5 Qualities and Habits of Great Property Managers

Sometimes life is what happens while we’re making other plans. Other times life feels like it’s in the palm of our hands waiting for our decisions about what we want to make happen next. Maybe that’s the way our lives are supposed to feel. One of the things I know for sure is that you can learn a great deal about successful property management by watching those who are adroit at it.

One of my “pet projects” is studying the habits, qualities and characteristics of highly successful property managers. Through the years I’ve discovered some consistencies they all seem to share.
The first is what I call “brilliance”. I don’t mean they’re extra smart nor have an unusually high Intelligence Quota (IQ). Their “brilliance” shines in their daily approach to their work. Like this article implies, they’ve learned from other brilliant managers and they’ve applied what they’ve learned. They’re willing to take the time to study the characteristics and successes of others.

The second quality, one that becomes habitual, is that great property managers have an extraordinary amount of curiosity. Since they are, either by nature or self-discipline, observant professionals, they keep their eyes and ears wide open for better ways to accomplish. They’re not afraid to ask questions, do research, and delegate to others the task of finding solutions.

They’re obsessed with growing and evolving. They seem to innately know that something that they don’t know is holding them back from reaching their full potential. They’ll go to seminars, join associations, listen to self-improvement CDs and watch DVDs. As the father of Self-Actualization, Abraham Maslow, would say, “They must become all that they must be!”

Humility is a key quality and component of their character. They’re not driven by their egos and they don’t care a hoot about becoming arrogant. They like achieving abundance and success, but they’re not compelled by an insatiable appetite for wealth and power. With their humility comes a sense of altruism and a desire to know they are making a positive contribution to society. They derive great satisfaction in serving the needs of their clients and residents.

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How to Become a Property Manager

Source: Real Estate Express

If you’re looking to break into a new career, becoming a rental property manager could be the perfect gig for you. People of all ages are choosing to rent over buying a house, so the need for reliable property managers is out there. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in the industry will grow 8 percent through 2024, so the need will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

Do a decent salary, steady employment, job security—and a strong desire to work with people—top your wish list when it comes to your next career? If so, follow these steps on how to become a property manager.

Ensure that you meet all the legal requirements

The specific licensing requirements vary from state to state. Plus, there are different rules that apply depending on the properties you manage. For example, managers of government-subsidized public housing are usually required to obtain special certifications. It’s entirely up to you to know which laws and ground rules apply to you.

Do your research and figure out how to become a property manager in your area. Once you know what is expected in your state, you can start taking the steps to obtain the right licensing and ensure that you comply.

Beef up on your real estate and business know-how

While a high-school diploma can be enough for some people to hire you, more and more companies want their property managers to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, real estate, accounting, public administration, or finance.

Other companies seek out candidates with vocational real estate training or a real estate license. And coursework in real estate development, real estate management, real estate finance, urban planning, affordable housing administration, property management, and housing for the elderly are especially sought after.

If going back to school isn’t an option, you can always invest in online courses to increase your knowledge and build your skills. If nothing else, don’t underestimate the value of on-the-job training. You may need to start off at an entry-level position, but once you learn the business, you can move up the ranks.

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How Hard is it to Manage Rental Properties Without a Property Manager?

By Mark Ferguson

Source: Invest Four More

Rental properties are a great investment, but they take work to manage, especially if you do not use a property manager. I own 14 rental properties and I managed my rentals myself up until the start of 2014. My rental properties are all single family properties and easier to manage than multifamily rentals, but it still takes time. Not only does it take time, but you have to pay attention to details and be firm with tenants to successfully manage rental properties yourself. You can’t be easy on your tenants and you can’t ignore problems, because that is when rental properties can change from a great investment to a very poor investment.

What is involved with managing rental properties?

There are many tasks associated with managing a rental property. However, most tasks come when first renting a property; once a home is rented there is much less work involved. Here is a break down of the basics of managing a rental property.

  • Determine what to repair before a property is rented. I want to control what is repaired whether I manage a rental property or what a property manager does. A property manager may help you with repairs before you rent a property, but they also may only help with maintenance and repairs after a home is rented. Even before you buy a rental property you should have a good idea of what is going to be repaired and how much it is going to cost. Out of state rental property owners may have to depend on someone else to manage the rental property repair process.
  • Determine what to rent a home for. I also like to have control of this whether I am managing a house or using a property manager. A property manager wants to get houses rented fast because they collect money based off the rent. They may not try to get top dollar, although some might. An agent on my team recently sold a home to an investor and that investor used a property manager. We had told the investor the home would rent for $1,500, before they bought it. The property manage they hired said they would rent it for $1,200! We urged the investor to rent it for more and they ended up asking for $1,600 a month. They rented it at $1,600 in two days and they were very happy they did not blindly take that property manager’s advice. Here is a great article on how to determine market rent.
  • Rent a home. Renting a home is the hardest part of management; at least it should be. If you take time to screen tenants and pick the best tenants it will make you more money and save many future headaches. You have to have to advertise the property, show the home, check references, check credit, create a lease and collect money. Don’t pick a tenant because they are the only ones that will pay what you are asking. Don’t pick the first tenant that wants the house because you are tired of showing it. Pick the best tenant and don’t convince yourself a tenant you have doubts about will work out so you can start collecting rent. Here is a much more detailed article on how to rent a house. Property managers should have strict guidelines for who they rent homes too.
  • Collect rent. When you rent a home you have to make sure your tenants pay on time and charge late fees if they don’t. If you let late rent slide, the tenants will think it is okay and they will keep paying late. They will get later and later with rent if there aren’t any consequences and may stop paying completely. You have to be strict no matter who is late and what their story is. If tenants get too far behind don’t be afraid to start the eviction process. Starting the eviction process usually gets your tenants attention and they start paying rent. A property manager will collect rent and should have no problem charging late fees.
  • Evict a tenant. It is never fun to evict anyone and I try to avoid it, because an eviction is just asking for your tenant to trash a house. I have yet to go through a full eviction, but I have had mutually agreed upon move outs. If I can have a tenant move out on good terms, they are more likely to take care of the home and possibly pay me what is owed. I would rather lose a tenant who is not paying rent and rent the home to a tenant that will pay me than a tenant who is constantly behind. A property manager will handle rent collections and evictions.
  • Check on your houses. Just because you have a tenant who always pays on time and never causes a problem does not mean they are taking care of your property. I always write in the lease that I have the right to inspect the property with proper notice.  I use this time to make sure the home is well maintained and I can change furnace filters, check smoke detectors and make sure no other repairs are needed. Some of the biggest problems come from landlords who rent a house and then never check it. The same tenant is in the property for years and they absolutely destroy a house and the landlord never knows. It is possible to destroy a house quickly, but usually the worst damage occurs over years of time. Some renters who always pay on time are doing so, because they don’t want landlord to come see the house. They may be trashing the property or doing something illegal like selling or making drugs. Property managers should check on your houses, but you never know if they are.

