AvenueWest Northern Colorado Franchise Success Story

Northern Colorado Franchisee Experiences Positive Cash-Flow in Six Months; Meets High Demand for Furnished Housing in Ft. Collins and Surrounding Cities

As a long time residential real estate agent, Deb Salek knows all too well the hard work and long hours it takes to run a business. She worked every day, including weekends, helping her clients buy and sell homes. Her husband, Todd, too, knew the virtues of hard work. He spent 13 successful years in the sales industry.

Although at the surface Deb and Todd were successful, both say they felt they had more to give and were seeking new opportunities in their careers. They desired to own a business that could support their family, give them a stable lifestyle, and thrive long after they’ve retired.

“As a real estate agent, I only earned income when I worked,” says Deb. “When looking for a new business venture, I wanted something that would have longevity, and one that offered a repeatable and sustainable revenue stream.”

Committed to finding a new career path, Deb discovered the possibilities of becoming a franchisee of AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing (“AvenueWest”) after reading about AvenueWest’s CEO, Kimberly Smith, in a magazine, and later meeting her at a networking event.

“AvenueWest sounded too good to be true! It offered all the things I desired in a career, including the opportunity to own my own business, build something I could eventually pass on or sell, and allow me to work more traditional hours so I could spend more time at home with my children,” says Deb. “Plus, AvenueWest fit nicely into my repertoire, enabling me to still pull upon my years of real estate experience, yet explore a new avenue within my niche.”

On November 1, 2013, the Saleks officially opened an AvenueWest franchise in Northern Colorado (4025 Automation Way #F2, Fort Collins, CO 80525).

Getting Started

Deb says that she likes how she didn’t have to “recreate the wheel,” as AvenueWest provides a clear path to business ownership without all the hassles that come with a startup. She says she also likes that the brand has already built trust, recognition, and a track record of success in the corporate housing industry.

Even though AvenueWest offered a path to success, Deb and Todd say they knew it would take hard work and time to grow it into a thriving, sustainable business.

“Almost immediately upon opening our doors, AvenueWest began sending us housing requests, yet we had no inventory to fulfill those requests,” says Deb. “That’s when we knew we had to get resourceful if we were going to succeed.”

To meet the “pent up demand” for short-term, furnished housing in Northern Colorado, Deb and Todd leased several local apartments and furnished them. Little did the Saleks know that the apartment buildings would soon become their top source for new client leads!

Another source of client leads came from insurance companies. Deb says that corporate housing can help people who have been displaced from their homes.

For example, when lightning struck the home of a Berthoud, CO family, an insurance company approached AvenueWest in Ft. Collins, asking them to find a short-term, furnished rental for their client.

Because of the housing shortage plaguing Northern Colorado, Deb says she knew finding this family temporary living quarters wouldn’t be easy.

“We didn’t have any properties under management that met this family’s specific size and location needs,” says Deb. “Rather than turning the insurance company away, we got resourceful. We contacted a builder in Loveland about leasing one of his new apartment suites so we could furnish it and use it as a short-term rental for the Berthoud family. He agreed. We were able to help this family during a time of crisis and that felt great!”

Success At Last!

By the end of their first six months as AvenueWest franchisees, Deb and Todd say they have become cash flow positive and currently have more than 50 properties in inventory.

“We are very proud of how fast and confidently Deb and Todd have grown the AvenueWest brand in Northern Colorado. They have become one of our most successful franchisees in only one year. We look forward to continuing our relationship with this dynamic duo, and to proudly serve the corporate housing needs throughout Northern Colorado,” says Smith.

Looking Ahead

AvenueWest has become a full time career for both Deb and Todd (both left their day jobs), and they both agree that their earning potential far exceeds their previous career paths.

While 2014 was a fast-growth year for AvenueWest Northern Colorado, Deb says she knows she still has a lot of work to do. She says she would like to reach an exciting milestone of 100 properties in inventory within the next two years.

