In the spring when the weather warms, everyone with a green thumb starts getting the itch to plant things and spend time outdoors in the dirt. When it comes to gardening, landlords and tenants often encounter tension on what exactly is allowed on the rental property. While tenants may want to put in a garden and [...]
Remembering what type of light bulbs are needed for a property is the last thing a property manager, who spends each day overseeing several aspects of maintaining a property, wants to think about. However, home maintenance is always a high priority. Whether or not property managers and homeowners like it, recording the last time upgrades were done and appliances were replaced is a must. With HomeZada, property managers can easily oversee home management projects, track the finances for these projects and record maintenance and upgrades. Now managing the small details in property management can all be done within one cloud-based system. We spoke with Elizabeth Dodson from HomeZada to learn more.
APM: It would be really helpful if you could introduce HomeZada to our property managers.
Elizabeth: HomeZada is online home management software that helps you manage everything about your home in one place. What we mean by this is, it helps you manage home inventories for any of your possessions or fixed assets in the home.
We classify possessions as what goes into a moving truck and your fixed assets are things that belong to the house whether it is equipment like HVAC equipment or whether it’s walls, cabinets, sinks things of that nature.
HomeZada allows you to track home maintenance. We provide a calendar with 30 of the common home maintenance projects to get you started. There are over 150 more that you can choose from in the actual calendar. You can customize and personalize your maintenance with your own activities also. The maintenance calendar provides email alerts for upcoming tasks so you can take action accordingly.
The third thing it allows you to do is track home projects. Let’s say you have a property manager for a house with an upcoming project. They can take the whole project and say, “I need to update the house. Here are all the things I need to select. Here are all things I need to shop for. Here are all the things I need to start budgeting for. How do I conduct all these projects, and over what period of time?” HomeZada helps to oversee all aspects of the project lifespan.
Most home- owners cannot do them all at once. They need years to do all these so they can schedule that over time.
HomeZada also tracks finances for specific houses. In the case of property managers, they can manage up to three properties in HomeZada, the consumer version. In HomeZada the professional version, they can manage as many properties as they want.
APM: I was actually wondering if this is something that you do see property managers using instead of the individual homeowner, too.
Elizabeth: We actually have property managers engaging with the solution now.
APM: Oh that’s great. Are there a lot of products out there like this? What makes you stand out from other home management software?
Elizabeth: Ironically, I waited for this product for 10 years. I thought someone else was going to build it because I was working at another technology company. I kept saying to my co‑founders, while I worked with at the technology company, “There must be a tool that can help us do this because our previous technology company helped manage multi‑million dollar buildings.” I looked and looked for 10 years, and I couldn’t find anything. My co‑founders said, “You’re onto something. I think we need to figure this out. We need to start another company.”
That’s how HomeZada came to be. There isn’t anything that does exactly what we do on the market. Everything that we make at HomeZada is a cloud- based solution. A lot of people appreciate the cloud‑based technology because of the importance of accessing technology anywhere. A property manager for example, can manage five different properties in five different locations, whether it’s in the same city or whether it’s in five different cities.
Property managers need to be able to access the property data whether it’s on their phones, their tablets, their computers from anywhere in the world.
APM: What kind of customer feedback have you heard about this?
Elizabeth: We have great customer feedback. We have a lot of customers worldwide both on the consumer side and on the professional side. On the consumer side, they are telling us they love our product. It’s their best friend. They can’t believe it didn’t exist before this. I can believe that because I was in the same boat.
They also help place requests. Groups of customers actually engage in feature and enhancement requests. This means they are also committed to the product. They really are interested in seeing more features as am I. That’s why I am excited that they are actually validating some of the things that I want in the product for my co‑founders.
On the professional side, we break up HomeZada into four major professional groups that we service: real estate, residential construction, insurance and service providers. Property managers, professional organizers, inventory professionals all fit into the category of service provider.?
