up vendors and associations is a similar process.) Before setting up your clients online, you must either manually add profiles to your Control Panel, or publish from PROMAS. Contact us if you need assistance with adding client profiles!

Setting up client portal access includes three parts:

  1. Control Panel Configuration
  2. Introduction to Clients
  3. Client Steps

 

Control Panel Configuration

1) Add online portal access.

  • In your Control Panel, go to Configuration > System Options
  • Check the box next to Online Portal to allow online portal access
  • Click Save Changes

(In addition to viewing statements, documents and activity, you can also allow clients to make online payments, submit online work requests (tenants), add online reservations for vacation rentals (owners) and more, which require selections not discussed in this article.)

2) Create an owner invitation letter template.

  • Go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Letter Template: Owner (or Tenant) Custom Letters
  • Select New Template in the Choose Template drop down box
  • Enter a Name and Description for the letter (i.e. Owner Invite Letter)
  • Click on View/Apply Default Template under the Merge Fields list and click Apply Template
  • The letter’s content section will populate with the default template text and merge fields; edit the content as desired
  • Preview your letter, then click Save Template

You now have a defined letter template that you will print or email for each client later on in this process.

3) Set default profile authorizations.

  • Go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Default Profile Authorizations
  • Check the boxes of the options that you wish to enable for your clients; newly added or imported profiles will default to these settings, and can be individually changed from there
  • If you want to update all current profiles, check the box for Change All Existing Accounts
  • Click Set Configuration

4) Create a portal logon intro message.  The logon intro message displays when a client logs on to their portal; the message can be updated any time.

  • Go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Owner (or Tenant) Logon Intro
  • Enter instructions on how to use the system, updates for your clients, or anything else you want them to know
  • Click Save Info

5) Set statement and document notification messages.   To receive a notification message of a newly posted statement or document, the client must have a valid email address in their profile, they must opt in for statement and/or document notifications, and you must have uploaded a statement or document to their account. The automatic notification is emailed at the end of the day that statements/documents are added.

  • Customize the statement and document notification messages in Configuration > RP Preferences  > Owner (or Tenant) Statement Notification / Owner (or Tenant) Document Notification
  • Enter the information you want clients to view if they opt in to receive a notification when a statement or document is uploaded
  • Click Save Info

 

Introduction to Clients

1) Save the invitation letter to the client’s profile, and invite the client to create their account.

  • Go to RP Management > Documents > Add a Document (for owners or tenants)
  • Select a client either by typing in the Assigned To box or using the drop-down menu
  • Click on the Create Letter/Notice radio button
  • From the drop-down box, select the invitation letter that you created
  • Customize the letter if you wish
  • Ensure that the client’s information is properly merged in the letter, and customize as desired
  • Save the letter to the client’s account by clicking Save Notice
  • Click the View/Print or Email icon beside the document to print and give it to your client or to email it (when emailing, ensure that the client’s name and email address are properly entered)

2) Verify client is set up.  Verify that the client has completed the account setup process in your Control Panel.

  • Go to RP Management > Owners (or Tenants) >  Owner (or Tenant) Lookup
  • Clients who have successfully set up their online account will display a notecard icon in the Details section to the right of their name; you can also view an client’s logon history in their profile under Online Activity
  • If the client has not yet setup their online account, send them an email reminder by clicking the email reminder icon to the right of their name on the owner or tenant lookup list; the message includes the client’s basic account set up information

 

Client Steps

There are three steps that owners and tenants take to create and link their online account. (The process for setting up and linking accounts is also documented in the Video Help of the Create Account/ Account Logon screen.)

1) Receive invite letter from property manager.  Once the client receives the invitation letter, they have the needed information to set up their online account, and link their profile. If you’ve emailed the letter to your client, but they do not receive it, have them check their spam and junk folders.

