How To Write Emails That Get The Job Done

effective-email

How many times have you ask yourself “Why doesn’t she get back to me?” I mean, seriously, how long does it take for someone to reply to an email. It only takes a few minutes but why does it take so long. Getting someone to do something is hard, it’s even harder when you’re asking your customers (a.k.a. the board members) via email. The importance of writing a good email cannot be overemphasized. Things need to get done and your emails to your residents need to be good. Period.

Formalities aside, a good email is a simple one. Easy enough to be understood by a 5th grader (i.e., 10 year old). Here’s a good example, why use 5th grader when you can clearly choose to use “10 year old.” In other words, why make the reader think?

To master the art of effective email writing, property managers can borrow from the lowliest form of communication: direct mail copywriting.

Direct mail copy is, well, direct. It’s persuasive, politely blunt, and makes it easy for recipients to respond. All those flyers and letters that go from your mailbox straight into the recycling bin—they’re a goldmine of inspiration.

You simply transfer those direct mail attributes to your email writing, and bammo. Timely responses in your inbox. Here’s how:

Use short, simple language.

Write your emails for clarity to avoid confusion on the part of recipients. Be succinct. Clearly explain what you want using the fewest possible words. (Top tip: remove unnecessary qualifiers – words like “very”, “really”, “extremely” – that lessen the impact of your message. It’s better to use one powerful word than two or three mediocre ones.) Long blocks of text are subject to the “tl;dr” (too long; didn’t read) phenomenon. Instead, write short, to-the-point sentences. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs that list things. Limit paragraphs to four or five lines so they’re easy to skim—you should see lots of white space in the email message field.

Focus on a single topic.

People have short attention spans. Don’t overload them with too much information crammed into one message. Each email you send to board members should include details only relevant to the specific point you’re trying to make. Resist the urge to add a “p.s.” or ask about other (unrelated) issues.

Be specific in the “Subject” line.

A good subject line lets recipients know what your email is about right away. Write subject lines using detailed language instead of vague phrases like “Questions for you” or “Ideas to consider” and instead use something like “Feedback needed: Agenda items for 2017 AGM.” (This also makes emails easier to find if you have to search your inbox for them later.)

Remember that size matters.

There’s a reason direct mail copy uses bold lettering, big headlines, and fine print. It guides the reader’s eye to the most important messages. For email, make sure your messages are readable on a mobile phone, where most people will open them. This means using precise language to keep copy as short as possible; using at least an 11-point font for body text and a 22-point font for headlines; and having a clear call to action in the subject line.

Have an obvious call to action.

Create a sense of urgency that encourages board members to act right away. Whether it’s a contract deadline, a maintenance issue, or an event they should attend, explain in 10 words or less exactly what action you want them take. Make sure to use “active voice” rather than “passive voice”.

Examples:

  • Hit “reply” and type “Yes” to RSVP today.
  • Feedback due ASAP to meet next week’s deadline.
  • Reply to accept this meeting time or suggest another.

Do you find that board members are responsive to your emails? How do you encourage timely responses? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Productivity Apps For HOA & Condo Managers

5 Productivity Apps for HOA and Condo Managers

Welcome to another Evercondo “tech tips” post, where we share some of the best apps and technology solutions out there for helping property managers, board members and residents get more done with less time.

We all want to be more productive in life. Fortunately we live in a time when helpful technology is plentiful and cheap—it’s never been easier to find web and phone apps that make it simple to stay organized at work and at home. Here are five of our latest favourites:

Unroll.Me (Free; iOS)

Gain control of your inbox by getting rid of junk mail and unwanted subscriptions in just a few clicks. Simply go to the Unroll.Me homepage and click on the “Get started now” button. Signup is easy (either provide your email or sign in via Google or another service). Unroll.Me gives you the option to unsubscribe from junk emails right away; keep them coming into your inbox; or to compile them into a single “Rollup” of all your subscriptions in a single place. You can choose to have your Rollup delivered in the morning, afternoon, or evening to read at your leisure—clean, simple and convenient.