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The 7 Tips Entrepreneurs Need to Know Before Investing in Real Estate in 2022

Why should entrepreneurs invest in the first place? The answer is: to have enough money to live on when we no longer can or wish to work. To put that money aside, however, we have to accumulate enough to offset inflation and the taxes that erode our savings. And for that purpose, real estate is an excellent solution.

The great thing about real estate is that even in a bad economy, it will usually fare better than stocks. Land, after all, is a finite resource. People need a place to live, work, shop and play — so real estate is really just a matter of supply and demand.

What’s more, real estate will continue to appreciate despite occasional slow-downs in the economy. In fact, it’s proven to be the best way to create wealth, and an investor need not be a genius or a millionaire to succeed. Here are some tips, then, for entrepreneurs on getting started and succeeding in real estate investing:

1. Do — plan your financial goals.

Before you buy that first property, or do your first analysis, determine what you expect from your investments. What are your financial goals?  We often discuss the “time vs. money” concept: The more you have of one, the less you need of the other to reach your financial goals. This means that you shouldn’t shy away from taking the time to understand your goals and make sure each investment is a step toward achieving them.  If you are unsure exactly how to create financial goals, meeting with a financial advisor is an excellent first step.

2. Don’t — spend a fortune on books, tapes and seminars, then just put all that information on a shelf.

You absolutely do need to learn some basics before venturing into investing. So, be sure to do some studying, but don’t let “buying and collecting” information become your endgame. Again, having goals in mind will make the process much more straightforward. It’s easy to get so tied up in the “research” phase that you never actually take action. Instead, write down specific questions you want answered or goals you want to meet before delving into the latest book/seminar/etc.

3. Do — look at plenty of properties.

Don’t just grab the first property you look at. Too many investors buy properties because they “look nice,” or the investors don’t want to put the work in to look at what’s really out there. Remember, you won’t be living there, so don’t make your investment decision based on your personal preferences. While you shouldn’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis, make sure you are thorough in looking through properties. Give yourself a wide range of options, then narrow them down based on the criteria (goals) you have set for yourself.

4. Don’t — postpone starting your investment program because you’re waiting for that perfect “unicorn” deal.

That’s the flip side to number 3, of course. Plenty of beginning investors suffer from “a-better-deal-may-be-just-around-the-corner” syndrome. This can backfire in a big way, and you could potentially let a great deal slip just because you’re holding out for something better. Your task may feel difficult if this is your first property, but you must realize that the “perfect deal” rarely (if ever) exists. Better to execute on a deal that meets most of your criteria than wait for another that may never come.

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4 Reasons Why Property Management Businesses Are Thriving

By AJ Agrawal

Source: Entrepreneur

The rental market is hot, so now’s the time to wade in.

As of this article’s writing, there are more than 23 million landlords in the U.S., according to Rental Protection Agency’s real-time Rental Clock. But that number means very little on its own. How much opportunity is there for those landlords? Well, according to the same Rental Clock, there are currently a whopping 113 million-plus renters in this country as well. Equally surprising is that — per the same source — 2,654 new renters enter the market every single day, while only 544 new landlords do the same. That’s a big, exploitable gap for real estate-investing entrepreneurs.

But not everyone has hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy real estate and rent it out. The good news is, you don’t have to. There’s another way to take advantage of that massive supply-and-demand chasm: property management. Most real estate investors who own more than a few properties will hire a management company to help them with the dirty work. And as more landlords and vacation rental owners (like Airbnb and VRBO) crowd themselves into the market, opportunity for real estate-management companies will only increase.

Here are four good reasons why property management businesses are thriving in today’s market, will continue to do so in the future and why you might want to jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late.

1. Rent-asking prices keep going up, up, up.

According to data collected by the United States Census Bureau, rent prices have been steadily increasing since the 1990s without any significant fluctuations. Even during the recession at the end of 2007, rental asking prices continued to increase steadily.

For-sale prices, on the other hand, fluctuate dramatically depending upon the health of local- and nation-wide housing markets. During the recession, for-sale asking prices saw a drop of almost $50,000.

For real estate investors, rentals are far less risky than fixed-and-flipped properties, and they provide the passive income that many real estate investors crave. As new and old real estate investors scramble to leverage the statistical safety of a buy-and-hold strategy, property management companies will benefit.

2. Nearly a third of occupied houses are rentals.

The Census Bureau also reports that 31.5 percent of occupied houses are rentals. And while owner-occupied houses account for 56 percent, that gap is getting smaller and smaller. In fact, rental vacancy rates have been decreasing steadily since 2009, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. Conversely, homeownership rates were at a 50-year low in 2017 and have made a relatively insignificant recovery from 2004’s peak, as Advisor Perspectives reports.

What does this mean for real estate investors and property management companies? Well, as people continue to opt for rentals over homeownership, the demand for rental properties will increase and, as investors fill that gap, so too will the demand for property management companies.

3. Technology makes property management easier than ever before.

As property management businesses flood the market with lucrative success, savvy tech entrepreneurs have followed suit. Because the truth is, there’s a glaring problem with building a property management company. Namely, that it’s a highly demanding, boots-on-the-ground, 24-7 sort of business model. If the A/C stops running in the middle of summer, if there’s a sudden water leak in the kitchen, if the pipes freeze and burst, if anything sudden and unexpected happens, it almost always falls to the property management company to do something about it (that’s why the real estate investor hired you in the first place, isn’t it?). This means the property management company needs to have dependable people near each managed location, a quick way to communicate with tenants, employees and local handy-men, and a system for organizing everything behind the scenes.

