I get it. The social distancing, the working from home, and the sheltering in place. I get it because I’m going through it too. I get that this “temporary normal” that we are going through is tough, but we as real estate brokers and property managers still have a job to do.
I commend each and every one of you for adhering to the CDC guidelines to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus has caused major disruption in our industry and ways for all of us to get creative in working in our day-to-day lives. That’s where I come in.
I want to share with you how we get through this journey with our clients, our tenants, and each other in a peaceful manner together:
Interest Rates are Low- Take Advantage of It!
With the stock market making a swan dive into the recession-like numbers of 2008, the Federal Reserve has decided to cut interest rates to almost nothing. RIGHT NOW would be the time to invest. Whether it is a new office space, home, or future project if you see what you like… buy it!
Save to Your Heart’s Desire
If you’re like me, your 401(k) took a major hit last month, but now is not the time to pull out all of your hard-earned money and stuff it in your mattress. You should be saving at least 10% of your income and that doesn’t mean just your personal accounts. You should also be saving at least 5-10% of your properties’ income also for capital expenses and repairs.
Sharing is Caring
If you’re like me, you’re scared of the unknown. And trust me, if you are scared, you better believe that your tenants are scared too. Last month, over 3.3 million people filed for unemployment, due to the closures of bars, restaurants, event centers and attractions leaving thousands in the Atlanta-metro area to be out of work. Following up with your tenants on what is still expected of them is necessary. Make sure you open a line of communication with them. Start by thanking them for following the CDC suggestions when it comes to social distancing, and proper handwashing techniques while staying or working on the property. Then remind them that rent is still due on the first, however, if they need a little more time to pay it to let you know. Remind them that being proactive with their rental company about their financial situation is the way to go.
To continue to promote the shelter-in-place order for Georgia or If they are nervous making payments at their leasing office due to fear of being sick, let them know that they can always pay online if you don’t currently offer your tenant’s that option, now is the time to implement it! Tenants should also be able to mail in their payment or (if your management software allows) while they are out grabbing some groceries, they can also pay their rent through a RentMoney voucher from Wal-Mart and knock two things off of their to-do list.
Be Patient With Non-Emergency Work Orders
If you’re like the several property management companies around the country, you are taking seriously the recommendations given by the CDC like social distancing. Making sure that your maintenance team is at a six-foot distance from your tenant is risky and needs to be prevented if necessary. That is why only responding to emergency calls inside the units reduces in-person contact and leaves everyone at a safe distance. Now that you’ve been chatting with your tenants, let them know that you are trying to promote a safe and healthy environment for not only them but for your staff as well. Outside vendors are another factor too. Limiting the number of service calls from an outsourced repair company for emergency work orders is the best way to go to decrease the risk of anyone being exposed to COVID-19.
“Sharing is Caring” is for Clients Too
Just like your tenants, your clients need some TLC also. Let them know that even though they may not see you as often as they were, that you are still working hard for them. Before the spread of the virus, most of us had a home office. And if your kids haven’t taken over your home office for their new virtual classroom like my oldest, mention to them that you are utilizing it now more than ever. You can even open up a Zoom account and have face-to-face meetings via the world wide web.