Posts Tagged ‘Property Management’

Why Rental Housing Professionals Should Think About HR

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Shared post by The Mammoth HR Pros

Hand holding a Human Resources Word Sphere on white background.

Hand holding a Human Resources Word Sphere on white background.

With the minute-to-minute demands of managing and servicing rental properties, who has time for HR? Best hiring and retention practices can take a back seat to maintenance repairs, rent collection, showings and listings, right?

It’s true that HR usually can’t compete with maintenance emergencies and other such urgent matters, but it needs to be part of the regular routine. HR done well gives employers the tools to create a great workplace and to ensure compliance with employee-related laws and regulations. It sets and maintains a solid, stable foundation. Ignoring HR—or doing it poorly—is like building on unstable land: the foundation will eventually crack and, in a crisis, the structure will collapse. Bad HR is bad for business.

HR Helps You Create a Great Rental Workplace

Let’s imagine a common scene: two prospective tenants have taken their lunch hour to visit a couple of nearby apartment complexes. The two places have similar rates and offer comparable perks to renters. Nevertheless, the prospective tenants rule out the second one almost immediately after entering the property.

At the first location, they’re greeted warmly by the apartment management staff. They have to wait a few minutes to be seen, so they have a moment to take in the office atmosphere. The front office is busy, but not chaotic. Maintenance and janitorial employees pop in and out, and their interactions with the office manager are courteous and efficient. Overall, the employees seem happy, and the office has a welcoming vibe.

At the second location, the prospective tenants are seen to immediately, but there’s no warmth to the place. The employee at the front desk mutters that today was supposed to be his day off. Two others argue audibly in a back office. The employees clearly don’t want to be there, and the applicants conclude they feel the same. They leave, without having looked at any of the available apartments, and drive back to the first place.

When employees like where they work, they tend to be happier. That’s good for customers, clients, and prospects too—it makes the place they come to for business (or residence!) a happier place, a place they like to be. And when employees dislike their workplace, their disapproval shows. Having angry or disengaged employees is the fastest avenue to negative reviews and a negative reputation.

Whether a business has a good or bad reputation is no mere matter of chance: it’s largely a consequence of doing HR well or poorly. Doing HR well means valuing and honoring the work and contributions of employees, attending to their working conditions, establishing consistent employment practices and policies, setting clear channels for communication, building a workplace culture of collaboration and camaraderie, and providing perks and benefits when possible. Doing HR poorly means choosing to neglect one or more of these areas.

Human Resources Helps You Comply with Laws and Regulations

HR is also about the law, meaning HR can be a headache and a half. But whether or not an employer attends to HR, the laws and regulations are going to be there. And ignoring them has consequences.

Every employer needs to know about federal laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FLMA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and the Affordance Care Act (ACA). Every law won’t apply to every employer, but violations can be expensive, so an employer shouldn’t just assume they’re exempt. Even simple oversights can be costly. A company can incur fines simply for not having the proper labor law posters displayed!

States too have their own labor-related laws, covering everything from minimum wages, to payroll deductions, to sick leaves, to travel reimbursements, to what questions employers can ask applicants. Twenty-three states even have social media privacy laws! Municipalities are getting more and more into the action as well: some cities have their own minimum wages and sick leaves, among other ordinances.

To handle all these laws and regulations, large companies have their own HR departments, but small and midsized companies can often afford to have only one person in charge of these matters. These one-person HR Departments often have many other responsibilities demanding their attention (like setting rentals rates, calculating taxes, and advertising vacancies). Consequently, HR often gets less priority, putting these organizations at risk.

Bottom Line

It’s vital to the health of an organization to put at least one person in charge of HR and give that person adequate time to attend to it – and not only during times of an HR crisis. Whoever oversees HR matters needs time to do research or seek the advice of other HR professionals. With sufficient time and resources, an HR individual or team can help ensure that the organization has a great and compliant workplace. And that’s good for increasing rental income and reducing expenses, no matter what the business!