People from each category engage and show interest in the product each for different reasons. Real estate and insurance agents love it and recommend us to their clients. They are gifting HomeZada with their branding inside the solution and ?recommending it.
Builders want to see data inside the solution. They want to say, “OK, I need to transport information to the consumer after the new construction is done.”
They’re might giving their clients binders of information. Now they can give them and electronic format that they can continue to update and manage.
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Many property managers dream of expanding their property management companies. However, there are cost increases such as property management software associated with growth. Property Boss Solutions supports their property manager’s growth by using an unlimited pricing unit model. We spoke to Mario Villanueva, from Property Boss Solutions to learn more.
APM: Would you mind giving us an overview of Property Boss Solutions?
Mario: Sure. There are a couple of services we provide. We offer property management software and website design for property management companies. We offer web services like online payments that are tied to our software. This can either be tied into a third party site, where we integrate the services into an existing site, or we can do a brand new site that contains these services. We spend most of our time focusing on property management and handling the website services.
The company began in 1998. At that point it was designed for residential management, and it covered tracking management fees, paying owners and doing owner statements. From there, Property Boss Solutions grew to where we’re involved in multi‑family management, commercial management, association management, student housing, senior living, affordable housing and storage units.
With Property Boss you can customize the system, integrate your processes into the system and design a language specific to your portfolio. We expanded into all these different industries.
If someone were to ask me, “What are the main strengths of Property Boss,” I would say it’s the power of choice. We offer a web‑based option. We also offer a self‑hosted option, where you can purchase and own the software. The customer can decide what is the best fit for their organization.
For some folks who have the infrastructure to host an application themselves, the self-hosted option makes a lot more sense for them. Other companies don’t have the infrastructure to host an application themselves. In this case a web‑based option is more convenient. They don’t have to go buy a server or keep an IT person on file.
The choice is up to the customer. You can start web‑based, and from there you can migrate to the self‑hosted option and run Property Boss indefinitely. We offer a perpetual license. We also offer a choice in regards to accounting. We have an internal general ledger, and an interface to QuickBooks. If someone is using QuickBooks, and find they grew too large for QuickBooks to efficiently manage their properties, Property Boss can step‑in as the front‑end. You can see all your properties, tell which tenants are late, what available properties you have and what work orders are in process. Property Boss can also print checks or financial statements.
Having all these options might make it difficult for some companies to support. You need to collect information from the client in order to understand, “What is your specific configuration?” However, Property Boss Solutions believes this is a better option long‑term for a client. Clients design their own Property Boss system and integrate the power of the choices they make and the processes that are important to them.
APM: Can you maybe describe some of your favorite features?
Mario: Sure, when it comes to residential management, you are managing on behalf of other owners. Property Boss helps tie management fees to the transactions. It’s not a situation where you have to go into the software and claim your management fees. Property Boss has a balance associated with each owner. You can also set a reserve amount for the owner’s balance and hold the bill if there are not sufficient funds. Being originally designed for residential management helps our application. The experience of being in the industry helps how we approach accounting for our property managers.
Another big advantage is our web-option. Online applications, resident portals, owner portals are all available with our software. You don’t have to go with our web‑based option in order to have portals. If it makes more sense for your company to purchase the software, we can still offer owner portals, tenant portals, online applications and vendor portals. All of this is still available. I think the power of choice we provide is a powerful advantage.
APM: Great! If we were to talk to your top three customers, what do you think they would say about the products?
Mario: Well, we are willing to work closely as a partner with our clients. For years we have been receiving great feedback from our property managers, as to what they would like to see in the product, and their feedback is used in future implementations. It’s more of a conversation about, “What do you want to get out of the program, and how can we enable that growth?”
We also offer an unlimited unit pricing model. This works really well in the residential industry. Basically, the more properties you’re managing the more management fees you can collect.
You’re not penalized for growth once you’ve use Property Boss. Property management software makes you more efficient. It is how property managers can maximize growth on the front‑end. With Property Boss, as you add additional units, there are no additional fees.
