4 Affordable Housing Software Features That Improve Productivity

Top Affordable Housing Software Features That Save You Time

Your affordable housing software should push your productivity, not your patience. A lack of effective software results in property management professionals wasting work hours duplicating data entry or inadvertently leasing to ineligible households.

With the right software provider, you can increase operational cost-savings while more effectively managing your time and expenses. However, budget restrictions and compliance hurdles can make it difficult to choose a solution that will set your organization up to meet long-term goals, according to Janel Ganim, vice president of compliance at RightSource Compliance.

“The affordable industry has historically run behind in technology as compared with other housing markets,” Ganim said. “I don’t see that changing anytime soon, which is unfortunate. I think a lot of the reason is that the industry does not have the budget that the conventional, student, and military housing markets have to invest in technology. The affordable housing industry has very little control over rents they can charge, whereas the conventional industry can react to different market conditions.”

As a result, many property management professionals in the affordable housing market have not prioritized software. But that’s all starting to change as more and more realize how these solutions can boost their bottom line — and restore their sanity.

Choosing the right provider is not easy, especially when you couple budget restrictions with the many different features each vendor offers. How can you quiet the chaos to find a software partner with the features that will best meet your organization’s long-term needs?

Below, we explore 4 affordable housing software features that are guaranteed to help you operate in the most compliant, efficient, and logical way.

1. Ensure the Affordable Housing Solution Supports Multiple Subsidy Layers

One of the most important reasons property managers opt to use affordable housing software is because of compliance, said Ganim. In particular, most properties have multiple layers of subsidies which equates to multiple sets of rules to follow. Without software to support these multiple layers, it becomes extraordinarily difficult for on-site staff to keep up with regulations and requirements.

Most vendors support basic eligibility tracking, but it’s important to prioritize solutions that can handle multiple subsidies, Ganim said. The property manager’s goal is to lease to eligible households to avoid losing money — a task that is exasperating if you are manually tracking eligibility.

Your affordable housing software should support a combination of programs — including HUD, tax credits, and rural development — through a single platform.

2. Prioritize Software That’s Up-to-Date on TRACS Standards

Another critical feature to consider is a modern platform that keeps up with Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System (TRACS) standards, such as electronic signatures and document storage.

Soon, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will release a notice to allow the use of e-storage and e-signatures for tenant certification and monthly vouchers, Ganim said. The notice will provide detailed requirements on record retention, encryption, how to properly destroy data, and more.

“One of the things we see with HUD is they have to come in and [recertify the household’s] income on a yearly basis,” she added. “To do that electronically with your residents and make sure those re-certifications are completed on time, would be great. If those aren’t completed on time, it results in adjustments that have to be made on the accounting side. If the rent changes or if you have to terminate their subsidy because they didn’t recertify on time, then you have to reinstate it retroactively. It’s just a lot of headache for on-site staff to go through, as well as for the resident.”

Additional benefits of electronic document storage are that it offers a way to preserve paperwork and tenant files in the event of a natural disaster, and it provides a more seamless way to handle file reviews and audits.

“If you have e-storage of documents, you don’t have to have that auditor from the state agency physically on your property going through your files; they can do that from their office,” Ganim said. “This saves travel costs for the state agency, and let’s be honest, it saves stress for the on-site staff because it’s that much less time that you have an auditor physically on your property.”

3. Scout for a Seamless System and User-Friendly Workflow

Affordable housing software should offer a seamless system to help process move-ins, certifications, and compliance hurdles while eliminating operational losses. It is critical to scout software with a user-friendly workflow that allows you to easily customize approval workflows, regardless of whether or not you use a centralized compliance department.

Having the ability to access all the data and documents needed to qualify a household on one screen is a game-changer. Compound these features with the ability to track certifications, monitor compliance issues, and set up email notifications when certifications are submitted through the workflow, and you have a platform ripe for the picking.

4. Make Sure the Software Offers Efficient Reporting Capabilities

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of the affordable housing industry is keeping up with state and federal reporting requirements.

