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by Jeffrey A Roark

If you’re like me you‘re always on the lookout for new property management solutions, ideas that will make your property management run more efficiently and less expensively.

In today’s property management training article I’d like to share ten property management solutions I’ve personally used, along with tips on which worked well and which not so well.

Set The Right Expectations

Property management solution #1 is to set the right expectations with your investors, your tenants and your vendors.

This also falls into the time management category. I remember a long time ago somebody once told me, “If you don’t manage your time somebody else will manage it for you.”

How true.

If you’re working with building owners, set the right expectations for your weekly or monthly reports, distribution of owner funds, and follow-up calls and emails.

With tenants, be consistent with rent due dates, when rent statements are sent out, deposit of funds, and willingness to do repairs that maybe aren’t called for in the lease. After only a few months of setting the right expectations with tenants you’ll be surprised how everything falls into place.

Develop A List Of Reliable Vendors And Suppliers

I find that by paying the vendor early and by not nickel-and-diming the vendor, that in return I get very competitive pricing and straight-forward, reliable service.

Even if you only have one good vendor that you work with, they can probably provide a wealth of referrals to people they know that work in other trades. The fact is, people know and do business with people like themselves. If you’ve got one guy or gal that’s a great supplier, they will know others to refer to you.

Send Monthly Rent Statements

This is the #1 way to improve your cash flow and to move your cash receipts up in the month.

Many times we’ve taken over the management of a property where the tenants have fallen into the habit of paying just before the late date, say the 10th or the 15th.

By sending our printed statements 10 days before the due date of the 1st of the month, we’ve had a 100% success rate in getting tenants to pay by the due date and have dramatically changed the timing of the property’s cash flow.

On-Line Billing To Tenants

Most banks and off-the-shelf accounting software offer this service. As long as you have an email address for your tenants you can easily create a statement on-line and email it to the tenant along with a link for payment.

On-Line Payment For Tenants

This goes hand-in-hand with sending statements on-line. Your on-line statement to the tenant will have a link for payment which goes directly into one of the accounts for the property. You’ll save the time and trouble of opening envelopes and going to the bank to make those daily deposits.

One word of caution: Don’t spend a lot of money to set up a system like this. Most banks will do it for a few dollars a month, but I’ve seen pricier systems on the market as well.

If you survey your tenants and ask them if they’d like the option of paying on line, 99% will say Yes.

The reality is that many will still mail to you the on-line statement the printed or deliver payment to your office. The on-line payment option is nice to offer, but don’t spend a lot of money on one because the actual usage by your tenants will be a lot lower than expected.

Wellness Checks For Tenants

We’ll pro-actively do little things for our tenants: Replace burnt out lights, ceiling tiles, and check plumbing for proper operation.

This gives us the opportunity to chat informally with the tenants, maybe gather market intelligence, and in the case of a running toilet also keeps the water bill low for the property.

Direct Deposit For Owners

This is a great service to offer if you’re a professional property manager with several clients and properties under management.

Most banks offer this feature for a few dollars a month. You’re able to pay multiple clients on-line and get the owner its money the next day instead of waiting for the proverbial ‘check in the mail’.

If you’re in the property management business, this, along with timely and accurate reporting, is one feature that will build a lot of client loyalty.

Keep An Attorney On Retainer

I’m far from litigious, but trust me, as the market continues to get tough issues will start to pop up that you thought never would. It’s important to have a go-to person for legal advice and spending a little now will save a huge amount later on.

Websites And Internet Marketing

If you don’t have a website set up for your property, think seriously about doing it.

In today’s world so much marketing is done over the internet and if you don’t have a presence on the web you’re missing out on a lot of potential business and exposure.

Websites now days are amazingly inexpensive to create and maintain and will give you so much more bang for the buck than traditional ‘snail mail’ activities.

Real Estate Flyers

Just like with a website, you do not have to spend a lot of money to design a real estate flyer.

I find it best to create a template that can be used for multiple properties. All you have to do is change some copy and graphics for a property-specific or space-specific flyer, and in a few minutes, you’re up and running.

We have great results incorporating flyers into our property websites and in our other on-line marketing activities.

I hope this tips on property management solutions make things go smooth for your this year and that you continue to make money in real estate investing!

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