APM: I can definitely see how property managers would appreciate that, especially if they are trying to grow. Usually, there is some sort of cost associated with that. I think they would really appreciate that.
APM: What do you think makes you stand out from your competition then?
Mario: Well, certainly the fact that we offer both a web‑based and a self‑hosted option. That’s becoming more rare nowadays, and we do not plan on doing a strictly a web‑based option. We’ve way too many clients hosting the application themselves. I also have not see the level of customization you can do in Property Boss in other property management tools. You can create an unlimited number of custom fields, and then design custom reports to incorporate the data from those fields.
You can create custom, what we call “Work Order Groups” in Property Boss. If you need to track activity around collections, or for associations for example, violations, any activity that is meant for your property management business, you’re able to track all of that in Property Boss with the core product. It goes far beyond just giving you the ability to see what a tenant’s balance is, or see what properties are available. It is a deep enterprise system. You can see the activity from your entire team, and analyze the important metrics for your business to enable that growth.
APM: Is there anything else you would like your customers to know?
Mario: Our options across a variety of industries, contributes to our client’s success. For example with our unlimited unit model, someone can have 30 HOA’s and 1,000 residential units, and it’s not going to cost them $3,000 a month to use our product. As they bring in additional associations and properties, they are also simply bringing more money in for their businesses.
To Sum It Up!
Property Boss Solutions is property management software that provides property managers the choice between choosing a web-based option or a self-hosted option. Property Boss Solutions can customize their experience with the software, and should they continue to expand they can take comfort in knowing that they use the unlimited pricing unit model.
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One of the most common sources of tension between landlords and tenants comes from the different opinions on landlord access to the rental unit and a tenant’s right to privacy. Landlords feel that since they own the property, they should have frequent access in order to perform a range of tasks to keep the property [...]
QUESTION: What do you do about a board member who shows up drunk at meetings?
ANSWER: To avoid personal liability for their actions/decisions, directors must perform their fiduciary duties “with such care, including reasonable inquiry, as an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances.” (Business Judgment Rule.) That standard is hard to meet when a board member is DUI (Director Under the Influence).
Reckless Indifference. As with drunk drivers, a drunk director is not competent to get behind the wheel. Their impaired judgment is self-induced and could be deemed reckless indifference or deliberate disregard of their obligations to the membership and an abdication of their duties as a director. Such behavior is specifically excluded from protection by Corporations Code §204(a)(10)(iv)&(v), i.e., it exposes the director to personal liability.
Fellow Directors. What impact does it have on fellow directors? The worst case scenario is the drunk director gets into a fight with and seriously injures a homeowner at a board meeting. The injured owner then sues the board for not previously taking action against the inebriated director. While the likelihood of success against all directors would depend upon foreseeability of the impaired director’s actions, the lawsuit would certainly succeed against the problem director. The plaintiff would also prevail against the association since the director’s actions occurred while in his official capacity.
Censure. If the board does nothing, it has the effect of condoning the director’s bad behavior–something that would certainly be used against the board at the time of trial. To protect themselves and the association, fellow directors should warn the impaired director to go home and sleep it off and never again appear at a meeting intoxicated. If the bad behavior continues, the board should censure the director.
Removal from Office. If the director is an officer (president, secretary, treasurer), he can be removed from office by fellow directors. Unseating him from the board however, is not an option unless the bylaws specifically authorize it. That is something normally reserved for the membership via a recall.
Ethics Policy. If boards have not already done so, they should adopt a “Code of Conduct” or “Ethics Policy” to address these kinds of situations. I posted a sample policy on the website. It gives fellow directors something to reference when talking to a wayward director (or censuring him/her).
NOTE: If you adopt an ethics policy, be sure to include an exception that allows directors to get drunk after meetings where they have to deal with particularly difficult homeowners.
JOINS ADAMS KESSLER PLC
I am pleased to announce that Cang Le has joined Adams Kessler PLC. Having been raised in the Inland Empire, Cang will head-up our Riverside office.
