First Light Property Management is your full service Los Angeles property management resource. We handle marketing, advertising, and evictions and are on-call 24 hours a day.
Today’s rental market is on the web.
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Maintain your accounting records.
Professional property management practices require that accounting records be kept up to date, tightly controlled, and virtually mistake-free. First Light Property Management maintains a high level of accounting and financial integrity in everything we do. In order to meet our own stringent accounting rules, we keep separate books for each individual property. Although this practice is not required by law nor it is the “easiest” way to manage a property’s financials, we find that it is the most effective in the long run. It forces complete transparency and enables the property owner to make better, more informed decisions about each properties investment needs.
Another benefit of keeping separate books for each property is that it creates a very clear picture of each property. By seeing the big picture of each property, our clients are able to more accurately budget and forecast property incomes, expenses and taxes. Part of First Light’s property management service is to advise property owners on suggested property enhancements and the estimated costs associated with them. Knowing what each property’s ROI is over a certain period of time provides a very clear-cut vision of which direction to take in the future.
Track real time cash.
First Light Property Management’s online property management infrastructure tracks real time cash as electronic payments are received from tenants. Property owners can view – on demand – electronic fund transfers from tenants, tenant statements, and rent rolls.
A highlight feature of First Light’s online management system is its ability to automatically track property expenses as bills are received. This tool is very useful for property owners who don’t carry a large cash balance.
First Light clients can run key financial reports at any time and as often as they like. These reports include Balance Sheets, Income Statements, and Rent Rolls.
It’s important to note that all of First Light’s financial transactions, records and client bank account are behind a secure web interface, using the Industry-standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL), ensuring data is safe, secure, and available only to authorized users.
Marketing our clients’ property is a vital factor of our business and comes naturally as part of our property management service. Our ultimate goal is to maximize our clients’ income property investment (see “10 ways to add value to apartment buildings in Los Angeles”). This can only be done by keeping properties rented and filling vacancies quickly with as little down time as possible.
Deciding to own income property in Los Angeles is a good investment as LA is one the hottest property rental markets in the country – renters outnumber owners by 9%. Half of LA’s population is from out-of-state, and the median age of the Los Angeles renter is 32 years old earning ~$42,000/year in income (source: citydata.com/county/Los_Angeles_County_CA). This is the prime rental demographic. It is also this demographic that practically lives on the web. With approximately 80% of North America using the internet for search (source: internetsearchstatistics.com), marketing one’s business online is a necessity to remain in business. When it comes to looking for an apartment to rent, the majority of people do an online search before driving around looking for rental vacancies. For LA’s huge number of out-of-state rental prospects, this is especially the case. These prospects don’t have ability to physically look for rentals in person. Short of using an expensive rental broker, the prospects must find and rent a property using the web. First Light’s online system is designed to rent to any qualified prospect anywhere in country, with the help of virtual tours.
In our own income property business, we have seen this online trend increase dramatically in the last 10 years. Knowing that our clients demand the same things we’ve demanded from our property management companies, we’ve made a significant investment in marketing our client’s property rentals online through strategic search engine optimization, online advertisements on popular websites such as craigslist and rent.com as well as good old-fashioned “For Rent” signs. In addition to high quality photos, we often add professional walk-thru videos to property listings to bring the rental directly to the prospect. All of these strategies enable our rental prospects to easily find us, to search our database of rental properties, to see exactly what the property looks like, and to ultimately apply and submit all necessary rental paperwork through our website.
Our Current Listings are searchable by zip code, rental prices, number of bath and bedrooms, and type (single-family, condo, apartment, etc). Studies show that the vast majority of online users, and in this case renters, are not interested in more than a few categories and will not engage or use a website form that looks too complicated or overwhelming. We keep it simple and right to the point.
Having a good reputation is an often overlooked but very important aspect of marketing. Word of mouth is more powerful than the most sophisticated marketing tool. Keeping our clients property’s clean, maintained, properly staffed and giving their tenants a user-friendly online rent payment system, makes a property reputation very positive.