 “Northern Colorado is an in-demand region for both residents and businesses. We can only hope we are in a position to help all the clients that come our way in search of furnished, temporary housing,” says Deb.

About AvenueWest Northern Colorado

Since 1999 AvenueWest has been providing award winning service and exclusive furnished corporate housing properties.  The company is focused on hands-on customer service and high quality rentals to meet the housing needs of both the experienced business traveler and also the discerning traveler on a budget. Fort Collins is a rapidly growing city with an award winning quality of life.  AvenueWest Northern Colorado strives to connect clients with the short-term, furnished housing they need in Old Town, Southeast Fort Collins, North Fort Collins, Midtown, Water Valley, Centerra, Loveland, Windsor, and Greeley.

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Need Corporate Housing Technology?

One of the most popular reasons people start talking with us about becoming part of the AvenueWest Team is because of all the integrated systems we have in place…

AvenueWest Global Franchise employs leading edge, yet proven technologies to provide the best possible level of service to our franchisees, clients and our corporate housing guests.  Our goals for our team include providing a simple rental process, rent processing, reservation tracking, property tracking, property management and property marketing.

Our software and technology includes:

AvenueWest.com

AvenueWest’s website is more than photos and text. Our website has long established SEO / Search Engine Optimization that connects with all of our current and new offices.  This website holds reams of data for all of our exclusive property management properties. From our detailed property database we are able to select the best possible rental options for our clients and send them detailed property information sheets. With http://www.AvenueWest.com you can send us a service request, request general information, and learn about your new temporary home and it is surroundings. Our robust website has also been designed for ease of use and navigation and has specific sites dedicated to all of the rental markets in our larger franchise program.

Aaxsys Temporary Housing Software

Aaxsys is the leading corporate and temporary housing software application available in the corporate housing industry today. Aaxsys provides property management, financial accounting, reservation systems to manage AvenueWest’s worldwide rental capabilities, and numerous other business applications. We have the ability to bill daily, weekly, or in 30 day recurring increments.   Our systems handle credit card processing accurately and securely. Our system also manages multiple roommates, block rentals, and all key guest/client information.  Aaxsys also allows all AvenueWest offices to efficiently see and book properties throughout the system and offers real time booking features for potential clients who want to use an internet portal to book their next corporate housing rental.

CHBO

AvenueWest has teamed up with CHBO, the premier corporate housing marketing website, to provide international marketing for properties within the AvenueWest system.  Direct links between Aaxsys and CHBO allow for fully integrated real time property availability.  CHBO’s longevity in the market place has made it the go-to site for business travelers across the globe.

Centralized Phone System

The AvenueWest Franchise Program provides a centralized toll free number that is answered by a live person during the day allowing for streamlined global marketing, connected with our local real person-to-person service.

Social Media Marketing

AvenueWest’s team of experienced corporate housing marketing professionals allows us to blog, tweet and facebook consistently during the week to connect with new business travelers while our franchisees can stay focused on developing their local business.

Cloud Computing:

AvenueWest is one of the first corporate housing companies in America to deploy all software on established servers off-site with an established IT server farm. This IT option provides numerous redundancies, 99.97% uptime, instant 24/7 worldwide access for our staff members, and unmatched security. Our platforms meet all of the latest security, disaster recovery, and redundancy protocols called for with our relocation, government and private industry clients. All information and entries are backed up daily, many back ups occurring with each keystroke.

Oldie But Goodie

Invariably around this time of year, every year, our thoughts will sooner or later turn to the New Year and what we hope to accomplish. This hope comes in the form of New Year’s resolutions, commitments to one’s self or goals.

When it comes to setting goals remember to keep it S.M.A.R.T. (I told you it was an oldie but goodie). The origin of this acronym dates back to 1981, and has been interpreted a number of different ways since then but my preference is:

S…. make your goals specific. Not “I want to open a business” but rather “I will open a Property Management business in the Corporate Housing Industry”

M…. make sure your goals are measurable; otherwise they are no more than a dream. “I want to lose a lot of weight this coming year” is a wonderful thought but “I want to lose 20lbs by the end of the New Year” is a measurable goal. Did you or did you not reach it?

