Tag Archives: property management software

Massive Cyber Attack – Are Property Management Companies at Risk?

Property Management Company Post Cyber AttackI told you so. I’ve been warning about this for a good while now, and this is only the beginning.  In particular, if you are using web-based property management software, you should think about what you are doing. You are putting your own security, your tenants, and your property owners at risk, and probably paying a hefty monthly sum to do it.

I’m talking about the huge cyber attack that came in three waves on Friday.  If you were not directly affected, it was probably (1) because the hackers didn’t bother with smaller websites or (2) because it wasn’t your turn yet.  Here are some of the ones it did affect:

Airbnb
Etsy
Spotify
Twitter
The New York Times
The Financial Times
CNBC.com
Amazon
Netflix
Github

Ladies and gentlemen, these sites are no pushover sites for hackers (or are they?). Supposedly these sites are some of the best secured sites in the world, and hackers managed to get to them all at once. If these sites are vulnerable, how secure do you think your property management software website is? Most of them weren’t even around 5 years ago, and I would venture that none of them have anywhere ‘close’ to the level of cyber security protection of the sites that got invaded.

In a recent NBCNews.com post I saw the comment for consumers to “think carefully about what and when they connect devices to a cloud or even to the internet in general.” In a previous blog, I speculated on a scenario specifically for property managers called “A Day in the Life of a Property Manager Post Cyber Attack”. It is almost scary how real that seems now.

My experience is in property management and I admit it is in my financial interest for people to purchase desktop software. But the reason we have continued to offer on-premise rental property software is because there is a large market of landlords and managers that don’t want to risk their business and their client base. Plus, the monthly fees for web-based software companies are never ending, and will wind up costing a fortune in the long run.

This year, on the Buildium blog (a web-based competitor) it was stated, “Is your company at risk? Basically: yes. Every landlord, property manager, or real estate professional has access to (and stores) sensitive, confidential, personally-identifiable information on tenants and employees.”

And who is vulnerable? Basically everyone, but consider this information from the same blog “Businesses with fewer than 250 employees account for somewhere between 20-30% of all cyber attacks.”

And how easy it to recover from an attack? Read on,60 percent of small businesses close their doors within months of a successful cyber attack.”

I LOVE technology so don’t get me wrong! We always are looking for new ways to innovate and provide our customers with the best experience possible. But that can be done without storing your valuable data on a remote server that can be attacked at any time. And when that happens, you might suddenly find yourself in an office with no access to your tenants, your owners, your vendors, your accounting, and your customers. And I ask, is that worth the risk?

Web-based or On-premise Desktop Based?

Tenant File logoWe used to get asked why the Tenant File is not in the cloud … it seems there are hundreds of property management software programs doing that, so web-based must the the next great new thing, right? No. Well, now we get lots of calls from property managers that are sick and tired of the ever escalating and unending monthly fees, downtime, and the high security risks.  So I wanted to address how the Tenant File is doing . . .

Happy GirlYes, the Tenant File DESKTOP Property Management Software is still going strong.  Our user-base is growing every day. If you have tried moving to web-based software thinking that it will make your property management run smoother and are now tired of paying a monthly fee PER UNIT for some company on the ‘cloud’ to hold your important information and you now want to get back in control of managing  your rentals, come back to the Tenant File.  Throughout the years, we have made many important upgrades and additions to the Tenant File.   To name a few:

The Tenant File Version 8 now includes up to ten Bank Accounts up from the original 3 Bank Accounts

