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.

7 Simple Tips to Becoming a “Less-Paper” Rental Office

greendartsmOver 13 years ago, HERO PM introduced the concept of the “Less-Paper Property Management Office”. We realized that part of becoming a High Efficiency Rental Office involved reducing excess paper and creating a collaborative online environment for sharing information. Nowadays, everyone is talking about sustainability and doing our part to reduce waste and conserve resources – it is in the news, politics, and even fashion. And it involves more than saving trees and reducing your carbon footprint, as important as they are. But did you realize that incorporating eco-friendly practices can positively affect your team morale, make your business more attractive to clients, trim operating costs and increase your bottom line? In fact, adopting ecologically sustainable business practices has a multitude of benefits, and can take a variety of forms.

Besides positively impacting the environment, increasing your bottom line and reducing waste, you may be surprised that incorporating ecologically sustainable practices can also help attract and retain clients. According to a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive, consumers are seeking out these businesses. “61 percent of American adults are more likely to patronize a company or business that follows green practices”.

Becoming an ecologically sustainable business, and encouraging team participation in eco-efforts also sets a positive example for employees, which can boost morale and company loyalty. According to a MonsterTRAK poll on green employment, eco-conscious business practices help attract and retain the best employees by increasing employee satisfaction and pride in the workplace. “80 percent of those surveyed said they are interested in a job that has a positive impact on the environment and a whopping 92 percent would choose working for an environmentally friendly company”.

As a comprehensive web-based property management solution, HERO PM offers many tools and features to help you run an eco-friendly business, while increasing your business efficiency. So if you are looking for ways to reduce your consumption and increase your bottom line, all while growing your client base and retaining great employees, then consider incorporating these 7 simple “Less Paper” tips today:

1.  Use the cloud. Upload statements to owner/tenant portals, rather than printing and mailing statements each month. One HERO PM member estimates that he saves between $5-$10 each month, per owner, by not having to mail statements. He not only saves a tremendous amount of time and money (with 1,800 owners!), but he has significantly reduced his paper usage and eliminated waste.

2.  Encourage (offer incentives) for team members to telecommute, bike, take the bus, or carpool to work. Reduced office space and fuel is a potential win-win-win for your business, your team, and the environment.

3. Go digital. Email marketing reports to your owners, use HERO PM’s Online Applications and screen your applications online with our Integrated Screening Partners. Use Online Workorders, HERO Payments and Virtual Boards to lower your paper usage, printing materials and processing time.

4. Save energy. Set the thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your old conventional incandescent light bulbs burn out. Be sure to turn off lights in vacant offices, and turn off your equipment, including monitors and copiers. Besides saving energy, you’ll also save on utility costs.

5. Do virtual showings. Adding a marketing video to your listings lets you spend less time driving back and forth to show homes in person, which helps to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, many of our members who utilize video walkthroughs report renting some properties without any physical showings, and it helps weed out prospects who may not be seriously interested in the property. Did you know you can syndicate your listing videos to YouTube?

6. Recycle. Place a recycling bin anywhere you have a trash can. According to the National Recycling Coalition, every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, the energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a light bulb for four hours, and manufacturing with recycled materials, with very few exceptions, saves energy and water and produces less air and water pollution than manufacturing with virgin materials. (http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-benefits.html)

7. Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies in the office. Eco-friendly cleaning products contain fewer chemicals, which creates a healthier work environment. It can also help employees who suffer from respiratory and other health-related conditions.

Becoming ecologically sustainable doesn’t necessarily require major changes in how your business runs. A number of small steps, some of which cost little to no money to implement, can make a significant impact on the environment, and your business. HERO PM makes it easy for you to incorporate eco-friendly practices, and offers many solutions to help you run an eco-friendly business. Contact us today if you have any questions about incorporating our tools and features into your business practices!

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.

Post Your Listings Once, View them Everywhere with HERO PM Listings Systems.

HERO PM boasts the largest syndication and distribution system in the industry with our revolutionary “post once, view everywhere” listing strategy. Using our Listings systems, our members post a listing once and it is displayed on their company website, our vast network of HERO PM sites and it is exported to our listing partner sites. Our partners then re-distribute the listings to their partner sites…totaling hundreds of sites that display each listing.