By The Mammoth HR Pros

At Mammoth, our mission is to make HR approachable, simple and intuitive for small and medium-sized organizations nationwide. We serve over 15,000 businesses and offer live, 1-on-1 consultations with our certified HR Pros, a state-of-the-art online portal, exclusive HR compliance tools, support for all 50 states, live online chat assistance and more. Whether you need an employee handbook, answers to your HR questions, or help understanding the rules and regulations, our on-call HR team is here to help. And they’re awesome – 95% of our clients say they’d recommend us to others. Visit us at

6 Ways To Reward Residents For Referrals

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Shared post from

refer a friend

When it comes to bringing in more tenants and keeping your rooms full, the best method is to get your current tenants to recommend the place. However, encouraging residents to go out of their way to promote their place can be a bit tricky.

This is where resident referral rewards come in. Most will go for the obvious money draw, but there are definitely other ways that may fit in better with your current residents (and save you more money). Here are six different ways to reward your residents for referrals.

1. Cash

The most tried and true method to gaining more residents through resident referrals is to give a flat rate of cash. Depending on your demand and need for referrals, this amount of money can vary greatly. Some apartment complexes will offer anywhere from $50 to $300 just for one valid referral.

Giving an unconditional flat rate appeals to all your residents. Everyone can use a little extra cash. Apartment owners know that no advertising is as good as a solid recommendation from another trusted person which makes resident referrals all the more worthwhile. They’re necessary to keeping your resident economy running at its best.

2. Rent decrease

Another way to reward your residents for giving referrals isn’t to pay them outright, but just to let them pay you less. This is most easily done by allowing some decrease in rent, whether it be waiving a half month’s or entire month’s fee. If your resident is loyal and plans to stay for a while, it could mean simply lowering their monthly rent by a small amount so that it adds up in savings over time. Essentially, a rent decrease is a similar bargain as the cash offer, but just handled in a different way that could be easier and more cost effective.

3. Gift cards

Another way to promote resident referrals if you aren’t keen on just giving out cash is to reward your tenants with gift cards. Most towns and areas have similar stores that are useful no matter the situation. From Walmart to McDonald’s to Applebee’s, give your residents a choice of whichever gift card they feel they’ll get the most use out of.

Some people like getting gift cards instead of cash because they’ll either end up just saving the cash or spending it all immediately. If they’re given a gift card, they may be more apt to treat themselves modestly on a nice meal or some new shirts.

4. Cleaning services

Some people will do almost anything to avoid cleaning their apartment. When you have people like this, sometimes a cleaning service can be of the most value. It also works as a win-win for you as the landlord because you know the space is being kept up. You could offer them a free carpet cleaning, window washing, painting, landscaping if they have it or whatever else they seem to be needing.

Sometimes it is best to reward tenants with something immediately practical and useful rather than something that could be spent on something trivial.

5. Local benefits

If you’re looking to boost your resident referrals and help out your local economy, consider giving them benefits and gift cards to local places and shops. Residents may find appeal in a free gym membership or tickets to a community event. They may also find appeal in small gift cards to multiple local shops around town.

If you go to some of these businesses, they may even give you free gift certificates for your residents to help promote their own sales. This could be a good way to keep your own costs down by not having to pay out of pocket and to bolster the community around you.

6. Use a point system

Some apartment complexes already have resident reward point systems that include resident referrals. Tenants can rack up differing amounts of points based on paying rent in a timely manner, renewing their lease, helping out in local community events, amongst other things.

Resident referrals can easily be worked into this system likely as the highest value of points. When your residents reach their point goal, they can then be rewarded with any of the aforementioned gifts above. Reward systems encourage residents to keep up their good work continuously rather than doing one good thing and stopping. This could also help the reward seem greater and the tenant more accomplished if they’ve been working toward it for some time.

If you’ve followed any of these ideas, or even come up with your own, you’ll soon see the benefits of the resident referral. One good personal review and recommendation can win someone over dozens of other online reviews and websites. They are absolutely key in making sure your complex stays full and profitable. Their power can’t be overstated.

Homeowners Associations vs. Property Management – What’s the Difference?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Shared post from Appfolio


It’s easy to confuse a homeowners association (HOA) with property managers. They are both involved in the management of housing communities. It could be helpful to view a brief description of both HOAs and property managers to see how the functions of each are different. In most cases, they work together, but sometimes they may come into conflict. This information should be useful to property owners, property management companies, and tenants who live in a community that is governed by an HOA.

