What if Property Management Companies Recruited Like Tech Startups?

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Two guests are needed today because our topic is complex: attracting and retaining top talent for your property management firm. The specific challenge is that, according to Forbes, 60 percent of everyone in commercial real estate services will be at retirement age in the next five years. Even if you are a single-family residential property management company, are you attracting younger talent to your company and to the industry? There needs to be a shift from hiring people who just want to make ends meet, which is transactional and creates turnover, to hiring professionals interested in growing in the industry. The guests today are Joe Killinger and George Pino, who are experts in this field.

Two sponsors make this show possible: NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, and PM Grow Summit, the annual educational summit for growth-minded property management entrepreneurs.

Introduction: Joe Killinger and George Pino

If you visit therrd.com, Joe and George provide resources for real estate services and the property management industry. There is tenant screening, property and renters’ insurance, and other tools. It’s useful for property managers and individual investors. Like many successful Property Management company owners, Joe and George got into the industry by investing in properties themselves. TheRRD is meant to help property management companies build better communities. They understand the challenges of managing properties both as individual investors and as property managers.

State of the Job Market in the Property Management Industry

A lot of times, the starting pay is pretty low in property management. The numbers are tight and lean, and you won’t necessarily retire on property management unless you get to a large size. Typically, the property management industry tries to recruit people at low income levels. Employee turnover is high, and often they have no interest in growing. They are happy where they are. In order to combat this, there needs to be a fundamental shift of hiring people who are interested in the field as a career rather than people who just want to make ends meet.

Turnover costs money. When you lose someone, you have to train someone new and hope they will work. Property management is not a sexy career, so you need to reframe how you’re presenting the opportunity if you are looking for people who are looking to grow.

Overcoming the Challenge of Better Recruiting

Property management may not be sexy, but the real estate investor is sexy. Plenty of coaches are teaching independence through real estate investing. You can connect that to hiring employees for the property management field. You can position your job offer as learning to become a smart investor on someone else’s dime. People can learn the whole industry this way, from leasing to management to identifying investment opportunities.

Go after and look for people who are motivated by something other than a paycheck. Consider reaching people who are interested in property management because they want to become investors. If you can offer them an opportunity to learn how to be a better investor, how to save money, and how to learn from the property management mistakes that have already been made – you will find some great talent.

They may not realize it at the time, but there is also the potential to shape the landscape of real estate. On the residential and commercial sides, you can build communities. What a property manager puts forward and how they interact with tenants and owners is reflective of the community at large. A bad property manager can pull an entire community down.

How to Develop an Intern Program

An intern program can work very well. Interns who start with you and learn with you tend to stay on for the long haul. They might start with tasks around the office and some leasing, then they can grow. Get to know high school guidance counselors and talk to them about property management and the growth opportunities you offer. Talk about how careers in this field can affect the community. Reach out to small colleges, and you can get some candidate referrals.

An internship program is the top of the funnel. It’s as simple as having your intern do some business development database management. You might structure your internship to be during the summer months, these can be college kids who are graduating or beginning their senior year. It starts as a daily grind and if there’s interest, you can give them additional opportunities. Someone with a yearning for knowledge is a good indicator for talent you want to keep. Have them show vacant properties or work on marketing. They can also put together ads and review information on properties as they update them in your system. From there, they can progress even further.

Usually, internships are unpaid because they are gaining knowledge and experience. Sometimes, you can pay for some living expenses, but it’s not typically a paid position. You can extend an offer of employment after that, and perhaps they’ll start as an assistant property manager. They can handle leasing, work with properties, and learn bookkeeping. Have new employees do different things and make positions interchangeable so they can learn the whole of the industry and not just one part of it. This also helps when you have vacations and time off to cover.

