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Five Benefits of Using a Professional Management Company

If you are self-managing your investment properties, you are missing out on the many benefits of using a property management company. Professional management teams are highly trained to limit liability, reduce vacancy, and lower costs all without incurring deferred maintenance. The following is how The Management Works can help you.

Increase Listing Visibility

Increasing visibility via powerful online tools means less time your unit remains vacant. The Management Works uses software that uploads your listing to dozens of websites to reach a greater number of applicants, which increases the chance of finding an excellent renter. This technology allows us to track inquiries and maximize efficiencies of your advertising budget. Gone are the days of manually uploading listings to sites like Craigslists. In essence, technology has streamlined and automated the process.

Decrease Maintenance Costs

Our software allows residents to submit maintenance requests remotely from anywhere, 24-hours a day. This means no more late-night phone calls about backed-up toilets. It automatically logs maintenance requests and assigns the unit number, allowing you to track and prioritize your maintenance team efficiently. In addition, you may access all maintenance records including the dates they were completed. Finally, tracking costs per unit has never been easier because bills and invoices can be posted quickly. This is an important feature if you ever want to understand a certain maintenance job or cost.

Online Payments

Today over 60% of people use a mobile device to search for apartments. A similar number of people use their devices for online bill pay. By using The Management Works software, we can encourage online payments. Tenants can conveniently pay via e-check and set up auto-payments directly from their checking or credit card accounts. We collect rent payments faster and with more reliability thanks to the built-in security measures. Your residents will love the ease and consistency of this system.

Economies of Scale

The Management Works uses project managers to save you money on capital expense projects. Their job is to get you the best vendor for the best price. They accomplish this through vendor management. Since The Management Works orders thousands of dollars’ worth of materials each month, we get large discounts from suppliers. In addition, we thoroughly vet each vendor, and rebid contracts each year to take advantage of competitive pricing.

Fast Property Reports

Ever wonder how your property is performing? Unless you have accounting experience, it is difficult for owner-managers to prepare their own financial statements. The Management Works provides current financial reports via an owner portal. These are accessible anytime, anywhere and give you a complete picture of your income and expenses. We strive to be completely transparent. With these reports you can see how your property is performing.

By using The Management Works team, you will benefit from increased access to technology both for advertising and reporting purposes. You also benefit from the economies of scale and vendor connections of a professional project manager. If you have not considered hiring a property management company to handle your investments, contact The Management Works today to find out how we can help you maximize your investment’s potential.

Orange Bungalows Apartments Case Study

Orange Bungalows Apartments is a six-unit complex located in Costa Mesa’s East Side neighborhood. Our executive team was able to locate the off-market deal thanks to their relationships with local brokers. They also managed the refinancing of the owners’ current assets for the purchase. Paying cash, the owners had a $200,000 renovation budget.

Work Completed

In addition to the deferred maintenance, the property received:

-Helical pier stabilization for three units, two new concrete slabs, and concrete foam injection

-New windows and sliding patio doors for all six units

-Exterior paint and stucco repair

-New garage doors for each unit

-New landscaping, monument-style mailbox structure, irrigation, exterior lighting, and new fencing for each unit

-Interior drywall

-Full interior renovations including granite/quartz countertops, paint, stainless-steel appliances, wood-like flooring, and light/plumbing fixtures

Despite the scope of these repairs, our project management team came in under budget following the year-long remodel. They were instrumental in acquiring excellent vendors and negotiating fair prices for all of the needed projects. In addition, much of the interior remodeling was completed in-house by our professional maintenance team, saving the owners additional labor costs.

The Right Management

As a result of prior mismanagement, rents were approximately 52% under market upon purchase. Following the remodel and leasing efforts, The Management Works doubled net operating income – adding $400,000 in valuation for its owners. The property is now fully leased and cash flow positive. Our professional managers keep a close eye on the area’s market rates for when lease renewals become eligible. We are proud to say that our residents opt to continue renewing with us. They feel the location, amenities, and value of these units are exceptional.

If you are in the market to purchase commercial real estate but don’t know where to start, let The Management Works guide you through the process. Hopefully this case study shows that we are able to acquire, remodel, and manage any size project for you. For more information visit our “Contact Us” page to either email or call our corporate staff. They will help you identify the next steps to acquire a new property or improve the ones you already own. Contact us today and see how we are improving the way our residents and owners live!

 

Three Ways to Engage Residents This Summer

It is important for any landlord to engage with their residents from time to time. Maintaining consistent contact will result in residents who are invested in your property. Residents who feel connected and engaged tend to stay longer, cutting down on turnover and vacancy costs. Here are three ways to reach out and engage residents this summer.

