5 Budgeting Tips to Streamline Multifamily Budget Season


It’s nearly budget season — are you in budgeting shape? As multifamily dives into budgeting and forecasting exercises, apartment operators need to do all they can to make the process as smooth as possible. A pain-free budget season may seem out of reach, but you can make it happen.

How can apartment operators increase income and reduce expenses? And how can they protect against rent loss and maximize asset performance?

To get started, be sure your organization knows these key pointers:

  1. Ditch Budgeting Spreadsheets
  2. Avoid Copying + Pasting Standard Budget Items
  3. Implement “Bring Your Own Device” Team Policies
  4. Assign Roles & Responsibilities Involved in Budgeting
  5. Look at Historical Budget Data

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5 Pointers for a Smoother Multifamily Budget Season

1. Abandon Spreadsheets
Who has the time and patience for spreadsheets? Who wants to write variance explanations to your owners every month? This budget season, ditch redundancy and manual data input to save your organization from costly mistakes and budget variances. Multifamily is in the thick of a technology revolution, so utilize integrated software programs like MRI, RealPage, ResMan, and Yardi that improve accuracy, streamline budgeting, and enable you to more effectively forecast.

2. No More Copy + Paste
When tasked with creating budgets for multiple properties, it might seem like copying and pasting standard budget items from one year to the next would be effective. You already know the expenses fit within budget. But that Control C + Control V might actually lead to missed opportunities to save.

For example, long-term contracts for technologies like printers, mobile-first technologies for maintenance and resident apps are one area where savings can be found. With the influx of more proptech into multifamily comes the influx of options. Today suppliers are becoming more open to extending 12-month contracts instead of 7-years or even month-to-month contracts which over time could positively impact your budget’s bottom line.

3. Engage BYOD
Why pay for mobile devices when your teams already have their own? “Bring your own device” policies are gaining momentum in multifamily as it offers the opportunity to save budget, reduce IT burdens, and offers teams the comfort of using their own tech devices. Stipends for new personal technology are often less costly than purchasing new devices.

4. Designate Roles & Responsibilities
To effectively collaborate with key stakeholders, designate responsibilities from start to finish. This means coordinating across all team members involved in preparation, routing, approvals, and distribution to the right personnel. This will ensure visibility and improve collaboration for a smoother budgeting process.

5. Compile Market Data Research
As with any budgeting and forecasting exercise, look at historical budget data by property and monitor current market and submarket conditions (e.g., marketing, demographic, and economic changes) that impact leasing, retention, and profitability.

Multifamily Survival Guide for Budget Season: Building Blocks for Better Budgets

To help apartment operators optimize their budgeting process, we’ve put together a guide on the 7 Building Blocks for Better Budgets with insights on

  • Economic stressors to budget around
  • Ways to outsmart uncertainty and mitigate risk
  • Budget builders that unlock additional value
  • Important considerations for new tech solutions
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