Property Management Blog for Managers, Owners and those looking to invest or manage investment property.
Craigslist has been frustrating at times to work with but it isn't going anywhere and it is a necessary evil for leasing so we've just got to work within the boundaries that they establish. That doesn’t mean that we cannot make this easier on ourselves.Have an idea? I would love to hear from you!!Athena BarnhartVP OperationsMission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc.
- The most important Craigslist leasing tool is pictures. Take some great pictures and upload them to your Craigslist ad. If you are posting for an apartment community, I suggest taking at least one exterior shot. People want to see where they are going to live.
- You’ve got to have a good tagline. Something that is going to make folks want to look at your ad. Something that will stand out among the sea of apartment ads posted that hour. The best way to create one is to check the ads for other cities. Which ads drew your attention?
- Information. Make sure you are providing your prospect with all of the information regarding your vacant unit. Square footage, price, amenities, parking, screening criteria, pet policy, deposits and application fees. The more information that is available in your ad the better. Put yourself in your prospects position. Would you call on an ad for a place that didn’t list the price?
- ASK FOR THEIR BUSINESS! I can’t believe how many ads I have seen that do not ask the prospect to call or to apply. Give your prospects easy access. Offer them your phone number or your website. Leave them a way to contact you other than responding to the Craigslist ad. The main reason for this is building trust. I mean seriously, how many of us have had our ads hijacked by someone for the purpose of scamming our prospects? If your prospects believe that the company or person posting the ad is legitimate, the more likely they are to contact you.
Winter has finally arrived in the central valley. Here are a few tips to trim your energy costs this season:
Saving money is always in style.Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!Athena BarnhartVP OperationsMission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc.www.missionre.com
- 1. Drop your thermostat to 68. "The rule of thumb is that you can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you set back your thermostat" full time, says Bill Prindle, deputy director for the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees when you go to work, and again when you go to bed -- a total of 16 hours a day -- and you can save about 14% on your heating bill, says Prindle.
- 2. Use exhaust fans sparingly. Surprisingly your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans can pull heat from your home. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, an efficient exhaust fan can pull the warmth from a house in about an hour.
- 3. Lower your water heater temp. Even just one notch can make a difference in the energy used to heat the water inside. An efficient setting is 120 degrees.
- 4. Reduce your hot water use. Showers typically use less hot water than baths and use cold water to wash clothing.
- 5. Use solar heating. Don’t have solar panels? Not to worry. Just open all of the drapes on your south facing windows. Allowing the sunshine to warm your home during the day will lower your heating use.
- 6. If you have a fireplace, close the damper. An open damper will allow heat to leave during the day and will allow cold in at night. Make sure it is closed when your fireplace is not in use.
The following infographic shows that Bakersfield has seen a rental increase of over 12%. Have you increased your rents lately? Mission Property Management can help you.
Scientia Potentia Est – Knowledge is PowerWhat does this phrase mean to you? As a Property Manager you must know your market, your sub-market, current vendor rates, current demographics, rental performance and renovation costs. This education is invaluable to your profession. This is what sets you apart from the crowd.
When you educate yourself, you create the ability to make better decisions, create more evolved and intelligent thoughts, improve the lives of yourself and those around you, and make yourself a more valuable professional.
This, in turn, leads to referrals. The more educated a professional you are, the more people will want to be around you, the more they will want to work with you, the more they introduce you to others who need your help or can help you, and the more doors and opportunities open in your profession. This high level of professional option gives you the freedom to choose from many different paths. And that freedom is power.
Nothing is more powerful in this industry than an educated professional. Many of our markets and sub-markets are suffering due to lack of educated management. When this happens we all pay the price. Owners are taken advantage of and investors lose income. When this happens, we as property managers suffer from the bad reputation of a few unprofessional companies when owners and investors lose faith in our industry.
