Three Maintenance Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Property
Forbes July 3, 2023
In my three decades of property management, I’ve seen the best and the worst of what this industry has to offer. I’ve seen impressive workmanship and a few tragic mistakes. I’ve seen someone ignore a termite report, thinking the problem couldn’t really be that bad, and then have to entirely reframe a four-unit building, replacing every single piece of wood in two of the units. The foolish owner in that scenario? That was me. I was relatively lucky—it only ended up costing me $50,000 to fix that quadruplex, but that’s still an expensive lesson.
Applying The Principles Of Luxury Management To All Property Management
Forbes March 10, 2023
In 2019, I wrote an article called The Star Treatment: How To Manage Luxury Properties In Style, about all the ways property managers should manage luxury properties differently than other residential properties. A lot has happened since then—both globally and in the industry—but one thing I hadn’t predicted when I wrote that piece was just how much my management of luxury property would affect how I approached management in general. Yes, luxury property comes with a different set of expectations and priorities, but it can also teach managers some valuable lessons about other types of real estate, as I’ve learned in the last year since taking over a larger luxury portfolio.
How Property Managers Can Help Rental Owners Embrace Change
Forbes January 19, 2023
In property management, I’ve found that many long-time rental property owners hold on to the management of their property not because they prefer the control or because they think they can do the work more efficiently than a management company, but simply because they’re used to things being a certain way and are averse to the idea of change.
How To Build Community In Your Apartment Building
Forbes December 5, 2022
It might not be something you can check for in an apartment application, but in my experience, the best tenants are those who care about each other. If you own an apartment building and can manage to build a community for residents there, you benefit them by bolstering their sense of fellowship in the neighborhood, and you benefit your property by making the residents more likely to respect it.
Not A Desk Job: Why Property Managers Should Walk Their Clients’ Properties
Forbes October 7, 2022
If you’re a property manager, even one who’s built a bigger business and assigned out many on-the-ground operations, let this article serve as a reminder that property management shouldn’t become a desk job, and you’re never too busy to physically walk your clients’ properties. And if you’re an owner, don’t settle for a company whose top brass never leave their offices. In fact, you might want to ask them tactfully, “What did you notice the last time you were out in the field?”
Property Owners: Don’t Settle For A Yes-Manager
Forbes July 22, 2022
Imagine you’re a presidential candidate, about to give the most important speech of your life at your party’s national convention. You put on a bright green suit with brown polka dots and an orange bowtie and ask your top advisor if the outfit “works.” Do you want that advisor to lie through their teeth and tell you it’s perfect for the occasion, or do you want them to be honest and tell you that you look like the proprietor of a chocolate factory? (More Willy Wonka than Woodrow Wilson, if you will.)
The Importance Of Having A Reliable Manager For Out-Of-State Properties
Forbes February 16, 2022
I’m a property manager by trade, but I’ve also dabbled in the ownership of rental assets over the years. One property I used to own was a mixed-use building in Georgia, where I learned the hard way the severe toll harsh weather can take on real estate. The local management company I had hired to care for the house hadn’t been very responsive to phone calls about minor maintenance issues, but I didn’t truly see the effects of their inability to act until I faced a major one. During a storm, the basement of the house started flooding, and as the water level approached the exposed electric circuitry on the ceiling, I was 2,200 miles away and going straight to voicemail.
Building A Winning Team In Property Management
Forbes December 13, 2021
The sports adage, "Your team is only as good as its weakest player," can be applied to any industry, but it’s especially true of property management. Excellent property management requires a joining of professionals with vastly different skill sets who are all working toward the same goal: maximizing the quality and profitability of their clients’ investments.
Checking Tenants' Credit In A Post-Pandemic Reality
Forbes September 14, 2021
Researching the credit of rental applicants is essential to choosing the most qualified tenant for a unit, now more than ever. Credit can’t tell you everything you need to know about an applicant, but historically, it has provided important information in the selection process. However, the pandemic has complicated things where credit is concerned.
Property Managers: Become Your Client's Trusted Advisor
Forbes May 12, 2021
As a professional property manager, you may have encountered a new type of property owner in the market. This class of owner is confident in every aspect of their investments without having to stress the minutia of day-to-day work on them.
A Post-Pandemic Game Plan For Property Managers
The novel coronavirus has impacted virtually every industry, and property management is no exception. Though the pandemic has brought tragedy and difficulty with it, we can at least salvage something positive by learning from it. So I want to focus on how property managers should apply the lessons they've learned from the pandemic to their post-pandemic operations.
Three Ways Property Owners Can Mitigate Mold Risks
Though exposure to mold is obviously never a good thing, the connection between exposure and adverse health effects is not as clear-cut as you might think. The Center for Disease Control says there’s insufficient evidence to link things like memory loss and lethargy to mold, but it also notes that an Institute of Medicine study in 2004 found enough evidence to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people, among other things.
