Is Your Condo Association Preparing for Fall?

Filed under: condos — Tags: , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 4:30 pm July 1, 2014

Pilera FallWe know — the weather just turned warm, but it isn’t too soon to start planning for fall. Condo associations have responsibilities to the property as the weather starts to cool and we slide into winter.

The landscape is common property and is the responsibility of the association. Clearing leaves, trimming plants, and giving the lawn the final mow before winter are all fall chores the association will have to take care of. If these chores will be hired out, it’s a good idea to secure a vendor now.

As the summer draws to a close, air conditioning maintenance might be needed. Storm windows and doors will have to be put up in common areas in preparation for cooler weather. Drains should be cleared of fallen leaves. The condo association should have a plan in place for building maintenance and schedule vendors as soon as possible to complete these chores.

It may seem early, but a little early planning will keep your association from fighting with other homeowners to get on the schedules of popular vendors. And if a plan is put in place sooner rather than later, it will help everyone living in your property ease into fall.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whateveryou need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

 

Pilera Wins the 2014 Flatley Challenge

Filed under: property management — Tags: , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 8:09 pm April 21, 2014

Pilera ContestIn case you missed the big announcement, Pilera Software won the 2014 Flatley Challenge. The Flatley Challenge is designed to assist entrepreneurs in Nashua, New Hampshire, and provides funding to up-and-coming companies, as well as a first-class workspace in the Nashua Technology Park of the Gateway Hills community of Nashua.

In addition to the workspace, the competition awards a $10,000 cash prize to be used for fit-up, connectivity or related business costs.

“We believe that Pilera has huge potential.” said John Flatley, President and Owner of the John Flatley Company.

The other 2014 Flatley Challenge winner was SMTP, a cloud-based email delivery service. Thomas Smith, vice president of leasing at Gateway Hills, said: “We believe that both winners demonstrate potential for growth and long-term success. Both firms will add considerable value to the mission of Gateway Hills and we’re excited to have them as part of our community here.”

“Pilera Software is proud to have been chosen as a winner of the 2014 Flatley Challenge by such a prestigious organization as The John Flatley Company,” said Ashish Patel, President and CEO of Pilera Software. “We truly appreciate this generous opportunity and are looking forward to being a tenant among other successful companies at Gateway Hills.”

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whateveryou need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability.Contact us today!

 

A Property Manager’s New Year’s Resolutions

Filed under: property management — Tags: , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 8:01 pm December 30, 2013

Pilera New Year'sAs we all know, New Year’s Eve is a traditional time to resolve to make changes in the coming year. According to the website statisticbrain.com, here are the top ten resolutions people are making for 2014:

1. Lose Weight

2. Get Organized

3. Spend Less, Save More

4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest

5. Stay Fit and Healthy

6. Learn Something Exciting

7. Quit Smoking

8. Help Others in Their Dreams

9. Fall in Love

10. Spend More Time with Family

These are all great personal goals to work toward, but what about in your professional life as a property manager? Even in the best-run properties, there are goals to put in place to make next year better than the last. Maybe you’d like to attract more tenants, or retain more. Maybe it’s making changes to stay closer to your budget, or trying out new vendors to improve efficiency. Whatever the resolutions, remember that it’s not necessarily about achieving them, but working toward them.

One other thought about resolutions — though most people make them at New Year’s, viewing it as a clean slate, you can resolve to make changes any time you like. In that sense, any day can be New Year’s Day.

Whatever your resolutions and however they work out, here’s to a safe, happy, and prosperous 2014!

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

Cleaning Up After a Hoarder Moves Out

Filed under: apartments,property management — Tags: , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 12:57 am December 27, 2013

Pilera HoardingFor some people, a little break from work or school around the holidays provides a chance to binge-watch their favorite guilty pleasure TV show. Is yours “Hoarders”? C’mon – you can tell us.

What is, for some, a fun break from reality is, for others, a difficult and sometimes dangerous way of life. And for property managers, a hoarder’s move-out date can be particularly difficult. If you have a hoarder living on your property, cleaning the apartment for the next tenant can take some work.

The first thing to do is look at the apartment logically and with a clear head. Figure out how to break the project up into small jobs. For example, clean out the closets or take care of the pantry. Tackle large sanitation issues next. Often, hoarders ignore everyday cleaning until it becomes a huge problem. Clean bathrooms or the kitchen next, especially if they pose a health risk for the clean-up crew.

Once small spaces, bathrooms, and the kitchen are clean, you’ll likely feel a sense of accomplishment and feel ready to move on to the other areas in the property. If your tenant left a lot of items behind, quickly divide those items into two piles – trash and donate. If you have a dumpster on your property, that’s a logical place for the trash pile. If not, rent one. The donate items you can drop off yourself, or you can call around to donation centers. Many of them will send out a pick-up crew to help you get rid of the extra items.