What Are Homeowners Associations?

Neighborhoods, subdivisions, and condo complexes contain lots of housing units that are owned by many different owners. At the same time, homeowners may need to share the responsibility for certain things. They may also share expectations for the way that their neighbors will maintain their properties. Thus, these communities form HOAs to develop and enforce the rules (known as covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs for short) that all property owners need to abide by.

According to the Community Association Institute, over 63 million Americans reside in an estimated 320,000 association-governed communities.

The individuals who belong to these organizations also own property in that community. While all HOA members may propose and vote on rules, an elected HOA board usually has the final responsibility for ensuring that rules get kept and other responsibilities get met.

Besides making and enforcing rules, typical HOA responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining common areas, like playgrounds and swimming pools
  • Setting and collecting dues to pay for things like maintenance of common areas and security
  • Setting budgets for the items that HOA dues pay for
  • Obtaining insurance for common areas
  • Hiring staff and contractors

Obviously, the HOA doesn’t physically perform all of their responsibilities. For example, they may hire security people, secretaries, and maintenance crews. In some cases, overseeing all of the work requires a separate property manager to assist them. To help with all of the tasks involved, an HOA may also hire a property manager or property management company.

What Do Property Managers Do in a Homeowners Association?

There are two different situations when a community may have both property managers and homeowners associations. In the most commonly discussed case, the property management company works for the HOA. In another case, property owners may own some houses or condos in a community that also has owner-occupied units. In this second case, the property owners and their managers are just property owners with the same status as any other owners. If property owners occupy their own housing or lease it to tenants, they still have the same responsibilities to the HOA.

Property managers as employees of the HOA: HOA members may volunteer for their positions as an investment in their community. As volunteers, they may not have time to oversee all of the day-to-day obligations of the board. In this case, an HOA might hire a property manager or property management company to assist them.

The duties of property managers can vary, but they may include overseeing paid staff or contractors, communicating with residents, collecting dues, and handling emergencies. As employees of the HOA board, property managers report to them.

Property managers as owners within the community: In this case, property managers simply have to abide by the same rules that any owners who occupy their homes do. This situation is somewhat more complex because tenants actually occupy the property. The owners and tenants may have to cooperate to stay in compliance.

The property managers for leased housing units may make sure that HOA dues get paid if this cost is simply included in the rent. Still, they need to make certain their tenants don’t violate other rules. For example, there may be guidelines about maintaining lawns, how to handle garbage, behavior in common areas, and so on. It’s prudent to include a clause in the lease about adhering to HOA rules and to make sure that renters know the guidelines.

Many HOAs Have Power to Enforce Rules

Typical HOAs will issue warnings if rules get violated. However, they do have legal power to enforce their rules. For example, an HOA can put a lien on a property if HOA dues don’t get paid. If a lawn doesn’t get mowed after a warning, they might send their own landscapers and charge the property owner a high fee. If property managers work for the HOA or are simply managing properties in the community, the HOA will factor into management duties.

The post Homeowners Associations vs. Property Management – What’s the Difference? appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

Five Details That Make A Big Difference To Your Rental Property

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Shared post from AAOA | Source:

kitchen remodel

A rental property can be a wonderful investment, if someone is renting it. The good news is that there are things you as a property owner can do to help your occupancy rate stay high and your rental income coming in.

We’ve already shared ways you can increase your rental’s curb appeal (and why that matters) and ways to make a good first impression with your rental property. But there are some very simple things you can do to beat the competition and have the property people want to rent.

Keep it clean. Be sure your rental property is spotless when potential tenants come. No one wants to move into a place that is dirty. Also, a clean home will signal to renters that the property is well-tended to and in good shape. When a home is dirty, renters assume that the property is neglected. Always hire a professional cleaning company. Treat your home as the business that it is. Would you stay in a hotel room that was not professionally cleaned? Why should a tenant move in to a property not handled by a professional?

Have good lighting. Renters want to see themselves living in the home. If they can’t see anything because the place is dark, they won’t feel inspired. Your property should have updated lighting, be well-lit and inviting. While you may not be able to increase the amount of natural light your property receives, you can certainly invest in good lighting solutions throughout the home. Features like larger lights in bathrooms, kitchen pendant lights and under-counter lighting are wonderful. Security lighting outside can be important, too.

