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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
A week from today, I'll be boarding a jet with my good friends at Delta as I journey to San Diego for the 2017 annual meeting of the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), along with the preceding Apartment Strategies Outlook Conference.   As I was checking the agenda against my calendar to figure out the best windows for a few conference calls, it hit me that this will be the first NMHC conference in some time with a new U.S. administration in place. A brand-spanking-new and really different administration. No matter what your political leanings, or how you feel about our incoming and outgoing Presidents, it's safe to say we can all acknowledge this will have an impact on our industry. We just don't yet know what that impact will be.   And all the more reason I'm anxious to attend this year's meetings. What will our industry leaders and data experts project?  Who will feel bullish and who will be more conservative? And speakers like former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice and former presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are sure to be queried for their opinions of the newly-inaugurated President and his cabinet choices (think HUD secretary, for example). I'm personally looking forward to Emmy-winning comedian Dana Carvey and award-winning political journalist Jeff Greenfield to add some levity and political scrutiny to the mix.   So, it promises to be a very interesting few days, to say the least. If you're also attending, I hope to see you...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Ready or not, the future is here! The smart home market has grown rapidly over the past several years and is considered by nearly half of Americans to be mainstream according to a recent study. What's next? Smart apartments! Here's an overview into what's to come:Who?Of Millennial homeowners ages 18 to 34 who would purchase or install smart home products, 72% would pay $1,500 or more and 44% would pay $3,000 or more to make their home smart (Coldwell Banker 2016). Furthermore, 44% of millennials renters would prefer an apartment with smart technology to an apartment with a parking space (Allegion 2016). However, across all age groups, the U.S. homeownership rate at 62.9 percent has now fallen to its lowest level in more than five decades (Washington Post 2016). This means we have millions of Americans who want and are willing to pay a high price for smart home technology, but don't own a home. The demand for smart apartments is more apparent than ever and will become necessary to offer residents in order to make your building appealing to tenants before you know it. Why?The reasons to equip your building with smart technology extend far beyond the fact that everyone's doing it. As a property manager, smart technology is incredibly convenient. It allows you to manage everything from the temperature, to the security cameras, to the door locks, and everything in between from a single dashboard on your smart device. If a resident is locked out, no worries, you can...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
The way to increase the value of a multifamily property is to either increase the income or decrease the expenses, which will affect the Net Operating Income (NOI). The NOI is a key metric when analyzing the value of a multifamily property. For the purposes of this article, I would like to focus upon the top line of the investment, revenue, and how to grow the revenue of the asset. The asset classes that we focus upon are B & C properties. If you would like more information on NOI and increasing the value of your asset, we have an article on our website that goes into depth about NOI. Add additional units On our most recent purchase, the property had laundry rooms spread throughout. The rooms were large, and we began to consolidate the laundry and decrease the size. We were able to create three additional studio units from the extra space, which allowed us to increase our monthly revenue by $1,800 per month. At a 7 cap, the value of the asset increased $308,500. We are in the process of building additional units throughout our portfolio from space that was deemed “useless” from previous owners. One of our favorite strategies is to convert units that are being utilized as storage units back into apartments. It’s a lot cheaper to go out and buy a shed to store your supplies. Laundry Revenue When you think of laundry, you don’t think of excitement. But you should!! Laundry is a vital service...

Posted by on in Property Management
Weekend hours Is your leasing center open on Saturday, possibly even Sunday? Many are open on the weekend.  It’s a great opportunity for future residents to have time to explore and investigate possible options for their new homes. Usually weekday leasing appointments are crunched between transportation pick ups, lunch hours and errands.  This limits the time available, putting a quick end to a visit. Too often, weekend hours are viewed a punishment to a property for not achieving an occupancy goal. The team needs to understand and appreciate the hours of operation.   Actually, Saturday and Sunday hours can be very productive to finalize decisions on leases, and complete lease renewals.  Assigned to the leasing office for the weekend schedule can be the best opportunity to lease. Customer Service Multifamily housing is a customer service industry. We provide homes, and we service those homes. This requires us to be open and available to provide service when needed by our customer. Our customers are current residents as well as prospective residents Setting up the schedule for Saturday hours often involves assigning the newest team member to cover this assignment. Tenured staff members will say, “I’ve paid my dues. I don’t or shouldn’t have to work the weekend schedule.” Teams I’ve worked with, usually have a revolving schedule to cover weekends. This is more difficult on smaller properties, with less staff. Why Are We Open? Weekend hours are not simply covering the office IN CASE a prospect might stop by. In addition to the appointments that...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
most-effective-email.jpg I was talking with one of my clients about sales management, and the topic of how many unanswered follow ups are appropriate before declaring a lead to be 'lost'. He admitted his company had no standard, but surmised that if they did have one “It would be at least three, maybe four”. I generally agreed with him that three or four was reasonable, provided he added to that one more email or voicemail…the most powerful and effective email/voice mail in a salesperson’s bag of tricks. It’s so powerful that it can only be used once with a prospect; and like many powerful tools, using it too early will negate its power. What is this magical email or voicemail, you ask? Well it’s not really magical, but it does have strong results. We call it 'the break up email' and it goes something like this:   You’ve left some combination of four emails and/or voice mails (preferably a mix) with absolutely no response from the prospect. You don’t know if the lead is lost, and you’re clearly stuck. Leaving more messages would just be annoying, so it’s time to take control (one of the three Ts of InSite Selling). Send an email (or leave a voicemail) like this: Dear (name), Thanks again for your interest (fill in community name). In the past couple of weeks, I’ve made several attempts to contact you again to discuss this. I know you’re probably very busy, or you may no longer be interested in leasing a new...

