Thanks, Jacob! I can't give away all the secrets, but I needed to get this one out there because it'...
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Training Trivia

A recovered drug addict is protected under the Handicap Status section of the Fair Housing Amendments Act.

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Posted by on in Property Management
As many of our readers report an influx of new tenants moving in this summer, we thought it would be a good idea to post some important safety tips for you to share with your new renters:  1.)  Keep your personal items secret It’s never a good idea to let passersby know what kind of expensive toys are kept inside your home. That’s why you shouldn’t just discard the box that a new TV box or laptop came in on the curb where everyone can see it. Cut up your boxes and/or hide them in opaque trash bags.   2.)  Don’t advertise when you’re on vacation If you are traveling this summer, make sure to stop your mail and newspaper deliveries during the time you are away so they don’t pile up. This could alert thieves to the fact that you are away and entice them to break in.   3.)  Make sure the outside of your property is well lit Don’t forget to replace exterior light bulbs (multifamily unit residients should report to landlord/property managers in a timely manner) and report street light outages to the city ASAP (include the phone number or website to do so in your area)   4.)  Lock up your belongings The sun doesn’t set until after 8pm for most of the summer, so if you leave valuable items unsecured all around your yard for any length of time, the wrong person just might notice. And they could even help themselves. Make sure bicycles,...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Google has released yet another new update that may be affecting your real estate and apartment listings. Google's Pigeon Update is designed to help ensure more accurate local search results. According to Google, these changes are meant to help improve the user experience by providing more useful and relevant local search results. You may have noticed an issue with local maps showing, which is one of the major issues since the update. Local search results rankings have been impacted, which could either positively or negatively increase the web site referrals and leads for your business. Yelp and other local directory sites, on the other hand, are getting better visibility now in Google search results with some verticals. Distance and location ranking parameters have been improved, as well as Google search results with a stronger connection to standard web ranking signals. Some of these ranking signals include Knowledge Graph, spelling corrections, synonyms and the like. As of now, the update has only rolled out to US English results with plans of reaching other countries and languages soon. There is no news yet as to what percent of queries have been and will be impacted. For now we’re in a waiting game to see how Pigeon will continue to evolve and affect local search results, and how we can best adapt to these changes. ...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Imagine for a moment a reviews site for trains, where people can rate their experience.  If this review site was in a third world country, "good" reviews might share how the train didn't break down on the trip, that it departed and arrived on time, and other elements that related to the very basic elements of riding on a train.  In an area where breakdowns are common, having a train that didn't break down was a source of satisfaction!  But now imagine reviews for trains in a developed country.  You would no longer see positive reviews about the train not breaking down, because that would be a basic expectation.  You would definitely see negative reviews if one did break down, but the reverse wouldn't be true.  Instead, positive reviews would focus on the cleanliness, comfort of the chairs, and higher end amenities. The point of this comparison is to show that the level of satisfaction is relative to the expectations that customer has with the product or service.  This also means that you can see what a person truly believes about a company based upon what would make that person satisfied.  For the first example above, if a person is satisfied simply because the train didn't break down, that implies that they don't see the train in a very positive light in the first place.  It's as if they are saying, "We understand the train is absolutely horrible, but if it can at least get me to my destination, I'll be...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
After checking out your photos and  videos and reading your community reviews, a prospective renter is interested in learning more. So, he schedules an in-person tour of your apartment. This tour will play a big role in whether or not this renter chooses your apartment community. No pressure, right? Take a deep breath…and master your next apartment tour with these six tips.    1. Greet them WarmlyFirst impressions are lasting impressions. Greet prospective renters with a smile and a handshake to start things off on the right foot. 2. Let in the LightI don’t know many people who would want to live in an apartment that is dark and gloomy. Open the shades and turn on the lights so the perspective renter can see the unit in the best light possible – literally. 3. Tailor Your TourDon’t give the exact same tour to every prospective renter. Instead, ask the renter what he’s looking for in an apartment and what attracted him to your community. Then, tailor your tour to the prospective resident. For example, if Randy the Renter is a cooking enthusiast, highlight the features of the unit’s newly remodeled kitchen so he can imagine himself living (and cooking) in this apartment. 4. Keep your DistanceAfter you’ve given the prospective renter a tour, give them an opportunity to wander around the unit. Stay close enough that you’re available to answer questions, but not so close that you’re making him or her feel uncomfortable or pressured. 5. Ask for FeedbackWhat did the prospective...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
“Hi, I’m looking for a one-bedroom, maybe a studio, near downtown. It looks like you have a few properties with nice options. Who would I call to set something up to see your apartments? Thanks, Kate” This is a real message received through a client's Facebook page. We see messages like this a lot, coming through a social media channel or the client's website. There's a good chance you've seen messages like this, too. It’s great news. "A lead! She wants a studio. We need to rent some studios!" Except there’s a problem. Our organizations aren’t built to serve Kate's question very well. Our marketing strategies don’t address what she needs at this point in her search. The way we manage leads doesn’t enable our leasing teams to give Kate what she wants. And it’s holding us back from providing a better leasing experience for our prospects. I know what you’re thinking. “Business is good. We have more leads than we know what to do with. We need to focus on getting our leasing team to answer the phone more and respond to online leads.” All true. But the more you can do to move "up the funnel,” the sooner you can qualify the prospect, identify your best prospects and ultimately help them find their perfect place. Let me show you what I mean. If you break down how people shop for apartments, we see that very few know the property they want by name when they start their search...

