Elliot Rich
Hi Guardiana,

I think you've got it right when you say that utilities if not billed out separatel...

Training Trivia

Which of the following is a true close?

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1529664184 [{"id":"224","title":"Would you like to fill out an application?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"225","title":"Do you want to move into apartment 1215?","votes":"2","pct":"4.00","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"226","title":"Would you like to put your deposit on apartment 1215?","votes":"18","pct":"36.00","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"227","title":"All of the above","votes":"30","pct":"60.00","type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] sbar 200 200 /polls/vote/83-which-of-the-following-is-a-true-close No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...
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Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
b2ap3_thumbnail_custServiceThumb.jpgConsumer products marketers figured it out decades ago – put the customer first and you’ll sell more widgets. Tech companies have taken it even further – anticipate what the customer will want before they know they want it and give it to them. Consider the iPod or even Apple’s iPad. It seems ridiculous to say today, but back then nobody knew for sure that customers would want all their music on one device or be able to control their computer by touching the screen, because those things didn’t exist yet. Apple built them anyway, and the results are clear. As is the case with most things in marketing, putting the customer first is easier said than done. We can get stuck in patterns that appear to be working simply because they have worked well in the past. And we’re afraid to change. That’s when fear becomes the enemy of marketing, especially when it comes to addressing a major change in consumer behavior. Not changing in today’s fast-paced marketplace can be detrimental to the survival of a business or entire industry. Think about all the businesses – newspapers, film camera makers and printers – that have gone under because consumers turned to digital sources for information and to share their lives. How does this relate to the apartment industry? Well, the situation isn’t that dire, but the industry is behind some consumer trends when it comes to marketing apartment communities in the digital era.   Transparency in Price and Availability. There’s no reason...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Year-end reviews are sort of a rite of passage from one year to the other. And they are in abundance at the end of each year.  So I thought it might be interesting to reflect back on 2014 and look forward to the rest of 2015 now that we’ve had a few weeks of 2015 pass by. So here’s a quick tour of the key areas of business D2 Demand Solutions is involved in, as well as my predictions for areas of focus in the industry: Pricing and revenue management. The data I’ve seen indicates there are about ten million professionally managed apartments in the United States. A basic rule of thumb is that a good 20-30% of any industry will never adopt PRM automation due to their small size, transition, comfort with their Excel sheets or they’re just plain Luddites. I have no inside data, but I’m pretty sure that both LRO and Yieldstar have in excess of  1.5 million units each (probably more); add a few tens of thousands of units for Rent Maximizer and Pricing Portal, and the  result is at least 3.5 million units on automated pricing systems. I.e. we’re past the half point in the race for market share. That leaves about 2-3 years for the systems to battle over the remaining undecided prospects and means more investment in refinements and advancements in application and usability, and more effort now to “steal” market share through conversions. Sales Systems. Since 1999, this industry has radically changed how...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
I feel the multifamily industry has really made several leaps in innovation over the past 5 years.  It seems to have undertaken a major shift from a somewhat stagnant industry to one that actively seeks out new technologies and innovations to implement in communities.  But I just heard an interesting interview on NPR on the future of innovation that may hinder that growth in the future.  Essentially, smart phones have the ability to distract us away from any moments of boredom, and that in itself could stifle innovation. When I lived in Dallas, about 4 hours away from my hometown in Houston, I would drive down about once a month.  Four hours isn't an especially long time, but it is long enough to get into the boredom zone, especially in the spaces between good radio stations.  But it always seemed that when boredom set in, my mind went into overdrive, throwing out random business ideas that seemed to come out of nowhere.  It got to a point that I would deliberately keep a notepad in the car during those trips to make sure I could write everything down.  I'm fairly sure the flood of ideas during those road trips was not a result of the gas station mini-donuts I always stuffed in my mouth, but rather the fact that my mind had finally stopped being distracted.  I was forced to remain bored, and in that boredom, the creative juices began to flow.  Years later, I realize that I am very much...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
We’ve written before about the move to over-the-top OTT streaming applications and the need for increased bandwidth, especially among younger renters and condo buyers. Further research shows how faster Internet availability can add homeowner value. As recently as April of 2014, RVA Market Research and Consulting conducted a national study that found that fast internet/broadband was rated the single most important home amenity amongst condominium owners and the most important media amenity amongst both owners and apartment renters. The same study also found a distinct correlation between overall resident satisfaction and the availability of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH).  Buildings with FTTH service have lower churn rates and residents are more satisfied with reliability, consistency of speed, upload/download, and video streaming experience with their service. Let’s say you’re convinced that you’d like to offer faster service at your building. What are your next steps? Partner with a provider who will bring fiber to your property and provide all of the equipment necessary to deliver a best in class customer experience. Existing wiring can be used to deliver service to residents. At this time, cat5, cat5e or cat6 wiring is needed to enable a gigabit connection. If you’ve got cat3 the best we can do is 100 mbps and if you’ve got even older phone wire, we may not be able to provide high-speed service. The clear link between the availability of FTTH technology and resident satisfaction illustrates the importance of equipping every building with the proper wiring to support FTTH technology. Bob Bush of BnB Cable Contractors estimates that approximately 50% of...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