There are many educational resources available to us as professionals. Check out your local apartment association, industry related blogs and get involved in community related organizations such as the chamber of commerce. Educate yourself. Knowledge is Power!Athena BarnhartVP OperationsMission Property Management
- 09/19/2013Home maintenance seems expensive – unless you’ve considered the astronomical costs involved with ignoring it. HomeInsurance.com and Redbeacon (a subsidiary of Home Depot) have teamed up to deliver this infographic, which examines some common home maintenance projects and the shocking costs that can result when they go neglected. You might just think twice before underestimating that leaky sink or faulty electrical outlet.Preventative Maintenance plans provided by Mission Property Management can save you time and money.Athena BarnhartVP OperationsMission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc.3600 Pegasus Dr #15, Bakersfield, CA 93308www.MissionRE.com(661) 829-7839
It's a normal occurrence, as the economy dips and fewer people are buying, rental pricing increases. Simple supply and demand. Good news for owners and management companies.
Here is a great article that shines some light on the current national information:
Are you maximizing your rent potential? Central California is experiencing a surge in rental pricing now. Our average rent increase is closer to 6% versus the national average of 3.5%
Mission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc. is here to assist you with any questions you have concerning your investment property. Call us today for a free income and expense analysis including a plan to maximize your rent potential.
Mission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc.
3600 Pegasus Dr #15 Bakersfield, CA 93308
Staging a mini-model apartmentWe’ve all had that one apartment. You know the one. That bane of your existence apartment that has been sitting on your vacancy report week after week. Now you are closing in on your 30 day mark and after showing this apartment over 20 times, you still don’t have a lease.Quit bashing yourself. It’s not your leasing chops. Sometimes apartments just don’t lease. It could be the noisy neighbors upstairs, the back window overlooking the trash bin (who hasn’t had that one?) or any number of things that are completely out of your control.Instead of dropping your price (again) or offering a ridiculous leasing special, why not try a mini-model?The mini-model apartment is very similar to a model unit, but it has been strategically stripped down to the bare essentials. It eliminates the bulk and expense while still delivering results. The mini-model includes just enough items to give potential tenants the same feeling as a full model apartment. Let’s take a look at a few things that will help you and your closing ratio.A welcome mat is essential. In the Kitchen set up a plate, a cookbook, and a wine glass and a place-mat on the counter. Drape a kitchen towel over an oven handle and maybe a mat on the floor. Living areas can require a bit more work. A chair stolen from your community center usually can work wonders. As can that potted silk plant from your office. Throw a nice $5.00 Ross bought throw blanket over the arm and now you have a reading nook in the corner of your empty living room.Bathrooms can be a nice touch as well. Grab an inexpensive shower curtain (please make sure you iron it!), a wash cloth, hand towel and a nice paper-wrapped soap on the counter can make an empty, sterile bathroom look inviting. Hang a few nice hangers (velvet or cloth covered) in the master bedroom closet and place a hat box on the shelf and you have a really inviting mini-model for under $100.Happy Leasing!
The BOLT system as it applies to leasingCharles J. Clarke III is the creator of the BOLT System for getting the results you want from any interactions with people. Based on decades of scientific research, this system can be used for closing sales, for designing advertising, for generating leads, or for negotiating. The skills can also be used for managing coworkers or for getting along with relatives.BOLT stands for Bulls, Owls, Lambs and Tigers. These particular animals represent the four specific personality types different people can have. Every person you ever meet will be one of these four animal types. Charles teaches you how to identify which animal type a person is, and how to speak their language in the way that’s most persuasive to them. This proves to be very useful in many areas of life.Not only will your closing ratio improve, but your customers will also feel more satisfaction, because you will actually understand their needs and their motivations.The BullBottom line / Get to the pointSeeks to control the negotiationHow to recognize a “Bull”· He/She will have an extremely powerful presence.· His/Her handshake will be strong and firm, usually just one quick shake.· He/She seems to know exactly what they want and gets right to the point.· “Bulls” tend to be a bit stern and may seem humorless when they first meet you.How to sell to a “Bull”· “Bulls” are very business-like. Stick to the facts. Provide immediate, accurate facts and figures.· Remain highly professional at all times.