Tools like Guesty (a property management platform for short-term rentals) and Buildium (for long-term rentals) are attempting to solve this conundrum by enabling property managers to automate tasks, streamline communications with guests and homeowners, schedule cleanings and organize portfolios, all from the comfort of their living-room couch.

4. Vacation rentals are outpacing the hotel industry.

Three years ago, VRMB predicted that vacation rentals would topple the hotel industry by 2020. Now, it’s 2019 and there are plenty of hotels in every city around the nation. Though while VRMB was probably overly zealous with their estimation, they weren’t entirely misguided. In fact, Airbnb is now the second-largest lodging company in the world, only 100,000 units behind Marriott International, according to Str. It’s also acquired 150 million users, with two million people staying in an Airbnb every single night. And more and more people who stay in an Airbnb don’t ever want to go back to hotels. Needless to say, business is booming.

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Three Core Strategies To Actively Increase Your Rental Property’s Value In 2021

ByAri Rastegar

Source: Forbes

It goes without saying that we invest in real estate with the hopes of selling the property at a higher price than we spend to acquire it. The steady appreciation of real estate in the U.S. makes this a reasonable expectation, but waiting decades to realize gains from a rental property isn’t the most profitable or sensible strategy.

There are many ways to increase rental property value actively. Top strategies include renovating to increase the market value of each unit, maintaining a lean operation, deploying sustainable operation/design strategies and ensuring competitive market rental rates.

Let’s explore some of the best and most achievable value-add strategies for investors of varying experience levels in single-family and multifamily rentals.

Improving Rental Property Value Through Renovations

The most common way to increase property value is through renovations. Improved condition is more appealing to potential tenants, and enhances the satisfaction of existing tenants, stimulating sufficient demand to keep vacancy rates low and providing leverage for rental rate increases.

If you decide to focus on improvements, pursue updates and upgrades that deliver the highest return on investment. For multifamily, this generally means putting the most thought and money into kitchens and bedrooms, as well as flooring. Refinish cabinets and countertops, and use durable materials where possible to minimize costs and maintenance requirements.

Before getting started on an improvement project, I recommend assessing the highest and best use of the lot and structure. Research the local market and economy to identify demand factors and determine if the current use is still relevant in light of population growth, incomes, and availability of labor and employment. If the prevailing use, consumer tastes or industry makeup in the subdivision has changed since the original construction or acquisition, consider converting from retail to medical or office to retail, or repositioning the property to attract more exclusive tenants.

One trend that is effecting positive changes in real estate development and management across the world is sustainable design, also known as green building. Aside from building code requirements pressing the issue, the industry is finding that tenants value green features like photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, and are willing to pay premium lease rates for units that provide greater energy efficiency, durability, indoor air quality and thermal comfort.

A Lean Operation Equals Increasing Rental Property Value

Sustainability is synergistic with operational strategies that aim to reduce expenses before striving to generate additional revenue. Any improvement in cash flow through cost reduction results in an immediate and actual increase in property value. For the most part, all income properties — commercial or residential — are valued using the income approach to valuation.

The income approach estimates the value of a property as of a given date by converting the property’s net operating income (NOI) to value by dividing it by the prevailing capitalization rate. The capitalization rate (or cap rate) is the average rate of return demanded by investors for properties of the same class and perceived level of financial risk.

Green building features such as energy-efficient lighting, passive solar design and low-flow fixtures reduce energy and utility costs. Whether the property is a five-unit multifamily or industrial complex, tenants appreciate reduced operational costs and are willing to pay higher lease rates for efficiency.

When you’re paying for utilities rather than the tenant, you want to keep these costs as low as possible. Efficiency is even more critical to your bottom line in this case. Don’t get stuck with the bill for the irresponsible use of resources by tenants. Implement individual metering of utilities for every unit, and pass the cost on to each tenant according to usage.

If onsite property management costs are a cash flow drain, transition to a centralized property management structure, or outsource to a professional and reputable property management firm in the local market that specializes in your property class.

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Real estate micro-investing is here


Source: The Real Deal

So-called micro-investing in private real estate is an increasingly accessible option for investors looking to diversify their portfolios with small dollar value investments.

Micro-investing allows investors to buy shares of properties and real estate portfolios with buy-ins as little as $5 in some cases, according to Yahoo Finance. The investments work much like real estate investment trusts, but don’t allow investors to buy in specific properties and do not require the high dollar commitments needed to participate in most REITs.

“The best portfolios are diversified, and real estate performs very uniquely, in a way that is uncorrelated to the stock market and bonds… We want to offer the same asset class at a lower price point,” said Janine Yorio, founder and CEO of the micro-investment app Compound.

Compound buys and flips properties and shares those profits with investors. The startup also brings in cash acting as a buy-side broker for purchases and charges a fee to the seller. The New York-based company offers investors the option to invest in four properties in Brooklyn, Austin, and Miami.

Portland-based CrowdStreet has a similar model — the startup allows investors to buy shares in commercial real estate in the United States. Co-founder Darren Powderly says it’s better for diversification than REITs because those investments are tied to property performance whereas REITs are subject to stock market volatility. The firm recently said it hit a milestone, with $1 billion raised through its platform.

The micro-investing model is being applied in the private equity sector as well. Startup RealBlocks, which allows investors to buy micro-shares in private equity funds using government-backed currency and cryptocurrency, raised $3.1 million in a fundraising round last year.

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5 ways to get more out of your property management team

By Rob Parsley

Source: MPA

Property management is a core function for real estate investors who own portfolios of single-family rentals. No wonder the majority of real estate investors have a property management team. The real question is whether they have the right team.

That is the question you need to be asking yourself as you growth your SFR portfolio. Of course, that question leads to even more questions and you may not have the right answers. Here are five ways to answer your questions and get more out of your property management team.

  1. Define your role on the team

This may sound simple, but this decision will impact your entire property management team strategy. Are you the coach or the quarterback on the team? In other words, are you actually getting on the field to do the work, or are you making sure the work gets done from the sidelines? If you want to set up a long-term game plan and have someone else 0implement it, then you are a coach. If you want to be working daily with your property management team, then you are going to have to take more of a quarterback role. Your personal time investment is a huge decision when it comes to with property management. You need to decide where you need to invest time, and where you need to invest money by paying others. This isn’t a one-time decision, by the way. You may need to spend less time on day-to-day property management as your portfolio grows, or other things going on in your life may require you to staff up your team. Making this decision intentionally is vital to the ultimate success of your property management function.