Posted by on in Property Management
Ever worry if your property is safe for visitors, residents or vendors?  The most important part of your job is to prevent an accident resulting in bodily injury or worse.  Hundreds of personal injury law suits are filled every day in the US, the most common is the "slip and fall". No matter how frivolous, litigating them can be costly and time consuming.  Here are a few tips that will help: Walk the property, every step of the property.  Look for uneven pavement in the sidewalks, breezeway, parking lot, walkways; anywhere pedestrians have access.  Even a 1/4" difference can cause someone to "stub a toe" or twist an ankle and fall.  Spray paint the area with bright orange ( symbol of caution) and if possible post an "uneven pavement sign until the area can be repaired. Speaking of uneven surface; use that orange paint on speed bumps or concrete barriers between parking spaces. Walk grassy areas, look for holes such as where a bush have been pulled, holes dug by animals, tree stumps, vines laying along the ground or low hanging branches. Look for insects nest like wasp/bees or other natural health hazards like poison ivy or oak.  Have your lawn service, pest exterminator and/or maintenance department take care of the problem ASAP.  The edge of every step should be a contrasting color and a non-slip surface with a secure handle to aid in walking up and down the steps. Make sure your stair ways are well lit and emergency exit...

Posted by on in Property Management
For most property owners their property is like their baby. They want to take care of it, nurture it, and make sure nothing happens to their investment. But just like parents, property owners have responsibilities and jobs to do throughout the day and can’t afford to monitor their property and tenants 24/7. The solution for parents is a babysitter and there is an equivalent for property owners called on-site managers. On-site managers are your eyes and ears for your investment. Here are the main benefits of having an on-site manager: Eagle’s eye on the property: An on-site manager position mandates them to look after the property. They keep tabs on the outside securing that it’s kept nice and presentable (as in reporting people loitering, checking to make sure the gardens are kept up, etc.) They make sure tenants are keeping the common areas of the properties clean. If you have an on-site laundry room this is extremely important. Most tenants don’t clean out the filters from the dryer which shortens the lifespan of the dryer in the long run, costing you more money. Also, they are in charge of notifying either you or your property management company of any repairs or remodeling that needs to be done for the upkeep of the appearance of the property. Tenant Relations: On site managers are great when it comes to the maintenance of tenants.  They reside in the complex and are on call 24/7. If a tenant has an issue with another tenant or...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Every day there’s another article or study about mobile use increasing or some fabulous new technology that makes our personal or business lives easier. Some property management companies say 30-40% of their online traffic comes from mobile devices already (not surprising when you consider that millennials make up a large part of the multifamily market).  But we can’t forget this point: It’s not just the technology that matters; it’s the experience (and people) behind it.  Knock, Knock...Who’s There? Let’s assume you have a mobile-friendly site or app. That’s just the first step. About 73% of mobile users contacted someone to view an apartment based on their online mobile search. What happens next can build loyalty—or frustration—and that online experience can color how the consumer thinks she’ll be treated as a resident, especially if she’s a millennial.  For example, if I can easily ask questions and get a response, I’m more likely to remember a company as helpful, attentive and trustworthy. On the other hand, clunky online processes and slow responses are frustrating and can leave an impression of unfriendliness or unprofessionalism.  The problem is, as always, time. We have precious little of that in this industry, yet some properties have figured out how to be there for the always-on consumer...without time-traveling (so far as I know). Marry Virtual Backup to Your Mobile Tech Some properties offer mobile text or live chat as ways for prospects/residents to get real-time help from the leasing or management teams, right from their websites or property...

Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
When you hear warnings about identity theft, most of us think about stolen credit cards and fake ID’s used to make unauthorized, expensive purchases in another person’s name. However there’s another form of identity theft not often thought about: utility fraud. Believe it or not, it happens a lot during the summer months. Utility fraud is when a person fraudulently uses someone else’s name or identity to order water, gas, cable or other types of services. Cable fraud is the most commonly committed utility scam. This type of identify theft is actually quite easy to pull off, because often times a utility company only requires a name, address and maybe a social security number – but often times they don’t confirm the identity of the person providing the name and personal information. When a person’s wallet is stolen, they can call the police and file a report and let alert their credit card companies — both actions remove the person from liability of purchases. However, with utility fraud a victim wouldn’t even know their identity is being used and therefore no police report can be filed until long after-the-fact – when an unpaid bill appears on your credit report. By then, the process to get it removed by the credit bureaus can be arduous and expensive. Consumers should be diligent in monitoring their report, because otherwise these crimes are very difficult to detect. Police say that by the time an unpaid bill hits a person’s credit report, the thief may no...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Does the idea of walking into a room full of strangers at an apartment association event or industry conference cause you to tense up? You’re not alone. Though networking can be a great way to learn new things, get new perspectives and make powerful connections, it can also be a bit intimidating, especially if you consider yourself  an introvert. How can you make that next networking event a little less nerve-wracking? Read on for a few simple tips.  Appear ApproachableWhen it comes to networking, body language matters. After all, who wants to talk to a person who appears bored or grouchy? So, stand up straight, make eye contact, avoid crossing your arms, and don’t forget to smile! Split UpDid you come to an event with a group of your colleagues? Resist the temptation to stick together the entire time. Why? If you split up, you’re more likely to connect with new people -- perhaps people who can offer a fresh perspective on a particular challenge your facing in your apartment community such as increasing your resident retention or motivating your leasing team. .  Break the IceStarting a conversation with a person or a group of people you don’t know can be a little intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Depending on the environment, here are a few ice breakers to try out. What brought you here today? What was your favorite session today? Which speaker are you most looking forward to seeing? What did you think of the keynote? After you...