Not all tax credit properties are required to submit electronically, but HUD and rural housing properties must submit at least monthly. Additionally, there are specific reporting requirements for tax credit properties. Considering the subsidy is granted at a state level, some states could require quarterly reporting while others require monthly. The agency may also ask for an electronic report in one state and a paper report in the other.

“A lot of the state agencies require electronic data submissions, and most software packages can export that data into whatever reporting format the state agency wants, or there are ways [the software] can upload the data onto an agency website,” Ganim said. “For people who don’t have that software, that is manual data entry, and in some cases that is a year’s worth of data.”

Affordable housing software significantly eases the process, minimizes human error, and cuts down on precious work hours spent on manual data entry.

The Bottom Line

Keeping up with the details of compliance, operations, and overhead costs for even the simplest affordable portfolios is challenging — especially without compliance technology. While most solutions offer standard features to help mitigate risk and manage expenses, it’s worth the time and effort to search for innovative affordable housing software that will help you reclaim productivity and increase efficiency.

With the right technology system in place, you can ensure your organization operates seamlessly to meet long-term goals. Keep these 4 features in mind as you scout for providers to better position your organization for continued success.

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

What Skills Do Property Managers Need?

Search internet job postings for property managers and you should notice a trend —or perhaps lack thereof— in the job descriptions: property management requires a wide range of professional and interpersonal skills to be effective.  

If you’re an owner, you might be wondering how you can possibly find all these skills in one person. And if you’re a property manager, you’re probably thinking about how to develop all those skills.  

SimpleYou start with the most important skills and then build on that foundation. In this blogwe’ll tell you the nine most essentials skills any property manager needs and how to build them. 

Organization and Attention to Detail

At the top of the list is organization. On any given day, you could: 

  • Develop and coordinate a plan for property improvement 
  • Maintain a calendar of due dates for inspections and lease renewals 
  • Prepare financial reports for your owners
  • And even assess the performance of your on-site staff 

Miss any one of those things and you could have a potential disaster on your hands. 

How to build this skill: Havsystem in place that helps you stay on top of your day-to-day, month-to-monthand annual tasks. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Making a to-do checklist at the start of the day 
  • Going old school” and using sticky notes 
  • Investing in project management tool that allows cross-collaboration

Source: Simply Productive 

Outstanding Customer Service

You must be able to understand people in addition to your property. Having outstanding customer service is all about putting yourself in the shoes of your residentIf a resident comes to you with a complaintthey expect you to treat their issue with urgency and importance. 

How to build this skill: Practice emotional intelligence. It will force you to practice empathySome helpful tips include: 

  • Recognizing what your initial reactions are to positive and negative situations 
  • Asking yourself why you have those reactions
  • Practicing exercising the most effective emotional reaction to those situations 

Emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs.
Source: Talent Smart 

Proficiency in Industry Software

These days, technology is essential to a company’s success. That’s why no matter your industry, the job market demands that you have basic computer skills. And for multifamily, it’s essential that you know how to work the technology that propels the industry forward 

How to build this skillIf you’re a little rusty on maximizing the use of your property management softwareyour provider should be able to provide onetime and ongoing support to help you become a master. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Contacting your software provider’s support team to see if they provide live and e-training  
  • Earning certifications to demonstrate your competency in different software platforms 
  • Joining user groups engineered to help you master their software and master strategies you need to grow your business 

Property management technologyor proptech as it’s often called, is one of the fastest-growing investment sectors in the world. Between 2016 and 2017, venture capital investments tripled in the space.
Source: Forbes 

Strong Communication Skills

Property managers regularly communicate with different audiences; on-site staff, residents, vendor partners, leadership, etc. It’s the way you communicate with these different people that determine your property’s success.  See how ResMan integrates SMS text messaging into the property management platform here.

How to build this skill: Write and practice public speaking oftenThenask your audience for feedback on how you can improve. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Contributing to your company blog regularly  
  • Creating an internal email blast 
  • Speaking at meetings or conferences regularly 

Strong Sales Skills

It’s not all burst pipes and apartment tours. When all is said and done, you will constantly be selling your personal value as a property manager and the value of your property in your marketing strategies, in your meetings, and all your relationships. 

