Understanding Today’s Federal Rental Payment Assistance Programs

The federal government’s seemingly never-ending eviction moratorium made headline news twice this past week when a federal court ruled the national eviction moratorium was invalid, only to have another court issue reverse that decision for the time being. 

Apartment owners and operators continue to work to manage what’s coming next while many residents stay put in their apartments, owing millions of dollars in back rent.  

Debt is piling up all over the place for owners, too, and there is one solution that could make a difference – namely those needles in the recently allocated $50 billion-plus haystack from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and The Consolidated Appropriations Act designed to support of eligible renters in need. 

I say needle because figuring out a way to get access to these funds is a 50-state journey, as each has its own criteria. Some operators have not even begun to look into the process which isn’t wise.  The allocated funding is first-come, first served.  

Solving this big problem is both good for apartment owners and their residents. And yes, you can “apply” on behalf of the delinquent renter and get those applications taken care of.  

Smaller owner-operators were impacted the most over the last 12 months; the smaller the portfolio the bigger the impact from uncollected rent.  For an owner with a smaller unit count, even a handful of residents who do not pay their rent for even one month put a strain on the owner. Several months of back owed debt starts to impact the owner’s ability to maintain the property, or worse, pay their mortgage.  But rent is rent, and income is income.  As of the end of 2020, the average delinquent renter owed approximately $5,000. So, even if you only have a handful of them, it pays to follow up and work out a payment plan for them. 

To Reach Residents, Try a New Approach 

I hear from operators that residents are ghosting them, even though they are trying to help them.  Sincere, direct and persistent resident communications is the key to building valuable and trusting relationships with those who are behind on rent.   

Those who have become chronically delinquent might not be responding – and in fact, avoiding you.  Consider referencing news updates about the eviction moratorium via text or email to create a new sense of urgency.  If standard outreach approaches, such as email or texting, aren’t effective, you need to consider new techniques to connect with them.   

Visiting them at their apartment home is a good first option. And for those who have regained employment – and keep 9-to-5 hours – it’s worth adjusting operating hours for some of your staff so that they can visit residents in the early evening, perhaps after 7 p.m. 

If this timing isn’t right, another option is contacting them by phone. Use the “emergency” contact number they gave you if you have to.  

Finally, during my more than 20 years in property management, including spanning three recessions, one successful approach was to leave residents notes that tell them they have a package to pick up at the leasing office. When they visit us, we give them a gift card (it’s the “package”), but more importantly, it creates an opportunity for the property manager to speak to the resident about qualifying for financial relief. 

It’s at this point when you can help them fill out the application. Many in the industry we speak to aren’t aware of how to apply for this aid. Each state has its own criteria and process. Here are a few resources to leverage: 

LeaseLock’s State-By-State Application List 
Emergency Rental Assistance FAQs 

Onsite staff are going to have a bigger “lift” on this – relying on the resident to know what to do is simply unrealistic.  If owners and operators are struggling to navigate the process to apply for funds, imagine how difficult it must be for the renters.  

Property management companies and their residents need to understand this and more importantly, how to access it. Companies’ corporate headquarters should appoint someone who is expert at navigating this renter support fund procedure.  

multifamily-cta

Don’t Let Your Residents ‘Shut Down’ on You 

It’s been my experience that when renters begin to fall behind on their rent, their tough times spiral downward, and they shut down. Don’t be surprised if they display helplessness to you, and then even give up. Unfortunately, they might decide it’s best to move out, but that’s not a good solution and will harm their overall economic viabilities.  

For another group of renters, they were receiving not one, but two stimulus checks. Some were getting significant bumps on top of their state unemployment benefits for a six-month period last year. And every day, they heard from the media that they didn’t have to pay rent because the moratorium protected them. 

Misinformed residents who “feel they are safe in place” because of the moratorium, based on what they see and hear in the news, are often the ones who are most in need of accessing federal support funds through their states. 

Unfortunately, some spent their stimulus dollars to pay down credit card bills or car payments. But really, their rent payment is the biggest check they have to write each month, and it should be a priority, or else their credit score and rental payment history will be hurt. 

Some residents simply take too much of a short-term outlook on their finances and not a long-term one. They might be thinking, “Oh, another stimulus is coming. I’m all right.” 

Owners: Don’t Have a False Sense of Security 

We see in the ResMan database that more residents engaged in rental payment option plans with their owners in the first quarter.  We saw 400 to 500 new repayment plans initiated. That’s a lot more than the .001 percent from a year ago. 

Owner/managers, too, shouldn’t feel they are above it all and don’t have to participate in (the name of the support plan). In recent months, their occupancy and collections might be increasing, but unpaid rent remains and it’s important to address it. 

“Oh, this wasn’t as painful as we thought it would be,” is not the right mentality in today’s market. Don’t let the same sense of urgency you had months ago, go away. You need to get engaged with your renters and be relentless. If they move out, it’s not good for you, either. 

One thing not to do is criticize your residents on social media. You should not be callous about their situations and not rush to judgment about their behaviors because you don’t know the whole story. Therefore, if you get a chance to do so, listen. 

5 Best Practices for Managing Apartment Turnover

The Impact of Apartment Turnover

Apartment turnover has one of the most significant impacts to your financial performance. When you consider the lost revenue from vacancy loss combined with the expense to turn and remarket the apartment, the impact to the bottom line increases with every turn. While it is equally important to focus on leasing activity, you cannot lose site of the impact of apartment turnover on your budgets and maintenance technicians.    

