This is the perfect time of year to address your business and portfolio and give it a little TLC. We get so busy during the year ticking off tasks and plugging away, putting band aids over problems and patching up issues on the fly. But, this is the time of year though, we should really take an opportunity to set some time aside and reflect and review the year that was. It is often so hard for us to look at what we have achieved and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done – heck we survived another year in small business and running and managing a portfolio! So often we just keep moving forward, but often there is a lot of lessons and opportunities for growth if we just slow down for a minute and take a look at the year that was. There’s also plenty of opportunities to be had if on the other hand we think strategic, set some goals and plan out our year ahead as well.
So, first of all, let’s take a look at what an End of Year Health Check for your Business might look like. We have shared a FREE Business Health Check worksheet in our resources section for you to download.
BUSINESS END OF YEAR HEALTH CHECK
Step 1 – What goals did you achieve: take a look back at the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year. Have you achieved them?
Step 2 – What goals did you fall short on: which goals didn’t you hit?
Step 3 – What worked for you: let’s dive a little deeper here and outline what worked really well for you this year. Some of the things that worked well might really surprise you. These are things you’ll want to do more of in the new year.
Step 4 – What didn’t work for you: write down the things that didn’t go to plan, the things you thought would give you great success but didn’t. Don’t worry we all have plenty on this list and the only way we can getter better is by learning from these items. This list will give you an idea of the things you need to change as well.
Step 5 – What new ideas would you like to implement or work on: brainstorm a whole host of new ideas and things you want and need to work on in the business.
Now you want to start looking further ahead and setting some new lofty goals for the new year. Why should you have goals? Well according to many experts this is why: ‘setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. Setting goals not only motivates us, but can also improve our mental health and our level of personal and professional success.
Let’s talk about setting SMART goals first. These are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible. So keep this in mind when writing down your goals.
What are your Annual goals?
What are your big picture goals? What do you want to achieve for the entire year? You might want to include headings like this:
3. What are your Quarterly Goals?
Break down your annual goals into quarters, so that it isn’t so overwhelming and you have opportunities to review and celebrate along the way. If you only check in with your goals annually, you can’t tweak or fix something, so quarterly gives you an opportunity to regularly review and correct if you need to.
Timeline your events or tasks – I recommend setting out a calendar or timeline of events or tasks that will help you achieve your goals during the year. I use a project management tool called Monday.com, but others include Asana or Trello.
JANUARY: A marketing plan and budget set
3-month social content calendar planned
FEBRUARY: Valentines competition
MARCH: New prospecting flyers sent out
- Meet with a new website developer
2. Write down daily action steps to achieve your goals
3. Write down weekly action steps to achieve your goals
4. Write down monthly action steps to achieve your goals
YOUR PORTFOLIO HEALTH CHECK
This is the biggest job, well not for those of you who like to be super organised or have monthly KPI’s or trackers in place, this will be just a tick and flick job. For our team, we have a monthly audit in place, where certain things like rent arrears, outstanding invoices, bonds, leases, emails, or maintenance are recorded. It is just a means to keep busy property managers accountable for their tasks and highlight areas they might be struggling with. For example, keeping maintenance up to date is a task often overlooked as property managers go about their week, but maintenance is not being addressed in the major reason tenants leave. So, by ignoring or not following up maintenance you are making more work for yourself long term if that makes sense? Keeping on top of your maintenance is the easiest way to keep tenants long term in the property and reduce the number of calls and emails you have to deal with as well. So, if you aren’t doing these checks monthly, then I suggest an end of year ‘HEALTH CHECK’ of your portfolio is definitely in order and it is likely to be a big job.
MAJOR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TASKS TO BE TACKLED IN YOUR END OF YEAR HEALTH CHECK
Take a really good look at your rent arrears, you should be familiar with the regular offenders by now. Some tips to get your rent arrears tidied up: Make sure all your tenants on payment plans are up to date with them Any serial offenders making your list every week, pick up the phone and encourage them to get their rent in advance, so that we don’t have to keep calling, texting, and potentially breaching them. Send a gentle reminder to all your tenants about the benefits of having your rent paid in advance, including how a breach or two can affect their potential rental chances. Are there any serial offenders who could go on Centrepay? Are there any that are constantly defaulting direct debits, can they go on B-Pay? Leave notes in your system following all your conversations, put in an email any agreements you make with tenants, especially payment plans. Follow up with your landlords and advise them what you have done to address the arrears situation with the tenant.
Money Owed to your Landlord
Money is a huge issue that upsets or annoys landlords’ so it should be addressed as a priority in a health check. This might be tenants who owe money for water bills, everyone is guilty of letting these slide, but any owing over 60 days, needs a really hard stance taken or a payment plan in place. Other money owing might be tenants who have vacated and owe money above the bond, sometimes you just haven’t got around to following it up. This should be a priority at the time of vacating but can be overlooked. There are plenty of reports in most software systems to highlight these situations where the money is owed to landlords.
An outstanding lease can mean that a tenant can potentially only give you two weeks’ notice to vacate the property. This can be frustrating for both property managers and owners, who fear they will be left out of pocket if we don’t secure a new tenant in the tight time frame. Work on the most overdue to the newest. You should be working at least two to three months in advance for your lease renewals and picking up the phone and talking to tenants usually gets a much faster response than an email, especially if the lease is expiring soon. Sometimes it could be the landlord dragging the chain, so reaching out to them to get an answer before they are left potentially out of pocket is important too.
Anything over 14 days in our team is considered overdue maintenance. As mentioned above, maintenance causes so many issues if not dealt with promptly and professionally. Start with your oldest maintenance and work through to your newest. A lot of software has automatic prompts you can send through to owners and tradespeople for updates. I would also jump on the phone and seek an update for anything pending over a month. You might find some jobs just haven’t been completed and that may just help you work out a flaw or an update is required in your current system for managing maintenance.
Routine Inspections Reports
Sometimes the busier you are these reports get left sitting not completed and sent to landlords. You feel comfortable that you have carried out the routine, but getting around to actually sending off the report, keeps getting put off. You might be surprised how many you might have sitting there waiting for you to finish. These are an ultra-important part of your service to your landlord and the longer you take to complete them the longer maintenance reported at the time of the routine is sitting waiting to be actioned. Clean them up and make sure you check that every property in your portfolio has had one completed in the previous quarter or 6 months.
Extra Audits for your Property Management Portfolio Health Check
Properties that haven’t had a routine in the past 6 months
Tenants that have vacated but still owe money
Bond audit – are there tenants who need to pay more bond, or require a refund?
All Bond refunds have been finalised
All vacated tenants and lost managements have been archived
Your electronic or hard files are complete with important documents eg; Form 6, application forms, tenancy agreement.
Owner insurance details are up to date Suppliers insurance details are up to date
Your team’s Real Estate Licences are up to date
Trust account check – is there anything strange going on, is money being withheld for a certain reason, do all you landlords have bank accounts.
Once a year is probably too long to leave most of these things to check off on in all honesty. As long as you regularly audit and have a system in place to keep your team dealing with their different tasks and accountable for them, you will have a portfolio that is healthy all year round.
We have included a Free Portfolio Health Check Checklist in our resources section for you.
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