Corporate Housing Dictionary..its not Webster’s

Since we have been doing Corporate Housing for more than 20 years we take for granted that we all speak the same language:)  When we created CHBO Complete our goal was to create a tool to get renters and property owners on the same page as quickly as possible.  But every time I hire an new employee here at our Corporate Housing Management Company I am reminded how many terms we use that can be new to others.corporate housing key exchange

Here at CHBO we work hard to make both our property owners and tenants the most educated and successful Corporate Housing users possible.  So I thought this list of terms might make your life easier.  

The Corporate Housing Dictionary

Corporate Housing – Corporate housing industry is a segment of the lodging industry that provides products, services and support of furnished, temporary housing.

Corporate Housing Provider – A corporate housing provider is a business that receives direct compensation for providing corporate housing, as defined.

3rd Party Client- A business (example: a relocation consulting company) that facilitates all or part of corporate transferees relocation. They are the go between the client corporation (the transferee’s employer) and the corporate housing company.

Apartment Corporate Housing Providers -  Apartment communities that offer Corporate Housing in some of their apartments.

Apartment set-up – The process that includes all of the steps required to transform a vacant unit to a corporate apartment including securing the unit with a lease, setting up utilities, delivery of furniture and housewares.

Benefit Period – A specified duration of time in which the client agrees to cover charges of goods and/or services provided by a supplier.

Bi-Monthly Service Rotation – A service that occurs on a routine basis every other month.

Bi-Weekly Service Rotation – A service that occurs on a routine basis every other week.

Corporate Housing Handbook

Branding – The process of creating and maintaining a consistent image of a product or service

Client – The contact that is securing/negotiating the lease on behalf of the occupant.

Client master agreement – An agreement with a client that encompasses one or multiple units combined with a reservation confirmation.

Close out procedures – The process that includes all of the steps required to transform a corporate apartment to a vacant unit including: giving the required notice to vacate, removal of all furniture and housewares, as well disconnecting all of the utilities.

Core Inventory – The sum of all the units leased/managed by a corporate housing provider for repetitive rental.  Not those LOD units setup for just one rental.

Credit card authorization form – A written authorization giving the corporate housing company permission to charge a credit card, from the person responsible for payment, including rent, deposits, damages, or utilities. The authorization may be recurring or one time.

Deposit – A deposit that is paid to the property to be applied towards damages beyond normal wear and tear. Corporate housing companies may also require a refundable deposit to be used in the event of damages from their clients.

Fair housing – A federal law, passed in1968 and subsequent amendments, that protects the 7 protected classes against discrimination in regards to access to housing. The seven protected classes are: race, national origin, color, religion, familial status, handicap and sex.

Final cleans – The housekeeping procedure that is performed once the corporate housing company removes all of the furnishings and is preparing to return the unit back to the property management company.

Intranet – An internal website that is only accessible by employees of the host company.

Lease Agreement – The lease document that is signed between the corporate housing provider and the property, as well as between the corporate housing provider and the client.

Lease Matrix – A report that illustrates lease expiration dates. Also known as a lease expiration report.

Linen & Towel Program  Utilized by Managed Corporate Housing Providers this is an annual fee paid by property owners that allowes the corporate housing provider to offer standardized linen & towels in all rental units and maintain items at the highest standards possible.

LOD / Lease on Demand -  A property that leased by the corporate housing provider with a fixed lease term that matchs the need and lease of a specific client.

Long Distance Block – A process that prohibits access to long distance services on the telephone.

LOR / Letter of Responsibility -  A letter signed by a corporation taking financial responsibility for their employee living in a rental and any damage they may be cause.  Used both in place of and with a security deposit.

Lump Sum Relocation Coverage – A relocation package that provides an employee with a specific dollar amount to cover the relocation needs of the employee and their family that they are free to use at their discretion. 

Maintenance Blocks – A temporary block placed on an available property to allow for maintenance to be done.

Managed Corporate Housing Providers – Real estate companies that manage properties owned and furnished by individual real estate investors.

Master Community Lease – An agreement with a community that encompasses one or multiple units.

Master Lease – A lease taken out on a property by a corporate housing company with the expectation that the majority of the lease term can be subleased for a profit.

Mirroring a Lease – The policy in which the individual who is receiving the product must sign or is obligated in writing to the same length of lease that the service provider is required to commit in order to obtain or solidify the transaction.

MSA – Metropolitan Statistical Area, a city and its areas of influence; most MSAs consist of several counties.  MSA and “market” are used interchangeably.

Notice to Vacate – A written notice to inform of intent to vacate the unit. Could be completed by the client to give notice to the corporate housing company or completed by the corporate housing company to give notice to the apartment community.

Number of Units - The number of units is the average number of available apartments in inventory, by market, for the month.

Occupancy % - Occupancy percentage is calculated by dividing the number of occupied unit nights for the month by the total number of available unit nights for the month.  A unit may not have more than 100% occupancy during a month.

Occupant – The individual or family that is occupying the unit.

Off Line – The term used to refer to a property leaving the rental inventory.