Tackling a clean-up job after a hoarder leaves your property is a huge undertaking, but you’ll rest easier knowing that your property is safe from the fire, health, and safety hazards a tenant with a hoarding problem can create.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

Condos, HOAs, and Holiday Cheer

Filed under: condos,HOAs — Tags: , , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 8:42 pm November 18, 2013

Pilera Condo DecorationSo the holidays are upon us, and everywhere you look, decorations are starting to appear. It’s certainly festive and shows great holiday cheer, but how does that type of Yuletide joy translate to the life of a condo owner?

The answer, unfortunately, is that it doesn’t. For the most past, condo owners are forbidden from using exterior decorations of any kind — not just around the holidays, but year ‘round. Why? In a word, liability.

In virtually every HOA agreement, it’s spelled out that the condo owner is responsible for maintaining everything within their four interior walls. Anything beyond that, including exterior walls, hallways, walkways, and other common areas, are the responsibility of the HOA.

Now let’s say, for example, you decided to string a set of holiday lights outside your condo door and someone somehow tripped over them and was injured. If there are no rules or by-laws in place restricting the use of decorations, then the HOA would be liable. If there are such rules in place and you, the condo owner, flouted them, then you’d be liable. Either way, it’s an ugly situation that no one want to deal with.

To extend the hypothetical even further, what if the holiday lights somehow caused a fire? There could be loss of property, loss of possessions, or even loss of life. The possibilities are terrifying to imagine.

So when you’re forbidden to decorate your condo’s exterior, remember that in the grand scheme of things, it’s for your safety and the safety of others. You can still fill your condo with all the decorations you like, and that should bring you plenty of holiday cheer this season.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

The Role of a Homeowners Association Board of Directors

Filed under: HOAs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 6:57 pm November 12, 2013

Pilera HOAThe role of a homeowners association is to maintain common areas on the property, maintain a sense of community among residents, protect property values, and help residents pay for recreational items or landscaping elements that individuals might not be able to pay for on their own. To be properly run, a board of directors carries out all of these responsibilities.

Members of a board typically work without pay and operate under the laws laid out when the homeowners association was formed.  The board forms policies for the property, and then names directors and agents to carry them out. Most boards will have a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. The responsibilities of the agents individually and the board as a whole may include:

  • Establishing fiscal policies and maintaining good records
  • Developing a budget and acting on it
  • Setting aside reserve funds for large purchases
  • Establishing and enforcing rules and penalties for the association
  • Ensuring that bylaws adhere to local laws
  • Selecting resources for the association, like attorneys, insurance agents, and accountants
  • Ensure that all board members are aware of major decisions and voting schedules

Serving on a board is similar to running a business and comes with it many of the same responsibilities, but the rewards of protecting and improving the property of fellow residents can be immeasurable.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

 

What to Do When the Rental Cupboard Is Bare

Filed under: Rentals — Tags: , , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 2:23 pm September 30, 2013

Pilera ApartmentThe rental market is a volatile one, and is often dictated by the overall economy. If home prices are high and it’s a seller’s market, people with the choice of rent or buy are more likely to rent. If home prices are low and there are attractive rates, those same folks are more likely to buy.

When potential renters are choosing to become first-time homebuyers, it can make it tough for rental properties. Units can sit vacant for months and money can get tight in a hurry, especially in areas where renters have a multitude of choices when it comes to places to live.

So what can you do to fill up those empty units when all of your usual marketing efforts fail to bring people to your door? As it turns out, plenty. Though almost all of it comes at a cost.

One method is to think like a hotel does. When a hotel is in a competitive market, they offer all sorts of deals and perks to entice customers in. Offering free rent for a certain period, fresh coffee in the morning, or free wi-fi can make your property stand out from the others.

If you’ve got the capital, consider an upgrade to the property’s exterior. A professional paint job or landscaping can improve that all-important first impression. Adding a pool or a gym can make a huge difference too, although it’s important to consider how disruptive that much construction can be to current residents.

With the Boomer generation aging, some properties are adding subtle touches to draw them in. Small features like plenty of hand holds, extra handicapped restrooms, easy-open doors and drawers, and non-slip surfaces can really catch older folks’ attention without being obtrusive.

The bottom line is that while riding out the ebb and flow of the rental market can be a challenge, there are still plenty of things you can do to stay in the game.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online property management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

 

Creating Your Property Management Brand

Filed under: property management — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 4:00 pm July 29, 2013

Imagine that you’re starting up your own property management company. It’s a completely clean slate, and you can do anything you like. It’s an exciting place to be, but also pretty overwhelming. Where do you start?

You’ll likely have a pretty standard checklist of items to address. Pilera_BrandYou’ll need a company name, a logo, a website, and some management software. You’ll need to set up your business with the IRS and the city or town where it’s established. You may also need office space and motivational posters for the wall, but that may come later.