  1. Fill in your gaps first

A great running back isn’t going to do much with a weak offensive line, and your property profits will only be as strong as your weakest parts of your property management team. The easiest way to accomplish this is to list your own strengths and weaknesses and prioritize from there. You may really enjoy the finance side of things, so you could want to do that yourself to start, but hire people who handle things such as leasing up properties or managing maintenance.

  1. Establish company culture

You may already have a property management team filled with leasing agents, grounds crews, and bookkeepers, both on staff and via contractors. When you’re fully staffed, it’s time to focus on your company culture. This is an important step many businesses overlook. However, the difference between the best football teams and good teams (and the bad teams) is culture. That is everything from setting clear goals and expectations to having dress codes for on-site staff to providing strong training programs. Setting up the right culture helps you keep your team motivated and satisfied, and also helps you better serve your tenants—which leads to lower vacancy rates and even higher rents.

  1. Finding the right software

As in football, if you don’t have a good set of plays, you aren’t going to do well. In property management, you need software tools now more than ever. We aren’t going to recommend one product over another in this article, but look for something that meets your needs and fits your budget. Real estate meetups and online forums like Bigger Pockets are good places to ask other investors what software they use to collect rents, screen tenants, and more. By the way, a lot of real estate investors worry about spending too much on software and will use outdated equipment that takes more time to operate. Don’t fall into that trap. We’ve already seen that many investors choose to spend money to save time personally—do the same for your team. If you can find software that frees up your team’s time to focus on more profitable work, then it’s an investment well worth making.

  1. Bring in your specialists

As you grow, you will need to hire people full-time for many of your tasks. However, it is wise to always have a core group of contractors that you can turn to for help on projects that your regular team can’t get done. For example, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to employ a full-time HVAC technician—but you definitely need a dependable contractor you can call.

The Bottom Line

The answers to these questions are personal to you and your real estate investment strategy. That’s why we’re not telling you what to do. But we hope that knowing how to make the right decisions will help you develop the kind of property management team that helps you grow your portfolio and accomplish your real estate investment goals.

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Florida’s commercial real estate markets poised for continued growth

By Jeremy Larkin

Source: Biz Journals

Florida is one of the fastest-growing states in the country – population growth, along with tourism, are two of the biggest drivers of our economy. Miami-Dade County alone has over 2.75 million residents, making it the seventh largest county in the U.S. A recent Wall Street Journal articlereported on a study it conducted on population change by state from July 2016 to July 2017, and Florida ranked the fifth fastest growing state by percentage of one-year population growth, at 1.59 percent. For that 12-month period, 327,811 net new residents were added including births and in-migration. Nevada was second fastest, adding 2.0 percent of its population (58,275) while Idaho was the fastest growing state, at 2.2 percent (36,917).

Strip away the growth-by-percentage and Florida was the second fastest growing state while Texas was the fastest growing state, adding 399,734 people in that one year.

We expect this trend to continue, and not just because of Florida’s weather and business-friendly climate. The recently passed federal legislation placing a $10,000 limit on SALT taxes (state and local taxes, and specifically, property taxes) that can be deducted from personal income taxes is driving more people out of high-tax states like Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

Florida has always attracted relocations from those states and expect the new tax code will spur even greater migration to the state. With no personal income tax, inheritance tax or estate tax, investors come here to reduce their potential tax burdens. In 2019, Chief Executive Magazine ranked Florida No. 2 by state for business climate. According to the Tax Foundation, the Southeast region of the country was ranked No. 1 for most favorable personal income tax laws.

Which brings us to real estate and real estate investing. In 2017, Florida was the No.1 state where foreigners bought and sold commercial property. The state is perennially in the top 10 for foreign direct investment (FDI), and has nearly 1 million jobs supported directly by FDI.

More recently, Buildium.com, a RealPage company that provides property management software and related accounting tools, ranked the top 50 U.S. real estate markets for residents and investors and Florida was mentioned seven times.

This latter point serves as a reminder, and we advise clients along these lines frequently, not all Florida markets are alike, and every region has its own nuances. Investing in South Florida, which alone has no fewer than four distinct submarkets, is vastly different than Orlando, Pensacola, Tampa or Jacksonville, the latter of which is booming in large part because of its port and the June 2016 opening of an expanded Panama Canal (which allowed Neopanamax container ships to come to East Coast markets instead of West Coast markets).

For these reasons, when choosing a market to expand or invest into, work with a local expert, like the 12 NAI global offices in Florida that serve every primary, secondary and tertiary market in the state. Last year, eight transactions closed that were referrals between NAI Florida offices covering the spectrum of real estate sectors. Although one person may be an expert in their market, they do seek out the help of another expert when their client chooses to expand to a different market.

Looking ahead, we expect robust commercial real estate activity for the following reasons:

  • There will be an enormous amount of transit-oriented development built around the game-changing Brightline rail service linking Miami and Orlando, and eventually Tampa as evidenced by Brightline’s major projects in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Along the Metrorail in Miami, there are existing, and under development, mixed-use projects of 10 to 20 stories at nearly every rail station.
  • In Miami, there are three more cruise terminals being added to accommodate more cruise ship traffic. The influx of cruise passengers will drive demand for hotel, retail, food and beverage and industrial space for years to come. Plus, the influx of new residents to the state will create thousands of new jobs.
  • In Palm Beach County, 125,000 new housing units have been recently approved. In addition to construction jobs, new homes will drive demand for professional services, which in turn will drive demand for more offices, warehouse/distribution product and retail real estate.

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3 Ways to Master Commercial Property Management

By Elizabeth Millar

Source: AppFolio

Life is about to get a lot better in the commercial property world. With the economy on the upswing, previously abandoned industrial and retail areas are experiencing astonishing new growth. Crowded or overpriced urban centers are encouraging businesses to look beyond Main Street and rent in unconventional spaces to attract customers more affordably. America is falling in love with chic new microbreweries popping up in old storage facilities or exercise studios emerging from reimagined factory space. With a surge of young and driven businesses gaining confidence in the market, now is the time to reinvent your own commercial property management practices and help your business grow.

