There are two main types of break-ups. There’s the Amicable Break-up, where everything goes smoothly—the two of you just realized, hey, it’s not a lifelong thing, and it’s time to go your separate ways. Maybe you stay friends afterwards, get coffee now and again, and like each others’ posts on Facebook. But there’s also the Bad Break-up. With this one there’s probably some yelling, maybe a few legal documents or physical objects are thrown around for show, a restraining order is requested, custody battles, etc. Well, the same goes for property management break-ups. The severance of a lease can go one of two ways: amicably or badly.
It’s important to know some basic rules and tips for that inevitable tenant who’s ready to hit the road. Most of the time, people may just need a bigger space, a new location, or they might be shuttering altogether the operation that created their need for office/warehouse/flex space in the first place. In that instance, a lease agreement should have the proper stipulation for leaving the agreement early—usually a fine or the revocation of a security deposit. Seems simple, but tempers can get out of hand quickly. Despite having signed a document, most people don’t like being held to the requirements of it when it inconveniences them (because they sometimes had never read it to begin with). Try to be friendly with a tenant looking to scram, and be accommodating to the best of your abilities in order to get what is due to you as a property manager.
For tenants who are ready to leave at the end of their designated lease time, it’s important to keep note of your requirements when it comes to security deposits. Everything is in a-okay shape, exactly as it’s meant to be, as stated in the lease contract? Well, in Florida, a property manager has 15-60 days to return the security deposit to a tenant. You can check the law for your state here. The closer you stick to code, and to the law, the easier the break-up will be.
Quick office design inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/office-designs/?lp=true
Great design can come to you in a vision. Imagine, you’re standing in your new office space—it’s completely empty with beautiful hardwood floors and a stunning eggshell white paint job. You walk to the end of the room and turn around, looking over the entire space. You close your eyes, and there it is. The sleek, minimalist desks of your dreams, trimmed with brown wood and sitting in rows around the room—an open office with employees in brand new leather chairs on top of light blue accent white rugs. Dark oak bookshelves line the walls and contemporary, cylindrical lighting fixtures hang over each desk. Underneath the windows on the far end is a set of cushioned leather benches, fitted with electronic outlets and swing-out desk spaces so employees can bask in the sun and work at the same time. Only, once you open your eyes, it’s gone. Forever. While great design can certainly pop into your head, it’s incredibly difficult to make that vision a reality.
Why not kill two birds with one stone by shopping based on vision? Creating mood boards and scrolling through catalogs can give you a great sense for the type of office environment you’d like. Using a website such as Pinterest, which often links to the products in certain photos, makes accessible all of the furniture and objects for sale that can turn your perfect vision into a reality. After just a quick look through some Pinterest categories, here are some “best of” ideas you can find for different styles of office space.
Best of Modern
Best of Small
Best of Open
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Not that we recommend calling competitors in your field “enemies,” per se. But, the sentiment of the saying definitely rings true for business competition. If you have a business that’s fighting to win against other, similar venture, you have to know their strategies as well as your own in order to stay ahead and foresee any surprise sucker punches waiting around the corner. And, especially in property management, competition is fierce—not only might you be working against property managers with more and better locations, you also have to be keenly aware of how the competition is marketing themselves to potential tenants. Even a property manager with fewer locations than you could market themselves so well that it seems like they take up more space in the minds of potential customers than they do in actual, physical, square foot reality. That’s right, thinking about the real estate of ad space and commercial exposure can matter just as much as the actual business.
Some of the best ways to stay on top of competitors—to know what strategies work for others that you may want to try—is to visit the competition where they work. Attend open houses that are hosted by other property managers, act like a detective and scope out their properties and online presence (within legal limits of course), and pay close attention to the type of marketing schemes that other property managers are using. If you notice that “Teneg” Property Group has suddenly started a local network TV commercial line and their business seems to be shooting through the roof, it might be time to start thinking of TV commercials yourself. See what others are offering, whether it be as simple as donuts and coffee at open houses, that might make customers a little happier.
Even more important perhaps, is to stay innovative beyond whatever a competitor is up to. Double your ad placement if you see a competitor branching out. Think of new strategies to stay on top of the game. Keep your competition on its toes, and you can be the standout in a market full of similar businesses.
At Genet Property Group, we like to highlight useful tools that other property management companies can use to help streamline their business and make tasks easier. This month, we’re going to take a look at Appfolio, a cloud-based service that pretty much helps you do everything you might need to do as a property manager. From their website, Appfolio “allows apartment, residential, commercial, student housing, and community association property managers to more effectively market, manage and grow their business.”
Normally, what do you do to keep up with all of your properties? It’s a big mess of paperwork—filing rental applications, inspection reports, complaints, service requests, taking photos, etc. I’m sure I wouldn’t be wrong in guessing that you often feel like more of a professional organizer than a property manager. However, with the Appfolio service, you can streamlines most of those menial tasks necessary to keep up with the property management game. Appfolio can post listings for your available spaces on different listing sites, and even automatically post apartment/commercial space availabilities to your own website. It manages all of your rental applications in a single online hub as well. Appfolio can even act as a terminal for texting tenants and performing “mobile inspections.” Essentially, rather than taking photos with a camera or writing out reports, you can use a smartphone to log inspection reports online and in the cloud.
The best part about it is, Appfolio is free to try—and if you like it, you only pay a set price per unit you manage. If you’re just starting out as a property manager, or you don’t have quite the employee base to manage all of your properties without putting in overtime, Appfolio is the perfect option to centralize all of your work into a single service.