Investors can benefit from working with smart people straight out of college. These new hires have recently learned about finance; everything from mortgages to how to leverage funds. Show the employees that increasing income and keeping expenses the same will contribute to the exponential value of a property. Give them opportunities to see how that works. Give them the freedom to learn on the job. Let them hang out with maintenance guys for a few days and attend investor meetings. The goal is to show them how to connect what they’ve learned with what you do. Lead with education and information.

Statistics have shown that 80 percent of residential real estate is self-managed, and over 75 percent of investors own only 1 to 4 units. So, bringing talent in right out of college and exposing them to the day to day of real estate investments with your clients is a brilliant strategy for maintaining their interest.

 


Word from Sponsor: NARPM

NARPM

NARPM has two specific designations for property managers – the Residential Management Professional (RMP®) and the Master Property Manager (MPM®). If you haven’t put yourself through these classes, you are missing out. Some of the most successful property management entrepreneurs have their MPM. These are the professionals who are always leading the pack in innovation, people, and technology. Go to NARPM‘s website to see the requirements for those designations.


Maintaining a Great Culture for Retention

Now that you are able to get some good, qualified talent to work for your property management company, the next challenge is to retain that good talent, so they stay with your company for the long term. Here are some tips that Joe and George recommend:

Make it a Great Place to Work

You’ll need ideas to keep everything engaging. If you’re going to engage and go after younger generations, you have to make it fun. It can’t just be a dungeon where people are sitting in the office typing all day long and calling tenants who are late with rent. You can learn something new from creating the right culture and space. In property management companies, you might still see the floral couches from 30 years ago and the same dusty ficus tree in the corners. Younger generations will not want to be around that every day. Make your company a destination smart people want to be.

Give Employees Freedom

You can create games and challenges, or give employees a paid day off to volunteer at a local charity. This is what freedom looks like to people, and creating freedom retains good employees. Keep communication open, and invite comments and suggestions on what could be done better.

Treat Employees as Your Clients

Treat everyone the same way. The way you speak to an intern should be the same way you speak to a client. Always be ready to listen, even if you hear horrible ideas. Treat everyone equally and with respect and ask why when you’re communicating or discussing ideas. It helps your new employees feel like they have the freedom to express themselves.

Stay Up-to-Date With Technology

Tech Crunch

Always keep up with technology. Be efficient or you won’t attract young, progressive people. There are efficiencies you can create and use and embrace. It will help your business grow and attract the best people. Check TechCrunch and see what you can use of the tech that’s coming out. You’ll be amazed and you don’t want to be afraid of it. Technology is a big part of recruitment and retention.

Have Room For Growth

Also, make sure there’s room for growth, and show your employees there are opportunities within your company. It goes back to having these employees learn the whole of the industry rather than focusing on just one aspect.


Word from Sponsor: PM Grow Summit

PMGrow 2018

The PM Grow Summit, is the property management conference for entrepreneurs. Our 2018 summit is coming in January, and it’s for business owners and teams who want to grow. It’s in San Diego from January 31 to Feb 2, in the Gaslight District. For the price of attendance, you’ll receive education, meals, coffee, snacks, drinks, entertainment, networking, and a recording of all talks and corresponding notes.  This conference removes distractions and barriers and helps like-minded individuals learn from each other and from top speakers. Check out www.pmgrowsummit.com.


Property Management Compensation That Benefits Everyone

Performance compensation is important, and it starts with everyone in the company being in business development. You want to empower your team members, even the maintenance guy, to bring in management business. They should be compensated for that. You can also provide bonuses for portfolios and how they’re performing. Since this is a service industry, you’ll want to encourage good service too. Providing a bonus when you get positive feedback from a client is a good way to show that service matters to you. You want smart managers to provide good service.

Experiment with your own way of providing bonuses, and align it with the company’s growth, direction, and objectives. Remember that experiences are just as good as money. Instead of holiday bonuses, treat the employees to something special. That takes more effort and time because you need to know what they want or need. You can do something they wouldn’t normally do for themselves. No one will remember how much money they have in the bank but they will remember the amazing trip or the great dinner or the special gift.