The cost of turning a unit in 2021 could be higher than the average cost from prior years as gas and the cost for materials are skyrocketing. With increased pressure on budgeted turn expenses comes increased pressure on your maintenance team. While the financial impact is cause for concern on its own, the workload on the maintenance team members to turn the units, especially during peak leasing cycles, can be significant.   

How many times have preventative maintenance items been delayed or overlooked due to the maintenance team being consumed with getting units ready or as a result of budget concerns?  Delaying preventative maintenance has a higher cost down the road.    

While move-outs are inevitable, there are ways to minimize the vacancy loss from apartment turnover. Operators can take a variety of measures to lessen the burden on your team members and limit the impact on your bottom line.  

Taking a proactive approach to managing turns and having an efficient make-ready process will save you time and money. Here are 5 best practices to improve your apartment turnover rate. 

1. Proactive Management Has to Include Maintenance

Budgets typically align with historical leasing cycles, which are helpful for staff and budget planning purposes. Your properties are unique. Instead of solely relying on regional historic leasing cycles, you need to track each property’s projected occupancy rate and future lease expirations to forecast appropriately for apartment turnovers.  

Your maintenance team needs as much notice as possible about any potential increase in expected move-outs. Sharing the number of expiring leases for the rest of the year and expected renewal rates with your maintenance team can help them plan spend and staffing appropriately.   

With property management software, you can provide them access to information to help them understand the renewal value. Every renewal means there is one less unit to turn, which will impact how maintenance team members engage with current renters in the best way.  

Your maintenance supervisor is responsible for staying within the allotted maintenance and turn budget, and he or she may already proactively work with vendors to get products ordered and tasks scheduled in advance. If they can adjust the spend and use of vendors weeks or months in advance, they will manage the budget more effectively.

2. Create Make-Ready Work Orders

Every property has some form of make-ready board. Whether you’re using a whiteboard, spreadsheet or software, you have a way to communicate upcoming turnover tasks to your maintenance technicians. But what if your make-ready board allowed you to maximize your time?  

We all know that time is money. Leveraging property management software to manage the unit turns for upcoming notice to vacates proactively saves time and makes sure that no units slip off the radar.   

As mentioned above, visibility is crucial, but it is not the only way to help your team manage the process. Most maintenance teams are limited in size and rely on outside contractors to prepare units for a new renter. Managing the contractors is one area that turn management software can ease some of the burdens and decrease the time to get the unit ready.    

Regardless of how clean the former resident thinks they left their apartment, you know that you must send in your housekeeper or cleaning contractor, so why not automate the process? With make-ready work orders, your team no longer has to schedule maintenance after they walk the units. Routine tasks can already be scheduled in property management software. Not only does this save time, but it ensures no tasks slip through the cracks and cause delayed move-in dates and vacancy loss. 

apartment-turnover-cta

3. Designate Specific Move Out Dates

Taking a strategic approach to apartment turnovers can help ensure your units aren’t vacant for long periods and that the workload is manageable for the staff. Management companies have been moving away from the old concept of ending their leases on the last day of the month, which would often overload the maintenance teams the first week of the following month. 

When there are more units to turn than there is time in the day, they (naturally) don’t get turned, increasing vacancy loss. More and more management companies have lease expirations spread throughout the month—some schedule leases to expire on Saturday or Sunday. Considering the most desirable days for a new move-in are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, your team has plenty of time to complete the turn.   

If you are using property management software with turn management capabilities, the office staff can help maintenance get a jump start on even the toughest of turns while they were doing the final walk-through with a resident upon move-out.  

*Keep in mind that you should document this in the lease if you choose to designate specific move-out dates each month. 

4. Go Green to Cut Costs

Apartment turnovers are a great time to complete budgeted renovations or implement green initiatives.  

With the number of energy-saving products and appliances on the market, consider ways you can go green while saving money in perpetuity.  If going green is something you are looking to evaluate so that you can budget for an entire project in the future, consider selecting a handful of units that are not preleased to install eco-friendly products.  Some eco-friendly products, like LED lightbulbs, are simple to add to your maintenance budget for apartment turnovers.   

When your team is optimized for efficiency and expense management, testing the water for the handful of units selected might be in your budget after all. Once you see the results in net rental revenue for green apartments, you have the justification for the spending in next year’s budget.  Oh, and don’t forget the net rental improvement and increased asset value you will see!   

5. Give Your Team Some Time for Last-Minute Issues

Walking the apartment prior to the resident moving out will help you identify the work and materials needed in advance. When your team is overloaded, walking the unit in advance often gets deprioritized.  

If you have to do a final walk-through only hours before a resident moves in, you may not have time to fix any issues that come up, causing a poor first experience for new residents. When the team and contractors are rushed, there is a potential for a decline in their work quality. The move-in experience for new renters has proven to be a significant factor in lease renewal. Empowering your team will ensure an excellent experience for your renters, too.  

Your maintenance team members and your supplier partners are valuable assets. Working with them empowers them to do their best. Take the time to educate the team and show them how and why being proactive will reduce their workload in the long run.  

ResMan helps teams improve turn management, maximize efficiency and control spending! Learn more with a free demo!

5 Signs You Need a Multifamily CRM

How Does a Multifamily CRM Improve Lead Management?

Customer relationship management software, or CRMs, are the fastest growing software solutions on the market across industries, and multifamily is no exception. A multifamily CRM helps increase conversion by streamlining the lead management process. 

