Guest (Ellen Calmas)
Great post. Thank you.

Training Trivia

Which of the following is an assumptive pre-close?

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1783584358 [{"id":"210","title":"Do you want to leave your deposit today?","votes":"4","pct":"8.89","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"211","title":"So which date works best for your move in, the 23rd or 24th? ","votes":"40","pct":"88.89","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"212","title":"Can we get you to fill out this application while you're here?","votes":"1","pct":"2.22","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"213","title":"Where do you currently live?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] sbar 200 200 /polls/vote/78-which-of-the-following-is-an-assumptive-pre-close No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...
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Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Last week marked the official start of autumn, which means that cold and flu season will be here before we know it. Stay healthy in the leasing office this fall with these five tips. 1. Wash Your HandsAccording to the CDC, keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs and stay healthy. Be sure to lather up with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing. Keep a bottle of waterless, alcohol-based hand sanitizer at your desk to use when you don’t have easy access to soap and water. 2. Adopt Healthy HabitsAdopting (or maintaining) healthy habits can prepare your immune system to better fight infections. Be sure to exercise regularly, eat healthy and get enough sleep. Plus, remember that stress can make you more susceptible to illness, so do your best to keep it in check. 3. Wipe down Your DeskKeep a container of disinfecting wipes handy and wipe down your desk, computer area and phone at the end of each day. Encourage everyone in your office to do the same. It’s also a good idea to regularly wipe down printers, door knobs and anything else that is frequently handled. 4. Keep Your DistanceGerms travel in coughs and sneezes, so if one of your coworkers is sick, be sure to keep your distance from him or her. 5. Call in SickIt’s no fun being...

Posted by on in Property Management
I am planning an 8 hour flight to Europe.  As many of you know I have a 3-year old, who is awesome, but she is still a 3-year old, so the planning that has to happen before we embark on this adventure which is truly a 16 hour flight (round trip) is extensive.  I also have an amazing supportive partner who is not a fan of flying so add to my drama (I digress).  So in planning for this adventure I have loaded up on sleep pillows, compact games and books for the little one and a eye mask - which leads me to this posting.  I ordered the eye mask (along with a few other goodies), and sat and waited for the much anticipated, "we've shipped your order' email that Amazon suppliers provide.  So, 2 days after the order placement it arrives and how surprised and excited I was to get a little bit of sugar with my order!  Below is the email: Your Sleep Mask order has just been shipped as you asked.   I think you will love it. When you receive it, please pay attention to the instructions for use.  It works by far the best if you flip the nose flap inwards and upwards. We provide a full satisfaction guarantee.  If you have any concerns with delivery or with the Sleep Mask itself after you get it, please let me know, and I will ensure it gets handled. I have attached a bonus eBook - Sleep Naturally...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Last weekend I spent a day in the saddle helping my brother round up a small herd of cattle from their summer pasture (it wouldn’t be an Andrew Packer blog post without some reference to being a hick). We were in the high mountain valleys on the border of Wyoming and Idaho. At the upper reaches of the pasture where we pushed the cattle, the Aspen leaves had already shifted color, moving from the perfect green of summer to a vivid red or a bright golden hue. It was startling to see that fall had already claimed the high country around Jackson Hole. For those of you unfamiliar with the mountains, change comes early and often there, a beautiful summer day can disappear into a rolling thunderstorm in a matter of minutes, and just as quickly the sun and the heat can push the thunderstorm out. You can shiver in your sleeping bag at night, waking with frost in your hair, only to be sunburned and sweating by ten in the morning. The only constant in the mountains, besides the stones of the hills themselves, is change. Commerce today is in a similar state of flux; change is omnipresent, with the metamorphosis of technology and best practices moving forward at breakneck speed. The march of progress is leaving companies who are unwilling or incapable of keeping pace languishing in the past. These companies are left with little alternative but to adapt or wither away. The property management industry has been notoriously...

Posted by on in Property Management
imageThe completion of a move in inspection is a document with serious legal ramifications. Without a complete and executed move in inspection, management has no documentation to show the condition of the apartment at the time of move in.  An executed document shows the resident accepted the condition of the apartment with whatever notated findings. There are several methods to insure return of the move in inspection. The move in inspection is completed with the resident by management immediately following the lease signing.  Both parties sign off and the document is complete. Companies that allow a longer period of time might retain the mailbox key requiring return of the move in inspection before the mailbox key is issued to the resident. Scheduling a follow up visit to insure completion of any additional repairs can create positive customer service.  The resident should be able to anticipate a response from the management company for any items documented on the move in inspection. Are the items reflective of wear and tear from the previous resident or are there repair items to be completed? Including maintenance team members in the move in process for the inspection and orientation can provide a number of benefits. The maintenance team receives first hand feedback on the condition of the apartment home-preferably positive, but in the instances that a resident points out a repair or cleaning item that was overlooked, the experience will create an impression that will insure the item is not likely to be overlooked in the...

Posted by on in Property Management
NAA Exposition 2014 This industry is the best one ever, filled with great people who love to share with others the great things they are doing. If you stepped outside of this industry and talked to others, those other industries would probably all say the same things about themselves. Heh. Still, we know that we’re the cool kids who steal the other industries’ lunch money. Plus, we’re much better looking as a group. All the types of people in this industry ARE awesome. There’s the leasing agent who answers the phone, grills prospects on their needs, and generally looks amazing while collecting commissions. Leasing managers of all types are awesome too. Renting, delegating, being in charge of resident complaints, and sitting behind desks or iPads. Their responsibilities are many and they always look so good doing it. Their suits are crisp and pressed and their perfume smells great. Don’t forget incredibly smart. It’s a women dominated world. Maintenance people do things I don’t even understand. While watching maintenance mania at NAA, I sat in stunned silence at what they were doing. The majority of the things looked complicated. They were experts with switching out ball cocks and flicking switches and wiring harnesses. They hustled, broke a sweat, installed ice makers, and ran around with their arms in the air. At first I was in awe of it, then got confused, then fell asleep. The awesome-ness factor in my mind is due to the mystery of it all. My wife calls me the unhandy man of the...

