Brian Ward
There is a certain amount of time and effort required to chase down late rents which goes above and ...
Good article Genevieve, I agree, pictures tell your story. Scroll through a stranger’s Facebook or ...
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Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,  I have a problem. I really love online shopping. Because I order a lot of stuff online, I get a lot of packages in the mail but my apartment community says they are no longer accepting packages in the office on behalf of tenants and I’m worried. I’m not too fond of coming home to "missed package" slip stuck to my door—that sort of voids the convenience of online shopping. Are there any better solutions?  Sincerely,  #OnlineShopaholic  Dear #OnlineShopaholic,  I’m going to start by saying that I fully support your online shopping habit (sorry, am I being a bad influence?). Getting a package in the mail is one of life’s simple joys. Coming home to a “missed package” slip can really take away from that excitement, so I feel your pain. Fear not though, I’m here to help.  First of all, there is actually a reason many apartment communities are no longer accepting packages for their tenants. In 2014, Camden Property Trust reported that they received one million packages. The Wall Street Journal then estimated that around 10 minutes of productivity is lost per package delivered. For Camden, this adds up to a loss of approximately $3.3 million a year! If you’re a tenant at a community like Camden (which it sounds like you are), there are still plenty of options for getting your packages with ease. For many complexes, the solution is as simple using electronic lockers at their properties. This way, tenants can enter with a special...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
Many investment brokers state in their offering memorandum that the property has good “bones”.  What does that mean and why does it matter for you as a multifamily investor?  There are some things in a property that you cannot change or it is very cost prohibitive to change.  If you want to move up from one class to another (C to B or B to A), these are items to consider before investing significant capital into the exteriors/interiors of a property.  In this article, we are going to cover the key physical characteristics to have if you want to move up a class. Summary: If you are looking to purchase a Class C property and upgrade to a Class B, ideally you would have 9 ft. ceilings, pitched roofs, individual HVAC and water heaters, concrete slab, and washer/dryer connections.  With these property characteristics you can spend money on the exterior/interiors and amenities to turn a C class property into a B. In the picture below, notice how the listing broker highlights ceiling height and washer and dryer connections on the offering memorandum. The property was being marketed as a Class B property. If you are looking to purchase a Class B property and upgrade to a Class A, you must have 9 ft. ceilings, pitched roofs, individual HVAC and water heaters, concrete slab, and washer/dryer connections.  Attached garages are not necessary but highly preferred. Example of class A unit amenities in a recent property in Plano, TX:  While the physical characteristics of a...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Smart locks offer multi-family properties a tidy package of practicality and prestige. No wonder they are commanding so much attention. Residents love their ease of use and are happy to say goodbye to traditional keyed locks. Likewise, facilities managers find smart locks to be highly useful – not to mention a great sales tool for residents seeking smart home technologies that help keep life simple. But are smart locks as safe as the traditional sort? The short answer is “yes,” and then some. In fact, smart locks offer so much more than traditional keyed locks ever could. Read on: Pick proof design.Smart locks designed without traditional cylinders help safeguard against picking and bumping. This level of certainty just isn’t possible in traditional lock designs. Painless replacement. Cloud-based smart locks enable facility staff to configure, manage and monitor users from anywhere using mobile or web apps. This means if a resident loses their smartphone or smart credential, facility personnel can quickly issue them a new and safe credential without having to actually adjust the lock in person. It’s painless for both the resident and property staff, and there’s no lost key to worry about either. Track access. Low-maintenance living is part of what residents love best about multi-family housing. If a toilet breaks or the mechanical system falters, the property takes care of it. Smart locks make such chores easier on the facilities team because they can issue a smart credential to grant a contractor access to a home and de-activate the...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
