PCRE’s 1st Annual Beat-the-Bridge to Beat Diabetes Run!

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Sunday, May 18th, Pacific Crest had the opportunity of participating in JDRF’s 32nd Annual Beat-the-Bridge to Beat Diabetes race. We would like to extend a big thank you to all participants, we had a wonderful time. We hope that even more PCRE advocates join us for our next event, more information to come. We look forward to participating more in the community for good causes and getting our name out there as a company that provides some of the best apartment living in Seattle!

Along with other friends who are suffering from diabetes, one of our own runners was sponsored for the event, Xea Newton (Eric Smith’s niece). She suffers from Type 1 diabetes. Thanks to all of our supporters we were able to reach our fundraising goal. We hope that our fundraising efforts will assist in ultimately turning Type One into Type None. 

Let’s recognize some event participants!

Top fundraiser: Angie Bentler

Top 5 finishers:

  1. Lauren Ginder
  2. Rekko Enochs
  3. John Stoner
  4. Eric Stuart
  5. Jack Stoner

If you haven’t donated already, you are able to do so until June 20th! To find out more about JDRF’s Beat-the-Bridge cause or donate, go to www.beatthebridge.org. Once again, thank you for all the support.

Sincerely,

Our Pacific Crest Real Estate Team 

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Spring is in the air, get out your garden chair!

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My favorite time of year has finally come about. It can’t be said that rainy days are out of the picture, but the promise of sun puts a skip in the step of city routine. As those first rays hit the side of an apartment building, you want the foremost thought to be how long it will take to get to the beach; however, as property managers are aware, it’s hard to see through that window with all the moss and water stains, so first you have to get out the Windex and towels. The three “R’s” that reflect what you want accomplished with your property are to refresh, rejuvenate and renew.

Refresh your property starting specifically with the entryway. Freshen up the front table with some brightly colored flowers or incorporate a similar decorative ambiance. Make sure any interior plants are getting the sunlight they deserve and are watered accordingly. Any exterior tagging that managed to hide during the shadowy months should be sprayed over with a glossy and clean layer of paint.

Rejuvenate the aesthetic appeal of your property altogether. Nobody falls in love with a building that has water stains running from the windows and down the building. A pressure wash will do miracles when it comes to making things sparkle under the sun (or anticipated sun for that matter in Seattle).

Renew lease agreements to have a fresh start to the season! This is a great time to review even more thoroughly that your annual rent increase schedule is functional and up to par. Even if you retain tenants year after year (which is quite the accomplishment), you don’t want residents feeling ignored. Thanking residents for their loyalty can be done simply by providing a sparkling property for them to open their eyes to as spring blossoms in the air. Coinciding with turnovers or not, everyone deserves the cheery feeling of walking into a building that flourishes hand in hand with the change in season.

Follow the three “R’s” when it comes to spring maintenance and property functionality will be revived. Re-hatch relationships with your residents and new residents by facilitating their enjoyment of spring in the place they call home.  A lively and happy property atmosphere will retain and attract more tenants. Making the effort when seasons compliment your offerings will make it that much easier to get your job done and help your property flourish.

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Tips for Rental Housing Owners

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Researching frequently promoted tips for rental housing owners brought up a plethora of topics related to the functioning and financial survival of properties. Ultimately I want to narrow in on three different factors that I feel make the biggest impact on a smoothly operated building. Three business mannerisms which have been around forever but are now requiring methods of modern improvement are documentation, exceeding customer expectations and obtaining insurance coverage.

Documentation has been a funky transition from literally having everything hand written, to the invention of the telephone and now to the endless possibilities of internet communication and email. Everyone communicates on the phone and in a lot of ways it is the most direct and efficient way of getting the job done. However, how many times have things slipped through the cracks or been mis-communicated because the original message is lost in translation and memory?  I can’t hear our property managers reiterate enough to their resident managers the need to follow up on phone calls with an email summary. It saves so many steps and provides a great back up when controversy arises.

