I'm a big believer that the way to the heart is through the stomach, at least it is for me! And whe...

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What percentage can a resident save on heating costs by lowering their thermostat setting from 70 degrees to 68 degrees?

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Posted by on in Property Management
                You made it past the hard part, you leased out your apartment! Now What? Now you try to make your new tenant transition into your property as smooth as possible.  With these easy tips you can make your new tenant transition smoother, and therefore they will be happier.   Offer moving services. Partner with a moving company in which you could send them business and they could offer discounts for potential tenants.  This helps the tenants with their moving process, which entails makes the moving process less stressful. Tell them the services in the area.  Most people are in contract with certain companies as in cable, Wi-Fi, or phone companies. Tell them the companies that are offered in the area so they may do some research on the pricing of the services they may want. Offer welcome gifts.  Welcome gifts can get you and your new tenants off to a great start! During the moving process the new tenant is moving all their property in but everything is packed up! A good welcome gift could include a bath towel, a roll of toilet paper, paper towels, a shower liner, and a small bar of soap. Maybe if you’re feeling generous even some Clorox wipes. This will help them get settled in and with their cleaning until they are able to unpack all their belongings.  A typical welcome gift should cost less than $15 dollars Give instructions on how to change their mailing address....

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Do you ever get tired of those incessant little surveys that companies ask you to fill out? I know I do. Often times I doubt that they ever see the light of day. We rarely get any sort of follow-up about our feedback, which can make us feel like these surveys are just a waste of time.  I’ve learned something about customer surveys, though, that makes them one of the most incredible tools for improving ANYTHING. Several years ago I was tasked with improving end-of-semester evaluations for university professors.  I interviewed teachers and students, evaluated results, compared outcomes and what I found was that (...for the most part...) teacher evaluations were a waste of time! Students hated them—suspecting that honesty would be punished and seeing very little evidence it did them any good.  Teachers felt the same because they weren’t able to use that garbage data to help their (now former) students. And because the higher-ups were using these evaluations in a way that actually penalized the teacher for receiving any sort of negative feedback, the teachers had an obvious tendency to pressure students for positive comments. Everything that the evaluations were originally purposed for had been destroyed, because nobody was focusing on how student feedback could power beneficial change and improvement. I knew something needed to change. I just didn’t realize how simple it would be.  I took the system that was in place, and I made a few distinct changes: First, I made it so that teachers got more frequent feedback. Instead of only once (at the end of the semester),...

Posted by on in Property Management
  Summer is nearly upon us, and many property managers experience a tenant turn-over in the summer related to college schedules. Some of the people moving in might even be renting an apartment for the first time. To ensure a good relationship with your new tenants, it’s a good idea to set expectations right away. When your tenant moves in or signs the lease, let them know what types of repairs they’re responsible for and what type of repairs you want to fix. For example, you might be fine with your tenant changing a lightbulb, but would prefer they don’t fix a clogged sink. You should also walk through the apartment with them and make sure they know how everything in the apartment works. Show them the stove, microwave, dishwasher, and thermostat. When it comes to rent policy, be clear from day one. Let them know when rent is due, when you consider it late, and when you take action as a result of non-payment. This will help you avoid confusion later. Although personal relationships and conversations about these things are important, some property managers find it helpful to print out a new tenant handbook. This handy manual will tell renters what to do if their sink is backing up in the middle of the night. Having clear policies that are clearly communicated is the key to good relationships with your tenants....

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
b2ap3_thumbnail_Fotolia_41800069_Subscription_Monthly_XL.jpgBrace yourself.  Spring is here and with flowers that bloom come a dizzying array of industry meetings to attend, exhibit halls to walk, booths to man, speeches to sit through, and networking events to navigate.  The following is a list of survival techniques to make the most of your trade conference experiences so that all that time away from home can add up to more than a bag of great swag:                 Schedule Appointments – Before you even get on a plane, take the  time to search the meeting website to see who will be attending or exhibiting and who you want to be sure to meet.  Appointments are your ticket to making the most of your time so reach out to people in advance with a few possible times to talk at your company’s booth or get together for a cold drink. Love the One You’re With – Remember in advance to reach out to current associates and key contacts to get on their calendars too.  There’s nothing worse for business than making someone feel less valuable once they’ve started working with you. And think of the money you can save by scheduling face time with a contact at a meeting you both attend. Respect Time – It’s important to remember that everyone attending or exhibiting at a trade meeting is hoping to leave with a better solution to a problem, a new approach to maximize a need, an acquisition or disposition of assets, or...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
In February, Google introduced its new Google Maps to the masses (although beta testing had been on-going since May 2013)¹. The new Google Maps brings an improved user experience, with an emphasis on hyper-localized search results. And when people search for navigational directions the results will now display multiple transit options (i.e. subway, bus, train, bike, or car), with the associated distance and estimated time of arrival. Lastly, Google now provides high-quality images with a plethora of vantage points ranging from aerial views of beautiful cityscape to street views of your neighborhood. However, the most recent Google Maps update did not eliminate many of the headaches apartment owners experience when trying to secure their map listing. So with many of those roadblocks still in place, here's a breakdown of how apartment communities can navigate through a few of the most prevalent Google Maps issues: Wrong Information Your current apartment listing has incorrect information. How do you fix it? If the information is within the name, address, or phone number you will want to correct it before you claim and verify your listing—if the listing is already claimed and verified you will need to get in touch with Google support to correct the information. All other business listing information (i.e. apartment website, hours of operation, email, and business description) can be edited without the need to re-verify. Duplicate Listing Google doesn't like duplicate listings, because it complicates and confuses user search. If you're claiming your business listing and discover duplicates, I recommend that you choose the listing that has the...