According to recent polls, the clash between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is set to be brutal, with Americans gearing up for what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in the history of the country. It’s evidently a very unusual contest, with Trump being a presidential hopeful with no past political experience, and Clinton, on the other hand, a candidate who has been through the best and worst of two administrations. According to economists and realtors, the final result could possibly have a profound effect on the U.S. economy, including the real estate sector. Already, both Trump and Hillary have included various proposed economic reforms in their manifestos, and have subsequently been vocal about their policies. Of course they are expected to impact the real estate market one way or another, with businesses and individuals adopting to new administration policies. But, before we even get to the elected president part, it’s critically important to start by analyzing months leading to the actual elections. Past Real Estate Trends During Presidential Election Periods Over the last couple of decades, the real estate market has been recording drops during the election period, mostly due to uncertainty surrounding the whole process. According to a study conducted byMovoto on the real estate Market within California, it was established that the appreciation of homes drops by an average rate of 1.5% during an election year, compared to the preceding year. Interestingly, the subsequent year after the election, the rate bounces back, with an...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Developing a brand identity through popular social media websites such as Instagram and Facebook is one of the most important marketing strategies property management firms can implement to attract and engage with their target audience and advertise their multifamily properties. Instagram, the mobile online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking app, has recently surpassed Facebook as the top marketing platform for businesses. Instagrammers are also the social networkers most likely to follow brands, with over 50% of users following accounts for businesses and products. Additionally, millennials ages 15 to 35 are the age group most likely to rent from a multifamily property, and over 73% of them have Instagram accounts. That being said, it is becoming increasingly imperative for multifamily firms to have an active Instagram account to be able to expand their brand and connect with both current and potential residents. Instagram’s platform is so interactive, in fact, that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Creating an aesthetically appealing, popular Instagram account that propels advertisement is a key secret to success in the multifamily property industry. Below are a few tips for building an Instagram that will increase brand awareness, improve resident relations, and successfully market your real estate development or property management firm. Simple, High-Resolution Photos are Key Instagram photos that are high-resolution, crisp, and not too intricate are the best for presenting a professional, aesthetically appealing account. While bright, vibrant colors are...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, which became law in 1994, mandates a maximum flush volume of 1.6 gallons for toilets manufactured and installed after this date. Prior to enactment of the Energy Policy Act, toilets used from 3.5 to 5 gallons per flush.  According to the EPA, the water saved through implementation of the act has had a number of positive environmental consequences, including restoration of wetlands and fisheries and savings in the amount of energy needed to pump water. While intended to yield environmental benefits, the Energy Policy Act has unfortunately resulted in some unintended consequences on the nation’s plumbing systems. In older properties, the majority of drain pipes are galvanized steel or cast iron, which over time become corroded and rusty.  When an older property upgrades to low-flow toilets, there is often not enough water to keep waste and other disposables moving through the pipes. Further, as a result of the low-flow requirements, the ratio of water to sewage has changed, making the flow of waste thicker and slower, allowing the build up of bacteria, and producing a corrosive acidic gas that also causes corrosion in the piping system. Often, if the pipe is already corroded, toilet paper and waste can get caught on the rough corroded surface, further exacerbating the problem.  In the end, reduced flow and more concentrated waste result in a rapid acceleration of the corrosion process, ultimately leading to clogs, back-ups, broken pipes and leaks. Corroded drain pipes cause the overwhelming majority of water...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Millennials.jpg I was recently reading the April issue of Harvard Business Review (yes, I know it’s September now; that’s just how behind on my reading I am), and there’s a fascinating article by Bruce Pfau entitled “What Do Millennials Really Want at Work? The Same Things the Rest of Us Do.” Those of you who know me know that I typically take a skeptical view of any and all claims of how something (or someone) is “different” until I see data as evidence to back up the assertion. While it makes me occasionally be a bit of a curmudgeon, I find it also serves me well in avoiding lurching from one “shiny new bangle” to another. This has never been truer than with the plethora of articles and consultants exhorting us to understand the strange, exotic beast known as the Millennial. When I read how Millennials want purpose in their jobs and like to work in teams, I immediately think, “Don’t baby boomers and Gen Xers want purpose? And don’t they enjoy working on teams? I know I do.” Now there’s some real evidence to back this up. As Dr Pfau, KPMG’s Vice Chair of Human Resources and Communications puts it, “While pithy descriptions of what makes Millennials unique are presented as self-evident and seem to have a ring of truth to them, very few are supported with solid empirical research.” To the contrary, he points out that there’s a growing body of credible research showing there are far more similarities than differences...