property Managers Tips and Tricks

Property Management Tips and Tricks

If you’re a property manager for an apartment building, especially a larger one, you are probably busier than ever. Between juggling current resident issues, onboarding new tenants, meeting potential renters, and navigating changing health and safety guidelines, you’re likely stretched thin. Fortunately, there are a few simple and innovative property management solutions you can follow to free up time and make your property management service better, as well as help you be a good property manager for your renters.

Learning to do more with less can feel challenging as there are only so many tasks that one property manager can handle during the space of a business day. Successfully managing more tasks in a short space of time takes planning and strategy, but can help to alleviate stress that would not be manageable in the long run otherwise.

Here are a few property management tips and tricks to make future property management easier and more efficient and help you be a more successful property manager.


4 Must-Know Property Management Tips and Tricks

Property management basics argue that a property manager’s goal, aside from ensuring resident satisfaction, is to increase efficiency and optimise operations. To find areas of improvement for your rental property, start by using these tips and answering the following questions:

#1 Consider outsourcing or delegating time-consuming tasks

Which tasks take too much of my time? Oftentimes, there are tasks that a property manager wants to focus on that end up taking a backseat to repetitive and sometimes tedious, but necessary tasks. If you find yourself spending significant amounts of time on repetitive administrative tasks, it may be worthwhile for you to consider outsourcing those tasks to a support employee, app, or service. Even outsourcing one task can save precious minutes, even hours of your time. Over the space of a year, those minutes can add up. If your make ready tasks are consuming too much time, or aren’t getting done quick enough, you can always save yourself time and hassle by calling Refresh. With one phone call, you can get all of your apartment turn tasks done without having to go through the hassle of calling several different companies and trying to schedule the services in the right order. Refresh can help you with Painting, Janitorial, Refinishing and carpet cleaning as well as wall and ceiling repair, water extraction, dryer vent cleaning, carpet repair, upholstery cleaning and pretty much anything else you need for your make ready list.

#2 Ask residents’ for feedback

What are my residents’ most common complaints? Providing a desirable community environment starts with observing common complaints, or even surveying residents for their most desired amenity ideas. Consider giving tenants a suggestion box or an outlet to provide anonymous feedback about issues they’re having around the community. Proactively addressing complaints and suggestions can show current and potential renters that they are valued and also help you find operational issues you might not have realised were a concern.

Make ready apartment turns

#3 Improve your time management

How can I be better organised? Even with the best time management skills the property management business can be challenging, as a property manager is regularly inundated with various jobs and demands. Consider scheduling or batching your time instead of knocking things out as they come up. There are several apps and services available that can help to streamline processes or organise anything from handling rent payments to accepting packages. Again, Refresh can really free up a lot of your time by taking over your make ready apartment turn tasks.  Spoiler: it’s usually more cost effective to use us too!

#4 Address common resident issues

What are the recurring problems or tasks that cause you the most grief? Each residential building or community has its share of issues. It may sometimes feel like a revolving door of problems – as soon as one thing is fixed, another problem takes its place. That said, many communities have issues that, for one reason or another, seem to pop up regularly. This could be anything from tub cracking problems to complications stemming from a lack of parking. Whatever the particular issue, take some time to brainstorm solutions that can hopefully grant both you and your tenants some relief.

5 Common Problems and Solutions For Property Managers

Now that you’ve taken some time to reflect on opportunities for how to improve your rental property , here are a few other common problems you may want to consider adding to your list, as well as some solutions that other property managers have turned to for help.

#1 Managing Packages

The meteoric rise of eCommerce platforms has changed the way that people shop for and purchase goods. In fact, GroupM expects that global retail eCommerce sales will rise to $7 trillion by 2024 (comprising 25% of total retails sales) and reach $10 trillion by 2027. And, since the start of the pandemic, eCommerce penetration has seen 10 years of growth in less than 3 months – with the percent of total sales reaching nearly 35%.