How does the listing syndication/distribution process work?

Simply and easily enter listing data into your RP/VR Listings system in your HERO PM Control Panel. Our Listings systems already include everything needed to record and display listing information…no spreadsheets or other databases are required to track your information. After entering the listing details, mark the status as Active. The listing information is then updated immediately on your website, HomeRentals.net and other sites owned by HERO PM, and is included in the nightly feed to our partner sites. Once activated, there is also an option to send the owner notification that their property is now online.

Where are my listings displayed? 

  • Your company website. The listings integration page includes a summary page of all of your available listings, and viewers can click on a link to view individual property details. You can also flag “featured” properties for enhanced visibility on the home page (if using a HERO PM website). The listings integration page can be customized to include maps, search options, photos, and much more. Don’t have a website hosted by HERO PM? We can help you integrate your listings with any third-party website at no additional cost. Contact Usto find out how.
  • Our vast network of company-owned websites. This includes HomeRentals.net, VacationHomeRentals.net, RentalsIn, SnapRent, and more – covering a total of more than 2 million tenant visits per month.
  • Associate Partner Websites. These are companies who advertise rental listings, either as their primary business or as an extension of some other business that attracts the eyes of potential renters.
  • Other export partners. Numerous export partners access our data feeds to populate their websites or augment their rental listings.
  • A NARPM® chapter website. If you are a NARPM® member and your chapter website is hosted by HERO PM, your listings will display automatically.
  • Other group or association websites. These can include professional associations, co-ops, relocation companies, rental locator services, etc. (We welcome your ideas for website partnerships. If you have identified a website that will benefit your business, please send us a request through the Help > Idea Zone section of your Control Panel so we can look into a partnership. Or, you can encourage the group or association to contact us through our partner information site: http://partners.heropm.com)
  • Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and CraigsList. We also provide HTML coding for embedding into your blog, etc.

If your package also includes the PM Website System, you receive the benefit of our Search Engine Optimization. We use effective, industry-leading techniques to get your website, including your listings and videos, as high as possible in all major search engines.

What does this mean for you?

  • You save time and money – all those hours spent posting and maintaining your listings on multiple other sites certainly add up! With HERO PM, you only need to enter the listing once into your Control Panel to have it distributed everywhere.
  • You can conveniently edit, activate or deactivate your listings anytime, and anywhere – simply access the listing in your Control Panel, edit and save the changes, and it will update immediately on your website and on our partner sites within 24-72 hours.
  • You increase listing viewing traffic – because HERO PM has the largest distribution/syndication system in the industry, your listings will be seen on more sites, by more people. This will help you move the listing and shorten your vacancy time. (A definite benefit to highlight for your prospective owners!)

What else do the HERO PM Listings systems offer?

Besides offering the largest syndication/distribution network available to our members, the RP/VR Listings systems provide tools to market and manage your listings easily and effectively. You can generate reports and flyers, track listing activity, inquiries, showings and much more:

  • Over 600 different database fields and configurable custom fields to record everything the prospective tenant will want to know
  • View, manage, and easily edit your listings through a user-friendly web-based interface
  • Add unlimited photos, as well as a virtual tour and video to each listing
  • Listing videos are stored on our servers in HD and can be syndicated to YouTube
  • Export listings to Craigslist, Twitter, and integrate with your company Facebook page and blogs
  • Geocoded maps and regional information, etc. are available on all listings
  • Generate marketing reports, listing flyers, vacancy reports and inventory reports
  • Display a dynamic page of listings with photos and data in your own website
  • View comparable rents and property/market information by region
  • Export all listing information (including photos) to other databases and systems
  • Mobile Media Marketing package markets your listings using the latest mobile technology, including text codes and QR codes
  • Track tenant inquiries and showings from various sources
  • NotifyMe tool matches listings to prospective tenants and notifies them when a listing that matches the criteria they’ve submitted becomes available in your inventory

If you’d like to learn more about your RP Listings systems, attend the RP Listings webinar! This webinar is instructed by a RP Listings specialist and provides a guided tour of your RP Listings system. You can register for the webinar in your Control Panel in Help > Register for training. If your package does not currently include the RP Listings system (or VR Listings system for vacation rentals), please contact us for information. Or you can upgrade your package in your Control Panel in Configuration > Orders & Upgrades > Company Upgrade.


