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Greensboro Property Management Blog

The Birch Quarterly July 2016

System - Sunday, July 24, 2016
Property Management Blog

Video & Showings

In November 2011, almost 5 years ago, we started the integration of video into our marketing platform. The goal was to provide the most relevant information to our prospective residents and for our client's properties to rent faster. To date, we believe that we are still the only firm in the market to utilize video in our marketing.

When we started using video, we were not sure what type of outcome to expect but continued because we believed the videos to be helpful and we were receiving positive feedback from prospective residents- so we decided to expand the use of video. Based on recent Google/YouTube statistics, our video program remains a tremendous, evolving success. In the 28 day period from June 25 to July 22, 2016 there were 1,798 unique video viewings accounting for 4,287 viewing minutes, with an average duration of 2 minutes 23 seconds. Our year to date analytics are equally impressive- 9,697 unique video viewings, 23,880 minutes watched and an average viewing of 2 minutes 27 seconds.

We have also monitored period over period analytics and all are positive, proving the program's success. Very shortly we will eclipse, on a year to date basis, all video viewings from 2015! We anticipate that this proliferation of video marketing will continue and we are proud to have been on the forefront of this medium.

One of the most exciting new components of our marketing strategy was rolled out in 2015 and, based on numbers, has been a tremendous success. The Birch "On Your Schedule" showing system has assisted in decreasing lost prospects due to showing availability and increased availability of showings.

The recent July 4th long weekend strongly proves the effectiveness of the "On Your Schedule" program. Between the period of July 1st at 4:00pm and July 5th at 9:00am we had 45 unique property showings that resulted in 11 total applications!

The ability to capture a prospect on their time-frame has led to increased leasing velocity and reduced days on market, all benefitting our client. Stay tuned for more advancements in the future as we stay committed to our core fundamentals of technology, education, and industry involvement.

Expenses

Vacancy and maintenance are the largest operating expenses a landlord incurs. There are many strategies that can be employed to control these expenses, including strong marketing, resident retention, and vendor management programs. We will focus on some national statistics and how they relate to our area and operations.

Zelman & Associates is a New York, NY based financial research firm that tracks single family rental properties on both a macro and company specific level. Over the past number of years we have participated in supplying anonymous data to Zelman in exchange for receiving the reports.

Since May 2015, maintenance costs have been a large focus of the research and we now have data collected for 12 full months. The data shows that on average a landlord can expect to spend 12% of revenue on core maintenance expenses, this does not include capital improvements. This would of course be subject to reasonable adjustments due to the rent charges as many repair items cost the same for a property that rents for $500 or $3,000.

Multi-family data, which is much more readily available than that for single family rentals, indicates that slightly more than 12% of revenue goes to maintenance costs. The latest data from the National Apartment Association (NAA) indicates the national average maintenance spending is $1,278/unit - Greensboro average is $1,281. Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) data indicates an average of $1,181/unit, per year on maintenance costs. The IREM data, extrapolated out based on our market average rent would indicate 12.8% of revenue on maintenance, with the NAA data indicating 13.9%. Data does not include landscaping services.

So, how does Birch stack up against the national and local averages? We are pleased to report that our total maintenance expense as a percentage of revenue in 2015 was 10.90%. Included in this number are numerous capital improvements to properties; we let our client's CPA determine which repair items are to be capitalized versus expensed.

Freon

Anyone who has had to add R-22 refrigerant to their air conditioning system this year has noticed the sharp price increase! Our market has seen core R-22 costs increase 60% from 2015, this trend will continue until final phase out of R-22.

The Montreal Protocol mandated a phased out elimination of R-22. The phase out is well underway, with the refrigerant 410A completely replacing R-22 in 2020.

There is nothing that can be done about the market based pricing of R-22, but steps can be taken to mitigate the increase. Routine service can help identify and repair refrigerant leaks pro-actively, helping prevent the costly loss of R-22. In many cases the cost of pro-active maintenance will pay for itself by helping prevent the loss of R-22.

Market Statistics

Service Announcements

Toll Free Direct Number: Our clients can now simply dial a toll free number 1-844-5CLIENT (525-4368) to be routed to our entire Client Services Team. If someone is available your call will be answered, if you get our client voicemail please leave a detailed message so we may return your call as soon as possible. Do keep in mind that our Client Services Team is always on the go evaluating the needs of your properties!

Owner Web Login: Our industry leading owner web login on our website is our clients' link to their information. Here is a sample of the information that is available by logging into your secure account on our website:

  • Account Balance
  • Open Payables
  • Open Receivables (has my tenant paid)
  • Service Issues
  • Posted Invoices- retrieve and store copies of all invoices posted to your account

Operating Schedule: Our regular operating hours are Monday to Thursday 8:30am-5:00pm and Fridays from 8:30am- 4:00pm. Our next scheduled office closing will be Monday September 5, 2016 in observance of Labor Day.

Our Mission

Our mission is to offer personalized and professional service to both our clients and customers by building strong relationships, utilizing the latest technology, implementing effective marketing strategies, following consistent systems all with honesty and integrity throughout every facet of our business.