· Listen closely to his/her needs· Demonstrate how your property is the logical choice.· Be direct and brief.The OwlVery analytical detailed orientated researcherSeeks logical orderHow to recognize a “Owl”· He/She offers a strong, squeezing handshake.· He/She thinks more than they talk.· He/She is extremely observant and detail oriented· They may come armed with a notebook.· He/She will ask a lot of detailed questions.How to sell to an “Owl”· Working with an “Owl” requires extensive product knowledge.· Provide specific information.· Put your information in writing whenever possible.· If they ask you a question that you do not know the answer to, find it.· You’ll need to be patient. They will not make a decision until they have all of the facts.The LambSeeks To Please People, Avoids ConflictTakes Forever To Make Up Their MindHow to recognize a “Lamb”· He/She offers a limp “dead fish” handshake.· They may be reluctant to shake your hand at all.· He/She will appear nervous or flustered.· The prospect of moving causes great stress.· He/She will be hesitant to interact with you and your product.How to sell to a “Lamb”· When working with a “Lamb” you must be extremely supportive and understanding.· Help to ease their burden. Emphasize that you intend to make his/her life easier.· Make sure your approach is personable, gentle and reassuring.· Be patient. They will not rush into any decisions.· However, you may need to encourage a bit or they may never decide.The TigerVery Expressive and Fun-LovingImpulsive and ExcitableHow to recognize a “Tiger”· He/She is energetic, expressive and fun loving.· The handshake will be warm and generous with multiple pumps. If you don’t get a hug instead.· “Tigers” can be loud, funny and employ body language such as pointing.· “Tigers” are highly social and may bring a friend or two.· He/She will interact with you and your product throughout the tour.How to sell to a “Tiger”· Offer a tour that is warm, entertaining and fun.· A “Tiger” loves to talk about themselves, so let them do so.· Stress how your community provides social opportunities.· Focus on how they feel about the move and your community instead of facts and figures.
Successful Leasing and closingAs we come into the slow season, you may have more vacancies than you anticipated. How can you increase your closing ratio? How do you bridge the gap between prospect and tenant? I will be sharing some sales and closing techniques that will help you close your sales and assure that you are maximizing on every tour.Most people are completely unaware how much their body language affects a sales pitch. Within the first two seconds of meeting you, every customer will decide if you are a threat or a friend. That is an incredibly limited window. If this sounds a bit tribal, it is. Humans are animals by nature and we still subconsciously relate to each other on this level.You need to make sure that you are sending the right signals. There are three ways to initiate contact with your customer that will put them at ease.
Now that you have their trust, how do you earn their business? During a tour, make sure you are asking open ended questions. Do your best to stay away from questions that have a yes or no answer (until the close). A few examples are; “If I could find the perfect home for you, what would it be like?”, “Tell me what is most important to you in your new home.” or “Why are you choosing to move?” These simple questions will get your prospect talking and give you the opportunity to match your products to their needs. It also gives you clues for the correct closing technique.The art of persuasionThere are proven persuasion techniques that you can use that will make you a more effective sales person. Employing these techniques will increase your closing percentage and ensure that you have complete control of your guests.
- Look them in the eye and smile. A good trick is to discover their eye color.
- Point your heart toward them. This will give you an open body language that is non-threatening
- Synchronize your body language and speech with theirs. Mirror their body language and pace of speech. This sends powerful subconscious signals.
A Successful CloseNow that you have their trust and your prospect likes you, you need to close the sale. This can be daunting to new leasing agents and even experienced managers can have difficulty closing. To be successful, you need to master a few closing techniques. Here are a few:
- Nodding your head yes. This sends a subliminal message of agreement to the prospect. When anything positive is being said, nod your head. This creates a positive feeling that will be associated with what you are selling
- Mirroring. As stated above, this is a powerful subconscious tool that will put your prospect at ease and that makes for an easier sale.
- Smiling naturally. It has been proven that a smile fosters a positive reaction. A prospect will get a good feeling from a smile and will associate that feeling with you and your product.
- Have a firm handshake. Nothing is worse than a limp noodle handshake. Shaking someone’s hand sends a powerful message. You will either come across ad confident and friendly, weak and timid or (NO!) unmemorable.