How to build this skill: You’ll want to practice thinking about your audience’s motivations. This will help you tailor your message. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Doing your research on the people you’re trying to persuade
  • Thinking about what information you need to uncover 
  • Focusing on understanding the other party, what they need to accomplishand how they measure a good deal

82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared.
Source: GetCRM.com 

A Growth Mindset

At the end of the day, owners and operators need someone to preserve and increase the value of their properties. 

All property managers should have a basic understanding of finance. They should be able to calculate cap rates, cash-on-cash returnsand the internal rate of return (IRR). Having this mindset equips property managers to make important business decisions 

How to build this skill:  You should understand your leadership’s needs and wants so that you can effectively provide your property management company what it needsSome helpful tips include: 

  • Networking with other multifamily and real estate professionals to see what their companies are building towards 
  • Taking courses where your skills fall short 
  • Nurturing relationships with leadership  

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most onsite property management positions. However, many employers prefer to hire college graduates for commercial management positions and offsite positions dealing with a property’s finances or contract management.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

A Problem Solver

One size doesn’t fit all in property management 

You’ll have onsite staff that comes to you looking for guidance and help with their daily issues. You’ll also need to solve bigger problems that come with management. Think: prioritizing budgets, proving ROI, changing broken processes, and providing a welcoming atmosphere for employees and residents. 

To help build this skill: Sometimes it takes creativity to manage a property successfully. A great property manager should always be striving to learn new things and to push themselves further. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Seeking opportunities to find resolutions. Start small by asking your onsite staff to identify the challenges they face. Then, brainstorm and research solutions that can make their daytoday easier 
  • Speaking up and sharing your thoughts 
  • Thinking outside the box 


The best property managers inspire the best in others. This is especially important on days when onsite staff is dealing with especially troubling residents. As a property manager, you’ve got to motivate them to keep their heads high and still deliver great customer service. And to do it every time situations seem tough to handle. 

How to build this skillPractice motivational habits and implement them across your team. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Electing a mantra 
  • Implementing an employee recognition program for exemplary behavior 
  • Participating in team building activities 

Inspired employees are more than twice as productive as satisfied employees.
Source: Bain Research 

Develops Other Leaders

Micromanagers suck. And so does being stuck professionally.  

Multifamily needs more leaders. So, part of your job is developing your team to rise through the ranks. 

How to build this skill: Start by learning to recognize potential in others. Some helpful tips include: 

70% of the respondents indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job.
Source: Shift 

This list can seem daunting, but don’t feel intimidated. Whether you’re doing the hiring or the applying, there is no precise amount of these nine skills that will make you the “perfect” property manager. Rather, look at these skills as the foundation for a great leader. 

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If you already have a great property manager and now you’re looking for a great property management software, read our whitepaper on choosing the best property management software for your business.

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4 Property Management Maintenance Tips for the New Year

As we ring in the new year, the time to start planning for your property management company’s success is now. Preparing your service teams early in the year when your property is less hectic will pay off for the rest of the year and beyond. If implemented today and continued throughout the rest of the year, these four initiatives will ensure a successful season for your business.

1. Organization

Organization is key to helping your service teams be as efficient as possible. Shops and storages should be neatly arranged so that parts, tools, and appliances are readily recognizable and accessible. By having your service team work on this goal, it will serve several purposes.   

First, because everyone will have a hand in cleaning and organizing, they will take ownership in keeping the shop and storages clean and in shape.  

Second, if everyone works on reorganization, then everyone will know exactly where to find parts and tools. If you go as far as color-coding and labeling all your shelves and bins, you’ll save time for each service team member every time that they need to find something in the shop. Not to mention your maintenance supervisor will be able to order and control inventory in this new system much faster.

Finally, it’s also a great team building exercise. Throw in a couple of pizzas and soft drinks and it’s more like a shop cleaning party.