Resident Functions

Functions are a great way to engage residents. They are also a perfect venue to announce new projects, regulations, or programs happening within your property. They do not have to be fancy –  something as simple as a movie night, potluck, or game night are great budget-friendly ways to vitalize your community. Residents will have face-to-face time with each other and the management staff, stimulating dialogue and fostering connections. Don’t have a big budget for a function? No problem! Potlucks require very little out-of-pocket expense and you can encourage people to bring their favorite family recipes. Clubhouses, pools, and tennis courts make perfect gathering areas for outdoor movies, barbecues, or pool parties. Make sure to advertise your function early and often with the help of email blasts, paper notifications, and fliers in your property’s common areas.

Community Facebook Page

In today’s technology age, many people turn to sites like Facebook to stay in touch. A free community Facebook page is a great way to share information with your residents. It also serves as a communication tool for residents to ask questions, post concerns, and generally keep you informed of your property. Share pictures of on-going projects, advertise your resident functions, and post your vacancies. The back-and-forth from engaged community members could lead to discovering deferred maintenance or potential criminal activity, which you can proactively solve with the help of you community manager. Finally, make sure to name your Facebook page after your community and that it is registered as a “Page” not a “Profile”.

Maintenance Technicians

Your boots-on-the-ground maintenance technicians interface with your residents every day. Keep an up-to-date picture of the quality of service you are providing with the help of paper surveys. If your management software has a survey feature even better! You can activate this feature to send a survey every time a work order is completed. Be sure to reward your team for excellent service with gift cards or bonuses. Also, follow up with residents who submit a survey or comment card with a thank you note or email. You should also take this time to promptly address any unsatisfactory comments you may receive. Happy maintenance technicians are professional and courteous. They will go above and beyond to help a resident feel safe and comfortable in their apartment. They are your rental business’s front line, so do not overlook them when considering ways to keep your residents engaged.

People want to live in vibrant communities where they feel connected and engaged. The result will be loyal, long-term residents who care about your property.  These examples are a few ways you can engage residents and grow a community they are proud to call home. Contact us today and see how we can help you improve the way your residents live.

Five Spring Cleaning Tips For Apartment Living

The weather is warming, days are getting longer, and the dust bunnies are rearing their furry heads. If you are like me, the last deep cleaning you did was months ago. In the new light of spring you notice the smudges and stains you said you would get to when sunnier days returned. Well, now they are here and it is time to freshen up your winter den. Below are five spring cleaning tips for apartment living.

1. Make a kit

Gather the necessities including all-purpose cleaner, sponges, window cleaner, rags, wipes, carpet stain remover, and a duster. Place all of these items in an easy-to-carry plastic caddy that you can take from room to room. Like a contractor with their tool belt, you will always have the necessary tool for the job within arm’s reach. This will cut down on the time it takes to look for a sponge and makes cleaning much easier and more efficient.

2. Begin by decluttering

Dusting around several small items is a pain, so before you begin, make “keep”, “toss”, and “give away” piles. Put anything you wish to keep and will organize later in the “keep” pile. Likewise, anything you wish to get rid of can either end up in the “toss” pile for trash or the “give away” pile for donating to second-hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Once you have well-defined piles get rid of as much stuff before starting the general cleaning.

3. Work from top to bottom

An easy way to organize your cleaning is by prioritizing higher places first and moving downwards to the floor. For example, take an extendable duster and clear out the cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling. Next, dust shelves, wipe down counters, and vacuum furniture. Lastly, clear spots on the carpets, vacuum, and mop. By moving from top to bottom you are sure to capture any dust and dirt that may have fallen and settled onto your floors.

4. Break it down by room

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning your entire apartment. Instead, think of it as a series of rooms. Start with smaller rooms like closets, bedrooms and hallways, and work your way up to larger, harder to clean rooms. This takes advantage of the snowball effect, where small actions cascade into additional motivation to complete your project. If you feel like only doing a little each day, that is fine too.

5. Finish with lesser used areas

Once all the rooms have received a good once-over, return to catch places you don’t normally clean. One example of this is the fridge. You will want to wipe down shelves and drawers and check all food for expiration dates. Anything passed its sell-by date should be thrown out. Take this time to also clean under beds, dust curtains, and the base of any toilets. These are often overlooked and can make a difference in the overall feel of cleanliness in your apartment.

Use these tips to get a leg up on the spring cleaning season. They will save you time and sanity and your apartment will be a fresh and clean. Are you are looking for a new place to live? Visit our website’s vacancy listings and follow our blog for more apartment tips this year!

Year End Review – 2017 Highlights

The Management Works enjoyed another stellar year of growth in 2017. Our highly trained team worked hard to add considerable value to our owner’s properties. We have innovated many of the ways we interact with residents as well as our digital audience. Along with adding nine new properties, we performed extensive renovation projects thanks to our exceptional maintenance and project management team. In 2018, we plan to continue to grow and adopt new technologies as we push the envelope of what a property management company can do for its clients. Read on to know how we are improving the way our residents live.