As a supplement to a high-quality property management software, multifamily CRM creates a more personalized experience for prospects, helps teams manage leads more efficiently and gives property managers unparalleled access to customer data in real time. It improves lead flow, increases conversion and drives higher occupancy rates. 

 Here are five signs your company could benefit from a multifamily CRM. 

1. You aren’t attracting enough leads to maintain occupancy levels  

Move outs happen, of course, but if leads are down and it’s getting harder to keep your units consistently filled, you most likely need the power of a multifamily CRM to boost your efforts.  

When coming up with a plan to increase conversion, start with the basics. Most leads come via apartment aggregator websites, but some companies struggle to keep their ILS listings updated.  Before you even have a chance to wow prospects with your properties, out-of-date information or incomplete (Internet Listing Services) ILS listings for your property could be driving them away. 

The best multifamily CRM will ensure that your ILS listings stand out on the best apartment aggregator sites, providing up-to-date and appealing details on availability, unit size, price and more. This can give prospects a strong first impression of your property and drive them to engage. From there, your CRM and your staff can get to work doing everything necessary to convert them. 

2. You have duplicate prospect records  

Inefficiency impacts your bottom line.  Duplicate leads across multiple properties and misplaced data makes it hard to effectively engage prospects. If your competition is using modern CRM solutions to manage prospects while you use outdated systems, you may lose out on deals. 

A multifamily CRM centralizes cross-property prospect records and allows you to efficiently manage leads across your portfolio. If you’re relying heavily on ILS listings, you may save money through more efficient sharing of leads across properties, reducing your cost per lead. This effectiveness also reduces prospect and team frustrations. 

3. Leads sometimes fall through the cracks 

Your leasing team is constantly being pulled in different directions. You need a solution to keep them focused. A multifamily CRM with a powerful dashboard alerts them to high priority prospects and activities ensures they follow up promptly. 

Your brand is at stake. Consumers believe the pre-leasing experience your team delivers reflects the ongoing experience they will have as a resident. If they experience hassles before they sign, what will life be like when they live on your property? An integrated property management solution and multifamily CRM enable consistent streamlined experiences that residents have come to expect. 

multifamily-crm-cta

4. You aren’t automating communication 

Being responsive is essential to keeping prosects engaged, but your team can’t be available 24/7. Automating communication through a multifamily CRM simplifies processes for your leasing team and shows prospects that you’re easy to work with. 

More than 50 percent of tours are scheduled outside business hours. Leveraging a multifamily CRM that offers AI-powered chatbots on your website to engage your prospects at any time. While your team is serving other prospects or off the clock, a chatbot can engage website visitors, offer virtual tours, and schedule in-person tours. 

Note that not all CRMs do this effectively. AI-powered chatbots that accurately interpret and respond in context to prospects are best equipped to get prospects the information they need to move to the next stage of the process. 

Multifamily CRMs can also streamline other forms of communication. Consider a solution that automates email and SMS-triggered dialogues to respond to inquiries and further engage prospects. The best CRMs also offer click-to-dial and call-from-anywhere options, increasing team efficiency. 

5. You aren’t sure how your lead sources are performing

Understanding where your leads originate ensures you’re allocating your marketing budget correctly. Without comprehensive lead and conversion data, you may be overspending on low-converting sources or underspending on high-converting sources.  

A multifamily CRM tied to a robust property management platform provides clear marketing attribution reports to help you optimize your marketing investments. With complete data visibility, you can make confident budgeting decisions to maximize conversion. 

10 Qualities of the Best Multifamily Housing Software

Choosing a Multifamily Housing Software

Looking for the best multifamily housing software can feel overwhelming. It’s such an important decision, and there’s a lot to consider. The must-have qualities on your list earned a place there because of specific pain points you’re experiencing or innovation you’ve heard about. But there may also be other features that you didn’t know to look for or that may turn out to be more important than you expected. 

Your discovery process will go more smoothly if you know what you want to get out of your multifamily housing software. Setting goals and understanding the capabilities of each platform you’re considering will drive your decision. The right platform will help you increase efficiency and achieve your goals. 

To help you in your search, we’ve identified ten of the most important qualities to look for in a property management platform. 

  1. Ease of Use
  2. Efficient Workflows
  3. Automation
  4. Big Picture Visibility
  5. Open API and Native Solutions
  6. Support for Affordable Housing Compliance
  7. Frequent Software Updates
  8. Expanded Revenue Potential
  9. Scalable Solutions
  10. A Platform That Offers a True Partnerships

 

 

 

1. Ease of Use 

Naturally, no one wants a platform that is difficult to learn and use. Investing in cumbersome software that your staff won’t want to use is not a smart business decision. The best return on your investment comes from a complete buy-in from your staff, and that can only happen with an intuitive solution. 

To ensure ease of use, get a demo of each software you’re considering. Have a sales representative walk you through routine tasks your team will perform each day. The best multifamily housing software has a simple user-interface and a powerful search function to help your team get to the information they need in three clicks or less.   

 

 

 

2. Efficient Workflows 

Operational processes affect more than time and office morale, they impact your bottom line. Cumbersome software creates inefficiencies across your team, which can ultimately result in low conversion rates, poor resident experience and less tasks accomplished.  

Your software should help you get out in front of your needs by helping you create efficient workflows. The best multifamily housing software allows you to get to or enter information in just a few clicks.  

Pro Tip: Working with a property management platform that has a team with extensive history in the property management industry is likely to bring a higher level of innovation in this area. What is the provider’s story? 