With residents shopping online now more than ever – some properties are experiencing over 60% more package volume than their normal level – many property managers are struggling to keep up with package management. This results in two key issues for build-to-rent communities:

  • Parcel Theft – An increased supply of packages, especially those left ready and waiting on tenant doorsteps, has created a new subset of people who seek to steal other’s possessions. If the community or building entrance isn’t monitored, packages left on a rental unit’s doorstep are vulnerable to package theft. Even installing security cameras might not be enough of a package theft deterrent.
  • Package Management – The steady deluge of packages means that a good portion of a property manager’s job could soon be devoted to accepting, organising, and delivering tenant packages. In a residential apartment complex, especially for those with 100+ units, this could result in a massive overflow that stresses mailroom capacity.
  • Smart residential lockers provide a number of important benefits, including:
    • Contact-Free Package Pick-Up: Residents can scan a barcode in the delivery notification or push a button in the mobile app to access their packages without using a touchscreen.
    • Efficiency: Smart lockers streamline the delivery process, and our flexible solutions reduce the space needed to accept deliveries.
    • Advanced: Our flexible API allows for seamless integration with property management software systems.
    • Weatherproof: Our outdoor solutions are designed to withstand exposure from rain, wind, humidity and extreme temperatures.
    • Long-lasting: Our solutions are designed to last for over a decade – even in extreme temperatures.
    • Accessible: Multi-sized lockers allow for 100% deliverability, and our fully ADA-compliant solutions support any user.
    • Mobile-Friendly: Residents can receive delivery alerts, manage packages, and retrieve deliveries with their smartphones.
    • Customisable: Parcel Pending offers custom locker configurations, colour options, or wraps to match property aesthetics or branding.

  • #2 Managing Potential Tenant Screening

    A large part of any property owner or property manager’s job is meeting with and screening a prospective tenant to fill a vacancy at their rental property. Although it would make the job significantly easier to just accept a rental application from anyone who shows up and wants to sign a lease agreement, a property owner or property management company’s job is to bring in the right resident – one who will pay rent promptly and be good neighbors to existing residents.

    An ideal prospective tenant will meet the following criteria:

    • Good credit
    • Steady employment
    • Have a monthly income that is roughly 3 times higher than the rent
    • No prior evictions
    • No prior convictions

    In fact, according to TransUnion, “84% of landlords say that non-payment is one of their top concerns about new tenants”. But, to ensure the screening is thorough and correct, the process can take a lot of time. Here are some tips a property manager can use to streamline potential tenant screening for a rental listing:

    • Create a Pre-Screening Survey – You likely already spend a good amount of time answering phone calls and emails. Instead of simply allowing a general rental application (wherein applicants can ignore criteria like monthly income), consider using a survey or Google Form to help separate the qualified applicants from the non-qualified applicants.
    • Use a Consistent Screening Method – However you or a leasing agent at your property go about screening residents, it’s important to find a system that works and stick to it in order to consistently yield good results. If you change up how you interview, what you ask, or what your must-have criteria are, it’s much harder to compare and contrast responses or gauge who will be a great tenant for your community.
    • Perform Background Checks – As a professional property manager, your first priority should always be the protection of your current residents. It’s critical that you do everything in your power to ensure you’re not bringing dangerous or untrustworthy people into your rental property. Background checks can help you accomplish the following:
    • Protect you and your multifamily real estate investment property from liability
    • Help prevent non-payments
    • Allow you to confirm that the prospective resident or residents are who they say they are
    • Provide both existing and potential tenants with peace of mind as they know that you are serious about their safety

    #3 Managing Rent Payment

    Rental property payments are of concern to a good property management company or property manager. Why not make it easier for both you and your residents by making payments virtual and automatic? This allows you to easily collect, track, and organize payments, thereby reducing the amount of time you spend worrying about whether or not a resident has paid their rent.

    Since the vast majority of all late payments arise from people simply forgetting that they need to pay, it might be wise to use a property management tool such as an automatic rent payment system or one with a payment scheduling feature to help facilitate this process.

    Using tools or systems like this can significantly benefit a tenant, a property manager, or a property management company. Here are a few of the most important benefits:

    • Set and Forget – Residents prefer to set up recurring payments so that once a bill is scheduled, they won’t have to think about it again. This allows them to avoid the hassle of sending a check in the mail or delivering it to the leasing office by hand.
    • Auto Ledger – Automated rent collection systems categorise and record rent collection into an account ledger, making it easy for a landlord or onsite property manager to see who has paid rent and who hasn’t.
    • Reduce Late Rent Payments – Even if tenants don’t use autopay, they can enable notifications and reminders that rent is coming due. This saves you the trouble of tracking residents down and harassing them for payment, which can become a sore spot in the tenant–landlord relationship.

    #4 Managing Access to Amenity Spaces

    In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some communities are now requiring reservations for the use of common areas, or amenity spaces like the gym. Depending on the number of amenities or common areas your rental property offers, this can easily become a time-consuming process – especially for an in-demand amenity or common area.

    Consider investing in a resident amenity scheduling software to make life easier for both you and your residents. Note that this may already come as a part of your property management software and not require a further investment on your part.

