Streamline Your Property Management Business With the Cloud

cloud

You have enough things to keep you busy with move-ins, move-outs, screening tenants and property repairs. Simplify your business by running it out of the cloud. Low-cost tools in the cloud give you access to your important information wherever you are. You’ll never have to be tied to your desk to do admin work again.

Organize Your Tenant Information

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications have been around for a long time. However, sophisticated features haven’t always been available for the small business. Cloud-based products such as Zoho CRM (ZohoCRM.com) let you keep your tenant information available wherever you are. Free to use for one user and available on all desktops and mobile devices, you can review and update tenant details anywhere. Since this application is in the cloud, you don’t need to worry about maintaining files on your office computer.

Take Those Conversations With You

You don’t just manage properties; you manage people as well, notes Rent Manager. Organizing tenant conversations so you can easily get to them is another task you can do in the cloud. Evernote is an application that also runs on your desktop or mobile device. Make notes in Evernote about tenant conversations. Take pictures of property damage and save them in this app. Scan tenant agreements directly into Evernote.

Create a library of tenant documents and forms. Keep current city regulations handy in Evernote, too. Keep a list of people you work with, such as plumbers and electricians, with notes about their specialties, reliability and rates. Make a list of those contacts available for emergency services.

Keeping it all Safe

Busy people can easily forget to do regular backups of the information on their computers. Forget a few backups and you become vulnerable to some serious problems should you experience a data loss or corruption situation. Automated data backup solutions in the cloud will keep your data safe and routinely backed up. Applications such as the enterprise online cloud backup solution from Mozy give you ways to automatically backup and encrypt your data for added security. Once configured, it will consistently back up without need for monthly updates. Most of these products also offer mobile access so you can check on the status of backups and even schedule data restores.

Easy Payment Processing

Make receiving and posting tenant payments easier with cloud-based payment processing. Give tenants the ability to access an online payment tool to make payments. Collect overdue payments right at the tenant’s door and post them using your smartphone or tablet. Tools such as Intuit GoPayment lets you take payments anywhere. Review payment information on your mobile devices or desktop and see which tenants consistently pay on time. Send them a quick “Thank You” note. Identify the good tenants and keep them.

All-In-One in the Cloud

Many software companies are moving their products into the cloud, including property management software companies. If you like the idea of working with an all-in-one package, tools such as PropertyWare or Aaxsys.com are both available in the cloud. These applications let you track leases and contracts, store documents and manage tenant information. Move-ins and move-outs are automatically tracked and renewals are flagged with alerts sent to you. Manage work orders and repairs.

Many of these applications come with tenant portals that allow renters to log in and check balances, make payments, report problems or ask questions. Cut down the phone calls and emails by promoting the use of this feature. Respond to tenants from your smartphone or tablet while out doing unit inspections.

Always remember to visit your MYCHBO Dashboard for more free tools.

Rental Tools from CHBO

Welcome to CHBO.  2014 CHBO Home Page

Let us find you a renter and rental success!

You are now joining the thousands of smart and successful corporate housing providers who use CHBO every day to find the best tenants for their properties.

CHBO works to be your resource for rental tips, trends and tenants and in the weeks and months ahead, we will be sending you a few emails on specific topics to make you a more profitable landlord.

CHBO was designed not just as a marketing website but also as a resource and educational toolbox to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to be a successful and profitable landlord.  Successful CHBO property owners utlize CHBO to learn more about Corporate Housing and how to manage their properties.

By now you’ve registered your property and are well on your way to getting your place rented. In the coming days and weeks, we will send you information and advice about how to market your property to achieve maximum occupancy. We’ll also offer tips for troubleshooting various scenarios and dilemmas you may come across as a corporate housing landlord.

Success is right around the corner so take the time to explore all the tools available to you on CHBO, in your MyCHBO Dashboard and in these topic specific emails we have created to make it as easy as possible for you to have the information you need to be a successful corporate housing landlord.

Some of our favorite rental tools are:

Help renting to your first tenant!

How to handle that first tenant inquiry. 

Corporate housing caption winner

Corporate housing caption winner

It can be an exciting and scary time for a new landlord – read below how to handle inquiries like a professional and get the deal done.

START by going to CHBO and logging into your Dashboard!  Here you will find for FREE the CHBO Handbook, Annual Reports, dozens of documents and guidelines to make your life easier.

 Login to CHBO – CLICK HERE.

1) Confirm tenant is legit. 