- Have good eye contact. Another technique that was mentioned above. Always look someone in the eye when you are asking a question. To avoid any awkwardness, look down occasionally to take notes. This is of the utmost importance when closing. If you are not looking in your prospects eyes it could come across that you are untrustworthy and not confident.
- Voice Inflection. This is a very powerful communication tool. You should be using your full range of voice to emphasize various points of your conversation.
- Use an assumptive attitude. It is very important that you believe that everyone who walks in your door is leasing from you. An effective way to do this is to use the possessive “you’re” to make the guest feel ownership of the apartment and community.
- Repeat the prospects hot buttons. During the tour you should be asking your tour what they are looking for in their new home. These are the things that will get them excited about living in your community. Nothing sells better than repetition. Try to incorporate as many hot buttons as you can within your presentation.
- Talking in word pictures. Moving is an emotional experience. Using descriptions will get your prospect to visualize an emotional experience. It is your job to make your community sound like the ideal place for anyone to live.
- Use open body language. Your body language should be relaxed. Never cross your arms. Keep yourself open. Make sure your body language says that you are approachable.
Must Know Closing Tips
- The Which Close. “Which apartment will you be taking today?”
- The Simply Ask Close. “So would you like to leave your deposit today?”
- The Team Close. Have another agent come in to your office after the tour, greet your prospects and it should go something like this: “Oh, you were looking at 105? Isn’t it a great apartment? I have a tour today at 4 for that same one. Let me know if I need to call them and cancel.”
- The Summary Close. “So you liked the walk-in closet, you said the living room is the right size for your couch and the apartment is close to the pool….everything you were looking for. Will you be leaving your deposit today?”
- The Shortage or Urgency Close. “This is the only one bedroom I have left available. I would love to take your holding deposit and take this one off the market for you.”
- The Assumptive Close. “Let’s head back to the office and I will get your paperwork drawn up.”
- The Incentives or Special Close. Never tell a prospect over the phone what your leasing special is. This is a closing tool. “You know, this apartment has a look and lease special. If you lease today, you will receive $100 off your first month’s rent. Would you like to leave your deposit today?”
Successful leasing and closing take practice and confidence. Sometimes taking your manager or another agent on a tour will help prepare you for a prospect. If you are experiencing a slump in your closing, have another associate come along and critique your sales pitch. They just might find the one thing that you are doing subconsciously that is killing your closing ratio.Happy Leasing!Athena MagruderVP Operations
- A.B.C. This acronym stands for “Always Be Closing” It’s important to remember that you are always aiming towards a close. This does not mean that you should be battering your prospect to death with a barrage of unsubtle closing techniques however.
- Silence. When you have used a closing technique, be quiet afterwards and let the prospect respond. If you keep talking you may miss what they have to say. Yes for example.
- Be observant. Always pay attention to the body language that your prospect is showing. By the way they are reacting to your presentation will let you know if they are interested in leasing or not.
- Over-Closing. It is not unheard of for an over-eager agent to close a prospect and then talk them right back out of it. Don’t over-do it.
- Be confident. Be very deliberate with your words and actions and speak with conviction.
Q: What defines a service animal?A: The ADA defines service animals as a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Q: Does a service animal need to have any identifying collar or harness?A: Although many service animals wear special collars or harnesses, by law they are not required to wear any special identification equipment.
Q: How can I tell if my tenant or applicant requires a service animal. They do not look disabled to me.A: When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the animal a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation. require a special identification card for the animal, or ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
Q: Can I still charge a security deposit for a service animal?A: No. "Pet" deposits cannot be charged for service animals. Nor can you charge "pet rent".
Q: I have a tenant that has a service animal that is never on a leash. He barks and is disruptive. He has bitten a member of my staff. What, if any, recourse do I have?A: Service animals must be under control of their owners at all times. If a leash or harness interferes with the animal's work or the individual's disability prevents the use of these devices, the individual still must maintain control through voice, signal or other effective control. If you have a service animal that is out of control, you can issue a lease violation.Athena MagruderVP OperationsMission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc.