A…are your goals attainable. Specifically, is it even possible to reach that goal? For me, a goal to be President of the United States is not attainable, since I’m not a natural born U.S. citizen.

R… is your goal realistic? As much as I want to be an NBA center, it’s just not realistic. Perhaps a better example would be “I want to own the largest corporate housing business in the relocation industry by the end of next year”…sorry to disappoint you, but that just isn’t realistic at all!

T…your goals must have a time frame. That is a date, or number of days, weeks, months or years by which time you will have achieved that goal. Without the deadline a goal is no more than a wish.

One last thing, to be truly successful in reaching your goals they need to be written down. It’s not good enough to say “oh I know what my goals are because I keep them in my head all the time.” If you’ve taken the time to set your goals why not stack the deck in your favor by taking that small step of writing them down. Then share them with a friend, business coach or trusted advisor; at AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing our franchises share their goals with our founder, Kimberly Smith, and myself. Then hold yourself accountable throughout the year by sharing updates on your progress with those advisors. Don’t accept my word for it, check out Dr. Gail Mathews’ study at: http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-backs-up-strategies-for-achieving-goals

And remember…take your goals out and read them from time to time…are they still what you want? Are you on track to achieving them? Do you still even want to attain that particular goal? If not, go ahead change it…you’re allowed…THEY ARE YOURS!

Mark Vost

Business Development

AvenueWest Global Franchise

Corporate Housing Provider Expands to Fort Collins, CO

Denver & Fort Collins, CO– November 1st, 2013 – AvenueWest Global Franchise today announces the opening of its latest franchise location, AvenueWest Northern Colorado located in Fort Collins, CO at 1136 E. Stuart St., #4201. AvenueWest Northern Colorado connects private landlords with business travelers in need of full service corporate housing. Corporate housing is defined as fully furnished rental apartments, homes or condominiums offered for rent on a short-term basis, usually for one month or more.

AvenueWest Global Franchise has been tapping into the emerging trend of departing business executives who are finding both financial freedom and life balance through franchise ownership. Deb Salek, a former senior level analyst with Qwest Communications is now the owner of the AvenueWest Northern Colorado office.  Deb’s exit from corporate America is a developing national trend.  Her first step was to decide to leave her office job.  She built a successful residential real estate business as a broker associate with RE/MAX, which provided the flexibility she needed with her two young children.  Then Deb and her husband, Todd, chose to relocate to Fort Collins, CO a city they found as the best compliment to their quality of life vision. When looking to target the relocation market more specifically, Deb found AvenueWest Corporate Housing to be an exciting opportunity which taps into both her corporate and real estate experience as she looks to build a long term sustainable business. Deb says Fort Collins is the perfect place to set up a corporate housing shop.

“Fort Collins offers this amazing quality of life and energy that is fueling growth and causing a positive relocation trend for the city.  With a diverse blend of corporations, Colorado State University, state of the art hospitals, government entities and a burgeoning craft beer industry, Fort Collins economy continues to strengthen. Fort Collins is also in the midst of a hot housing market with property inventory at a premium so it may take people several months to find a new home, and short-term housing presents the best solution during that transition.

Salek continues: “The people that stay in our AvenueWest properties prefer to have the amenities of home and appreciate that it is a less transient environment than what they would find in a hotel.  The cost to stay in an AvenueWest property is also typically less expensive per night than staying in a hotel.”

Salek will officially open the AvenueWest Northern Colorado office on November 1, 2013. Salek adds: the interest in managed corporate housing from corporations, investors and real estate professionals alike is exceeding her expectations. While Fort Collins will be her home base, she is assessing nearby Loveland, Windsor and Greeley, all of which are in growth patterns as well.