 

 

 

3. Automation 

Manual processes subject your operations to the risks of human error and failures in compliance, which further impact your bottom line. Modern multifamily housing software automates as many processes as possible, enabling staff to more easily manage daily tasks, focus on high level goals and provide personal attention to residents and prospects.  

Automated processes to look for include: 

–  A budgeting tool that uses automation to eliminate errors and provides accurate data 

–  Automated recertification notices for affordable housing 

–  Leasing automation with an integrated CRM to nurture leads even while you sleep 

A big part of running a property is keeping track of what you need to do and when you need to do it. A platform with automated alerts helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Receiving alerts in your platform’s dashboard keeps your team focused. 

 

 

 

4. Big Picture Visibility 

The right multifamily housing software supports more than your staff’s daily operational tasks. It also provides comprehensive visibility into property and portfolio performance.  
 
A platform with a robust dashboard allows you to view high-level metrics at-a-glance and dive into reports to analyze operations in granular detail. This keeps you informed of day-to-day performance, as well as make proactive decisions for the future. 

The right platform will also alert you to irregularities and dips in key performance indicators (KPIs), like NOI and occupancy rates. These alerts allow you to react quickly to analyze past and current data, forecast future metrics and make data-driven decisions to mitigate risks and reach your goals. 

 

 

 

5. Open API and Native Solutions 

Having robust native functionality is essential—the most seamless processes are when the functionality is native to the platform. That said, most organizations use a variety of technology solutions to manage operations.  

That said, an open platform provides the most flexibility. A multifamily housing software with an open API and best-in-class integration partners gives you certainty in knowing you have the functionality to address specialized business needs.  

A hybrid solution like this allows you to get the best of both worlds. Not only does it offer functionality, but it also allows you to simplify billing and business relationships.  

 

 

 

6. Support for Affordable Housing Compliance 

If you have or may one day have affordable properties, choosing a platform that supports affordable housing compliance well is important. Not all platforms have the depth of knowledge and commitment to the affordable industry.  

Consider a multifamily housing software that keeps up with the ever-changing affordable housing landscape and alerts you to regulation changes to help you stay compliant. Find a solution with a complete compliance dashboard. This ensures you have a real-time, at-a-glance view into your compliance, from recertification management to building compliance. 

 

 

 

7. Frequent Software Updates 

Property management is among the scores of industries that have been disrupted by residents’ evolving expectations and rapidly expanding technology. To stay competitive, you need a platform that aligns with your residents’ needs.  

The platform you choose should be constantly evolving and improving to help you attract and retain residents. To do this, your provider must be in tune with the industry to understand changing needs and listen to customer feedback to improve the product. 

Equally, your platform must enable you to operate efficiently to help you maximize NOI. A provider that’s hyper-focused on enhancing their platform keeps your needs front of mind and is consistently innovating to help you improve. 

 

 

 

8. Expanded Revenue Potential 

With all the upheaval experienced in the property management industry lately, companies are looking for ways to maximize economic occupancy more than ever. A platform with strong marketing capabilities, like a powerful CRM, website solutions, virtual leasing and AI-powered chatbots, can help you attract and convert high quality leads to minimize vacancies and avoid the need for rental concessions.  

Property management platforms can also help you expand traditional revenue-share programs, like utilities. Explore how the system will enable you to generate additional revenue streams through any valuable concierge service you could offer with little effort required on your part. Here are just a few: 

– Credit reporting

– Renter’s insurance

– Tech support for residents’ computers

– Security alarm services

– Ad space for big brands (like sports drink ads in the workout room or gym)

– Daily door-side trash or recycling pick-up

– Appliance and furniture rental

 

 

9. Scalable Solutions 

If you plan to scale your business, it’s important to find a solution that can accommodate you as you grow. A flexible solution that allows you to add features as you need them is ideal for growing businesses. Look for a multifamily housing software that has a track record for supporting customers that have successfully scaled their businesses.  

This isn’t only about what the platform can do today. Beyond its current capabilities, look at its mission, industry involvement and history of innovation. Explore the platform’s ability to be a business partner and respond to your unique organization’s specific needs.  

 

 

 

10. A Platform That Offers a True Partnership 

Choosing a property management platform is an important decision that can impact your every aspect of your business. Understanding what your company needs from software and considering your daily workflow, budget and future needs can help you find the best platform for your business. 

Most importantly, though, this decision isn’t solely about the technology itself. While checking all the boxes on features and functionality is important, often it’s the company and the people behind the technology that has the greatest impact on your success. Instead of thinking of a platform as a provider, think of this decision as entering into a partnership.  

The right partner for your business is one who understands your industry, offered the functionality you need, and is committed to being there for you when you need help or run into issues. Be sure to find a partner that listens to your ideas and helps you to use the technology to its fullest so you can realize your potential as a business. 

5 Ways Property Management Companies Can Manage Communication During a Weather Emergency

Emergency Communication Tools for Property Management Companies

Communicating with residents before, during and after a weather emergency is critical for property managers. Whether there’s a snowstorm, tornado, hurricane or natural disaster, your job is to keep your residents and staff both safe and informed. In the aftermath, clear and frequent communication regarding repairs, timelines and building access will help you better manage expectations and make the weeks and months to come a bit easier for all involved.

Juggling tasks during a stressful situation can leave you with little time to manage communication, especially if you’re relying on a system that doesn’t offer robust messaging tools. Leveraging a modern property management software to streamline messaging one of the easiest and most reliable ways to manage both internal and external communication and, quite literally, weather the storm.

