Tips On Using the Built-in Scheduler

Often in a large program there are areas that don’t get used to their full potential, and the Tenant File scheduler is one of those. It was originally created with scheduling vacation homes as the prime purpose, but it is certainly versatile enough for many other uses.Tenant File Scheduler

First, the scheduler is available for every rental unit in the entire program. You simple pick the rental address to schedule something and continue on from there. Since the scheduler is connected to the Reminder System in the Tenant File, you can enter an ‘Action Date’. That way, your entry will pop up in the Reminder System for the ‘To Do’ reminders if you have turned that on.

The memo box is for a detailed description of the current entry. For example, if you are renting a vacation home, then you can use this for specific details about the renter, such as any special terms and conditions. There is quite a bit of space there, more that the size of the entry box.

To select a range of dates, you can type in the dates on the left or drag your mouse to choose them on the calendar.  Click the ‘Insert Date Range’ button after you make any changes to the calendar. Additionally, there are ‘extra fields’ that can be used for anything. For example if you have blocked out a week for a vendor to remodel a rental home, you can use these fields for the vendor contact information.

After entering the new information, choose the ‘Create a NEW Entry’ button and everything will be saved. Uses for the scheduler would be short term rentals, vendor jobs, tenant vacation dates, office appointments, or pretty much whatever you want to use it for.

You can get to the scheduler from any rental unit screen, or you can get to it from the Tenant File Main Menu under Miscellaneous > Scheduler.  We hope these tips have helped you get more familiar with the Tenant File Scheduler and that you can use it to help save more of your valuable time.

 

Tips for Transaction Posting

Sometimes there are little things that make work a little easier, and we try to add them to the Tenant File. We are surprised that many users don’t know these shortcuts, even though they can be found in the Tenant File User’s Guide. (That’s ok, many of us skip that part, too, when we download other software).

So, when entering transactions into the ledger, here are some tips.

  • Click into date field, and before you start typing anything, press your ‘space bar’. That will enter today’s date for you, and move to the next column.
  • If you start entering a date, be sure to enter the ‘numbers’ only, using 2 digits for the month and day, and 4 for the year. The slashes are entered for you.
  • In the next column, the ‘Account’ field, you can simply start typing and account. The drop down box will open and you can press the ‘tab’ key to select the account and move to the next column.
  • The ‘Remark’ field has 60 characters available, so that you have plenty of space to describe the transaction. Be aware though, all reports may not have enough space to show the entire length of the remark.
  • Be sure to only enter numbers in the ‘Amount’ field. The dollar sign will automatically be entered for you.
  • The amount sign (either a debit or credit) is determined by the ‘Account’ you choose. For example of you choose ‘Rent Charged’ it will only be an expense (to the Tenant).
  • The ‘Ck/Dep’ field only accepts ‘numbers’. If you have a long money order number, use the ‘Remark’ field.
  • The ‘Post To’ column is for display only, and is also tied to the ‘Account’ you select. It you see ‘Tenant’ that means the transaction can only be posted to the Tenant Ledger, and if you see ‘Both (T/U’) that means the transaction will be posted to ‘Both’ the Tenant Ledger (tenant accounting) and the Unit Ledger (owner account for that rental unit).

Be sure to remember that you need to click on a different row (above or below) to SAVE your transaction. To DELETE a transaction, click on the ‘grey button’ on the far left to highlight the entire row, then press the ‘Del’ key on your KEYBOARD. (not on the screen!).

Hope that helps, more tips coming soon!

Domain Names for Property Managers

Tenant File Property Management Software LogoIt is getting more and more important to have a great domain name. Not only does Google take keyword matches into account, but the general public will often judge your business based on your domain.

On the first statement, Google has valued exact match keywords for a long time. They are not ‘quite’ as important to Google as before, because domain name traders started selling ‘long tail’ keywords such as ‘bestpropertymanagementcompany.com’ and something had to be done. But just look at the search results, and you’ll see lots of exact match domains at the top of the rankings.

The public perception is important, too. If you domain name is ‘AustinTX-Homes-And-More.com’, it could look like you are not that professional, regardless of whether you are or not. Now ‘AustinHomes.com’ would be good. Those domains are taken, so you might have to get creative. Don’t choose a name with hyphens or anything too long. Consider other extensions besides ‘.com’, so those are more available.

We own over 200 domain names, mostly relating to our business. A few we picked up because we liked them, although they don’t tie directly to our industry. If you are interesting in purchasing some of the following domains, just let us know. We won’t charge an arm and a leg, and some are really good.

  • Rent Homes .us – for any company renting homes in the US.
  • i Tenant Manager .com Internet Property Management business   
  • i Rental Manager .comInternet Property Management business
  • i Property Managers .comInternet Property Management business
  • i Manage Tenants .com Internet Property Management business
  • Commercial Management .info – info on commercial building mgmt.
  • Rental Management .info info on managing residential buildings

Please visit our website to contact us at http://www.TenantFile.com

Thanks!