LastPass (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

Login passwords are one of modern life’s biggest hassles. Having to remember them, having to create them each time you sign up for a new service—it’s safe to say passwords (while necessary for data security) are a waste of time. Naturally there’s an app for that. LastPass remembers your passwords (and keeps them secure) so you don’t have to. We like the LastPass Premium app ($12 per year). It’s a password vault, strong password generator and browser rolled into a single mobile app. You can sync your password vault so the LastPass browser automatically fills in forms and login details on websites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. You can also use LastPass on all your devices for free.

Todoist (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

The human brain is hardwired to keep thinking about unfinished tasks. This may have worked thousands of years ago when survival was the main priority. But in today’s multitasking world it can lead to stress, overwhelm and burnout. We’ve found that Todoist is a great tool for getting things out of your head and onto your to-do list. From there it’s much simpler to organize and prioritize tasks and projects, so you know exactly what to focus on and when. Keep track of everything you need to get done and plan your day for maximum focus and productivity with Todoist. The app lets you share projects, delegate tasks, and collaborate with anyone.

Nudgemail (Free and pay-by-donation; all devices)

Maybe you dream of attaining the “zero inbox” level of productivity (or maybe you simply want a more manageable inbox). In either case, Nudgemail may be just the solution. Most of us are bombarded with e-mail requests every day. Setting up calendar alerts for each new meeting time or appointment; sending ourselves reminder emails so we don’t forget important tasks; figuring out a foolproof system for never missing a follow-up or to-do item—these are the challenges we face inside the inbox. The beauty of Nudgemail is that it turns any email service you use (the software works with all email clients and on any device) into a productivity app for creating simple reminders or follow-up notifications. So if a supplier emails you about placing an order next week, you simply forward that email to “nextweek@nudgemail.com” and Nudgemail will send it back to your inbox seven days later. Or if a resident emails you with a question that can wait until tomorrow, just forward it to “tomorrow@nudgemail.com” and deal with it when it arrives the next day. The program comes with a variety of commands (including the handy “EOD@nudgemail.com” which arrives at 6 p.m. for emails you need to address by end-of-day).

Plan (Free; iOS)

If you use more than one project platform for your work, Plan might be the tool you need to bring it all together in one place. Think of Plan as a work concierge—one that organizes projects and tasks from all the tools your team may use in a given day: calendars, email, JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Github. Use the app to plan out your day. Block chunks of time to work on important tasks; create meetings and invite teammates; view your upcoming day, week and month to stay on track. See all your action items in one place so you don’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a live demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Apps That Makes Life Easier for Condo / HOA Managers

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The tech world today is more advanced and sophisticated than ever. There’s a lot that the condo / HOA management industry can benefit from but with so many options out there, where do we even begin? That’s why we will be featuring some of the best apps and technology solutions that can benefit you as a manager, board member or resident. Here are the first 5 apps that we think will help you get more done with less time.

Your workday as a manager is hectic, jam-packed with tasks to get done. But all too often your attention is hijacked by demands or situations that interfere with your other priorities. We can’t all afford a personal assistant and with only 24 hours in a day, you need technology to help you do more in less time.

A property manager’s job would try the patience of a Zen monk. Typical days are hectic and crisis-filled, making it tough to balance the overflow of “inputs” (building emergencies, requests for information, resident complaints, etc.) on top of your already-full plate.

Fortunately, technology can help take some of the pressure off and make your days easier to manage. Here are 5 easy-to-use apps for getting things done more efficiently:

Slack

Team messaging – real time communication that works. Its a chat app and who says managers and board members aren’t a team. We believe that communication between board members and property managers should be a constant activity and not just a once in a week or month chore. Slack can really get things moving and keep your inbox clean.

Grammarly

Billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker”, Grammarly is a free Chrome plug-in app that helps you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and most other web platforms. It corrects more than 250 types of grammatical mistakes and poor vocabulary usage with word-choice suggestions that instantly improve the readability of your copy.

Boomerang

Both a mobile app and Gmail plug-in, Boomerang gives you more control over your email habits. The app lets you write emails in advance and schedule them to be sent automatically whenever you want. You can also use the app to set follow-up reminders for sent emails, so important replies don’t slip through the cracks. Boomerang is available in a free version (with 10 messages per month) as well as three other paid versions that offer more features and unlimited messages.