Can Profit Sharing Work?

If you’re buying properties and working with investments, you can provide for potential real estate investors. It gives your employees a different perspective. Even if there’s just a small ownership stake, it’s not someone else’s money they are managing, it’s partly theirs. So limited partnerships can be useful. When employees can have an ownership interest as a limited partner, you have a unique way to compensate them.

The idea is to buy properties as an organization, and bring in your best employees as part owners of those properties. It’s an interesting way to get them to understand the business and commit to it. Your goals are then aligned and you have a property manager who fully understands the end goal and how to make capital improvements work for them. There’s a new way of thinking – as an owner.

Conclusion

Live up to the promise of making sure your company is open and responsive in training, learning and listening or people will leave. When attracting younger talent, you need to be open to their ideas. When you were young you probably thought every idea you had was fantastic. As you get older, you may learn that only about 2 percent of those ideas were ever good. Be open to those ideas and incorporate good training. That shows employees you are listening to them, and they have value to gain by learning more from you. From there, you can reward that performance.

There’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to attracting and retaining great talent. If you have any questions about what you’ve learned today, check out therrd.com, or follow Joe Killinger on Facebook and Instagram, or talk to us at Fourandhalf.com.

Avatar for Alex Osenenko

About Alex Osenenko

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. He is the President and CEO of Fourandhalf.com and is serving his 5th year on the Board of Directors for CALNARPM. After spending 9 years in the trenches with his property management clients, Alex draws on his experience to host “The Property Management Show” Podcast and co-authors a weekly Property Management Blog on Fourandhalf.com. Alex has extensive experience speaking for various NARPM events at the local, state, regional and national level.

Homebuyers can search for homes by school district with new realtor.com feature

by RINCEY ABRAHAM –

Business partners working at home

A major factor for many people when searching for a new home is the school district that they will be placed into. Now, narrowing down homes based on schools is easier. Realtor.com announced the launch of home search by school boundaries to help buyers narrow their search to specific elementary, middle and high schools.

To utilize the feature, realtor.com visitors just need to type in a school’s name into the search box to see which homes within that school’s district are currently listed for sale.

According to research from realtor.com, more than 40 percent of potential homebuyers with children would utilize a school-led home search feature. Also, the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2016 report found that almost half of all buyers with children under 18 are influenced by the quality of the school district.

Since some school districts can cross town boundaries and other towns are split between districts, this allows homebuyers to be more specific in their searches if they know which schools they want their children to attend.

“Searching for homes by school has been the top requested feature by our users and showcases the importance of schools on home buying decisions,” said Chung Meng Cheong, chief product officer for realtor.com. “Our new school search feature makes it easy for those who are already familiar with a community to find homes within specific district boundaries. It takes us one step further in our mission to make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable.”

An realtor.com report also found that 22 percent of realtor.com visitors age 35-44 identified the desire to be near good schools as one of their top reasons to purchase a home. This was the third highest reason behind only being tired of their current home (30 percent) and a change in family circumstances (23 percent).

Don’t Let Your Building Products Become Obsolete

“Someone, somewhere, is making a product that will make your product obsolete,” said venture capitalist Georges Doriot. Never stop improving your building product, never stop adapting, never stop innovating, and never give up. Fear can be a powerful motivator for building product manufacturers. What can building product manufacturers do to ensure that their products never become obsolete?

Watch Your Competitors

“Being ever fearful makes you ever watchful. Watch what your customers are doing. Watch what your competitors are doing. Watch what the regulators and government are doing. Visit your sales offices, distributors, and stores. Talk to everyone in the company. Watch and listen,” says best-selling author Jeffery Fox in his book How To Be A Fierce Competitor. Keeping an eye on your competition provides crucial intel on new products in the pipeline, pricing, distribution, partnerships, warranty information, new AIA courses, and helps your team stay ahead of the curve.

