Use the built-in Reminder System to it’s fullest!

The Tenant File Reminder System is an easy to use feature that is flexible enough for any property manager. It combines the most critical items into one compact screen, and gives you the ability to choose exactly what you want to see. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see the On/Off check boxes, which enable you to choose any or all of the available reminders to show up each time you enter the Tenant File program.

Tenant File Reminder System

There are 2 basic types of reminders. Every Owner, Property, Unit, Tenant, and Vendors has a button so that you can add reminders easily.

  • To Do
    These reminders have an ‘action date’. So whenever you have a date in the future that requires you to take some action, you should use these. This might include repairs to be done, vacation dates, or rent increases – whatever you want to use it for.
  • Event
    Unlike the ‘To Do’ reminders, the ‘Event’ reminders just log something for your records, and there is no action date in the future. For example, if a tenant calls to complain about the neighbor’s noise, you’ll want to keep a record of the complaint.

Is is easy to sort your reminders various ways, using the ‘Sort By‘ choices on the right side.

The ‘Date Range to Show‘ gives you the ability to choose how far ahead you want to be reminded. For example you might want to see reminders 30 days ahead of the ‘action date’ or some other period of time. Additionally, if you want to see all reminders in the entire system, just click on the ‘Show all Reminders‘ button. This is a good way to see if you have any old reminders that you want to delete.

Besides the standard reminders, there are also several helpful other built-in reminders. You can choose to see any tenants that have balances due, you can view tenants with leases that are about to expire (through any date), you can view owners that owe you funds, or you can view owners that have a credit and need to be paid.

As you use the On/Off boxes to choose what you want to see, the screen is adjusted so that you can see more of the remaining choices without having to scroll. To turn the entire Reminder System off, simply remove all of the check marks. As you can see, the Tenant File Reminder System is well laid out, and was designed to give the busy property manager the most information in the smallest amount of space. Couple that with the ease of use and this reminder system will save your company time and effort to get the information you need quickly.

The Reminder System is versatile and powerful!

Tip of the day! The Feature Search

Tenant File Feature Search
The Feature Search Screen

The Feature Search Screen

When you have entered your information under the ‘Features’ section in the Tenant File (go to any Unit and click ‘Features’) it is time to put it to use. One way is the RentalWIZ service to upload your vacancies to the Internet. However, this article will focus on searching for specific items from within the program.  To do this, you use the ‘Feature Search’ section, found under ‘Miscellaneous > Feature Search‘.

Let’s say you have a prospective client that is looking for a 3 bedroom house, with 3 baths, and a back yard with a deck. That is where the Feature Search comes in.  In fact you can have not just three items, but up to five! So, you could search for the following:

  • A two bedroom house
  • With a built-in dishwasher
  • With a privacy fence
  • Near a certain area of town
  • With a lease to purchase option

Starting with the first ‘Pick a Search Choice’ option at the top, you would first select a MAJOR category, such as ‘Interior’ . Then, you would enter a SUBCATEGORY, such as ‘Bedrooms’. Then you would enter your KEYWORD, such as ‘Two’.  That’s all. Next you would move back up to the top and choose your second MAJOR category, such as ‘Appliances’, then the SUBCATEGORY, like ‘Dishwasher’, then the keyword, like ‘Built-in’. You get the idea.

Once you are finished with the criteria you want, just click the ‘Show Results’ button to see what available rentals in your inventory match your choices. Of course you can choose to browse ‘All Units’ or just those that are VACANT.

Hope this has been informative for you. We talk to customers all the time that have been using the Tenant File for years, and they say “Wow, I didn’t know it could do that!”. We’ll keep adding tips to make you aware of some of these neat tricks to make the Tenant File even more valuable to your office.

Run away screaming from SEO offers!

I’m pissed. Sorry for the language, but I am. Probably like you, I run a top-notch company, I’m an honest person, and I work really hard. So, it really gets to me when I trust another company and get scr%@ed. I’m talking about SEO – search engine optimization. You know, the way for your site to climb to the top of Google’s rankings.

You probably get tons of those SEO company promises in your email. I get about 20 a day. “We’ll get you top ranking in Google!”. All you have to do is pay about $150 per month and they will add tons of links to your site, submit to directories, write articles, post blogs, fix your meta tags, write content, social marketing, and on and on….if you see this….run! Back in 2010, these things were credible in Google, but since Panda and Penguin (Google algorithm updates) things all changed. Adding your site to a web directory isn’t that important any more, other than maybe under 20 national well established directories, and a handful of (your industry) related directories. Content on your site is still important, but now you can be penalized by Google for too many of your primary keywords on the same page, and not enough ‘synonym’ keywords. If you think that adding 150 links per month will help you, you are wrong. Each link must be relevant to your business, come from a respected site, and ‘trading’ links (reciprocal links) doesn’t help you, and could even hurt you if done too much.  Article sites aren’t not important any more, you need to build your reputation by creating information so valuable that it gets distributed via social sites (like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn, etc). So, if you go with the ‘old school’ SEO you’ll probably regret it! They will most likely put up a bunch on links to your site, that you will end up spending untold hours trying to get rid of.