  • Ask Questions – such as why they’re looking to rent your property, who will be staying there and for how long, pets, kids, etc. –  Document Link
  • Complete Rental Application - Document Link
  • Run Credit Report & Background Check - Link

2) Complete lease agreement.

  • You’ll want to create your own lease agreement based on your state and HOA laws.
  • Lease Template - Document Link
  • Always a good idea to have a local real estate lawyer review your lease before using it.

3) Collect security deposit and/or letter of responsibility.

  • Be sure to collect a security deposit upfront to reserve the property for the tenant or read this article to learn how you can avoid the security deposit altogether.
  • If it’s a corporate renter and his/her company will be paying the bill, you’ll want to send the tenant a Letter of Responsibility to give to his/her company representative for completion. A sample Letter of Responsibility and a template invoice and receipt are available upon logging into your MyCHBO account.

4) Arrange for key exchange.

  • Many landlords are able to personally welcome someone into the home, while others have lock boxes on the property. Lock boxes should be kept in a safe and well-lit area. Kwikset has keys that can easily be rekeyed by the homeowner. There are also keyless entry door locks that require a code and can be changed after each tenant. You can purchase one through CHBO partner, ResortLock.
  •  If you provide a garage door opener, be sure to write down the make, model and code so it can easily be replaced if lost. Record serial numbers of access cards so they can be deactivated by building management if lost or stolen. We also offer some tips for handling mailbox keys on our blog.

5) Prepare property.

6) Clean and inspect the property.

  • Do a complete written and video inventory of the property.
  • Don’t skimp on the inspection and ask your tenant to sign an inspection list upon arrival to confirm the property’s condition. A sample inspection checklist is available in your myCHBO Dashboard.

7) Follow up.

  • Call the Tentant – shortly after arrival, be sure to call and check in with tenant to make sure everything is ok.
  • Review and confirm departure date and details if it’s a short-term tenant.
  • Ask for a property review.

8) Return deposit.

  • Inspect the property for damage.
  • Promptly return the tenant’s deposit.
  • Each state requires security deposits to be returned within a specific timeframe. Check here to see your state’s rules.

You did it – now you are a successful and profitable landlord!

Corporate Housing rental income $2.48 Billion in 2013

The annual Corporate Housing Industry Report is out for 2013.  The entire report with specific Data on 50 US cities and 5 Canadian Cities can be purchased from The Highland Group for $495 Click Here.

Overall, the corporate housing industry remains stable. Highlights include:

US corporate housing revenues were $2.48 billion in 2013, down slightly from $2.45 billion.

Per survey respondents, US corporate housing inventory is estimated at over 56,000 rental units, with the Canadian market at approximately 7,600 rental units.

Occupancy in the United States was down slightly to 88.1%, while Canadian providers saw occupancy decline to 81.7%

Relocation continues to be the main reason for client stays in the United States, with project/training the major reason Canadian clients stay in units. Relocation is a close second in Canada.

Average Daily Rate increased approximately $5 in the US to $136.53 and decreased almost $8 in Canada.

Ok sounds like fun – Did you know that CHBO is getting 500 written corporate housing requests a day?  If you want to learn more about the “by Owner” Corporate Housing Industry you can find all annual reports for free in your CHBO Dashboard once you register, which is also free, or you can purchase a printed report for $16.82 from Amazon by Clicking Here.

Update: Corporate Housing Executive Injured in Boston Marathon Bombings

Thank you to everyone who has supported Rebekah Gregory over the last year – This year Rebekah attended the annual Corporate Housing Providers Association annual meeting to express her gratitude in person.  Rebekah has been through a lot including over 16 surgeries in an attempt to save her leg.  It has now been decided that they will need to remove her leg after all.  Rebekah is a great inspiration. Read More…

GREAT NEWS:  Rebekah got Married!  Congratulations Rebekah & Pete.  Read more from People Magazine.

“It may have been pouring rain in Asheville, N.C., on Friday, but underneath a tent filled with flowers it felt like the sun was shining.

That’s because Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino, who were gravely injured in last April’s Boston Marathon bombing, were standing together, exchanging vows in front of family and friends who at one time had worried this day might never come.

The couple was positioned at the finish line of the Marathon on April 15, 2013, watching DiMartino’s mom run. When the first bomb exploded, they were both sent flying, Gregory ultimately losing functionality in her left leg, DiMartino suffering injuries to his Achilles tendon and requiring reconstructive surgery on his eardrums.”

