Should You Hire a Property Manager Or Not?

Using a property manager has both pros and cons. There are no hard and fast rules regarding whether you should hire one or not. You have to evaluate the answer based on your own situation. The following are some considerations to take into account before you jump to a conclusion.Time CommitmentA lot of real estate investors have a full time job so they do not have enough time or energy to manage properties. Especially if the house is situated remotely, many investors might feel they cannot manage on their own or do not want to travel. If fact, you can manage on your own.Cost BenefitIf you have several properties or an apartment complex in one area, using a property manager to manage all the property may be economic. The manager will be able to combine expenses and costs. For example, they can purchase maintenance materials in bulk for all the rental units. If you don’t have several rental units in one area, but together with your friends’ or families’ rental units you do. Then you can afford to hire a professional dedicated property manager.The Nature of the Rental Market Where your Property is LocatedIf your rental property is located in an area where renters mostly check out the rentals through the local property management companies, then you have no other choice but to hire the company. This may happen in small towns where there is only a handful of management companies.Tenant’s CharacteristicsSome tenants are not easy to deal with. You may find some tenants that are constantly paying late, asking for a lot of unnecessary repairs, complaining about everything, or having difficulty keeping up the premises. A property manager may handle the situation better than you as you might be emotionally attached to your property and less likely to handle many issues impartially. What’s more, the tenant might try to take advantage of you. They may take it more seriously if they are dealing with a professional property management company instead of an individual.Does your Property Need Frequent Repairs or Maintenance?If your property needs frequent repairs due to its age or other reasons, having a property manager may help you if repairs are a burden. Usually the property management company either has its own in-house repair service or contracts with outside vendors. In any case, you should ask about it before hiring them and understand how much they charge.What Kind of Service do you need from a Property Manager?Do you need a full service property management, which includes placing tenants and ongoing management service? If the condition of your property is good or new and not much repair is anticipated, you may save your money on the ongoing management service part. If you already have a tenant but you are moving out of that area you can use a local property manager to collect the rent and do the maintenance work.Lack of Interest in ManagingSome rental property owners just do not want to get involved in managing the property at all. They rather have someone look after their rental properties so they can enjoy their life doing other things. That is absolutely ok. Enjoying life is also very important.The purpose of hiring a property manager is to free up your time and make your rental investment successful. Nevertheless, hiring a poor one is worse than hiring no one. You can end up spending more time and money to rescue your property.If you hire one, keep in mind it does not mean you have to be a completely hand-offs owner. You should keep in regular communication with your property manager so he understands you do not treat your real estate business lightly. How to hire a good property manager belongs to another blog we will write about.

Personal Branding: The Lighthouse Branding Model

More and more people are talking about the importance of personal branding, both in career searching and in career development. Effective personal branding not only makes you stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters, it can also increase your job security by communicating your value as a leader and team player to your organization.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process of identifying the unique and differentiating value that you bring to an organization, team and/or project and communicating it in a professionally memorable and consistent manner in all of your actions, both online and offline, to all current and prospective stakeholders in your career.

The Lighthouse Personal Branding Model

The lighthouse is a great model for breaking down the branding process into four key steps: the foundation, the beacon, the tower and the beam.

Foundation:

Your foundation is your unarguable strengths and experience in your chosen area. To identify your own foundation, write down the strengths that differentiate you from the rest and ask your friends, family and colleagues/managers to do the same for you. Identify the top three to five overlapping strengths that support the career direction you want to pursue.

Beacon:

Your beacon is the memorable and consistent communication of your strengths and experience. Now that you have identified your foundation, it’s time to create your beacon by finding a word or phrase that represents these strengths and can become your brand. Develop a short pitch that can follow your brand, describing your strengths in more detail. Ensure that your word or phrase is versatile and can change with your direction.

Tower:

Simply put, your tower is your visibility, reach and presentation, both online and offline, which support the beacon. This is really everything you do to proactively build your personal brand. The higher you build your tower with your efforts, the more visible you will be to potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to proactively build your brand and credibility in front of your target audience:

Create a LinkedIn profile and follow the suggested steps to complete your profile 100 percent, making sure you include your personal brand and pitch in your subtitle and summary sections.

Create a Google account and profile for improved search engine optimization.