1. Company Communication Tool

In a weather emergency, you need to be in constant communication with your internal team to ensure individual properties are planning accordingly and following company protocol.

While two-way radios are great for quick communication between maintenance crews and other teams on individual properties, you also need a way to deliver messages across individual teams and multiple properties to alert them to high priority tasks and align resident communication and maintenance processes.

Emails can often get overlooked. Communicating with property managers and other staff within your property management software is the best way to convey needs, as your team is constantly working in the platform.

During a weather emergency, property management companies can segment relevant properties and brief them on how to stay prepared. For example, PMCs can remind property managers to coordinate with maintenance teams to de-ice steps and treat walkways during winter storms or provide messaging for resident communications.

Not only does this keep you in sync, but getting regular status updates to and from your team also allows you to send the most accurate and timely updates to your residents.

2. Bulk Email and SMS Messaging

Keeping in touch with residents is always important, but when during a weather emergency, property management companies need to prioritize resident communication. Emergencies like this can be a scary, stressful time for your residents, and they need to know you’re there for them.

Before the weather event (if possible), inform your residents of any preventive measures they can take to secure their units, like keeping faucets dripping during a hard freeze or getting to a safe space away from windows during a tornado. In the days and weeks ahead, it will be equally important to keep residents informed of unit access and repair timelines.

While most PMCs use some form of messaging system, having a property management software with powerful email and SMS messaging tools ensures you can deliver information quickly – especially in an emergency.

Using a platform like ResMan allows to further streamline emergency messaging by setting the message type to “Emergency.” This will bypass resident opt-in settings and send notifications to all residents.

3. Segmented Messaging

Particularly in weather emergencies, property managers need to be able to contact specific residents to communicate issues. Instead of mass messaging everyone at your property, leveraging a property management software with bulk messaging segmentation makes it easy to contact residents in specific buildings, floors, units or other areas of the property.

Some software only allows you to send bulk messages to all residents or email specific residents—nothing in between. Receiving irrelevant messages can be frustrating for residents, and while emergency messaging them will ensure you reach them, you want to ensure you’re only sending relevant information from your platform, especially during severe weather.

Robust property management software enables to you segment contacts to ensure you can easily communicate information to the right people. You can notify certain residents about burst pipes, roof restoration and other pertinent information quickly and avoid disturbing or confusing the rest of your residents.

4. Resident Portal Emergency Messages

We all know that messages can get accidentally overlooked. Communicating with your resident across multiple platforms is the best way to ensure you’re heard. In addition to email and SMS, you should also add any emergency weather messaging into your resident portal.

Leveraging a property management software with a powerful resident portal allows your residents to access all the information they need in a single location. Before, during or after weather emergencies, property managers can create a pop up to communicate with their residents. This can be particularly helpful after an emergency or natural disaster when residents may be logging into the portal to create maintenance requests. Property managers can insert messaging into the portal to improve transparency and communicate procedures for the days and weeks to come.

5. Templates

Property managers know to expect the unexpected and have a plan in place for any scenario—including communication. Ensuring you have systems in place for emergency situations, weather events or even routine correspondence, can save you valuable time.

Taking proactive measures now to streamline communication allows you get in front of your needs. Property management software enables you to create custom messaging templates for different scenarios. Instead of having to craft a message on the fly, you can simply select the appropriate template, edit if needed and hit send.

Depending on your geographic location, you may choose to make templates based on likely weather emergency scenarios. For example, if your property is on the coast, prepare messaging for hurricanes. That said, when it comes to weather, expect the unexpected. Consider creating templates for less likely scenarios. Even if it snows in your city once a decade, it’s best to be prepared.

When times are tough, ResMan is here to help. Learn more about how your team can improve communication with a powerful property management platform.

3 Reasons to Use a Native Resident Payment Portal

At first glance, third-party resident payment software can seem like a viable way to extend the features of your property management system. It allows you to accept and manage payments online, which is a win. But a native resident payment portal, one that is built within your property management software, offers advantages you may not have considered. It’s a win-win-win, because it gives everyone—residents, back-office staff, and onsite property managers—a better experience. 

1. Greater Staff Efficiency

Accepting payments is only one piece of the equation for a payment portal. Managing those payments is typically where challenges can show up in a third-party application. Some property managers spend countless hours manually transferring data from disparate systems. 

A property management software with native payment functionality boosts efficiency by centralizing your data . You get a single system of record within your property management software for all your resident interactions. This helps eliminate risk and ensure payment management is accurate, streamlined and timely. Property management software users never leave the system and all given data is automatically populated in resident accounts. 

Some payment providers may not be able to help you with how their  product is interacting with another vendor’s product. A native resident payment portal provides one less vendor to interact with and a support team with technical experience in every aspect of your property management software, including payment management. Keeping all resident data in one system provides a more consistent back-office experience. 

2. A Seamless Experience for Residents 

In a non-integrated or lightly integrated payment portal, applicants and residents must make payments in one system while submitting maintenance requests and uploading documents in a separate resident portal. Having to manage needs on separate systems and keep up with usernames and passwords can be frustrating for residents and applicants.

Convenience and ease of use are primary expectations of today’s consumers. A property management software with native payment functionality allows residents and applicants to pay in your online resident portal. This keeps them on your website and provides a seamless payment experience within a familiar resident portal.