Calendly

One of the most frustrating things about booking meetings with the board or other groups is keeping track of the “when are you free?” back-and-forth email conversations. Calendly eliminates that problem without the need to give up control of your calendar. You simply set your availability preferences to ensure meetings only happen on your time, and keep all details of your existing appointments private. It checks your Google or Office 365 calendar for conflicts, so you’re never double-booked. The app has a free version as well as moderately priced premium and pro versions, and it can be used on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Evercondo

Sure we’re tooting our own horn, but hear us out. Ever wondered whether your residents actually read the bulletins you sent out? Our bulletin feature allows managers to send out important notifications to all residents via email, SMS, push notification and voice calls with tracking capability. This means, when a resident opens up an email of your bulletin, it will be tracked and logged for your reference. No more worries. It’s magical. You can try Evercondo free for 30 days—sign up today to see why thousands of property managers, condo associations, and HOAs rely on it to optimize their daily operations.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

3 Useful Tips on How to Deal With a HOA Resident Like Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not taking any political positions. It’s just the reality of living in a multi residential community. We live with all sorts of people and among them are those who exhibit strong personality quirks like The Donald. It’s important for community managers and board members to be able to deal with it; Here are 3 useful tips to help you when the need arises.

Donald Trump’s tough and take-no-prisoners negotiation style is in many ways a hallmark of his success in both business and reality TV. Heck, it helped him win the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. However, it’s not something that most people can handle and if not dealt with properly in a condo or HOA community, it can cause unnecessary conflicts (i.e. lawsuits) and awkward situations for the manager, board member and residents.

Now imagine if Donald Trump is a resident living in your building or HOA. Not just a resident, but a board member. How would you handle someone like The Donald? What would your board accomplish if meetings were continually hijacked by “that” person with strong opinions, prone to emotional outbursts, and the inability to back down in an argument?

Here are three useful tips you can use to tame the beast!

1. “Flow with the wind, not against it.”

A Trump-like character is a “think out loud” and passionate person. They speak their mind without a filter and refuse to argue rationally at times — facts can sometimes mean less to them than their feelings about an issue. What can we say. People do tend to get out-of-control when they are passionate about an issue or topic. You have a better chance of successfully negotiating with them if you accept who they are rather than fighting against it.

Knowing their dominant, aggressive communication style, you can adapt your own negotiating style to complement and harmonize with theirs. This complementary approach was shown to have the best outcome in a recent study on conflict management from Harvard Law School. As a Zen master would say “Flow with the wind, not against it”.

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2. Keep an open mind. Embrace change.

Whether you agree or disagree with them, a strong character will always rock the boat and challenge assumptions. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Trumps of the world are often “change agents” who want to disrupt the status quo. This can have a positive outcome in the long run and dealing with change gracefully makes you a better manager.

3. It’s all in your mindset.

Go into a discussion with the mindset that difficult people are there to help you improve your management skills. It’s an approach that will help you be unflappable in the face of their bullying or accusations because unfortunately, ignoring these people won’t make them go away. When you see them as “allies” helping you raise the bar on your interpersonal skill-level, it gives you a broader perspective towards life. (Bonus: if you can handle the most challenging person in your building, you can handle anyone!)

Do you have any other ideas or tips for handling the “resident Donald Trump” in a community? If so, share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities warm and happy.

6 Practical Communication Tips for Busy Condo & HOA Managers

goodcommunication

Effective, regular communication is your key to an efficiently managed condo or HOA community and happier residents. In fact, an official “communication plan” will help you better manage risk and relationships in your job. Here are 6 practical tips that you can start using today.

Poor communication is often the cause of tension or conflict within a managed community. Proof can be found in a multi-year survey of condo owners in Ontario (which collected data from 40 percent of the province’s condo corporations).

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Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) said “lack of communication from boards of directors and/or managers” was the most common problem. Respondents cited frustration, fear, and other negative feelings due to:

  • Lack of information about board meetings
  • No response from boards and managers to enquiries or requests for information
  • Confusing accounting reports
  • Unexplained fee hikes/maintenance costs/special assessments

With all the other responsibilities a property manager juggles each day, good communication tactics may not be top of mind. But clear, open communication that speaks to your audience actually makes your job easier.

Good communication improves retention rates, builds community bonds, and educates residents about property management policies and procedures.