“There seems to be demand from every corner: corporations, visiting professors, medical personnel, the oil and gas industry, tourists and so forth.  I see the real opportunity as being with the individual homeowners who want to offer their furnished homes as corporate rental properties. They will have the ability to work with us to capitalize on and profit from the growing need for temporary housing solutions in the area.  It’s exciting to be able to help owners develop their investment properties,” Salek says.

Kimberly Smith, the CEO of AvenueWest Global Franchise, says that opening an office in Fort Collins has been on her wish list since the day she started her managed corporate housing business in the LODO area of Denver some 14 years ago and a priority since launching AvenueWest Global Franchise in 2010.

“An executive who wants a furnished property with all the creature comforts of home and high-end furnishings will have a strong preference for AvenueWest’s corporate rental properties over a transient hotel setting or other generic apartment rentals,” says Smith.  “With Deb’s knowledge of the area and industry, AvenueWest Northern Colorado now offers the kinds of rental properties required by discerning executives. It also offers the opportunity for private landlords to earn greatly increased rental income on their properties.”

About AvenueWest Global Franchise

Established in 2010, AvenueWest Global Franchise grew from the desire to expand the business opportunity and corporate housing excellence achieved through the AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing program that was founded in 1999.  Currently AvenueWest Global Franchise has offices in Boston MA, Colorado Springs CO, Dallas TX, Denver CO, Fort Collins CO, Phoenix, AZ and San Francisco CA, and has recently embarked on an aggressive expansion plan with expectations to open an office in Atlanta, GA before year’s end.

About AvenueWest Northern Colorado

AvenueWest Northern Colorado, a franchise of Denver-based AvenueWest Global Franchise, opens its doors on November 1, 2013 and is owned and managed by Deb Salek, a long-time real estate executive. AvenueWest Northern Colorado fosters the connection between a private landlord of a rental property offered as a short-term, furnished rental with those in need of executive housing such as a traveling business executive, relocated family, traveling professor, athlete or actor and even someone in need of temporary housing during a medical treatment. To offer your property for rent through AvenueWest Northern Colorado, or to find a property during your temporary stay in the area, contact Deb Salek at 970-797-3099 or via email at: DSalek@AvenueWest.com.

To learn more about AvenueWest Northern Colorado and AvenueWest Global Franchise, visit www.AvenueWest.com.

For franchise opportunities and information, visit: www.AvenueWestFranchise.com.

 

 

 

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AvenueWest Global Franchise Opens Managed Corporate Housing Office in Phoenix

Denver, CO & Phoenix, AZ – October 1st, 2013 – AvenueWest Global Franchise today announces the opening of its latest location, AvenueWest Phoenix, located in Phoenix at the intersection of Camelback and Central Avenue. AvenueWest Phoenix connects private landlords with those in need of corporate housing. Corporate housing is defined as fully furnished rental apartments, homes or condominiums offered for rent on a short-term basis, usually for one month or more.

Meghan Hartman, the owner of the AvenueWest Phoenix office, says Phoenix is the perfect place to set up a corporate housing shop.  “As the economy continues to strengthen, more and more people are relocating into the Phoenix area.  Phoenix has a very dynamic housing market, and property inventory is at a premium so it may take several months for people moving into the Phoenix market to find a new home, and short term housing presents the best solution during that transition.”

Hartman continued: “Phoenix has always been a destination market and we have a large number of visitors every year.  Many people want to stay in a home with all of the amenities, and AvenueWest offers the perfect solution for those who want the comforts of home rather than a potentially more expensive transient experience at a hotel.”

Hartman, whose past experiences include corporate positions with a number of real estate related franchisors and owning and operating her own real estate brokerage, will officially open the AvenueWest Phoenix office on October 1, 2013. Hartman adds: the interest in managed corporate housing from corporations, investors and real estate professionals alike is exceeding her expectations.