    A resident amenity scheduler enables a resident to reserve an amenity for any available time slot and receive reservation alerts and reminders so they don’t miss their time slot. This is perfect for managing resident use of amenity spaces like the pool, gym, common area, or flex workspace.

    Property management staff can easily control the hours of operation, the number and duration of time slots, capacity, and even how far out residents can make reservations.

    We also recommend that rental properties follow the suggestions noted below in addition to enforcing advanced reservations for the use of any indoor amenities. Alternatively, if space and weather permits, consider moving some gym equipment outside to allow for better ventilation and space between residents.

Upscale Apartments

  • #5 Securing Lease Renewals

    The unfortunate reality is that only 50% of current residents renew their lease agreement at the end of their term. If you’re looking to reduce tenant turnover at your property, here are a few tips and tricks to secure that all important lease renewal:

    • Reward Loyalty: Some landlords are returning loyal residents’ security deposits, even in installments, to increase resident retention.
    • Offer a Flexible Renewal Term: In a recent key survey, 78% of residents surveyed stated they would remain in their current apartment if they were given a lease renewal offer for a shorter period of time and with no rent increase6.
    • Consider Low-Cost Concessions: Repainting walls or upgrading lighting not only increase the value of your real estate but also make it easier to secure lease renewals.

    Check out “7 Secrets to Boosting Your Apartment Lease Renewals” for more of our property management tips that can help you reduce resident turnover.

    Putting These Tips & Tricks Into Action

    There are a variety of issues that a residential real estate owner, property manager, or landlord can face on a daily basis. By addressing larger concerns such as package overflow, rental payments, and resident screening, you free up time to focus on the more important matters like property maintenance and resident maintenance issues. This newly freed-up time can even allow for more time to focus on the customer service aspect of property management.

    Your time is valuable and limited, therefore it’s paramount you take advantage of these property management tips and tricks in order to optimize your operational efficiency. Doing so can provide noticeable benefits for both you and your residents! And once you have happy residents, you will, in turn, see better tenant retention.

    Adding new amenities may not be at the top of most properties’ to-do list right now. But if package management has gotten out of hand, Parcel Pending by Quadient is available to help.

    Reach out to our team to find a smart property management solution that fits your unique property needs and budget requirements.

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7 Secrets to Boosting Your Apartment Lease Renewals

Here are 7 apartment lease renewal ideas to help you maximize your apartment resident retention.

1. Foster a Sense of Community

In SatisFacts’ annual survey of 1.6 million apartment residents to determine the top drivers for value and lease renewals, a sense of community topped the list for the eighth time in nine years. As the report explains: “Residents in 2021 now determine value based on how living at the community makes them feel and makes them look to the outside world. Residents want and need to feel connected to what’s going on where they live.”

When it comes to apartment marketing, events are crucial to creating a sense of community. Summer season is the perfect time to host an outdoor resident event, especially given lingering concerns about COVID. Look to BBQs and outdoor games that connect residents. Or in colder months, bring residents together for a hot drink and seasonal craft activity.

It’s the role of on-site property management teams to make introductions that foster community goodwill. It also means that a savvy landlord is making referrals, recommendations, and suggestions on who to meet within the apartment community.

2. Provide Feedback Opportunities

Surveys are a great mechanism for getting input from apartment residents as long as you follow these key guidelines:

  • Keep it Short – Most experts recommend that you limit questions to no more than five questions.
  • Add a Progress Bar to the Survey – Research shows that surveys are more likely to be completed when respondents can see that they’re making progress and are almost done.
  • Always Provide an Area for Comment – This area is where a savvy landlord should invest the most time – looking for informal suggestions for improvements in and around the apartment complex.
  • Remain Aware of Timing – Key events should trigger a survey, including apartment move-in date, maintenance requests, upcoming lease renewal date, and move-out date. Remember, for example, to send a feedback response approximately two weeks after a tenant has moved in so that they can reasonably be expected to find the time to complete it.
  • Offer Survey Incentives – Asking a tenant to complete surveys without remuneration is difficult. Look to contests or prizes to pump up the response rate. Of course, continue the community loop by rewarding winners with gift cards from your local booksellers, coffee shops, and retailers.
  • Limit Surveys to Four Per Year – Survey fatigue plagues many residents, reducing the opportunity for property management to gain quality feedback.
  • Share the Results – Residents want to feel heard and acknowledged. Buzutto, which manages over 80,000 rental units, routinely sends not only surveys, but this email: “You Spoke, We Listened.” Simple, but effective.