 

 

 

Update on SEO experiences

I have previously written some remarks regarding the problems the companies can experience with SEO companies. Here are a few more comments that hopefully will be of use to other companies. If you are like us, our administration gets probably about 10 or more solicitations from SEO companies daily, and most of them are from India or other foreign countries. I have no problem with India, in fact, we do side job work with some programmers in India sometimes, and have had a great experience. However, the majority of SEO companies that offer ‘Rank on Page One of Google!” or ‘150 Directory Submissions Per Month!” are wasting your time.

Tenant File Logo

Visit the Tenant File website

The old days of blasting out articles or directory links are long gone, and can actually hurt your rankings now. For directories, you should pick under 20 that focus on your specific industry along with a handful of nationally recognized company directories. I’m not going to give specific ones other than Yahoo and Open Source Directory, but you can find them with a quick Google search.  Articles are most helpful if they are distributed ‘organically’, meaning that they are interesting enough that others want to share them or post them on their own blogs or websites. The more helpful information that you can provide, the more Google considers you and ‘authority’, and the higher you’ll rank.

After making mistakes and learning the hard way, I think we have hit our stride in SEO and marketing. We are corresponding with social media outlets, sending press releases for newsworthy items, providing information via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and updating our websites with fresh content. The fresh content will show Google that it needs to keep indexing your site (sending robots to visit your site) so that you are visible to Google more often.

Google is now smart enough to see when they are being ‘played’ and the old techniques don’t work any more. It is important that you don’t just send one or two thousand dollars to an SEO company and sit back waiting for a page one rank in Google. You have to follow up on those links closely if someone else is doing them for you. You might be surprised to find that your links are going to worthless link farms that are actually doing you harm.  And those articles that are being written for you? They are probably writing one article based on other articles, then re-wording (or ‘spinning’) the same article to make it ‘look’ fresh to Google. I know it is time consuming to do it yourself, but maybe you should seriously consider hiring someone dedicated to your company that you can trust to look out for your best interests. Good luck!

Tragic Times Lately

Seems like by the time we get over one disaster, there is another. The Boston Marathon bombing was still fresh in our minds, then the explosion in West, Texas happened. While one was deliberate and one probably wasn’t, the outcome is still the same. Families have lost love ones, children were robbed of a long life and many will endure pain and suffering for the rest of their lives.

Being from Texas, some of us drove through West and saw the outpouring of assistance and love that neighbors, friends, families, and civil workers showed to help those affected. I guess that is the bright point in an otherwise devastating event.

Now, the entire country is shocked by the massive tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma, Kansas, and other nearby states. More destruction, more death, and more pain. I brings home the point that none of us have a guarantee to live a long life. We have to live our lives today in a way that we would be proud of if we were gone tomorrow. At the Tenant File and with our friends in Texas we are praying for all of the victims and their families. We hope that the volunteers can bring them comfort and that time will heal the painful memories.

New update for our RentalWIZ service

Our popular RentalWIZ service now has a new update. Anyone that currently uses the RentalWIZ program will be reminded of this update the next time you enter the program.

RentalWIZ

It just takes a minute to run the update installer.  The main new feature in this update is the ability to limit the number of features that display on the online vacancy listing page. This feature is found on the ‘Account Information’ screen under the ‘Preferences’ menu selection, and looks like this the image on the left.

This was a suggestion provided by some of our customers. Thank you! Those customers have some information in their Tenant File ‘features’ section that they did not want displayed to the public on the listing page. Others simply did not want all 15 subcategories showing because it took up too much room on the page. So we listened.

Now, you can choose the number of items that you want to display, or you can choose to not show any amenities (features subcategories) at all. For each of the four major categories, just enter a zero to not display anything, or enter the number of lines that want to show. Typically, the first 5 or 10 lines will provide the basic information about the property, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and basic amenities. The user can control these categories within the Tenant File program.

We hope you like the addition. It is free to all RentalWIZ users. If you don’t have it already, consider getting the RentalWIZ service. The basic version is free (3 listings with one photo each) , and there are very reasonably priced levels to add more vacancies and more photos.

Announcing beta for a new Tenant Screening feature!

With our new tenant screening partner, Background Info USA, we have developed a new feature which will save time for Tenant File users. This is the ability to export, save and update the Tenant File with the new applicant information.

When you use the Tenant File tenant screening, you now have the ability to have your applicant fill in their rental application online. The applicant can also pay their application fee and a notice will be emailed to you.  Once you approve the applicant, you can now export their information to a file that you would save in a folder on your computer.  The file is in CSV (comma separated value) format, and is a convenient way to save all of your applicant information in one place.

With the new beta for tenant screening, the Tenant File has created an program that will display all applicants in the folder in a spreadsheet type format, or individually per applicant. When you are ready to move in the applicant into a vacant rental, the Tenant File will automatically transfer the basic applicant information into the program.

If you are interested in trying out this service, please give us a call at 1-800-398-3904, and we will email you the program for free.

Thanks!

The Tenant File Property Management Software

 

Infographics Help Customers Understand Your Business

TFInfographic-Thumb25You have probably seen them before, but may not know the term – infographics. These are graphic representations of an idea, a concept, an organization, or a help topic. If fact, similar graphics have been in widespread use forever, but today’s infographic follows a loose format that includes colors, cartoon characters, symbols, charts, and other design tools to make a concept more understandable.

