MHN Executive Council: Advice for Prepping Your 2024 Budget

Important tips for the New Year.

It’s that time of year! How are you preparing your budget for 2024? The MHN Executive Council shares what they are doing.

Mary Cook

Mary Cook, founder & president, Mary Cook Associates

Look Back to Go Forward

We’re starting to see some movement with 2023 projects that were in the pipeline but stalled for any number of reasons. As these open up our budget plans will fold in time and materials for these. We added several new positions in 2023 and don’t anticipate expanding with new employees in 2024 but fold in some flexibility here as unique talent often crosses our path unexpectedly.

We also invested heavily in 2023 in new technology, including tablets for everyone in the field, our office reconfiguration and marketing initiatives. Our plans for 2024 will include a greater emphasis on digital marketing tools so we’ll be investing in this to a greater degree. We’ll also be enhancing our photography capabilities and continue with our profit sharing program for employees. —Mary Cook, President, Mary Cook Associates

Cyrus Claffey, founder, ButterflyMX

Start from Scratch

In 2024, we’re approaching our budget with a zero-based budgeting mindset. Essentially, in zero-based budgeting, all expenses must be justified for each new period. So, the budget starts from scratch as a base of zero, rather than traditional budgeting, which uses the previous year’s budget as a base.

Benefits of zero-based budgeting include laser-focused operations and strategic execution. In fact, when every dollar is evaluated, the benefit of each dollar is made clear. Further, when you analyze how each dollar is spent, you can see where dollars aren’t being used strategically and can easily tweak investments to maximize the value of your dollars. —Cyrus Claffey, Founder, ButterflyMX

K David Meit, principal, Oculus Realty

Lay It All on the Table

Like Cyrus Claffey and his team (see above), we also have a zero-based budget mindset. Everything is on the table. We find it’s the best way to ensure efficiencies, hold our team accountable, and grow NOI. —K David Meit, Principal, Oculus Realty

Susan McPeak, corporate ambassador, The REMM Group

Trust Your Tech

The REMM Group’s multifamily property management team utilized Yardi Forecast IQ to modernize our 2024 budgeting process. Traditional multifamily budgeting faced challenges due to its reliance on historical data and manual calculations.

The scenario planning feature allows us to create multiple budgeting scenarios based on different assumptions, ensuring preparedness for various market conditions. Yardi Forecast IQ’s detailed data-directed rent forecasting is a game-changer. With access to real-time contracted rents, revenue projections for future periods become instantaneous and 100 percent accurate. Vacancies, renewal rents and new rent assumptions are considered at a property and unit level, enhancing transparency and accuracy in revenue projections.

The transition has been smooth thanks to the excellent support of our Yardi representative. The tool has streamlined our budgeting process, informed property managers’ analysis and reduced the stress associated with budgeting. —Susan McPeak, Corporate Ambassador, The REMM Group

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