Original Post: Rebekah Gregory, an Account Executive with Preferred Corporate Housing, was seriously injured in the recent bombing attacks at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15th. Rebekah, who currently resides in Houston, TX, was attending the event with her boyfriend and 5-year old son, Noah. All three were seriously injured in the blast zone and were taken to separate hospitals where Rebekah and her boyfriend have undergone several surgeries. Rebekah’s family, who also reside in Houston, rushed to be by her side late on Monday evening.  The most recent updates that we have received say that Rebekah and her boyfriend are in stable condition, but are still undergoing treatment for several injuries to their legs and arms. Noah is also recovering from injuries to his lungs and other minor scrapes and bruises. Read More…

Napa Valley Off Road Triathlon – Support Clinica Verde

chbo gives back logoOver the years CHBO has supported Clinica Verde a new model of care for families in need.  Now you can help support Clinica Verde and have a lot of fun doing it:)

Napa Valley Off Road Triathlon

Don’t miss it!

Come to the pristine mountain campus of Pacific Union College for the first annual Napa Valley Off-Road Triathlon, sponsored by St. Helena Hospital and benefitting Clinica Verde.

Come to the pristine mountain campus of Pacific Union College for the first annual Napa Valley Off-Road Triathlon, sponsored by St. Helena Hospital and benefitting Clinica Verde.

This family-friendly challenge takes place throughout PUC’s beautiful campus, including trails through pristine forestland. A triathlon, beginner triathlon, triathlon relay, 5K run/walk and kid’s triathlon make it great for all ages. In the style of the popular Xterra off-road series, the adult triathlons feature the excitement of a mountain bike course.

 
Triathlon
3.1 mile run, 10 mile bike, 150 yard swim

Beginner Triathlon
3.1 mile run, 5 mile bike, 150 yard swim

Triathlon Relay

5k Run/Walk
3.1 mile run/walk

Kid’s Triathlon
.75 mile run, .5 mile bike, 25 yard swim
REGISTER NOW.
Click here to find out more

 

Corporate Housing Networking Event – May 7th Phoenix

Sponsored by AvenueWest Phoenix

Network Connection

Connect with CHPA in Phoenix to discuss local trends and issues while networking with other corporate housing professionals in the area.Join us for industry insights, partnership opportunities and more…brought to you by CHPA.

 

Topic: Networking
Host: CHPA
Facilitator: AvenueWest Phoenix
Sponsor: AvenueWest Phoenix, National Corporate Housing, CORT Furniture Rental
Food: Beer/Wine and Appetizers
Cost: Free for both members and guests

Location:

The Simple Farm
9080 E. Cactus Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Show Map

 

Click to Learn more about CHPA / Corporate Housing Providers Association

Tenant Issues: Death, Disease and Cleanup

I know, these are things we are not supposed to talk about, but there is comfort in knowing what to do just in case.

Recently a landlord explained to me that their tenant had an infectious blood disease that when discovered required the entire rental property to stripped of all porous materials.  All furniture, carpet, curtains needed to be removed from the property and properly disposed of.

No need to panic, all costs were covered by the tenant!

The landlord called Aftermath a specialized cleanup company and everything was properly taken care of.

Aftermath provides you with a 28 point checklist to verify the cleanup company you choose:

As a nationwide industry leader, Aftermath maintains the highest standards in cleaning, sanitation, and safety compliance. Many companies profess to have proper licensing and the certifications necessary to perform crime scene cleanup, but are they also legally able to haul away medical waste? Do they carry adequate insurance for the work involved? And how are their employees hired and trained?

Public education is important to Aftermath, so we publish this 28-point checklist illustrating the regulatory compliance and quality assurance standards we follow as part of our commitment to innovation and excellence. Print this out and ask vendors to provide proof of the following:

