The Budget Season Blues

Here is an excerpt from my next column in the Journal of Property Management.  While the article itself has a different title, the message remains the same…

Trapped at Your Desk? Think “Budget Season, Budget Season, Budget Season!”
By: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM

As a kid, one of my favorite movies was the 1988 comedic horror film “Beetlejuice”.  You might recall that Beetlejuice (a Ghost played by Michael Keaton) is attempting to escape the house that he lived in prior to his death.  Beetlejuice longs to escape, but he is held captive until someone says his name three times.  Having recently reviewed over 50 line-item budgets, I couldn’t help but recognize the parallels between Michael Keaton’s character and myself.  That is, “budget season, budget season, budget season!” nearly became my own “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”

Budgets are the lifeline of any successful financial operation.  Be it a personal budget, company budget or property budget; the more realistic or accurate the numbers, the more useful the budget.  Few tools are more helpful in guiding a real estate investment through the year and for Managers, our Budgets are one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal.  It is a living, breathing document that will call to attention our predictions and raise concerns from mom and pop owners, corporate clients and institutional investors alike.  So, how do we avoid these budget blunders? Quite simple: the devil is in the details.  
This is Part 1 of 4 that will publish here on PropertyLines.  Stay tuned also for the full article after it publishes.