Along with always having documented evidence, the old business tactic of under-promising and over-delivering will never cease to be relevant. There always comes a time when business operators have wishful thinking and want to deliver sugar-coated hopes and dreams to their clients. But this is where dreams and reality need to have a fine, realistic line carved right down the middle. As the intelligent American author Ernest Hemingway once said (more profoundly): “the most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, crap detector.” This applies to a businessman as well. In order for your property to function, you have to be straightforward with everyone involved in the functioning of the property. That way when it comes time that you do have the flexibility for extra efforts, building perks, rental incentives, etc., they’re that much more appreciated. This isn’t encouraging putting out minimal effort for the greatest return, but altogether continuously exceeding customer expectations.  

One of the many ways to exceed customer expectations is by always being prepared. Obtaining building insurance and requiring renter’s insurance not only helps when disaster strikes but the reassurance of its benefit in situations of necessity facilitates the functioning of other day-to-day tasks at your property. Making insurance a high priority and establishing solidified restrictions and requirements upon move-in will avoid any mishaps that may come up in a time of chaos.

Ultimately there are many tips that should be utilized in order to maintain a well-run building. The foundation of business practice objectives that owners should follow is made up of thorough documentation, providing exceptional customer service and ensuring that you are insured. These are some of the many steps owners can take to make the most of their investment.

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Does a lease follow a like?

Social Media as a Prospecting and Renting Tool

Pacific Crest recently participated at Seattle’s TRENDS Conference and Tradeshow providing insight on how to effectively utilize social media to benefit individual properties and company initiatives. Pacific Crest integrates the underlying meaning of our tagline into our social media approach. Our social media marketing plan revolves around our company and employees’ experience, insight and vision. Defining the target market, promoting word of mouth marketing and basing today off of the future relationships within your community are the steps needed to successfully integrate a social media marketing plan. The Business Insider looks at 2014 as the year of the entrepreneur. The New Year can be anticipated as a growth year. Complementing these future areas of growth to your business practices should be your goal to accomplish within the next four quarters.  

There are a handful of social media platforms that are useful in promoting real estate and property management services. Approaching the plethora of social media options the right way is a talent that many have yet to acquire. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most commonly used platforms for real estate. There are over 1 billion people currently using Facebook. Twitter is versatile as a result of its hashtags and live updates of what’s going on within the industry and in relation to specific properties. LinkedIn is a great platform to post jobs as well as articles about industry trends and collaborative efforts.

The potential of utilizing other social media platforms for the benefit of this industry next year and with years to come is a very exciting prediction. Video platforms have been vital to the industry for some time now, but newer and more advanced video capabilities are continuing to become available. People might find a use for multiple app capabilities such as ‘Vine’, etc. Instagram is being used more and more to provide a personable platform for photos portraying properties in unique and picturesque ways.

We are currently experiencing the best of a collaborative economy. Companies need to take advantage of it in terms of maintaining a positive internet presence and prevalence. Manipulating your website, blogs and social media sites to your company’s advantage is a modern talent. It is fundamental to produce dynamic content versus static. Take action in SEO optimization or by using other services such as Yodle, MerchantCircle or ReachLocal and you will see the positive correlation with respect to more internet traffic.

The social media revolution going on this decade is opening up many windows of opportunity for businesses across the board. Jumping on the band wagon and taking advantage of ways to implement social media into the real estate world is an exciting new opportunity.

Incorporating social media into your business plan is more of a secondary support system when it comes to leasing. Recent changes to craigslist are making it more and more difficult to advertise in aesthetically pleasing ways. Finding out how to draw the most attention to your company by utilizing social media is the best way to reinforce credibility.

As long as you incorporate strategy, timing and conversation into your social media plan, it will be a success. Employees will feel more of a personable and visual connection to the company they work for and what it’s aiming to achieve. Having a handful of frequently updated social media platforms will prove to clients that you go the extra mile to be informed and knowledgeable of the respective industry.