On Line – The term used to refer to a property entering the rental inventory.

Outsourcing – To obtain goods and/or services from a supplier outside of your current company’s primary function.

Owner Block -  In managed properties this is time reserved for use by the property owner.

Pet Deposit – A deposit that is paid to the property to be applied towards damages as a result of the pet. Pet deposits may be non refundable or refundable.

Pet Rent – Additional rent due to the property on a monthly basis as long as a pet is in the apartment.

PM Unit / Property Management – A property that is under real estate property management by the provider.

Property Profile – Description of the property and amenities.

Provider – Another name for a corporate housing company.

PTE (Permission to Enter) – Written permission from the occupant or lessee authorizing others to enter an apartment. Also called a key release.

Quality Assurance (QA) – The process of inspecting a unit prior to guest move-in to ensure that unit is ready.

Referral Fee – A sum received by the referring party for a lead that results in a booked reservation or the completion of a transaction.

Reservation Confirmation – The document used in conjunction with a client master agreement that lists the specifics regarding a particular occupant’s stay (including arrival/departure dates, apartment address, etc.)

RFI – (Request for Information) A formal document requesting general information on a company and/or its services.

RFP – (Request for Proposal) A formal document used to procure services or goods, which may or may not include pricing. An RFP can include: scope of work, service level agreements, length of agreement, company backgrounds, audited financial statements and references.

RFQ – (Request for Quotation) A formal document used to procure services or goods, which includes pricing.

Seasonal Clean – A clean done on a property in the core inventory of a provider.  A seasonal clean address items not taken care of in a departure clean: behind refrigerator, ceiling vents, baseboards, door frames and other hard to reach areas.

Security Deposit – A refundable fee collected by the provider to cover damage to the property.

Security Deposit Waiver – A monthly fee charged to a tenant in place of a security deposit that protects the tenant for accidental damaged done to a rental property up to a specified ceiling.

Service Level Agreement – An agreement used to ensure the performance of service providers.

Service Corporate Housing Providers – These companies rent apartments, furnish and equip them, then offer the apartments as corporate housing.

SODA (Statement of Deposit Account) – A written accounting of the status of a deposit once a unit is vacated. Any charges as a result of damages or unpaid rent are itemized.

TDY – (Temporary Duty Year) Government employee on assignment at more or more locations, away from the permanent duty station (PDS), under orders providing for further assignment, or pending further assignment, to return to the old PDS or to proceed to a new PDS.

Turn Clean – The housekeeping procedure that is performed between occupants.

Turnover – The process of preparing an apartment between occupants.

Unit inventory management – The process of managing unit inventory to minimize vacancy loss.

Utility Allowance – The maximum amount budgeted for utilities in a corporate unit. A utility expense larger than the utility allowance may result in additional expense for the client or occupant.

Vacancy Loss – The period in which the corporate apartment is set up and no rental income is recognized.

Vendors – Companies that provide goods and services to corporate housing providers.

Virtual Corporate Housing Providers -  Corporate Housing companies that maintain no core inventory and only setup leased properties corresponding to the needs of a specific tenant.

Wholesaling – The process of a corporate housing company renting a corporate apartment from another corporate housing company.

Work Orders – A request to the property to complete maintenance in the unit or common area of the community. May also be called a maintenance request.


KEY INDICATORS

ADR (Average Daily Rate) - The average daily rate is calculated by dividing the total month’s rental revenue by the total number of occupied unit nights for the month.

  • Occupied unit – A unit that is rented to a guest or client is considered occupied if there is a signed lease for it during the dates being reported. This includes all reservations at full rate, discounted rate or having a complimentary rate code. The number of guests or reservations assigned to the unit during the month is not considered.
  • Rental revenue – The revenue charged to the guest for unit rent. The rental revenue is the rate charged each guest times the number of nights the guest stayed in the unit during the month.  Rental revenue is shown in local currency (US $, Canadian $, UK £)

Gross Profit - Gross profit is calculated by subtracting all direct expenses from the total revenue billed for the month. Total revenue includes all sources of revenue, including long distance telephone calls and any other extra charge posted to a guest or client account.

  • Total revenue - Is calculated by adding all charges billed for each unit during the month. This includes all rental revenue, telephone revenue, revenue from extra services, etc. This also includes any fees paid by guests, including early departure, pet cleaning, etc. However, deposits are not to be included in this number.
  • Direct expenses - Include apartment rent paid to landlords, furniture rental, operating stock expense, housekeeping labor, housekeeping supplies, and utility expense (including electric, gas, water and sewage, local telephone, cable television). In addition, unit repairs and maintenance, and other fees (referral fees and commissions, parking expenses, key expense, auxiliary warehouse rent expense, consumable expense, welcome bag expense, etc) are included in this figure.

Gross Profit% - The gross profit percentage (%) is calculated by subtracting direct expenses from the total revenue, then dividing number by the total revenue.

Net Profit - The Net Profit is calculated by subtracting Total Expenses (including overhead) from Total Revenue

Net Profit % - The Net Profit percentage is calculated by dividing the Net Profit by Total Revenue.

