Hi Nancy! Thanks for the comments and for reading. Yes, 8th grade was a big moment for me, then it w...

Training Trivia

Open ended questions are helpful tools leading up to a close. Which of the following is an open ended question?

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1754344901 [{"id":"206","title":"Do you like apartment 1215?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"207","title":"When did you want to move in?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"208","title":"Is this within your budget?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"209","title":"What do you think of the open floorplan?","votes":"3","pct":"100.00","type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] sbar 200 200 /polls/vote/77-open-ended-questions-are-helpful-tools-leading-up-to-a-close-which-of-the-following-is-an-open-ended-question No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...
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Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
As young children we're taught not to pay attention to what others are saying about us, to not care. It's good advice in many scenarios. Be yourself and don't worry about what anyone else thinks about you. But while this may be good advice and it may work at an individual level, it may also hurt or kill a company. I love where I work for many reasons. One big reason right now is that there is a big emphasis, from the top down, to find out what our clients are saying about us.  We, of course, have several ways for clients to provide feedback, but historically the volume of helpful feedback that we get has been low.  With my focus primarily being an advocate for quality and for the customer, I am highly interested and motivated to know what our clients think.  If a colleague were to ask them about us, would they tell them they LOVE us or would they tell them to run for the hills?  In my last post I talked about quality at a high level, and this time I wanted to address one of the lower level points I mentioned, which was "Get Your Bearings." I have taken a very pro-active role in our company when it comes to getting our bearings.  A lot of effort has gone into asking our clients to rate the likelihood that they would recommend us and then even more importantly to find out the big reason(s) behind the ratings.  This has involved reaching out to hundreds of clients and asking some simple questions: Why did you...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
PVC is one of today's most widely used building materials. In fact, a study prepared for the American Chemistry Council found that consumers used over 6.4 million metric tons of PVC across the United States and Canada in 2007. Nearly half of that – 48 percent – was used for plumbing in both commercial and residential settings. What makes PVC the popular choice for both new piping installations and repairs? Many property managers find that PVC plumbing provides huge economic and safety advantages. Even in a large multi-family community, PVC piping is durable, long-lasting and easy to maintain. Reducing Costs with PVC In the same study, researchers noted that consumers in the United States and Canada saved more than $20 billion dollars by using PVC for new construction or to replace existing fixtures. Nearly 46 percent of those savings came from the use of PVC piping and fittings. Property managers can take advantage of these savings in two ways: ·       Reduced installation costs. ·       Reduced maintenance and repair costs. The lowered costs make PVC a very attractive option for multi-family complexes. It enables the property manager to lower rental unit costs. In the event of a plumbing failure, residents won't be inconvenienced by long repair times. How Does PVC Reduce Installation Costs? If you're building a new structure, PVC will cut labor costs. Small diameter piping is easy to cut with hand tools, while large PVC pipes are quickly cut with an inexpensive saw. Joining pipes and fittings is simple with a chemical...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
Is all the new construction we're seeing in the multifamily industry really helping the economy as much as we think? Could all the focused efforts on building multifamily units actually be taking away from the single family market's recovery and, in turn, hurt the overall job market in the U.S.? Some people are beginning to think so. Maury Harris, Chief US Economist and Managing Director of UBS Securities, told Fox Business, “Building a new single-family home adds more to the economy than the recent alternatives of building apartments or remodeling.” Harris goes on to explain that the lag in single-family construction and the boom in multifamily apartment construction has been driven by Americans' preference to rent as opposed to buy which, in the long run, has larger implications for the U.S. Economy than we think. It seems that, statistically, for every single-family house that gets built, the job market adds approximately 3 jobs and, when compared to the construction of a multifamily unit, that is about 2.5 times the total jobs an apartment unit creates. Over the long haul, some feel these numbers might add up to a lot of missed opportunities and Harris urges that the “job formation associated with likely home and apartment building this year is not trivial.” Job Multiplier statistics gathered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) show that in 2013, single-family construction had 618,000 starts and created 1,806,000 jobs whereas multifamily construction had 307,000 starts and created only 347,000 jobs for a total of 2,153,000 jobs created. In 2014,...