Posted by on in Property Management
As with any professional business, everything revolves around the aspect of the money. Before anyone can make or manage the money, you have to figure out how to spend it. Whether we like it or not, budgets are a key component of good management practices at your properties. Most multifamily professionals feel that the main responsibility of their company is catering to residents. True, but we need to remember that it still IS, in fact, a business. And we need to have a solid roadmap to accomplish our business goals. Making a profit should be foremost in our minds…daily. It’s that delicate balance of dealing with two sides of the equation: the “human side” and the “financial side”, both paramount in the success of your performance. Every decision has a price tag attached to it: if it’s a $5.00 decision…make it! But if it is a $5,000.00 decision …better get some council and do your homework! It all comes down to your ability to make a profit without jeopardizing the integrity of the operation. Yet at the same time, you have to maintain a good reputation for residents and prospective residents. With that in mind, here are some words of wisdom before you embark on your budgeting journey. Control the Controllables! Prepare yourself for the budgeting process mentally, emotionally, and physically. Set aside specific times when you devote yourself to working on the budget. If you can, delegate some of the tasks to your staff. And help yourself be on...

Posted by on in Property Management
Property management companies implement online payments to eliminate unnecessary work and to add convenience to their life. Sadly, some property managers are so overwhelmed at the office that they don’t have extra time to maintain or promote the system. What they don’t realize is that with a little effort, the number of online payments received can drastically increase – resulting in a huge time savings when it comes to collecting rent. And even better news is that your payment vendor may be willing to do all of this on your behalf. And for free! Here are some things your payment provider should offer you to maximize utilization of your online payments program. Custom Resident Marketing Pieces Custom marketing pieces should be a standard offering from your provider. Based on your portfolio type, your payment provider can make recommendations for the types of materials that will be the most effective. Additionally, they should customize the pieces for your company and print them for free.  The more residents that know about online payments increases the likelihood they will choose to pay that way. Training Programs Instead of conducting trainings yourself, lean on your vendor to train employees on your online payment system. Your payment vendor’s reps are experts on the system and can answer any questions your employees may have. They can also give pointers on the most efficient way to process payments online. Be sure they also provide you with user guides and/or knowledge base articles for you to reference should...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
This week I am in Las Vegas, speaking at the Multifamily Executive Conference, on a panel about big data and its relevance to the multifamily industry.  In preparation for the session, I began to search around for definitions of big and small data, and it got me thinking about some of the unique challenges of the multifamily sector. An interesting Harvard Business Review piece made a particularly salient point about small data: very few companies know how to exploit the data already in their operating systems.  It’s a broad observation about industry in general, but its sub-text – don’t get hung up on “big” data when you already have so much low-hanging fruit within grasp – is well-applied to the multifamily industry. Readers of this blog will be familiar with our views on multifamily benchmarking.  There is no shortage of data sources and products that are designed to help us with it, but none of them enables apples to apples comparison of performance.  Other industries that have adopted revenue management have all adopted a standard industry revenue metric. The benefits are obvious – revenue drives the industry fundamentals, you can’t understand performance unless you can know your competitors’ revenue, therefore you should benchmark revenue performance against your comps. For multifamily companies to benchmark revenue performance, the data of many companies must be pooled and distributed among participants.  The data that is exchanged is confidential, which means that an independent third-party (i.e. not one of the companies providing/benefiting from the data) must...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Is your sales system really customer centered? I know you care about your prospects and customers. I know you want them to recognize how much you care about them. But when you look at how your company trains sales, how it talks about leasing and what steps you’re expected to follow, are they really all about the customer? Or are they all about your company’s process? I’ve looked at a lot of sales training in this industry, and most of them teach a model that looks something like this: The model teaches leasing associates how to handle a first contact, how to tour a prospect, how to deliver a quote and how to process a lease. Throughout this, it emphasizes things like Qualifying the prospect Establishing the tour path Selling “features and benefits” “Asking for the lease”—often accompanied by a secret shop scoresheet that gigs you if you tour somebody and don’t ask them if they’re ready to sign a lease If this sounds familiar, then ask yourself how much of this is really about putting the customer first. I would argue very little—this approach is really all about our process and our objective to “make the sale.” A customer-centered approach is one that actually looks at the decision process prospects go through and matches our behaviors to their journey. It’s less about selling than about helping the prospect make a decision. Most of our prospects are going to rent somewhere, so we don’t need to sell to them. We just...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
Are you looking to branch your multifamily efforts out and into a new region or area? If so, then you probably realize that there are a lot of factors to consider when making this move. But, which factors are the most important? It is said that all real estate markets are local. Aside from the basic need to research things such as the current and future supply of multifamily units in any area of interest and looking at what's been happening to the rents and prices in those areas, we also need to take a good look at the types of industries within a metropolitan area and how they provide insights into the demographics of the markets being served. A great example of this can be seen in areas where technology is flourishing. For the most part, investors find that these areas are best for catering to the younger demographic--the twenty-somethings. In contrast, in areas where the finance market is thriving, residents tend to be more in their thirties or forties. Regardless, in both of these examples, the would-be renters are more likely to be employed, earn a higher wage, and--especially for the older crowd--have assets that make them more stable tenants than other would-be lessees. The most popular and successful areas for multifamily dwelling will continue to be locations that not only offer a close proximity to employment opportunities, but also offer up plenty of easily accessible activities like dining, shopping, entertainment, and other needed services like public transportation, medical offices, and...