3. Reduced Risk for Property Managers

Managing the payment lifecycle of receiving, processing and reconciling payments can get complicated when your staff is working out of disparate systems. A property management software with native payment functionality allows you to streamline the process, eliminating errors and bottlenecks. You can trust your reports to be accurate and up-to-date. 

In a native resident payment portal, PMCs can also reduce financial risk with cost-predictable subscription pricing. Fixed service fees, rather than adjustable, will minimize complexity and uncertainty about costs for you and your residents. 

ResMan’s Native Resident Payment Functionality  

The payments solution developed within the ResMan property management platform (and supported by ResMan) reduces friction for applicants and residents and reduces risk for PMs. 

ResMan Payments aligns with industry standards in accepting a wide range of payment methods, offering standard and expedited funding options, and complying with PCI Level I, SSAE 18, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), NACHA, and Card Rules and Regulations security requirements. You can rest easy, knowing your residents’ payment experience is secure. 

Find out why ResMan’s property management software with a native payment functionality is the best choice for managing your properties.

ADA Compliance: Does Your Website Discriminate Against Those with Disabilities?

The disability rights movement has, for a couple of decades, brought the injustices faced by people with disabilities to the public’s attention, eventually resulting in the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) in 1990. Designed to address discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation, public services, transportation and telecommunications, the ADA continues to expand its efforts to ensure equal opportunities for all.

Property owners and managers are familiar with physical ADA standards such as wheelchair ramps, and parking and lighting accommodations, but are you paying enough attention to your website?

All government websites and the websites of any organization that could be considered a “public accommodation” are required to comply with ADA guidelines.

Your Website is One of Your Properties

Though the use of technology has increased at a rapid rate, even for those who are sight and hearing impaired, guidelines for accessibility have grown at a slower pace. The most recent set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) came ten years after the 2.0 version.

The new guidelines increase the number of “success criteria” that are possible, but in most cases, allows for organizations to comply at differing levels:

  • Level A: Compliance with WCAG 2.0
  • Level AA: The level property managers should comply with
  • Level AAA: Compliance with WCAG 2.1

Why should you level up, if you can? The new success criteria not only address changes in technology, they also expand the range of disabilities that may be helped by greater accommodations. In addition to sight and hearing disabilities, this can include those with limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and even some learning and cognitive limitations. Gaining greater access to vital information via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices can be a life-changing for disabled individuals.

Download our 7 Key Steps to ADA Compliance on Property Websites

In our new download, you’ll learn:

  • Why ADA compliance is important
  • How ADA compliance provides a better experience for all users, potentially improving your organizations’ bottom line
  • The ADA guidelines your team should know how to implement if they add or update content on your website
  • How to stay informed about ADA updates

BONUS: Contains a convenient compliance checklist!

Download 7 Key Steps to ADA Compliance on Property Websites

handicapped person accessing computer

Check out the Features that Make Up ResMan’s Virtual Leasing Office

Discover for yourself how ResMan can help you continue to adapt and innovate.

Request a Free Demo

Resources to Help You Stay Ahead

Committed to Service and Support Through COVID-19

Read More

The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

Read More

Using Texting to Safely Communicate During Covid-19

Read More

Monitoring Affordable Compliance in a Crisis (and Beyond)

In a recent blogpost entitled 4 Tips for Weathering the Storm, our founder and President Elizabeth Francisco wrote in the early days of COVID-19 that her first experiences with property management occurred during a crisis – the Great Recession of 2008. 

It was during this time that what was already difficult became unmanageable with the old methods (namely: stacks and stacks of Excel spreadsheets). Something had to give!

ResMan was birthed out of that refining challenge.

NAVIGATING THIS CURRENT CRISIS

For a crisis such as COVID-19, we’ve certainly seen unprecedented changes. Internally you’ve endured staff reductions, office closures and work-from-home staff, the need for PPE and social distancing, and widespread unemployment that impacted your residents. 

Externally, COVID-19 has heavily disrupted the policies, procedures and deadlines of the Affordable Housing industry. The subsequent CARES Act has demanded massive learning curves for keeping up with a swiftly evolving situation.

But sometimes crisis doesn’t just create new challenges, it puts current bottlenecks, barriers, glitches and inefficient workflows on steroids. It forces us to address problems and issues that were perhaps merely annoying or troublesome before with an openness to consider new ways to provide relief. In other words, we come to a point where something has to give!

3 ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR AFFORDABLE COMPLIANCE

With COVID-19’s physically altered protocols for managing your property, it’s clear that technology is the way through. Ms. Francisco stated that “Reluctance to adopt efficient technology ultimately means you won’t be able to compete.” You’ll also find affordable compliance untenable without these tools.

And if that’s true any given day, it’s even more vital during our current economic disruption. Here’s what you must have:

1. Cloud-based software

With many staff still working from home, residents socially isolating and vendors operating only online, cloud-based software is an absolute must. It’s more important than ever to be able to access your information from anywhere, at any time.

2. Unlimited Document Storage

With electronic forms replacing paper forms due to the need to avoid contact, it’s vital for both you and your residents to be able to easily access all documents. They’ll need to be able to scan forms and upload them. This is something you needed anyway, in today’s consumer-driven quest for convenience.

3. Compliance Guidance

The CARES Act and frequent changes to local and federal policies have turned our industry upside down. 

     -You have questions about stimulus funds (is it a lump sum or recurring? what type of forms/reporting do you need to complete?). 

     -You’re trying to stay abreast of the ever-changing evictions process. 