  1. Evidence of bloodborne pathogen training and compliance. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.1030 et seq.)
  2. Evidence of personal protective equipment training and compliance. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(3)(i) and 29 CFR 1910.132 et seq.)
  3. Evidence of respiratory protection training and compliance. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.134 et seq.)
  4. Evidence of hazardous communication training and compliance. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.1200 et seq.)
  5. Evidence of a heat-illness awareness training program, including an on-site heat-stress level testing program, such as Wet Bulb Globe.
  6. Evidence of job-specific OSHA training, such as Lock Out / Tag Out protocols for cleanings involve machinery, Lift and Fall Protection for cleanings involving ladders and scaffoldings, Hearing Safety for jobs involving high-noise equipment, and Back Safety for any and all lifting performed by employees.
  7. Ongoing OSHA, medical waste handling/transporting, and process training for its employees. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2) et seq. and EPA-40 CFR 745.80 Subpart E)
  8. Evidence of expertise in environmental and regulatory compliance. (DOT, EPA, state & local agencies)
  9. Evidence of compliance with asbestos regulations. (asbestos may be found in older homes & disturbing of asbestos without proper compliance violates multiple state & federal agency regulations)
  10. A written exposure control program in the event of an accidental exposure incident. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1))
  11. A training facility for its employees.
  12. Proof of workers compensation insurance.
  13. Proof of commercial general liability insurance.
  14. Proof of contractor’s environmental liability insurance.
  15. Proof of insurance coverage to protect against theft or property damage.
  16. Proof of auto insurance for all company vehicles.
  17. Biohazard placarding on its vehicles. (DOT-49 CFR Part 172, Subpart D)
  18. Evidence of a medical waste transporter license.
  19. Evidence of a contract with a licensed medical waste disposal company, where applicable.
  20. Evidence of adhering and meeting requirements for packaging, handling, transporting, and reporting of regulated medical waste. (DOT-49 CFR Part 173, Subpart E and 49 CFR Part 173.6 Subpart A and state environmental agency regulations)
  21. Evidence that biohazard technicians have had Hepatitis B vaccinations. (OSHA-29 CFR 1910.1030(f)(2))
  22. Evidence of drug testing of its employees (random and pre-employment)
  23. Evidence of background checks of its employees.
  24. Evidence of clean driving records of its employees.
  25. Evidence that the company does not use sub-contractors to do the remediation work.
  26. Validated references or testimonials from customers.
  27. Evidence of expertise in biohazard remediation.
  28. Specifically designed chemicals formulated to serve the biohazard remediation industry.

Apps for the New Property Owner

New home imagination on green meadowAs a property owner, investor and corporate housing manager, you need to make decisions about interior décor and home improvements while managing your budget and staying on top of your bills. There are several apps that can help you manage all these tasks from the smartphone in your pocket. Having the information you need at your fingertips can make managing your home a lot easier.

Interior Décor

Take a look at the Joss & Main app (available from the iTunes store) for a great example of interior décor guidance for homeowners. There are beautiful images, and the app offers curated designs that can be conveniently recreated in your home. It’s easy to order any of the items displayed on the app, making interior design simple for anyone.

You can simply take your phone on a tour through your home and pick out items that match with your design tastes. Order your products and lay them out as you see in the pictures. Now your phone doubles as a personal interior designer.

Paying Bills

Now that you’re a homeowner, you likely have more than a few accounts with a range of companies. There’s the usual checking and savings account at your bank and probably a few credit cards. Add your mortgage, which may be at a different bank, and all the utilities that come with your house. Even the most organized people let one of these monthly statements fall through the cracks. However, using an app like Check (Check.me), you can bring all these disparate accounts together in a single dashboard. Connect your bank accounts with your credit cards, utility bills, car payment, and mortgage. You’ll know what money you have, where it is, and what bills need to be paid when.

Managing Your Budgeting

If you want a little more help with your finances than simply bringing all your accounts together, Mint (Mint.com) can help you create and stick with a budget. In addition to knowing what bills need to be paid and when, you can set savings and spending goals for a wide range of categories. As a homeowner, you need to be ready when the water heater busts in the middle of the night. The only way to prepare for these unforeseen events is with a budget and savings plan. Keeping this information on your phone makes it easy to reference when you’re making a purchasing decision.

Home Repairs

Probably one of the most handy apps for homeowners is the Bubble Level, available from the Google Play store. You will be surprised how many times you will use this app. Hanging pictures and need a level? No problem. Installing a shelf and want it to be straight? Grab your phone an its done. There are so many times that a homeowner needs a level for repairs around the house, so it’s very convenient to have one on your smartphone.

Real Estate

Do you have the most expensive house on the block, or is yours the ugly duckling? Stay up-to-date on the housing market and your house’s value with a real estate app like Trulia (Trulia.com). Perhaps you’re thinking about a remodel or some other upgrade to your home. If you’re already living in the most expensive house in your neighborhood, then you’ll never get your money back when you sell. However, if you’re in one of the least expensive houses on the block, you may be able to turn a nice profit with some upgrades. In addition to the sale value of your home, you can find out what the rental value is. This is great for investment properties if you’re thinking about renting a room or the whole house. Knowing what your home is worth can help you make these important decisions.