How can you Master Commercial Property Management?

The 3 Ways to Master Commercial Property Management slideshow below will highlight the following three areas that can hit PM’s the hardest, and what you can do to stay on top of your game:

#1 Save Time with Accounting

Gone are the days of spreadsheets and paper files. Stop rifling through files and folders and centralize your data in a secure and accessible location. Most accounting tools also do CAM Reconciliation, so you can say goodbye to the worst headache of the year with a few easy clicks.

#2 Have a Killer Maintenance Plan in Place

If one of your commercial properties is stuck with a maintenance problem for even a day, that could mean massive revenue losses for your tenant, leaving you with a bitter business. Online maintenance tracking and reporting is a great way to clean up messes and your act.

#3 Market Your Technology to Attract Owners and Tenants

Sure you have brokers, but are they getting the word out about your properties like they should? Take matters into your own hands by formulating your own marketing plan, and show your owners and tenants what kind of tools you are using to make their lives better. As their businesses grow and their needs for space become greater, renewed confidence in your management team could mean big money down the line.

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What Is a Commercial Building? Insight into How to Maintain a Commercial Building

By RJ Frometa

Source: Vents Magazine

Just what is a commercial building?

If you’re asking this question, you’re probably interested in investing in real estate. Or you want to start a business that involves working on commercial buildings. Or you want to become a property management professional.

Regardless of your specific motivations, we are here to shed more light on this type of building. However, our insight will be more focused on the maintenance aspect.

Continue reading to learn more.

What Is a Commercial Building?

A commercial building is used for commercial purposes. There are building codes regulating the use of buildings, so a commercial building is strictly used for commercial activities.

A common example of a commercial building is an office complex in urban locations. Others include warehouses (both industrial and retail), malls, and brick and mortar stores.

In most local jurisdictions across the United States, a commercial building must be located in a commercial zone. However, this isn’t always the case.

It’s possible to find a commercial building that doesn’t have the typical look of a commercial building in a residential area. Think of businesses such as daycare centers, which operate legally in residential areas. The same goes for home-based businesses.

How to Maintain a Commercial Property

Now that you know what a commercial property looks like, it’s time to focus on how to maintain it. Regular maintenance helps improve the building’s safety, making it attractive for tenants and other users. Well-maintained buildings also have lower long-term repair costs.

Develop a Maintenance Schedule

If you own or are in charge of a commercial building, the first thing you should do is develop a maintenance schedule. This fleshes out how often various parts of the building will need to go under maintenance.

Of course, you need to have property management expertise to develop a sound maintenance schedule. If you don’t, outsource the task to the right professional.

Address Issues Immediately

While having and sticking to a maintenance schedule goes a long way, issues will still arise in between maintenance cycles. When this happens, it’s easy to keep the issue on hold until the date of the next round of maintenance. Don’t do this.

When an issue arises, address it immediately. If there’s an issue with the power system, for example, you need to look into it immediately, even if you might have power backup options. Call in a company that does electrical repair for business to fix the issue.

Ignoring a problem or thinking it isn’t urgent can lead to disastrous outcomes. Besides potentially worsening the issue, you’ll be putting people’s health and lives at risk.

Hire a Full-time Maintenance Contractor

As a building owner or manager, you probably have a lot on your plate. You probably also don’t have the right expertise to maintain a commercial building.

Instead of juggling these tasks with your other duties, it’s advisable to hire a full-time maintenance contractor. This way, you’ll rest assured the property’s maintenance needs are in the hands of a professional.

Keep Your Commercial Property in Perfect Condition

If you were asking “what is a commercial building?” you now know the answer. If you’re planning to own one or already do, or you want to be a property manager, you also now know how to maintain a commercial building.

Keep reading our blog for more tips and insights.

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Key take-aways: A commercial real estate outlook for 2020

By Bob Arthur

Source: Biz Journals

’Tis the time of year when economists take a close look at the data on economic, employment and real estate trends to create a commercial real estate outlook for the year ahead.

While assessments for 2020 vary, many agree on some common themes:

  • Sustainable, but slower growth is expected for the U.S. economy and commercial real estate (CRE) market, with tariffs, recession fears and a flattening yield curve among the issues posing potential risks.
  • Technology continues to change the CRE business in wide-ranging and consequential ways – including raising information security and data privacy concerns.
  • As baby boomers who spent their entire careers in real estate retire, the CRE business faces challenges attracting and retaining talent in the face of increasing competition for skilled workers.

The question is, what might CRE professionals take away from these findings? Here are some ideas.

1. To attract more capital, reassess your property and tenant mix.

While investment in CRE continues to increase, some investors may be growing more selective. Demand is often higher for properties that represent newer and emerging business models or thematic investments that support strong macroeconomic trends.

In practical terms, that means buyers interested in diversifying their CRE portfolios may have greater interest in mixed-use and nontraditional properties. CRE companies might also consider ways to attract a new generation of tenants with amenities and leasing options that appeal to their interests and address their needs.

2. Upgrade your digital strategy and infrastructure.

Effectively employed, technology, including the predictive analytics and business intelligence it can generate, has the potential to add significant value to properties and the CRE organizations responsible for their management. They can also be a “tipping point” for investor and tenant interest. From smart building technology used to control lighting, temperature and building access, to sensors and beacons that track retail traffic, to artificial intelligence that supports and streamlines tenant relations and financing planning, the opportunities are virtually limitless. The challenge CRE companies face is deciding how to prioritize their technology needs and investments. That includes considering the costs of managing both new and legacy infrastructure versus completely replacing old systems with modern digital infrastructure.

3. Capitalize on investor interest in proptechs.

Proptechs, digital technologies that change how property is occupied, managed, leased, bought, sold and managed, are particularly popular among investors. One example: Building Information Modeling, a smart 3D modeling tool that enables designers, builders and CRE managers to plan, design, construct and manage a building throughout its life cycle. CRE companies that explore proptech options avail themselves to new and innovative ways to improve information flow, operational efficiency and tenant experiences.

4. Move from reactive to proactive risk management.

The cyber risks facing the CRE business today are on par with the physical risks, and investors want proof that you are prepared to manage them. Any strategic upgrades to a digital strategy, therefore, must address the information security and data privacy concerns today’s digital technologies create.