Make it inviting. Even if you are not able to use the latest in home décor (granite or stainless steel), consider newer laminate kitchen counters, updated lighting, framed mirrors in bathrooms, replacing stained or damaged vinyl, replacing ceiling fans, or putting on new switch plates. These tasks can create a warm and inviting space that will encourage tenants to move in. These are easy and inexpensive fixes that go a long way.

Consider what helps with day-to-day living. Tenants can be won over by the little things. Updated anything, like newer counters (they don’t have to be granite) or ceiling fans, or spaces such as outside sheds or shelving in garages or floored attics, can leave a big impression. Privacy in the backyard and larger patio spaces also matter to tenants. To determine what things you can offer to set your property apart, think of what details make your life better on a day-to-day basis.

Control the temperature. Especially during a hot Wilmington summer, the temperature of a property can be crucial. Ensure that all of your heating and cooling systems are functional and in good condition. Make sure your thermostat is updated and working properly. Make sure your air filters are clean and the house smells good. The heat or the air should be on to avoid things like mold growth in your vents during a hot humid summer.

Of course, the main rule to follow is to make your property feel like a place where you would want to live. By doing this in big ways and little ways, you can increase your income property’s earnings and occupancy rate.

If you want help getting started, contact us today. With decades of experience managing properties in the area, we know what Cape Fear renters are looking for and can help you maximize your property’s potential.

10 Growth Hacks for a More Profitable Property Management Business

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Shared post from Appfolio

businessman and buildings

It’s simple: in order to grow, you need more property owners. While there are some owners who think they can double as a landlord on their own, there are those who can’t and need help—they just don’t know how to select the right property manager.

Let’s explore 10 unique hacks guaranteed to expand your portfolio by attracting more property owners to your management company. It takes time to find new owners; so make them come to you.

Growth Hack #1 – Productized Rental Reports

It’s always important to know what similar properties in your area are renting for so you can stay competitive and successful. With these insights you’ll have the confidence to adjust rental prices to maximize your revenue and fill vacancies faster.

[AppFolio’s built-in rent comparison tool does this for you, saving you the research time!]

Growth Hack #2 – Content: Create Articles to Get Found by Owners

Why is content important? For so many reasons! Content comes in so many shapes and sizes: blog posts, videos, case studies, your website.

  • Blog articles show authority and knowledge
  • Video content can grab prospective renters’ attention
  • Your website can show what you can offer to renters and owners and build your online presence

Content in action

All of this content combined is hugely important because roughly 70% of searches on Google are long tail. Using long tail keywords in your URLs, content, page titles, and meta descriptions is a popular marketing technique and a way to build authority and an audience. You can use Google’s free Keyword Planner to find keywords that are relevant to your audience and get insight into what people are searching for. Incorporating these words and phrases into your content can be extremely valuable to your appearance in search engines. For example, property owners looking for new property managers might search “Best Property Manager in [input city here]”— so make sure you have content that answers that question on your website. Otherwise, you’ll lose out to the property manager that does.

Growth Hack #3 – Lead Nurturing: Build Relationships through Value

  • 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy. (Source: Gleanster Research)
  • 69% say that creating relevance is the most effective method for lead nurturing. (Source: Ascend2)
  • Email marketing is proven to have 4,300% ROI (Source: Direct Marketing Association)

What do these stats mean? That you need to bring value to prospective leads. You can do this through producing high-quality and useful content in the form of customer videos, property walk-throughs, testimonials and reviews from happy renters, and more. Prove to your prospective owners why you’re a good investment and someone people like to work with.

Growth Hack #4 – Reputation: Attracting Owners to Your Business

Online brand reputation and reviews are very important to your growth and success as a property manager. A whopping 92% of customers read online reviews before making purchases. In fact, you can experience a 5-9% boost in revenue by increasing your overall Yelp Rating by just one star. But how can you improve your online reputation when there is such a negative vibe around online review sites? Ask for positive recommendations from your current residents who love your properties! The good reviews will stand out over the bad in the long run.

If you need more help building up your positive online reputation and responding to any negative commenters who are making your life difficult, check out our post: Hug Your Haters.