2. Scheduling

Now that your new budget is set, you should know:

  • What capital projects you will be doing this year
  • What month they will happen
  • How much they should cost

You’ll also know when other projects are scheduled to take place such as pool and spa openings, fire extinguisher inspections, fire protection system inspections, elevator inspections, preventative maintenance, etc.  

Some or all these projects may require a vendor to complete. If you need to get bids, the earlier the better. If you already know which vendor you will be using, get on their schedule in advance. This ensures that you get your projects done when you need them done.  

By taking the time to put together a master schedule and making those vendor arrangements, your maintenance supervisor will be able to focus on what really needs attention during the busier time of the year. It will also cut down on your maintenance staff forgetting when certain projects are due. 

3. Training

Another thing that should be on your radar early in the year is training for your service teams. Providing training gives your service staff new and improved skills that will increase their productivity and their level of customer service.  

However, not every team member will need the same kind of training. Look for training options that come with some sort of accreditation or certification. They are more desirable among service staff.  

Some of the most popular classes include; EPA 608 certification, Certified Pool and Spa Operator (CPO) by The National Swimming Pool Foundation, and the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT) through the National Apartment Association Education Institute. You can access these classes through your local apartment association, your vendors and suppliers, or private industry educators.  

Cross-training is also a very valuable exercise not just for a service team on one property, but for your service teams across all your properties. Having different on-site staffers get to know each other will pay off when one property may need extra help due to vacation, loss of manpower, or the occasional deluge of work. It’s also a new way to build comradery across your apartment communities.

4. Mentoring

Some people believe training and mentoring are the same. They are very different. Mentoring is done on a one-on-one basis and the skills and knowledge obtained are usually more specialized and in-depth. 

I have seen several maintenance technicians get promoted to maintenance supervisor roles and fail. That’s because they didn’t have the administrative skills necessary to be great maintenance supervisors. Now is the time to start grooming your service technicians for leadership by pairing them with excellent maintenance supervisors. Remember, not everyone is cut out to be a mentor. Ask around your staff to see who would be interested. It will be very beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. 

By starting with just one of these suggestions, you will set your service teams and your property management company up for more success in the new year. Each one of these initiatives will improve your service team’s productivity and empower them to handle more of your community’s day-to-day operations.    

By Chad Moulin: 

Chad Moulin has been in the field of property management for more than 25 years.  Chad has earned his CAMT designation through NAA as well as been recognized many times over as a leader in property management maintenance. 

Starting out as a groundskeeper and working his way up through the ranks of property management, Chad has worked on almost every type of property and dealt with every type of resident imaginable.  

In 2012, Chad created Prop Ops: Property Operations Training and Consulting.  His goal is to bring a higher standard and more in-depth type of training to the world of property management through a maintenance perspective. Chad’s seminars are designed around a real-world approach to achieving property management excellence. Visit his website here.

Your property management platform should be helping your maintenance team. See how ResMan can help increase your property’s value by streamlining the maintenance process.

26 Tips for Winterizing Your Apartment Community

While winterizing your rental property is a year-round process, mid to late November marks the true countdown to the winter solstice. In case you’re just getting started, ResMan partnered with Property Operations and Consultant Chad Moulin to bring you a comprehensive guide to prepping your property. Get ready for snowflakes and ice storms with these 26 tips for winterizing your apartment community. 

Tips for winterizing your property:

Tip #1: Safety first. Repair stairs and walkways to reduce falling and tripping hazards. 

Tip #2: Clear your gutters. Check for debris that has found its way into drains. You want to avoid leaks or dangerous accumulation of snow and ice. 

Tip #3: Seize the day. Stock up on ice melt and snow clearing equipment. If temperatures are warm during the day and you expect precipitation or snow overnight, pre-salt your walkways. It will make clearing the snow in the morning that much easier. 

Tip #4: Check your heating. Make sure your furnaces and boilers are in good condition. This includes your systems in storages and riser rooms. Clean units and replace parts and filters as needed because emergency repair services are more costly than preventive measures. 

Tip #5: Let there be light. Ensure walkways are well-lit for those long, dark wintery nights. The last thing anyone wants is to trip and fall. 

