The property management industry involves many repetitive tasks, particularly when it comes to using a form, letter, or agreement. A lease is a great example and something every property manager has in his or her inventory. There are many ways to increase your efficiency with your lease; in fact, with all of your forms.
Make a list of all the problems that occur that can or could require a form, letter, and agreement. I think you will find the list a long one. Why recreate the same letter or form again? Use the basics of that document to create a template that you can save and store for future use.
Changes occur often in the property management industry. Years ago, it was necessary to use pre-printed forms and this was often costly; today’s technology solves this problem and keeps them current. Now you can bring them up quickly and adjust them as changes occur. Just be sure to date your revisions in the footer to document when you changed your policies and procedures.
Word processing programs are the most common ones used for this task. Programs, such as Microsoft Word® and Microsoft Excel© help you create documents quickly and efficiently.
A basic form gives out or asks a user to fill in information; a good example is a rental application. The days of the generic form are over. Now you can create professional documents, branding them with your company information and logo. In many documents the table function creates dynamic forms and checklists because the “cells” in a table keep text contained and create fields for input.
You can create fields to enter information quickly for nearly any form, letter, or agreement. The key is to create the field and then “protect” the document so that you can tab from one field to another and simply insert the necessary information. This is a fast way to accomplish a task during a busy day in property management. Examples are rental agreements, addendums, requests for information, move out instructions, etc.
This combines information in a database with word processing, such as Access, Outlook, and ACT, etc. Merge forms can “retrieve” data, such as name, address, rent, security deposits, etc., rather than using fill-in form fields. Basic merge forms can create hundreds of letters at one time, such as a detailed notification to all owners or tenants.
The advantage to merge forms is the personalization of the letter or form. For example, instead of the “Dear Property Owner” most landlords receive, you can insert the individual’s name. They are terrific for sending announcements, new services, marketing letters, and mass mailings. Once a merge is set up, the possibilities are endless.
Combination Merge / Fill-in Forms
These forms also have the ability to combine data with both merge and fill-in fields during a merge. There are many times when you want information in your letter but the database does not have the fields for specific data. The merge/fill-in form will retrieve the data that is available, and then ASK you for the additional information. This provides even more power to your documents.
Merge Forms / Bookkeeping Software
Now there are bookkeeping software programs what will work with word processing programs. Now you can have the best of all worlds – the form you need that will merge with the information in your bookkeeping program. How great is that?
An example of this is the LandlordSource documents that work with PROMAS bookkeeping data with Microsoft Word® documents – something property managers have requested for years. Now you can utilize your bookkeeping information with the power of Microsoft Word®. This can save hours because the document retrieves the information for you.
These tools are available to you, so don’t wait or put it off – do it today. Create documents for your business that will increase your efficiency and streamline your business.
LandlordSource can increase your productivity immediately with Forms, Letters, and Agreements. There are 125 great forms (100 tenant forms and 25 owner forms) available that you can tailor immediately and put into use. Forms, Letters, and Agreements, PROMAS version is also available (PROMAS Bookkeeping Software is required for this version).
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.