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Happy About Apartment Management
Cover of Happy About Apartment Management
Happy About Apartment Management
30 Years of Expert Tips and Advice on Multifamily Property Management
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REAL ESTATE can be a smart, lucrative investment, because it shelters property appreciation from taxes while allowing owners to deduct interest and depreciation. In addition, unlike financial investments, tax-deferred exchanges are common real estate trans-actions. However, many investors ignore real estate because it requires daily management. Still others invest in real estate and attempt to manage their properties themselves to save on management fees. Most of us have seen infomercials about achieving financial independence by investing in real estate. During my years in property management, I have seen many people build wealth by investing in real estate. I have also seen time forgive some very poor real-estate investments, because fortunately, most bad real estate decisions are forgiven as property values appreciate. So, from my perspective, the key attribute to successful real estate investing is longevity—surviving the period between purchase and sale, while the property works to pay its way.

During the appreciation years, many real estate investors realize how poorly prepared they are to manage property. They experience the enormous stress from evictions because they have not developed appropriate credit-screening techniques that identify potential deadbeats. They are sued for discrimination because they do not understand fair housing regulations. They fall victim to downward economic spirals because they do not understand the relationship between curb appeal, occupancy rates, and rent. Worst of all, they often don't realize that their properties are under-performing by thousands of dollars each month. Westlake Realty Group, has successfully managed real estate for over 30 years. They've dealt with a number of issues discussed above and can help you avoid them. You'll find this book a helpful and informative introduction to the fundamentals—and complexities—of property management.

REAL ESTATE can be a smart, lucrative investment, because it shelters property appreciation from taxes while allowing owners to deduct interest and depreciation. In addition, unlike financial investments, tax-deferred exchanges are common real estate trans-actions. However, many investors ignore real estate because it requires daily management. Still others invest in real estate and attempt to manage their properties themselves to save on management fees. Most of us have seen infomercials about achieving financial independence by investing in real estate. During my years in property management, I have seen many people build wealth by investing in real estate. I have also seen time forgive some very poor real-estate investments, because fortunately, most bad real estate decisions are forgiven as property values appreciate. So, from my perspective, the key attribute to successful real estate investing is longevity—surviving the period between purchase and sale, while the property works to pay its way.

During the appreciation years, many real estate investors realize how poorly prepared they are to manage property. They experience the enormous stress from evictions because they have not developed appropriate credit-screening techniques that identify potential deadbeats. They are sued for discrimination because they do not understand fair housing regulations. They fall victim to downward economic spirals because they do not understand the relationship between curb appeal, occupancy rates, and rent. Worst of all, they often don't realize that their properties are under-performing by thousands of dollars each month. Westlake Realty Group, has successfully managed real estate for over 30 years. They've dealt with a number of issues discussed above and can help you avoid them. You'll find this book a helpful and informative introduction to the fundamentals—and complexities—of property management.

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Excerpts-
  • Partial Excerpt of Chapter 6
    10 WAYS TO KEEP RESIDENTS FROM MOVING
    How residents feel about where they live is as important as how they feel about their own apartments. People tend to stay when they feel part of the community. Strengthen the community, and you'll strength-en your residents’ desire to remain.

    1: Develop a management team who can create emotional bonds with residents.
    The following “Do's” and “Don'ts” can transform property management into community management:
    • Do encourage staff to greet everyone sincerely – by their first names.
    • Do keep a fresh pot of coffee ready to encourage residents to visit the office or front desk.
    • Do deliver gifts and friendly notes, preferably by hand.
    • Do set up a mini-library, magazine collection, or paperback book exchange.
    • Do pay attention to convenience. Set up a tool lending service, or make important items like stamps readily available.
    • Don't address tenants by their apartment numbers.
    • Don't forget to respect a resident’s privacy and personal property at all times.
    • Don't delay when a tenant requests maintenance or a repair.


    2: Publish a regular community newsletter.
    Newsletters keep everyone informed and connected. Use the news-letter to announce activities that will help create a vibrant community life at your property.

    Some ideas for newsletters include:

    • Reminding tenants of amenities and benefits they may not have used
    • Sharing recipes, special events, or birthdays and graduations
    • Including photos of the last community picnic or holiday party.


    3: Schedule community activities.
    Every community is different, so experiment to determine the activities that work best with your residents. Gatherings provide great opportunities for residents to meet and build a genuine sense of community.

    Community-building activities you might want to try include:

    • Card or bingo games
    • A regular Friday night party around the pool
    • Children’s holiday parties
    • Movie night with popcorn and soda
    • An informal tennis ladder

    Keep events focused on residents and avoid management or owner presentations. Otherwise, you risk turning a celebration into a business event and alienating residents.