In 2017, The Management Works took on nine more properties growing our total units managed to 906. Two of these properties are in San Diego and one is in Portland, Oregon, making it the first year we have expanded to areas outside of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Two properties on-boarded during the year comprised of 18 commercial retail units, also a landmark for our company. We hope 2018 will bring additional opportunities to apply our unique management system to our client’s investments.

Our maintenance and project management teams were busy during 2017 completing landscape and exterior renovations at ten properties. For example, at Aventine Court in Corona, we repaired the existing play structure, upgraded the landscaping, and installed communal barbecues and picnic tables. Residents are thrilled to see the upgrades and have an invigorated pride of ownership about their community. At another property in Tustin, Park Magnolia received a brand-new fitness center complete with cardio equipment and weights. Residents love to utilize their new gym and say it has added considerable value to the community.

In addition to our exterior renovations, The Management Works now has a completely redesigned website. Mgtworks.com now incorporates a blog, career page, and social media profiles which makes renting from us a breeze. In our attempt to digitize our rental experience, a few of the properties received Yelp page branding to showcase our renovated properties. We also spearheaded a Yelp campaign to bring attention to these pages in an attempt to highlight our online presence. In 2018, we hope to continue this trend and add property-specific Facebook pages to promote a sense of community.

The future of The Management Works looks bright in 2018 as we plan to reach our goal of 1000 units managed by year’s end. We hope to add additional value to our current properties through smart use of owner capital. We also plan to increase our resident relations through technology by utilizing social media and our new blog. With our progressive approach to digital tools, our highly trained staff, and our drive to become better, The Management Works is here to help you with all of your management and investment needs. As always thank you for your continued business and friendship as we begin a new and exciting year.

 

Sincerely,

David “Chip” Robinson

President & CEO

The Management Works

Four Maintenance Items for Fall

 

fall maintenance

While we all love the season changes bringing sweaters, pumpkins, and football it also brings maintenance requests for pilot lights and roof leaks. Listed below are four maintenance items you should be completing before the temperature drops and the weather arrives. Doing these four things will save you time and money and your residents will appreciate your preparation.

Change Furnace Filters/Check HVAC System

If your units have a central HVAC system, the end of summer is a good time to check your furnace filters. If they are dirty or dusty, changing them is quick and affordable, and residents will enjoy better air quality. As an owner, a more efficient heating system will save you money on energy costs. Be sure to remind residents to turn on their furnace before cooler weather comes. This allows them to air out the ducts while keeping the windows open. It removes dust build-up and ensures they know how to operate it before the year’s first cold-snap. Finally, gas companies will come, check, and light pilot lights for you. They make sure all the connections are secure and that there is no maintenance necessary. Be proactive and make sure your HVAC system is ready for fall.

General Roof Maintenance

When fall arrives, sometimes it brings rain. Roofs that have been baking in the sun all summer long can crack and deteriorate. This leaves openings where water can intrude into your property. Hiring a roofing vendor to do an inspection is a great way to ensure your units are weather-ready. They will look for broken shingles, sealant cracks, and fascia separation. As with HVAC vendors, roofers get very busy once the weather is here. Call early to ensure prompt service. It pays to check this item as water intrusion can be extremely expensive to correct.

Gutter/Drain Clean Outs

In the same vein as roof maintenance comes drain and gutter maintenance. Gutters and drains collect leaves and debris all year long, which can clog and cause major flooding to your property. During your roof inspection, have your roofer also clean out any gutters on the property. This is an easy and affordable option that will reduce the chance of water intruding into your units. Be sure to also clean out any property drains. These are usually located in parking areas or walkways where rainwater collects and is returned to the street’s storm drains. Make sure to clear these before the rain so you are not stuck cleaning them out during a downpour.

Doors and Windows Maintenance

One overlooked maintenance item is weather-stripping for doors and windows. It is an affordable fix that will save you money on heating costs. Check doors and windows for broken or missing weather-stripping during inspections and replace as needed. They will create a firm seal on your exterior doors that keeps out drafts and moisture. Inspect windows for proper seals and broken panes. These can go unreported by residents who are not aware of what to look for. A broken pane or an improperly sealed window can cause moisture intrusion, which can lead to mold. Repair broken windows and make sure they are properly sealed before fall to reduce these risks.

Performing these maintenance items is a great way to ensure your properties are ready for the colder months. They will save you money on last minute repairs when vendors are too busy with other jobs. If your current management is not addressing these items take the time to research what a professional property management company can do for you.

5 Things To Look For On Your Cash Flow Report

Your cash flow report is the lifeline of your property. Knowing how to read it is essential to understanding the overall health of your commercial properties. Listed below are five things you should be checking every month. If questions arise, always contact your professional property management team.