Net Profit Variance - The net profit variance is calculated by subtracting the budgeted net profit from the actual net profit, then dividing that amount by the budgeted net profit.

RevPar - Revenue per available unit. RevPar is calculated as “Gross Revenue divided by number of units rented.” It is a component of rate and occupancy.

Relocation Terms 

BMA    Broker Market Analysis/BMA – A standard relocation industry format used by an agent to establish the most likely sales price and suggested list price of a property.

BPO    Broker’s Market Analysis (BMA)/Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO): A written market analysis of recent comparable sales and listings with suggestions for marketing strategies.

BVO    Buyer Value Option (BVO) – A home sale program in which the value for the home is established by a bona fide offer from an outside buyer, and not by an appraised value offer from the employer or relocation service company.

Home Purchase Programs Definitions: Buyer Value Option (BVO) 

The Buyer Value Option, which is a variation of the Amended Value program, is in wide use in relocation home purchase programs.

In a “standard” BVO, the employer does not obtain appraisals of the home nor does it make an initial or guaranteed offer to purchase the home, although it is always understood that the employer intends to purchase the home once the employee has tested the market and, in doing so, received a purchase offer. The employee proceeds to market the home. Broker selection, marketing assistance, home marketing advice, and so forth, are specified in the company policy, and generally would not be different for this home purchase option than for any other option. When the employee selects a broker, the employee’s listing agreement with the broker must include the standard exclusion clause to avoid triggering income to the employee in the amount of the broker commission when the home is sold to the employer.

Once the employee has obtained an offer, that offer establishes the value (the “buyer value”), and that is what the employer offers the employee for the home. Clearly, that value, established by an actual offer from an unrelated buyer, will be respected as fair market value. Thereafter, the process proceeds just as it would in an Amended Value purchase: An unconditional, non-contingent offer is made by the employer to the employee; the employer then attempts to negotiate and close its own sale to the buyer who made the outside offer.

If the employee does not obtain an outside offer within the initial marketing period (which may vary in duration-some programs do not specify a marketing period at all), procedures vary. In some programs, a new marketing period is established, and the process simply is repeated until an outside offer is obtained. In others, at some specified time, the company will convert the transaction to a regular purchase, obtain one or more appraisals, and buy the home from the employee. The latter procedure, sometimes called a “delayed Amended Value,” is much to be preferred from a tax standpoint.

CMA    The best method available to home sellers to learn their home’s current value so they can select the best sale price is a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis. CMA is the term real estate agents use when they conduct an in-depth analysis of a home’s worth in today’s market.

GBO    guaranteed buyout program  At the same time, only 25% of companies offer a traditional guaranteed buyout program (GBO) exclusively— down from 34% in 2008. The majority of companies that tier home sale benefits reserve the GBO program for senior-level current employees and new hires, and provide the buyer value option (BVO) to new hires and mid-management.

Home Marketing Controls Among companies that use a GBO program, the vast majority (43%) order appraisals immediately. This shows that companies increasingly understand how crucial the objective, qualified opinion of an appraisal is to developing a marketing plan and establishing realistic expectations among transferees. The fact that the vast majority of companies (75%) now require a minimum amount of time to market the home before employees can accept the guaranteed offer is another sign of employers taking greater control of the home marketing process to minimize relocation costs.

RC    Relocation Consultant Usually refers to the manager of a relocation process, can be an individual, a relocation company or freelance specialist

RFI    Commonly used phrase describing a potential client’s ‘Request for Information’. Usually a preliminary to receiving a RFP

RFP    Commonly used phrase for a ‘Request for Proposal or Pricing’. A form of tendering out proposed business in order to identify and choose suitable providers

RFQ    Request for Quote – this is essentially the same as an RFP

RMC    Relocation Management Company (RMC) These are large specialist companies who advise and manage global moves for multinational companies

TCO    Total Cost of Ownership

Corporate Housing Dictionary – We will work to keep our on-line Corporate Housing Dictionary up to date. Please book this page for later reference.

Housing Tip for Super Bowl XLIX

Corporate Housing has long been the lodging solution of choice for professional athletes as they get acquired or traded from city to city and now smart sports fans can find great Super Bowl XLIX lodging solutions through Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO).

In my mind the NFL season started this week as our favorite teams take the field in city to city weekly combat.  In 2015, Phoenix Arizona will welcome not just Super Bowl XLIX but also the annual Pro Bowl.  Where are you going to stay? Did you know the Super Bowl kickoff is in just 177 days?

Over the years we have always enjoyed renting furnished housing properties to athletes from the NBA to the MLB.  We have been able to meet most of their specific requests like huge televisions, to special requests like covering skylights, so they can sleep during the day or helping baseball players move from one city to the next as they get moved up and down from Triple A Ball.

Corporate Housing TIP:

So if you are a true sport fan, my guess is you will be spending a few nights in Arizona. So what is the tip?  Have you thought about renting a corporate housing property for a month or two?  Do you live in a city with lots of snow?  You may even want to rent a property in Arizona for 4 months or more.  The longer you confirm your corporate housing rental the lower the monthly rental rate!  Most corporate housing rentals offer a monthly discount for as little as a 3 month lease.

