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How to Stay Organized During the Busiest Rental Season

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Summer is almost here, and we all know what that means -it's one of the most demanding times of the year for already-busy property managers.

If you're swamped with work, and feel like you're in over your head -relax! You're not alone. Even the most well-organized property manager will feel overwhelmed at times. The good news, though, is that there are things that you can do to prioritize and manage your workload as efficiently as possible.

Developing new systems doesn't have to be difficult, and it's a great use of your time as it will help you to streamline your processes and stay on top of things, reducing the amount of hours that you spend on mundane or unnecessary tasks.

If you're overworked and way too busy, then this post is for you. Let's take a look at some ideas for staying organized and on track during this busy time of year!

Cut the Clutter

Excessive paperwork can be counterproductive. A desk full of papers is distracting, and time spent sorting documents can quickly eat into your busy day.

Tip: Try to tackle paperwork as it comes in so it doesn't pile up. Your best option is developing a filing system that will help you to quickly stash your documents in the right places. One idea is to keep a file on each property. Include rental applications, the tenancy agreement, and any other information regarding the lease or the property in this file. You can also work to reduce unnecessary paperwork by using a cloud-based storage solution like Shoebox to scan and store receipts, and by choosing e-receipts whenever possible. You'll also want to sign up for online banking, if you haven't done so already.

Take Advantage of Helpful Tools

Despite the fact that we're busier ever, it really is a great time to be a property manager. There's a wealth of web-based tools and software available today can help you to save time, automating and simplifying many one-time-consuming tasks.

Tip: Look into using Google Documents or Dropbox for working documents and collaborative projects. Take advantage of software, like Quicken, that will automate paperwork and make it easier to keep up with reports, financial statements, bill payments, and more. Finally, consider implementing an online rent payment system -like eRentPayment, to make it easier for tenants to pay, and for you to receive rent each month.

Work On Time Management

A lot of time is wasted with mundane activities or needless interruptions. In fact, it's estimated that 60 percent or less of our work day is actually spent productively.

Tip: To improve your time management, you'll want to keep to a tight schedule! Consider creating a list at the start of each day with important tasks that you need to finish -crossing things off as you complete them to gauge your progress. You may also want to schedule your day out into block of time for getting things done. Find a timetable that works best for you -for instance, some people feel that morning works well for handling pressing issues, while afternoons are ideal for meetings and out-of-office work.

Consider Outsourcing

The more you take on, the greater your need to outsource. Far from being a bad thing, though, if you've progressed to the point where you're in need of extra help -you're doing something right!

Tip: Take advantage of the opportunity to delegate certain tasks. If you're still mowing the lawns at your rentals, consider hiring a maintenance crew to take over yard maintenance at the properties. Outsource bookkeeping, or find a good accountant to handle the taxes for you. Hire a virtual personal assistant -to offload even more of your work. Outsourcing will free you up to concentrate on the big picture of property management; allowing you to focus on running your company, instead of just running circles in it!

Develop a System for Call-Outs

As a property manager, it's safe to say that you'll face your fair share of emergency call-outs. Leaking pipes, broken windows, and A/C units that quit during a heatwave are just a few calls that you'll probably receive.

Tip: Develop a call-out procedure to ensure that you'll be able to address tenant concerns quickly and efficiently. Planning in advance how you'll deal with different situations will allow you to respond promptly to resolve the issue within a timely manner. Remember to tackle problems as soon as they arise, to keep tenants happy and to prevent small problems from becoming worse. Finally, keep in mind that many emergency repairs can be mitigated by performing regular maintenance, so consider implementing a routine maintenance schedule for your properties, to help prevent disasters.

Improve the Tenant Move-Out Process

When a tenant leaves, it's often a scramble to find someone new. Vacant properties are a liability risk, as well as a huge expense for both you, and the client.

Tip: Streamline the transition process by developing a tenant move-out procedure. This is a guideline that is tacked onto the lease that outlines the exact notice that tenants are required to give, as well as the specific condition that they should leave the rental in. It also spells out the protocol for inspection and return of the security deposit. This will help to make the transition in-between tenants as simple and straightforward as possible. You'll also want to ensure that you perfect your tenant placement procedure and implement a solid tenant-screening process, as vetting and qualifying potential applicants can help to prevent a world of additional problems down the road.

Streamline Communication

Phone calls, emails, and texts can quickly eat into a busy schedule. Plus, interruptions can be costly -it takes an estimated 23 minutes to recover from one. While communication is important, you don't want to spend all of your time fielding calls -especially if there's a better way to handle communication.

Tip: Save yourself from unnecessary interruptions by streamlining your communication. Try to set aside time blocks for answering emails and returning calls -say, one half-hour window at 11:00, and another at 4:00. Consider scheduling any calls that could be especially time-intensive. This will allow you to tackle everything at once, preventing things from piling up and helping you to keep things moving forward as efficiently as possible.

Plan for Emergencies

Finally, no one wants to think about emergencies, but it's vitally important to plan for them. Having a contingency plan in place can help things to go as smoothly as possible during the unexpected.

Tip: Having a plan that you can refer to in the event of an emergency situation allows you to know which steps to take if there's a fire, flood, or another disaster at a rental property. This should outline the planned procedure for informing emergency services, tenants, and insurance companies.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind that even simple steps can often yield big results. You don't have to implement drastic changes overnight, instead, start by choosing one or two problem areas to address. Start by identifying a place where you feel your systems are most lacking and work to implement a new time-saving strategy. Then, work from there -tackling each problem area that you feel could benefit the most. This will help you to save time and reduce hassle; allowing to stay productive, and calm -during this busy time of year!

How do you stay organized during the busy season? Share your tips!

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