Let’s talk cash. A new fiscal year began in October, but your financial goals for 2021 may not be entirely set in stone. The pandemic has made it more difficult for many property managers and owners to predict future vacancies, market-rate rent and other factors that can help increase ROI. On the other hand, this could be an opportunity to improve your assets, save money and attract renters at the same time. Here are some quick ideas to get you thinking.
1. Take advantage of utility company incentives
According to NAA, properties built after 2000 tend to save owners a lot of money. That’s because newer buildings tend to have better insulation, cooling, pipes and lighting than older buildings. Properties built in the 1940 and 1950s use 50% more energy than 21st century architecture.
So, what can you do with an older building?
Energy-efficient property upgrades reduce the number of new power plants they need to build, so utility companies have good reasons for helping property managers and owners find ways to cut energy use. In fact, many utilities use utility-sponsored energy efficiency companies whose sole purpose is to reduce energy consumption and help you reduce energy costs.
That means you should contact them before doing work that is already covered with incentives. You never know until you ask.
If owners pay the energy bills
Some owners hesitate to upgrade their properties because they pay the energy bills. They’re just not convinced that applicants are going to be drawn to energy-efficient properties when they wouldn’t even pay those bills.
The truth is that property managers can lower costs and increase ROI, even if residents don’t pay anything toward energy costs. Work with your electric or gas company to find incentives for energy-efficient upgrades. They might have written policies or even be willing to come up with a unique plan for your situation.
If residents pay the energy bills
If residents pay their own energy expenses, you have every reason to find incentives for property upgrades (and market these savings as special features). Even if the savings are small, for some groups, every cent counts. This includes millennials with high college debt, older individuals on fixed incomes, families living paycheck to paycheck, people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, etc.
2. Upgrade older equipment with cost-efficient solutions
Looking for easy, inexpensive ways to increase ROI any property? Here are two ideas that would benefit many property managers right away.
Get LED lighting
Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights. ENERGY STAR® rated LEDs use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
Switch to tankless boilers
It can be difficult to find the right boiler, especially if you’re on a budget. Older boilers can be long-lasting but inefficient. New ones can be more efficient but easier to damage. Tankless options are both efficient and long-lasting, but they tend to be more expensive. However, the long-term savings are likely to pay off.
Here are some other property upgrades (that utility companies may even subsidize):
- Window film treatments
- Insulation (wall and attic)
- Smart thermostats
- Solar panels
- Heat pumps
- Duct/air sealing
- Automated/Wi-Fi sprinkler systems
Ready to dig deeper? Here are 51 ways to save water and energy at your properties.
3. Invest in maintenance: basic needs & amenities
Preventative maintenance is key to keeping residents happy. And as you know, that makes you more likely to retain happy residents and increase ROI overall. There are two areas to look at when performing maintenance: basic needs and amenities.
Let’s look at a few examples of basic needs that should be maintained, helping you save money while increasing the comfort of your residents.
- Below par insulation results in higher energy bills over time. A properly insulated living space is a basic need that residents will appreciate.
- Proper lighting along pathways, carports, etc. makes traveling around your property safer and easier. Some lights feature solar panels, so they pay for themselves in energy savings.
- Perform seasonal maintenance (e.g., clear gutters in the fall, winterize manufactured homes, clear brush prior to wildfire season).
- Fix leaks, repair or upgrade roofing, spray for pests and other essential tasks.
Features and amenities such as fitness centers and tennis courts should all be up-to-date, functional and enjoyable to use. Of course, if no one is using your old tennis court, it could be a waste of space. Survey your residents to see what they want. Have a lot of dog owners at your property? Convert the area into a pet playground.
Or, maybe you’re not a pet-friendly property but have lots of families. Make it a kid-friendly play area instead!
4. Get utility billing & utility processing
Yardi Breeze Premier offers two optional add-on utility solutions that help you monitor your property’s energy consumption, track changes over time and spend less time processing utility invoices.
Yardi Utility Billing monitors consumption, identifies leaks, notifies responsible parties, detects invoice errors and recovers overage charges. This is a great way to increase ROI and make work refreshingly simple.
Utility invoice processing
Take control of utility expenses so they don’t take control of you! Pulse Invoice Processing instantly reduces costs with invoice tracking, exception auditing and lightning-fast processing. Plus, gain access to data for reporting and benchmarking. Yardi’s utility experts will even help you analyze and resolve issues as necessary.
What you can do next
If you’d like to explore Breeze Premier, our utility features or something else, please contact us to contact us to see for yourself.