Yes, the entire town of Phoenix will be full if you wait to find a place to stay, but right now there is a large variety of amazing properties to rent. So take a few minutes and surf the web and book your winter holiday for a few months or more and avoid both the snow and the high rates of hotels.

If you are looking for football details checkout http://azsuperbowl.com.

If you are looking for housing in Phoenix checkout, Phoenix Corporate Housing Rentals

Don’t hold it against me, I am still cheering for the Denver Broncos!

 

 

Corporate Housing: Home Remodel

Did you know a lot of people move out of their primary residence and live in corporate housing during a major home remodel?

If moving out of your primary residence is not possible for you during a home remodel, especially a kitchen remodel there are some great tips that can make life less stressful and even possibly manageable.  Remember, if the dust and noise becomes too much staying in a corporate housing property even for a month may help save the sanity of your family and maybe even some blood sweat and tears :)

Here are some great tips from the experts:

Dishwashing Tips During a Kitchen Remodel

Going through a home remodel can be challenging enough without adding the stresses of living in the home during the renovation process. Everything is dirty, disorganized and your entire life can feel like it’s been turned upside down.

Take, for example, a kitchen remodel that transforms the hub of the home into a construction zone. Not only do you have limited access (if any) to cooking appliances for making home-cooked meals, but you almost certainly must forego your sink/dishwashing capability.Home Remodel

This was the case for my husband and I last fall when we renovated our fixer-upper kitchen from top to bottom. We replaced all appliances and installed new cabinets, silver gray Silestone quartz countertops and dropped in a new single basin sink with brushed nickel faucet. Due to a back-up with the countertop fabricator, our 3 week wait time was extended to 7-8 weeks, during which we were without running water in the kitchen.

Rather than running for the hills (or more accurately, coming back after I ran for them several times), I took the setback as an opportunity to exercise my adaptability muscles and came up with some efficient tips and tricks for making the most of an uncomfortable situation. Namely, washing dishes in the bathtub, and creating a system to make that as painless as possible.

Establish a New Kitchen Command Center

The last thing you want to do is pack up your entire kitchen, or arrange everything you’ll use on a daily basis in a way that prohibits easy access to what you need. Instead, select a centralized location that is out of the way enough that it won’t become covered in debris, but that is close enough to not disrupt your lifestyle too much.

For us, I set up a butcher block island right outside of the kitchen in the living room and only kept a few sets of cutlery and dishes out. Everything else I packed into boxes that were unsealed (in case we needed something) but clearly labeled and arranged in a way that made sense.

At the end of each day, I washed the dishes and returned them to the new kitchen command center.

Set Up a System

When it comes to the actual dishwashing, the more prepared you are, the better. This is another place that only washing one load a day is great, because you reduce the amount of back-breaking time spent cleaning in your tub.

First things first, clean your tub like your mother-in-law is coming to visit! The last thing you want to do is clean your eating utensils amidst soap scum and residue. From there, it’s time to introduce how you can use your dishwasher in entirely new ways!

Fortunately, our new dishwasher has two removable racks, so we were able to use the top rack for piling all of our dirty dishes in and the bottom rack for drying them post-wash.

Start by pre-wiping all of your dishes with a paper towel in the trash can. Since you don’t have access to a disposal (or a dishwasher with a grinder feeding into the disposal), it’s imperative that you don’t leave bits of food to clog up your tub.

Next, fill the tub with a couple of inches of hot, soapy water and place all of the dishes into the water. I set up a little assembly line that involved moving the dishes from the top rack into the water, scrubbing them and allowing them to sit as I worked on the others, rinsing them all off one by one and transferring them over to the waiting bottom rack that I had placed on top of a towel to absorb the drips.

After washing all of the dishes and rinsing out the tub, I moved the entire bottom rack back into the kitchen command center to dry fully before stacking them again neatly for the next day.

Go With the Flow

My overall best piece of advice is to be as flexible as possible. Any homeowner who has ever updated their property can attest, kitchen construction rarely follows the script, and being prepared for extenuating circumstances beforehand can help you avoid some unnecessary (and unproductive) meltdowns along the way.

What are some other kitchen renovation survival techniques you’ve developed along the way?

Rheney Williams lives in Charleston, S.C., and writes about her DIY home projects for Home Depot. Rheney’s recent renovation of her kitchen has given her plenty of tips to provide to other homeowners struggling to maintain normalcy, including using the dishwasher under somewhat stressful conditions. Home Depot’s dishwasher selection, including the style Rheney has in her kitchen, can be viewed here.

 

If you are interested in your updating your Corporate Housing Rental then take a minute to review some cost saving ideas in The Corporate Housing Handbook.

 

Corporate Housing: Standards and CHBO Complete ™

CHBO has long been a supporter of Corporate Housing Standards and that is why we believe CHBO Complete ™ is the most important tool CHBO offers to both our travelers and our properties.