The threat of cyberattack puts more than your own data at risk. Hackers that break into sensor-enabled building management systems can, for example, change security settings. A hacked thermostat can cause serious health and safety problems. Use of smartphones and digital assistants by tenants and visitors can, likewise, have unintended security and privacy consequences.

The bottom line: CRE companies cannot wait for security breaches to respond. A proactive risk management strategy that balances investments with the threat of cyberattacks is critical to business in 2020.

5. Prepare for a digitized workforce.

As the current generation of CRE leadership enters retirement, many CRE organizations find themselves at a loss. Replacements often have less experience and are insufficiently equipped to address the industry’s most challenging issues.

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5 Tips to Effectively Manage Your Commercial Property

Source: Nu Wire Investor

Purchasing a commercial property is a big decision. It is a large purchase and needs to be managed well for the investment to be worth it for you. How a commercial property is managed can affect the value of the investment. A property can increase in value significantly just from being well managed, and of course the opposite is true as well.

Here Are Some Tips For Managing Your Property Effectively.

1. Get Educated

It is important to educate yourself before even purchasing a property to begin with.  There are many real estate investing education options to help you make the right purchase decisions.  With the proper education, you will understand the market, the different types of commercial properties and how to properly manage each type.

Without the proper real estate coaching, jumping into a commercial property can be extremely overwhelming. There is so much to understand about the industry and by learning as you go, your lack of knowledge can easily show and scare off potential tenants.

There are, of course, success stories of people that bought commercial property without educating themselves first. However, it is highly recommended that you take the time to invest in yourself and your own education before making a large investment in commercial property.

2. Make sure your tenants are happy!

Communicate with your tenants!  Your tenants are your customers. Treat them accordingly!  You want to avoid turnover of your tenants as much as possible.  With commercial property, it is expensive and can take a long time to find a replacement tenant.  If your tenants aren’t happy, they will leave at the first chance they get.  Then you will be left with a vacant property and no income coming in. You will also most likely have to put in some capital to keep the building in leasable condition. You want to avoid vacancy as much as possible!

Leave a good first impression. When your tenants first move in, quickly deal with any issues or concerns they may have with the space (that are your responsibility).  This goes a long way in making your tenants feel welcome and at home in the building.  It also makes them happy to keep renting from you for years!

3. Have a good lease agreement

This is one of the most important parts of being a landlord.  Your lease agreement is all that is covering you in the event things take a turn for the worse.  Ensure you seek legal help in drafting a legally binding lease and be sure that it covers every possible scenario that could come up between you and your tenants.

The lease needs to protect you and your property; however, it can’t be too one sided or you will never get a tenant to agree to the terms of the lease!  Make sure that it is still fair for your tenants.

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Five Secrets To Working Successfully With Foreign Buyers Of Commercial Properties

By Alex Zylberglait

Source: Forbes

Foreign investment in U.S. real estate has been increasing significantly over the last few decades, despite periodic fluctuations by region or product type. The source of the inbound capital has shifted over time and in different cycles depending on the global economic conditions or those affecting the specific countries. Yet there’s a clear positive trend and interest from foreign buyers in U.S. real estate that will continue to accelerate as long as we remain one of the most stable economic markets in the world — especially during these times of so much global volatility where global capital is seeking safe and consistent returns over time.

An area where we see this clear trend is in commercial real estate investments. Working with many foreign buyers for almost two decades has allowed us to identify how to strategically facilitate their entry into the U.S. commercial property markets, which could be overwhelming relative to the amount of information required to invest in and then manage these types of assets. There are five areas that I believe are critical to consider for advisors or principals to work successfully with foreign buyers.

1. Truly understand their motivation for investing.

Although it sounds like an obvious question, it is even more important to understand the conditions that are specifically attracting these particular investors to seek investments in the U.S. — and, in particular, real estate investments. Very often it is economic or political instability in their home country that drives them to want to protect their capital and to reduce volatility; other times it is simply to diversify their portfolios or for estate planning purposes. The better you understand their true motivation, the more likely you are to address their needs and provide with the right investment options.

2. Be patient, and be ready to provide a lot more information and education to the investors than would normally be expected.

Given the lack of familiarity with the U.S. systems and markets, foreign buyers tend to ask a disproportionate number of questions, so the educational curve is steep. As an advisor or principal, you need to be prepared to access significant amounts of market data and resources to satisfy the myriad of questions and concerns these investors are likely to have. The process can be at times daunting and long, but at the end of the road, those who spend the time and do so in the most professional and comprehensive manner will see the rewards and earn the trust of these investors for many years to come. While it is generally true that it takes longer to earn their trust, it is also true that foreign investors tend to be more loyal long-term clients.

3. Have a team of experts you work with to handle all aspects of the transaction.

Inevitably, given the complexities often involved in working with foreign buyers, this will require access to a myriad of competent advisors such as attorneys, accountants, property managers and possibly others. Having the right experienced team in place will not only facilitate the acquisition process for them, but will make them that much more comfortable in establishing a larger investment base in the U.S. going forward. Understanding that many requirements in the U.S. may be totally different than what they are used to in their countries may be difficult at first, but with the help of the right professional team, you will appear resourceful and dependable in their eyes.

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Is Open Data in Commercial Real Estate a Pipe Dream?

By Franco Faraudo

Source: Propmodo

Sometimes big ideas that have been circling in the atmosphere for a long time finally get codified and set in stone. These events are often wind up memorialized, as even though they are not always the origin of the idea they are an acceptable stand-in. The official creation of things like agreements, treaties, laws, declarations, commandments and commitments are often done under the pomp of circumstance, in dramatic locations fit for the occasion’s grandeur.

Sometimes, though, these events happen under the veil of the mundane. They happen at small, invite-only meetings in roadside conference centers in forgettable towns like Sebastopol, California (before you think I am being too harsh on the Northern Californian recovering hippy enclave, I should say that I grew up just minutes from there and I know well that the Sebastopicians want nothing more than to be left alone, to live their tranquil, quirky and eco-friendly lives undisturbed under the shade of the redwoods). This is the case for the event that is credited with solidifying the tech world’s thinking on open data. On December 7th of 2007 a group of 30 tech entrepreneurs, academic researchers and policy wonks met in Sebastopol to write a formal definition for the open data movement.