Growth Hack #5 – Pay Per Lead

One of the more controversial hacks in the list, Pay Per Lead (PPL) either works very well for your company, or doesn’t work at all. PPL refers to buying new unit leads from sites that sell these leads individually. The success of a Pay Per Lead campaign depends on your current marketing budget, ability to scale growth, and the number and quality of leasing agents you might have. PPL is more successful if you are willing to spend the money to wade through potential duds, but on average has a better conversion rate than most other marketing tactics.

Growth Hack #6 – Pay Per Click

A much less risky alternative than Pay Per Lead and a more widely applicable method for attracting new owners, Pay Per Click refers to paying for a top spot on page 1 of all Google searches related to your company in your area. Paying per click also means that you don’t pay a dime unless your site is visited from that link, guaranteeing that the person searching for you has an interest in your company. Dollar for dollar, this is also a cheaper alternative to buying portfolios from other PMs in your area—acquisition costs are usually about $1,200 a unit, where average Pay Per Click costs average $350 per unit.

pay per click

Growth Hack #7 – For Rent By Owners (FRBOs): Calling the Landlords in Your Area

Why is this important? One of the most successful ways to grow your business as a property manager is to build your network. People are afraid to pick up the phone these days, but don’t be. It’s valuable and there are ways to prepare for those phone calls. Have a script in place so you can practice it and get comfortable saying it—without it sounding like a script. Also, have a structured process in place for researching who you are going to reach out to, when you’ll reach out, and any follow up with them later.

Growth Hack #8 – Join Local Organizations

It’s important that you get to know the fellow owners in your area. Become a pillar in your community. The more people you know, the more relationships you can build. It’s all about networking!

Growth Hack #9 – Utilizing Video – Get Ahead of the Curve


YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world. People love videos! Create short, digestible and fun videos that show off your properties (the atmosphere, style, services and amenities). Make people interested in working with you, e.g. be personable and welcoming. Check some examples of what other successful property managers in your area are doing on YouTube for inspiration.

Growth Hack #10 – Have a Growth Plan

As a property manager you need to optimize on what’s working for you. First, track the source of all your leads so you actually know what’s working (don’t guess!). If one of these strategies is more successful than the others, put your energy (and marketing dollars) into that particular strategy to make it work even better for you.

Ask yourself, how many properties am I looking to add to my portfolio in one year? Two years? In five years? Where do you see yourself? Are you managing residential, or commercial, or student housing, or HOA properties? A mix of all of the above? Set a goal for yourself and devise a plan to get there.

The post 10 Growth Hacks for a More Profitable Property Management Business appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Summer Season Property Maintenance To-Do List

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Shared post from Appfolio

maintenance tools 1

Summer is almost here; and it’s a popular time for renters to move in and out of apartments. If you’re busy welcoming new renters, performing move-out inspections in vacant units, and trying to get apartments rented property maintenance can fall by the wayside until things calm down. Yet your renters deserve clean and well-groomed common areas. Make sure your apartments look their best all summer long by adding these summer season maintenance tasks to your to-do list.

Property Exterior Summer Maintenance Tasks

Focus your energy on keeping your property exterior looking great in summer, when outdoor areas will see increased usage.

Put outdoor lighting in place: Long summer nights entice renters to stay outdoors in common areas. To help them get back inside safely, make sure that you have outdoor lighting illuminating pathways and doorways. Solar lighting is an energy-efficient, modern option that requires little maintenance once installed.

Trim grass: For comfort and protection from pests, keep grass trimmed regularly. Set a reminder in your calendar so you remember to mow the lawn every two weeks (or on the schedule of your choice), or contract out to a landscaping company if you prefer not to do this yourself.

Perform a garden/common areas landscaping cleanup: Late spring and early summer is a perfect time to trim back plants, trees, and shrubs. Don’t forget to weed paths and walkways, where little plants can spring up in cracks and make your property look shoddy.

Mulch garden beds: Flowers, trees, and shrubs get thirsty during summer heat. Adding 2-3 inches of mulch to garden beds helps the soil retain water for longer. Plants will look better during long, hot summer days; you will also conserve water usage and reduce utility costs through this eco-friendly landscaping tip.

