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Consulting Services

In this ever-changing multifamily market sometimes even the best owner-operated properties can fall behind the times. New rent control and fair housing laws, changing rental markets, increased rental competition and changing tenant profiles can turn a profitable, smooth running property into a helter-skelter building.

In many cases, owners do not want to relinquish control or hire a property manager. As owner-operators, we understand this. Oftentimes it’s not new management that’s needed but just operational advice – without an ongoing management agreement. We can help. We have been providing operational advice to owners facing a multitude of challenging situations.

• Tenant problems
• Maximizing rental income
• Decreasing rental losses
• High vacancy rate
• Compliance violations
• Personnel issues with management or maintenance staff
• Procedural problems
• Maintenance & repair issues
• Capital Improvement planning

And we do all this on a consultative project basis with clear objectives, milestones and completion dates that are created in concert with you.

Initial Consultation & Property Inspection
We start with an initial consultation to discuss your needs. After which we walk the property with you to understand the strengths and weaknesses and where we might be able to help. Only then do we start discussing your objectives and the scope and cost of the consultative project.

After we have agreed on the scope and terms of the project, we will conduct a complete interior and exterior inspection to determine the condition, the tenant profile, and our priorities. We can then put together a project plan and a timeline for completion so you can monitor our progress.

Systems, Forms & Procedural Analysis
A service that many clients find particularly helpful is an analysis of their property management and accounting software, forms and operating procedures. These are critical components for every multifamily property. Your property management software should not only keep track of all tenant and unit information, but also be able to log communications, maintenance calls and completions, and contain a reliable accounting component to track income and expenses, pay bills, and produce monthly, quarterly and annual reports.

The contracts, addendums, house rules and other tenant forms are one of the most important aspects of running a rental operation because these are the documents that determine the control and authority you have to manage your tenants. They are also critical because forms that are dated, incomplete or biased can expose you to legal and compliance problems with local municipalities and Fair Housing laws. We can review all the forms you use for internal operations and determine what changes are required.

We will also be reviewing your procedures to ensure that you are compliant with all current Fair Housing and local municipality rent control and tenant protection ordinances. This review is conducted by not only reviewing your procedures but by querying you and your staff on how specific situations are handled and recorded. We have found that many organizations receive fines in the tens of thousands of dollars from HUD for seemingly minor procedures which are directly responsible for code infractions. When it comes to infractions involving any Fair Housing issue such as discrimination – or even the appearance of discrimination – HUD levies very heavy fines. We want to make sure you avoid this.

After a review of your procedures, we will also be in a position to recommend procedures which optimize your time spent managing the property. Managing a large multifamily property requires a substantial commitment of time and no one wants to spin their wheels, especially when a more efficient operation translates into higher rental income.

Training
No one likes to go back to school; but what if the school came to you? As part of our consulting services we offer on-site training to as few or as many people as you like within your organization. Our training sessions include the following:

• Owner management training — We’ll train you, the owner, how to effectively run your property and your staff like a professional property manager.

• Staff evaluation & training – Before we train your staff, we can evaluate their knowledge and experience, strengths and weaknesses, position and productivity. We will then train them accordingly.

• Best practices and procedures training for property and resident managers

• Turning a unit – How to quickly and efficiently turn a unit from move-out to rerenting to move-in. This includes walking a unit, estimating turnover cost and reimbursement, scheduling of vendors, and minimizing downtime.

• Tenant relations training – How to deal with residents on all issues related to renting, customer service, and building relationships without getting too close and jeopardizing your control or revenue.

• Maintenance Manager Training – Your maintenance manager may know how to repair items but is he efficient? And when does it make more sense to bring in a vendor to do the work? Can your maintenance manager effectively manage vendors both on- and off-site?

• Vendor & Contractor Management – How to find them, evaluate them, and keep them on schedule.

• Fair Housing Training – California requires every licensed real estate professional to undergo Fair Housing training on a periodic basis. When was the last time you and your staff attended this training? Of all the sessions we offer, this one does the most to keep you out of court.

Renting a Unit
Vacant units result in not only lower income but underutilizes the asset at best and wastes a money making resource at worst. On the other hand, renting a unit to an unqualified tenant just to get the revenue is a recipe for problems. We can help you avoid all these potential pitfalls.

We will show you how to best advertise and market your units. This includes not only writing the advertisement, but marketing it in the most effective publications and websites, through your existing tenants, and to local renters. A key component of this is setting the rent at the proper rate. Too high and your unit sits vacant. Too low and you leave money on the table and can attract a less desirable tenant. We will show you how to how to review rent comps, where to find them, and how to use them to determine the most relevant comps. From this we can then set the best price for your unit.

And when the time comes to increase the rent, we can show you how to determine the optimum increase to generate higher revenue, minimize move-outs and still remain in compliance with units in rent controlled areas.

Complying with Rent Control & Tenant Protection Ordinances
Despite every warning and economist report to the contrary, Bay Area municipalities have recently added, strengthened or considered rent control. While there are numerous studies showing the detrimental impacts of rent control, many cities such as San Jose and Mountain View, have turned a blind-eye to the facts and have instead passed extremely strict new ordinances. Rent control can not only turn your money making asset into money loser, but decrease the value as well.

We will show you how to maximize the rents in your property and how to keep them at market level when working in rent controlled areas. Remaining in compliance with local rent control ordinances will help you avoid tenant complaints and keep you out of court. Moreover, with new tenant protection or “just cause” eviction ordinances getting rid of problem tenants is now much more difficult to do. We will show you how to rid your building of problem tenants and how to deal with tenant petitions, all within the confines of the law.

Establishing Effective Property Rules
Maintaining control over your property and your tenants will maximize your income and keep you out of trouble. Too often we see properties that are effectively run by the tenants: They determine the rules, have control over the landlord, and determine what they are willing to pay in rent. We do not accept this. When we work with you we develop and help you implement house rules that give the landlord the authority to manage the building in the most profitable way possible, and keep the building free of problem tenants.

“Who’s running the building, you or your tenants?”
— Jody Marshall

Ongoing Support Services
Once we have completed our consulting contract to your satisfaction, you may not need our services anymore. And frankly, that is our objective, to get your building management in the best shape possible. We do not try to upsell you with additional projects but are available if you need us. We can also set up a periodic consultation or monitoring program just to provide you or your staff with some oversight and course correction if needed. This can also be useful if you have tenant or maintenance problems that need additional input to resolve quickly and effectively. This ongoing support can take the form of a monthly or periodic visit or review, to check on your staff, operations, procedures and keep your forms up to date. Ongoing support services can be set up on a retainer or hourly fee basis, whatever fits your needs.

Call Us to Discuss a Custom Consultative Program

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