Author Archives: Don Juan

About Don Juan

Don Juan loves laying on the beach when he isn't writing posts around the internet.

paying off mortgage, rent payments are foreverGone are the days where hanging up a sign is enough to find the right renter for a vacant property. Going door to door or calling each tenant with important updates are outdated practices, too.

It’s all about the Internet these days, as it’s generally the first place people go to look for properties and the primary way that many people communicate. In a 2016 survey, 78 percent of people in the U.S. reported that they have at least one social media account.

Landlords who put effort into developing savvy social media skills will reap due rewards in the form of better communication with tenants, more eyes on property postings, and an authentic outlet to express who they are and why people should be lining up to work with them. Let’s examine some useful ways for landlords to take advantage of all that various social media channels have to offer them.

Market Vacant Properties

You most likely already list your properties on websites that allow users to filter by parameters like price, size, and location. That’s an excellent start. But without a social media presence to back it up, you may be missing out on key referrals and eyeballs that could help you find interested parties sooner. Make sure your bio contains necessary links and information so people can reach you easily, as well as establish your credibility at a glance.

Facebook in particular lends itself well to displaying high-quality photo albums, and your past clients, friends, and family can easily tag someone they know who is looking for an apartment if your social media postings fit the bill. Or, harness the power of Facebook video. According to one study, Facebook videos get two times the number of views and seven times the engagement as embedded YouTube links. Making concise walk-through videos of your properties may be well worth your while and put you on the cutting-edge of property advertising.

Landlords can even take social media marketing one step further by using advertising features made available by various platforms. If you decide to go this route, you can set a daily spend budget and decide who to target based on your listings.

Connect to Local Community

A strong social media presence involves more than just telling the world about your services. It’s beneficial to establish deep roots with the communities that surround your properties, and there’s no better place to find out what’s happening nearby than social media. Take the time to follow some neighborhood or city groups, and let your followers know if there’s an event nearby that they may want to attend.

Zillow advises that landlords “keep it fun and make your page a resource residents will use to get updates on the 10k race next weekend, local farmers market, or apartment movie night.”

Connect with Potential and Current Tenants

There’s only so much time in the day; why not make your communication more efficient? Inviting your tenants to join a group for their building that includes timely updates may be the best way to make sure everyone stays up to date on what exactly is happening, whether it’s a water shut-off, a seasonal party, an update to the mail room policy, or a simple thank you around the holidays.

In addition to appreciating and staying in touch with current tenants, it’s important to make sure you know who’s moving into your new properties so you don’t run into misunderstandings down the line. However, it’s not always realistic to investigate every tenant to make sure they are who they claimed to be on the application, and many people enact privacy settings that keep their information under tight wraps. Streamlining your rental property management can save time and give you the true story thanks to a centralized online qualification process that leaves no stone unturned.

Manage Reputation and Feedback

People tend to be mightily honest on social media, for better or for worse. You can gain insight into what people like about your services and what you can improve by keeping an eye on your ratings across social media sites. Not every review can go your way, but it’s a good place to gather honest feedback and possibly even respond to certain postings to help tenants resolve outstanding issues.

With a little time invested up front, social media can streamline how you do business with future and current tenants. It’s a great way to let the world know who you are, what you do, and how you can expertly provide your services when it comes to renting property.

If you work a lot from home, you might be considering creating a separate room in your house or section of your office devoted entirely to video conferencing. And while the task may seem a little daunting, the good news is that smaller and more accessible rooms dedicated to business video conferencing in tight-knit groups, or huddle rooms, are slowly increasing in popularity.

Part of their appeal is the lowered price tag in a small, convenient setup, which not only saves money initially but can allow for multiple huddle rooms in the same office, lowering the need to reserve or book a massive and expensive staging area weeks in advance.

How that translates to benefiting you is that there are more options available for creating your own. Whether it's a private or professional building, here is a startup guide to help you shop for all the tools you need.

Location

First of all, you need to decide in what part of your house you are going to hold most of your conference calls. The two biggest factors you need to consider are the lighting and the sound, which can be a very tricky pair of factors to balance.

You want a well-lit room that won't cast strange or unflattering shadows on your face, and that is bright without washing you out or enveloping you in eerie darkness.  While this can be accomplished with one good overhead light and a window to your front or side, not from the back as to avoid harsh backlighting, being close to a window can run the risk of disruptive street noise. Auditory distractions can also include noisy heaters, strange echoes, or noise pollution from other members of the house.