The codes that they decided on weren’t all that groundbreaking:

Open Government Data Principles

Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles below:

1. Complete: All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations.

2. Primary: Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.

3. Timely: Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.

4. Accessible: Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.

5. Machine processable: Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.

6. Non-discriminatory: Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.

7. Non-proprietary: Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.

8. License-free: Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed.

But, the fact that they created the dialogue around what would soon become one of the main talking points for proponents of internet freedom was significant in its own right. As more and more of the general population gets used to the benefits that open access to data provides and come to understand the dangers of having publicly useful data being hoarded by powerful internet giants, the push for open data has become a popular topic of conversation.

The property industry has had its own push towards open data. Redfin and Zillow are able to syndicate what were previously private residential listings after years of effort and an eventual DOJ ruling against local Realtor organizations and their Multiple Listing Services. Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s co-founder and CEO, went on the record to say that “Anyone whose business model is predicated on the assumption that their secret data will remain secret and proprietary, that’s not a sustainable business model. This data will inevitably be free.”

But commercial real estate is not residential. Even though sales records are public, just like their residential counterparts, commercial properties don’t change hands often and so rely on lease revenue as the main way to estimate their market value. These lease terms have always been private, a confidential agreement between the landlord and the tenant. This was an asset for large real estate firms or those with heavy geographical or sector-specific focus, giving them the ability to understand the market better than their competitors and conduct the information arbitrage that the property industry has always relied on.

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How Risk Management is Transforming Risk in Commercial Property

By Andrea Wells

Source: Insurance Journal

Commercial property underwriters are adjusting to a market defined by rising catastrophe losses and dwindling profits. From increasing rates and higher deductibles to fewer classes of business and stricter underwriting, even the best in class properties are feeling the heat.

Overall, commercial property rates have risen several percentage points even for buyers not facing catastrophe risks, according to Willis Towers Watson. For those with significant cat exposures or adverse losses, the rate hikes are in the double digits in the aggregate for the first time in several years.

Commercial property insurance renewals are generating rate increases between 5% to 10% for the best accounts, while some property programs have seen increases of upwards of 50% or more in 2019, according to Woodruff Sawyer, an Insurance Journal Top 100 Agency.

Casey Soares, senior vice president, property specialist at Woodruff Sawyer, says that while there’s plenty of capacity available in the market, carriers are scrutinizing every piece of business and re-underwriting commercial properties, in particular.

I think there’s been an uptick of companies underwriting more, restricting their capacity usage more.

The heightened attention is part of an effort to turn the market around following the surge of single risk losses during the past two years, she said. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the costliest seasons on record with combined insured losses of more than $200 billion from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Then in 2018, California experienced its most destructive wildfire season ever with insurance claims surpassing $12 billion.

“These events are what spurred this market turn,” Soares said. “That’s causing carriers to look at each account and make sure they’re making smart decisions and actuarially sound rates and coverage.” It’s been an “across-the-board dedication” to transform the market.

While the adjustment has been good for the insurance industry, it’s a challenge for commercial property owners who are facing insurance costs based on a “true reflection of risk,” she says, noting that’s a difficult adjustment for any insured.

Agents say habitational is the most challenging commercial property risk today. “Anything frame construction, especially frame builder’s risk,” Soares said. “Habitational is truly a hard market where there is a lack of capacity.”

Accounts with a high loss potential such as those in manufacturing, with a hazardous or combustible risk profile, can also be tough in today’s market, she says.

Despite the re-evaluations going on, even in the toughest classes of business, there’s some carrier willing to write the property coverage. Barry Whitton, managing director for Burns & Wilcox Brokerage, contends market capacity is not an issue, although more stringent requirements on that capacity are.

“I think there’s been an uptick of companies underwriting more, restricting their capacity usage more,” he said. “There is less of a willingness to use that capacity for a cheap price.”

Even the standard commercial property market is experiencing rising rates, albeit at a slower pace, Soares said.

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3 Tech CEOs Transforming The Commercial Real Estate Industry

By Robert Reiss

Source: Forbes

It’s no secret that many industries have experienced disruption from technological innovation, from Uber’s effects on the taxi industry to Amazon’s impact on the retail sector. Yet, the commercial real estate industry has been slower to embrace the shift. I decided to look at three companies that are revolutionizing the commercial real estate industry through technology. I asked each CEO about their experience as an innovator in the space and what they predict will be next.

The CEOs are:

• Zac Rosenberg, founder and CEO of TapCap – A digital-driven nationwide multifamily lending company.

• Rich Sarkis, CEO of Reonomy – A commercial real estate data company.

• Guy Zipori, co-founder and CEO of Skyline AI – An artificial intelligence asset manager for commercial real estate.

Robert Reiss: What was the flaw in the industry that your company is working toward correcting?

Zac Rosenberg: Too many assumptions. Historically real estate investors and lenders had limited amounts of information to work with, so the industry designed “rules of thumb” to offset this. These models were “good enough,” most of the time. Today, information is plentiful. The flaw in the industry is that it still hasn’t figured out how to capitalize on the increased availability of data to replace assumption-based modeling with data-driven reasoning.

Rich Sarkis: Despite being one of the world’s largest asset classes, information and insights on commercial real estate have never been easily accessible. This is due to the disparate, fragmented nature of how data in this industry is recorded, and the inherent difficulty in connecting that information at scale.

Guy Zipori: The main flaw I’ve seen is that real estate investors have been depending on the limited reach of humans to find the best opportunities throughout the entire course of the real estate investing cycle. In 2017 at a real estate conference I asked a speaker from a major asset management firm what technology they were using. He answered, “a tremendous amount,” and when I pressed him, he explained that they had computers and Excel spreadsheets. This is the moment that I realized the commercial real estate industry needed a tech overhaul.

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Using Tech Platforms to Save Time in Commercial Real Estate

By Ryan Vinco

Source: Patch

It doesn’t matter if you are a commercial property manager, broker, or agent; everyone is busy! However, this rings especially true for those in the commercial real estate industry. There are always meetings to attend, deals to track, and requests from tenants that need your attention. It’s easy to feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week.