Wash and repair deck and patio spaces: Outdoor common spaces like decks and patios will see heavy use in summer. Check all of these common spaces now, and make any repairs that are necessary (such as repainting or replacing a loose deck board). Then clean all common areas to remove dust, dirt, and grime. To help keep these areas tidy and reduce the amount you’ll need to clean up after renters, install trash cans on decks and patios.

Clean window wells and gutters: To ensure that rain can flow freely, clean out window wells and gutters seasonally, including as part of summer landscaping. Remove leaves, dirt, waste, and debris.

Property Interior Summer Maintenance Tasks

Tackle these tasks to keep interior common areas pleasant in summer.

Have air conditioners serviced: Whether you have window air conditioners in common areas or enjoy central air conditioning, summertime will place a big demand on your AC. Be prepared by having your air conditioning serviced by a reputable HVAC company. This way, you can make repairs or replacements so your units will work properly when it matters most.

Address gaps in windows, doors, and walls: Summer is prime pest season. These critters get inside through holes in windows, screens, doors, and walls. Get ahead of the pests by sealing cracks in windows and doors using caulk or expandable foam. If you notice that screens have rips, repair them to minimize your work mitigating pest problems later on.

Test smoke and CO2 alarms: Test unit smoke and CO2 alarms several times a year. By adding this to your seasonal property maintenance list, you can help keep residents safe.

Have interior carpets and furniture cleaned: After wet, muddy spring weather passes, treat interior carpets to a deep cleaning. Hallways will look brighter when carpets are cleaned. Many residents will breathe easier when mold, dust, pollen, and other allergens are removed from common area carpets. At the same time, clean interior furniture. Regular cleaning of furniture can forestall furniture replacement and keep your apartment looking its best.

When you are able to keep up with summer maintenance, fall clean up won’t be as time-consuming and you’ll feel less stressed as a result. Property Managers, what other tips do you have for keeping your properties well-groomed all summer long?

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

You might also enjoy:

Hot Apartment Marketing Ideas for Summer

The Importance Of Preventive Maintenance On Properties

The post Summer Season Property Maintenance To-Do List appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

A Quick Check Up on the 2016 Property Management Industry

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

It’s always smart to prepare for changes in the real estate market, but busy property managers may find that keeping up with the demands of their rental units leaves them with little time to follow industry trends. Take a few minutes to check in with regional and national forecasts for 2016 to make the right decisions and keep your property full all year long.

2016 National and Regional Vacancy Rates

2015 was a good year for real estate, and 2016 is poised to be another. Expect to see vacancy rates dip even lower nationwide, with rents remaining strong. This is good news for property managers in much of the U.S. and tough news for renters. Tenants looking for a good deal will have a difficult time. Compared to 2008, when there was a supply of vacant new construction apartments in need of filling, there are far fewer vacancies to drive rent prices down.

While vacancy rates are low nationwide, some cities may have higher vacancy rates at present. New York City, for example, is seeing an increase in new construction that is driving the city’s vacancy rate up. To stay competitive amidst the wider stock of open units, landlords in the five boroughs area will need to put the brakes on rent increases. If this trend spills over into other metro markets, it could cool the rental market nationwide.

Low oil prices can also have a negative effect on some markets, namely Houston. As oil prices remains stagnant and drilling is on hold in oil-rich states, many who worked in the industry face job cuts that threaten their livelihood. Property managers in affected metro markets may need to keep rents stable or be extra attentive to renters to keep units occupied despite the sector slump.

Urban vs. Suburban Rental Stock

Along with Millennials, who are committed to renting either by personal preference or an inability to quality for a mortgage of their own, expect Boomers to sell off the suburban empty nest and seek to move closer to the city for the full live/work/play experience.

While the suburbs do have a higher vacancy rate, reduced rental unit supply in urban areas along with high costs of rent will help drive some renters out to the suburbs. Look for renewed interest in suburban homes among renters who want more value for their dollar. If you manage units in the city as well as in the suburbs just outside, this renewed interest in the suburbs is good news.

Expect these rental patterns to hold through 2016. Savvy property managers can add value to their rental units and incentivize tenants to continue to pay premium rents by creating an attractive and elegant common area that creates community in the apartment complex.