We all have seen various products and services come and go. Remember Blockbuster Video? Fax machines? Floppy disks? Pagers? Obsolete products become antiquated and discarded. Superseding technologies cause obsolescence. In the tech sector, products and services become obsolete very quickly. Luckily, there are several recycling programs to deal with some of the massive e-waste generated by obsolete products.

Tracking your competition can also help your company prevent potential mistakes. By researching your competitors, you can find mistakes they have made with important architects and designers, and avoid those pitfalls. On the other hand, building product manufacturers can also find what works for their competitors and incorporate successful strategies into their model. It is important not to copy your competition verbatim, but to find the right solution for your company.

Leadership Is Full Disclosure

“Especially in tough times, everyone who works at a company wants to know what is really happening. It is unnerving and time wasting to hear negative or positive news on the rumor mill. Leaders don’t have to allay fears, fear can often provide focus. But leaders do have to allay false fears,” says author Fox. If there are problems at the company, management have to tell the truth to employees. If the competition has manufactured a new cutting edge product that threatens to make your product obsolete, it is imperative to inform all employees. If employees are fully informed, they are more likely to be confident when addressing the challenges ahead.

If you are a player in your industry and have any traction whatsoever in the marketplace, there will always be another startup looking at your products and trying to figure out how to make them better and cheaper. Sometimes building product manufacturers don’t even see it coming. Maybe they are experiencing financial problems, distribution issues, or manufacturing headaches. They see a light at the end of the tunnel but it turns out to be an oncoming locomotive that obliterates everything!

Innovation is key to making building products that are cheaper, faster, or easier for our customers to use. If you don’t innovate and adapt, your competition will and leave you in the dust. In a previous blog we discussed strategies about how to get specified by architects. Education is one of the most significant ways for building product manufacturers to reach architects. Education is a positive force that can help make your employees ready for the challenges of tomorrow and hopefully prevent your building products from becoming obsolete.

Education Is Crucial For Manufacturers To Succeed

Most successful building product manufacturers have an AIA continuing education course. Many manufacturers also register their AIA CEU with the USGBC for GBCI hours. These education programs are the most effective method to reach the decision maker and influence product specs. In addition, education can also train your employees about cutting edge technology to improve efficiency at your facility. For example, if your commercial window manufacturing facility can save time on processes, use alternative materials to improve the supply chain flow, and enhance the distribution network then then your product can fight against becoming obsolete.

LEED has increasingly become an important part of product specification over the past few years. If building product manufacturers don’t adapt and create products that can be specified on LEED projects, there is the possibility that those projects could become obsolete. Paint and finish products that don’t meet certain VOC requirements could become obsolete. A product can become obsolete due to the environmental impacts it has on the planet. Most asbestos products have been phased out and have become obsolete. Asbestos drywall, insulation, plaster, and caulking have been banned in Europe and other countries. Luckily, there are several free resources for building product manufacturers to learn about LEED and how it affects their products.

Building Product Testing, Certifications, and Documentation

Green building certifications, documentation, and testing can also have a major impact on a product’s chances of survival in the marketplace. Many products are tested using UL, ASTM, NFPA, and CSA test standards for timed fire endurance, flame spread, safety and efficiency. If the building product doesn’t meet a standard it might not be specified. Testing can be very expensive but lack of testing for a product can be a death knell.

Finally, documentation can have a major effect on specification opportunities. A manufacturer that doesn’t develop 3-part guide specs for a curtain wall system is going to have a very difficult time getting specified. Architects, spec writers, engineers, and other design professionals need accurate product information. Health Product Declarations (HPDs) are becoming a common requirement for specification from large AEC firms like Perkins + Will, HKS, and ZGF. It is crucial that building product manufacturers stay ahead of the curve to anticipate what the industry will require for specification.

How does your company prevent your product from becoming obsolete? What education programs does your company utilize to train staff, improve manufacturing efficiency, and stay up to date on green building practices?