In a recent Worldwide ERC Mobility Magazine article “Online Marketplaces – What you see is not always what you get”  Amanda Cook, Director of Membership and Marketing for the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) talks about the lack of housing standards for the Corporate Housing Industry and says “Not All corporate housing is created equal.”

We totally agree and that is why from the very beginning of CHBO we setup the CHBO Complete ™  standards to allow tenants and properties the platform of standards and sCHBO Complete Logoet expectations.

What is CHBO Complete ™?

CHBO Complete ™ is a quality seal that identifies properties that meet or exceed the minimum standards as stated by the corporate housing industry and expected by the standard corporate housing tenant.

We created CHBO Complete ™ as a way to quickly identify properties that include everything experienced renters expect to find in a quality furnished rental. When a property listing bears this seal, it communicates value, indicates the housing provider has followed the guidelines given in the CHBO Handbook.

CHBO Complete

CHBO complete includes specific inventory items and utilities (phone, cable, internet, utilities) are all included in one monthly rental rate facilitating a quality rental experience. The “tenant review process” successfully serves as a checks and balance system.

News: Mobility and Corporate Housing Trends

For the last few years since our article “Corporate Housing Myths Debunked” appeared in Mobility Magazine in 2009, Mobility Magazine features an articles on Corporate Housing.  corporate housing key exchange

This month there were two articles: “More Like Home” and “Online Marketplaces”

Two Trends mentioned:

1) Corporations are combining their business travel and corporate housing functions.

2) Business travelers expect accommodations that suit their lifestyles no matter the length of the assignment.

According to “More Like Home”  - “The hybridization of corporate housing and business travel is creating new audiences for relocation firms.  Smaller firms and entrepreneurs who traditionally relied on hotel stays may find that relocation firms can help them get better prices and offer help moving in and out.”

“Discriminating travelers and businesses merging their travel and housing functions will continue to create opportunities, relocation professionals agree.”

“As travelers have become more savvy and they travel more, they want more.  Today, business travelers accustom to corporate housing go to a city from the onset wanting to be in a space that is larger than a hotel room.”

Learn more about corporate housing standards in The Corporate Housing Handbook

Read more NEWS about Corporate Housing

Investor Tips: Corporate Rental Home Upgrades

One of the great things about a CHBO Complete corporate rental home is that the property owner has paid attention to all the important details both big and small that will make any extended stay renter feel right at home.  This is way 18% of CHBO renters last year rented for a year or longer.  Since we are experts in corporate housing and not in home decor, I thought you could use some simple tips from a real decor expert – Kimberly

 

Easy Ways to Upgrade and Make Your Corporate Rental Feel Like Home

By Jennifer Lutz

CHBO Rental PropertyRenting out your property as a corporate housing rental doesn’t need to dampen your decorating style.  There are plenty of ways you can make a rented space as fabulous as you want it to be. Turn your corporate housing rental property into an inviting home and a property everyone wants to rent by using these fun and easy tricks!

Lighting

Rental LightingChanging your lights is a simple yet effective way to change your rental home without spending a lot. Most rentals have stark white walls, so lessen the impact by changing out white lighting for yellow or orange lighting using lamps and pendant lights.

Lighting with lower wattage creates a more intimate feel to your space while keeping the focus away from the walls. You can also install decorative light fixtures to update your rental’s overall look, and make your space warm and inviting.

Walls

Paint

Rental UpgradeUse bold colors to make a statement and always paint over chipped and marked walls.  This will help you create a smooth look without rebuilding the entire wall.

Temporary Wallpaper

Wallpaper is an efficient way to cover up cracked or hCorporate Rental Designole-filled walls. If it’s within your budget, you can use removable wallpaper to cover up your walls. This type of wallpaper is easier to put up and peel off–just use a knife to peel off the corner before pulling off the rest of the wallpaper.  Have fun and make it fresh each year.

Wall Decals

Wall decals are a creative way to hide the most unbecoming parts of your walls. There are plenty of designs you can choose from, and you can even make your own if you’re feeling inspired. There are tutorials on the web like this one from Home Life that you can follow.

Portraits/Framed Pictures

Framed photos and portraits make it easier to creatively hide marks and nail holes on the walls of your rental space. Photos are also effective solutions when dealing with a lone crack or hole on the wall.

Floors

Rug Accents

Rugs are your best friend when it comes to camouflaging the floors of your rental home, especially the unsightly tiles or cracks. Also, choose rugs that cover most of your floor to reduce nicks and scratch marks made by furniture.

Storage

Open Shelves

When renting a small apartment, the best way to maximize your storage space is to look up. Utilize all the storage space your walls provide by installing shelves, giving you space for your books, photos, and other mementos.

Personal Touches

Hardware

Changing out the old hardware is a quick and affordable way to update your décor and give your rental space some personality. Choose door knobs and cabinet pulls that complement your style and the rest of your interior design.

Curtains

Decor items

If your apartment comes with unflattering metal or plastic blinds on the windows, hide them by using drapes and curtains. Hanging curtains also gives your home a fresh look without a huge investment.

Furniture

Even if you’re only renting for a short term, think long-term when choosing your furniture. Buying furniture that lasts a long time, both in quality and style, saves you money in the long run as you can always use these pieces when you move.