The Tenant File has an infographic at http://www.tenantfile.com/TF_Infographic.htm. This infographic is designed to help the viewer to understand the broad picture of what the Tenant File provides. A picture is truly worth a thousands words. At one glance, you can see how the various modules interact with the main program. Plus, there is other information in the form of a bar graph that provides interesting information about the Tenant File rental management software as well.

You can take advantage of this to promote your business. Your customers are more likely to click on an email link or website link if they can see a colorful graphic. The infographic in this blog was created by a free infographic designer called Piktochart. The free version will display their logo and link at the bottom of the infographic.

Some suggestions for use would be a display of your company employees, your mission statement, or the areas that you serve. Don’t be too serious with the text or the symbols.  It is meant to be a fun way to learn and to provide valuable information to your clients. If you also create a link to your website it can additionally help with the SEO of your site. Or, you can send it out with your emails.

Have fun and provide a service to your customers at the same time!

 

 

 

What are CAM charges and why should you care?

Tenant File CAM Charge Posting

CAM stands for  (Common Area Maintenance) , and they are charges which you post to a group of Tenants. Most commonly, CAM charges are for expenses such as building maintenance, taxes, or insurance. So the most common use is for commercial property, however, any Tenant File user can take advantage of its CAM posting ability for other types of charges.

Now, these charges are only to the ‘tenant’, so you can only select accounts that are specifically created to post only to the Tenant’s Ledger in the program. You could set up a single expense account called ‘CAM Charge’, or you could create several different more specific charges, such as one for ‘Utilities’, another for ‘Grounds Maintenance’, and another for ‘Insurance Costs’. These expenses are typically paid by the owner (or manager) and then ‘passed through’ to the tenant, so they are also referred to as ‘pass through’ charges.

Here’s an example on how to post something. Let’s say you have a bill for ‘Grounds Maintenance’, and you want to pass the expense to your tenants.

  • Do you want to divide it equally among all tenants?
  • Do you want to divide it according to their rental space size (square footage)?
  • Do you want to divide it according to ‘leased’ space, ignoring vacant rentals?

These type of questions will determine how much is charged to each tenant. You can even use the amount (or percentage of rent) that is entered in one of the three ‘recurring fields’, found in the information for every rental unit.

Furthermore, you don’t have to charge this to every tenant. You can just select a specific owner and charge only to that Owner’s tenants. You can even choose a specific property or building for the charge, or even just one tenant.

Another example: You charge a specific Owner‟s Tenants for Maintenance, Taxes, and Insurance once a month. The yearly charge of all 3 combined is $12,000, and you have 6 Tenants for this Owner. That means each month, a $1,000 (12k / 12 months) charge would need to be divided amount that Owner‟s Tenants.

1. Under ‟select how to allocate’, you would choose if you want the charge divided evenly among the 6 Tenants, base it on each Tenant‟s total of the total square footage, include only leased units, etc.

2. Under ‘Charge to’ you would choose ‘All Tenants of one or more Owners, and choose the Owner‟s name from the list.

3. Lastly you would select the account. You have 2 choices:
#1. If you want one transaction to appear in the ledger for each Tenant, you would set up one account for all 3 charges (Maintenance, Taxes, and Insurance) and call it something like ‘Monthly CAM Charges’. Then click the ‘Choose Accounts’ button and set up this charge, using the amount $1,000.
#2. If you want detail of the transactions for more detailed reporting, you would set up 3 accounts, one for ‘Maintenance Fees’, another for ‘Monthly Taxes’, and another for ‘Insurance Fees’. Then click the ‘Choose Accounts’ button and set each of these up. The ‘total’ for all 3 would add up to $1,000. You will see that total next to the ‘TOTAL amount to be allocated’ field.

Your settings are saved, so you only have to set this up once. Each month, you would need to enter this screen and click the ‘Post CAM Charges NOW’ button. Of course, if you only charge CAM charges once a quarter or once a year, you would divide the total $12,000.00 charge differently.

So, while CAM charge posting is normally used for commercial property, you can probably see other uses for residential property. For example, if you manage a mobile home park, you might want to allocate an electric bill to all tenants in the park. Or, if you manage a fourplex, there might be charges that you want to allocate to your tenants on a regular basis. If you manage a gated community, you might want to allocate a security fee or a HOA fee. As long as you are posting to a tenant ledger, there is no limit to your options.

Still looking for Update Suggestions…

Tenant File LogoOur next major update is scheduled for a summer 2013 release. Programming is still accepting suggestions to improve our property management software. If you have a suggestion that you think will benefit everyone, please let us know!

We can’t release the specific details yet, but there are going to be many features suggested by our fantastic customers. We’ll have reports that will make your accounting and balancing easier, improvements to the check section, a new late fee feature, and new user interface and much more.

Our staff appreciates the excellent response that we had to our last call, and Programming still has time to get in a few more ideas. We’ll have to close the suggestion flow at the end of May to prepare for the final release. Keep ’em coming!

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