Top Property Management Blogs to Read

Top Property Management Blogs to Read

Appfolio: Property Manager

Appfolio is a company providing software solutions to property managers and members of the legal industry. Its blog, run by the former property management blog PropertyManager.com, offers advice on everything from creating a team to knowing the law. Subscribe to this blog for a wide variety of informational articles. Or, even though it’s no longer being updated, trawl through the back catalogue of PropertyManager.com, where you can find all sorts of other great links.

Let’s Talk Property Management

Let’s Talk Property Management isn’t just a property management blog. It’s also a place where you can connect with other property managers, ask questions of the experts, and share your own experiences. The blog (located on the site under the button marked “Learn”) has great advice for renters and landlords alike, written by both contributors and blog staff. Start from most recent, or sort the results by viewership, likes, comments, or verification.

First Light Property Management

This isn’t the most user friendly blog I’ve seen. Google searches don’t always turn it up (if you’re having trouble, you can find it at http://firstlightpropertymanagement.com/blog/) and the site itself has a lot of white space that you have to scroll through. But with some poking, you can find articles on anything you could want to know about property management–from how to move when you have kids or pets, and how to save money on your property taxes. For best results, scroll down to the categories list to narrow down your search.

BiggerPockets

Like Let’s Talk Property Management, BiggerPockets is a social network, not just a blog. You can create an account to network with other property managers, seek out advice or experiences, or share your own. Even without a login, you can explore the forums, or read the blog, which offers general money-saving advice as well as property management tips. No time to read? BiggerPockets also has a podcast, so you can enjoy it working out or on your commute.

Property Management Insider

It’s easy to fall into a black hole on this site, which is packed full of blogs, slideshows, and other resources. The blog covers everything you care about, from the market to the impact of the millennial generation, and some things you didn’t know you cared about, like paint technology. In addition to property management, there are also blogs in the categories of Revenue Management, Expense Management, MPF Research, and Apartment Marketing

An Overview of Reading Sports

An Overview of Reading Sports

Reading, Pennsylvania (pronounced with a short E, for non-locals) is a destination for cyclists, pretzel lovers, and visitors to the Reading Pagoda. But it’s also a good town for sports fans. The two biggest teams in town are the Fightin’ Phils, a minor league baseball team, and the Reading Royals, a professional hockey team.

Fightin’ Phils

The Fightin’ Phils were established in 1967 in Reading under the team name Reading Phillies. They retained this team name until 2012, at which point they officially adopted the team name Fightin’ Phils.

The Fightin’ Phils hold four league titles (from 1968, 1973, 1995, 2001) and four division titles (from 1995, 2000, 2015, and 2016.) Their current manager is Greg Legg and their general manager is Scott Hunsicker. In 2007, the stadium saw its ten-millionth fan arrive for a game.

The Fightin’ Phils are not represented by one clear mascot. Their logo features either a P with a fist coming out of it or an ostrich with its wings held in fists. However, on the field they are represented by the Fightin’ Phils band, which is comprised of Screwball, a baseball-headed creature that plays the drums, Change-Up the Turtle, who plays the bongos, Blooper the Hound Dog, who formerly played tambourine but has since taken up the guitar, Quack the Duck, the singer, and Bucky the Beaver, who plays the electric bass.

Royals

The Reading Royals began in 1991 in Columbus, Ohio, under the team name Columbus Chill under the leadership of president David Paitson and coach Terry Ruskowski, formerly of the Chicago Black Hawks, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Minnesota North Stars. Before moving out Reading, they paved the way for professional hockey in Columbus, which now hosts the NHL team the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Well-known former players for the Royals include Yataka Fukufuji, ryan Finn, James Reimer, and George Parros. The Royals have held a past rivalry with the former Johnstown Chiefs (currently the Greenville Swamp Rabbits), the Elmira Jackals, and the Trenton Titans. Currently and are currently rivals with the Penguins-affiliated Wheeling Nailers.

The Royals made it into the 2017 playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round. The team was destabilized going into the playoffs, due to the unexpected firing of head coach Courville the day before qualifying.