Open ShelvingDesigner Kitchen

Remove your cupboard doors to turn your drab cabinets into open shelving. Doing this makes your rental space look more spacious, and you might even find extra storage space you ordinarily wouldn’t notice.

Artwork

Whether you buy or create your own, decorating your space with artwork brings your personality into your décor. From modern paintings to paper crafts, add visual interest to your rental space to make it livelier.

Plants

Rental Home

Add a bit of green to your décor to revitalize a bleak rental property. Whether in flower boxes outside your window or potted herbs on your kitchen countertop, you can quickly and affordably liven up your home with a few plants.

You can turn your rental space into a warm and inviting home without going over the budget. Enjoy a beautiful rental property with these fun tips and tricks!

Jennifer Lutz is the home décor expert at www.christmastreemarket.com. Jennifer frequently blogs about home decorating, including this recent article about decorating your home for summer: http://blog.christmastreemarket.com/2014/06/5-tips-for-a-summer-friendly-home/.

TIP:  Now that you have done all this work it is time to UPDATE your marketing photos.  Have you tried the new easy way to upload all your photos at once into your CHBO account?  Need Help?  Watch a CHBO How to Video!

And as always if you log into your CHBO Dashboard you will find more resources to make your corporate housing rental as successful as possible.

Homeowners: Insurance Adjusters and Corporate Housing

Corporate Housing is the solution smart insurance adjusters offer you when water and other damage forces you out of your home.

Welcome to summer – tis the season for water damage!  Maybe it is just me, but there seems to be more that our fair share of too much water.

Insurance Claim from Water Damage

Time to call the insurance adjuster!

One of my neighbors was just washing a pair of baseball pants, turned the sink water on and forgot about it for a few hours.  After a month of cleaning and drying the entire family, dog and cat all need to move out for at least 2 weeks while the hardwood floors get done.

Their homeowner’s insurance offered them a month in corporate housing or two weeks in an extended stay.  With the dog and the cat and 3 kids a corporate housing rental home would be their best lodging solution.  The insurance adjuster gave them a list of property owners who rent out their homes and said they use CHBO everyday to help find the right furnished temporary home solution.  The adjuster also mentioned they try and stay away from AirBnB because a lot of times the properties really aren’t designed as rentals and are dirty and too filled with personal items so they prefer to have their displaced homeowners stay in corporate housing rentals that are designed for these types of housing needs.

TIP:  Turn your water off when you go on vacation!

Ok, so then another neighbor two weeks later goes on a 10 day cruise.  They noticed the washing machine wasn’t working but thought they would fix it when they got back and forgot to turn off the water to the house.  5 days later the housekeeper arrived to find gallons of water pouring out of if the washing machine.  Time for cleanup again!  We have not heard how long they will need to be out of their house and staying in short term housing.

Lightning Strike!

This morning I was talking with our managed corporate housing company in Fort Collins, Colorado and they just found a perfect corporate housing rental for a displaced homeowner who’s home was struck by lightning.  The insurance adjuster in this case is thinking the family will need to be in their furnished corporate housing rental for at least 6 months.

TO DO:

  • Call your insurance company and confirm your policy comes with extended stay lodging coverage should you be unable to live in your home.
  • When leaving for an extended stay turn off your water at the main valve or ask the house sitter to walk the house every other day.
  • Have a great water free summer!

 

Mistakes: Don’t loose money with your rental property

10 Mistakes Rental Property Owners Make

  1. Not properly screening a potential tenant
  2. Thinking Craig’s List will give you the quality tenant you are looking for
  3. Listing your rental on too many sites without updating availability
  4. Allowing a tenant to move-in without a written agreement
  5. Pricing your property too high or too low
  6. Taking the first tenant who calls
  7. Ignoring your gut instinct
  8. Not getting the rent payment before the tenant moves in
  9. Sending the keys in a basic envelope and way before arrival
  10. Furnishing the property with less than the tenant expects

Hmmm – Have you done any of these?  At CHBO we work hard to give you the informational tools you need to avoid these and other pitfalls that can cause your rental property’s income to be lower than you expected.

Register for Free on CHBO and access the “Resources” tab for handbooks, annual reports and document templates to assure you avoid any of these pitfalls. 

Corporate Housing Handbook

Tips: Reduce Liability

12 Tips for Reducing Your Rental Management Liability

 Adding rental and property management services can boost your profitability. Be sure to protect those gains with these 12 risk-management ideas.

By G.M. Filisko

It can be a wise move to broaden your business base by expanding the services your brokerage offers, and handling rentals and property management is a natural segment into which to expand.

That’s especially true given market changes in the past few years. “For the past couple of years, we’ve seen more first-time landlords—people who couldn’t sell their home and wouldn’t have ordinarily been landlords,” explains T.J. Rubin, managing broker of Fulton Grace Realty in Chicago, a leasing, management, and brokerage company. “We’ve also seen a growth in single- unit condo investors. Maybe they’ve seen a foreclosure and bought it intending to rent it out. Finally, there’s been a trend of more luxury units being rented.”