A friend recently told me that he had to tell people to stop sending him packages because he was frustrated dealing with the issues that come from having a package shipped. These frustrations ranged from bent flat packages that had “DO NOT BEND” clearly printed on them, to the mailman refusing to leave the package at the front door (and the community not having larger boxes specifically for packages either). The typical property can receive up to 100 packages during a normal week, and that number can double during the holidays. Though property managers are like superheroes, most do not have the time to deal with the amount of packages that come to the office. I talked to a few former property managers about some of their worst experiences dealing with package tracking. Experience #1 Ryan Tyson, a student property manager, explained to me how costly the loss of a package could be.  At his student housing community, Tyson told me he would receive hundreds of packages a week. One day, a resident came back from out of town expecting a delivery from a popular computer store. Tyson and his staff looked high and low for the package, but despite doing everything they could, they were unable to locate it. The unfortunate kicker? Said package contained a $2,000 laptop the resident was going to use for school. The property had to replace it, and boy was that a terrible hit to the pocket book. The most frustrating part of the story was that...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
b2ap3_thumbnail_Tilt-Shift-1-Page48_800.jpgI love finding interesting ways to showcase an apartment community, especially when its pictures are competing with countless others on an ILS.  Whether it is nighttime pictures with the community lit up, or a snow-covered picture of a community that only gets snow once a decade, these pictures jump out at users who are inundated with the same pool pictures over and over. So let me share with you a photography technique that has been around for a bit, but one I never considered in our apartment community photography until now:  Tilt-Shift Photography.  Tilt-Shift is a unique approach that creates images where the focal points seem like miniature models.  It's a very strange and bizarre look, but definitely draws attention!  Here are some absolutely great examples:  (Click on the images for bigger versions for a better effect) (Credit:  Helvetiq)   (This is the only one I could find of a tilt-shifted apartment community.  Probably not the best example, but wanted to show it.)   UPDATE:  Just found a great moving tilt-shift example!     What do you think?  Would this approach draw eyeballs and attention?  ...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
I'm going to fill you in on a little secret...people like to feel valued and appreciated. If you go the extra mile to show your residents they are valued, it can make a big difference when it comes time for them to re-sign their leases.   The good news is, focusing on resident appreciation doesn’t have to be a costly or time consuming endeavor. Read on for some simple (but powerful) ways you can say “thanks” to your residents and increase resident retention.  Organize a “Resident of the Month” Program Each month, designate one of your renters as the community’s “Resident of the Month.” You can either draw a resident’s name at random, ask for nominations from other residents, or recognize someone who’s been a great neighbor-- like Mary in 4F who helped organized your community’s canned food drive over the holidays. Give Mary a small appreciation gift, such as a gift card to a local store or restaurant. Then, snap a quick photo of her and hang it in the leasing office. Write up a few sentences about why Mary’s so great and share it on your social media channels, on your website and in your resident newsletter. Host a Fun Resident Event Hosting fun events in your community is a great way to show your appreciation to your renters. Plus, events are a great way for your residents to meet and mingle with their neighbors. If your residents make friends with their neighbors, they’re more likely to continue living in your community year after year. ...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Great property managers apologize As it is with people, so is it with businesses.Think of all the people that you most respect. You will find that these are the people who never hesitate to say, “I am sorry” or “I was wrong.” Now think of all the people you do not respect as much. These will usually be the people who are used to making excuses. And even when they apologize, they make it seem that it was somehow not their fault. People, even customers and tenants respect property managers who have the ability to apologize unconditionally. It is not an easy thing for any of us to accept that we have made a mistake, to concede that we were wrong, that because of our fault, someone was inconvenienced. It takes courage and great personal honesty. So when tenants see that someone is making the effort to apologize they feel that the person has a high sense of honor and honesty. That he or she will always put integrity over comfort, truth above profit. It shows that the manager is ready to go out of his or her comfort zone and do what is right with the tenant. It is often said that businesses and managers need to hide their mistakes and shortcomings. However, nothing could be further than the truth. Admitting one’s mistakes is actually the best thing a manager can do – it builds up an environment of trust and transparency. Over a period of time, this can build...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
I once sat it on an interview for a front line sales position where the person I was conducting the interview with asked the candidate, “Tell me about a time you provided great customer service.” The candidate regaled us with a great story of how she moved heaven and earth to make a bad situation right for a dissatisfied customer. She sounded enthusiastic, her story sounded genuine and it helped her get the job.    After watching this employee work for a few weeks, I wondered where the person was who told us this great story of going the extra mile for her customers! It’s not that she was bad, per se, it’s just that I rarely saw that kind of extra effort she told us about in her interview. In other words the real-life experience didn’t match the interview rhetoric.    And that is the challenge isn’t it?    Candidates are trying to make the best possible impression on an interview aren’t they? And they’re prepped for questions like, “Tell me about a time you gave great service.” or “Tell me about a time where you overcame an objection.” So when someone answers the question, how do you know if that answer is truly indicative of what they will bring to your organization? After all, no one is going to say, “I think customer service is overrated!”    I believe that the purpose of an interview is to find out if someone is truly a good fit for the organization....

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Funny how things work out and all of a sudden you are with a friend that is typically 500 miles away discussing a topic that has been eating at you for a few days…… I love being a leader. Not a boss. A leader. I love passing along passion, enthusiasm, ideas, etc. Especially in our industry because you’re able to pass along all of these really great attributes as well as knowledge and watch another person flourish. It’s huge for you as a leader when another team member can move up and/or on to bigger and better things. It’s like being a proud parent without all the incessant nagging. Just ask Tracy Spring….she is my proud “parent”. (FYI, proud “parents” make GREAT references on your resume, LOL) There is nothing more depressing for me than having a team member that is feeling behind and frustrated as a result of the same. That makes me a bad leader. That means I have not done my job to ensure that this did not happen at all. Truth be told, it should have never even gotten to that point. But it did. I was feeling down about it and wound up going out of town a few days after of all of this occurred and came to light. As luck would have it I was hanging out with an extremely good friend who just recently was put into a trainer role within the Charlotte 911 Operations Center (and I am probably not stating where...