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July 14, 2019

5 Organizational Tools For Commercial Landlords

When you’re managing multiple commercial investment properties, you’ve always got your hands full. Between collecting rent, handling repairs, marketing empty spaces, and handling your finances, you’re lucky to get a day off. 

If you’re looking for relief and better organization, you need these tools:

1. A digital calendar with alerts

Relying on your memory for everything isn’t a good idea. Science has proven that our memories are unreliable. Events are recalled with distortion, and we even invent childhood memories that never happened. We’ve all experienced the confusion of forgetting our plans or promises. Thankfully, friends are forgiving. However, when you’re a landlord, you can’t afford to mess up.

If you don’t write things down, eventually you’ll forget a promise that leaves a tenant or business partner hanging in a bad situation. To bypass the unreliability of memory, put all of your promises, including scheduled appointments, into a digital calendar. Set three audible alerts for each activity: 24 hours in advance, the morning of, and 20 minutes before the actual activity. 

To make your digital alerts effective, it helps to plan your day around your daily appointments. If you’re used to running from point A to point B without planning your day, you’ll always be stressed and behind schedule. Check your schedule each morning and plan your day accordingly.

2. A rent roll sheet

When you own properties with multiple units, you need to keep track of all the variables like unit numbers, occupant information, security deposits paid, additional charges, terms, and more. Rent roll templates will help you organize this data so you can stay on top of your obligations and see the potential ROI for each property. 

Assets America published a detailed guide to rent roll templates covering the type of data you need to include, and how analyzing that data can affect the future sale of your property.

A rent roll sheet will also help you determine the value of your property. All your data is available at a glance, so you can calculate your net operating income and plug it into the cap rate equation. Grab your profit and loss statement to calculate NOI, and you’ll have a good idea of your property’s value.

3. A routine for reviewing your rent roll data

It’s a good idea to routinely review your rent roll sheet to make sure you’re on top of lease expiration and other time-sensitive issues.

Make it part of your day to review your rent roll data regularly, if not daily. The frequency that works for you will depend on how many properties and units you’re managing.

Use your digital calendar to input reminders prior to lease expiration and any other administrative tasks you need to stay on top of. 

4. A repair and maintenance spreadsheet for each unit

Similar to a rent roll sheet, use a spreadsheet to document all repairs and maintenance performed for each unit. Document requests along with all communications in case you need to reference those interactions later on. 

Having a list of all repairs and maintenance makes it easy to see how much money you’re putting into each property. If any of your properties are turning into a money pit, this data will make it clear.

5. Task management software

Use task management software to keep track of your appointments. Setting alerts on your phone is important, but you also need a place to enter the important details pertaining to each task. Programs like Basecamp and Asana work well, but you can also use a Day Runner if you prefer pen and paper.

There are also many time management apps you can get. Not all work the same way. Some simply work as alarms and reminders, while others have integrated task management suites.

Too many tasks? You might need a property management company

These tools are great for landlords who want to manage their own properties, but as your portfolio grows, simple tasks become complex. If you’re not getting any days off and you’re perpetually exhausted, you’re in over your head. Hiring a property management company will relieve the burden. Any resource that frees you up to expand your portfolio is a worthwhile expense.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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Item Reviewed: 5 Organizational Tools For Commercial Landlords Rating: 5 Reviewed By: EconMatters