Collections

It is not uncommon for a tenant to owe their landlord money when they vacate. On rare occasions the former tenant will make arrangements to pay the balance off. But typically, we must contact them to make arrangements for collection. But how does a property manager go about posturing for this in an effective way? Well, the first step towards collecting real debt began way back at the application process. The application carries the most useful data when trying to find a debtor. Their social security number, bank info, date of birth, former addresses, etc. This data combined with a thorough and accurate move out report will give the corporate office and/or the collection agents all the bullets they need to try and collect the debt. The best way you can assist this process is by always collecting good information from the tenant and trying your best to make sure you have a tangible FORWARDING ADDRESS when the tenant vacates. Those tools will greatly increase your ability to collect old debt.

THE LEASING OFFICE HUNT

There is an old expression in the hotel business, “we set our prices at the lobby.” This means that the way you design and furnish your office directly affects a prospective tenant’s opinion regarding your property’s market rates, even before they see the apartment. You can set positive and realistic expectations by making sure that your office is clean, tidy, with pleasant aromas. Your office should be freshly painted with nice floors, framed floorplans hanging on the walls, and very few personal items. Your office hours should be clearly posted with all relevant phone numbers and have a “will return by” clock.

Secondly, make sure that your prospects can find the leasing office with ease. You don’t want them focusing their energy on finding the office, rather than evaluating your product. Creating an easy-to-follow path to the office, followed by a top-notch office interior, will markedly improve your leasing efforts. Let your prospects relax as they peruse their new homes, rather than hunting for the leasing office.

Budget Time

The end of the calendar year forces us to look towards the future. A future that will bring changes. Some good, some bad. But for property managers, it also means budget season.

The Bay Area has endured a lot of changes over the last few years. Rental rates appear to have settled down a bit, and property owners should have a pretty good idea about their building’s income potential for 2017. A solid budget can help your building accomplish primary goals with ease, and can afford you secondary goals if properly instituted.

At Castle Management, we have been managing buildings and their budgets for almost 30 years. We have internal resources that can help you get your building’s budget straightened out. When you don’t budget, you are opening your property up for chaos. Chaos creates stress. Stress creates problems, and then primary goals won’t get accomplished.

If you think your property could benefit from a professional budget or a professional property manager, then think about hiring one! And consider Castle when you do.

SCHOOL IS HERE

In September, many apartment complexes endure a resident exodus due to college terms ending and new employment opportunities. Often times, this exodus causes problems in a property manager’s ability to keep their buildings full and profitable. One trick to manage this little hiccup is with the use of term leases. It’s true that you won’t find many students willing to sign a lease beyond their college expectancy, but almost every other resident will. In other words, you can hedge your position by locking your non-students into term leases that extend later into the Fall and Winter. This gives you a little more padding in the numbers to withstand a large student exodus.

This is just one little planning tip that we use in the right locations. But we are chalk full of good ideas! So if you are frustrated with your property’s performance in any way, think about hiring a professional property management company. And consider Castle when you do.

Neighbor Nuisance

One of the most complicated problems we face in property management, happens when two apartment renters living side by side, reach a point of contention about a common problem. This could be regarding TV volume, washer/dryer usage, activities schedule, etc. It could be literally anything that Party A wants to do, when Party B feels disrupted.

Landlords are often saddled with the dubious task of sorting out the pieces in these conflicts, which can be volatile depending on the circumstances. At Castle Management, we have years of experience handling these exact difficulties. The solution to this problem actually began way back when you first met these renters. It is every property manager’s prerogative to establish culture and expectations. When a manager is leasing rental units, it is crucial to explain all the relative details of the property. Getting ahead of these problems early on, and establishing a culture at the property will go a long way towards managing the expectations of your residents. So next time you are stuck in the middle of two angry residents, think about hiring a professional property management firm. And consider Castle, when you do.

Delivering on What We Say…

At Castle Management, we sell peace of mind to property owners. What does that mean? It means that whatever we say we’re going to do, we will do it. And if we can’t do it, we will tell you why. That doesn’t seem like anything extraordinary at first glance, but think about all the best business relationships you’ve ever had. I’ll bet that all of them included some level of trust with your counterpart. We build trust by being honest, forthcoming, and accountable at all times. And that just isn’t very common these days. So if you need someone to tell you the truth about your rental property, think about hiring a professional property management firm, and consider Castle when you do.

Finding the Office

A simple, yet critical portion of leasing, is your prospect’s ability to locate the leasing office with relative ease. A lot of properties overlook this, but you can maximize your exposure to leads by ensuring that every prospect that wants to see an apartment – gets to see an apartment. You can accomplish this via helpful signage and/or balloons to steer the prospect’s eyes towards the office. Getting prospects into your office with simplicity allows them to focus solely on your product. Prospects don’t want to work to see an apartment, they want convenience to get in and make an informed decision.

The Ideal Move-In

The proper move-in process starts well before the move-in day. Before the new tenant moves in, the manager needs to walk the rental and check everything out. Checking all appliances, plumbing, lights, batteries, keys, garage remotes, etc – prior to moving the new tenant in.

More importantly, the move-in day is the most influential time you will ever spend with the tenant. You have a captive audience, and you have something they want – keys. Using the power of this leverage, you can successfully get everything you want done at this moment. You can get all money that is owed, all utilities set up, all lease signatures collected, all rules properly explained. Once everything you need is done, THEN you issue keys to the new tenant, and begin your new relationship on the right foot. With everything that needed to be said, being said. And everyone on the same page.

Need a Property Manager?

The Bay Area is thriving. Property values are soaring, and more and more new investors are lining up to stake their claim in this dynamic environment. If you happen to be a newly minted property owner in the Bay Area, you will need a reliable and respected property manager to protect your asset. At Castle Management, we have properties overseen by seasoned professionals in all areas of Contra Costa County. We can accurately describe the changes we’ve seen in the market, and the shifts we’re advising to our owners to stay at peak operating levels. If this is a service that you think you might benefit from, then think about hiring a professional property management company, and consider Castle when you do.

Tenant Expectations

If you are a landlord in the Bay Area, and you are experiencing tenant relationship management issues with the heightened level of expectations due to rent increases, contemplate hiring a professional property management firm to handle these affairs for you. And consider Castle, when you do. We have a team with decades of experience who are steadfast to finessing these problems away on our owner’s behalf. We hope to hear from you!

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