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Invest in Your Property’s First Impression

Some properties make a great first impression. It’s called curb appeal, and it can make your property easier or more difficult to rent.

Time to fix the existing eyesore

Take a good look at your investment property through the eyes of a potential tenant. If you wouldn’t want to live there, it’s time to make some changes. Address any peeling paint and lackluster landscaping right away. If you choose to ignore curb appeal, all the high-end interior finishes in the world won’t make much difference. Your property will stay vacant, and your portfolio will suffer.

Prevent the ugly with regular maintenance

The most effective way to keep your property in tip-top shape and looking its best is to stick to a regular maintenance schedule. Don’t neglect seasonal landscape changes and tree and hedge pruning. Touch up exterior painting where it’s needed. Add finishing touches when you can, and don’t be afraid to spend a little money to aim for 100 percent occupancy.

Enlist tenants’ help

Current renters can help keep your property looking great, or they can ruin its drive-by charm. Make sure your tenants do their part to keep trash and non-running vehicles off your property. Also, encourage them to add their own tasteful touches to their home’s exterior.

Contact Class A Management today to keep your property from becoming a slum, or at least looking like one. We know what renters want, and we can use an objective eye to make sure your property is in high demand. Call us today at 817-284-1411 or e-mail, info@classamgmt.com.

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Sustainable Multifamily Goes Mainstream

Apartment buildings are the perfect proving grounds for sustainable building design, and that’s good news for renters and property owners, alike. Today’s designers are incorporating sustainably sourced building materials and green public areas into energy-efficient buildings that save tenants money. That means that these forward-thinking properties are growing more popular each year with dedicated renters, and that’s great news for occupancy rates and market value.

Green upgrades for everyone

The best recycling in the building industry is re-using an existing property, with upgrades to energy efficiency and healthy building design. Replacement windows and a move to LED lighting are a great place for property owners to start their upgrades. When it’s time to upgrade exteriors, insulation, roofs, or interiors, choosing sustainably sourced materials that contribute to a healthy home—and planet—is easier than ever.

Next step: Passive design

Naturally, as sustainable building standards tighten, builders are challenged to outdo themselves as they now strive for passively designed buildings. Passive design uses solar heat gain to heat the living space and adequate shade and ventilation to cool the space. Add to that some rigorous requirements for insulation and building sealing, or encapsulation, and you’ve got an industry trend that hasn’t been affordable until just recently. New building projects using passive design don’t have many high-end surfaces, but the energy savings and indoor air quality are quickly becoming the new industry standard.

With all those energy-conserving shared walls come challenges unique to multifamily properties. If you’re not sure where to start incorporating some environmentally friendly improvements into your property, contact Class A Management. Our managers can address sustainability of your property, and help you conserve a lot of energy when it comes to managing your multifamily investment. Call us today at 817-284-1411 or e-mail us at info@classamgmt.com.

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LED bulbs replace Mercury-laden CFLs

Those curly-looking light bulbs that were the “wave of the future” just a few years ago will soon be going the way of the dinosaur. New technology has made light-emitting diode (LED) lighting the newest energy-saving bulb. Brighter than CFLs and containing no toxic heavy metals, LED bulbs are becoming a more and more affordable green alternative to both incandescent and CFL light bulbs.

Advances in lighting slow to take off

Just a year or two ago, you might have expected to pay as much as $10 for an LED bulb. That expense was a non-starter for most property owners, who opted instead for the less-reliable CFL. With a shorter life span and that pesky mercury, CFL bulbs proved to be less of a sustainable lighting choice than developers had hoped. But, they were cheap. When they burnt out or were broken (yikes), the responsibility to replace them fell to tenants. They mostly opted for the now-obsolete and heat-generating incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs cost less and didn’t have mercury. They also raised the electric bill.

LED technology, prices improving

Far from $10-20 a pop these days, energy-sipping LED bulbs are brighter and cheaper than ever. Bulk contractor pack prices for 60-watt-equivalent LED bulbs are approaching traditional incandescent prices. Plus, they’re well worth a little extra investment. An LED bulb uses 40 percent less energy than even a CFL. It will also last 20 times longer—sometimes many years—and it doesn’t harbor toxins that could harm your tenants.