I tried that approach way back when. As I became pretty much an expert in SEO, I hired a local company to help out. Several thousand dollars later, I found out that they put up questionable links as well, and I fired them. Next I went to the top and hired a nationally recognized company to do SEO for me. Big mistake. One day I called them and asked why I didn’t see any links. They had contracted to add 125 ‘industry relevant’ links per month. Apparently they had forgotten, and quickly ‘subbed out’ to another company, which in turn put out some horrible links. I’m talking links to dog, cat, and horse websites! Thousands more dollars down the drain…I can’t even say their name publicly because they made me sign an agreement in order for me to get a partial refund.

So, I guess you can see why I’m pissed. Now we do our own SEO in house and the results are great. Our link building is slow, steady, and relevant. We are getting back in good standing with Google finally after undoing all of the bad work done by other companies I trusted (and paid). I hope this will give you some advise so that you don’t have to go through what I did. I wish you well!

Vacation rentals with the Tenant File?

We sometimspecial rent postinges get questions as to whether the Tenant File can be used to track vacation rentals. The answer is a qualified yes! While the main thrust of the Tenant File Property Management Software is for long term rentals and commercial property, you can certainly use it for your vacation homes. We don’t recommend this if you are a large vacation rental company, but if you have a few vacations homes, the Tenant File will fit right in.

To accommodate weekly, bi-weekly, or even daily rentals, we created the ‘Special Rent Charges’ menu (Posting > Special Rent Charges). This allows for you to set up a rent charge to be posted every ‘x’ number of days automatically. The caveat is that if you are using the Special Rent Posting to post rents automatically, you’ll also need to post your other (monthly) rents automatically, too. That just makTenant File Scheduleres sense, and you won’t have to worry that something doesn’t get posted. The rent charge transactions will just show up in you ledgers automatically, based on the due date or the special rent date.

In addition to the ‘Special Rent Posting’, there is also a ‘Scheduler’ in the Tenant File program (Miscellaneous > Scheduler). This scheduler allows for you to ‘book’ dates, similar to a simple reservation system. You are able to block out a certain number of dates on a calendar. Each booking has an entry date, action date, starting date, ending date, detailed memo field, and 5 separate entry fields.

The 5 entry fields would typically be used for the guest name, phone numbers, email, and other similar items. The memo field would be used for any other notes you need to make. Whenever you choose a specific rental property, you’ll see the booked dates in bold on the calendar.

While the Scheduler can be used for booking as described above, you can use it for anything. For example, if you need to block out a range of dates when the property will be under repair, or a vacation for a tenant, you can do that as well. It is up to you. Since this is part of the built-in Reminder System of the Tenant File, you can use the ‘Action Date’ to be reminded of an upcoming event, or the date that a guest needs to be contacted concerning their reservation.

Some features like this are overlooked by users of the Tenant File, but if used properly they can save you time and effort by not having to maintain a schedule elsewhere. Just use your imagination to get the most possible out of it.

 

 

We would like your suggestions to improve

Barn Scene

At Tenant File we are busy working on the next major release. As always, we first ask our current users what they would like to see in the next release of the program. So now is the time to let us know the features you want in the Tenant File software. We’ll be adding new reports to help with audits, adding the ability to save settings on various screens, increasing the number of available checking accounts, adding new automated features and much more.

Our programmers have already starting make the changes that we think will improve the ease of use for our customers, and we’ve already received a large number of ideas and suggestions from you already.  If there is anything that you think will serve everyone better, we are anxious to hear from you!

Don’t forget to take advantage of your free listing in the Real Estate Available website, and to sign up for the RentalWIZ program, which gives you a free web page for vacancy listings and syndicates your vacant rental property throughout the Internet! Get more information by CLICKING HERE.

We hope that all of you have a happy and prosperous New Year 2013! Let us know what we can do to make it better!

A Free Listing for your Company

Compliments of the Tenant File, and exclusive for Tenant File customers, we are offering a free listing on our Zillow powered site www.RealEstateAvailable.com. This site is for real estate ‘sales’ only, and is becoming popular for anyone looking for their dream home. We ask that you help us out with a review or a ‘like’ on Facebook, but that is not a requirement. We just need your information to post for your particular state.

To get your listing, visit: http://www.tenantfile.com/TFSocial.html

Thanks!

