Let’s just say you are already over worked, understaffed and touching the limits of a stretched budget with your multifamily assets. As the comedian Ron White opines; “Let’s just say”. Now what? What do I have to add to your already overflowing, brimming plate? Hopefully, a few things that will lighten the load by freeing up some dollars and, eventually, staff time. Sometimes we need precision cutting tools, other times, a big axe.
Sustainable landscaping. Landscaping is an asset. It gives character to a place and makes it distinct, often pleasurable. But over-growth can be unsightly and costly. One, as a negative attribute, and two, as a money/water/labor waster. It can be fun cutting stuff down, but there is more to sustainable landscaping than just getting out the chainsaws (safety glasses required here). Sometimes the value proposition is simply maintaining current top soil efficiently (read eliminating erosion).
Right-sizing landscaping is utilizing your grounds budget to increase value; aesthetic value, visual value. Here is a quote from University of Minnesota Sustainable Landscaping Urban Design Information Series: “The key to creating a sustainable landscape is understanding that the design process should be considered first. ” You can learn more at the Sustainable Landscaping Urban Design Information Series website . Another website with good information is Sustainable Landscape Designs.
Real estate tax and Utility Bill Auditing. Check it out. Really. Without a qualifier statement like; our company is too small, too big, our buildings are too old, etc. I’m not referring to RUBS (Renter Utility Billing System) here but an audit of utilities paid by the the property- all of them; trash pick up, telephones, water/sewer, electric.
Utility bill auditing services are very fragmented and I am unaware of an industry leader to recommend. If you have one that provided you with good service, leave a comment here to let us know. For real estate tax auditing services stay local. Start with your accountancy firm and request a referral with this specialized expertise
Tech. Real High Tech. Technology is another tool you can use to cut costs, the key it to find a provider that can actually point to something they deliver that will help reduce costs. Technology platform provider 365 Connect is one company that knows the industry well, since 2003 they have exclusively served the multifamily industry, winning a mountain of technology awards along the way. The 365 Connect platform stands out as a costs cutting machine. They target the resident life-cycle; this is where expense and revenue intersect. They built a true marketing machine that syndicates leasing data to high traffic housing search engines, social media and classified sites, all from your own community branded website, which works on any device (desktop, mobile, tablets).
What is really cool about their platform is every piece integrates with social media, eliminating redundant log-ins. They deliver a cost effective bundled package for less than you will pay one listing service. This platform reduces online marketing spend, but it cuts labor costs through pure automation. Be sure to visit the 365 Connect website.
Water flows. Clean All Gutters- for real. And down spouts. Check to assure every gutter has a splash board directing water “away” from the building. Depending on the size of the development this could be a one hour or one day job. Small item, but with a payoff in the long run. This is the perfect time to inspect them for functionality and to make sure they are securely attached. The InspectAPedia website is all about building and environmental inspections. Here’s a link to multiple articles relating to water entry and water damage to buildings.
Each one, teach one. What’s our biggest asset? Our people. Nothing better than an in-house mentoring program to “connect” our best people with leaders inside the company. The benefits far out-weigh the costs. This goes beyond cross-training. Mentoring allows for the up-and-comer’s to be dipped in the knowledge of senior management.
The cost-cutting is derived from having a single-voice message across all channels. This one-on-one guidance of senior management being instilled into the next generation of leaders is priceless. Where is the costs savings here? In reduced turnover, higher staff buy-in to the message and the genuine feeling of inclusion of in-place staff. Here is one such website link specific to property management and mentoring.
Maybe I have stretched by stating these concepts as being “easy”. Each one requires an initial investment of time to consider their viability for your circumstances. However, if any one of these ideas meets the test and can be implemented I submit that the long term benefits will out-weight their costs.
John Wilhoit is the Author of five books, including: “How to Read a Rent Roll: A Guide to Understanding Rental Income“. John latest book is Rent Roll Triangle. Join the conversation at JohnWilhoit.com for updates, blogs, books and podcast.
For more information on real estate investing, home-ownership and property management, listen to the podcast John Wilhoit on Real Estate.
John Wilhoit is a real estate professional specializing in residential asset management and property management. John has an undergraduate Degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies. Learn more about John here.