  • Additional posting fields were added to the POST RENT INCOME section, the screen that  allows you to quickly post rent income from a large number of tenants very quickly, or just to post a few rents as needed.    Additionally, this screen enables you to create a bank deposits for the rent posted, post management fees, post late fees received, and add another payment for any income account in the chart of accounts. You can even write a check to your own company for management fees posted.
  • The Tenant File now allows you to have up to 6 different RECURRING FIELDS for charges that are in addition to the typical rent posting, management fee posting, and late fee charges. The recurring field amounts are kept in the Unit Information for every rental unit.
  • Additional Reports were added to Version 8, such as the Ledger Balances Current (Compact), Owner Audit Report, Owner Profit and Loss Report, Owner Invoices , Late Rent/Late Fees Due , Security Deposits Receipts Posted, Tenant Balances Aging Report , Tenant Rent Payment Summary , Register – All Bank Accounts , Property MTD/YTD Summary, Company Profit and Loss Report, Tenant Balances (Range) , Owner Vacancy Listing , Tenant Delinquency By Owner – just to name a few.
  • The new Security Deposit Disposition Screen allows you to easily take care of the deposit postings when your tenant moves out.
  • The Owner Invoice allows you to take any posting (or multiple postings) in the ledgers and create an invoice for those transactions. This is actually a report, so it is accessed from the Reports screen.
  • The Tenant File now supports any number of Automatic Rent Increases, for any rental unit, and for any date in the future. On the screen below, you simply select the rental unit, enter the amount and date of the increase, and the program will do the rest.
  • Automated Late Fee Postings were added with release of the Tenant File 8. It allows you to set the late fee individually for each tenant separately in the Tenant Ledger under ‘Setup/View Fees’. So, if you charge late fees differently for different tenants, you charge DAILY LATE FEES and you want them to be automated, or if you simply want a hands off’ method for late fee posting, this method is for you.
  • Upload Vacancies to the Web – Version 8 entitles you to a no obligation ONE YEAR subscription to RentalWIZ, which provides you a free web page branded for your company, uploads to other Internet rental sites, and more!

Property Manager HandshakeIf you have an older version of the Tenant File and are ready to get back to running your property management business in your own office, you can order the Tenant File update and STOP paying monthly fees for your own software.  If you have never had the opportunity to try the Tenant File DESKTOP Property Management software but have been looking for a reliable desktop software program that has been on the market for over twenty years with thousands of happy customers, click into www.TenantFile.com to review our program.   The Update purchase includes a month of free phone support to assist you with familiarizing yourself with the software while new purchases include two months of phone support.  Plus, users have the ability to use the WEB SUPPORT Ticket System that will continually provide answers to all individual questions at no additional charge.  We know that you will be happy with how smoothly and simply the program will take care of all of your property management needs – right from your own computer.

Common Sense Property Management Software

Property Manager WorkingCommon Sense Property Management Software

I hear all the time the comment, “I thought my previous software was going to make my life easier, but it just gave me more frustration”. Property management is hard enough by itself without having to struggle with slow software, missing data, constant questions, and a difficult learning curve. We hear from rental property owners every day that are still using spreadsheets to manage their property, or they have purchased a program that is way more than they actually need.

Make sure it works the same way you do

First, if you can’t try out the software before you buy it, run the other way! That is the only way you can be sure it is right for you. When you do try the software, start with one task, such as “I want to charge rent to my tenants”. Then, see how long that task takes. If it is more than 10 seconds, it is too long, even if you have hundreds of rentals. Better yet, look for an option to charge rent automatically without user intervention.

How about this? “I want to update the tenant’s rent amount, and then correct an amount that I accidentally posted to the tenant’s accounting”. Many programs make you navigate to multiple menus to do seemingly easy common sense tasks, so make sure it is easy to correct mistakes.

Other things you might want to look for would be the ability to automatically increase rents on a specific date in the future, the ability to either print checks or transfer via ACH, receive rent online, a way to make automatic payments, and a vendor file that keeps important information on all of the vendors that you work with.

Common sense extras that you might look for would be a reminder system for Owners, Tenants, and Vendors, and a scheduler to help keep track of upcoming repairs, vacations, and notices. You might want to use the reminder to keep track of tenant birthdays so that you can maintain a good relationship with your tenants.

Keep your valuable data with someone you trust – you!

If you keep your own information, it will be safer. Find a program that allows you to make a local backup of your valuable data quickly and easily. It should be as simple as clicking a ‘backup’ button then pressing ‘go’. If not, maybe that software is not for you. Some users prefer web based software, so if that is you, be sure that you can download your important data, and that your valuable information is encrypted and stored on servers with redundant backups. Even then, you could be at risk of a hacker attack that could shut down the servers, so you might consider on-premise software if that is a concern.

Don’t get more or less than you actually need

Another common complaint I often hear is that the customer had previously paid ‘thousands of dollars’ for another complex software, yet they only manage a few rentals. Or, on the other side, they manage over 100 rentals and the software they have is just too limited. Ask the vendor their average number of rentals per user, and the market they strive for. Do they work with owners of rental property or mostly with property managers? You need powerful features in your software without paying too much. At the same time, avoid ending up with overly complicated requirements with features you don’t need.

