You made it. It’s almost time to go on holidays. If you’re logging off for the rest of the year pretty soon, make sure you’ve got these items ticked off your list first.
So let's get to it: The Ultimate Pre-Holiday Checklist for PMs—no matter which software you're using.
1. Make sure you’ve rescheduled any routine inspections that will conflict with your or another PM's annual leave. Early January tends to be a challenge for colleagues to keep track of who is working what days.
2. Notes. Write lots of them. All over your files so it is completely and unambiguously clear to anyone who needs to look at your portfolio where things are up to. If you're using Console products, then hooray! We show you how to do this in more detail, below.
3. Get on top of rental arrears. We know this is easier said than done, especially since most agencies experience a surge in arrears before Christmas. However, if you can bring yourself to call and get in touch with everyone—even if they are only one day behind—before you go, your coworkers (and your principal) will thank you.
On that note, if you're using Gateway, you could consider activating Console Pay. It's a fully-integrated direct debit add-on that takes the pain out of rent collection. We also have a version of Console Pay for Console Cloud, too.
4. Consider disbursing to your owners before Christmas. Yes, this is an option! Just remember that when you return, you will need to receipt, reconcile and disburse to the end of the 31st of December, and then close off that month before you begin receipting any January transactions.
5. If you're planning to disburse on 31 December, make sure you have a plan for if something goes awry in the ledger between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This might also be a good time to check out our Service Team’s Christmas trading hours, in case you get stuck.
6. Make sure your owners and tenants are aware of emergency contacts and your Christmas trading hours. If you plan to do this by sending bulk emails from Gateway, we show you how below.
7. For extra bonus points, send out storm preparedness information. We think this checklist from the Insurance Council of Australia is a good place to start. Unfortunately for us, Christmas break coincides with the monsoon season in Australia. So for anyone based north of Byron Bay, storms are likely. And unfortunately, calls from tenants who perhaps should be calling the SES (State Emergency Services) are also likely.
By the by, if you haven’t got it handy, the SES hotline for flood and storm emergencies is 132 500.
8. Nominate someone in your office to handle any open service or IT tickets while you're gone. Our Service Team will be online on all business days to help. So if you have an open case logged with us, let us know who we should be talking to in your absence.
9. Set your out of office email auto-responder up. If you'd like to add some creative flare to your out of office replies, we think these fun examples from Grammarly are hilarious (although perhaps not the tone your agency prefers to set!)
10. Thank the saint(s) in the office if they are working through the break. Thank them again for good measure.
That's it. Turn your computer off, and grab your sunnies. It's time to take a well-earned break.
... And when you come back: To avoid getting out of balance over the holidays, make sure you only try to receipt one day at a time, and reconcile to that day to avoid any errors in your receipting. That'll make it easier for you to spot something that doesn't balance.
If you’re in Console Cloud, here's how to...
You won’t need many of these if you’re using our new Lease Renewals, Rent Arrears and Vacate features. That’s because they always show where in a workflow or task you’re up to. Enter any notes into the workflow (the map you see of where you are in the lease renewal process, for example), and make sure it's all up to date. Done.
But if you’d like to leave a general note on a property or tenant’s file, it’s as easy as going to Properties or Relationships (depending on if you’d like to leave a note regarding a person or a property). To write a new note, click on the large Notes section at the top of the page. You can’t miss it.
If you haven’t already done so, we recommend you open the Arrears tab in from the main menu and take a look. Trust us on this one—it’ll make it much easier for you and everyone else to see where each tenant is up to. If you think you’d like to learn a little more about this new feature, here’s how it works.
Do disbursements from home (or wherever you are)
If you’re disbursing before Christmas, no dramas. And if you’re disbursing on the 31st, then you can do that wherever you are. With Console Cloud, your work can be accessed from a web browser. Log in from whichever computer or laptop you are using, and away you go! And on that note, if you want to learn more about how cloud computing works (in plain English), here’s a primer.
If you use Gateway, here's how to...
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. For anything we don’t cover below, you can either click on Help in the main toolbar > then click on Knowledge Base. Or, you can get in touch with our friendly Service team.
While there are about three ways to do this, probably the best one to make sure someone else sees it when they open a file is simply to create a post-it note right there in the file.
Open the Owner / Tenant / Creditor or Property File > click Actions (on the top toolbar) > New Note. Remember: don’t hit the X to close the note. Leave it up there on top of the file, and then hit Save and Close. The next person to open the file will see it. Believe us.
Create labels and send bulk emails
We get lots of questions at this time of year about how to send bulk emails with a Christmas letter (or storm preparedness info), and how to create mail labels for Christmas cards.
If this is you, here’s the Knowledge Base article showing you how to create labels, and here’s the one to send a bulk email. Although this second link is for landlords or owners, if you would like to send them to your creditors or tenants, it’s easy. Simply change step one in the procedure we linked to above to open the Tenants or Creditors view (instead of Owners), and then follow the procedure as usual.
And if you use RPO, here's how to...
We get similar questions before Christmas about how to create labels for Christmas cards, and how to send e-cards to landlords as attachments to the December statements run.
Create labels for mailing Christmas cards
This is how to export a list of landlords and their address details to a CSV file, so you can begin a mail merge in Excel (or your office’s equivalent application).
1. Click on the Clients tab.
2. Click on the Filter Data button.
3. In the Client Options menu, make sure the option for Filter is on Relations.
4. Next, click the Relations tab.
5. Select Landlord (and / or owner) in the table labeled 2: Select Relation.
6. If you want to filter the data even further, you can select the other tables available.
7. Once you are happy with your selection, click Search.
8. This will gather and display the information you have selected.
9. From here you can either print the list as a report, or click the Export Clients button to export this as a CSV spreadsheet. If you’re using Excel and need a refresher on how to create a mail merge, here’s Microsoft’s how-to article.
Send an e-card with your emailed statements
This one has a rather long set of instructions. If you want it emailed to you, let us know in the Live Chat box. If you’re viewing this article on a PC, you can click on it right now—it’s in the bottom right of this window.