The Tenant File Staff

Tenant File announces new Partner Program

Tenant File LogoThe Tenant  File Property Management Software is announcing a new Partner Program for current Tenant File users. In an effort to expand our social media reach, we are offering incentives to join us on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. In return for joining our network, promoting the product, or reviewing the software, Tenant File customers will be able to receive discounts on current products, receive extended support,  free listings on property management and sales listing websites and more. This promotion is kicking off December 20th and will last through the end of January 2013.  See our website at http://www.TenantFile.com for details, or call us at 1-800-398-3904.

Tips on Making RentalWIZ Pay Off Big Time

Your RentalWIZ listing is just like anything else in the realm of Google Land – it takes work to get noticed. Your listings need to have the right format to move up to the top of the other zillions of property rental listings. This is done through a process know as SEO (search engine optimization) , which just means that you have a legitimate web page that provides a valuable service to someone searching on the Internet. Here are some tips on how to make that happen.

Make sure they can reach you several ways. Under ‘Preferences > Account Information‘, you’ll enter all of you own information. This information will be the public info that is on your RentalWIZ listing. Make sure you have included your property management contact phone and email.

The main part of the entry is the ‘Descriptive Location’.   The will be the large font heading that is shown at the apex of your listings.  This should be the broad description including the location of your particular area. An example would be ‘Rental Homes in Richmond Virginia’.

Just as critical is the ‘Default Ad Title’, which not only repeats once, but for each of your listings. You should vary the wording but still include the location. Maybe something like ‘Furnished Rentals now available in Richmond VA’.  Notice we used the ‘abbreviation’ this time instead of the state spelled out?

Of course, we are all impressed by graphics, so be sure to include high quality photos of the exterior and interior of your rental.

Lastly, enter a ‘Description’ that is as detailed as possible. This is your ‘selling’ ad, so don’t make it ‘stuffy’ with short phrases.  Be interesting and conversational. You should again mention the address, city, state, and zip again for good measure (remember SEO), and use words that a renter wants to hear, such as accenting the size of the kitchen, trees in the yard, and schools or shopping centers nearby.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll have a great RentalWIZ listing that draws in potential tenants, ranks high on Google,  and stands out from the crowd.

 

The RentalWIZ service is free for Tenant File users

Now, the Tenant File RentalWIZ service is free! For those of you new to the Tenant File, the RentalWIZ program will pull data from the Features area of the Tenant File (such as bedrooms, bathrooms, other amenities and photos) then upload them to the Internet. You will get a free web page on our sister site (http://www.RentalHomesAvailable.com) and free syndication throughout the Internet to sites such as Google Base, Zillow, Padlister, and much more!

RentalWIZ home listingThe RentalWIZ program also includes a Craigslist ad creation tool and more. Here are the different levels:

Level 1 free subscription: up to 3 listings at a time, one photo per listing, free syndication, free Craigslist tool

Level 2 $9.95 per month: up to 10 listings at a time, 3 images per listing, free syndication, free Craigslist tool, flyer creation tool

Level 2 $14.95 per month: unlimited listings at a time, 10 images per listing, free syndication, free Craigslist tool, flyer creation tool

Give us a call at 1-800-398-3904 to get started!

Online backups can cause a lot of pain and suffering

It’s sad to hear from our customers that they ‘thought’ they had a backup, but didn’t. We are finding this to be all too common among purchasers of online backup software, like Carbonite, Mozy, SOS, and other popular services. The problem isn’t the backup software, but a misconception about what they do.

Typically, these online programs are set to only backup the ‘most common’ folders on your computer. These include your ‘Documents’ folder, ‘Pictures’, ‘Videos’ and possibly your system files. There is no common default backup among all vendors, but the point is they usually don’t backup up ‘everything’, only the most common folders on your computer. If you have specific folders you need to include in your online backup (like the Tenant File), you MUST select that folder in the settings your your backup program. That includes other programs that install in private folders on your system.  So, it is up to you to tell the online software which folders to back up.

Now, the Tenant File has it’s own easy to use backup, which only takes a couple of clicks to back up your precious Tenant File data to a CD, DVD, Flash Drive, USB, Memory Stick or other media.  You should use it on a regular basis. However, it only backs up the ‘data’ not the entire folder. You should backup the entire folder as well, whether you use an online software or simply copy the Tenant File folder using Windows utilities. (To find the path to your folder, right-click the Tenant File shortcut, then choose ‘Properties’, and look at the ‘Start in’ path – that is the path to your Tenant File information).

So, if you have an online backup, that is great! Just don’t forget to include the Tenant  File in that backup, which might save a lot of heartache in the future if you computer crashes or becomes inaccessible.

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