Posted by on in Property Management
“If only there was more time in the day!” Do you ever find yourself saying some variation of that statement? You’re definitely not alone. Time is a precious, limited resource…especially during budget season, when your to-do list seems to be endless. Unfortunately, there’s no way to add more hours to your day. But there are a few simple dos and don’ts for better managing the time you do have. Do: Get OrganizedDo you dive right into emails and voicemails first thing in the morning? Resist that temptation. Instead, spend the first 20 minutes of your day getting organized. Take a look at your to-do list, determine your priorities and set goals for the day. Then, take a deep breath and dive in! Don’t: Try to Do It All YourselfIf you try to take on everything yourself, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Instead, ask for help when you need it and delegate tasks, when appropriate, to members of your team. Asking for help allows you to get a new perspective on a project, and it also opens up your time to take on other important tasks. Do: Tackle the Most Difficult Task FirstIf you’ve got a list of tasks a mile long, your instinct might be to knock of the easiest tasks first. Instead, try tackling the toughest task first, when your energy hasn’t been drained from other tasks. That way, you won’t spend the entire day dreading the difficult task, plus, the sense of accomplishment you get from accomplishing a difficult task...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Although we would love every prospect to immediately lease an apartment on the spot, that often doesn't happen.  But even if the prospect is set on leaving out the door, there are still opportunities to maintain control over the buying process, even if they choose to tour other communities! Many people are afraid of letting the prospect leave the property because then they lose control, and to a certain extent, that is completely true.  But there are some strategies we can use to maintain that control, even when the prospect drives away.  One of the most important elements is finding out where they are in their own buying cycle.  Do they have several more properties to check out?  If so, which ones? This blog was actually inspired by a webinar presented by Don Sanders called Leasing Tours To Die For!, and I'm going to share a strategy he talked about, as it was absolutely brilliant.  He told us about a fancy new community that had opened up across the street from one of his properties.  As anyone would be, they were nervous that this sparkling new property would suddenly take away occupancy from theirs.  So he shopped the property and found that the leasing consultant he talked to was absolutely horrible.  She was so bad that she negated all the great things this property had to offer.  So what did he do?  When a prospect came into his community, he would ask if they were going to visit any other properties,...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
There’s a lot of talk about both benchmarking and Business Intelligence in today’s multifamily industry. The nature of this talk is interesting – not least because it tends to treat both as if they’re the same thing.  It may be useful for us to begin with working definitions for both terms. Business Intelligence (BI) describes any transformation of data into information that supports business analysis.  It enables us to develop insights into the characteristics of our businesses, and – crucially – to measure performance and the things that influence it.  A critical facet of BI is that individual companies choose what intelligence is important to them, and how best to measure it.  Or to use a popular term, a business must “choose its own adventure”. Performance benchmarking, on the other hand, is the business of comparing key indicators on an apples-to-apples basis.  This is an area that the multifamily industry has yet to master.  We measure many things, using the metrics and data sources of our choice.  But none of the data sources that we use provides the level of certainty that we should expect from benchmarks. Imagine a football game where nobody kept the score.  Football is rich with performance indicators that lend themselves to measurement.  We could each come up with our own way of tracking a team’s performance based on the things that are important to us: rushing yards, passing yards, time in possession to name but a few.  You could conceive of a stadium full of spectators,...