Tip #6: Know your property. Do you have a floor plan that has a layout that is more prone to pipe freezes? Having this knowledge of your property’s cold weather history helps your residents prepare for severe weather and gives you the opportunity, for example, to install a vent to allow the cold air to escape the wall cavity. 

Tip #7: Caulk and seal. Check for gaps or cracks around your doors, windows, and exterior walls of your property. For one, heat loss can occur. Two, unwanted pests can enter your structure. 

Tip #8:  Stay on the safe side. You can’t predict what happens during severe winter weather. Don’t let your residents go uninsured. With ResMan Extend, you have access to multiple insurance agencies looking to put you and your residents first. 

Tip #9: Winterize your chimneys. Check for cracks and clean any buildup of ash or creosote. If a resident does not use their chimney, the flue should remain closed to prevent drafts. 

Tip #10: Inspect your roof. Fall is the best time for maintenance staff to inspect flashing and seals around vents, pipes, and chimneys on building roofs. Look for holes or missing shingles to prevent leaks and water damage during storms. 

Tip #11: Protect your pools. In-ground pools will need to be covered. Clean and drain all pumps, filters, heaters, and pipes. Duct tape should be used to wrap exposed pipes to prevent freezing.  

For above-ground pools, filters and tanks should be washed, drained, and blown out. Pipes and skimmers should be plugged, and pumps and filters should be disconnected. 

Always disconnect and store pool accessories and add winterizing chemicals to the water. 

Tip #12: Trim your trees. Be sure to cut weak branches and damaged trees. Fallen or blown tree limbs could damage your property or cause injury. 

Tip #13:  Insulate. All outdoor pipes or pipes in unheated indoor areas should be insulated against icy weather. 

Tip #14: Be proactive. Regularly inspect shutoff valves and levers. During inclement weather, you want to be able to shut off the water. 

Tip #15: The National Fire Protection Association has free research and information on fire, electrical, and related hazards for property managers to better understand their systems and maintain proper prevention protocols. 

Tip #16: In the event of severe wintry weather, you want to make sure that you have maintained solid records and that you have access to them. ResMan comes with inventory management tools that help you avoid spending on items already warrantable. Snap a picture, upload it to a work order, and attach to a resident’s file for seamless documentation. Your important data will also be backed up in the cloud. 

Tip# 17: Test detectors. If maintenance of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the property is your responsibility as per the lease agreement, remember to test the devices and replace the batteries. 

Tip #18: Let faucets drip. Encourage residents to leave faucets slightly dripping at a lukewarm temperature to prevent their pipes from freezing. Leaving cabinet doors below sinks open can also do the trick.  

Tip #19: Cover your floors. Laying down mud carpets to protect communal floors and carpets will help extend their lifespan. 

Tip #20: Keep it warm. Set the thermostat in vacant units at a minimum of 60 degrees. Even better, invest in programmable thermostats to save you time and money. Zego, one of ResMan’s partners, is the hub for smarter apartment living. 

Tip #21: Empower your residents to do their parts in keeping units in working order over the winter months by sending email and text reminders. With ResMan Essentials, you can send and receive any messages in bulk. Since email templates can be used for printed communication, provide your residents with a checklist that highlights all the necessary steps to ensure no damage is done to their apartment during the winter. 

Tip #22: Practice safety. Whether onsite staff or resident, turn off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed. 

Tip #23: Been to the Department of Housing and Urban Development website lately? They have great resources for property operators needing emergency preparedness guidance.  

Tip #24: Switch the direction of your fans. In communal areas, change the rotation of your ceiling fans to push warm air down. Residents can do the same 

Tip #25: Have a plan in place. Weather catastrophes can come without warning. Property management teams need to have a responsive plan in place for handling resident calls about broken pipes, property conditions, and more. Keeping your office open and having experienced staff members ready on standby 24/7 during major weather events ensures issues are dealt with immediately. 

Tip #26: Take care of yourself. Make sure that all your cold weather gear – boots, gloves, hats, masks, coats, overalls, socks, etc. – is ready in case of an emergency. The proper gear can help make working in the elements much more comfortable. Keep in mind that synthetic fabrics and moisture wicking under layers help keep you warm and dry.  

