DEAR GABBY
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Gabby

Gabby

With 17+ years of experience in the multifamily industry, I'm here to chew bubble gum and kick multifamily topics' butts...and I'm all outta bubble gum #DearGabby

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Dear Gabby,   First off, I would like to put on the record that I LOVE being a property manager. I couldn’t imagine waking up in the morning and doing anything else. It’s like one of my favorite Quentin Tarantino quotes: “When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman.”   BUT… I do have some pet peeves and annoyances that have been building up recently. I wanted to see if you could list some common pet peeves in the industry so that I don’t feel as bad. I mean, if everyone is feeling the same way that I am, it can’t be rude...right?   I just want to make sure that I am normal and that I am not being overly picky or mean.   Sincerely, #SuperAnnoyedPropertyManager _________________________________________________________________________   Dear #SuperAnnoyedPropertyManager,     I TOTALLY get where you are coming from. Sometimes you just want be able to turn your work phone off like a normal 9-5er and head to the movies to see the new Star Wars movie with your kids. Instead, you’re getting calls and texts about a break-in, flooding, or a neighbor’s music.   The short answer to your question about pet peeves being a thing, is YES! We all have things that get on our nerves.   To make you feel better, here are the four pet peeves I hear about the most from property managers:   The questions that come up when screening residents Most property managers top pet peeve is when potential residents ask...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Dear Gabby,   Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, AND Instagram! I can’t seem to catch up with all of the social media platforms that are out there. I just started Snapchat at my community… is Instagram really necessary? I mean, what would I even post on there? Please help… I don’t want to fall behind, but I am just not the hippest gal on the block.   Sincerely, #ReluctantGrammer   _________________________________________________________________________   Dear #ReluctantGrammer,   First off, a round of applause to you for having a Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat for your community! Usually I get a lot of questions about social media in general, so it is a breath of fresh air to have someone who actually lives in the post-2004 world.   As a property manager, it’s your job to find different and fun ways to connect to your residents and perspective leads. One of those fun ways to connect is Instagram! I know it seems like a lot of different platforms but you have to think about it in that on each platform you are hitting different types of people… all of them are potential residents.   Instagram is very popular with millennials and while some of them are still living with their parents, you need to target the ones that are looking to rent. Not only that, but start getting ready for Generation Z because once they head off to college, they will be using Instagram to find off-campus housing… duh!   You should use Instagram as a place...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby, I knew being a property manager isn’t easy, but it’s proving to be a lot harder than I imagined. There are so many responsibilities to balance, but I’m still determined to be the best in the biz. Any tips? Sincerely, #IWannaBeTheVeryBest     Dear #IWannaBeTheVeryBest, So you want to be a perfect property manager eh? The property management world can be highly rewarding one, but it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. I’ve been working in the industry long enough to know what personalities and skill sets are better suited for this line of work. Just call me the Mr. Miyagi of property management. Learn how to focus on your goals and start with the basics. The rest will follow. Afterall, someone who can catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks can accomplish anything (note: this is not an official requirement of being a good property manager, but it would make for a killer party trick). It may seem like you have a long path ahead of you, but have patience young grasshopper. Let’s start with some of the imperative qualities of today’s successful property managers: 1. Communication A property manager must have excellent communication skills. Residents must be able to reach the property manager for emergency and non-emergency related issues. Keeping the lines of communication open can be challenging when the phones are ringing, your email inbox is full, and residents and potential residents alike are lined up at your desk, but it’s important to do so if...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,   I am on the brink of moving somewhere where the weather is warm year-round! Snow might create a pretty winter wonderland, but it’s not as pretty when you need to get rid of it on a regular basis.   I manage a community in an area that’s prone to heavy snowfall every winter. Removing snow seems never-ending! I’m wondering if you can give me some tips for making sure my walkways are always safe this time of year. The last thing I want is for my residents to get snow in their shoes, or even worse, fall and hurt themselves.   #DreamingOfSunshine     Dear #DreamingOfSunshine,   I feel your pain. As that cool winter breeze makes its way in and pushes out the crisp autumn air, only one thought comes to my mind: Winter is coming...and it’s the worst!   Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season. But I could do without the winter weather that comes along with it entirely. For someone like me who wasn’t necessarily gifted with good coordination, winter is my worst enemy. Black ice… UGH, that stuff is always trying to sneak up on me and ruin my day!   Snow is inevitable in many places, so coming up with a plan for snow removal is something multifamily managers need to seriously prepare for well before a storm rolls in. Here are some important things to consider before old man winter shows his face:   Know the Local Laws To...