Investigate the benefits of LED, and then hire the experts at Class A Management. We have an eye for detail, and we know that lots of solutions to big problems could be as small as a light bulb. Call us today at 817-284-1411 or e-mail info@classamgmt.com.

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Only you can prevent kitchen fires

Kitchen fires account for nearly half of all rental property fires each year. Tenants start cooking, get distracted, and unwittingly start dangerous and destructive fires. While it’s not realistic to remove kitchens from your properties, implement some preventive measures to minimize fire risk.

Start a conversation

Practice excellent customer service to keep the lines of communication open. Remind residents to never leave anything cooking on the stove, even for a minute. Share the latest statistics to highlight how unattended cooking is responsible for the most deaths. Ask for regular feedback on how cooking equipment is working, and share tips on cleaning and maintenance.

Establish an emergency plan

Allow for human mistakes, and walk new tenants through what to do in case of a kitchen fire. Provide a fire extinguisher, and teach them how to use it and when. Post metal signs on every stairwell and on every floor to help residents report fire and evacuate quickly.

Provide incentives for renters’ insurance

Encourage tenants to purchase renters’ insurance, and provide some resources at lease signing. Offer a discount on rent for those with an active renters’ insurance policy. After a fire, if investigators determine that a tenant’s negligence started a fire, the tenant’s insurance will pick up the bill. Just make sure their policy covers fire due to negligence. It will be worth a small monthly discount in the long run.

Make fire prevention and response a significant part of your maintenance and tenant communication plans to prevent catastrophic damage and loss of life. Also, bring employees into the planning and training efforts to keep tenants and staff on the same page and ensure rapid response in case of emergency.

Property managers can play a vital role in protecting your property investment. If you’re ready to have your property properly managed, contact the asset management experts at Class A Management. Call us today at 817-284-1411 or e-mail, info@classamgmt.com.

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Why You’ll Never Reach Capacity without a Mobile Strategy

“If you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience, you will miss out compared to competitors who are.” This statement from Smart Insights is based on its research showing that 51% of Internet search activity is performed on mobile devices.

And, from RentPing, we find that:

  • 46% of website users will not return to a website that doesn’t load correctly on their smartphone
  • 61% have better opinions of brands that come with a good mobile experience
  • 91% of all apartment tenants are likely to use a mobile phone the next time they search for a property
  • 57% of users won’t recommend a brand that comes with a bad mobile experience
  • 53% of smartphone owners use their phones for price comparison
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to action (conversions) within 1 (one) hour

While bad mobile experience is addressed, you can be sure you’re in an even worse position if you have no Internet presence at all.

Web-savvy tech companies know the score and are responding in kind, developing a plethora of apps that prospective tenants can use to find a property. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get included on those searches and ensure the mobile experience that accompanies your brand is excellent.

Here’s how:

  • Get a website. These days, this isn’t a hard task. Wix.com has easy and attractive drag and drop options, or WordPress is a great framework if you have a bit of help getting it going.
  • Make sure it’s mobile friendly. If you’re working with a site like Wix, you can almost be sure that all their site options are smartphone-ready. But if you’re choosing to go with a make-ready site like WordPress, you need to make sure the theme you choose is responsive. This means that it will be clearly visible in any browser and on any phone.
  • Setup online listings. If a prospective tenant is driving your neighborhood and sees your property, they are going to pull out their phone and search it by name. Along with your website, they should be able to fine your contact details and reviews in places like Google Places, Yelp, and FourSquare.
  • Check your listings. Your property and accurate profile needs to be included in all the popular search portals, at the very least. Apartments.com, Rent.com, and ApartmentFinder.com are examples.

Hire a professional. Need some assistance with your marketing strategy? It’s our specialty. Contact Class A Management today by calling 817-284-1411 or email us at info@classamgmt.com.