By David R. Cohen, Portfolio Manager, Summerfield Property Management.
With Thanksgiving behind us and the winter holidays quickly approaching, it’s once again time to look ahead to the new year.
At Summerfield, we know that a great start to 2024 requires plenty of preparation before the current year ends. That’s why we are already working diligently for our clients to maximize occupancy, manage payroll efficiency and finalize budgets for 2024.
Here are some important items to address at your property before you check out for the holiday season.
Budgeting and Forecasting
Hit the first quarter at top speed with timely and well-executed budgeting. A well-thought out budget will help set expectations for items like capital expenses, payroll, vacancy and more. It will also help to forecast total income, property upkeep expenditures and operating expenses.
With a properly executed budget you should be able to identify and set attainable financial goals for your property’s upcoming year.
This time of year is also a great time to sit back and strategize. What signifies success when you think about your goals for 2024? Is it keeping expenses low? Is it increasing occupancy? Or maybe it’s just pure profit you’re after. In any case, budgeting and forecasting is the key to hitting your objectives.
Winterizing Your Property
Is your asset located in a cold weather area? If so, you likely know how cold weather can affect your property and just how important winterization can be.
If your property is located in an area that receives snowfall, do you have the right equipment in place so that maintenance staff can quickly remove snow accumulation in common areas and around parking lots and mailboxes?
For more on this topic, feel free to check out Summerfield’s top property maintenance tips for winter in our best practices library.
Inclement Weather Policy
For those aforementioned cold weather properties, an inclement weather policy can be key to avoiding confusion for both site staff and tenants. When are your site staff required to show up for work? When should they stay home?
Having a clear policy will reduce confusion and potential liability.
Is your building up to date on fire inspections and up to code? As we head into the holiday season it is worth noting that Christmas trees and turkey fryers are two of the leading causes of house/apartment fires.
As we enter 2024, it is a great time to reassess your fire safety policies with Tenants. Understanding the risks and creating a fire preparedness plan can save lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.
Retaining tenants with reasonable rent growth is one of the keys to hitting your budget goals. Tenant retention is much less expensive than trying to secure new tenants and any experienced property management company knows this.
Try some simple strategies to elevate the tenant experience starting with the holidays. Plan community holiday events, give out small holiday gifts or send out a holiday newsletter to your tenants. These seemingly little efforts let tenants know that they are valued and will go a long way when their lease is up for renewal.
Upgrade Your Tech
Property management technology has vastly improved in the last few years alone. There are many options that can save you valuable time and money while also making life easier for tenants. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make that change.
The right tech can help you identify key performance indicators that allow you to make adjustments in real time to maximize and meet property goals.
Want to read more? Check out a few of Summerfield’s tech-focused best practices for property management.
Now that the budget is about to reset for the new year, what strategic capital expenditures do you want to make in 2024? A well-thought-out improvement/upgrade can add serious value to your asset.
Do you want to add a pet wash to your property? Maybe you want to upgrade your lighting to be more energy efficient? How about getting new equipment for your fitness center? In any case, now is the time to have those conversations with your property management team.
Perform a Market Survey
The new year is a great time to look around and see how you stack up to the competition. What is the average occupancy in your submarket? How many units are slated to come online this year in your market? What are your closest comps renting at? Are there any amenities that your property is lacking compared to the competition?
At Summerfield, we think ahead for our clients so they don’t have to. That includes regularly providing market updates, property analytics and lead tracking reports in addition to our regular financial reporting.
Summerfield specializes in the management of apartment properties that are approximately 50 units or larger, and is licensed to manage in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina & South Carolina.
We’d love the opportunity to show what Summerfield can do. Book a call with us today.