Experience. Cang has broad experience representing common interest developments as both general and litigation counsel. In corporate counsel matters, Cang advises boards in the preparation, interpretation and enforcement of contracts, amending and restating governing documents, insurance coverage issues, rules enforcement, ADA compliance and all other matters affecting associations. In litigation and ADR matters, Cang has obtained hundreds of favorable outcomes for his clients and works with boards to avoid litigation wherever possible.
Education. Cang received two undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Davis–a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Managerial Economics. He then earned a Juris Doctorate (JD) from the University of San Diego School of Law where he was awarded a merit grant to continue his legal studies which led to a Master of Laws in Taxation (LLM).
Cang Le is a talented lawyer and solid addition to our team. If your association would like a proposal for legal services, contact us by email or by phone at (800) 464-2817.
Lease Addendum #1. Is it mandatory that the owner/tenant agree to sign the lease addendum? Can it be signed after a tenant has moved into the unit or should it be done before? -Sharon B.
RESPONSE: If your CC&Rs require a signed lease addendum, then yes it’s mandatory. Ideally, you want the addendum signed before the tenant moves into the development. If your CC&Rs have appropriate language, you can require both owner and tenant sign the addendum. How you enforce the requirement will depend on how your development is configured.
Closed Developments. If your development has manned guard gates or a building with a staffed front desk (controlled entry points), the association can prevent a tenant from moving in until the agreement has been signed.
Open Developments. If the development cannot control who moves in, the association has more difficulty enforcing the provision. If not done prior to move-in, the board can levy fines and suspend privileges until the agreement is signed.
Lease Addendum #2. I do not agree with the clause: “(vii) tenant agrees to pay the owner’s assessments should he become delinquent.” It puts the delinquency problem of the landlord onto the innocent tenant. The tenant would be expected pay his/her rent plus the delinquent assessments. -John M.
RESPONSE: The tenant deducts the assessment payments to the association from his rent payments to the landlord.
Lease Addendum #3. I have never seen or heard of this in any California document or newsletter before, but Lordy, it sure would be nice if this were the case. There are many associations just barely able to hold their heads above the water because of delinquent homeowners who rent their units out. -Don C.
RESPONSE: The lease addendum has, thus far, proven effective in the associations where I’ve implemented it. In addition, I’ve successfully tested it in superior court.
Lease Addendum #4: I don’t mind providing the tenant information sheet to the association but feel that requiring a completed lease is an invasion of privacy! -Laura H.
RESPONSE: The beauty of the lease addendum is that it does not require you to provide your lease to the association. All of your private and proprietary information remains private and proprietary. The addendum is a separate agreement signed by the owner, tenant and association obligating the tenant to follow the association’s rules and to divert his rent payments to the association in the event the owner becomes delinquent.
Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC
“Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; you can contact us at (800) 464-2817 or email@example.com.
Property managers invest in different property management software in order to make their day-to-day process easier. However, software can make their lives more difficult when upgrades take place with unexpected costs are done or when new features lose old information. LandlordMax is different in that even when upgrades take place, property managers can choose to keep their original data and do not need to worry about losing their current information if they are unable to pay for the upgrade. We spoke with Stephan Grenier, from LandlordMax, to learn more.
APM: Please describe LandlordMax.
Stephan: We’ve been in business for a little over 10 years. We’ve been growing by anywhere between from 50 to 100 percent a year. We started as a desktop‑only application. Now we have a network‑based system, as well. You can have a central database and as many users as you want connected to it with different editions and so on. Our focus is on trying to simplify the workflow and day‑to‑day operations of property managers without them struggling with the software. The software is an extension of your work. Our pricing is based off of your purchase. It’s not based off the number of units like a lot of our competitors. One of our big advantages is that we are fairly affordable.
APM: Can you please go into some of the features that are offered with the software?