Corporate Housing Reports and Data

ERC – Employee Relocation Council recently had a webinar on “Furnished Housing: The Mysteries and the Facts”  and as a followup the attendees were interested in more Corporate Housing Data here are few resources:

CHBO Annual Report$19.95 on Amazon

The Highland Group: Corporate Housing Annual Report$495.00 Highland Group

The Corporate Housing Handbook$26.96 on Amazon

Idiot’s Guide: Making Money with Rental Properties$14.80 on Amazon

ERC Mobility Article: Corporate Housing Myths Debunked

Corporate Housing Myths Debunked

Mobility magazine, April 2009

Corporate housing always has played a defined role in most corporate relocations. Smith reveals some of the misconceptions about this destination service.

By Kimberly Smith

With the trend toward lump-sum relocations and unstable and unpredictable real estate markets, corporate housing is emerging as the new “it” solution for exhausted homeowners who cannot sell their home and for wearied travelers who desire accommodations beyond a stark hotel room.

In traditional corporate relocations, a transferred executive would be housed temporarily in a corporate housing rental until his or her home was sold. However, in today’s uncertain real estate market, it is not far-fetched to say that it may take that executive a year or more to sell the home, especially in high-end markets. This process can take a financial and mental toll on both the company and the relocated professional.

But the new face of corporate housing is helping battle-worn homesellers through this process. The corporate housing industry is seeing a slew of individuals convert their homes into corporate housing rentals. They are earning real income on the property and offsetting the financial burden and stress involved with today’s homeselling and relocation processes.

With all these changes in the corporate housing landscape, it never has been more important for relocation professionals to understand the new face of corporate housing. I hope this article will help put to bed any commonly held myths about the industry and enable relocation professionals to become more knowledgeable and strategic corporate housing connoisseurs.

Myth #1: Corporate Housing Is Just an Extended Stay Hotel in Disguise

Corporate housing and extended stay hotels are two vastly different types of accommodations that often are thought to be interchangeable. While both offer short-term, furnished accommodations, it is important to understand that the similarities between the two lodging types end there.

Corporate housing typically offers larger square footage, costs less than hotels, offers full customer service, and is used for stays averaging one month or more (the average corporate housing stay is 81 days, according to the 2008 Highlands Group Corporate Housing report).

While these differences are significant, Paul Bates, president of Corporate Accommodations, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says he believes these superficial differences do not really define the true disparities between corporate housing and extended stay hotels. Instead, Bates defines the difference as residential housing versus transient housing. Corporate housing provides complete temporary housing solutions within a stable residential setting unlike extended stay hotels, which are surrounded by an open parking lot and are filled entirely by transient guests.

Understanding these unique and sometimes subtle differences between corporate housing and extended stay hotels can save a company thousands of dollars and provide guests with a more pleasant and positive stay.

Myth #2: A Company Easily Can Do Corporate Housing for Less

As the corporate housing industry evolved in the 1980s, a number of large corporations believed it would be cost effective to purchase and furnish condominiums for their employees’ exclusive use. These companies believed that do-it-yourself corporate housing could save thousands of dollars. But the truth is that going it alone actually was much more costly and extremely frustrating. In fact, many companies signed up for way more than they bargained for.

Elaine Quiroz, president of Corporate Housing Strategies, Roanoke, Virginia, agrees and says that most companies that try to set up their own corporate housing apartments eventually return to working with a corporate housing provider for two reasons, the first of which is that they often do not consider how involved and costly it can be to set up a new corporate apartment. “They often underestimate the time and money involved in scheduling, paying connection and delivery fees, and the costs for furniture, housewares, telephone, electricity, water, and Internet,” says Quiroz.

Second, Quiroz says that these companies also do not take into account the “set-up time involved,” such as waiting four hours for the cable company to simply show up or fixing a leaky dishwasher at 2:00 a.m. Plus, it takes many hours to coordinate set up and take down of a property, not to mention cleaning, inspecting, and coordinating transition details with the guest. These additional activities can add up to hundreds of wasted hours, and time is money.

In addition to the time and effort involved in do-it-yourself corporate housing, there also are a lot of hidden costs involved with owning and/or managing a property. Companies must provide an upfront down payment (when purchasing a property) or pay a security deposit (when renting an apartment). They also may have to sign a long lease and pay rent each month regardless of whether there is a guest in the apartment. On top of that, the company must furnish, service, maintain, and insure the property—all very costly and timely endeavors for an organization whose core job function is not property management.