“With such interest brewing from corporations in the entire valley, the real opportunity lies with individual homeowners who want to offer their furnished homes as corporate rental properties. They have the opportunity to work with us to capitalize on and profit from the growing need for temporary housing solutions in the area,” she says.

Kimberly Smith, the CEO of AvenueWest Global Franchise, says that opening an office in Phoenix has been on her bucket list since the day she started her business. She says she believes managed housing is the best solution to meet the short term housing needs of the Phoenix market.

“An executive who wants a furnished property with all the creature comforts of home and high-end furnishings will have a strong preference for AvenueWest’s corporate rental properties over a transient hotel setting or other generic apartment rentals,” says Smith.  “With Meghan’s knowledge of the area and industry, AvenueWest Phoenix now offers the kinds of rental properties required by discerning executives. It also offers the opportunity for private landlords to earn greatly increased rental income on their properties.”

About AvenueWest Global Franchise: Established in 2010, AvenueWest Global Franchise grew from the desire to expand the business opportunity and corporate housing excellence achieved through the AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing program that was founded in 1999.  Currently AvenueWest Global Franchise has offices in Boston MA, Colorado Springs CO, Dallas TX, Denver CO, Phoenix, AZ and San Francisco CA, and has recently embarked on an aggressive expansion plan with expectations to open offices before year’s end in Atlanta GA, and Fort Collins CO.

About AvenueWest Phoenix: AvenueWest Phoenix, a franchise of Denver-based AvenueWest Global Franchise, opened its doors on October 1, 2013 and is owned and managed by Meghan Hartman, a long-time real estate and franchise executive. AvenueWest Phoenix fosters the connection between a private landlord of a rental property offered as a short-term, furnished rental with those in need of executive housing such as a traveling business executive, relocated family, traveling professor, athlete or actor and even someone in need of temporary housing during a medical treatment. To offer your property for rent through AvenueWest Phoenix, or to find a property during your temporary stay in the area, contact Meghan Hartman at 602-689-9937 or via email at: Meghan@AvenueWest.com.

To learn more about AvenueWest Phoenix and AvenueWest Global Franchise, visit www.AvenueWest.com.

For franchise opportunities and information, visit: www.AvenueWestFranchise.com.

AvenueWest 2013 – Top 50 Real Estate Investment Opinion Makers & Market Leaders.

Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine “Building Wealth Through Property Investment”  this month honored AvenueWest as one of the top leaders in the United States along with HomeVestors and Real Property Management.

12 Tips for Reducing Your Rental Management Liability

I spoke to CRB this month – take a look…

http://www.crb.com/resources/reb/mar-apr13/mar-apr13/index.html

16 Mar/Apr 2013 http://www.crb.com

12 Tips for Reducing Your Rental Management Liability

 Adding rental and property management services can boost your profitability. Be sure to protect those gains with these 12 risk-management ideas.

By G.M. Filisko

It can be a wise move to broaden your business base by expanding the services your brokerage offers, and handling rentals and property management is a natural segment into which to expand.

That’s especially true given market changes in the past few years. “For the past couple of years, we’ve seen more first-time landlords—people who couldn’t sell their home and wouldn’t have ordinarily been landlords,” explains T.J. Rubin, managing broker of Fulton Grace Realty in Chicago, a leasing, management, and brokerage company. “We’ve also seen a growth in single- unit condo investors. Maybe they’ve seen a foreclosure and bought it intending to rent it out. Finally, there’s been a trend of more luxury units being rented.”

Rubin’s experience is being repeated throughout the country, and all those rental markets present opportunities for brokers. However, rental management isn’t hazard-free. Without savvy planning and controls, you can expose your company to liability that could wipe out any added profitability you generate. Here are 12 great ideas to safeguard your company when you offer rental management.

1. Create a separate legal entity.

Operate your rental management business out of a company separate from your brokerage, advises lawyer Bruce Ailion, ABR®, CRS®, CRBsm, e-PRO®. Ailion is an associate broker
at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta in Marietta, Ga. However, through Success Real Estate Brokers, at which he’s the principal broker, Ailion manages about 110 rental units.

