By Katie Poole-Hussa, Property Manager – Portland, Acorn Property Management
Here is a list of four resolutions that property managers should have on their list for 2017. None of them are difficult or require an immense amount of work, and all of them would bring rewards throughout the coming year.
Start the New Year off organized. An organized landlord is a more profitable landlord. File your documents and paperwork logically and neatly in a file folder with brackets on each side of the folder. Two-hole punch the top of each document and file them in a way that works for you. Some landlords put all “pre-move in” documents on one side, and all other documents on the other. Being organized is simply a good business practice. Whether you manage one rental unit or a thousand, being organized and consistent will make you a better landlord and put more of the profit in your pocket.
Aim for more work/life balance. Build down-time into your schedule. When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge. Drop activities that zap your time or energy. Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them. You may even be able to leave work earlier if you make a conscious effort to limit the time you spend on the web and social media sites, making personal calls, or checking your bank balance. Rethink your errands. Consider whether you can outsource any of your household chores or errands. Could you order your groceries online and have them delivered? Hire a kid down the street to mow your lawn? Order your stamps online so you don’t have to go to the post office? Even if you’re on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you’ll save will make it worth it. Get moving. It’s hard to make time for exercise when you have a busy schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes 2-3 times per week. Don’t assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Set realistic goals, like leaving the office earlier one night per week. Even during a hectic day, you can take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries.
Increase Productivity. Move just one routine task online such as creating an online maintenance request form for your tenants. There is a host of property management software available to make every day management a little easier. Whether you manage one unit or 25, property management software can help you manage your rental properties more effectively and fill vacancies faster. With features like self-service customer portals, powerful accounting and advanced marketing, you’ll not only save time and increase productivity, but also reduce costs. Property management software helps you easily manage tenants, leases, contracts, documents, vendors and more.
Go Green. One strategy a landlord can employ to stand apart is going green. Using environmentally responsible practices can save money, attract more prospective tenants and help the environment. A landlord’s office should be as green as the rental units themselves. Using email and telephone to communicate with tenants saves paper and also speeds up the process. Energy-efficient computers, fax machines and scanners all use less electricity. Print fewer checks and pay bills online or sign up for online bank statements.
While you may have many other resolutions set for 2017, definitely consider these as they are simple to implement and will no doubt benefit your business moving into the New Year.
Katie Poole–Hussa is a Licensed Property Manager, Continuing Education Provider, Chair of the Education Committee for the RHA Oregon, and General Manager of the Portland Oregon branch of Acorn Property Management, LLC. She can be reached with questions or comments at Katie@AcornPM.net.
This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal assistance. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.