3600 Pegasus Dr #15 Bakersfield, CA 93308
Thinking about making your home rental or apartments smoke free?A few articles ago I quoted the price of an average 2 bedroom turn at $4,000. This includes the cost of vendors, replacements, advertising and payroll for the leasing agents. That cost is multiplied exponentially if your tenant was a heavy smoker.“To turn the unit, it costs at least 3-4 times more if the person in the unit was a heavy smoker,” says Eric Wiegers, California Apartment Association Senior Vice President Communications.That is significant. If you are already looking at a $4,000 bill, tripling that cost will triple the time it takes to realize a return.Let’s say you are charging $800 rent on a two bedroom. For this example, let’s assume that your tenant left your apartment in a reasonable condition and it only costs you $2500 to turn your unit. At that price it will take you approximately 4 months to see a return on that investment. If you have a heavy smoker and need to fully restore your unit you are now looking at nearly a full year of rent to recoup your cost. With the average lease term running 12 months in California, you are turning your units faster than you can realize a return.So how will you stop the bleeding and increase your NOI? Many owners are now restricting smoking to the exterior of their units.Mission Real Estate & Property Management has a lease addendum available that can instruct your tenants regarding a smoking ban within your units. Call us if you have any questions on transitioning your investment to a non-smoking property.Athena MagruderVP Operations(661) 829-7839
- 07/09/2013Know your Customer and Know your Price Point
Effectively marketing to your target demographic and knowing if your asking price is reasonable are the keys to properly renting your investment property. The information below should give you a starting point. For further information or for a property specific quote, please call (661) 829-7839.Bakersfield Demographics and Average Rental Prices by Neighborhood
Bakersfield Median Age: 32
Bakersfield Median Income: $39,982
Neighborhood Average Price per Bedroom
42nd St $453 Amberton $375 Artisan $425 Avalon $475 Baker St $333 Belsera $449 Benton Park $342 Brighton $467 Brimhall Estates $467 Campus Park $450 Casa Loma $371 Castle Ranch $360 City in the Hills $500 Country Rose $699 Crystal Ranch $529 CSU Bakersfield $591 Downtown $338 East Ridge $493 East Side $328 Emerald Estates $425 Fruitvale $481 Greenacres $398 Greenfield $358 Haggin Oaks $542 Hampton Woods $517 Hillcrest $387 Homemaker Park $321 Kern City $450 La Cresta $325 Lakeview $275 Laurel Glen $488 Liberty $417 Masterpiece Estates $625 Mobile Town $375 Mondavi $431 Mountain Meadow $524 Oak Ridge $319 Oildale $321 Oleander Sunset $333 Olive Dr $399 Park Stockdale $388 Pheasant Run $431 Polo Grounds $330 Quailwood $376 Rexland Acres $350 Ridgeview Estates $450 Riveroaks $533 Rosedale $449 S. San Lauren $465 Seven Oaks $550 Southern Oaks $450 Spice Tract $399 Stockdale Ranch $508 Stone Creek $492 Stone Meadows $444 Terra Vista $450 Tevis Ranch $445 The Oaks $467 Tyner Ranch $392 Athena Magruder VP Operations Mission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc
3600 Pegasus Dr #15 Bakersfield, CA 93308
www.missionre.com (661) 829-7839
*Pricing information from Trulia.com
Resident RetentionDoes your current management company have a resident retention plan? Do you have a clear idea of what it is and how they plan to execute it?Turning an apartment on average costs $4000. You can calculate your actual cost here: http://www.multifamilyinsiders.com/apartment-turnover-cost-calculator.A few of those a month could seriously affect your bottom line.So how do you mitigate these costs? The easiest way is to staunch the flow of move outs. A knowledgeable manager has several tricks up their sleeves to accomplish this. An effective resident retention plan should include the following:1. Knowledge of the submarket. All managers should know what the rental outlook in the city where your asset is located looks like. (If they don’t it’s time for a change!) In addition to that they should be an expert at their submarket, the 5 mile radius surrounding your property. Touring, market studies and constant communication with their direct competitors is a must. How can they sell your asset over another if they have no idea what their competitor is offering?2. Knowledge of your asset. This should be a given, but I think if you were to interview your current manager you might be surprised at how little they know about your asset. Do they know what year was built, what the current demographic is or what your number one lead generation tool is?3. Customer Service. This too should be a given but have you had a chance to read your resident’s comments on www.apartmentratings.com? I think you might be surprised by what your tenants say about the current staff and the way their concerns are handled. No one will resign a lease if they feel that they have been mistreated, their service requests not handled or