Fortunately, effective communication is a skill that can be developed easily and enhanced even more with the right tools. So get started on a communication plan for your community with these helpful guidelines:

1. Know your key message

Be clear in your communications by sticking to a single topic in each “message transmission” sent to residents. This is true no matter what format you’re using to communicate. Whether it’s an email to a single resident, a bulletin board post, or a seasonal report, have one clear message to avoid confusion.

Topics that matter to residents include:

  • Work orders and service requests
  • Amenities bookings
  • Problems and complaints
  • Building events
  • Condo board meetings and AGM
  • By-laws and fees
  • Fire safety and emergency testing

2. Use plain language

With millions of words in the English language to choose from, it’s easy to be misunderstood if you use unfamiliar words to get your point across. Vocabularies differ in size. The number of words (and their meanings) each person knows will vary due to environment, culture, and life experience. But when you speak or write in “plain language” you’re using words that everyone knows—a core vocabulary of about 300 familiar words used most often to express meaning and intent, usually without misunderstanding. Plain language excludes jargon, acronyms, legalese, and slang. The simplest, shortest way to say something in plain language is usually the best way.

3. Broadcast your achievements

Use your community blog or newsletter to let residents know what a great job you’re doing. Share good news about building improvements and upgrades—the freshly painted lobby, blooming garden, new hallway carpet—anything that residents will appreciate. Making the news public shows your commitment to open communication as well as your responsiveness to property maintenance.

4. Plan ahead

Map out a yearly timeline in your plan for communicating with residents and owners. Monthly meetings, calendar events, regular maintenance procedures that require alert notices—anything with a clearly defined date can be scheduled ahead of time to be posted or sent automatically. Organize all notifications, announcements and communications in one place for a strong, unified sense of ownership. Post information on discussion boards to kickstart conversations between owners/residents and property management, the board, and each other. The open communication creates a positive feeling of community—notifications, events, news, and other updates can be shared among residents and owners quickly and easily.

5. Encourage feedback (and provide feedback channels)

Communication goes both ways. Make sure residents know that your property management team is available to hear their questions, comments or concerns. Arrange annual meetings with residents/owners to get feedback in person to better understand their priorities. You can also send out surveys (online, or printed) to track how satisfied residents are with the property management and to suggest areas for improvement.

6. Technology is your best buddy

Maintaining a good flow of communication is not easy, especially when you are dealing with a community of hundreds of residents. Luckily, we now live in a world where you can even feed your dog through a smartphone. Take advantage of technology. Make it your best buddy to help you communicate better with your residents. (Shameless plug coming) A community management platform like Evercondo helps you send emails, SMS, push notification and voice broadcasts to your residents in just a few clicks.

Do you have any other communication tips for property managers? If so, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

Top 5 reasons why your condo or HOA management needs a smartphone app

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It’s no news to anyone that smartphone is one of mankind’s greatest creations. It has revolutionized many industries ranging from food and shopping to transportation services. Yet, nothing much has happened in the condo / HOA management world when it comes to smartphones.

To kick things off, here are 5 reasons why we believe that smartphone apps is the next big thing in condo / HOA management and how you can ride this wave of opportunity.

1. Everyone has a smartphone

As of March 2016, our world’s population was estimated at 7.4 billion, an all-time record high. What’s more staggering about this is that 1 in 3 of the population currently owns a smartphone, that’s over 2 billion smartphone users. If my psychic powers serves me right, I’m guessing you’re probably holding one right now while reading this article.

2. “I wish my condo has an app”

I am a smartphone user myself and the sad truth is, I always have it with me no matter where I go and what I do. From the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep. It’s my alarm clock, it’s where I read my news, check my emails, keep in touch with friends, snap and share photos, pay my bills, play games, watch movies, listen to music and I’m pretty sure I can live my entire life without leaving my bed if I wanted to. Gone are the days when I have to write, print and mail to get a message sent or even call the operator to look up for a number. Everything is just a few taps away and it’s always with me in my pocket.