How Property Managers Can Stay Ahead in 2016

Busy property managers who are still doing things by hand should consider 2016 the year to invest in effective property management software. Such software can help property managers save time, stay on top of vacancies, easily advertise units, quickly screen tenants, and handle tenant applications.

Since low vacancies mean that maximum profit is gleaned from every rental unit, 2016 is a good year to invest in infrastructure and maintenance. If property owners have been putting off needed repairs to common areas, or you know that the building’s HVAC systems are old and inefficient, suggest spending money modernizing the apartment. These improvements are easily offset by the income from rental units, and help to make the apartment or condo complex more attractive in down cycles as well.

Owner-managers who seek additional real estate holdings should invest in multifamily units, which offer a greater return on investment than single family homes. In the second half of 2015, demand for multifamily units was strong and Freddie Mac forecasts that this demand will remain strong into the foreseeable future.

We always want you to stay up on the trends, so don’t miss our upcoming webinar (3/24) with Axiometrics. Register Today.

What other regional or national trends are you watching for 2016? Let us know in the comments!

The post A Quick Check Up on the 2016 Property Management Industry appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

3 Common Marketing Mistakes Every Property Manager Makes (At Least Once)

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog


People need a place to live as much as they need clothes on their backs. Take a moment to think about your favorite department store. Think about what makes their clothes, brands, or style so attractive to you. More than likely, your tastes are partially manufactured by the way that the brand presents their products. Your favorite pair of pants? You saw those in an eye-catching email advertisement. That coat you’re never seen without? You saw that on a website homepage. Why should your marketing efforts as a property manager be any less enticing? We’ve pinpointed a few marketing mistakes that property managers make every day when advertising their properties, and how you can save time, money, and the environment by NOT making them.

#1 – Immobile

The internet is everywhere, on almost every mobile device. Even if you have a website that looks great on your desktop, are you sure that it looks good on smartphones? Recent trends show that 84% of current or prospective renters actively search using mobile devices. In fact, 4 out of 5 millennials have smartphones and perform almost every research task on them. If your marketing efforts aren’t tailored towards people using mobile devices to find rentals, then you have a great opportunity to increase your search traffic by 30% just by having a mobile-friendly website. If you’re a property manager without a website, or if you’re looking for ways to improve your existing website, AppFolio has a dedicated team of designers that can assist you with optimizing your web layout to attract potential new tenants. For great ideas on how to optimize your website for prospective renters, check out this recent AppFolio article highlighting key strategies.

#2 – Outdated

Along the same lines as mobility, the internet is only going to be your best friend if you stay on top of things. Property managers with the most successful online presence remain vigilant in posting their current vacancies and removing them immediately after they have been filled. Out-of-date postings may detract interested parties from signing a lease with you, particularly if a potential tenant makes an inquiry only to discover their dream home has already been filled. AppFolio marketing features centralize all of your postings (even on third-party listing sites), allowing you to add or remove listings with one-click simplicity.

#3 – Expensive

Marketing can be expensive, and it’s to your benefit to make sure that every dollar you spend on advertising your vacancies counts. When it comes to print advertising in local newspapers or magazines, you’re required to pay an upfront fee for advertising space with no guaranteed return on investment. Online advertising through Search Engine Optimization is a much smarter way to capture your intended audience’s attention and have various methods of charging for advertising space. For example, some SEO services will charge you only if your ads are clicked on, which means that you’re spending only as much as you need to in order to generate business. Not only will you be spending less on ad space, but focusing your marketing efforts online means that you’re using less paper, which can have an increased benefit to your overall costs as well as our planet!

We recently teamed up with the Sprout Marketing team for a webinar on how you can improve your online presence through Search Engines and Social Media.

The next time you stop by that department store you probably love more than you should, ask yourself what strategies they implemented to capture your attention and get you through their doors. More than likely, you can apply those same tactics to drive renters to your properties as well.

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10 Best Practices for Listing Your Properties

The post 3 Common Marketing Mistakes Every Property Manager Makes (At Least Once) appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

Landlord Quick Tip: Pros and Cons of Furnished Rentals

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

FurnishedApartmentSeasoned landlords know that all tenants are different.

Some like to settle into rentals for years and often stay in the same neighborhood even after they move. Other tenants might prefer short-term rentals and the flexibility it can provide.

