Category Archives: unit owners

condo building

Filling Rental Vacancies Fast 

As a side effect of the pandemic, many rental properties have remained vacant for longer than usual. Whether it is due to college and universities going remote, so students no longer need their rental, or a major shift to suburban living overcrowded city life, apartments that are usually a hot commodity have slowed down in rental allure. Thus, filling rental vacancies has become a pivotal part of property management responsibilities. 

Here are a few ideas that may help landlords quickly fill vacancies that may occur over the course of the year. 

Keep Your Listings Current on Your Website

According to RentTec Direct, “72% of renters use the Internet when looking for a new apartment according to a study conducted by Apartments.com and Google which evaluated the top avenue renters use to find their next rental property.”

If you are not keeping your vacancies up-to-date on your site, you may be missing a large portion of renters that find their next apartment online. 

Evaluate Your Pricing 

Your future renters will be doing their homework and shopping around to see which spaces include utilities, which do not, and which ones may offer some sort of amenities such as a yard or outdoor entertaining space. 

Be sure to examine what the market is telling you your rent should be according to current situations. Once you have examined you can easily justify why the rent is set at a certain amount. 

condo pool

Utilize Professional Cleaners 

Apartments that have been professionally cleaned, including the kitchen and bathrooms, appear better to potential renters. If you hire a cleaning crew you will not only save yourself some time and elbow grease, but also make your property look more appealing to those hoping to rent. 

Keep in mind that renters check out every corner of the unit before they sign on the dotted line. By contracting this chore out, you will be maintaining your reputation for having spotless units as well as having renters find the unit above reproach. 

Consider Perks 

If you want to fill your rental quickly with quality renters, consider some perks. 

Offer your current renters (or outgoing renters) referral awards to entice word-of-mouth recommendations. There is nothing better than finding a renter through a referral from someone who has been a quality tenant for years! 

home or rental key

Advertise Immediately

If you do not have a referral program, you should try to advertise a vacancy immediately upon getting notice from the tenants. 

Most rental units come with a requirement of giving 30 days’ notice to the landlord before moving out. Act immediately upon getting the notice to advertise the unit so that there will not be a vacancy the next month. Every time that unit sits empty you are losing income from that space. 

Follow our blogs for more ideas on how to keep your properties well run and efficient now and going forward. 

 

virtual meeting

Hybrid In-person/Virtual Meetings, Are They Even Possible?

Now that the country has transitioned to the ‘Post-COVID’ era we can look back and, even in the face of the devastating impact of the world-wide pandemic, find nuggets of positive changes and new, better and creative ways of doing things.

We have all become more careful; we wash our hands more frequently, we clean and sanitize the surfaces we touch, we sneeze into our elbows, we dine outdoors and more and more of us are getting vaccinated. As an annoyingly positive thinker, I am confident that these changes will continue well into the future and that everyone will be healthier as a result.

OK, we are dropping the use of masks and other restrictions both at work and at home. Some of us are more comfortable with the pace of our return to ‘normal’ or at least ‘the new normal’ and that is ok. I suspect everyone is very glad that things are finally moving in a better direction.

Out of Necessity

One of the changes many of us made during the pandemic was to move from in-person to virtual meetings. Until the pandemic forced everyone to think of ways to function without exposure to COVID, very few communities embraced the idea of holding so-called ‘virtual’ meetings. Almost overnight the terms Zoom, WEBEX and Microsoft Teams became a regular part of our daily conversations.

We have no way of knowing whether or not communities will prefer in-person or virtual meetings. It is reasonable to expect that demand for virtual meetings will remain stronger than it was before COVID came ashore. We have found that associations that held virtual or hybrid meetings generally experienced increased participation and, overall, an increase in satisfaction with the experience of attending meetings. We simply cannot ignore the fact that many unit owners were unable to attend in-person meetings but were able to attend virtual meetings.