“I wish my condo has an app that I can use to reserve the party room” is a common question we get when visiting friends at their condo. Here’s a few more:

  • Why can’t I reserve the party room from my smartphone
  • I’d like to receive push notifications for building announcements
  • What is the WIFI password to the conference room
  • Has my package arrived yet? Wished there’s an app for that
  • Wish I could check my account balances

3. Most management are still in the 90s

Like getting an Uber ride, condo or HOA management is in the services industry. Unlike Uber however, getting information, or making a reservation in communities today isn’t as easy and convenient. Many managers today still rely on a lot of manual labor work through phone calls, papers and spreadsheets. This makes it a good opportunity for you to sprint ahead of the competition while giving your residents the convenience and access they deserve.

4. Increased productivity & efficiency for managers

Property managers need to juggle with 101 things everyday and with so little time available, it’s important for managers to squeeze out at much time as possible. With a smartphone app, managers can answer to resident requests while out having lunch or approve a party room reservation while waiting for taxi. It also comes in handy when managers need to pull up the latest minutes during a short conversation with a committee member.

5. An app speaks a 1,000 words

When was the last time you heard a friend brag about their condo management’s service? That’s right. None. An app that gives residents the convenience to reserve their party room or check their account balances will sure to give your residents something to talk about with their friends at work and guests at the dinner table. Nothing generates more brand awareness than good old word-of-mouth!

Want to see our mobile app in action?

At Evercondo, we don’t just believe in the smartphone revolution for community management, we’re pioneering it. Thousands of community residents are already enjoying the convenience of our iPhone and Android app to communicate with their property managers.

We’d love to share how hundreds of management companies and self managed communities are using the Evercondo mobile app to launch their management services into the 21st century.

Click here to get a FREE personal tour today to see and learn how the Evercondo mobile app can help bing your management service to the next level!

How to manage shared facilities in condos without getting into a war

How to manage shared facilities in condos without getting into a war

Unlike squabbles over who gets the last scoop of ice-cream (summer is here!), conflicts over shared common facilities between multiple communities can’t be easily resolved through just a game of rock-paper-scissors. We’ve seen how ugly it can turn out to be, but the good news is, there’s a better way to put a smile on everyone’s face while managing shared facilities.

Before we get into the juicy details, let’s go over some general facts:

What are shared facilities?

Shared facilities are typically common areas that are developed to be shared by multiple phases of a condo development project. This often results in multiple condo boards being established to represent each phase. The usual suspects when it comes to shared facilities are the swimming pool, guest rooms, party rooms and tennis courts, just to name a few.

The purpose of sharing facilities is to reduce development and operating costs. Additional benefits of sharing facilities include the creation of a supportive living environment. Sharing facilities can also enable residents to enjoy a broader mix of amenities than would be available to a single development phase.

With lesser operating costs (i.e., lesser monthly condo fees) and more to enjoy for all residents, what’s there to fuss about?

Why is it such as pain in the &#%!

Let’s put this into something more relatable. Imagine this. You’ve recently purchased a single detached house that promises a swimming pool, tennis court and sauna room at an incredible bargain. The catch is, you’d have to share it with 3 other neighbours. Now you start to think and wonder:

  • Who pays for the maintenance and upkeep of these facilities?
  • Who gets to use what first and at what time?

You can start to see why managing shared facilities can make things difficult between condo boards if not managed well, which is the case in most condominiums today.

The war is over

Let’s get a few things straight. We are all not naturally born to hate one another and conflicts are usually the result of miscommunication due to process/procedural flaws. If we start to accept the flaws and find ways to resolve them, there’s no reason why living in a community with shared facilities between hundreds of condos would not work. It’s all in the process and it starts with alignment.

1. Align your goals

Well it’s too late to split up the shared facilities so why not make the best out of what it is today by working towards a common goal – to make sure all the facilities and bookings are well maintained & managed at a shared cost structure that makes sense for everyone.

2. Setup a separate joint entity

It seems that the most common structure today amongst condos with shared facilities is to establish a separate joint entity with representatives from all condo boards involved. This is by far the best structure we’ve seen and it seems to work out well in terms of both financial management as well as coming together as a joint committee to decide on what works for all.

3. Put in place a set of fair & effective procedures (i.e., booking approvals)

It’s all about the procedures in place. Without a good set of procedures that make sense for everyone, a joint committee meeting would only result in more squabbles. For example, the property managers of each community have the ability to approve / reject reservations made by residents in their respective communities. This is not the case is some of the setup we’ve seen so far. A power struggle is the last thing you want to see happening.