Common sense assistance

With any new software you need a little help. Avoid companies that don’t provide a phone number or any free support – eventually you will need some assistance. The trend is to not provide phone support, which may mean that you will have to either search a knowledge base for an answer, or wait for a return response to your online support request. Make sure that you can get immediate help through paid phone support.

Follow these common sense guidelines, and your property management software investment will help your business run a lot more efficiently, smoothly, and stress free.

Work Orders: A Landlord’s Biggest Headache

One of the biggest challenges involved in being a landlord is keeping track of work orders. You have to connect tenants with contractors and ensure that the job gets done in time and the workers get paid. With so many tenants and so many contractors, there’s a lot of room for mistakes, and a lot of landlords make them. If you look at online reviews for apartment complexes and leasing offices, one of the most common complaints in negative reviews is a problem with work orders. They didn’t come in on time, or it took several calls before a response, or the order wasn’t satisfactorily completed. And organizational mistakes could also jeopardize your relationship with contractors. It’s essential for your business’s reputation to keep on top of your work orders.

Tenantfile makes that easy with our property management software. Our Work Order Program has everything you need to keep track of all your repairs and maintenances. It’s fully integrated with the other Tenantfile programs, so it can pull email addresses, phone numbers, and other information about each tenant. Each work order allows room for detailed information for your records, including supplies lists. Our program provides customizable listings of your work orders so you can keep track of each order’s status. We make it easy to print checks from the program to speed up delivery to the contractors. When the work order is completed, our landlord software generates automatic work order reports for the tenants, the contractors, and your own records.

With Tenantfile, you’ll never forget a work order again. We offer some of the best property management software out there, and this is just one of the many helpful tools available in our library. We also offer direct pay software, tenant screening programs, word processor software and much more. For more information, check out the Tenantfile website today.

What are YOU doing to make sure your tenant is taken care of?

As a property manager, you have a lot of different things to deal with on a daily basis. Because of this, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of your tenants and their homes, and they may not be being taken care of as they should be. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your tenant is receiving the proper treatment and that any issues they have are taken care of. What can you do to ensure this?

work orderWell, one of the basic things you need to do is make sure that all of their maintenance and repairs are taken care. If your tenant comes to you with something that’s your responsibility to fix, don’t wait around for the problem to get bad and then handle it; take care of things as soon as they are brought to your attention. It may seem hard to keep track of so many things that you need to take care of, but we’ve got you covered. With Tenant File, we offer an optional Work Order Form feature (check it out here) that lets you keep track of work orders that your tenants have requested.

You can also send out a newsletter to your tenants! This may seem like a lot, but it’s not difficult to do and can save you tons of time in the long run. If you plan on being out of town, mention this in the newsletter so your tenants know to come to you before you leave. If a cold front is coming and there is a risk of pipes freezing, tell your tenants what precautions they should be taking. These kinds of things make all the difference and make your tenant feel that they’re truly being taken care of.

Getting a Real Estate License

Do you have what it takes to get your real estate license?

Most likely, you do!  Basically, getting a real estate license is like getting a college diploma…you have to take and pass the course (classes) to get the license (diploma). The requirements for the license vary from state to state but have the same general basis. The first step is the easiest, make sure you’re 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED. Then, each state requires that you apply for the in-state license and pay the required fees, and then take the state issued exam (some recommend taking a prep course). After you pass the state exam (with flying colors, of course), you go through a background check and fingerprinting. For most states, the final step is to pair up with a broker and have them sponsor you for the beginning of your licensing period, the required time depends on your state.

Don’t be scared by the nature of the exam, either! The exam won’t be testing you on something that you wouldn’t have learned in the course. If you’re interested in getting the license, be sure to look into what requirements your state has set as far as courses and required classroom hours. Some states even allow the course to be taken online, a great option for someone who doesn’t have the time to take the class in a normal setting.

real estate license

Say Hello to Christina!

Christina - new marketing manager for Tenant File Property Management Software

Welcome to the Tenant File, Christina!

 

The Tenant File Property Management Software company heartily welcomes Christina to our team! We are happy that she will be handling the marketing and social media for us. So you can get to know her better, here is some information about her education, interests, and future plans.