Stephan: There are a few main features. We have a quite an extensive accounting system. It’s made to be as automated as possible. When you create a lease, for example, or create a scheduled rent related to that, every month that rent will be automatically generated for you. You can sort through the data. You can access the current or previous month’s rent. You can do partial payments. Basically, the accounting entry is completely open-ended. Whatever you decide to associate with your accounting entries like a tenant, a building, a unit, a vendor, everything is optional and will help you with the reporting later on.
We have over 150 reports that allow you to do things like find your late rents, find your vacancies, create a list of expiring leases, and develop rent reports. There are numerous types of accounting reports.
Another big feature is our price range, as far as we know, there’s no one anywhere near our price range that offers the availability to manage different property owners. Quicken is the only similar product, but they only allow you to manage for yourself. It’s a personal finance software where our software focuses on property managers and different property owners.
Other than us, the next price range you’re getting into is the $500 to $1000 range. For the desktop application, we’re at $165, just to give you an idea. For the network edition, we’re also pretty much the most affordable. You’re getting into web‑based solutions and those come with their own risks.
One of the other big advantages is you own and manage the data. This means if you buy the software, you can always keep the current version. If you never upgrade and let’s say something happens like you do not like our new pricing or new features, you can skip the upgrade. You own your data. You control your own system.
If you go with a web-host solution, which is what the market and some people are going with right now, there’s convenience because you can do it from any browser. The problem is if they decide to change their price, you have to go with that. You have to pay a monthly price, no matter what.
One of our big competitors recently dramatically increased their price, almost four to five times the price overnight. These people are either stuck paying it or they lose all their data. With a subscription service, if your credit card expires and you forget to change your credit card data, you could lose all your data overnight.
If the service closes, you don’t get a warning. It’s gone. With a product like Landlord Max, you get safety with your data. It is a similar concept like Word documents; you basically get to keep everything on your system.
Another feature we offer is our work order management. Using the network version, you can actually create vendor users where vendors can only feed their work orders and work off the software to see what they have to do. If it’s the desktop version, you can manage it, print and give them to your contractors.
You can have invoicing receipts. You can manage all your leases. You can give tenants eviction notice, place noise notifications and manage contacts. There are the small details also like selecting date formats. Being able to specify your date formats throughout the application actually ends up being one of the most highly used features.
I would say that 95 or 96 percent of our features come from customer requests. We always look at what people tell us in our support system. We track everything. For each version, we look at the request volume for specific features. We also make sure to look into any trouble-shooting our customer?s experience. We use this information to determine what the updated version will look like.
The upcoming version is going to have document management. You can store files, Word documents, PDFs and lease agreements basically all your tenants, landlords, buildings and vendors correspondence.
The next version is also going to have the ability to manage checks. We’re also going to do something called automation, which is the ability to run scripts within the software. For example, at the end of the month, if you’re a management company, you can run one script. The script will do everything for you in one shot instead of you having to go through each report
APM: If you were to talk to your top customers, what do you think they would say, in terms of feedback of the software?
Stephan The most common testimonial is that it is easy to use. Customer support is actually really high. Our focus is on easy to use, but what we’ve found is that we get a lot of feedback on customer support. The reason for that is, first of all, it’s free. That’s a big one. Our official guarantee is one to two business days. The average response time is under three business hours.
APM: That’s great.
Stephan: It’s free, so you have to remember that too, which is compared to our competitors, who either charge a higher price for their software or charge for support. The other big thing also, is how we handle support. When you call a company, you talk to a person who reads a scripted answer. We differ because it’s all online support, and we have someone who triages it. Right away, your email is sent to the right person. You can actually skip one or two levels of support and go right to someone who is knowledgeable on the topic at hand. That might not seem like a lot but it can save you a couple days of turnaround.
APM: No, that makes a big deal for customers especially with some things that you don’t really have a few days to wait to turnaround anyways.
Stephan: Exactly. We didn’t expect our support to have such high positive testimonials, but you’ll find that that’s our second biggest testimonial. It surprised us, but in a good way.
APM: Is there anything else you would like your customers to know?