Lawmakers get creative in tackling state housing shortage

Some novel approaches to tackling California’s housing crisis are continuing to gain traction in the state Legislature this year.

Take AB 73 by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco. This bill, supported by the California Apartment Association, would incentivize local governments to zone for more housing.

The bill seeks to spur the creation of housing on infill sites around public transportation by providing incentives to local governments to complete upfront zoning and environmental review and rewarding them when they permit the housing.

“As you know, California is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis caused by a severe lack of new housing construction at all levels of affordability,” the California Apartment Association says in a letter supporting the legislation. “This housing shortage costs the California economy between $143 billion and $233 billion per year.”

AB 73 now heads to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

Another innovative bill still making its way through the Legislature is SB 35 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

This bill would create a streamlined approval process for housing in cities that are not meeting their housing goals.

“SB 35 will make it easier and faster to build housing throughout California and will stop the obstruction of housing that is all too common in California,” Wiener said in a news release.

Under SB 35, cities lagging behind their housing goals would need to streamline the developmental review process for housing projects that meet certain criteria, such as affordability, density and zoning standards.

Streamlined projects would be approved “by right,” meaning they would move forward without a drawn-out review process.

SB 35 won approval from the full Senate earlier this month and now awaits a hearing in the Assembly’s Committee on Local Government.

“A major impediment to the construction of more housing is an overly burdensome local approval process and resistance by local no-growth advocates,” CAA says in a letter supporting SB 35. “In addition, excessive litigation through CEQA process significantly increases the time and costs of constructing new housing.”

Another innovative approach to streamlining the approval process comes from Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside. Under SB 540, cities would identify locations for new housing, adopt specific upfront plans, conduct necessary environmental reviews and foster public engagement.

“SB 540 will help local governments do their part by establishing a process they can use to speed up the permitting of housing,” CAA said in a letter supporting the bill. “It also provides a stream of no-interest loans to help local governments with their efforts to do proactive planning, paving the way for new housing.”

The bill is now awaiting hearings in the Assembly Local Government and Natural Resources committees.

Related content:

Are You Properly Maintaining Your Homeowners Association?

How is your homeowners association holding up? Do you have buildings in need of repair? Has the HOA board set aside funds for inevitable future repairs? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then it’s time to find out. Why? Because it’s the Board’s job to protect and maintain the association and keep it safe. Sometimes, the safety of lives is even at stake. You don’t want to wait for something bad to happen before taking action, like one homeowners association did in Florida. Read more in the article excerpt below.

Posted by: HOALeader.com

Why You Should Care About Another HOA’s Balcony Collapse

In this week’s tip, we talk about what you should do in the wake of the February collapse of a second-floor, wood balcony of a condo association in the Florida panhandle.

Thankfully, the incident caused only injuries, not fatalities. But 11 people harmed is nothing to dismiss, even if it didn’t happen in your community. It’s still smart to understand how condo associations can get to this point and what to do to prevent it from happening in your association.

“I think this serves as a great example for those associations that are deferring maintenance,” states James R. McCormick Jr., a partner at Peters & Freedman LLP in Encinitas, Calif., who represents associations. “This could have been the result of improper or faulty construction. But if this balcony fell as a result of deferred maintenance, we as an industry should use it to encourage associations to avoid this type of disaster in the future by performing proper maintenance.”

What steps should you take? Here are the first two of five:

  1. Don’t have a reserve study? Do one now. “First of all, have a reserve study with a site visit to have someone visibly inspect these types of components,” advises Mary Arnold, CMCA®, AMS®, the Austin, Texas-based national director of training and community association management support at RealManage, an association management firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, that oversees properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas.

“That way, you can plan for maintenance,” says Arnold.