Rubin’s experience is being repeated throughout the country, and all those rental markets present opportunities for brokers. However, rental management isn’t hazard-free. Without savvy planning and controls, you can expose your company to liability that could wipe out any added profitability you generate. Here are 12 great ideas to safeguard your company when you offer rental management. Rental Property

1. Create a separate legal entity.

Operate your rental management business out of a company separate from your brokerage, advises lawyer Bruce Ailion, ABR®, CRS®, CRBsm, e-PRO®. Ailion is an associate broker
at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta in Marietta, Ga. However, through Success Real Estate Brokers, at which he’s the principal broker, Ailion manages about 110 rental units.

“It is easier to do the management though a separate company,” he says. “Our structure was done for accounting convenience. But it’s also a good strategy for minimizing liability.”

2. Don’t manage a property here and there.

“Don’t just rent out a property as a favor
to someone,” says Kimberly Smith, CEO
of CorporateHousingbyOwner.com and Avenue West Global Franchise, a Denver-area brokerage that manages furnished residential units and trains franchisees to do the same. “Make sure rentals and management are part
of your core business model. Unless you know who to connect with—like the most appropriate insurance vendors—you’ll fail.”

“You also need to know your local laws,” adds Smith. “They’ll dictate whether you need to collect use taxes on rentals; whether owners have to provide a written notice within a certain period of time to keep any of a tenant’s deposit, along with what charges can be deducted and not; whether you have to keep security deposits in escrow; and when and how in your marketing you must disclose you’re a broker. Don’t dabble in property management because there are penalties if you get those things wrong.”

3. Train your agents before they handle rentals.

“Careless agents not following procedures is the quickest way to get in trouble,” says Rubin. “We have a property management handbook to make sure everyone learns our processes and procedures. But agents also have to jump right in. So we have junior managers mirror senior managers. Then the junior managers get their own accounts while still having their mentor’s help. Finally, they become proficient and operate independently.”

4. Properly screen all potential landlord clients

“When we’re managing properties, if there’s a lawsuit for premises liability, we’ll be named as a defendant in addition to the owner,” explains Melania Mirzakhanian, a lawyer and director of operations at Tomea Inc., a full-service brokerage in San Diego with about a third of its business from property management. “So we do credit and criminal background checks on potential landlord clients. I also like to get a feel for their character. I really like one-on- one and face-to-face meetings, but a lot of our clients live out of state and have a second home here. In those cases, we do a lot on the phone and through Skype. If we find out owners aren’t honest with us about their financial situation— say they’ve filed for bankruptcy or their property’s in foreclosure and they haven’t told us—that’s a red flag.”

Another red flag? A too-involved owner. “I need a property and an owner I can represent,” says Smith. “A lot of times, owners are too hands on, saying things like, ‘I’m going to pop over every other week and check the backyard.’ A key benefit every tenant is entitled to is the quiet enjoyment of the property; that can be lost if an owner is too invested in it. I deal
with relocation clients, and one Fortune 500 company may be leasing 10 of my units. If one landlord messes things up, it could mess things up with all 10 units.”

One additional point on owners: Be sure they have the authority to do what they’re agreeing to do. “In one situation, it turned out there were several owners,” says Smith. “I was dealing with one owner who hadn’t properly disclosed the situation to the rest. It got messy fast.
Verify the potential client owns the property. If there’s more than one owner, understand that dynamic, and make sure the contract reflects their consent.”

5. Personally inspect properties before you accept the business.

“We inspect every property, and it’s mostly about the safety of the premises,” says Mirzakhanian. “If a hazardous situation needs to be repaired, my legal background kicks in. We tell the owner what needs to be fixed before we can rent out the property. We won’t let tenants move in with a landlord’s promise to fix that type of thing in a month or two. Pools are also a big issue. We need to be sure they’re maintained and don’t have hazards that can harm children.

6. Be sure to have solid contracts.

Absolutely have a management contract with clients. “Whatever we ask the landlord to do, we put that in the management contract so it’s clear,” says Mirzakhanian. “We also ask landlords to indemnify us for all the things we’ve listed in the contract that need to be repaired. I don’t think we should be liable for those problems.”

Always use written leases, and make sure they’re kosher in your state. “Some states don’t allow you to change their lease forms,” says Smith. “Also, be sure to put any discussions with tenants and owners in writing. One mistake I made was when a tenant asked to leave early and have new tenants take over. Over the phone, the owner agreed. But I didn’t get that in writing, and the owner changed his mind overnight. Get all changes to leases in writing.”

7. Get and require applicable insurance.

Be sure your company has professional and general liability insurance, and ask your clients to include your company on their policy. “In our contracts, we require owners to name us
as an additional insured on their homeowners or landlord’s business policy,” says Rubin. “If people get hurt at the property, they know only us as the landlord, and they’ll sue us.”