“It is easier to do the management though a separate company,” he says. “Our structure was done for accounting convenience. But it’s also a good strategy for minimizing liability.”

2. Don’t manage a property here and there.

“Don’t just rent out a property as a favor
to someone,” says Kimberly Smith, CEO
of CorporateHousingbyOwner.com and Avenue West Global Franchise, a Denver-area brokerage that manages furnished residential units and trains franchisees to do the same. “Make sure rentals and management are part
of your core business model. Unless you know who to connect with—like the most appropriate insurance vendors—you’ll fail.”

“You also need to know your local laws,” adds Smith. “They’ll dictate whether you need to collect use taxes on rentals; whether owners have to provide a written notice within a certain period of time to keep any of a tenant’s deposit, along with what charges can be deducted and not; whether you have to keep security deposits in escrow; and when and how in your marketing you must disclose you’re a broker. Don’t dabble in property management because there are penalties if you get those things wrong.”

3. Train your agents before they handle rentals.

“Careless agents not following procedures is the quickest way to get in trouble,” says Rubin. “We have a property management handbook to make sure everyone learns our processes and procedures. But agents also have to jump right in. So we have junior managers mirror senior managers. Then the junior managers get their own accounts while still having their mentor’s help. Finally, they become proficient and operate independently.”

4. Properly screen all potential landlord clients

“When we’re managing properties, if there’s a lawsuit for premises liability, we’ll be named as a defendant in addition to the owner,” explains Melania Mirzakhanian, a lawyer and director of operations at Tomea Inc., a full-service brokerage in San Diego with about a third of its business from property management. “So we do credit and criminal background checks on potential landlord clients. I also like to get a feel for their character. I really like one-on- one and face-to-face meetings, but a lot of our clients live out of state and have a second home here. In those cases, we do a lot on the phone and through Skype. If we find out owners aren’t honest with us about their financial situation— say they’ve filed for bankruptcy or their property’s in foreclosure and they haven’t told us—that’s a red flag.”

Another red flag? A too-involved owner. “I need a property and an owner I can represent,” says Smith. “A lot of times, owners are too hands on, saying things like, ‘I’m going to pop over every other week and check the backyard.’ A key benefit every tenant is entitled to is the quiet enjoyment of the property; that can be lost if an owner is too invested in it. I deal
with relocation clients, and one Fortune 500 company may be leasing 10 of my units. If one landlord messes things up, it could mess things up with all 10 units.”

One additional point on owners: Be sure they have the authority to do what they’re agreeing to do. “In one situation, it turned out there were several owners,” says Smith. “I was dealing with one owner who hadn’t properly disclosed the situation to the rest. It got messy fast.
Verify the potential client owns the property. If there’s more than one owner, understand that dynamic, and make sure the contract reflects their consent.”

5. Personally inspect properties before you accept the business.

“We inspect every property, and it’s mostly about the safety of the premises,” says Mirzakhanian. “If a hazardous situation needs to be repaired, my legal background kicks in. We tell the owner what needs to be fixed before we can rent out the property. We won’t let tenants move in with a landlord’s promise to fix that type of thing in a month or two. Pools are also a big issue. We need to be sure they’re maintained and don’t have hazards that can harm children.

6. Be sure to have solid contracts.

Absolutely have a management contract with clients. “Whatever we ask the landlord to do, we put that in the management contract so it’s clear,” says Mirzakhanian. “We also ask landlords to indemnify us for all the things we’ve listed in the contract that need to be repaired. I don’t think we should be liable for those problems.”

Always use written leases, and make sure they’re kosher in your state. “Some states don’t allow you to change their lease forms,” says Smith. “Also, be sure to put any discussions with tenants and owners in writing. One mistake I made was when a tenant asked to leave early and have new tenants take over. Over the phone, the owner agreed. But I didn’t get that in writing, and the owner changed his mind overnight. Get all changes to leases in writing.”