Preparing your property for winter can be a bit tedious. There are many moving parts and factors to consider. Don’t be overwhelmed. ResMan’s Property Winterization checklist can help you figure out what you need to do and when.  

About Chad Moulin: 

Chad Moulin has been in the field of property management for more than 25 years.  Chad earned his CAMT designation through NAA as well as being recognized many times over as a leader in property management maintenance. 

Starting out as a groundskeeper and working his way up through the ranks of property management, Chad has worked on almost every type of property and dealt with every type of maintenance issue imaginable.  

In 2012, Chad created Prop Ops: Property Operations Training and Consulting.  His goal is to bring a higher standard and more in-depth type of training to the world of property management maintenance. Chad’s seminars are designed around a real-world approach to achieving property management excellence. Visit his website here. 

ResMan Ranked Among Top 25 Best Places to Work

The news is out. Out of thousands of companies in the multifamily industry, ResMan ranks No. 25 in the best places to work in multifamily!

How we ranked

To receive a nomination, companies are evaluated on their employee policies and procedures, as well as employee survey responses. The award recognizes those companies that have established and consistently fostered outstanding workplace environments.

“Next generation leaders want to know their company is making a positive impact in the world,” Patrick Antrim, CEO of Multifamily Leadership, said in a press release. “This is becoming increasingly more important as society is asking business to play a bigger role. The Best Places to Work Multifamily companies have stepped up to play that role and will have a much bigger voice in the future.”

ResMan is truly honored to receive this award from Multifamily Leadership, and we think it signifies something profound about our property management software company; integrity, excellence, and innovation permeates our culture.

“ResMan is on an extraordinary journey which would not be possible if not for the hard work and dedication of our employees,” ResMan President Elizabeth Francisco said. “We have made a deliberate attempt to focus on our culture and employee engagement. Being recognized in the top twenty-five means that we are on the right track.”

The industry

The multifamily industry contributes more than $3.5 billion to the economy every day and supports more than 12.3 million jobs nationwide. The magnitude in which this industry impacts American society motivates us to constantly and carefully consider the type of legacy we leave. We stand for more than making a profit. We stand for community.

“What we’re really providing is safety, comfort, livelihood, and independence,” Dennis Berhman, SVP of Marketing, said. “We stand together with all owners, investors, and operators who strive every day to deliver these most fundamental aspects of modern life.”

They say you are the company you keep. Same goes for business. Whether ResMan is serving customers, working with vendors, or interacting with our employees, we are committed to developing relationships with the movers and shakers of our industry.

We’ve gotten a great start too. PayLease, Coast Property Management, Centra Partners Management, Karya Property Management, S2 Capital LLC, Apartment Dynamics, and Q10 Property Advisors – all current partners and customers – have earned a spot in the Best Places to Work Multifamily list. And in some cases, multiple times over. We are more than proud to call them members of our ResMan family.

Why we do it

As we look forward to a new year, we also look forward to a renewed sense of our mission – to eliminate the challenges of property management and to power modern, connected communities. We believe that every property management company should love their property management software.

“We will continue to innovate and advocate for the industry with the promise of ever more simplicity, harmony, and opportunity,” Behrman said.

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Acquisition to Add Rural Development Functionality Into ResMan Solutions Suite

ResMan Acquires Seattle-based High Tech Solutions

Great news for our clients with rural development assets: Specialized functionality is on tap for ResMan’s property management software, following the closing of a significant acquisition.

Today marked the closing of our acquisition of Seattle-based High Tech Solutions, an innovative provider of technology solutions for rural development properties. (Check out the full press release here!)

This acquisition will enhance our commitment to provide customers with solutions to manage their entire portfolio with one easy-to-use platform regardless of the asset type.

It’s no secret that managing rural development properties requires very particular reports, processes, and workflows. Soon, this functionality will be offered in our property management software.

For our clients with rural development assets or those who plan to add them into their portfolio, stay tuned for more information on this exciting new development!