Stephan: Yes, regarding our licenses, when you purchase the software, you get a year of upgrades. If a new version comes out, it’s included in your license, so that way you don’t have to worry and say, “Oh, I just missed a new version.” Or, “I should wait a couple months.” It’s yours.
To Sum It Up!
LandlordMax is property management software that offers a range of services, including accounting, for an affordable price and also allows you to keep all your data. Property managers can relax in knowing their information will be safely stored despite any changes that take place within the company.
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Most property management software programs help benefit property managers and their teams. It is rare to see property management software that also helps build better relationships between tenants and property managers. RealPage is all-in-one property management software that is customizable. Property managers can use the software to work with students, seniors and military housing residents. For example, RealPage allows students to find roommates, see floor plans in advance and sign lease documents online. This is a great feature for out-of-state students looking for accommodations in another state. We spoke with Katie Jones, from RealPage, to learn more.
APM: Please go into more detail about RealPage.
Katie: Within Real Page, our two main products are OneSite and Propertyware. OneSite is built for a wide range of property management companies, while Propertyware is built for more low‑density, multi-family and single‑family home management companies. Within Onesite, we offer pretty much any of your business strategic initiatives. Some of the solutions that OneSite offers are leasing and rents, accounting, budgeting, forecasting, purchasing and document management platforms.
We also work with LeaseStar and integrate it into our sales and marketing suites. Within LeaseStar you can purchase the marketplace suite or the social suite. This places listings onto different social media platforms, as well as classified and syndication services. Think of it as an automatic tool that helps you list your properties on different sites. LeaseStar can also provide website design and SEO functionality services. We also have a contact center that helps capture more leads and lease more apartments by answering all calls and emails. In addition, LeaseStar also provides a welcome home resident portal, online renewals, electronic payments and 24- hour maintenance calls, resident screening services and renters insurance.
Using YieldStar, we offer revenue and spending management, office technology reports, utility management and advanced energy reporting. Our MPF research reports provide apartment market trends to help you stay competitive with different apartment complex prices in your area. Since our work is done in the cloud, it?s important to note that all your data is kept secure.
APM: For property managers who don’t really have a lot of time to differentiate between products, what would you say makes your product stand out?
Katie: OneSite is very versatile, and can work with other software, but if you want the option of using only one software, OneSite can do it all for you. We basically offer everything in one system. ?With only one subscription you get one account that offers everything rather than having to go to different websites to access different aspects of your business.
APM: Is there a specific feature that stands out to you and your own experience with it?
Katie: I think the resident portals are probably my favorite. My own apartment complex uses OneSite. I can go online, pay my rent, submit and oversee my maintenance request. There is up to date tracking, so I can go online through my own portal and see if someone read my maintenance request. I also receive questions asking for permission to enter my apartment when I am not home or notifications when someone is working in my apartment. I can submit my request in the morning, watch the progress throughout the day and come home to a fixed apartment. That’s probably my favorite, the resident portal and online payments.
APM: That is a great feature. I am sure many tenants would appreciate this system to help manage their maintenance requests. Is there anything else that you would like your customers to know?
Katie: I think I mentioned the most important aspects. Sometimes we have customers who compare prices and tell us they pay $20 a month for a service, but they find themselves paying $30 for another service. Eventually, they are paying for multiple services instead of paying one fee for one service that offers multiple features. Propertyware offers several features that save property managers from using multiple software.
To Sum It Up!
RealPage offers several services including Onesite and Propertyware to help property managers oversee their day-to-day affairs. Property managers can manage several different property types, work with diverse tenant groups and handle office management affairs like accounting. RealPage’s list of features gives property managers the ability to manage their properties from one location instead of needing to use several different property management tools.
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Most of the real estate professionals I’ve met over the years didn’t grow up dreaming of one day becoming a realtor or investor. A lot of them are career-changers or may have even stumbled into real estate on accident like I did. But I would say that a majority of real estate investors don’t do [...]
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