Often times when you are feeling like this it may be due, in part, to the fact that instead of accomplishing the work you are spending time trying to navigate how you’re actually going to get everything done. That is where technology can step in and help you to alleviate this common challenge that people in commercial real estate face.

The first thing to do is find a way to keep your information accessible while also being organized. It wastes more time than you think to go through spreadsheets and multiple databases looking for a specific thing. If you’re dealing with actual paperwork in filing cabinets, double that time! Luckily, there are great systems for storing and having access to your information.

There are tech platforms, such as Honest Buildings that automate many of the smaller tasks draining your time. For help with things such as status updates, distributing documents, leveling bids, and managing communication with your team, consider using this technology. Honest Buildings is a reporting, project cost tracking, and bid management technology platform helping owners and companies to manage projects efficiently. Aside from this company, there are a plethora of others doing the same thing being created every day!

It’s a true game changer to have tenant information, building data, and floor plans all stored in the same place. At any given time you can conduct a simple search and find just what you’re looking for. This platform also allows you to download and share information much faster. Eliminating that extra time locating files will free up your schedule for more important things.

Another simple, but often overlooked time-saving strategy is to set up automation of whatever work you can. If you spend a significant part of every day doing the same manual tasks, find out if you can put some of it onto a tech platform that can automate certain things. Tedious daily reports or tenant requests can be handled through these handy tools, made specifically for the commercial real estate industry.

Lastly, are you prioritizing clearly, or do you feel that there are often expected tasks or distractions? A commercial real estate tech platform will help you to set clear parameters of what must be done and when. These systems can sync all of your data onto a dashboard and allow you to stay up to date and be alerted when necessary.

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Property Management: Acquiring the New Skill Set

By Jeff Hamann

Source: Commerical Property Executive

BOMA Chair & Chief Elected Officer Scott Jones and Cheryl Gray, president-elect of IREM, share insights into how the property manager’s role will change in a tech-heavy market.

Technological advances and other shifts in the market are shaping the role of the property manager. In order to perform in such a competitive environment, the professionals of the new generation need to have a diverse skill set. In addition to keeping up with tech, they must be able to successfully navigate the slowing economy.

Cheryl Gray, president-elect of the Institute of Real Estate Management, and Scott Jones, chair & chief elected officer of Building Owners and Managers Association International, discuss the required expertise for future managers and how effective operations can help keep a portfolio above water even in lean times.

How do you foresee the role of property manager changing in the coming years?

Jones: The role of the commercial property manager has already changed greatly just in the past few years, and I believe we’ll continue to see more shifts in responsibilities. Since the Great Recession, property managers have been called to assume more duties, and as buildings continue to become more complex and technology driven, so too will the roles of those who manage and operate them. The property manager role will continue to evolve in a way that requires them to be masters of technology; interpreters of the data, metrics and analytics generated and captured by this new technology; and focal points of hospitality for their clients.

Gray: The role of the property manager is in constant evolution. Property managers constantly adapt to modifications made to the built environment through building codes, regulations, sustainability, security and myriad other issues. In the foreseeable future, customer service will continue to be one of the biggest changes, as property managers are moving from a “space-centric” focus to a “service-centric” focus.

Another area of change will be the increasing impact of technology. The skills and knowledge of property managers and building staff will need to continuously advance in order to keep pace with the disruptive impact technology will have on building operations and occupant expectations. The emerging integration of information and operational technology will disrupt how real estate teams and
IT departments within those real estate firms collaborate.

Finally, I foresee an increasing need for property managers to be able to manage all asset classes, with many new developments or redevelopments being mixed-use. It will no longer be adequate to simply know how to manage a residential asset or an office asset or a retail mall, as they are all being integrated into one complex.

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10 Systems Property Managers Can Use Improve Their Record Keeping

Source: Forbes

Property management relies heavily on the proper maintenance of records. Because of this, property managers need to be experts at administrative tasks. By creating a workflow that enables them to keep records meticulously, they build a valuable resource that they can use when they need to find or reference important information.

However, the more properties a manager has to deal with, the more convoluted the records can become. And while limiting complexity would be ideal, the only way a professional property manager can truly streamline the process is by embracing practices that can help them simplify how data is recorded, as well as referenced later on.

To find out about what kinds of approaches work, members ofForbes Real Estate Council, below, share their insights into some of the best systems that property managers can use to create order out of chaos. Here is what they advise:

1. Get An Expandable Software Package

In the event of a sale, your seller will need to produce records for the property. If these records are a hodgepodge of who knows what, you stand a chance of losing the deal. Buyers are very sensitive to a lot. Give them comfort by having organized and understandable reports. If you can incorporate photos of repairs performed and closed in, this will be helpful. The software will help a great deal. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties

2. Invest In Cloud-Based Storage

Invest in a cloud-based software system that will maintain records for text messages, phone calls and emails between you, the property owners and the tenants. Hire a bookkeeper to ensure you are properly reconciled each month and keep your escrow funds in a separate banking account. – Tanya Delahoz,Dwell Summit

3. Use Off-The-Shelf Software

We favor using off-the-shelf industry software. The primary reason is for compliance. A software package designed for real estate and real estate management will come with all the features and then some already built-in. Additionally, the software vendor will provide updates and patches to address any potential security/privacy issues as they arise. – Blake Plumley, Capital Pursuits LLC

4. Maintain Separate Files

Have a system in place that tracks rents collected, all executed lease documents and correspondence with your tenants. Maintain separate files either electronically (always ensure backup) or with a secure file cabinet. Keep records for at least four years on all tenants and landlords. Dropbox or Slack are both great systems that allow you to share with team members. – Nancy Wallace- Laabs, KBN Homes, LLC

5. Encrypt Tenants’ Information

Property managers handle personally identifiable information on tenants. Maintaining proper records is not only important but also your legal duty as a property manager. High-profile data breaches have been increasingly prevalent. Before adopting a new property management software or consulting with a real estate attorney, make sure you have a robust system that encrypts and stores tenant info. – Chuck Hattemer,Onerent

6. Ensure Proper Security Against Hackers

For medium to large properties, such as apartment or condo complexes, having a good network security system that is set up and managed by professionals is key. Technology is constantly changing, and having professionals that can keep your records updated and secure so that they meet all regulations is crucial. – Bill Lyons, Griffin Funding

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