Wander around your house with a smartphone or laptop with webcam recording you to find the best balance of light and silence. When you've decided on a room, it's a good idea to keep it as clean and straightforward as possible, with just a table and chairs and a very basic, neutral paint job in the background. Bookshelves or artwork in the background is okay if that's your preference, but make sure nothing is too distracting in the background like a band poster or a particularly candid photo. You should always be the most interesting thing in frame.

Software and the Internet

While these two things are rather different issues, they are just as important at letting you run your video conference as smoothly as possible. Your internet should be steady and as fast as possible. Generally speaking, this can be achieved or at least improved upon with the use of Ethernet or any internet that plugs directly into your computer system.

While Wi-Fi and other wireless equipment are extremely convenient, if you have the option and the nearby plugs using Ethernet can boost the reliability. It comes down to the rate and quality of your provider, of course, so consider upgrading or exploring alternate options for your internet if you find yourself having lots of dropped calls.

Another feature to help a video conference run smoothly is by using a program such as BlueJeans that's designed for large-scale huddle meetings and calls to streamline the sometimes tricky process of connecting different devices. Good software can help improve the overall experience, so don't overlook this aspect.

Hardware and Equipment

The equipment involved in making a private conferencing space is usually limited to three pieces of tech. A screen or monitor to view the people involved, a webcam and a microphone are the standard parts needed, and what you should invest in even if your laptop or notebook comes with the latter two built in. If you want to go professional, it's best to upgrade to get the best quality.

For webcams, high quality usually means higher resolution, which means that more pixels are used to fill an image. Think of it as though you want to make a jar look as blue as possible, so you fill it with blue items. Filling a jar full of blue sand as opposed to blue gumballs will give you a much smoother and more edge-to-edge appearance of blue. This is roughly how a higher resolution will help send a smoother picture, but that can also be affected by your internet connection so watch out for that.

On the audio side, a free standing microphone is preferred over bulky, distracting headsets. Both of these accessories also offer you the ability to move more freely around your space as needed and set up the camera at a much more flattering eye level. If your primary computer is a laptop, or if you want the flexibility of working between two different sizes of screens, you can also consider getting a second monitor.

computer-1845880_640Electronics are getting better all the time. Whether it's the latest TV, smartphone, laptop, or household item, we all need electronic devices in our modern lives.

But when is the best time of the year to buy them?

If you want to take advantage of lower prices, there are specific times of the year when it could make more sense to shop.

Good Times of Year to Find Discounts

In general, there are a few times of the year when you may be able to find more bargains for your electronic goods.

The start of the year is a good option because you can often take advantage of the sales. It's also the time of year that the Consumer Electronics Show is held in Las Vegas, where the latest digital technology is revealed.

This can mean older products see price drops as they become dated, and the discounts often continue into February.

The run-up to Christmas is also a good time go pick up bargains. Black Friday and Cyber Monday started out as American discount shopping days, but they have quickly caught on in other countries.

This is the perfect time to shop for electronics because there are some serious discounts to be found.

Sometimes new models of the latest gadgets are released in time for Christmas, so if you want to pick up the very latest tech, now is the time.

But while these times of the year are good general times to buy electronics, what about specific items?

If you are in Europe in September, try the IFA Exhibition in Berlin touted as the "world's leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances".  Many products make their world debut at this show, making this a show not to miss.

Best Time to Buy Smartphones

If you want the latest and greatest smartphones, there is no exact time of year for this. The latest iPhone tends to be released in September each year, but the best Android phones are released at other times.

Big events include the CES in January, and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in February.

The latest handsets are often announced here, but not always. These include handsets with all the best features, including phones like Sony's dual-SIM smartphones (learn more about these here).

Best Time to Buy Televisions & Laptops

Again, the CES is the time when the latest TV models are released. But during the year, look out for deals before special sporting events like the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations when stores know that many consumers will be looking for a better TV.

TVs get upgraded all the time, and you might want to go for slightly dated technology to get a bargain. For example, a TV that is not a smart TV may be less expensive.

As for laptops, special offers may come around in the lead up to the academic year. But also look out for new technology such as new processors because once these are released, the old technology becomes cheaper.

Look Out for Bargains

Although there are some times of year when electronics are usually less expensive, the best thing to do is constantly keep an eye out for bargains. Sign up to newsletters, follow social media accounts, and keep hunting out bargains. You may find that you can make a serious saving at any time of the year if you keep your eyes open and spot a good deal quickly.

Henry Goddard has experience working in the electronics retail industry. His informative articles offer up some very useful advice to consumer seeking to buy high-end items.