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

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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.

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Resident Retention Ideas To Share With Your Management Team

Resident Retention Ideas To Share With Your Management Team

Empty condos cost money. If you’re managing several properties, you’re also looking for resident retention ideas.

Your goal – and one that your management team should also have – is to keep those properties occupied. The easiest way to do that is to create an environment where residents want to stay.

Condo buyers and residents want one thing: a condo community that runs efficiently and offers good customer service from the property management company.

The good news is that this is entirely within your control.

[Read more…]

7 Ways Condo Landscaping Can Increase Your Occupancy Rate

ways condo landscaping can increase your occupancy rate

You’ll see the return on your investment when you spend money and time on condo landscaping

Take a moment to picture yourself in a beautiful location. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

What does that location look like for you? Is it filled with the beauty of nature? Are there water features or colorful trees? Now, think: how would you like to live there?

Creative condo landscaping can do just that for you; it will allow your prospective residents to picture themselves living in an ideal, beautiful location. In fact, the right landscaping can and will help you increase your occupancy rate.

Well manicured design increases curb appeal. So when it’s time to sell, your condo dwellers will be able to get a higher return on their investment as compared to condo owners living in a poorly landscaped community.

Likewise, condo landscaping can attract buyers, which leads to higher demand and a higher occupancy rate for the property you manage.

Here are seven things to consider when using condo landscaping to make your property the most longed for investment.

[Read more…]

7 Property Management Tips That Will Get You a Raise

7 Property Management Tips That Will Get You a RaiseTry these property management tips when working toward a better salary

A raise sounds good, doesn’t it? You work hard. You’re in the office daily, on the phone late, checking on emergency repairs over the weekend, and making sure the property you are responsible for is in top shape. But it’s been some time since you’ve had a salary increase. Let’s change that.

These property management tips will help you take the fear and uncertainty out of negotiating a raise. Think about it; you negotiate all the time in your job. When you get bids for any construction work or when you plan community events you’re negotiating. You may be negotiating with different people’s schedules or with the association’s funds, but you’re still conducting business and trying to find something that works for all the parties involved. [Read more…]

9 Ideas for Resident Events That Build Happy Condo Communities

ideas for resident events to build condo communitiesNo matter where you live, a bonded community is the backbone of a good neighborhood, and it’s an essential part of running great condo communities.

As a property manager, you can create lively and happy condo communities with a few good ideas for resident events.

You know as well as anyone that condo communities need resident involvement to thrive. You also know the strongest, most active communities are the ones where residents know one another, which make community involvement even more important. It’s human nature to feel empathy toward familiar people.

That engagement can be difficult to muster sometimes. People might not feel like they have the time to commit to condo association meetings, or maybe they don’t feel like they would have anything to contribute.

So how do you bridge that gap? How do condo communities come together to form a genuine community? More importantly, how do you facilitate that community building?

[Read more…]

Property Management Horror Stories You Can Learn From


property management horror stories

In property management, horror stories are not what you want to be a part of, and yet, anyone with any experience can tell you a few.

Edgar Allan Poe was a master of horror stories. From the first lines of The Tell-Tale Heart, you’re in a state of suspense. Poe draws us into his world of the macabre with the deftness only few storytellers can muster.

TRUE! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them.

Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story. – Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart

Fortunately, your property management horror stories (hopefully) aren’t as frightening as Poe’s.

I can only imagine how his landlord must have felt about having a heart buried under the floorboards!

[Read more…]