Those are all important pieces to have in place, but before any of that, you might want to brainstorm your company’s brand. And once you do, everything else can flow from it.

Brand is a somewhat challenging term to define. When most people think of a brand, they think of Apple’s apple or the Nike swoosh. But the essence of branding is in the origins of the term itself. It refers to the actual brands that were burned into cattle to differentiate one herd from another. And there’s the key.

Your brand is what differentiates you from your competition. So when you’re setting up your company, start by figuring out what it is you bring to the table. Are you cheaper than the competition? Are you more tech-savvy? Do you have specialized skills that the other companies don’t? Can you offer incentives the others can’t?

And once you’ve established all of that, the rest of your branding can start taking shape. Use your unique value proposition to influence the company’s name or tagline. Find a color scheme that no one else is using. Approach property management from a totally original angle. Find out where other companies are lacking and fill in those gaps. Be an innovator. Take risks that the bigger companies won’t.

Do all of that, and you’ll soon have a property management company that’s synonymous with success. And that’s a brand that’s worth its weight in gold.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online property management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

photo credit: Paul Mayne via photopin cc

How Threatening Is the Housing Market to Apartment Complexes?

Filed under: apartments — Tags: , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 10:00 am May 14, 2013

There’s been plenty of talk in the news lately about the rebounding housing market, leadingPilera-apartments many in the apartment industry to wonder how they’ll be affected. The good news is that experts conclude they won’t be affected much. Here’s what those in the know know:

Few people are leaving their apartments to make a home purchase

A Chicago-based research company that tracks people’s reasons for leaving an apartment says that few people leave in order to purchase a home. Further backing up survey data is the fact that the percentage of home purchases made by first-time home buyers has stagnated since the expiration of the Home Buyer Tax Credit.

We have a long way to go

Before people in the rental industry despair over the double-digit increases in home sales we’ve been seeing lately, it is a good idea for them to remember just how low the housing market sunk. Given the housing market’s low at the peak of the financial crisis, achieving double-digit increases doesn’t require too much. People are still underwater on their homes and there is still a high number of foreclosures. Rentals are still important.

Urban living is attractive

Cities used to be hotbeds of crime, and people fled them for the safety of the suburbs. Today, with high gas prices, lowering crime rates in cities, and the cultural attractions of urban centers, people are leaving the suburbs to move back to the cities. Often, because of high property values in urban centers, people who want to live in them have no choice but to rent.

The housing market has come a long way in just a few short years, and this article is in no way meant to discredit its improvements. Rather, this is to show that despite its improvements, multi-family homes and apartment complexes intended for rent still have a major role to play in people’s lives.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online property management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

 

photo credit: lpotatol via photopin cc

The Dark Side of Community Management

Filed under: condos,HOAs,property management — Tags: , , , , , , — pilera_blog_admin @ 2:36 am May 7, 2013

When you first visit a property as a potential resident, everything is designed around you seeing the best that the property has to offer. The management office (hopefully) is spotless, the staff are friendly Blameand helpful, and there’s usually a candy dish for you to enjoy while you look over lots of glossy, colorful paperwork.

But everyone knows the flipside of this idyllic situation. Once you sign on the dotted line and move yourself in, you’re able to see the real property, warts and all. Sometimes it’s nothing major — maybe the lock on the gate to the dumpster sticks. Sometimes it’s unbelievable — theft, invasion of privacy, and things you’d never dream a property management company would allow.

As a community manager, you can only do what you can do. There are only so many hours in a day and your budget is what it is. But if you’re not receptive to residents’ complaints, things can get ugly very fast.

There was a situation not too long ago at a Virginia property where the residents came close to rioting because they felt that the management company was not living up to its responsibilities. Management, for their part, claimed that the residents were unreasonable, slovenly, and constantly disobeying the property rules.

So as a community manager, what do you do in a situation like this? Hire a mediator? Serve mass evictions? Break out the water hoses? Before you resort to those sorts of extremes, here are a few tips.

Isolate the problem. It’s very rare that an entire property suddenly turns against management. Often it’s a single agitator, bad-mouthing management to other residents, pointing out minor issues and making mountains out of molehills. If you hear general grumbling, talk to residents who you trust and see if you can trace the problem back to one or two malcontents.

Document everything. If residents are accusing you of not performing your property management duties, be sure to have written documentation that states that you have been. If there’s a maintenance issue, be sure you have the date, the details, the assignee, and the resolution right at your fingertips. Community management software can really help in situations like this.

Arrange town meetings. Gathering residents together in an open forum with management can easily degenerate into shouting matches if you’re not careful, but if you keep the reins tight, it’s a great way to establish a dialogue, hear residents’ complaints, and keep everyone up to date on what’s being done and what will be done to fix things.

Community management, like anything else, can have a dark side. But as long as residents and property managers are respectful, open, and honest with one another, most situations can be dealt with to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online community management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to community managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

photo credit: teaeff via photopin cc