Quiroz says it never occurred to these companies that corporate housing was not a one transaction deal. “It’s not like buying a television, where you shop around, make a purchase, walk out of the store, and it’s done. When a corporate housing provider arranges your housing, they are the point-of-contact for the guest from start to finish providing move-in instructions and a host of other questions the guest will inevitably have.”

Myth #3: Corporate Housing Is Only for the Business Traveler

Corporate housing often is misunderstood as only a business-to-business product when it actually is a defined element of the overall lodging industry that is used by individuals every day.

In simplistic terms, corporate housing provides short-term furnished housing, offering dozens of reasons everyday people need and use it. In fact, corporate housing is not just about traveling business executives and relocated professionals, but also about the 200,000 annual traveling nurses; 600,000 annual military personnel and their dependents; displaced homeowners because of insurance issues or divorce; professional athletes who get traded from city to city; theater professionals filming a movie or traveling with a show; consultants on a project; employees at training programs, on extended vacations, on extended family visits, or having out of state medical procedures; elected government officials serving outside of their district; personnel involved in special events or large sporting events; traveling professors or graduate students; and many others.

In other words, corporate housing is not just for a relocated or traveling businessperson, but for anyone who wants the space, convenience, and comforts that a home away from home can offer.

Myth #4: All Corporate Housing Companies and Leasing Agents are the Same

While many professionals believe that all corporate housing companies and leasing agents are the same, the truth is that there are important and unique differences between the three popular types of corporate housing companies. It is critical for relocation professionals to understand these differences when deciding on what kind of company or agent to work with.

First, there are “service companies.” These companies rent apartments, furnish and equip them, then offer the apartments as corporate housing rentals.

Second, there are “apartment companies,” which own or manage large apartment complexes. These companies use some of their inventory as furnished corporate housing units.

Third, there are “management companies,” which are real estate property management companies that manage properties owned and furnished by individual real estate investors. A relocated executive with a family and/or pet probably would appreciate a unique home in a neighborhood setting that is managed by a management company, whereas a company needing to place numerous executives in similar properties may need 20 units all the same and located within an apartment complex.

Once a relocated professional has chosen the right “kind” of company to work with, it is important to understand that each company offers different services and amenities. Asking the right questions of your corporate housing management company or agent will ensure a more pleasant experience for all. Some important questions to ask include:

Rates. What does the monthly rate include? Are there preferred rates for larger accounts? Are there additional fees? These questions will help a guest enter into a corporate housing lease agreement more knowledgeable and confident.

Location. Is there a local office or on-site contact should the guest require assistance? If the company does not have a local office, ask how the company handles client requests and property issues.

Services. What additional services does the corporate housing company provide? For example, is there 24-hour maintenance service or other amenities that will make the stay pleasant?

Accreditation. Is the company a Corporate Housing Providers Assoc­iation (CHPA) member? CHPA is the trade organization for the corporate housing industry and requires specific levels of professionalism, excellence, customer service, and ethical standards. Ask whether the leasing agents are Certified Corporate Housing Professionals (CCHP). The CCHP certification means that the corporate housing professional has met clear industry standards. These accreditations will enable a relocation manager to distinguish a quality corporate housing agent from the pack.

Experience. What percentage of the corporate housing company’s business is involved in corporate relocations? Finding an experienced provider can be a bonus in this changing marketplace.

Protection. How are the company and its vendors insured? This is especially important to find out when working with management companies that manage properties offered by individual homeowners.

Policies. What is the company’s policy when a guest does not like the property? Does it have other options available to accommodate that guest?

Because not all corporate housing management companies and agents are the same, it is of the utmost im­portance to ask as many questions as you can think of each and every time. The experienced and quality companies will be able to address all your questions and concerns with ease.

The Times They Are a Changin’

Corporate housing has come a long way in the past three decades and continues to evolve into a popular lodging solution for travelers of all walks of life. Change tends to breed misconceptions, so it has never been more important for relocation professionals to stay apprised and knowledgeable about the corporate housing industry. And even though the corporate housing industry has and likely will continue to change, relocation professionals can count on one thing staying the same: corporate housing always has and will continue to provide short-term furnished housing to individuals and business executives who need a place to call home, even if only for a short while.

Kimberly Smith is an elected board member of the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA), Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband, Eric, are the founders of AvenueWest Corporate Housing, Inc., a corporate housing management company, Denver, Colorado, and CorporateHousingByOwner­.com, a website connecting private individuals offering fully furnished rentals with corporate housing seekers. She can be reached at +1 877 944 8283 or e-mail ksmith@awch.com.