4. Agree to a standard for shared facility usage, rules and restrictions

Here’s an example. Condo A and B both share the same guest suite. According to the restrictions set in condo A, residents can reserve the guest suite 365 days in advance of the booking date whereas it is only 60 days in advance at condo B. What happens here is that the residents at condo A would then have more guest suite reservations during the year. Other areas of concern would be to also have a standard usage rule to always make sure the shared facilities are clean and appropriately used to prevent disruption to other reservations.

5. Use the right software to facilitate procedures in place

It’s easier said than done and you’re probably right. That’s why you need the right tool for the job (shameless promotion coming). At Evercondo, we take pride in the fact that we listen and try to understand all the needs of property managers and communities. In this case, we have. Our facility booking feature today offers condo communities the ability to manage shared facilities seamlessly. We believe it’s all in the process and that our tool can help put a smile back in everyone’s face when it comes to managing shared facilities.

Evercondo shared facility booking calendar

Without going too deep into the details, two or more condo communities will have their own private, standalone community website and portal. Nothing is shared between the communities except for the shared facilities. Reservation records from each condo community are only available to respective managers and are not shared. All reservations from each community works as usual allowing managers from respective communities to approve, reject or cancel reservations without hassle.

The awesome thing is, nothing special needs to be done on your end. Everything just works and it’s all available via our web application and smartphone apps on iPhones and Androids.

Summary

Shared facilities in condominiums rewards us with plenty of benefits especially when it comes to operational cost savings. Managing and maintaining them can be tough and tricky. It’s amazing how boards and management companies come together to make things work even when they lack the tools to help them. This shows how dedicated they are in making sure residents’ reservations are well taken care of. Given the right tool in place, even a shared facility of 10 communities would not break a sweat.

5 Airbnb Condo Management Tips To Avoid Conflicts

Airbnb condo rentals offer a good secondary income for owners, but not all residents are on board. Here are some condo management tips for handling the conflict.

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It’s a good thing you had a relaxing weekend, because Monday morning started with a serious conflict. There are a few lengthy and angry emails from residents complaining about one of their neighbors renting out their condo on Airbnb. Condo owners expect you to handle the situation, but without specific condo association rules prohibiting the practice, you are caught in the middle of what is turning into a  tricky situation.

There is a huge problem brewing in condo associations. If it hasn’t found you yet, it will. The sharing economy has otherwise genteel condo owners in a tizzy. While residents have varied and strong opinions about Airbnb, condo management professionals are left navigating a volatile situation.

Owners on both sides of the argument have valid concerns. Short-term Airbnb rentals can potentially decrease property values, but they can also bring in a source of income for the owners. Neighbors don’t always care for the “revolving door” of strangers coming through, but though condo owners feel like it’s their right to decide who can stay in their home.01-AirBNB Condo Management Tips for Handling Tenant Complaints-01

Unless there are local ordinances in place, your condo association will need to deftly maneuver the mediation issues created by Airbnb. Condo managers, it’s time to put your best communication skills to work.

What is an Airbnb condo rental?

Airbnb is a cooperative community market that lets homeowners (and even renters) sublet rooms, or entire condos, on a short term basis. Owners list their available accommodations on the Airbnb website. Travelers connect with owners to rent out space for their desired travel time. Before there was Airbnb there was VRBO and other home-renting outlets, but Airbnb has popularized this method of vacationing.

The problems with Airbnb condo rentals

Let’s get back to your angry residents and their very real concerns about the parade of strangers in the condo building. As owners, the safety of the condo community and the value of their property are at risk.

Maybe there hasn’t been a problem yet in your condo community, but the stories are out there. It only takes one atrocious visitor to do thousands of dollars of damage. It only takes one clueless guest to leave the building door open, allowing an opportunistic burglar in.

These are understandable concerns, for sure. The Airbnb hosts in your condo property, however, are committed community members, and there if there are no rules in the condo association bylaws that prohibit renting, you may have strangers on your property.

Solutions for your Airbnb condo conundrum

What can you do to placate residents on both sides of this issue?

1. Listen02-AirBNB Condo Management Tips for Handling Tenant Complaints-01

When a resident is upset, listening is one of the best things you can do. People so often just need someone to hear them. You don’t have to take a side. You don’t even have to offer a solution at that moment. Listening won’t solve the problem, but it can begin to defuse the situation.

