Efficiencies + Communication = Profitability

by Katie Sloan

Creating simple, streamlined efficiencies with renters can increase profits and ensure responsible tenants.


Consider the processes in your property management operations. Now ask yourself these questions:

  • Are we providing a consistent and thorough move-in orientation to every resident?
  • How much staff time does it take to obtain and process a parent/guardian rent guarantee?
  • Are insurance agents, parents and residents asking too many questions about obtaining renters insurance?
  • Is the period from lease signing to move-in too hectic in our office?

If any of these questions point toward areas that need improvement, the answer is to apply simple efficiencies wherever you can. Look for easy implementations of technology, for example. Many times, by finding new management tools and investing some resources upfront, you will be more efficient and more profitable.

Annually, our property management company conducts a review of our procedures. Each year we identify several areas to improve upon. For example, we discovered that we spent a great deal of time obtaining (chasing) parent/guardian rent guarantees. We spent uncountable amounts of time answering questions for insurance agents; we require renters insurance, but each property is different, and often units/buildings require different underwriting information. We spent time each year sending out seasonal reminders and messages to residents, often crafting new messages each season.

We discovered that if we took the time to provide a move-in orientation (usually 35 minutes) to inform and educate residents about important issues, including legal lease points, maintenance, safety, paying rent, recycling and many basics of living a safe and smart life, that managing these residents became much easier. We found that residents who received a proper move-in orientation were consistently better tenants.

There were fewer legal issues and damages to our properties. Our residents and their parents were also happier in our relationship with our firm. This up-front investment in time for our company paid off.

As we grew, it was challenging to find the time and quality human resources, especially at “turn time,” to present our informative move-in orientation to every resident. We knew we needed consistency, efficiencies and to streamline our processes. We found tons of property management accounting, applications, and payment software tools but nothing that offered what we needed.

Discovering this void in our industry, we decided to create the necessary management tools in-house. We designed and engineered online software applications that provide property management efficiencies that are easy and customizable.

Our cornerstone development is our professionally written and produced online move-in orientation tutorials. These tutorials deliver consistent and important safety and living information to every resident. The tutorials are designed to reduce risks and liabilities while educating residents about living safer as a college student or young renter.

We created rent guarantees that are binding and secure, fast, efficient and are easily customizable to meet legal needs.

Also, obtaining renters insurance is now a more streamlined process. All property, building and unit descriptions are now easily accessed online by residents and/or parents. This alone eliminates significant interruptions and costly office time.

Another important management tool is an automatic messaging feature. Resident messages are now set up and sent on a schedule. Any message can be set up for delivery on a monthly, seasonal and annual basis, including renewal reminders, rent payment reminders or a one-time message for events, maintenance or other necessary communication. We are communicating more effectively.

We now have an automatic reporting system that tracks required resident tasks by the property, lease dates, calendar dates and more.

Our expectations were surpassed. We reduced office interruptions, including follow-up and correspondence. We developed stronger relationships with our residents and parents and, increased our renewals. We also began to realize additional annual profits. We saved valuable human resources and management time. No doubt this was a win for management, a win for our residents, a win for our parent guarantors, and a win for all involved.

We found that the move-in orientation tutorial has had the greatest impact for our company. Every resident receives consistent and verifiable information via an online tutorial. They are using a format that they are very comfortable with. This is now more crucial in today’s litigious times.

Key Success Company, a company of the Seno Management companies group, has developed MoveInSuccess.com. This software application is available to management companies of student housing properties. It is Web-accessible and draws on our decades of experience in real estate investing, property and asset management in the income housing business. For more information, please contact Principal Bob Jones of Key Success Company at [email protected] or www.MoveInSuccess.com or 720-722-1070.

— Bob Jones

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