Posted by on in Student Housing
Every student housing market is a little different but one thing remains consistent - all rental property owners wish to maximize profits and keep vacancies low.   In order to accomplish this, some property owners have adopted the idea of renting by-the-room, instead of by-the-unit, especially in competitive rental markets. There are both benefits and drawbacks of both to consider.In student housing, a landlord will often rent a property to multiple unrelated individuals. When the only option for students is to rent an entire unit, they must group together ahead of time. Many students don’t have groups of friends or know other students who are searching for housing as well, especially if they are first-year students.  As a result, they often prefer to rent a place individually. If these students cannot afford an entire unit on their own, then their rental options can be limited. This is why many students prefer to rent by-the-room.  In addition, it saves them time and the situation of trying to find a reliable group of peers to share a unit with.Renting by-the-room also absolves students of the concern and potential expense of a roommate not paying rent or causing damage to the unit. When renting by-the-unit, the lease typically requires all roommates to be responsible for the rent and condition of the unit. This is generally known as the Joint and Several Liability clause, where in the event one roommate stops paying rent, the others will have to cover the amount.   A factor to...

Posted by on in Property Management
Many if not most multifamily housing folks truly make the effort to be compliant with the Fair Housing Act and are well aware of the need to accommodate persons with disabilities (PWDs).  Compliance is the goal not just because civil rights law and prudence dictates, but because it is the right thing to do when any PWD seeks reasonable accommodation in order to manage better in their apartment home.  So handicapped parking is reserved if need be; the PWD at an older community is allowed to install a ramp when needed; the resident who is deaf can have visual doorbells and fire alarms.  The types of requests are many and varied, but perhaps none causes our industry more angst than those related to service animals, assistance animals, companion animals, emotional support animals, working animals (chose whatever term you prefer – for this blog I am going to use “assistance animals”).  And when an animal is really, truly providing a service of any kind for a PWD, we will do what we need to do.    But what about imposter service animals - those that sport an “official” vest or patch and have paperwork obtained when someone (usually not a PWD) has gone to a website and registered their pet (usually a dog) and paid for that vest and paperwork?  Ahhh – now I hear some gnashing of teeth, and I mean the human ones.  Because we know, we absolutely just know, that there are many people out there without disabilities who...

Posted by on in Property Management
Being in the vicinity of a meth lab puts a person at risk of personal health problems due to the chemical residues. It also affects personal safety because of the risk of an explosion. For a landlord, the cost of cleaning up a home contaminated by a meth lab could cost $10,000 or more.   Here are the signs you should not ignore:   Neighbors complaining of strange activity at the home, such a people coming through at all hours of the day. A random abundance of common materials used for meth production, such as: cans, bottles, tubing, propane tanks, cooler, portable stoves Packages of suspicious chemical substances like acetone, brake cleaner, drain cleaner, iodine, paint thinner, phosphorous, etc. Strong, unpleasant smells – similar to cat urine.   Ask yourself, “Why does my tenant need paint thinner?” or “What IS that smell?”   You can purchase DIY meth detection kits online for around $50, or you can pay a professional service to perform a more comprehensive test for just under a thousand dollars. While that might seem costly, it is nothing compared to the price you will have to pay to evict, and then treat your home for contamination....

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
I was asked to be the manager of a small team of 5 people about a year after I finished college. At the time, I was sure this was due to my management skill, but in hindsight, I believe the promotion was largely due to my performance as an individual. Very often, managers are promoted under similar circumstances, and this practice is not just limited to software companies1. Many of the Property Managers and Regional Managers I meet were at one time the best leasing agents in their office now promoted to be managers. Being a new manager is difficult, not in the least part because now all of a sudden you’re accountable for the work of other people. And people can be so… unpredictable. New managers all go through a phase where they ask themselves, “how can I be a good manager?” To add to the proliferation of opinions on the internet, I’d like to share one more through the lens of a simple weekly meeting: the 1:1. Managing Sam (my perspective; name changed to protect the innocent) Sam was one of the first employees I managed. He was bright, fun to work with, and methodical. Previous to my promotion, we had been peers. As a new manager, I just presumed that since Sam was such a nice guy, he was surely being productive. We didn’t really meet to discuss his work, but I was able to observe his output. We were good friends, and often went to lunch as a...