Depending on the type of renters you are trying to attract, furnished units can either help — or hurt — your investment.

A month-to-month lease with a furnished apartment is often very attractive to the right tenant — someone who likes to move often and doesn’t like having to haul furniture from rental to rental. A furnished room is very convenient to a renter who travels light or doesn’t have a lot of extra money to spend. They might be sleeping on an air mattress in an empty studio and would be quite happy to upgrade to a dwelling that has, say, a couch or bed. If nothing else, furnishing rentals also can keep some tenants from dragging those dumpster or thrift store couches that may contain roaches or bed bugs into your clean, unfurnished apartment.

Don’t assume that renters seeking furnished are all the drifter type; some renters may own a home elsewhere and are looking for something convenient for work or an extended vacation, and are perfectly acceptable tenants. These tenants may even pay a little more, especially for summer rentals. But chances are they are uncommitted for the long-term.

An apartment with basic appliances is a good draw, but many tenants are going to be dubious about moving into a furnished rental. Most will already have a full set of furniture, and won’t want to get rid of it or pay to rent a storage unit in addition to the lease with you. Many renters shy away from ads for furnished out of fear that furnished rentals will cost more, or require a higher damage deposit to cover the cost of the furnishings.

It’s true that if a tenant damages or stains a piece of furniture, it will look dirty and unattractive to the next tenant. Once you go down that path, you might find yourself having to constantly re-furnish the dwelling as often as you paint the walls. You can’t assume the risk that the previous damage deposit will cover all your costs. Furthermore, tenants are often picky and may not agree with your decorating tastes.

One look at the bland sturdy neutral furnishings may send them running to another rental. Perhaps the idea of a slightly used mattress makes them squeamish.

Your decision to go furnished or not will greatly impact the type of tenants you attract.

If you prefer a higher priced, short-term lease, than furnished may be the way to go. If you want long-term nesters then an empty, clean, well-maintained dwelling should suffice.

In the end the decision should be based on what is the most profitable for you.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website |

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

How To Attract Property Management Contracts Beyond Local Prospects

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

business networking

Extending your property management circles to entice remote property owners can be fruitful when approached correctly. Remember, property owners are looking for someone they can trust to oversee their vested interests as well as help them improve the rental value of their rental properties regardless of locale. Property owners that live elsewhere are looking for someone they can trust to have their backs even though they aren’t nearby to oversee your every move.

When approaching these potential clients for business, keep in mind that less-than-stellar management companies may have disappointed them in the past. Show them that you are that special management company or supervisor that surpasses these challenges by actively seeking out their business and advertising beyond just local boundaries. These property management tips will help you reach possible owners outside your local market.

Print Medium Speaks Volumes

Don’t hesitate to promote your business with a banner, billboard, or print ad that declares, “I’m a property manager looking out for your interests, regardless of where you live!” Whether you are an online promoter, a print ad advocate or a supporter of both, utilize what the means you have available. If you live in a metropolitan area with mass transportation, take advantage of print ads, sign up for taxicab promotions, and those with larger budgets can strive for buses and mass transit ad space. Others can can look for low-cost print space in local registries and free publications.

Utilize Professional Marketing and Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites are all attention grabbers for those who stay apprised of current events in the neighborhood and the community. Use your web presence to establish your authority on local events, and don’t hesitate to hire professionals or utilize an online management service to keep this goal on track. Take time to read and respond to online reviews of your property, and if those things have gotten out of control, consider hiring a reputation management expert for assistance.

Professional Networking About Your Expectations

Yes, blogging and sharing what you expect from tenants can attract new property management clients. If you expect superior behavior from your residents, then what would a property owner expect from you? Expecting the same isn’t asking for too much, so utilize your professional network to promote these successes and your demand for tenant excellence.

A Brief Summary of Tips for Landing Remote Property Management Clients

As you’re trying to gain notice from new clients from a distance, keep these tips in mind.

  • Offer the same level of service you give to local property owners to remote clients.
  • Agree to a risk-free trial term.
  • Provide regular updates and occupancy stats to owners.
  • Be prepared to DWIT – Do Whatever it Takes

From newbies to old-school pros, these tips for expanding in the property management scene beyond your local area can help take your business to the next level of success.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.