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Apartment Rental Cycles Generations always differ from one another in a variety of ways – the culture in which they’re raised, their relationship with technology, their priorities, and their likes and dislikes. But there are also things they have in common. For example, in most generations, younger people tend to rent apartments and older people tend to buy houses. This fact has kept the rental market and the housing market buoyed for decades. The current generation making the decision between renting and buying is the millennial generation, generally considered to be those born between 1980 and 2000. The oldest of this generation, now in their mid-30s, should be moving toward traditional home-buying. But research indicates that’s not the case. Millennials are Defying the Trend Many millennials are choosing to continue renting. Why? Part of the reason, surprisingly, is the evolution of transportation. One of the main downsides to living in a major city is trying to find something to do with your car; frustration with lack of parking and/or exorbitant garage fees is what drives many city dwellers to seek out a driveway of their own. But now with so many options, including Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, to mention just a few, millennials are living the dream – staying in the heart of the city, where all the action is, with transportation at the touch of a button. What this means for the Apartment Rental market What does this mean for the apartment rental market? If current trends continue, there should...

Posted by on in Affordable Housing
Dear Gabby,   So I’ve been hearing a lot about these “micro apartments”...what exactly are they? Are people just okay with living in closets? I can’t imagine living in one room with my boyfriend...where would we go to get away from each other after fighting? That would be HORRIBLE!   #AConcernedGirlfriend   __________________________________________________________________________________     Dear #AConcernedGirlfriend,   First off, you may want to rethink living with you boyfriend if you’re concerned with “space”. My first thought, of course, is closet space…where would all my shoes go?! Anyway, to the actual point. Micro apartments are sweeping the nation...well at least sweeping the nation’s big cities. Some members of the architecture community and urban policy makers will tell you that these micro apartments are becoming popular because people want to create a smaller environmental footprint. If I’m being honest, I think the main reason they are popular is because there is an affordable housing crisis going on. People need a place to live but can’t afford the average rent in major cities. Now developers are creating really small spaces, putting a smaller price tag on them, and calling them “micro apartments” to make them “trendy”. They are even going as far as describing the units as “micro luxury”...puh-lease! Even if you do believe that the ultimate goal of these small spaces is for environmental reasons, micro apartments may not seem so trendy and fun once you think about it realistically. Your house or apartment is supposed to be a safe space for...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
There are many challenges in multifamily investing, but depending on the type of investor you plan to be there are larger challenges that typically keep investors from getting their first deal done.  Seth Godin wrote a book called "the dip" that articulates how to view these large challenges.  Excerpts from Seth Godin’s book: ·        The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery.     ·        Organic chemistry is the dip for pre-med students. ·        The dip creates scarcity and scarcity creates value.  ·        Biggest mistake in school is being well rounded is the key to success. How often do you look for someone who is good at things you don’t need them to do? We reward the exceptional. ·        Successful people lean into the dip, they push harder, and are rewarded by the marketplace as being the best in the world. ·        While starting is thrilling, it is not until you get through the dip that your effort pays off. If you are not able to get through the dip, you must quit. Now that you know what the Dip is, let’s see how it applies to the 3 ways of investing in multifamily (Independent Rental Owner, Lead Investor, and Limited Partner). This article will look at the biggest dip for each type of investor and how to overcome them.  Independent Rental Owner- Independent rental owners are individuals with strong balance sheets looking to own their own properties without partners. The Dip: Creating the Balance Sheet Saving enough money with your "day job” so that you have enough money on your...