Include your personal brand on your resume, cover letter, business cards, email signature, voicemail message and across your other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Consider creating a personal website/blog site where you can house all of your information, including experience, education, skills, honors, entrepreneurial efforts and more.

Start your own blog with a unique point of view on your industry/area of interest.

Contribute value in your book or product reviews, your tweets, your comments on other blog posts, your own blog articles or articles for print publications, your discussions in LinkedIn Groups and your advice via LinkedIn Answers or other forums.

Start a company full-time or on the side with relevant and valuable products/services/resources for the industry.

Publish and offer print and/or electronic publications.

Get quoted in the media by joining HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and contributing advice, experiences and insights to writers and journalists seeking expert sources.
Beam:

Your beam is your career direction and more active personal branding and career search strategy. It involves you gaining and projecting a strong understanding of where you want to go, what you want to pursue and how you will pursue it. First, you need to determine what functional area, geography and industries/companies you want to target. Then, you need to actively network your brand with potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to start:

Join associations or networking groups within your industry and attend events to meet new contacts and build your target network. Be sure to share your personal brand with those new contacts.

Conduct informational interviews with target network contacts (whether or not you’re seeking a job) and share your personal brand with them in your introductions.

Find ways to bring fellow industry thought leaders together on a project or at an event.

Find ways to contribute to the projects or events of fellow industry experts.

Get recommended on LinkedIn and display testimonials from customers, clients and partners
Personal Application

I used this model to help develop my own personal brand during my MBA career search. Having identified my foundation to be my endless energy, out-of-the-box creativity, relationship building and problem solving, I looked for a word that could pull all of those strengths together into one memorable brand message. The beacon I chose was “generator” as I generate energy, creativity, relationships and solutions to problems. I was pursuing a career in marketing and brand management, and therefore, I became a brand and marketing generator. I proactively built my tower by incorporating my brand directly into my online profiles, my resumes and my entrepreneurial efforts. I then took a more active approach, targeting the “beam” by incorporating my personal brand in my interview responses, networking introductions and informational interview outreach. It was this process that helped me successfully secure my current employment, and this model continues to help guide all of my professional and entrepreneurial ventures.

Do Not Settle For The First Car Insurance Quote You Obtain

If you are shopping around for a new motor vehicle, your purchase need to go hand in hand with acquiring a car insurance quote. As soon as you drive your new vehicle off the dealership’s floor you are at risk of getting in an accident or you can be hijacked on your way home, consequently you have to have your car insurance policy in place previous to getting behind the controls of your car for the very first time.There are many variables that would influence the car insurance quote that you will obtain. Causes such as your age, gender and driving history are all examples of such variables. The price of the car in question will also play a role, as will the number of nominated drivers on the vehicle.Never settle for the first car insurance quote you receive. Try to contrast and compare as many quotes as possible – no less than three or five. In case you are uncertain about the terms and conditions associated with your policy, make certain to discuss this with your insurance agent or insurance broker prior to signing your contract.One of the points that may perhaps result in a lower car insurance quote is opting for a higher excess amount. An excess amount is essentially the difference between the price for repairing your vehicle and the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. Say for instance you must repair your bumper after a small accident and the repair price is R10 000. The insurance company agrees to pay R8 000. Your excess amount (payable by you!) is then R2 000. The greater your voluntary excess amount, the lower your associated premiums (usually!). Just be careful that you do not pick such a high excess amount that you would not be in a position to honour the payment when it is time to put in a claim!Also keep in mind that your car insurance quote will typically only give you an indication of your first year’s premiums. An essential issue to remember is that your insurance premium is likely to increase on a yearly basis. You might be thinking that this is not making sense, as the value of your car is in fact decreasing year after year and thus the insurance providers’s subsequent risk is lower. On the one hand that is true, but remember that the cost for repairing your vehicle (parts and labour) increase every year and insurance firms have to cater for this increased cost by increasing your premiums.Often times an insurance business will provide a car insurance quote, but your insurance policy will only be activated as soon as you’ve taken your vehicle for an inspection. These inspections are necessary as insurance firms must make certain that you are not trying to insure a car with an existing problem and that all the security features (such as an alarm system, immobilizer etc) stipulated on the contract are indeed in place.Obtaining a car insurance quote is really not difficult. Research your options, compare a couple of quotations and make an informed decision.