they get attitude when they come into the office.4. Lease expiration matrix. This is not a new idea but it is one that isn’t widely utilized. Making sure that your lease expirations are spaced throughout the year can lower your vacancy loss significantly. For instance if you have a 40 unit property, you do not want 8 leases to expire in December (traditionally the slowest leasing month). Those apartments will likely sit vacant for several weeks, maybe even a few months killing your NOI. A good manager will make sure that the majority of your lease expirations are occurring in the warmer months therefore making them easier to rent and lowering your vacancy loss.5. Vendor Relationships. If your manager does not know your turn vendors on a first name basis, they are probably not getting you the best deal. Most vendors will offer discounts to the companies that utilize them the most. They will also make sure that they are mitigating costs and giving you the best service because of the established business relationship. Your manager should be your number one cheerleader and should be running your asset as if it were his/her own.Not all tenants will renew. Some must move for financial, family obligations, a job or they have purchased a home. We cannot save every lease. Make sure you know why your tenants are moving though. Find out what is your number one contributing factor to turnover. Then do everything you can to stem the tide.Athena MagruderVice President Operations
If your current Property Management Company is not requiring your tenants to carry renters insurance, they should be!
The cost to repair a 1,000 square foot apartment in the 93308 zip code from a typical water leak averages over $12,000. (estimate from www.homewhyse.com) Ask yourself how many tenants do you have that could come up with that much cash to reimburse your expenses? In my experience there will not be many.
Requiring renters insurance is a must to protect your investment. For a minimal monthly fee, your tenants will have the liability coverage they need to assure you are not stuck footing the bill and then subsequently tracking down a previous tenant for a debt that they will never be able to repay.
In addition to covering your investment, renters insurance can be a lifesaver for a renter who experiences a burglary. In November of 2012 (while I was in the hospital after the birth of my daughter) my home was robbed. In the two hours the house was empty, the thieves made away with over $7,500 worth of my personal belongings. We were hit again in December, (while we were away for Christmas) for a total loss of over $5,000 this time. Thankfully we have a renters insurance policy that covered replacements for all of our things.
Mission Real Estate & Property Management requires that all of our tenants carry a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance. Our technology partner, Appfolio, makes this process easy for us with integrated insurance solutions. We are able to offer our tenants liability insurance with rates as low as $9.50 a month. The average renter's policy costs just $185 a year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Very affordable for nearly every budget.
The idea that requiring prospective tenants to carry renters insurance will drive away business is no longer the case. It is becoming an industry standard. According to a Rent.com survey, 40% of renters have carried renters insurance. Nearly half of the prospects we tour will already be familiar with renters insurance. A survey last year for The National Multi-Housing Council, a national association representing the interests of larger apartment companies, indicated that 66 percent of the 45 participating companies required residents to have renters insurance in 2010. That was up from 44 percent in 2009 and was a big leap from 24 percent in 2008. The companies represented a total of 750,000 apartments.
Don't set yourself up for a serious financial liability. Ensure that your tenants carry renters insurance and save your self the hassle, expense and headache.
Vice President Operations
Mission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc.
3600 Pegasus Dr #15, Bakersfield, CA 93308
Welcome to Mission Real Estate & Property Management, Inc. A Real Estate and Property Management firm servicing Kern County.
Mission Real Estate provides each client with a line of services including:
Full service brokerage firm providing our clients with a full spectrum of services including the acquisition, management and disposition of your asset.
Local representation from a broker and agents that work out of our Bakersfield office.
Ability to work with all types of financingincluding, FHA, VA, Conventional and cash purchases.
Specializing in investment purchases with an emphasis on return.
Ability to coordinate with pre-screened vendors. Due to the volume of business we give our qualified vendors, we have established competitive prices with them. Nevertheless, we still bid out large repairs or improvements to be sure we receive a competitive bid from them.