2) Create and verify their account.  The client clicks the link in the invitation letter to create their online account:

  • In the login screen, the client clicks the Create Account button; they can also watch the three-minute video to walk them through the process
  • After entering a username, password, and agreeing to the terms and conditions, an email is sent to the client with a link to verify that the email account is valid (if the client does not receive the verification email in their Inbox, they may need to look in their spam or trash folders)
  • The client clicks the verification link in the email message, and is now ready to link their profile

3) Link profile.  After the client has created and verified their account, they will link the profile that you’ve set up for them in your Control Panel. For clients to link their profile accounts, they will need the following information contained in the invitation letter that they received:

  1. The property manager’s PMID
  2. Their Client ID
  3. The email address associated with their account or the verification code

The client must enter the linking information exactly to be able to successfully link their profile. Once their profile is linked, they can view uploaded documents, statements, and activity, make a payment and more, depending on their profile authorizations and your Control Panel configurations.

 

If you would like additional information on how to help clients link their accounts, review the Xplain Owner Setup document, or consider attending a free online webinar on the RP Management system. Sign up for the webinar in your Control Panel under Help > Register for Training.

Portals v5 will include even easier setup and configuration options for your owners, tenants, vendors, and association members.  If you are ready to upgrade your website and portals, please read the article covering Websites v5.

Member Spotlight: Sandra Burkhamer

sandy2We had the pleasure of interviewing Sandra Burkhamer this month, the owner of Burkhamer Property Services in Montesano, WA. With over 30 combined years of experience in the property management and real estate fields, Sandy uses her knowledge and expertise to provide quality service to her owners and tenants. As a member of NARPM®, she has achieved the MPM® (Master Property Manager) designation. She is also a member of the Montesano Chamber of Commerce, EGHC Rotary, NAR, GHAR, NWMLS, REBAC and GH Chamber of Commerce.

How did you get into property management? 

SB: I’ve always liked property management. I’ve been licensed since 1974 to do real estate, and in the state of Washington you need your real estate license to do property management. Property management always interested me, and it was a steady income – with real estate sales, that isn’t always the case. So I always wanted to get into it and I had an opportunity in my office at the time to do so. The company had a small property management department, but for several years in a row they were unable to pass the audit by the state. It got to the point that they needed someone to go in and straighten out the trust account and get things flying right. Since I had owned a real estate company I had a lot of trust account experience, so I took it over and that is how I got started in property management. It’s been a learning experience ever since!

How did you become the owner of your own property management company? 

SB: The little company that I was with was basically a real estate company, and the property management division was like the ugly stepchild at the back of the office. When the company moved into a new building, I got squeezed into a little bitty office. However the property management business was starting to grow because we were doing a very good job and I needed more room. I also needed an assistant and a bookkeeping system, as I was doing everything by the Safeguard system. My broker decided she didn’t want to do those things, so I stepped out, and opened my own office 12 years ago in October of 2001.

I had to leave everything with the other company and start out from scratch, but a lot of my owners came over with me eventually. So it’s been very, very good. Every year I have steady growth, and I’ve gotten to a point where I can be a little bit more selective. In fact, the last two years we’ve been voted Best Property Management Company in the Best of Twin Harbors!

What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced in your business, and how do you effectively deal with those?

SB: Technology is my biggest challenge. I’ve got the programs that I need, and it’s just having the time to implement all of the things that would make my business easier. I have to go outside my office to get the knowledge and people that know what to do to get this done. That’s probably the one biggest challenge that I face. Also just keeping up on the State and Federal rules and regulations governing property management is challenging. I belong to NARPM® and have ever since I got into property management…and thank God for NARPM® because it has kept me abreast on the things that are happening that I need to take care of.

How has HERO PM helped to benefit your business?

SB: HERO has always kept me ahead of my competition. When I opened my office, I had and still have, the best website in our area. The way HERO posts my listings on so many different websites has also helped me immensely. The fact that I was able to get a step up because of HERO has helped me instrumentally in becoming recognized as the best property management company in our area.

What is your advice for someone just entering the property management field?

SB: First of all, if you live in the state of Washington you really need to get your real estate license. Without it all you can really do is show rentals. To be able to adequately work in the property management industry in the state of Washington, getting that real estate license is really instrumental. If you’re in a different state though you may not have to worry about the license.

The second thing is go to work for the best property management company in your area. Do whatever you need to do to get in the door, because that’s where you really learn. The last thing is to join NARPM®. These are the three things I’d say to do if you’re trying to get into the property management field.