Surveys certainly work to glean great information from current residents. Don’t forget to open lines of communication with front-line maintenance workers, concierge employees, or on-site property management who frequently work and engage with residents. Refresh can help you take your surveys and turn them into satisfied Tenants.

Installing comment card collection centres near your mailroom and/or smart lockers also serve as great ways to understand tenant sentiment. We also recommend providing easy-to-find links on your home page, and of course, social media. The golden rule here is “social listening.” Whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, it’s important for ideas and complaints never to fall on deaf ears.

3. Make Customer Service and the Tenant Experience a Top Priority

Receiving feedback is critical, but you must also make the duration of the tenant’s lease an exceptional experience. Although office occupancy rates vary significantly from state to state, most employees are now hybrid workers: still working at home and sometimes at the office. Offering a co-working office space, community wi-fi, and outdoor spaces can give a tenant an extra reason to feel satisfied with their rental experience.

Further, even if you already know how to market your build-to-rent property, you’ll still want to make sure that your apartment marketing includes technology that makes life easy for residents. Maintenance requests, the lease extension or lease renewal process, gym reservations, and pool times should all be conducted via apps or websites.

One of the most important items for tenant retention is keeping up with property maintenance, and that’s where Refresh can save you time and money.  Do you have a tenant who needs a new bathtub or countertop? Why replace when you can refinish with Refresh? Need a Janitorial Porter service to keep your common areas looking pristine?  Refresh can help! Maybe your tenants need wall repair or painting – Refresh can turn those apartments quickly and cost efficiently for you.

One of the ways you can make or break a tenants experience is how you respond in emergency situations.  What do you do when a tenants unit floods?  Call Refresh. We have emergency 24 hour water extraction services and we can help you get infant of disaster.

4. Reward Loyalty

Resident retention rates are returning to normal and matching statistics similar to 2018, 2019, and 2020. For leases that expired in the first quarter of 2021, 53.7% of households renewed, according to new data from RealPage. Also of note is that some landlords are considering or returning a good tenant’s security deposits, even in instalments, to boost resident retention.

5. Offer a Flexible Renewal Term

In a recent key survey, 78% of tenants surveyed stated they would remain in their current apartment if they were given a lease renewal offer for a shorter period of time and with no rent increase. Particularly as residents continue to recover from pandemic-related budget challenges, being open to lease negotiation can benefit a property owner looking to increase resident retention and rental income.

6. Offer Low-Cost Renewal Concessions 

Sometimes, all it takes to get a tenant to sign on the dotted line is an easy and valuable concession. Repainting, recarpeting, replacing blinds, upgrading lighting, or installing ceiling fans not only increases your apartment or rental property value but makes it easier to secure lease renewals.

7. Add Tenant-Requested Amenities to Your Apartment Community

Both online shopping and grocery/food delivery have become a default consumer behaviour. The typical tenant expects their packages and other deliveries to be stowed safely and securely.

Installing smart parcel lockers is a big win for property management, as it’s estimated that package lockers can lift leasing renewals by a jaw-dropping 40%! More importantly, it adds to resident satisfaction as a renter can retrieve their packages on their schedule with zero human interaction…and within 10 seconds.

This period of time is tricky for an apartment manager or property manager. Many current residents are feeling financially insecure and looking for flexibility when renewing their leases. Offering up first-rate service and apartment amenities that create an unforgettable tenant experience are sure-fire paths to resident retention.

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A Property Manager’s Guide: How to Motivate Your Employees

As a property manager, you become familiar with handling a wide range of issues with owners, tenants and vendors on a regular basis. All those routine tasks and interactions become easy over time. One thing that most property managers find a constant struggle is motivating employees.

There is nothing worse than watching the clock when you are being paid hourly to perform a job that you don’t enjoy. I remember my first job as a waiter at a chain restaurant and how minutes felt like hours. There was no hope of advancement, very little freedom, no incentive for improved performance and sadly the company culture reflected these facts. Opportunity, freedom, performance incentives and company culture are now the key items that the Refresh team strives to continuously improve upon to motivate employees.

Provide opportunity

Opportunity needs to be present to provide purpose for your team. Without a goal or a purpose all there is, is the clock. There needs to be a goal and an upside for every position in the organization to maintain motivation.

Look at your entry level positions and make sure they are offered an upward path within the company through experience, training and education.

Can a leasing agent become a manager? Can a maintenance person become a supervisor? Make sure each team member is aware of the opportunities they have within the company and set goals for each position or department.