The Royals are represented by a roaring lion in the team colors of purple, silver, and black.

Working With a Fixer-Upper

Working With a Fixer-Upper

As a property manager, this is one of the oldest stories: a property that has a whole lot of potential, but have got a long way to go before that potential is realized.  “Fixer-Uppers” can be great investments, and more often than not are, but at the same time, it goes without saying that getting a return on that investment requires a lot of time, effort, and of course money.  Before you start working on a fixer-upper, it pays to know what you’re getting yourself into.  I recently read a post on the site Zillow, sharing some things you should know if you’re going to work with a fixer-upper.  Here they are:

Check out zoning: Municipalities have their own zoning districts, each one with their own specific laws about what’s permitted where.  If you want to research the zoning requirements for an area, visit the municipality’s website, or reach out to a staff member with any questions you may have.

Call in an inspector: Home inspectors are great for figuring out any structural issues so they can advise you on what needs to be fixed and/or replaced.  Find an inspector that isn’t too biased but also, more importantly, is going to be working for you.  Inspectors know to ask about things other people would never even know about, but will save a world of trouble in the future.  

Hire a contractor/architect: Architects and contractors can offer a unique take on how you can improve a place, as well as point out if a home’s load-bearing walls can be moved.  Look for references when you’re looking for a contractor; you want somebody you can trust and who can offer good insight.  

Research tax incentives: Many regions, particularly bigger cities or up-and-coming places, offer tax credits for improving the value of a property.  Do your homework and see if there’s anything available for you!

Great Apps For Property Managers

Great Apps For Property Managers

When I first got a smartphone, I was amazed at how many different “apps” I could download onto my little handheld device.  Whether I wanted to play solitaire or get an update on baseball season (go Phillies!), it felt like there was an app for just about everything.  And since then, there are only more apps.  Best part?  There are a lot of apps to facilitate property management!  I didn’t know about a lot of these, but then I read an article talking about a few of them.  So I thought I would share them with you:

AppFolio: If you need to fill a vacancy fast, then AppFolio lets you post an ad over numerous platforms.  Instead of limiting you to AppFolio, it lets you post on all of the top ad sites with literally the tap of a finger.  If you want to see what’s working, it even offers stats and reports!

Houzz: This interior design app connects property managers with people across various industries: architects, decorators, contractors, you name it.  It also offers a forum so you can get input from professionals.

RentTracker: If you have a lot of tenants who you need to keep track of, then RentTracker lets you keep track of their payments.  Tenants are also able to use the app to pay their rent, and it sends them email receipts.

PayByGroup: If, as often happens with multiple tenants living in a single building, there’s more than one person paying rent, then this is a great app, allowing property managers to see who is paying what.  It’s typically used for vacation rentals, but it works just as well for residential renting.

My Inventory Manager: If you’ve got multiple properties spread out, and have trouble keeping track of all of them and what’s in them, then My Inventory Manager helps you keep track so that tenants won’t take any of your stuff when they leave.  

Happy Inspector: Through an organized approach to property inspections that eliminates the pen and paper checklists, Happy Inspector claims to reduce the time spent on creating inspection reports by an impressive 80 percent.  

DIY Landlord: This landlord app lets managers organize their properties by unit, lease, and tenant information.  It also allows them to enter rent payments and expenses, as well as run financial reports, then put those into a PDF to send to tenants.  

Yardi Mobile Solutions: This app, more geared towards the real estate side of the business, allows professionals to archive emails and review contracts, deals, and leads.  Sort of like a jack-of-all-trades app, it helps with inspection data, lets maintenance techs access their work orders from the field, and even lets property managers quickly approve invoices.  

 

Peter Bubel: 5 Reasons Why Property Management Makes a Great Career

There are a number of job opportunities out there, but what’s important is that when you do find a job, you like where you are. Property management is one such career that you could consider. It includes maintenance of buildings, overseeing the collection of rent, managing statistics for the properties which are under management, helping tenants move out, and essentially everything related to the rental of property.