8. Communicate with clients and tenants the way they prefer.

“You can reduce liability by learning from your clients how they want to communicate,” says Ailion. “Some want in-person meetings, some want to be contacted by phone, others only

by e-mail or text. Some want regular updates, others want a quarterly call. Some are annoyed if a voice mail isn’t returned within two
hours while, for others, the next day is fine. Learning what the client’s communication preferences are and meeting those expectations reduces liability.”

Do the same with tenants. “A short time ago we had a tenant who was recently discharged from active duty in Afghanistan,” adds Ailion. “We were told by his mother that he had PTSD and anger management issues. He required special handling. While we had some tense moments, understanding how he needed to be responded to and making the extra effort to accommodate his lower ability to tolerate inconvenience and delay allowed us to keep him happy as a tenant and the property leased.”

9. Track business to identify your market’s high-risk clients.

“When you’re first trying to get business, you take any business you can,” says Rubin. “After
a while, you start to spot trickier situations that cost you more time and money and as a result possibly greater liability. We started to limit our service areas because we found that multi-unit buildings further outside our core market are tougher for us to manage. It’s harder to respond to maintenance requests, which increases
our liability.

“We’re also very cautious of managing buildings that haven’t been well run before the owner approaches us,” adds Rubin. “Maybe they don’t enforce rent requirements or late fees, and we might have to begin numerous eviction proceedings. We’ve inherited improperly screened tenants, and when we tried to evict, they argued over things previous managers said that we had no idea about. Or maybe buildings aren’t in great shape or there are code violations. It’s sometimes impossible for us to bring a property up to code and make sure the tenants are perfect. If we step into a situation like that, we could get sued because of some dangerous aspect of the property.”

How can Rubin tell the status of a building’s management? “We look at whether we have contact information for tenants and whether clients are aware of the building’s situation. They can’t hire us expecting a 180-degree turnaround in a few days. Also, there are costs to turning a building around. We’ve managed for owners who are cash strapped and been handcuffed. That reflects poorly on us.”

10. Identify a visible point person for owners and tenants.

“Having a strong customer service person as a point of contact for owners and tenants goes a long way to reducing liability,” says Ailion. “Both owners and tenants want to reach someone who can hear and begin a resolution to their problem.”

Also remember that problems don’t go away the longer they’re not addressed. “A small issue or problem grows over time,” adds Ailion.
“If a mistake has been made, acknowledging, addressing, and resolving it goes a lot further than ignoring it, avoiding it, denying it, or making excuses. How we make a bad decision right makes all the difference. Those I work with know they can make a decision that binds the company, and even if I wouldn’t have made the same decision, I’ll support theirs. Ultimately, a happy client is more important than a few dollars.”

11. Network with others in the field.

Whether it’s through NAR’s Institute
of Real Estate Management or another professional group, networking expands your knowledge base. “The most significant decision I made to reduce liability was joining the National Association of Residential Property Managers, attending
its meetings, and taking its training,” says Ailion. “It’s a group of seasoned professionals willing to train and share their knowledge and experience.”

12. Remember who pays your bills—and that it may not matter.

“It’s important to keep in mind that property management is an odd industry from the standpoint of the definition of a client,” says Rubin. “Technically, it’s the property owners who pay your bills. But you also need tenants to keep your business going. Essentially, you may need to learn to become an effective mediator between the two.”

G.M. Filisko is a lawyer and freelance writer who specializes in real estate, legal, business, and personal finance topics.

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What is relocation talent management?

What is relocation talent management?

A few years ago I served on the Advisory Board for ERC Worldwide / Employee Relocation Council.  Relocation is the single biggest reason tenants stay in corporate housing.  In the beginning individuals receiving a corporate housing relocation package would generally be allotted 90 days to stay in a corporate rental while they found and setup a new permanent residence.  In these days specific services were given as part of the package with everything from home buying and selling to neighborhood orientation tours.  Relocation Talent

Then about 10 years ago companies started using the “lump sum” relocation concept where services were not provided but rather a large sum of money was given to the employee could spend as they wish.  However employees were sometimes known to not spend the relocation money as wisely as they could and as a result the employees were not as happy and less productive at work.

Today companies are leaning toward a hybrid relocation package that gives employees some flexibility on how the money is spent but also manages specific services.

Relocation and Divorce: When I was on the ERC advisory panel a large international corporation that relocated a lot of people did an in-house study and found employees who did not have a well managed relocation were 50% more likely to get a divorce.  Talk about non-productive at work…

Talent Management:  When I talk about talent management a lot of times I get blank stares because people just have never hear or thought about this.  Basically what it means is for companies to be the most successful and profitable they can’t just rely on hiring the right person for the job.  Successful companies must manage their current talent and move people from one office to the best office to get the desired results they expect.

By the Numbers: ERC’s Global Workforce Summit Data – Corporate Benchmarking

71% – Yes, we have a talent management function at our organization.

Is your organization facing shortages for talent in critical roles?

  • 5% – Very Large Shortfall
  • 32% – Large Shortfall
  • 37% – Some Shortfall
  • 21% – Modest Shortfall
  • 5% – No Shortfall

Learn more about Corporate Housing Trends in the CHBO Annual Report eBook!

Learn More about Corporate Housing Trends