Top Tips to Marketing your Listings Effectively!

We’ve put together a list of our top tips to successfully market your listings. From adding a minimum number of photos to your listing, to including text codes on your signage, these tips will help get your listings viewed by more people, and rented quicker!

  • Get maximum internet exposure…HERO PM has the largest syndication/distribution list in the industry. This means with our Listings systems your listings will get viewed on more sites by more people.
  • Most people conduct their rental search online, so add a video walkthrough or virtual tour of your property to give prospects a better feel of the property and get it rented quicker. (Bonus: major search engines also give higher search rankings to listings with videos.)
  • Place a QR and/or text code on your print media – property flyers, yard signs, etc. for potential tenants to conveniently access listing information anytime, anywhere. (Plus it demonstrates to owners that you’re on the ball with the latest innovative marketing and technology!)
  • Add at least 6 photos per listing (our system allows you to upload unlimited photos, plus slideshows, a virtual tour and video for each and every listing, at no additional charge). Giving prospective tenants a realistic experience of what the property offers has a myriad of benefits…including ensuring that the time you do spend on physical showings is with truly interested parties.
  • Make sure your listing includes all the nitty-gritty details, including full address, rent, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • Add a watermark across your photos to increase branding and reduce the risk of spammers using your photos in rental scams.
  • Determine your listing’s market effectiveness by running a Marketing Audit report (found in RP/VR Listings > Reports > Marketing Audit).
  • Add a company logo to your listing photos – just check the Stamp Logo box when adding a photo (logo must be in JPG format and should be less than 25K).
  • Make sure your website is getting found online – our PM Website includes many SEO tools and benefits to help get your website found online.

The Video Walkthrough…Worth (more than) a Thousand Words!

One of a property manager’s most time intensive activities is showing properties. One of the easiest ways to reduce vacancy time and ensure that your time is well spent is to include a video walkthrough of your listing. Think of a video walkthrough as an online walkthrough of the property in which you show everything that you would in a physical showing. It provides prospective tenants “maximum exposure”, and gives them a more intimate view and sense of the property that photos only allude to. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, 89% of home buyers find virtual tours to be “very or somewhat useful” when searching for a home on the Internet (2010 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers). We have heard from Property Managers across the country who agree this is equally important for prospective renters as they search for a home.

Since most people conduct their rental search online, marketing your listing with a video walkthrough provides many benefits. Consider the time that could be saved if you reduced the number of trips back and forth to show your properties…not to mention the gas money spent! Many of our members who effectively utilize video walkthroughs report renting some properties without any physical showings. And, they are especially beneficial for prospective tenants living out of town.

Providing a video walkthrough of a listing also helps “weed out” prospects who may not be seriously interested in the property. In fact, there’s a significant ratio of video walkthrough tours to leases…If a prospective tenant first views the video walkthrough, and then takes a physical tour, they have a much higher likelihood of leasing that property. The video walkthrough also increases your level of service for both your owners and prospective tenants. And with your HERO PM Listings system, video walkthroughs are archived forever, ensuring that you don’t need to re-create the tour the next time the property is vacant.