Now, if you’re wondering whether this is the job for you, here are a few reasons why you should consider it:

1. You will be working with a variety of people

You will be working with clients, tenants, subordinates, supervisors, contractors and a number of other people. Here, you’ll be responsible for resolving conflicts, negotiating contracts and a number of other things. This will help you develop your people skills and give an edge to your professionalism. Also, by working alongside different people, there are great chances that you could run into someone who might have a major impact on your career.

2. Opportunities for growth

If you are a person who wants to take their business to the next level and keep advancing, property management is the right job for you. The property management field is growing with numerous opportunities in corporate sectors and field management. It is a great way to take your career to a higher position and keep progressing.

3. Rewarding income

Are you looking to make some good money? This is totally the industry for you! You’d be pleased to hear that property managers are paid really well. The average annual salary of a property manager ranges between $45,000 to $65,000. It can increase as you gain experience in the field and get more number of properties in your portfolio.

4. You won’t have to sit in your cubicle the whole day

This is the exciting part of the job. Who wants to sit at a desk for a whole 8 hours? Also, consider the health conditions that you’ll be exposing yourself to by doing so. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. In property management, you’ll be making visits to the sites in your portfolio, while also managing administrative tasks.

5. You don’t need any particular degree

You are probably worried whether you have a qualified degree for the job. Well, you don’t need a specific one as such. If you have good communication skills, morals and a good amount of motivation, you’re set to go! The company will be training you anyway.

Peter Bubel: The Philadelphia Phillies Through the Years

The baseball franchise the Philadelphia Phillies, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the oldest franchise in all of the American sports. It was formed in the year 1883 by Al Reach, a professional baseball player, who named it The Phillies. Let us look at the franchise’s ups and downs, through the years.

The 1800s

The first game was played on May 1, 1883 at Recreation Park. The inaugural season wasn’t that much of a success as they only won 17 games out of 98. Harry Wright joined the team in 1884, as manager. In his first season, they came in sixth place. In the year 1885, they had their first win with a record of 56-54, with third place. By the year 1889, the Quakers had won four seasons in a row. However, that year was a defeat for them with a 63-64.

1893 was Harry Wright’s last season being manager. The Phillies secured a 72-57 this season. In the year 1898, after two losses in a row, the Phillies came in sixth with a record of 78-71. 1899 was their peak, when they came in third with a record of 94-58; this has been their best season to date.

The 1900s

The Phillies kicked off the start of the 20th century by finishing in third place. 1901 was the first time that they came in second, with an 83-57 record. 1903, following the collapse of a balcony at Philadelphia Park, partners Al Reach and John Rogers sold the team.

In the year 1904, the Phillies had lost 100 games. And in 1924, they had come to be known as one of the worst baseball teams. After 17 years, in the year 1949, the Phillies came in third again with a record of 81-73. In 1960, the manager, Eddie Sawyer quit abruptly.

The 1970s however were a Golden Era for the team. They had the most number of successes. The team won 3 division titles during the decade. In 1980, the team won their first world championship. The 1990s however, were again quite a hard time for them.

The 2000s

In 2001, the team gained a new manager, Larry Bowa. In the year 2008, the Phillies won their second World Championship. By 2009, the team was beginning to gain the respect that they had been seeking for years. They were team that everyone wanted to beat in the National League.

In the year 2010, the Phillies had the best baseball record in the franchise. However, in the year 2015, the team went on to set the worst record. In 2016, after so many losses, the team had nowhere to go but ahead. Who would have thought that a 130 years ago, when the team was formed, they’d come so far?

Peter Bubel: The Education Behind Property Management

Property management is not a formal university educational role or any technical field. Owning a property makes you a property manager and a landlord, though they may not be one and the same person at times.

What Does The Role Entail?

A property manager’s first accountability is to the law, second to the landlord, and third to the tenant. The law varies from location to location and property managers ought to be well-versed with local ordinances to ensure success in their commerce.

To cement the credibility of the property managers, there are different certifications and licenses which enable them to make their position in the market more recognizable.