Freedom drives performance

Setting goals is of little importance, unless your employees are given the freedom to pursue and accomplish these goals. Avoid micromanagement and simply set the guidelines. Allow your employees to develop and test methods to improve efficiency and reach goals in different ways.

Perhaps you want to get more positive reviews, or decrease the average vacancy time?

The freedom to approach problems in unique ways is appreciated by employees and helps reduce the monotony of repetitive tasks. A company can only improve through trying new ideas, otherwise your business risks losing any competitive advantages it has. The performance of your property management business is dependent on the performance of your team.

Performance incentives are a must-have

Provide performance incentives for as many positions as possible. This can be done by: sharing commissions with agents, letting maintenance personnel be paid by the scope of the jobs they can perform (not simply hourly) or paying an inspector per property inspected vs. travel time.

These compensation structures provide natural performance incentives. Top performers are rewarded more for accomplishments, instead of paying everyone to simply spend time on the job (with no upside for individuals). If implemented correctly, these concepts reverberate throughout the entire company.

Culture is important

Instead of trying to police your employees to do what they are told, ultimately, you want your employees to be on the same team as the company. This is the difference between a company that is improving vs. a company that is simply surviving.

Communicate company goals and have regular meetings to discuss accomplishments, areas that can be improved and recent failures. Celebrate reached goals with parties and giveaways. Acknowledge team members who solve problems, show growth or receive positive feedback from customers. Include employees in the brainstorming or strategy development on new issues or projects.

This approach will build a more cohesive, motivated organization and will allow for new ideas, strategies and top performers to flourish. It is infinitely better to share the goals of the company to build a team and culture than to attempt to motivate individuals.

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Growing Your Property Management Business: How to Set Goals to Help You Grow Your Property Portfolio

Ambition is a beautiful thing, but realism is also extremely valuable. As you’re setting your company goals, you need to consider how much you should expect to grow and what it will take to reach that goal. Why is setting goals important? Your growth goals and your business plans need to be aligned, providing a framework that shows how your company can succeed. When you know your business goals, you can create a focused property marketing campaign to move toward them.

Your Business Contract

What is your company striving to achieve? According to the Houston Chronicle, “goals are resolutions to achieve a desired result.” When you’re thinking about your company goals, you need to consider your company’s capacity to serve both your owners and your tenants. Your best property management marketing tool is word of mouth. As you develop your business in new directions, you need to make sure that you continue to serve everyone well.

One of the most important goals to reach is to develop a lasting and mutually understanding relationship with your property owners. These owners entrust you with their properties. They may live in another area and be unable to manage their properties themselves, or simply prefer and appreciate the depth of service that a management company can provide. Often, they trust your business to take care of both broad issues and the smaller details.

To ensure that you meet your goal to meet the needs of your property owners, you need to be able to effectively communicate with these owners. Utilize property management software that allows you to develop an owner portal and communicate with your owners over time, allowing them to set common goals regarding their properties.

How to Set Goals to Help You Grow Your Property Portfolio
Set ongoing maintenance and inspection regimes to meet your property goals.

Set Property Standards

What do you want prospective tenants, owners, or the neighbors to see when they visit the properties you manage? When you’re marketing your properties, you want them to look good from the curb all of the way into the home. Well-cared-for properties are a huge selling point for potential tenants. When a prospective tenant sees that you care about maintenance, this builds trust in your management company.

Set goals for the ways in which you manage your property maintenance and repairs. Create an inspection protocol that includes photo and video documentation so that you can benchmark the state of each property. Manage your maintenance schedules and property records in a common location so that when there are questions about when a specific type of maintenance is happening next, you can give an easy answer. Develop long term connections with contractors and maintain those contacts with an online system. Staying on top of your property inspections and maintenance will help your property management business achieve its goal of keeping tenants and owners happy.

Balance Growth and Service

What structures do you have in place to support your business growth? Do you have ways of managing your information and promoting your property management business through a thoughtful marketing plan? As your business grows, you need to discover your own unique balance of growth and support.

According to, “establishing business goals involves a fair amount of introspection into what makes your business tick, and what you want its future to be.” This process is also worthwhile because it gives your property management company sound insight into what you’re doing, why, and how. Develop a plan for strategic growth, and consider how you’ll muster the resources you need to move in that direction. You might decide that even though you’d like to expand to a new state, you don’t have the employees, funding, or technology to make this happen. If that expansion is a priority, you’ll need to consider how to make it occur without compromising your existing customer service.

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