    You can even invite people from the neighborhood to participate in your community by:

    • Offering your property as a polling place
    • Letting the Boys Scouts or Girl Scouts meet there
    • Hosting a blood drive
    • Creating a bulletin board that advertises joint resident/neighbor-hood activities and services

    These ideas will expose your property to the greater community, pro-vide networking opportunities for residents, and lead a stream of prospective residents to your door.

    4: Survey residents regularly
    Keep your finger on the pulse of resident satisfaction. Include a survey card with all services, repairs, or newsletters. Make survey forms available outside the office, on your website, and in every employee’s tool bag, briefcase, or notebook. You need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about resident perceptions before they start thinking or talking about issues outside your earshot or consider moving.

Synopsis-
  • REAL ESTATE can be a smart, lucrative investment, because it shelters property appreciation from taxes while allowing owners to deduct interest and depreciation. In addition, unlike financial investments, tax-deferred exchanges are common real estate trans-actions. However, many investors ignore real estate because it requires daily management. Still others invest in real estate and attempt to manage their properties themselves to save on management fees. This book provides the reader with 18 quick to read chapters with the information they need to help them be successful with managing apartments successfully.
About the Author-
  • Robert Klag brings more than 25 years of management experience and strong operational leadership to Westlake. Prior to joining the company in 2003, he headed financial operations at PrimeSight, a national healthcare provider, and led a team that successfully enrolled 200,000 subscribers in two years. Mr. Klag has also been senior vice president of finance and treasurer at National Insurance Group where he helped build the company into a national provider of specialized risk management and outsourced service products.

    Earlier in his career, he was with KPMG LLP and General Electric. As Administration Manager for General Electric’s Canadian Mineral Operations, he managed real property holdings, reducing fixed operating costs by more than $1 million per year.

    Mr. Klag holds a B.S. in economics at the University of California Riverside and an M.B.A. from the University of California Berkeley. Mr. Klag is a certified public accountant, and a certified management accountant. He is a member of the California Association of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Management Accountants.
Table of Contents-
  • PART I: INTRODUCTION Why We Wrote This Book? PART II: TECHNOLOGY AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Chapter 1: Technology: The Future Of Property Management Chapter 2: 8 Basic Questions To Ask Yourself PART III: OCCUPANCY & MARKETING Chapter 3: 10 Ways To Maintain Occupancy In A Buyer’s Market Chapter 4: 10 Ways To Keep Residents From Moving Chapter 5: Curb Appeal: First Impressions Count Chapter 6: Closing The Sale PART IV: PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Chapter 7: 9 Keys To Credit Screening Chapter 8: 4 Ways To Improve Your Collections Chapter 9: 6 Reasons To Use ACH Chapter 10: Forms Every Landlord Should Have PART V: AFFORDABLE HOUSING Chapter 11: Smart Ways To Relieve Section 42 Headaches PART VI: ASSET MANAGEMENT Chapter 12: 6 Reasons To Avoid Deferred Maintenance Chapter 13: 7 Ways To Improve Your ROI Chapter 14: 5 Common Lawsuits Landlords Can Avoid PART VII: PORTFOLIO PERFORMANCE Chapter 15: 10 Ways To Improve Your Multifamily Portfolio Performance Chapter 16: 10 Tips For Efficient Risk Management Chapter 17: 9 Benefits Of Using A Professional PropertyManagement Company Chapter 18: 10 Point Checklist for Choosing a Property Management Company Appendix A: Resources About the Authors Write Your Book About Westlake Realty Group, Inc.
Reviews-
  • Dr. Dolf de Roos, Real Estate Investor and author of the New York Times bestseller "Real Estate Riches" 'Happy About Apartment Management' is an informative and easy-to-read guide to property management. It is concise and yet comprehensive, touching on every aspect of the business. It will make the task of apartment management all the easier.
  • Kenneth T. Rosen, Chairman, Rosen Real Estate Securities 'Happy About Apartment Management' provides an easy-to-read, concise, and pithy guide by one of the most innovative and technologically savvy leaders in the apartment management business. This type of wisdom only comes from the best and the brightest."
  • David Tripp, CPM(r), 2007 Chapter President, IREM-San Francisco Bay Area Chapter #21 As attractive and profitable as property ownership can be, managing real estate isn't an occupation to be learned on the job. This book offers balanced advice to the real estate investor, shedding light on both the legal and practical aspects of marketing your property, finding and retaining great tenants, and hiring a trustworthy real estate manager.
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Happy About Apartment Management
30 Years of Expert Tips and Advice on Multifamily Property Management
Robert W. Klag
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