What Property Managers Should Know About Cost Segregation
That was the bell — class is in session. Today you'll learn how cost segregation can lead to accelerated depreciation of an income property. Now, before we begin, I want to clarify that I am neither an attorney nor an accountant, so please don't take the advice of this article without first consulting your licensed attorney and accountant. But this topic is as much about investment as it is about property management, because as my son Kyle recently outlined, understanding investment strategies can help managers see the income properties they manage from an owner's perspective, and offering this benefit to clients can set managers apart in the field. While some of the terminology may sound complicated, the end result of this combination is simple: It will save your clients money.
Dismantling 'Us Versus Them' In Landlord-Tenant Relationships
During this period of uncertainty and struggle, amid danger and misinformation, the last thing we should do as a people is to assume the worst about each other. Crises like the current pandemic inevitably divide people to some extent — and this one divides us physically from one another — but when we rigidly refuse to give the benefit of the doubt to people in circumstances that are different from our own, we make healing all the more difficult. In property management terms, I’m talking specifically about the rise of an "us versus them" mentality between landlords and tenants.
The Property Manager's Guide To Navigating These Uncertain Times
The current moment is a strange and challenging one for people in all kinds of businesses — perhaps more accurately, it’s a strange time to be alive. In recent weeks, the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has accounted for thousands of deaths and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Closures and cancellations of public events have put normalcy on pause indefinitely, and confusion abounds about how best to proceed.
How Property Management Can Increase Resale Value
In property management, we’re almost always talking about the present. When my company and others in the industry describe the benefits we can offer property owners through our services, we explain how our licensed and insured maintenance, leasing and tenant communications can improve profits fast. And of course, those solutions are sustainable, so they compound in the long-term and multiply as the years pass.
Four Questions To Help You Decide If It's Time To Remodel Your Commercial Property
When commercial property owners run into the problem of major vacancies in one of their buildings and struggle to attract new tenants immediately, they have a couple of options to choose from. They can hit the panic button, lowering rents and accepting a lower profit margin to fill the vacancies right away, or they can reinvent the space through a large-scale remodel that will enable them to bring in higher rents once the renovations are finished.
Habitability And Liability: How Property Managers Can Protect Owners
Having worked in the property management industry for a quarter-century, I occasionally receive requests to serve as an expert witness in lawsuits. What that typically means is that I'm going to learn about a habitability claim that has turned into a costly lawsuit for the property owner.
How Los Angeles Landlords Can Recoup Up to 50% Of Seismic Retrofit Cost From Tenants
In recent years, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has issued ordinances demanding the strengthening of multilevel buildings with tuck-under parking (also called a “soft story”), buildings with multilevel wood frame construction and buildings built before 1978. This is because such structures have historically fared poorly in earthquakes, sustaining severe damage. The good news for building owners is that they can recover up to half of the cost of seismic retrofitting through something called the Seismic Retrofit Work Cost Recovery Program. I’ve talked to dozens of owners who had no idea they could recoup that much, so I felt the topic deserved some focused attention.
Communications 101: Improving Interactions Between Property Managers And Owners
The importance of open communication between a property manager and the property owners they represent cannot be overstated. Transparency is paramount in our industry, where owners ought to know exactly what they’re paying for, and managers ought not to act on assumptions. I've commented often on the need for good communication between these parties, and what follows is a comprehensive guide for positive and profitable interactions with your clients. Managers should always be working on how to better communicate, and owners should know what to expect of a good property manager.
Live, Laugh, Lease: Four Essentials For Accidental Landlords
If you recently moved from your home and leased it out, or inherited a rental property, you’re in one of the largest demographics of real estate investors: accidental landlords. When it comes to leasing, the learning curve is a harsh one. I kept my first home as a rental property after I moved out and thought I could handle managing it myself. Worth noting, this was before I was in the property management business myself. I didn't yet understand what managing a rental would entail, and things went south before long. I wound up dealing with an eviction lawsuit and a lot of learning experiences.
The Star Treatment: How To Manage Luxury Properties In Style
Over the course of my 25 years in the industry, I’ve managed properties in all different categories — commercial, industrial and residential. I’ve always believed in catering management style to specific clients based on their property type, and on their own unique personalities. In the office, I often repeat this mantra: “One size fits all fits none.” You can’t properly meet the needs of a warehouse owner with the same strategies you would use to manage an apartment building.
Going Above And Beyond In Property Management
Like every other industry, property management has seen major technological advancements in recent years, and it’s crucial to make sure your service adopts the most efficient tools available to it. But in truth, the quality of a property management company doesn’t hinge on technology — it comes down to principle.