2. Mediate

No matter your opinion of Airbnb, condo managers need to remain impartial if rentals are allowed. Between now and the time the condo association can meet and decide on the matter, you are responsible for keeping the situation civil and respectful.

The last thing you want is a feud between condo owners. Offer to host a calm discussion so each side can air their concerns. Temporary solutions might be easier to agree on if you can define some parameters for everyone. At the very least, you may be able to mitigate further damage.

3. Bring it to the condo board

What condo owners can and cannot do with their unit is subject to community decisions. As a property manager, you can help ensure a fair and open discussion about Airbnb rentals at an upcoming condo board meeting by providing requested information to the board members and residents beforehand.

Take some time to research facts and analytics regarding topics like safety, property value, and quality of life issues in relation to Airbnb condo rentals.

4. Develop security protocols

Safety is always a primary concern. The security protocols you have in place may need a slight update to accommodate an influx of visitors until the condo association determines how to handle an Airbnb situation.

A few possible security updates:

  • The condo owner must notify management and neighbors when they are expecting AirBnB guests.
  • Airbnb guests must sign in with the front office when they arrive.
  • Condo management can notify neighbors when AirBnB guests arrive. (Pro tip: Evercondo makes communication like this simple and fast.)

5. Create guidelines for guests

It isn’t unreasonable to have expectations for guests. This is, after all, a community. Superb hosts should already have a folder with local attractions, favorite restaurants, directions for taking local transit, and wifi passwords. Adding a list of condominium guidelines can help keep everyone happy.03-AirBNB Condo Management Tips for Handling Tenant Complaints-01

If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Please limit noise after 9 p.m.
  • Please make sure the door to the building is closed and locked when you enter and exit.
  • Condo association rules prohibit using the pool after 8 p.m.
  • There is no smoking inside. Please use the designated smoking area near the central office.

As a condo manager, short term rentals may prove to be the real test of your communication and mediation skills. You don’t have to solve the problem yourself. You do have to hear and understand the concerns of your association members.

We have a bonus idea that can help you manage condo association problems and improve your relationship with current residents. Streamline communications between residents and property managers by using our app. Start your free trial of Evercondo today, and find out just how smooth communication can be!

Have you faced the issue of Airbnb rentals in your condo community? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments. 

10 Email Management Tips & Tools for Condo and HOA Management

00-12 Email Management Tips for Property Management Organization-01

If you’re a community manager, your inbox is always full of emails from vendors, residents, the board, and more. These email management tips will help you keep your inbox under control.

 

This morning you checked your email, and there were 33 new messages. The board president sent a request for the minutes to their most recent meeting. Residents emailed you work order requests. A current vendor responded to an email you sent last week, and new vendors passed along quotations. There are emails with questions from new residents and community-area requests from seasoned home owners. Who do you answer first?

Your job as a property manager is already busy, and maybe you’d like a little time to watch funny cat videos in between, right?

Kidding. Right now, you’re drowning in written work orders and worried about the massive landscaping project your community is about to undertake. Email management seems like the last of your concerns, yet it’s one of the easiest ways to get control of your day-to-day tasks.

There may seem as if there’s no “end” to your emails. That landscaping project you’re overseeing has an end date. Emails, on the other hand, come at you faster than tears at a screening of Old Yeller.

These tips email management tips can help your condo / HOA management and organization be top of the line. Which will you try first? [Read more…]

Property Management Advice for New Professionals

Property Management Advice for New ProfessionalsIn the theater world, it’s called stage fright. In love, you might say someone has “butterflies” or “the jitters.” If you’re starting a new job, especially in a management role, you may feel nervous, excited, or anxious, too.

When we’re new to something, aside from gaining the experience ourselves, the next best thing we can do to get comfortable is to ask for tips from someone who’s been there.

Property management advice, like so much other advice, is about as common as popcorn at a movie. But as helpful as Uncle Rob tries to be with his tip about using duct tape to cover the hole in the roof so you can save money, all the advice you’re given isn’t always helpful. The property management advice shared here is gleaned from some of the best in the business to help new management professionals know what to expect, and how to prepare for a successful career in condo property management.

[Read more…]