A certification is an invaluable asset to your career as a property manager. They help you in sustaining the faith of your clients. Many localities require the manager to obtain a property management license to conduct business in a particular district. These licenses can be acquired by paying a predetermined fee and passing a test.

Most of the licenses are available through online guidance and instructions. There are a number of sites which provide property management training online.

You may have to provide enough documentation proof to validate your professional experience in the area. Thus, to become a property manager, it is advisable to acquire one of these certifications, particularly a real estate license and CMCA.

Few of the top commercial and residential certifications and licenses for property managers are: 

  • CMCA (Certified Manager of Community Associations)

This certificate is created by Community Associations Institute (CAI). This is one of the most useful and significant certificates that a property manager should possess.

The managers are made members of the organization which bestows this certificate. They are constantly updated about the various property related laws and the amendments therein. It helps them to be well-versed and get their front foot in the market.

  • CPM (Certified Property Manager)

To qualify for this certificate is not a cakewalk. It is one of the highly respected and credible certifications, and is awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

Other certificates which IREM provides are ARM (Accredited Residential Manager), AMO (Accredited Management Organization), and ACoM (Accredited Commercial Manager)

  • CAM (Certified Apartment Manager)

This certificate is awarded by the National Apartment Association (NAA). It majorly deals with apartment rentals. The programs of CAM are available online. This certification requires the candidate to undergo a series of courses, complete a project and pass an examination.

Peter Bubel: Pennsylvania National Parks

Pennsylvania, lying in the Mid-Atlantic regions of the west, is the home to the nation’s first zoological garden. The Appalachian Mountains rip through the state. The location’s topography influences the climatic and vegetation variations in the state.

The state experiences two extreme climatic conditions. In the north of the state, especially the mountains like the Poconos, the weather can be cold and harsh during the winter. Then, in the rest of the year, Pennsylvania experiences humid summers and warmer temperatures.

The state is known for its national parks and other recreational activities related to environment and wildlife. A few of the national parks which must be hit by everyone visiting the naturally enriched place include:

Cameron County

The 75-mile picturesque bucktail trail meanders through Cameron County. The beautiful drive along this stunning trail is one where you can stop and admire the multiple side trips throughout the county. It is habitat to a number of wildlife species including Pennsylvania’s elk herd and bald eagles.

It is an ideal location to enjoy a nice combination of geocaching, hunting and a serene trip of fishing.

Bucktail State Park Natural Area

This beautiful natural habitat is also known as Bucktail Canyon because of a number of steep hills that make gorgeous forested walls along the west branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek and Susquehanna River.

The place is renowned for its adventurous sports like canoeing and kayaking.

Clarion County

Quaint miniature towns and a mesmerizing fall festival define Clarion County. The ancient grown forested areas and the trickling streams add to the charm of this location.

An art enthusiast can have the time of his life at the ARCA (Allegheny Riverstone Center for the Arts). It organizes inspiring and enriching art programs at Lincoln Hall and Riverstone Farms. The Red Brick Gallery houses the work of local artisans, paving the way for fresh, budding, and prominent talent to prosper.

The Autumn Leaf Festival includes a number of cultural and recreational activities like Autorama, University Football Game, farmers and crafters day, etc.,

Forest County

The home for the wild where there is absolutely no leash on the wild residents, Forest County lies in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest.One can test their archery skills here and enjoy fishing, camping and hunting.

The Clarion River stretching through the 8,500-acre park dons its entire splendor in winter where the tourists can have a scenic time skating the light ice which is maintained by the park office.You can also enjoy a number of water sports at Forest County including tubing, canoeing and fishing.

Peter Bubel: Weight Lifting vs Cardio: Health Benefits of Each

Walk into any gym these days and you will see two groups of people. There are the ones in the cardio room, running on the treadmill or spinning away on the bikes. Then there are the people in the weight room slinging heavy dumbbells around. Ask either group and they will tell you without a doubt that their workout of choice is the best one for weight loss and overall fitness.

There are definitely benefits of both cardio and weight lifting and we are going to take a closer look at each one and see if one is actually better than the other.