Posted by on in Property Management
I was enjoying lunch last week at Benihana with our awesome chef, Hori. He was great, flipping and flying food with the best of them. Sadly, Hori had to deal with two high maintenance and very unhappy people. (Not us, we were delightful-don’t be silly.)   “We don’t want sauce.” “Add this sauce.” “More garlic butter.” “More this, more that…” Complain, huff, deep sighs. I felt badly for Hori, as did my dining companion who heard more than I did. Hori, though, rolled with flow, stayed professional, dignified, and kept plugging away doing his job like the rockstar he clearly is.   As is the usual, once your onion-volcano-making, shrimp-tail-flipping, clickety-clacking, food-flying chef is done, he’s off to another table to wow those guests and add more shrimp tails to his hat. After he left, the two at our table (or for the fancy reader … hibachi) went on a rant with the server about Hori.   Because, as previously mentioned, we were delightful, we stayed after to tell the server how great Hori was. We found out the other guests had complained about Hori and his awful service, saying he was “too old and should retire.” Can you imagine? Apparently, they “get stuck with him all the time.” All I could think was thank goodness I’m not in a customer service role like that.   Then it occurred to me. Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, everyone is in customer service. Everyone you deal with is a...

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 Apartment Leasing

An article on how to lease to Baby Boomers is a shift isn’t it, from the normal focus on Millennials. Now some of you are thinking, “It’s about time we stopped focusing on those Millennials!!” While others of you are thinking, “Why would we focus on Baby Boomers?? They already own their homes!” The truth is while Millennials will continue to be a major force in the rental housing industry for years to come, Baby Boomers are still a crucial component of your success too. Did you know that over five million Baby Boomers (including current homeowners), aged 55 and over expect to rent again by 2020. (Source: FreddieMac) If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Many Baby Boomers have spent many, many years working hard, climbing the corporate ladder, raising children, while pursuing the “American Dream” of owning a home. And now many Baby Boomers want someone else to take care of things so they can enjoy the lives they’ve worked so hard to create. So what can you do to attract Boomer renters? I’m going to focus more on the “people” aspect here, since you may not be able to do something about the product or the price, depending on what you do at your company. But, you can control you, right?   So here is what you need to know. First, I want you to watch this classic Chrysler commercial with Ricardo Montalban…. Did you see how they compared a Chrysler to a Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce at the end? What...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
  Here is a thought exercise:  Do you think your community would be positively impacted if Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence lived there?  What if you could advertise that?   Here is my take:  Just like how famous stars get goodie bags of tons of free stuff, with companies hoping they will use (and showcase) their product, it would be an absolute boon to have a celebrity live at one of our properties.  Of course, the challenge is that they often own their own home, so the opportunities are not that plentiful.  But if it did happen, and it was publicized, then the value to that community would be absolutely huge.  (Let's not worry about privacy concerns quite yet)  And just like giving away a goodie bag, it would make sense to incentivize the celebrity to live at the community, with discounted rent to some degree. But since inspiring Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence to live at one of our communities is likely off the table, what if we looked at the idea, just notched down a few pegs?  In the social media world, we talk about finding out who the "influencers" are, and engaging with them.  And it's true, everyday people are now using social media, youtube, etc to create VAST audiences of millions of people, even turning that fame into book deals.  Taking it to a local level, there are surely people who are influencers in that particular market who have a valuable audience.  So you have these people,...