I agree! I'm tempted to go do some test videos just to how well they would turn out.
I love the idea! There are so many ways hyperlapse can be used at the communities. And, it feels r...

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

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Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
“The second button literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it, its too high, its in no-mans-land. You look like you live with your mother!"   -Jerry Seinfeld to George Costanza     Fans of "Seinfeld" will recognize the above lines from the first and final episodes of the iconic show. And I have to tell you, Jerry Seinfeld was absolutely correct; the second button really does make or break a shirt. For something so small, it can really make the difference between a favorite shirt and one that remains in the back of the closet.  For instance, I have a white shirt that I just don't wear very often. Since it is my only casual, cotton, white, button-down shirt, I end up wanting to use it a lot. Then I put it on (again) and realize (again) that it just doesn't feel right. So, back in the closet it goes.  What's wrong with it? Yep, the second button! If I button it I look like someone from the Geek Squad. If I don't button it, it looks like I never left the 70's and 80's when the way unbuttoned shirt was "in" for men. So, the white shirt only comes out a couple of times a year when I am in some type of dire need for a casual white shirt.   Isn't is amazing how such a small thing can have such a big effect?  The same thing is true in your career isn’t it?  Throughout my career in residential property...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
With all of the multifamily construction projects taking place serving as an indicator of just where the housing market is heading, for the first time since the recession, nationwide housing starts have bumped past the million-unit mark. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau report that in total, production was up 15.7% month-over-month and up 21.7% over this same time last year. Translation, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts hit 1.09 million units in July and it's due entirely to the 39.6% increase we've seen in multifamily starts. Experts agree that single-family home builders are still hesitant to push for new construction expansions due to the fear that a lack of available credit and potential economic uncertainty will hinder would-be buyers from purchasing. These same experts also agree that because of this sentiment, demands for new apartment construction continue to grow. While single-family housing starts saw a minimal increase of only 0.8% or a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 649,000 units, multifamily is on pace to surpass even pre-recession production with an increase of 39.6% or an adjusted annual production of 423,000 units. Economists are encouraged by the growth in multifamily because they see the current demand for new units as a sign that more young adults are branching out and forming their own households, a trend which will one day help to boost the demand for future homeownership. National statistics show that this growth isn't focused on any one part of the country and instead...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Stop for a moment and think about how much time, money and effort your community spends on lead generation? How much have you invested in: Your website? ILSs? Signage? Other media? If you’re an operator of any size, those investments are in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Despite all of the money spent on these efforts, how confident are you that you are maximizing the return on those investments? This is one of the questions we embarked upon answering in our latest research project on email re-marketing. The research project, sponsored by leading leasing technology provider On-Site, sought to answer the question, “Are MFH communities missing out on the power of email re-marketing?” While the study shows that communities are generally good at providing an initial supply ( 84% of those contacted by email sent something back),  the short answer is, “Yes, they are missing out.” Follow-up beyond the initial contact was disappointing and lacked a systematic approach, the study states. The study also noted some clear usability problems and branding missteps at the prospecting stage: 10% of the sites contained difficult spam filters or required fields that were not marked “required”; 16% had confusing or hidden “contact us” links; 23% requested many extraneous pieces of information like a secondary phone number; 19% displayed an error message or blank page after submitting the form; One email was branded with the logo and color scheme of the property management software supplier instead of the community. Effective email re-marketing,...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Sometimes it seems like you can’t go a week without hearing some analyst, commentator, or industry insider touting the importance of increasing social engagement. But with so much of this information focusing on eCommerce sites, it can be hard to tell how to apply it to the social media campaign for your apartment community. Never fear; I have compiled a list of tips to help you take your social media campaign up a notch! Make posts relevant to your renters People are much more likely to respond to and engage with posts that they can relate to. Making posts that appeal to their interests, hobbies or even frustrations is a great way to increase resident engagement. Say, for example, your local area is experiencing unusually warm weather for the time of year. This would be a great time to make a post reminding residents that “there is no better way to beat the heat than by taking a dip in Hypothetical Apartment Community’s resort style pool!” By showing empathy for their situation you are able to establish a more meaningful connection than you might have had otherwise. Let pictures do the talking for you Use pictures to add substance to a short message, like "Summer heat got you down? Cool off with this refreshing take on strawberry lemonade!" They say a picture is worth 1000 words, and that can really come in handy when you are trying to keep a post under 140 characters. Using pictures to convey an  idea is a great...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Like it or not, renters will form impressions of your company based on their experience on your website. And they’ll form those impressions quickly! A study from the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that it takes two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first impression of your brand based on your website. Yes, you read that right…two-tenths of a second. What can you do to ensure your website gives visitors a great first impression of your community? Be sure your website incorporates these five must-haves. 1. Simple NavigationPut yourself in your visitors’ shoes. Then, ask yourself these questions: Is the information on my site organized in a way that makes it easy for renters to find what they’re looking for? Do all of the links on my site site work? Are calls to action clear and prominently placed? Want to get others' opinions? Consider conducting a survey. 2. Accurate ContentVisitors expect to find accurate, up to date information on your site. Perhaps your leasing office hours changed. Or maybe your rent prices went up. Make sure you update your website to reflect these changes. 3. Compelling Visual Elements“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Remember that old cliché? Well, it’s true! A compelling visual on your website can capture someone’s attention and make them want to learn more about your community. Be sure to incorporate visual elements into your website to attract (and retain) visitors, such as: Photos Videos Infographics 4. Scannable TextThe majority of renters don’t have...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing

I am a huge fan of video for marketing apartments, with one of my favorite companies being ShowMyProperty.tv, and now, there is another tool that you all will definitely want to check out!  The system is called Hyperlapse, developed by Microsoft, and will be an amazing way to create time lapse videos of the areas around your communities, or possibly even within your communities.  This video explains the process, and I hope you can see the possibilities of creating videos for apartment communities: I had actually had this blog waiting in the wings for a week or two because Hyperlapse wasn't available to the masses.  But now, Instagram has created a new app that allows you to create your own Hyperlapse video!  Here is an example:   What do you think of this as a tool for marketing an apartment community?...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Activities at your community are critical to a sense of "community," and have a significant impact on  your resident retention.  What activities work at your site and are perceived as "value" to your residents?  The first part of the process is understanding your demographics of your resident profile and what are the key interests of your residents.  You can plan functions, parties, and activities, but without interest and perceived value to your residents you are wasting your time and resources.    Look at the lifestyle of your residents as well as other factors such as income levels and age groups.  Unless you are managing a senior community or college property, you may have a very diverse profile living at your site.  Remember, activities do not have to be a cookout or what we traditionally have known as events most of us have tried (end of summer party, holiday events, etc.).  We live in an information age any there are so many factors related to information that may benefit them.  Let's look at some of the examples of events you can consider:   *  Genealogy has turned into a passion for many people.  Web sites and even television shows have been developed for tracing your family tree.  The resources are as far as the imagination can take you, and you can visit foreign lands and do research without leaving the comfort of your living room.  Bring in someone who has expertize in genealogy and research to assist residents in tracing their family...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
A neglected plumbing system is a ticking time bomb As buildings age, building components need to be replaced—some more regularly than others. The best property managers know what these components are, and they plan for (and, more importantly, communicate regarding) their replacement well in advance so building owners can budget and be prepared. Unfortunately, many building components are hidden and therefore easily overlooked. To make matters worse, some managers and owners operate under the false assumption that certain parts of a building are meant to last the lifetime of the building. This is simply not the case, especially with plumbing. Whether defective or age-related, plumbing issues can be some of the worst a property can experience, given the nature of flooding leaks and their total potential damage to a building's structure and the property of residents. Other interior wall systems (i.e., electrical wiring or HVAC ducts) tend to have longer lifespans than plumbing, and they fail less often and less spectacularly. It's one thing to have your lights not turn on when you flick the switch— but having water flowing all over your furniture represents a totally different level of urgency and crisis. As such, it's critical that building owners and property managers inspect their pipes regularly. Obviously a small leak or drain stoppage is the first warning sign, but as leaks or stoppages begin to occur regularly, it's a good indication that there is a more systemic problem. While repiping a building is not inexpensive, it can be far less...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Pets bring unconditional love and affection into the lives of millions of Americans, and whether an apartment community permits pets can clearly become a deal breaker for many renters. There has been a nearly 30% spike in pet ownership among renters over the past two years, according to a recent survey by Apartments.com. Despite this surge in pet-owning renters, many indicted they still faced difficulty finding an apartment that allowed their four-legged friend. The good news for these renters is increased demand is driving new apartment construction to accommodate the needs of pet owners, especially in urban centers. Some of the innovative spaces and luxury amenities being offered include pet spas, rooftop walks, pet decks, washing stations and outdoor dog runs. With nine out of 10 renters saying pet policies play a deciding role in where they choose to live, how will your pet policies and amenities keep pace with the needs of this important and growing segment of renters? For more survey results, check out the infograph below. ...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
  Real estate investing is a great long term investment strategy to store some of your money while also accrueing profit overtime.  No matter the size or type of property, making a smart and carefully chosen investment can significantly increase your income.   Let’s play out this scenario: Craig see’s a four bedroom house for sale for $240,000 and plans to put down 20,000 for a down payment. Today’s mortgage rate averages at about 4.5% per year, so that would cause his 30- year mortgage payment to be $1,114.71 monthly.  Using a worst case scenario in Los Angeles, the average rent for a four bedroom house is $2,163 monthly, which brings Craig’s gross income to $1,048.29.  Subtract from that the costs of property insurance at $208 a month ($2,500 yearly) and property management fees of about $250 a month, plus taxes, you’re looking at about $394.04 in monthly net income. That’s an additional income of $4,729 every year! Keep in mind that real estate investing is not for the faint of heart.  There are always risks and you should be carefull when deciding to buy an investment property.  The above scenario is basic in terms of the profitability to an investor.  Make sure you do extensive research and planning before making every purchase.  Here are a few tips on what to know before investing: 1.      Decide what kind of property you want to purchase:  There are many types of properties to invest in.  Each requires different kinds of knowledge.  Some property types...