Inspections 2020 and Beyond

This year has provided Property Management teams with some amazing innovation in the realm of technology, including increased offerings that have assisted to quickly evolve with changes and provide increased efficiencies for teams and improved service for clients.

The team at Inspection Manager joined us to provide insight into how online inspections can help Property Management Departments adapt to the ever changing world and continue to provide an amazing service offering to their clients.

Introducing tech like Tenant Assisted Inspections has helped many teams over the past months to continue to provide a routine inspection service for their clients and they have also found that this has helped to stay on top of maintenance and care of properties, especially during lockdown.

Functionality like the introduction of Paperless Condition Reports has assisted in reducing overhead costs for business in the reduction of printing and time spent producing paper reports and helped in the induction process of new tenancies. This has also helped increased compliance with reminders to tenants in returning reports and provided easier access for tenants to complete this essential document.

If you missed today’s webinar, head over to www.realpluscommunity.com.au where you can catch up with this replay on demand.

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Know Your Portfolio Numbers

As we head into the final quarter of 2020, now is as good a time as any to take a look at the health of  your portfolio and ensure that every box is checked where it can be so that you can be on track to achieving your 2020 goals.

Some areas that you might like to take a look at when it comes to your portfolio could include:

  • Rent Reviews and Lease renewals – are they all in line with the current market and tenants on fixed term leases? Especially those where their Landlord Insurance have this as a requirement of coverage.
  • Repairs and maintenance – how many outstanding work orders are currently sitting in your software? Are any of them older than 30 days or is the work still outstanding? This may need to be followed up with the tradesperson for either completion or payment of the account.
  • Routine Inspections – are there any currently outstanding and what needs to be done to get any of these up to date and inspected? Its also a good idea to check if any properties on the rent roll do not have a date attached to them for an inspection and pre-plan dates into the months ahead.
  • Arrears – what percentage of your tenants are in arrears? Can this be improved and what percentage of those arrears are invoices outstanding?
  • Vacant properties – can any of these be marked inactive, there may also be vacated tenants and previous Owner’s that also need to be marked inactive which will assist in reflecting accurate numbers on your rent roll.
  • Files audit – do all of your files contain a correctly completed Management Agency Agreement, Tenancy Agreement, Application Forms and a Condition Report, just to name a few.

As an extra point, you may also like to carry out a keys audit to check that we have all of those keys on file for properties managed.

Checking your portfolios can assist in ensuring that you have all the necessary checks and balances in place and can assist with a smoother running rent roll reducing stress and maximising efficiency.

If you would like any assistance in your quest to achieve a clean rent roll, the team at Real+ can help with solutions to get you on track.

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Can you Get the Leasing Deal Done?

It’s a fascinating time in the rental sector as we are seeing some areas of the country inundated with rental demand as people look to move to a new location.

The feedback is that some are doing this for a tree change or sea change; some are altering their living arrangements as flatmates are moving in/out; and some are selling now and renting until they feel the time is right to buy again.

However, this isn’t the same story in all areas. When there are more people moving into one area they must be coming from somewhere! Therefore, somewhere there is a shortage of prospective tenants. Conveying this information to a landlord can be difficult, and this becomes our challenge to help a landlord to adjust quickly to a rapidly changing rental market. 

Many Property Managers will have clients with whom they have built up a level of trust in their relationship which will make this process easier to handle. If the market value of the property is less now than what it was 12, 6, or 3 months ago, you could tell them to adjust and they would accept this so that you can work quickly to minimise the vacancy. If only we had the privilege of time to be at this level with everyone, Property Management would be much easier.

When we need to help a more challenging client through the vacancy process there a number of elements we can focus on:

What is the feedback we are giving? How well does the landlord understand the current market, and how well have we conveyed this to them. If the property isn’t moving, it can usually come down to three elements which we call the three P’s: Property, Presentation, Price.

If the Property is good, and no work needs to be done we have a good product to sell. If the presentation online looks appealing to a broad audience, we will capture everyone looking to rent a property similar to what we have. If the property is presenting well in person, we enhance our chance of anyone viewing the property wanting to apply. If these first two P’s get a tick, you can only be left with needing to review the Price as any property is only worth what the market is willing to pay.

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Minimise Arrears Stress

A challenging rental market can often lead to extra stress when it comes to the arrears process and you will sometimes find that as a Property Manager, you are reluctant to issue a termination notice to a tenant or you may even find the Owner objecting to evicting a Tenant albeit a bad one for fear the property may be vacant for a lengthy period of time. While it is tempting to stick with the devil that you know, it is important to ensure that you maintain a strict arrears process to cover yourself should something go awry and maintain regular Owner contact throughout.

Let’s take a look at some tips to ensure your process is on track.

  • Reporting – your software should allow you to bring up an arrears list either daily, weekly or fortnightly. The frequency of how often and when you produce this will depend on payment frequencies of your tenants and how challenging your market may be in relation to late payers.

  • Communication is key – throughout the arrears process, make sure that you are keeping in contact with your Owners to advise them of the progress. When the tenant falls into arrears, make sure that you let them know so that they don’t receive a nasty surprise on their monthly statement. It’s also great to give them a call when the rent has been paid up to date and you may even like to offer them a one-off payment, especially if they have been financially strapped.

  • The importance of the induction – the lease signing with a new Tenant’s is the perfect opportunity to lay down the ground rules at the commencement of the tenancy. Let them know your arrears process and also request that they advise you if they feel that they may be late for any reason, as we all know that sometimes life can get in the way.
  • Follow up in writing – even phone conversations, you can make notes in your software and follow up in email.

  • Issue notices on time, every time – check your state’s legislative requirements and issue notices on the dates required. If you have Owners who are determined not to allow you to issue those notices, then follow it up in an email, just to cover your office.

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Turn a Loss into a Gain

In any organisation it is natural to understand customers will enter the business, and inevitably exit the business if they no longer have a need for the services.

In many Property Management businesses we often find plenty of focus and effort in the process to make the onboarding experience a positive one, and the exiting experience can be a far lower priority even though this will provide the last impression the agency has.

By taking some time to focus on the process you have for a client exiting the business, it can help streamline a function which will naturally occur over time. Like any process you have in the business, be it new tenancy, vacating tenancy or new management as an example, a checklist and standard templates can be useful for your whole team to systemise the stages and ensure nothing is missed.

Within your business it can be healthy to regularly review the level of lost managements and break this up into what was avoidable and what was unavoidable from natural attrition. By monitoring these numbers over time, you will get an idea of a base line level for your business which will vary depending on your local demographic.

If you can improve the process a customer goes through when they exit the business, you will increase the likelihood of referrals, and positive commentary among your local community.

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