Benefits of Cardio

Fitness and medical professionals agree that cardio is king when it comes to increasing overall health and longevity. It reduces the risk of many life shortening conditions, including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Some cancers

It has also been shown to reduce anxiety and improve symptoms of depression.

Cardio has other benefits as well. It is a great calorie burner. You can burn up to 10-12 calories per minute when running or cycling. Considering that 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat, cardio can be very helpful when following a reduced calorie weight loss plan.

Benefits of Weight Lifting

The most important benefit of weight lifting is that it builds muscle. Muscle is crucial to fat loss because the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn even when you are sitting on the couch watching TV. In fact if you build just three pounds of muscle you will burn 120 extra calories per day.

Even though weight lifting burns fewer calories than cardio, it continues to burn calories long after you leave the gym. This is very beneficial to overall calorie reduction.

Muscle is also important because it is what gives you a lean toned physique. Since a pound of muscle is 4 times smaller than a pound of fat, the more muscle you have, the smaller you will be and the better your jeans will fit.

Which exercise is best?

Both cardio and weight lifting are beneficial to any fitness and weight loss plan. Depending on your specific fitness goals, you should make room for each type of exercise in you weekly workout routine. Try to incorporate weight lifting at least two days per week in addition to cardio three to five days per week.

Peter Bubel: The Phillies’ ‘Bryce Harper Problem’

Peter Bubel: The Phillies’ ‘Bryce Harper Problem’

The Philadelphia Phillies recently wrapped up their first series with the Washington Nationals of the 2017 season, ending with a 5-7 record; something more admirable than most may think. The Nationals’ offensive abilities are some of, if not the best in Major League Baseball right now, and for the Phillies to nearly break even with this powerhouse of a team gives the fans a slight sense of hope that they may not be as bad this season as they have been in the past few years.

However, after watching this grueling series between the division rivals, one thing (or person) stands out more than most: Bryce Harper. The young right fielder for the Nationals recorded one too many game-winning hits against the Phillies to keep Philadelphia fans hopeful, and after recently signing a contract to stay with the team throughout the 2018 season, it seems he won’t be going away anytime soon.

Harper’s success against Philadelphia may induce flashbacks for fans old enough to remember the Montreal Expos. Before relocating and becoming the Washington Nationals in 2004, Montreal had one of the most efficient batters the Phillies had ever faced between 1996 and 2003. Of course, I’m speaking of Vladimir Guerrero. The Dominican right fielder made life difficult for Philadelphia’s bullpen in his years with the Expos, as he averaged an unbelievable .371/.465/.739 on-base slugging average when facing Phillies pitchers. Upon the team moving to Washington and Vladimir Guerrero being traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, there was an enormous sigh of relief heard all throughout the City of Brotherly Love, as the Phillies would no longer have to endure a truly dominant batter like Guerrero for some time. Enter Bryce Harper.

The Washington Nationals saw very little success in their first couple years as a franchise, recording several losing records throughout the mid 2000’s; something not uncommon for brand new franchises to experience. They were in a building process, which seemed to peak after drafting Bryce Harper with their first overall pick in 2010. Harper made an immediate impact on the team’s offensive abilities after being called up from the Nationals’ minor league team in 2012. He received the National League Rookie of the Year award in his first professional season, in which he recorded 144 hits, 22 home runs, and 59 RBI’s.

Before Harper’s admission to the team, the Phillies had little to fear about the Washington Nationals. Now that they are facing a right fielder with an impressive batting average and offensive talent several times a year, the eery similarities between him and Guerrero have created a certain amount of unease throughout the division. With his new contract, Harper will be playing great number of games against Philadelphia in the near future, and at the moment, the Phillies don’t necessarily have a pitching staff capable of shutting him down.

The Phillies have struggled to find a true shut-down pitcher in recent years after losing the likes of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. Though most of the team is comprised of younger players, they’ll need to bulk up on the defensive side of the ball if they wish to stay in contention with the Nationals, and effectively limit Bryce Harper’s dominant presence at the plate.