Posted by on in Property Management
    Dear Gabby,   Have you heard about this new trend? A signature scent for multifamily housing? I get that it comes from hotels and high-end shopping, but really? I don’t know if I am crazy but it all just seems pretty ridiculous. What are your thoughts?   #AConfusedManagerWithANose   _________________________________________________________________________   Dear #AConfusedManagerWithANose,   First, I would like to start off by saying one of my favorite things in life is walking through the perfume section in Saks.   It makes me feel nostalgic, reminiscing about when times were simpler. It makes me think of Betty Draper from Mad Men and how on-point her look was. She paid attention to every single detail, all the way down to her perfume scent. What I’m saying is… keep this in mind as you read.   Most agree that smell is a powerful tool that most brands ignore. It can trigger memories and even influence people’s emotions. Every time I smell popcorn, I remember how I used to take my son to the movies every Sunday. Now, he’s too busy playing Call of Duty and Snapchatting his buds…*Sigh*...they grow up so fast!     But here’s the low-down. I’ve been reading about this new signature scent trend in the multifamily world. Right now, multifamily housing have been worrying about the senses when people tour their buildings. Property managers make sure that everything looks good, the furniture feels good, there is pleasant music playing, and they even provide refreshments in the office. With...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Dear Gabby,  I keep hearing all of these young people talk about Snapchat. It’s hard enough for me to remember to monitor my community Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, and Pinterest. Phew.  Am I expected to understand Snapchat too? If so, how do I use it at my multifamily community? Please help!  #SnapchatNovice Dear #SnapchatNovice,  I could barely pry my son away from his phone before, but now that Snapchat is so popular, he rarely puts it down at all! That’s great news for you though -- Snapchat is huge! There are currently millions of users who use it daily. Most Snapchat users are 34 and younger, which if you recall, is currently the most popular renter age group. I’m betting that a lot of your renters fall into this age bracket. Snapchat isn’t just for sending photos of your food, it’s also a great place to focus your marketing efforts. One of the most valuable features of Snapchat is that users are able to create 24-hour stories that house photos and short videos. This means your residents will be able to engage with content that you’re posting in real time.  So, you’ve downloaded the app, now what? It’s time to start posting content that millennials will engage with. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to take selfies like all your millennial renters. There are plenty fun ways to naturally incorporate Snapchat into your marketing tactics, all while cultivating a more engaged community: Apartment Tours Let prospective residents take...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,   How it is November already? Weren’t we just swimming in the pool? Anyway, it’s been awhile since I hosted an event for my residents and I have been hearing a lot about this thing called Friendsgiving...would that be a good idea? I am not totally sure what Friendsgiving is. I guess I am showing my age.   Please help!   #AManagerTryingToBeHip   _________________________________________________________________________   Dear #AManagerTryingToBeHip,     I would be lying if I said that you seemed like a millennial based on your question, but at least you’re trying! Friendsgiving is somewhat of a new idea and is really popular for young people that live away from their families.   I think that it would be a perfect fall event for your residents. It’s such a fun and relaxed way to get to know your neighbors without the pressure of having a sit down meal. Not only that, but it is before the winter holiday season so people are more likely to be free.   When throwing a Friendsgiving gathering, you should forget your idea of any formal meal or having to deal with your distant relatives that you have to see once a year (side note: if a relative doesn’t come to mind… you’re that relative!). Instead, think about drinks, delicious food, good tunes, and chatting with new friends!   Here are some tips from none other than Martha Stewart on how to make your Friendsgiving the best around...and we know she’s friends with Snoop Dogg...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,   I haven’t been getting much sleep recently. I am not sure if it was in anticipation for the premiere of the Walking Dead or because I am struggling with lease expirations at my community. Should I be looking at the market? At my units? Or just letting my residents (or soon to be residents) choose the lease term that they prefer?   ...HELP!   Sincerely, #AWalkingDeadFanWithAProblem   _________________________________________________________________________   Dear#AWalkingDeadFanWithAProblem,   Don’t worry, lease expiration management (LEM) is a tough thing for most property managers to get a grasp on. Similar to how I can’t get a grasp on the size of my closet...I keep buying shoes thinking I have room for them only to realize my closest is already full. If you or a friend happen to have some closet space available, help a sister out.   Anyways...Here is a quick list of best practices that I usually follow:   Limit/Expand Term End Dates: To ensure that your community/building doesn’t empty out at the same time, you should stagger end dates in your leases. You can stagger based on apartment type so that you always have a variety of layouts for people to choose from or you can stagger based on lease signing.   You can also include a month-to-month option. This will aid people during their decision process. If they don’t have to sign a lease right away, they may move in, only to think about their options and realize they want to sign a lease...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Dear Gabby,  I’m thinking about making big changes in my life. My friends all think I’m going through a quarter-life crisis, but I just want a change of scenery. I live in the country currently, and I’m ready for hustle and bustle of a more metropolitan area. I know apartment rent can be pricier in the city, so I’m hoping you can give me an idea of what I can expect. - #CountryBoyMovingToTheBigCity Hey #CountryBoyMovingToTheBigCity, Last year I got really excited when my son joined the cross-country team. But then I learned they don't cross the country and are back home in a few hours. I was hoping for something a bit more permanent.  Kidding (kind of)...but moving to the city is a great idea. I’m a city girl myself and can’t talk it up enough. I mean, living a three minute walk from five different coffee shops is truly a dream come for a coffee addict like me.  Considering the cost of rent is important if you’re seriously thinking about moving, especially since the price varies so much throughout the United States. Lucky for you, a study conducted by GoBankingRates has revealed what the average person pays in rent for a one-bedroom apartment in cities across the country.  The data reveals some predictable insights, but you also might be surprised by some of the findings. It’s fairly well-known that San Francisco and New York City are pricier cities, given high demand for housing but low supply. You may want to...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends

Dear Gabby,   I’ve been trying to follow this crazy presidential race but it is getting so nasty! I don’t care about all the drama...I just want to know how this is going to affect the housing market...PLEASE HELP! #AFedUpAmericanWithAQuestion   _________________________________________________________________________ Dear #AFedUpAmericanWithAQuestion, I feel your pain...I really do. Did you watch the debate last week? I’ve never been a fan of reality TV, but sometimes I just wish Donald Trump would go back to The Apprentice and the Clintons would get their own E! reality show.       I hate to go around bursting bubbles here but realistically there are only two ways this election is going to end. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will become the next President of the United States. Since housing prices hit rock bottom around 4 years ago, home prices have been on the rise. Progress has been occurring and things have been moving in the right direction. This will mean two very different things for our country. Image sourced via DonkeyHotey Flickr User   If Donald Wins: According to a survey conducted by Zillow, there would be a “decidedly negative” impact on the housing market. Of course this remains an educated guess but it’s been concluded that home values would decrease and housing finance reform and the overall economy would be negatively impacted as well.   You may wonder why this is the case when Donald is a long-time real estate developer -- I know I was a bit confused at first...