Six Steps To (Near)-Perfect Property Maintenance
Typically, when somebody describes a business as being “in the toilet,” it's bad news. But property management is an industry built on the gritty work of contractors and maintenance technicians, including plumbing repairs. So if you’re a property manager and your company isn’t “in the toilet,” you’re doing something wrong.
Five Ways To Facilitate A Smooth Transition As The New Property Manager
In my last article, I offered advice to property managers handling tenant move-ins and move-outs. But in the management industry, tenants aren’t the only ones coming and going; owners “move” their properties between different property management companies until they’re satisfied. Bringing buildings and entire portfolios under new management is a process well worth proper preparation, so here are five steps that can ensure this all-important transition goes smoothly for your firm's new client.
Five Essential Steps For Property Managers To Take During Move-Ins And Move-Outs
Move-ins and move-outs can be tricky. If mishandled by a property manager, they can lead to upset tenants or far worse. Disputes over damages take a toll on both sides, and a late refund of deposit money could land you in legal trouble. Whether you’re managing single family homes or urban high-rises, it’s your responsibility to make sure that every unit is clean and fully functional before the next tenant moves in. Through strict organization and clear communication, you can streamline this process and avoid costly mistakes. Here are my keys to smooth and painless move-outs.
Five Practices From The Winning Manager's Playbook
Throughout my career as a property manager, I've consistently returned to five best practices. They apply to the management of all forms of real estate, from retail to residential, office to industrial. When managing, organization is of the utmost importance. Read on, and you'll find that principle at the heart of these five essential strategies.
The Landlord's Guide To Service Pets: An Overview
Service dogs perform all kinds of admirable and impressive tasks to serve the handicapped and disabled: guiding the blind, pulling their owners in wheelchairs in some cases even dialing 911. They can be vital to their owners’ well-being. But occasionally, tenants try to abuse the system by bringing pets that don’t qualify as service animals into no-pet properties. It’s crucial for landlords to know the ins and outs of this system.
Three Tips For Top-Tier Tenant Selection
Recently, I was at breakfast with a client who owns a quadruplex in the San Fernando Valley. He mentioned that one difference he’s seen since he outsourced his property management to us — a difference it took him a few years to notice — is that his tenants now tend to stay put. He had told me in our first conversation that he could always fill his units immediately, that finding new tenants was never a problem. I remember my immediate thought back then was that he probably wasn’t getting top dollar for his apartments, and his rent-controlled units were suffering because of it. Now, he said he recognized that keeping the units full was a different story.
Triple Net Lease Owners: Don't Lose Out To This Common Problem
Properties with triple net leases often appeal to risk-averse landlords because of their inherently low-maintenance nature. But if you think delegating the costs of maintenance, property insurance and property tax to the tenant makes owning property a breeze, think again. Triple net leases come with their own set of unique risks and challenges for landlords. Let's explore the most common issue these leases pose, and how wise landlords can navigate them.
Two Potential Pitfalls For Accidental Landlords To Avoid
People tend to express surprise when I tell them how many of my clients never expected or intended to own rental property. As a property manager in Los Angeles, I receive calls from folks who’ve wound up as landlords through all sorts of different unplanned scenarios. Maybe a family member has passed away and willed them a property. Maybe they wanted to sell their home but couldn’t fetch the right price for it, so they had to rent it out until the market improved. Just today, we got a call from an owner whose property had been declared a historic landmark, so he couldn’t remodel it to sell at the price he had hoped. Regardless, what they share in common is that they’ve come into possession of rental property without preparation for becoming a landlord.
Repealing Costa-Hawkins Can Only Make Things Worse For California Residents
This November, Californians will vote on a ballot proposal to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, known most commonly as simply “Costa-Hawkins.” The statewide law, enacted in 1995, limits rent control to buildings built before February of 1995 and prohibits municipalities from expanding rent control to include “vacancy control.” Vacancy control means taking away the right of landlords to increase the rents of vacant units to match market price.
Managing Your Property Manager
Excellent property management delivers the highest profits and superior care for your property. This is a clear and simple truth. But as an owner, how can you really know when you’re getting great management? Is there any way to confirm that your manager is delivering maximum profits and taking the best possible care of your building? How can you know that they’re watching your expenses as if they were their own or that rents are as high as possible? Are smart steps being taken to minimize liability? You can see how the simple truth we started with quickly becomes a lot less simple to nail down.
How To Get Your Tenants To Help Pay For Major Improvements
If you own apartments in Los Angeles, you might not know about one of the most valuable programs available to owners. It’s through the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) and called the Capital Improvement Program. It has the ability to have a truly major positive impact on your profits.