If you're an asset manager, you know there is a lot of vital information at your properties that fail to feature in weekly reports. In a candid discussion with an asset manager, we explore the types of challenges facing those who oversee multiple communities and how new tools make them more effective at managing portfolio risks.
We sat down with Saul, an asset manager who oversees 9,000+ units across Texas and Florida and talked about the best tools to capture community-level data for proactive risk management.
"Financial statements are a light indicator of where you've already lost money."
Daily Tabs on Properties
ResiDesk: How do you keep tabs on your properties?
Saul: The asset manager's role is to keep tabs on everything in their portfolio–from menial administrative tasks, like obtaining surety bonds for new acquisitions, to working with risk managers to select an insurance policy on an entire portfolio. You need to be aware of anything that can impact your properties as you maintain and improve property value by reducing risks.
I check PMS data daily to obtain snapshots of occupancy statistics and trends. Although I intrinsically know which properties are struggling because they usually are struggling for some time, there is still a need to stay on top of the data. Another source to reveal the "true story" of how my communities perform is to use online customer review sites such as Google reviews, Yelp, and apartment.com.
Gauging Property Reviews
ResiDesk: How do online reviews help?
Saul: I track online reviews monthly, score them, and compare the data to a property's occupancy and rent collections. Every single time there is a positive trend in reviews, there's an uptick in occupancy, collections, and net rental income growth. Asset managers who do not do this type of assessment are doing themselves a disservice because people are very vocal on review sites. Online reviews reveal the issues your management company may not be telling you.
"Google reviews are the sounding board of tenants - It's a terrific snapshot of a residential property. It helps you understand reasons to vacate and where prospects are coming from."
ResiDesk: Do you physically visit all your properties?
Saul: Yes, visiting my properties is useful as there are easily identifiable markers of a poorly run property. Before meeting with my management teams, I check trash bins, the pool, and the property's general cleanliness. I note any leasing agents out of uniform and not performing friendly customer service. In my experience, when a property is messy and agents are not adhering to my expectations, I can guarantee occupancy is sitting under 90%.
There are more apartments in the country right now than ever before. And with many working from home more permanently now, people view apartments as much more of an investment. Service and presentation help sell properties and needs to be a high priority. Without the right people in place to do this and the right systems to check if those people are doing it, occupancy goes down, and concessions go up. Your financial statements won't tell you the whys. You'll just see a downward trend.
ResiDesk: How are you handling resident communication right now?
Saul: COVID continues to impact vacancy rates around the country, and my properties are no exception. Successful communication with residents is a real barrier in working with them and knowing where a property stands in forthcoming vacancies.
My goal isn't to evict whole portfolios. I want my property teams to work with every single resident who wants to negotiate getting on a payment plan. But a lack of communication prevents resolutions. Many residents who haven't paid
rent tend not to respond to messages or answer doors when managers knock on them. This is where ResiDesk comes into play. ResiDesk's platform entices residents to communicate more. This helps our collection process and gives me a much clearer picture on vacancy outlooks.
Understand your properties better with ResiDesk
ResiDesk provides a new unmatched view into how your properties are performing and why. Asset managers can readily access:
Tenant satisfaction rates across every property
At-risk units trending towards turnover
Leading indicators for under and over-performing properties
Proprietary text-based surveys, with deep analysis
Average response times at each property
Reach out to our team for a demo and learn how we power asset manager’s daily insights.