  1. Check your local and state regulations.

[Continue to original article]

reserve study is an important tool to do a sort of safety check within your community – it’s also the law in California (Civ. Code §5550). It is crucial to keep you on track with maintaining your community. If the reserve study is not realistic, reserves are not being funded properly or the HOA board is choosing to defer maintenance, your association can be put at great risk. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

The best solution is prevention. Safety in a homeowners association is best achieved by Board members fulfilling their responsibilities to protect, maintain and enhance the Association, obeying the laws, and staying compliant. An HOA manager and reserve specialist can help by conducting a reserve study, periodically doing walk-throughs of the Association, and looking for issues that may become safety hazards.

Are Cool Pavements All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

The unexpected consequences of reflective paving

Asphalt Concrete is the most common pavement material, but its dark color absorbs heat.

Reflective pavement can go a long way toward reducing the urban heat island effect, but the embodied energy and emissions in some materials may present unexpected drawbacks, according to new research from the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The research team conducted lifecycle assessments of conventional and cool pavement materials and simulations of building energy consumption to examine the environmental impact of each material’s full lifecycle. Asphalt concrete, the most common material used for pavement, is dark and has a low albedo (a measure of solar reflectance). Cement concrete is lighter, and thus has a higher albedo, but it requires a high-temperature process that is considerably more energy- and carbon-intensive than making asphalt from petroleum. Albedo affects buildings by reflecting more or less sunlight to them and by changing the outside air temperature, though a higher reflectance is generally considered a positive as less heat is absorbed.

The researchers also compared the two types of concrete to reflective coatings as well as pavement that includes industrial waste products like slag and fly ash as a way to replace some of the energy-intensive cement in concrete. The energy and emissions associated with each pavement type’s materials and construction were paired with a regional climate model and simulated building energy consumption to determine the likely impact on buildings. The team was surprised to find that in most cases, the extra energy embodied in the cool material far outweighed the energy savings from increasing the albedo.

“Over the lifecycle of the pavement, the pavement material matters substantially more than the pavement reflectance,” explains Ronnen Levinson, a researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Heat Island Group. “I was surprised to find that over 50 years, maintaining a reflective coating would require over six times as much energy as a slurry seal. The slurry seal is only rock and asphalt, which requires little energy to produce, while the reflective coating contains energy-intensive polymer.”

Solar powered air conditioning is finally here, and it’s totally boring

by Lloyd Alter 

ecoworld

Video screen capture EcoWorld

Instead of fancy new technology, it’s all about combining improved efficiency with low cost solar panels.

For over a decade we have been writing about how solar powered air conditioning was the holy grail. AC is a huge energy suck and is needed most when and where the sun shines brightest. We have looked at absorption technologies and all kinds of fancy solutions and alternatives to traditional AC units.

But it turns out that solar powered AC is not some new technology, but simply a result of grinding out improvements in existing heat pump split units, combined with the continuing drop in the price of conventional solar panels, with a dollop of building energy efficiency improvements that reduce solar gain and resultant cooling loads.

That’s how we get to the EcoWorld Solar Hybrid Air Conditioner. Australia’s Renew Magazine calls it much more sensible than all the complicated solar powered absorption designs:

It simply uses a dedicated 1kW solar PV array to drive the air conditioner, greatly reducing the energy required from the grid. In full sun, the unit can draw as little as 30 watts from the grid while producing its rated 3.5 kW cooling/ 3.8 kW heating capacity.

EcoWorld claims that you can “stay cool or warm without the huge energy bills. Use it more often without regrets.”

passive vs grandmaPassive house or Grandma’s house?/Public Domain

What is so cool about this (sorry) is how it is not a revolution but an evolution. For years we went on about designing our homes so that we could live without air conditioning like Grandma did, which is hard when Grandma didn’t have a choice, and when we live in a warmer, more crowded world.

Now we know that a combination of solar panels, better mini splits and radical building efficiency can keep us comfy all year round.

Tags: Air Conditioning | Australia | Solar Power