First Light’s property management business is done primarily on the web through the use of our Tenant and Owner online portals. We do this in order to provide our property owners the most effective way to maximize their property’s return on investment. First Light clients have praised our online property management infrastructure (see testimonials). It makes our owners investment property’s financial records entirely transparent (all fees associated with our services are clearly laid out; we pride ourselves in providing a high quality service at an affordable price without cutting corners). Some owners choose to log in and check status everyday while others prefer to simply collect their rent checks and leave the management to us. However you choose to do it, you will always find that your property is continually managed to the highest standards of good business practices, integrity and honesty.
First Light’s client property owners, through our online Owner Portal, are provided with real time access to their properties’ tenant payments and charge status; property income and expenses; maintenance requests and history; as well as notifications when leases are set to expire. This takes the guessing game out of managing your investment. It is our best interest to keep your properties occupied with as little vacancy as possible. Our online system closes the feedback loop between you and your tenants and maximizes your investment income.
With our user friendly Tenant Portal, Tenants are afforded the ability to pay their rent online either with single 1time payments each month or automated recurring debits from their bank accounts. This ensures rent payments are made on time, effectively and efficiently. If a tenant wishes to mail his or her rent or bring it by our offices in Manhattan Beach, CA, they are free to do that also.
First Light closely manages and tracks all tenants’ charges, balances and payments. This includes rent payments, late fees, security deposits, cleaning costs, pet deposits, damage to property costs, and all other fees associated with tenancy. Our online system generates several different kinds of helpful reports like rent rolls and delinquency reports. Vigilant maintenance of tenant contact information is recorded at all times. Most renters are by nature “short term” and tend to change contact information and places of employment more frequently than those of homeowners. To best avoid tenants “skipping out” on rent, our rental contracts are strict yet practical for the average renter (see “What are some legal reasons to reject a potential tenant?”).
Our online property management database allows for our client property owners to view ledgers for current as well as past tenants. Clients find this helpful when determining whether or not to raise rental prices, compare property rental prices over time and provide additional information that may help in determining whether or not to invest into another property.
Property maintenance is what keeps your property investment alive and will often separate your property from another. Apartment complexes with poor ground maintenance or ongoing maintenance problems, shuns potential renters and practically pushes current renters out of their units. We consider property maintenance as the most important aspect of marketing a property, keeping units rented, and maximizing properties owners’ investment.
Paperless and automated maintenance systems.
We give tenants access to our website through our tenant portal. The tenant portal allows tenants to pay rent online, create maintenance and property repair requests, and check the status of their lease. This online system also keeps tenants and residents informed of property status updates. This eliminates the hassle of posting notifications to each unit and gets the tenant the information immediately.
Our property maintenance system is paperless and automated. The maintenance staff is instantly notified when a new request arrives. This system also generates work orders and assigns them to maintenance staff. This allows the staff to build their work day around priority property needs and be more efficient, thereby eliminating downtime of vital property functions. A well running and clean property is an income generating property.
Property owners have access to all of the maintenance staff functions, work and repairs. Owners can generate maintenance reports on each of their properties, as separate books are kept for each property. We have found that these reports prove very useful when planning for future staff and property improvement needs. First Light maintains these property repair and maintenance records for owners so that they can be viewed and/or generated at any time.
First Light Property Management brings your entire income property business direct to you, in real time and on demand. With decades of real estate investment experience, we have found that closing the feedback loop between property owners and tenants is key to maximizing your return on investment (ROI).
Inspired by our own experiences with property management companies, we set out to form a property management company that held itself to the highest professional standards while also providing the ultimate user-friendly, full service property management services. We achieved this by integrating our management business with the web, in a manner that was simple for everyone to use. Our clients have at their fingertips every piece of financial and tenant data related to their properties.
First Light’s online service enables its clients to generate automated reports for over 40 different types of key information in the categories of Financial, Tenant Information, Association and HOA, Banking, Property Information, and Maintenance. All of these reports can be accessed and generated as often and whenever the client wishes. This sophisticated online database also provides benefits like automated alerts to notify clients when a tenant lease is close to expiring, when tenants’ rental payments are received, and current vacancies.
To further take the hassle out of owning a property, we provide customized services such as paying mortgages through client’s trust accounts, setting up and managing payroll for buildings, and providing consulting services in areas such as branding and advertising strategy. Our services can also be customized based on the property owners needs. For example, we’ve designed and outfitted maintenance staff uniforms and provided professional guidance on new property investment opportunities. The bottom line is that our clients define our business – we work overtime to meet every property related request.