Homeowner Association Management Teams Bring Added Value

One reason that people choose to rent property instead of buying is the ease of doing so. They pay their rent every month and, because they do, they know that the property will be cared for. After all, how nice is it that maintenance is just a phone call away? Property owners, generally, don’t get this luxury.

Many neighborhood and condo associations organize themselves into home owner associations in order to take share the financial burden and management burden of caring for property. Usually, monthly meetings are held in which maintenance decisions are made, the financial health of the organization is evaluated, delinquent payments are discussed, and future plans for the neighborhood or building are proposed. Most of the time, these organizations are run by one member who invariable sacrifices much of his or her time managing the association. These volunteers hire maintenance, lawn service, check local building codes, recover late payments, and manage the association’s money.

New association management companies are now providing an affordable alternative to volunteer-only home owners associations. The problem is that a volunteer, if they did just the minimum needed to maintain the building, spends a lot of his or her time. So, there are things that the average volunteer probably would not go out of their way to do. For instance, an association management company can offer professional financial analysis. I doubt many volunteer association managers do that.

Surprisingly these management companies are able to provide this service at a reasonable cost. They are able to do so, because they spread the costs of, say, a gardener, among many properties. So, because the manager is “a big” client of his lawn care business, he gives him a deal. Fees depend on the level of management, i.e. number of services, needed by the association. They provide services that most associations already use, but they can also to add value to the property by providing professionals to serve the associations. Their experience personnel attend association meetings and provide information to it members about monthly financial reports and budget preparation.

There are two major advantages to outsourcing the association’s management. The first is that collecting delinquent payments from your neighbors can cause a lot of problems. Association managers will do that for you and will even start the early stages of the collection process. The other main advantage is that it makes your property more marketable. One of the first things a potential buyer is going to look at is the financial health of the association. If you show them monthly financial reports, there is no doubt they will be impressed.

Managing a home owners association is a daunting task, one that with which working professionals can barely keep up. Yet for a similar price, the grunt work can be outsourced to a company whose business is property management. This service could add value to your property while taking the headache of owning a home away.

Good Financial Management

Good financial management is essential to the survival and success of every business. Unfortunately, many small business owners have relatively limited exposure to financial management and are unaware of how strategically important it is to their business’s performance.

In general, financial management deals with the procurement of funds for a business and the effective use of those funds in the operations of the business. It also involves using accounting numbers to measure the financial health of a business, to understand the reasons for the current financial position, and to make strategic decisions that will improve the general performance of the business.

The best way to demonstrate the importance of good financial management is to describe some of the tasks that it involves:

o Taking care not to over-invest in fixed assets

o Ensuring that there is a sufficient level of short-term working capital to sustain and manage accounts receivables and inventory

o Setting sales revenue targets that will deliver growth

o Increasing gross profit by setting the correct pricing for products or services, reducing the costs of raw materials, negotiating supplier prices, and managing other factors that influence the costs of production or service provision

o Controlling the level of general and administrative expenses by finding more cost-efficient ways of running the day-to-day business operations

o Tax planning that will minimise the taxes a business has to pay

o Managing employee benefits

o Performing financial analysis using numbers generated from financial statements.

Good financial management begins with a solid book-keeping system that will allow for the production of accurate financial statements. It requires knowledge of how to use the figures in the financial statements to the business’s advantage. For example, a good financial manager should know that a positive net profit and an increase in sales does not automatically translate into financial success. If the business’s borrowed capital has increased at a rate higher than the increase in profits or sales, it means the company is financially worse-off than it previously was. Are you and your management team aware of this?

There are many other strategic mistakes that managers who are unfamiliar or untrained in financial management make. Over time these mistakes can become detrimental to a business’s success and survival so it is crucial that you learn as much as possible about how to financially manage your small business. If you have trouble with this, you may want to consider soliciting the services of a professional who knows the ins and outs of the process.

For more information on financial management, have a look at my article “Impress your bank manager! How to read your profit and loss account report”.

Choosing a REIT Management Team

Real estate in Canada is a business that requires active management in order to enhance value, increase yield and reduce risk to investors. Real estate investment trusts are dedicated to increasing rental income by increasing occupancy rates, enhancing the value of the property, and thereby, over time, commanding higher and higher rental rates. REIT management teams typically try to maintain current occupancy without interruption and renew existing tenants in order to reduce leasing costs and therefore ensure higher distributions. At the same time, a REIT management team will focus on providing affordable business premises for tenants to prevent turnover, and ensuring this affordability means keen attention to providing good value and service through spending on operating costs.

REITs typically feature a professional team that manages a diversified portfolio of high quality office and industrial assets in different locations. A REIT is focused on managing and growing growing a stable cash flow that generates sustainable returns by adapting our strategy and tactics according to constantly changing conditions in the real estate industry and the greater economy. A REIT management team typically works hard to build a growth-oriented portfolio of properties, with the end result of ensuring that unitholders (investors) receive sustainable cash distributions over long periods of time. A REIT management team also ensures that the activities of the trust adhere to appropriate legislation, and that distributions are well documented for tax purposes. All of this management oversight ensures healthy, sustainably returns, as well as due diligence that offers unitholders trust, confidence and certainty.

A REIT management team also develops and executes a strategy in order to provide a solid platform for stable and growing cash flows. Portfolios are usually composed of office, commercial or industrial space in concentrated key markets. Managers make sure REIT properties are ideally located, suitably priced and are able to produce consistent cash flow that increases over time. A strong team of should be entrepreneurial property managers who are highly experienced in the real estate professionals Focused on achieving increasing sustainable revenue and cashflow from REIT assets is always a top priority.

REIT managers will also work hard to diversify portfolios to mitigate risk – growth is achieved by continuously seeking properties that enhance the overall portfolio of the trust. As well, strong tenants help mitigate risk and also ensure the sustainability of distributions. REIT management teams should also operate the business in a disciplined manner; financial analysis and balance sheet management will help maintain a prudent capital structure.