Christina Karolewicz is currently a junior at Florida State University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in marketing with minors in hospitality and business analytics. Christina recently joined the Tenant File team as the marketing manager for the company. Christina has experience in the field of marketing and was the marketing director for Florida State University’s Swatch Magazine in 2014. Christina is now the financial officer for the magazine and has held the position since the Fall of 2014. Though there are many different aspects to business and many different components that contribute to a successful business, Christina sees marketing as an essential facet that people tend to overlook. She feels that marketing is imperative in effectively branding oneself and company and requires extensive planning in order to guarantee success.Rental Property Diploma

 

Future Plans and Goals

As far as her future and career, Christina plans on graduating from Florida State in the Spring of 2015 and using her marketing and business analytics expertise to enter the research and development field of business marketing. She realized her love of marketing when she began studying the subject in 2013 and shortly thereafter realized that she wanted to focus on a career in the field. She appreciates that marketing encompasses all aspects of business while still employing an immense amount of creativity. Currently, Christina has coursework in economics, statistics, finance, accounting, computer science, big data, and hospitality. She is proficient in various forms of social media, Microsoft Office, SQL Server, InDesign, Virtual Box, Windows, and Mac OSX. Christina believes that having proficiency of computers and computer software is essential in marketing because of the impact that electronic marketing has on consumers. She thinks that it is important to be able to collect and analyze market data in order to determine what exactly the consumer wants.

 

Marketing Goals to Increase Awareness Among Owners and Managers of Rental Property

With Tenant File software company, Christina hopes to use her knowledge of marketing and business in order to increase the recognition of the software and increase overall product awareness. She hopes to create a devoted base of customers who are loyal to both the brand and the software that will continue to support future Tenant File rental property management products. Christina sees the importance of the relationship that should exist between a customer and a brand and hopes to give Tenant File users this experience. Through social media marketing such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, she hopes to give Tenant File users a closer relationship with the brand and be able to give them multiple platforms by which to receive news and updates about the software. By increasing brand awareness, Christina hopes to create software users that know they can trust and rely on Tenant File with any of their future property management software needs.

Benefits of Property Management Software

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Many property managers and landlords have managed their property on paper or in Excel. And many claim that they don’t need to change to software because of the familiarity of the system they already have. Makes sense, but read on.

While property management software can’t complete every task of property management for you, it can be an inexpensive solution where property managers and landlords can manage properties and accounting all in one place.

Below we have some of those property management tasks you might be having trouble with and how property management software can ease your pain in each area:

Bookkeeping

With property management software, you can get a complete financial picture for your properties and owners. You won’t need to manually update that Excel spreadsheet anymore! Track income and expenses, and run key financial reports on demand.

Payments

With property management software, you can post rent manually or automatically to you renters. All completely online.

Access to your Information

Every piece of information on your properties can be found in one place with our property management software. We offer a simple solution to organize your properties.

Report Creation

Our software provides automatic reports you can select from a drop down menu. And each report is date sensitive. You can also easily create your own report to fit your own needs. You can report on a certain day, week, month, or year! You can also limit reports to a certain range of dates, if needed.

It’s also easier than you think. We know you have a busy job with no time to dedicate to learning a product. That’s why we designed this software for easy learning and use. Customer support is always there to help you out along the way and make sure that you are being as efficient as you can possibly be. You get started, please visit our store.

Find us online!

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How to Make Your Property “Green”

solar-panel

Making your rental property “green” is easier than you think. More and more landlords are going green with their properties. And even more and more don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips to get you started:

Reduce Flow

Replacing your faucets and toilets with low-flow faucets and toilets can reduce water usage across the board. Many gallons of water can be saved just by making this switch. These savings can also affect your heating bill. Since your tenants won’t need as much hot water, the heating bill can be reduced. Water is a crucial part of life for many states and cutting back on water waster can greatly benefit the environment.

Insulating

Insulation can be installed to benefit the environment. Materials for insulation are inexpensive. It keeps airflow at a minimum between outdoor and indoor areas. It can also control the temperature within a property. Installation may be difficult. However, there are some options that can make installation easier. I would suggest you do research before making a decision.

Air Sealing

Another option to control air flow is air sealing. One way to go about this is a pressure test. You will need to hire an expert for this, so keep that in mind. Areas that can be tested for air loss are base boards, windows, and outlets. Foam, caulk, and gaskets can be used to seal the area.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is a great tool to go green. Solar energy can reduce electricity usage to zero. You can even receive credit on your bill during the summer if excess electricity is fed through the power grid. This credit can then be put towards the winter months. Systems are scalable and energy formulas depend on the contractor. So again, do your research.

The biggest note to take away from this is to do your research. Going green may not be for every landlord due to time or budget constraints. But take some of these tips into consideration. They could benefit you greatly later on.