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Winter Newsletter 2013-14

Check out our Winter Newsletter to get up-to-date on what’s going on at PCRE!

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With Utilities Comes Responsibility

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One of the first questions apartment hunters ask me is the breakdown of utility billing. What do tenants pay and what does the building pay? I’m never able to gauge ahead of time what their reaction will be when I state the circumstances. The best advice I’ve been able to gain from researching the most common practices, is that building owners should pay “some” of the utilities as opposed to all or none. This gives stability to the balancing act of tenants skipping out with large balances and owners having a sense of control over their building’s expenses. The most important aspects to consider when agreeing upon a utility plan are the property size, green capabilities and curb appeal.

Property size entails everything from physical landscape size to the number of units in the building. If there’s space and money to install metered utilities, you will be able to identify and track which units are spending the most on utilities. This will instigate a sense of liability for unpaid bills and in turn incentivize current and past residents to pay their dues. As the difference in ratio between owner and residents increases, it becomes more necessary to have a portion of owner-controlled utility expenses. 

Green incentives are very popular in the Seattle market when it comes to their incorporation in promotional efforts. Supplemental reasoning for participating in those metered utility options referred to above will glorify your property for taking the initiative to make a difference in the community. Referring to the underlying reasoning for particular utility billing procedures as complimenting environmentally friendly initiatives will attract a proactive and positive target market.

The curb appeal factor of a utility plan concerns the competition. People researching within a given neighborhood will compare to neighboring buildings and the ‘amenities’ each has to offer. Figure out what the local landlords around you are doing and offer better. Not only will effectively assigning utility billing save money for the tenant and owner, but when a solid system is offered versus a neighboring apathetic attempt, your property will shine with potential.

Finding a utility billing system tailored to your property that makes the most out of its resources is the ultimate goal. Determine what will work best in terms of the property size, environmentally friendly options for incentives and staying up with the competition. The owner and residents save money, AND you will be promoting a happier and more environmentally aware atmosphere.

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Best in the West

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“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” –Vince Lombardi

What a true statement! And coming from such an accomplished and successful individual. When it comes to taking on the best practices in the real estate and property management business, how exactly do you define the best? Yes, you have the Institute of Real Estate Management guide to refer to which is updated annually as better practice methods are discovered. However, these tips only go so far according to HOW they are implemented. A list of items is a list of items, which mean nothing without a strategic plan.

Over the past year we have acknowledged in our monthly articles many of the components included in IREM’s best practices manual. We have addressed budgeting, maintenance, marketing, hazard control, turning units, leasing procedures and the altogether operation of properties. Simply listing the topics of what comprise successful management objectives is just a stepping stone for property managers and landlords.  Identifying which techniques work best and what practices are necessary in certain scenarios is a talent acquired through hard work and perseverance.

Finding a balance between increasing the net operating income for your owner while maintaining resident welfare is always the number one goal. The steps you take along the way are where it counts. Begin by gathering a team of ambitious employees with integrity. Don’t let them out that door until they are educated. Once they are ready, put them out in the field, guide them through their mistakes and nurture their good habits from the start. Properly implement company guidelines, acknowledge their effectiveness and monitor successes/failures. Choosing to participate in local outreach programs or to offer insurance package discounts are great retention strategies for residents and owners respectively. However, your efforts will only succeed if your guidelines are strictly adhered to. Promoting your company with wholesome individuals, continuously educating them, and fostering partnerships with companies you rely on will earn the positive reputation sought after in the real estate and property management industry. 

The Northwest is a competitive market filled with continuous renovation and advancement. The best techniques adapt along with time requiring consistent monitoring of strategic methods. Ultimately, your initial promise to the owner is to protect their investment. Conduct legitimate unit inspections and adhere to necessary grounds keeping and you will protect the owner’s investment as well as the residents’ safety and happiness. Winning is a habit, so educate yourself and others on how to ‘win’ in the property management world and maintain those habits. To end with another inspirational Lombardi quote, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

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