Tips for creating a video walkthrough:

Many HERO PM members that we’ve spoken with recognize the value of a video walkthrough. But, creating the video walkthrough yourself can be intimidating, and contracting the videos to a third party company can be costly. In reality, there’s no reason you can’t make these videos yourself. Here are a few tips we recommend when creating your video walkthrough:

  • Be sure the property is “camera ready” with proper lighting – this may require you to pull some shades and lift others. Experiment with different options until you find the combination that works best for the room.
  • Remember that the video will be available to the general public. If the property is not vacant, be sure that any of the current tenant’s personally identifying items are put away.
  • Start with the home’s greatest assets – consider emphasizing a great room, or an upgraded kitchen.
  • Keep your videos under 10 minutes long where possible. Longer videos are less likely to get watched, and won’t be able to be published to certain providers (video should be under 2GB in size).
  • Include a street view from the front of the home, and a shot of the back yard as well.
  • Sell yourself as well as the property. As you’re walking through the features of the home, use the opportunity to explain the benefits of your services to your prospective tenants.
  • If it’s hard to record by yourself, bring along a co-worker. Imagine they’re the tenant and give them a walkthrough as you normally would.

If the thought of flying solo with video walkthroughs still has your stomach in knots, then check out one of our vendor partners, Virtually Incredible (virtuallyincredible.com), which offers video coaching for property managers.

Add the video walkthrough to your listing:

After you’ve created and saved your video walkthrough, follow these steps to add it to your listing:

  • In your Control Panel, access the listing master view and click the Edit Video button
  • Click Choose File to locate the video
  • Select Marketing video type
  • Check the video syndication box to post your video on YouTube (Verify your YouTube username and password are added in Configuration > System Preferences)
  • The video title, video description and tags/keywords are auto-filled based on the content in the Tag Line and Remarks fields in your listing, however they can be added to or edited from this screen.
  • Select the Click to Process this Video to process and upload it to the listing
Once a video is uploaded, it may take a while for it to process and be available to play. If it’s syndicated to YouTube, there are two waiting periods; the wait for the uploaded video to process, then the wait for YouTube to finish doing their thing. Depending on the video size and format, this can take up to 2 hours.

FAQ: After I’ve made a listing active, when does it show up on the listing partner sites?

Once you’ve added a listing and made it active, it is included in our listing partner feed that evening. It is the partner sites’ responsibility to include these listings in their databases according to their own processing rules. In all cases, the partners commit to adding the listings within 72 hours after our submission – but inclusion often happens faster.

Verify the following to ensure your listings are included in partner sites:

  • Some paid partner sites require you to log in to their site (like Rentals.com) and “activate” the listings once they have been fed to them. If the partner site, or your account settings with the partner require this, you must log on to their site and activate/pay for a listing before it is activated and viewable.
  • Your account information on the partner site must match what’s listed in your Control Panel. Partners may use your email address, lease contact, PMID, or other identifying information to correlate your account on their system with the listing from our system. Ensure that whatever the partner uses matches what you have set up in your Control Panel.
  • Some partners only accept certain property types, others only accept listings with a valid address, while others may only accept listings that have one year or longer leases. Check with the partner site to determine their requirements and make sure your listing includes the required information.

To help determine your listing’s market effectiveness and any potential issues with partner exports, we suggest running a Marketing Audit report. This report is found in RP/VR Listings > Reports > Marketing Audit.

NOTE: Never change a listing to inactive and delete it in your Control Panel on the same day…it will take the inactive flag out of the feed and keep the listing on the partner site. Instead, mark the listing as inactive, then delete it several days later after you’ve confirmed it’s no longer on partner sites.

HERO PM Introduces New Features at NARPM® Convention


We recently attended NARPM®’s 23rd Annual Convention and Trade show in Dallas, Texas. The highlights included developing deeper relationships with many of our members, introducing some exciting new features, and of course we can’t forget…riding the bull. We were truly impressed at the event’s turnout. I guess it’s as they say…everything in Texas is bigger and better, and well, so was this year’s NARPM® convention. Hopefully you took a minute to stop by our booth and chat with us, but if you missed us, or the event for that matter, here’s a highlight of the new features that HERO PM introduced:

New Website Design Option: Pro Custom

HERO PM is now offering a new addition to the website design options lineup. In addition to the Rapid Start (free), Conversion ($249) and Full Custom Website design ($499), you can now choose the Pro Custom website design (Member Cost: $999). If you own a forward-thinking company that employs unique and creative branding, the Pro Custom website design is for you. Our design team will create a top-notch professional industry-optimized website specific to your company and your unique desires at a fraction of the cost of a typical web design. The process starts with a discussion about your preferences, and allows you to review and approve every step of the way.

