Independent Contractors, After-hours Maintenance Calls, Overtime, On-site Managers: Are You Protected?

Independent Contractors, After-hours Maintenance Calls, Overtime, On-site Managers: Are You Protected?

Are you protected when it comes to paying your employees and independent contractors? Recent legal challenges in California draw from case law in Connecticut may open up the real estate profession to employment questions around independent contractors. In this article, we also review the laws around overtime and on-site managers in California. These decisions may have an impact far beyond California.

4 Real Estate Tech Trends (and how to improve your business without buying into them)

4 Real Estate Tech Trends (and how to improve your business without buying into them)

It is difficult to predict which technologies and innovations are hype and which are built to last. However, it is much easier to identify the true consumer pain points that led to a new innovation on the marketplace. You don't have to buy into every latest technology fad in order to reap real benefits from keeping a pulse on new technology and trends in your industry. Here are 4 technology trends, startups, or products that are founded on ideas you can use to improve your business.

4 Tactics to Be More Efficient

4 Tactics to Be More Efficient

Nobody wants to fill their day with busywork. Everyone wants to be focused on the highest productivity activities throughout the day. That is the point of efficiency. Before we dive into the 4 proven ways to be more efficient, ask yourself, "What are the most meaningful things I can be working on to move my business forward?" Now, lets use these 4 proven methods to get you focused on that:

5 Takeaways from NAA Apartmentalize 2018

5 Takeaways from NAA Apartmentalize 2018

Artificial intelligence is paving the way for faster and more meaningful business intelligence. Every real estate operation needs to be using big data tools to understand the trends and opportunities in their specific business. As property management enterprises scale, there are operational inefficiencies that require deep data to solve. 

Housing in America: Market Status

Housing in America: Market Status

Fewer Americans are home-owners versus when the study was first published in 1988. That says a lot about the current state of housing in America. Nearly one-third of American households, or 38.1 million, paid more than 30% of their incomes for housing in 2016, making them “cost-burdened."

It has particularly been a hard on youth, no longer able to move out of the nest. In general, Americans are also staying in one place for longer as they are reluctant to move.

5 Things to Know Before Landlording

5 Things to Know Before Landlording

#1 Your Property Will Be Damaged: Tenants will not care for your property in the same way you do. That means, there will be damage. Way more than you ever expected. Prepare for it. Have a fund available for major fixes. Put in effort to do preventative maintenance because your tenant won't.

Book Summary: The ABCs of Property Management

Book Summary: The ABCs of Property Management

The ABCs or Property Management by Ken McElroy is part of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books. Like most Rich Dad, Poor Dad books this is heavy in anecdotes and inspiration, but light on practical how-tos or step by step instructions.

Most of the book is an inspirational sales pitch for the property management industry. Towards the end book, McElroy gives practical advice on how to pick the right property manager. If you are already a property manager, this book references many best practices, but does little to tell you how to implement them.

My favorite part of the book was the introduction. It outlines the characteristics and mindset of the best property managers.

Improving Tenant Retention

Improving Tenant Retention

Propertyware just posted a piece on how to improve tenant retention. I summarize the two key takeaways here and add to their list with some of my own thoughts. First, it is important to understand the value that tenant retention has on your business. Many property managers see tenant turnover as "part of the job," but effectively reducing turnover improves your operating margin and can bring much bigger returns to your business. If your fee per month is greater than any turnover fees you charge, there is even more incentive to reduce turnover. In fact, the idea of a turnover fee is against a property owner's best interest as you should see your job as creating a tenant experience that keeps tenant's renting. So here are 3 things that will have the biggest impact on retention - my input comes first.

3 Step Process to Take Maintenance Calls the Right Way

3 Step Process to Take Maintenance Calls the Right Way

I took some time to do a Facebook Live video describing Latchel's 3 step process. The reason we use 3 steps when taking maintenance calls is that it reduces our cost and ensures the right people are taking the right actions for their skill set.

Here's the 3 Step Process along with the video:

  1. Screen for Emergency or Non-Emergency

  2. Troubleshoot in order to de-escalate an emergency

  3. Dispatch a vendor within 2 hours to mitigate damage

Daily Property Manager Update: Buy vs. Rent, Home Values, and Interviewing Tenants

Daily Property Manager Update: Buy vs. Rent, Home Values, and Interviewing Tenants

There are some hard and fast metrics you can use to ACTUALLY know if it is cheaper to buy than to rent in your MSA. Would you guess that it is cheaper to own in 17 out of the 33 largest major metro areas?

Buying is more affordable than renting when homebuyers are able to:

  1. Put 3.5 percent down on the property, often with help of down payment assistance programs.

  2. Meet eligibility requirements for those down payment assistance programs

  3. Qualify for a loan for a median-priced (or less expensive) home

  4. Cover mortgage insurance costs, which vary by loan

Book Summary: First-Time Landlord

Book Summary: First-Time Landlord

Nolo.com’s First Time Landlord is a great resource for new landlords. The book’s subtitle is “Your Guide to Renting Out a Single-Family Home”. The book reads more like a reference manual than a guide. It is full of checklists, worksheets, and bulleted summaries of the information you may need.

Quotes About RE Investing and a How-To On Skip Tracing

Quotes About RE Investing and a How-To On Skip Tracing

Nasar Elarabi gives us a full explanation of how to use skip tracing to find your next real estate deal here. Skip tracing can specifically be used to track homeowners that may not be occupying the homes they own. 

Skip tracing is a basic, but very effective concept to find property owners. The whole idea behind it is to get an alternate address for abandoned or vacant property owners whom you are having trouble finding.

Managing Risk and Investing in the Top Growing Markets for SFR, Condo, and Apartment

Managing Risk and Investing in the Top Growing Markets for SFR, Condo, and Apartment
  1. Competition is increasing grocery anchored properties.

  2. The middle class is disappearing and putting pressure on retailers to open more discount stores at low margins.

  3. Malls continue to evolve as increasingly mixed use.

  4. Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods has not impacted the market yet.

  5. Retail REITs need to differentiate to protect themselves from retail fallout.

  6. Technology is key for survival but many property managers have been painfully slow at adopting it.