The American Apartment Owners Association: Should Multifamily Investors Join?
The American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) is currently the largest landlord association in the United States, with more than 137,500 members. The organization, which was founded by a group of property managers in 2004, aims to assist and educate apartment building owners and investors, property managers, and real estate brokers across the U.S. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits and services the American Apartment Owners Association offers to members, and provide our opinion as to whether purchasing an AAOA membership is a worthwhile investment.
What Advantages Does the AAOA Offer Members?
The AAOA can help landlords with several free or low cost services, including:
Landlord Forms: The American Apartment Owners Association provides landlords 30 easy-to-use, legally compliant forms, in order to make the leasing process as easy as possible for both landlords and tenants.
Tenant Screening: For a small fee, the AAOA offers in-depth tenant background screening. Their screening service includes social security number verification, criminal records reviews, past evictions, and credit checks, helping landlords reduce the risk and choose only the most qualified tenants.
Property Management Software: AAOA members receive discounted pricing for ManageZoom, cloud-based property management software designed to make it easier for landlords to manage responsibilities such as repairs, background checks, lease agreements, rent collection, and marketing.
Vendor Directory: The American Apartment Owners Association provides landlords a list of trusted, approved vendors for common services including apartment repairs, remodeling, security system installation, and more.
Educational Resources and News: The AAOA website contains a variety of educational resources, such as live and on-demand webinars, a guide to landlord/tenant laws in each state, and lists of relevant legal cases that landlords may wish to reference. Plus, the AAOA offers regular multifamily news updates to help owners and investors stay abreast of the latest developments.
Should You Join the AAOA?
Like many industry organizations, the AAOA offers both free and upgraded memberships, at $149/year. Getting a free membership has few downsides, as it costs nothing and allows members to subscribe to the AAOA newsletter while getting free access to rental application forms, and a variety of additional benefits, including discounts for Sherwin-Williams, FedEx, and Network Solutions.
A paid membership mainly offers more free and discounted services, including two tenant screening packages, free educational webinars, 50% off ManageZoom Property Management Software, and a much wider array of corporate discounts. Because of this, we only recommend purchasing the paid membership if you believe that you will save substantially more than $149 in the next year by purchasing products or services participating in AAOA’s discount programs. For smaller, hands-on landlords who already pay a lot of money for certain supplies and services, such as background checks, and are looking to switch providers, this may be a good investment. However, owners who employ full-service property management companies, a paid AAOA membership may not much additional value.
Alternatives to the American Apartment Owners Association
While the American Apartment Owners Association may be the largest landlord association in the country, it’s far from the only option on the market. Another popular national group is the Landlord’s Association, which, like the AAOA, provides discounted background checks, landlord/tenant legal information, a comprehensive real estate newsletter and other similar services and information. Also like AAOA, the Landlord’s Association offers a free membership option, with several tiers of paid membership options.
In addition to these national organizations, a plethora of smaller landlord associations exist on a local level, which may be able to provide more localized, hands-on support for landlords and multifamily property investors. For instance, the National Real Estate Investors Association, a trade group for real estate investors, has local chapters in cities across the U.S. In many ways, membership in this type of group may actually be more valuable, as it allows multifamily investors to meet each other in person, allowing them to develop relationships and learn from each other’s experience.