HERO Payments

In today’s technology-driven world tenants want the convenience of paying their rent online, just as they pay their other bills. So as part of the HERO PM suite of products, the HERO Payments system provides property managers the convenience of scheduling pre-authorized and recurring rental payments. In addition to being convenient, the HERO Payments system is also cost effective. Each pre-authorized rent payment transaction costs only $0.50…the lowest averaged payment cost anywhere. And it doesn’t stop there! HERO Payments has the most comprehensive security and fraud protection available for the property manager, tenant, and property owner, with the utmost protection from liability. HERO Payments…convenient, cost effective, secure. Need we say more?

Hybrid Cloud

The HERO PM Hybrid Cloud provides a safer alternative to traditional cloud computing by giving you both a “private” and a “public” cloud. The “private” cloud is where certain mission critical i.e. irreplaceable data is kept. The “public” cloud is traditional cloud computing and the place where information that extends outside of your private cloud is kept. For over 10 years HERO PM has provided this hybrid functionality to our members, and we are happy to announce our next generation Hybrid Cloud. In the next generation, we’re providing even more ways to quickly and easily copy the data that you’ve stored with us to your own storage. We will also provide offline access to the most recent version of essential data, where possible. Even without an Internet connection, you’ll be able to look up much of the data that typically lives in the public cloud. HERO PM is the trusted cloud provider in residential property management…and we will continue to be.

 

New to HERO PM? Import Your Listings Faster. Market them Sooner with our Import Listings Tool.

One of the most pain-staking and time-consuming tasks Property Managers face is manually entering their listings into any system.

HERO PM has always provided the industry’s best import/export tools for your listings, ensuring you can enter a listing once and view it everywhere. Which is why we have redesigned our Import Listings tool. Our new and improved Import Listings tool now allows you to import your listings from any program in a CSV format into your HERO PM system in minutes, and market them to potential renters as soon as you make the listings active. Now easier to use than ever, the import listings tool accommodates all types of CSV files with no data manipulation required!

As always, we can skip the manual process entirely and automatically import your listings from any web-connected system.  Simply have your provider set up an export file compliant with our listing specification, and we’ll set up the import mechanism.  Nothing could be easier.

Import your Listings Manually

The HERO PM Import Listings tool gives you the ability to import almost any Comma Separated Value (CSV) file of listings directly into the RP and VR Listings Systems. Here’s how to import your listings:

1.  Use your Master Administrator logon to open RP (VR) Listings > System Functions > Import Listings.

2.  Select your desired CSV file of listings from your computer using the browser and click on “Upload CSV”. All of the fields from the file that you are importing are displayed on the left, and are matched to HERO PM field names as close as possible on the right. There is a drop-down menu on each field where you can select a different field name if the selected one does not exactly match what the field represents.  (NOTE: In some cases we may have templates already designed to import your listings from different systems. If you are importing data from one of these other systems, the fields may already be configured to match an existing template.  If you use a common system, but they do not provide an automated export to HERO PM, we may be able to configure a template to make your manual imports even easier.)

3.  Test your upload. Click the “Test Import Only” box on the lower left side of your screen and then click “Import CSV”. This will show you the listings that would be successfully added if you were to proceed with the import. Listings that would fail to be imported are shown as well, along with the reason for the failure, such as an invalid city name or missing number of bedrooms. You can go back and adjust your original CSV file if necessary and test again until it is ready.

4.  Import CSV file. When your import test is completed and your CSV file is ready, simply click on “Import CSV”. You will see a screen that looks similar to the test, however at this point the list will display the properties that were added with their PRID or Property ID.

That’s all there is to it! Now you have all of your listings from any database imported into your HERO PM system. After the listings have been uploaded successfully, you can add an unlimited number of photos, marketing and condition videos, and a virtual tour. Once you mark the new listings as “active”, they will be listed on your HERO PM website and exported to all of our free partner sites, plus any additional sites you’ve chosen.

Yet another HERO PM feature designed to make your life easier.