I have a confession to make: I want my cake and eat to. Why not conduct Hybrid In-person / Virtual meetings? A Hybrid In-person/Virtual meeting provides the opportunity for people to be together in person in a room and at the same time connect with an audience that is attending virtually.   All meeting participants – both in person and virtual – have access to the same information and the ability to communicate with everyone at the meeting.

Having conducted Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings for a couple of years now, we find that they are not only possible but most association board members and owners who have experienced well-run Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings find that they are actually more convenient and preferable to in-person meetings- this is especially so for board members and unit owners who are away or who find attending in-person meeting difficult or even impossible.

Zoom meeting Best Practices for Conducting a Hybrid In-Person/Virtual Meeting

  1. Technology

Here is a check list of what you need:

  • A laptop computer with ample HDMI, USB and audio outlets.
  • A high-quality full-size EPSON Video Projector.
  • A large video screen, a suitably sized monitor or a large white wall surface.
  • A Bose L1° Compact Line Array Public Address System. This is a great public address system that can easily accommodate a meeting of 200 or more people and pairs with a Shure BETA 58° Wired Microphone and 2 wireless microphones.
  • 2 SHURE Model BLX4R Wireless Receivers.
  • A Mackie Model 402VLZ4 4-Cannel Ultra Compact Mixer to transmit the signal between the Bose public Address System and the wireless microphones
  • The all-in-one camera-microphone product designed and manufactured by OWL Labs. This product produces a clear 360° image, automatically locates and highlights the speaker, offers good to great sound quality and it is a truly amazing piece of technology.
  • Zoom Video Conferencing, WEBEX, Microsoft Teams or an equivalent video conferencing platform. We have found that most of our clients are familiar with Zoom and Zoom offers convenient and useful features such a Waiting Room, Chat, Screen Sharing, Mute, Recording, etc. These feature help facilitate more effective meeting presentations.
  • Plenty of HDMI, USB, 9-pin, audio, power and other cables to connect all of the a/v equipment.
  • A reliable wifi connection.
  • Extra batteries for the wireless microphones.
  • An extension cord and power strip.
  • Power Point to prepare agendas and exhibits.
  • A suitable meeting room.
  1. unit owners meetings

  2. Preparation

Another critical consideration for Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meeting is the preparation and presentation of agendas and exhibits. Creating Power Point Presentations allows a manager and board members to present agendas, exhibits, documents, photographs, etc. through screen-sharing features.

In a Zoom meeting, the host simply clicks on Zoom’s Screen-share feature and opens the Power Point Presentation – full-screen – and everyone attending the meeting in-person can see the presentation on-screen and everyone attending virtually via Zoom can see it on their computers, laptops or tablets.

Here are some other important tips.

  • Set up and check to make sure that all a/v equipment is operating properly and that you have all of the equipment, cables, power cords, power strips, extra batteries, etc. the day before a meeting. There is nothing worse than getting to a meeting and encountering an equipment failure or a missing piece of equipment.
  • Mute all attendees, except for board members and the management team. This helps keep the meeting focused and on track.
  • Ask attendees to submit their questions and comments through the chat feature. This enables the host, board members and presenters to monitor and respond to questions and comments from unit owners.
  • Arrange to have a separate member of the management team host the Zoom Conference. This enables the board members and the property manager to concentrate on the presentation without being distracted with operating the Zoom features.
  • Activate Zoom’s Record feature and provide the link to all unit owners, so that those who were unable to attend can view the meeting. It is recommended that someone announce that the meeting is being recorded.

I want to leave everyone with the following thoughts.

Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings provide associations with an invaluable opportunity to accommodate unit owners who prefer to attend meetings in person as well as unit owners who are away or who are unable to attend in-person meetings. The end result is increased participation, which is a goal we share all share.

Setting up Hybrid In-person / Virtual Meetings may seem daunting. However, if I can do it, and I have, anyone can.

Finally, have some fun! For techno-geeks like me setting up Hybrid Meetings is like a kid in a candy store.

Douglas Thayer, CPM is President/Owner of Thayer & Associates, Inc., AMO