     -You’ve got to devise a way to keep up with new payment plans. 

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

The good news is that there is help available!

  • For starters, consider participating in associations such as NAHMA, to share and network ideas and to have a voice with the governing bodies of the programs.
  • Next, we recommend working with compliance experts dedicated to your success. (We have three, with 60 years’ combined experience!) Easy access to affordable housing experts and software that keeps you within intuitive compliance guardrails is game-changing during a crisis. (And pretty awesome the rest of the time.)

 

HOW RESMAN HELPS AFFORDABLE PROPERTY MANAGERS ANYTIME

The reality is that even before the pandemic, Affordable Housing compliance could feel like a crisis on any given day. So, whether it’s 2020’s calamities or business-as-usual, you can put your compliance in ResMan’s hands:

  • Our Affordable comprehensive compliance suite is always up-to-date, automating, ensuring accuracy and helping you avoid costly compliance risks. 
  • Our Affordable experts speak your language!


Request a free demo of ResMan Affordable to see how we’re changing affordable property management software to make your job easier than ever before.

Check out the Features that Make Up ResMan’s Virtual Leasing Office

Discover for yourself how ResMan can help you continue to adapt and innovate.

Request a Free Demo

Resources to Help You Stay Ahead

Committed to Service and Support Through COVID-19

Read More

The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

Read More

Using Texting to Safely Communicate During Covid-19

Read More

Let Us Be Your Compliance Experts: ResMan’s Affordable Expertise at Your Fingertips

As anyone who works in affordable housing can attest, it’s complex. The property managers and owners who do so are passionate about helping low-income families. They must constantly jump through critical, evolving compliance hoops, and they do so for some of the lowest compensation levels in the business. No matter how big or small, every property management company is at risk for compliance lawsuits.

No one needs more resources and support than the Affordable property manager. But as with any complex field, the support must come from those who know the complexities inside and out. We’re proud of ResMan’s Affordable solution, but it wouldn’t be what it is without our team of affordable experts. 

Together, these three members bring a combined 63 years of affordable and conventional experience and leadership to both our Affordable product and to our affordable housing clients. Their expertise (which continues to drive our Affordable product innovation) and their passion for the niche are a truly winning combination.

Meet Our 3 Affordable Experts

JANEL GANIM

Twenty two years ago, Janel Ganim found her way to affordable housing through two separate property management roles that included accounting and new software implementation. In 1998, she took a job with a property management software vendor, where she was asked to learn HUD.  She applied that knowledge for more than 13 years across Support, Quality Assurance, Business Analysis, and, finally, Director of Product Management, Affordable Housing. 

During those years, Janel focused on affordable housing, becoming deeply involved with industry clients, NAHMA, HUD, tax credit industry events and pre-sales events. She holds NCHM Certified Occupancy Specialist and Tax Credit Specialist certifications.

For NAHMA, she vice-chaired and chaired the Affiliates committee, each for two years. A highlight of her affordable experience is being elected to the one Affiliate seat on the Board of Directors. She has served one year of her three-year term. For HUD, Janel has participated in several industry groups before industry roll-outs, co-chaired and sat on multiple groups, including co-writing the draft notice for electronic signatures and storage, her biggest industry impact to date.

New to ResMan since February of this year, Janel started in a business development role to focus on affordable housing thought leadership, the Product Development roadmap, and staying ahead of the market’s compliance needs. In April she was asked to oversee the Product team (Core, Affordable and Reporting products). She is currently focusing on budgeting product updates, a custom report writer, updates to our affordable housing waitlist, tightening up functions of existing features and improving our partners’ first 90 days with ResMan by collecting better data upfront during onboarding.

Janel recognizes that affordable property managers have greater challenges, responsibilities and liabilities than others, and often less training opportunities. “I love to create a great product that keeps site staff within intuitive compliance guardrails,” she says.

RUE FOX

Twenty three years ago, Rue worked at a property management company where she met her current Affordable coworker Janel and also leasing agent Elizabeth Francisco, who would go on to become ResMan’s founder. 

In 1997, Rue moved to another property management software organization, where she spent 13 years in Sales and two years in Affordable Business Development. During this time, she received her affordable accreditations through NAHMA, traveling around the country meeting with reporting agencies, building credibility and trust, which resulted in deep, ongoing relationships within the industry. Affordable became Rue’s “home.” 

With certifications in HUD Section 8 and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Rue has chaired and participated in NAHMA committees for 20 years. She holds both a Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO) and Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM) designation.

Rue learned about ResMan through a few different sources, but when dragged to meet someone at a 2014 NAA show, who turned out to be none other than her former coworker Elizabeth Francisco who had launched the ResMan start-up, she knew she wanted to be a part of that team. She has served as the face of Affordable at ResMan since 2016. With 20 years in sales, she now leads as a Solution Engineer, learning the needs of the industry, presenting solutions within the product and delivering product feedback to Development. She and Elizabeth eventually persuaded Janel to join ResMan.

Rue has met many affordable housing managers and owner/agents, including a woman who had to walk her property with a shotgun, it was so unsafe. She is amazed at their love and commitment for serving low-income families, and it made her want to make their lives easier. “And I love how the affordable industry gives back, such as NAHMA’s annual college scholarship for a low-income college student of any age. We’re making a difference in people’s lives at every level. As for ResMan, it’s fun to take this fantastic product to market and get to hear people’s reactions and “wow” moments,” she says.