Income

Income pays your property’s expenses, debt service, and wallet when enough remains. Always check your gross income and compare it to trailing months. If it is higher or lower than normal, ask why. A vacancy or a missed laundry check could mean a lower than normal income. Market rate changes, rent increases, or added revenue streams could mean a higher than normal gross income. Either way, keep track and question this amount every month to ensure your property generates the highest possible income.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses are day-to-day costs to run the property. Fixed, variable, and periodic are examples of expense categories you will see on a report. Expenses paid every month, quarter, or year are periodic. Periodic expenses can also be fixed or variable. Fixed charges remain the same as occupancy fluctuates. Examples of fixed periodic expenses are insurance and property taxes. Variable expenses are those which fluctuate depending on occupancy. Examples of variable periodic expenses include utility bills, pest control, and maintenance. If the variable expenses are significantly higher or lower than average, ask why. If an unusual expense shows up on the report inquire as to what the nature of the expense was and why it was necessary.

Capital Expenses

Capital expenses are permanent improvements that increase or upgrade the value of your property. You should require estimates from several contractors for these projects since they are often expensive. Examples of capital expenses include installation of new windows, a new roof, or replacement of a HVAC system. You should always have a signed contract with the vendor performing the project. Make sure to check these items on your cash flow report to see that the final bill matches the estimates provided by your property manager. If they do not, inquire as to what changed and why.

Below-the-Line-Items

Below-the-line means the items below net income. This section reports items like owner distributions, contributions, prepaids, and accrued items. You should carefully review these items as they directly affect your cash flow. For example, this section reports your monthly distributions, which should match the amount received on your bank statement. In addition, this section deducts prepaid rent. This is because cash paid for a future debt should be reported on the corresponding month’s cash flow statement. If the report lists a distribution that you did not receive ask your company executive for an explanation.

Cash Flow

This is the final and most important piece to the cash flow report. This section is located at the very bottom of the report. It shows your remaining cash after all expenses, debt service, and distributions are paid. Make sure that it is positive. Otherwise your property lost money during the month. The cash flow section will indicate beginning and ending cash. If your cash flow was positive, your ending cash will be higher than beginning cash. Owners should always make sure this amount is high enough to provide a cushion for turnovers, major expenses, and property taxes. You and your property management team should agree upon this cushion by taking into account turnover rates, property age, and property size.

Overlooking any of these items could mean loss in revenue, higher expenses, or even overdrawn operating accounts. Your professional property management team should be recommending ways to increase revenue and decrease expenses to boost your properties overall value. After all, even the smallest changes can have large effects on your bottom line.

Three Questions To Ask Your Professional Property Management

Poor management is the number one reason for property investment failures. After spending significant time, money, and effort securing a rental property make sure those managing it are looking out for your best interests. Many owners do not know what they should be looking for in a professional property management company. Maybe you inherited the property and have not communicated with the company that has been running it for several years. Are you an out-of-state owner removed from the process of daily operations? Or maybe you hired a local company based on the recommendations of your friends or agent. At any rate, the following questions confirm your management company is providing you with the best service.

Do they provide monthly financial statements?

Financial statements are an absolute necessity to understanding the financial health of your property. A monthly cash flow report tells you the operating income, operating expenses, and capital expenses. Reviewing this report every month ensures that all rental income is collected, operating expenses matched yearly averages, and no unauthorized capital expenses occurred. Additionally, your company should be able to answer any questions you have regarding this report. These contacts can take the form of a controller, account executive, or sometimes the property manager themselves.

Do they ask for approval on large capital expense items?

Capital expense items are often large purchases that permanently add value to the property. Many owners have a set dollar amount above which they require approval, leaving smaller amounts to the discretion of the property manager. However, there are many projects for which you as an owner should have final say. Discussing the benefits of the projects with the property or project manager is helpful to understanding why certain expenses are necessary. Coordinating with the vendor(s) who plan to complete the project is even better. This way you can ask specifically how they intend to do it and the costs/options involved. This will help you understand the purpose of potentially expensive capital projects.

Do they provide at least 2-3 bids from separate vendors on each project?

While on the subject of capital expenses, does your management company provide you with at least 2-3 bids from separate vendors? It is typical for companies to have a preferred vendor list. These are vendors they used in the past from whom they receive potential price cuts due to the business they provide. It is always important that managers provide owners several bids. This is especially true for large ticket items where the scope of work and materials can vary. Therefore, if your manager is not getting at least 2-3 bids for larger projects you may be losing out on potential savings!

These three questions are vital to ensuring the success and profitability of your rental property. Requesting these services is as easy as contacting your account executive or property manager. Accordingly, if they do not honor these basic and important services it may be time to look for a replacement.