7. Get and require applicable insurance.

Be sure your company has professional and general liability insurance, and ask your clients to include your company on their policy. “In our contracts, we require owners to name us
as an additional insured on their homeowners or landlord’s business policy,” says Rubin. “If people get hurt at the property, they know only us as the landlord, and they’ll sue us.”

8. Communicate with clients and tenants the way they prefer.

“You can reduce liability by learning from your clients how they want to communicate,” says Ailion. “Some want in-person meetings, some want to be contacted by phone, others only

by e-mail or text. Some want regular updates, others want a quarterly call. Some are annoyed if a voice mail isn’t returned within two
hours while, for others, the next day is fine. Learning what the client’s communication preferences are and meeting those expectations reduces liability.”

Do the same with tenants. “A short time ago we had a tenant who was recently discharged from active duty in Afghanistan,” adds Ailion. “We were told by his mother that he had PTSD and anger management issues. He required special handling. While we had some tense moments, understanding how he needed to be responded to and making the extra effort to accommodate his lower ability to tolerate inconvenience and delay allowed us to keep him happy as a tenant and the property leased.”

9. Track business to identify your market’s high-risk clients.

“When you’re first trying to get business, you take any business you can,” says Rubin. “After
a while, you start to spot trickier situations that cost you more time and money and as a result possibly greater liability. We started to limit our service areas because we found that multi-unit buildings further outside our core market are tougher for us to manage. It’s harder to respond to maintenance requests, which increases
our liability.

“We’re also very cautious of managing buildings that haven’t been well run before the owner approaches us,” adds Rubin. “Maybe they don’t enforce rent requirements or late fees, and we might have to begin numerous eviction proceedings. We’ve inherited improperly screened tenants, and when we tried to evict, they argued over things previous managers said that we had no idea about. Or maybe buildings aren’t in great shape or there are code violations. It’s sometimes impossible for us to bring a property up to code and make sure the tenants are perfect. If we step into a situation like that, we could get sued because of some dangerous aspect of the property.”

How can Rubin tell the status of a building’s management? “We look at whether we have contact information for tenants and whether clients are aware of the building’s situation. They can’t hire us expecting a 180-degree turnaround in a few days. Also, there are costs to turning a building around. We’ve managed for owners who are cash strapped and been handcuffed. That reflects poorly on us.”

10. Identify a visible point person for owners and tenants.

“Having a strong customer service person as a point of contact for owners and tenants goes a long way to reducing liability,” says Ailion. “Both owners and tenants want to reach someone who can hear and begin a resolution to their problem.”

Also remember that problems don’t go away the longer they’re not addressed. “A small issue or problem grows over time,” adds Ailion.
“If a mistake has been made, acknowledging, addressing, and resolving it goes a lot further than ignoring it, avoiding it, denying it, or making excuses. How we make a bad decision right makes all the difference. Those I work with know they can make a decision that binds the company, and even if I wouldn’t have made the same decision, I’ll support theirs. Ultimately, a happy client is more important than a few dollars.”

11. Network with others in the field.

Whether it’s through NAR’s Institute
of Real Estate Management or another professional group, networking expands your knowledge base. “The most significant decision I made to reduce liability was joining the National Association of Residential Property Managers, attending
its meetings, and taking its training,” says Ailion. “It’s a group of seasoned professionals willing to train and share their knowledge and experience.”

12. Remember who pays your bills—and that it may not matter.

“It’s important to keep in mind that property management is an odd industry from the standpoint of the definition of a client,” says Rubin. “Technically, it’s the property owners who pay your bills. But you also need tenants to keep your business going. Essentially, you may need to learn to become an effective mediator between the two.”

G.M. Filisko is a lawyer and freelance writer who specializes in real estate, legal, business, and personal finance topics.

 

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