CORBIN du MONT

In 2001, Corbin du Mont graduated college with a major in Business Communications, a minor in Marketing, and no knowledge of affordable housing whatsoever. He fell into it in his first job, PAWA House of Florida, a leading training organization and HUD service bureau, where he found, to his surprise, that he loved working with subsidy programs. When the company was acquired by PMCS, he worked remotely in a supervisory role with 80-100 sites in his portfolio, remaining a total of five years. During this time, he received training with NAHMA and SAHMA. He later went on to a variety of affordable property management organizations, serving as both a conventional and HUD property manager and a HUD Compliance Officer and earning designations in Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS), Tax Credit Specialist (TCS), Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO) and Rural Housing Development. He also received REAC certification/training through American Property Consultants.

“ResMan is my dream job,” he says. “After the vendor solution testing I’d done, I always wanted to work with a vendor in affordable housing.” He’s been with ResMan since 2017, serving as a Senior Business Analyst/Product Manager with a focus on the vouchering process and HUD. He brings his work with clients and the affordable industry to the ResMan product team with a view to staying ahead in the industry and leading the charge for affordable property managers.

“The jobs I’ve had really set me up well to understand how fundamentals in the background work and how to use that knowledge in creating what the affordable industry needs. ResMan was already a huge jump for affordable property managers, better than others, but it has grown into an even better product.” He’s especially proud of the automated TRACS messaging on the compliance dashboard, the special claims calculator, and the ease of certification workflows. 

You Can Put Your Compliance in ResMan’s Hands

The ResMan Affordable comprehensive compliance suite is always up-to-date, automating, ensuring accuracy and helping you avoid costly compliance risks. 

But you’re never on your own. Our three affordable experts speak HUD, Tax Credit and Rural Development. They know the language and will even work through your challenges with your contract administrator, if need be.

Check out the Features that Make Up ResMan’s Virtual Leasing Office

Discover for yourself how ResMan can help you continue to adapt and innovate.

Request a Free Demo

Resources to Help You Stay Ahead

Committed to Service and Support Through COVID-19

Read More

The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

Read More

Using Texting to Safely Communicate During Covid-19

Read More

Supercharge ResMan with Online Vendor Payments

If you’re new to Online Vendor Payments, this high-powered feature is one of those must-haves that causes new users to wonder how they ever got along without it.

For years, property managers have been enjoying ResMan’s Online Vendor Payments, an electronic Accounts Payable vendor management feature that automates the entire vendor payment process, including procurement, purchase order, invoice processing and disbursements. 

Imagine our already robust core property management software platform … supercharged!

Our property managers are also enjoying the power of choice, with multiple Online Vendor Payment providers AvidPay and NexusPayments integrating with ResMan.

Wondering if it’s right for you? Take a scroll to discover all there is to love about this feature.

10 BENEFITS OF ONLINE VENDOR PAYMENTS

Full Visibility and Management of All Vendors

  1. Quickly see the status of every vendor invoice, no matter how many you have.
  2. All invoices are digitized by your provider. Then, with one-click approval/pay from your staff, the provider writes a check or direct deposits payment … and you’re done! 
  3. Create a blend of payment types (digital and paper). Even those vendors who don’t choose direct deposit can be managed within the same system. And you have the option to choose your preferred payment method, including card, ACH or check.

Staff Efficiency

  1. Grant visibility permissions and access as needed. Staff can see any vendor data they need to see in ResMan, while Accounts Payable staff can login to the vendor portal from within ResMan to manage payments.
  2. Eliminate frantic mailroom chaos and stress. No more overlooked invoices, misfiled information, or checks sent to the wrong address or sitting in a mailbox somewhere. Say good-bye to hours of opening mail, scanning and filing invoices, writing checks and licking stamps.
  3. Free up staff for more important tasks. You’ll only need one person to manage vendor payments. They’ll save time and you’ll save on office space requirements.
  4. Accounts Payable can be managed from home…or anywhere. Protect your staff while maintaining efficiency. 
  5. Reduce the lifecycle of costs associated with paper payments. You’ll offset the cost of the service with time and cost savings in multiple areas. A Wall Street Journal article shows each paper check costs $4-10 to process. Aberdeen Research reports that “to process a paper invoice from receipt through accounting system entry costs $14.86.” 
  6. Gain a competitive edge. Increased efficiency allows staff to spend more time managing properties, building relationships and growing occupancy.
  7. Simplifies billing and payment for interested vendors, too. Most vendors will love having their payments immediately accessible via direct deposit. To participate, they simply login to the vendor portal, input their bank information, upload or even generate their invoice from within the portal and start receiving payments electronically in a fraction of the time. Non-participating vendors will continue to invoice you and be paid via check, but the payment provider handles it all.

HOW ONLINE VENDOR PAYMENTS WORKS 

Whether you choose AvidPay or NexusPayments, vendor invoices go to a new P.O. box or email address that is set up for you and managed by the provider you choose. They do all the processing: Open the invoice, digitize it, and submit a screen of payments due for your approval. Upon approval, they issue checks or digital payments on your behalf. 

You’ll have a full record of every invoice and transaction, easily accessible within ResMan.

Are you already wondering how you’ve gotten along without automated online vendor payments all this time? Request a free demo.

Check out the Features that Make Up ResMan’s Virtual Leasing Office

Discover for yourself how ResMan can help you continue to adapt and innovate.

Request a Free Demo

Resources to Help You Stay Ahead

Committed to Service and Support Through COVID-19

Read More

The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

Read More

Using Texting to Safely Communicate During Covid-19

Read More