Posted by on in Property Management
I was at my local office supply store yesterday; the Epson printer has printer her last page. Think I’m going HP this time.  While checking things out in their DIY print section (love to have a local places where we can get marketing items printed ASAP!)  I overheard a conversation between the manger and an obviously, new employee.  He was explaining how to NOT spend a lot of time with customers. Intrigued by what I was hearing…okay, I was being nosey, I continued to browse the area and hear more.  He made some good points. "Know the material to be able to explain to customers, be ready with an order form.  This way they won’t hold you up while they try and figure it out . Cause they usually can’t."  Wow. He continued as this young lady asked questions like, “well what if they’re really interested and just need help getting through the forms?”  Manager reply; “Sit them over here and tell them to let you know when they’re ready.”  Then go fill out forms, stock this or that, blah blah blah.  He continued in this intimidating manner and the whole time could clearly see me.  Within eyesight = within earshot. Good rule to remember.  Seconds later, I heard the girls voice crack as he barked at her and said something about no common sense.  Then asked her if he offended her.  Really?!  This is the time for Under Cover Boss!!  Or, would undercover boss care? Is that what we’re doing?   Is that the...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
If we are helping well over a 100 people move into our community over the course of the year, there is a very good chance that we stop remembering how difficult the move can actually be for our residents.  While it is an everyday checklist for us, it is a major life change for them.  I came across this letter today that is surprisingly from a fellow neighbor who "gets it".  He obviously understands how difficult the move is, and amazingly offers to help.  It was personal, and it showed he cared.  So when things are busy and we have a ton of move-ins happening, are we taking the time to act like Chris?     When this image was shared on Reddit, here was a great response: Thing is, it doesn't take much. Back in the days when people came in as neighbours people would give them a lasagna, cookies, and whatnot. It doesn't cost much, it doesn't take much time. But in the context where nobody does it, actions such as Chris' strike the imagination of people because they are not ordinary, they are not the "usual". A simple gesture such as Chris or anything else can mean the world to new neighbours without the time to cook or to get familiar with the neighbourhood. I wish we came back to a time where such behaviours were the norm, not the exception. That is so very true.  Think about those simple Stouffer's lasagnas.  What are they, $10?  If I...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
In order to successfully market your community to prospective renters, you have to gain insight into what they are searching for in an apartment. Understanding preferences, such as the types of amenities searched, can help you showcase the best features that your community has to offer. Once you’ve seen some of the things that your prospects are looking for, it’s time to show them off. But how?   As a community, you should always be looking for fresh and innovative ways to accentuate your assets and what you can offer to renters. Using video is a beneficial way for you to highlight your community’s best features for prospective residents. Here are some of the pros: Showcases property. Video allows the renter to get a feel for the property in a way that photos alone cannot provide. With video, prospects are able to get the ‘big picture’ without having to actually step foot in the apartment. Saves time. Since apartment shoppers are able to view your video from your online advertisement or on sites like YouTube, when they make their next move to visit your community in person it can save your leasing staff time. For prospects unable to take an in-person tour, this saves time for everyone and creates the opportunity to build confidence in what they can expect from the property itself as well as get a feel for the community lifestyle. Makes a lasting impression. Once the video is recorded and posted within your online advertisement and on your website, the message you’re trying to...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
First off, let me say that Facebook isn’t my jam. I don’t personally have a Facebook account and I am very leary of using Facebook as a major part of any marketing strategy. That’s just me. It’s how I was raised. That’s not to say that Facebook doesn’t have its place for businesses as it can be a way to extend your brand and keep your followers informed on apartment community events, notifications, and promotions ...assuming your posts are even reaching anyone's newsfeed. Facebook is ending the free ride. Organic reach for brands or non-personal Facebook accounts has been steadily dwindling over the last couple of months¹. In fact, reports show that Facebook is limiting the organic reach of brands to between 1-2% of fans. That means if you have 100,000 fans you now have a max unpaid reach of 2,000. What does this mean for property managers and owners? Obviously, if your property has a Facebook page you won’t have 100,000 fans. If you are a large property you might have 1,000. If that's the case, then your post might be seen by as many as… wait for it… 20 people! That’s why no one showed up at the BBQ last week, right? But don’t blame Facebook just yet. Why can’t your fans just go to your Facebook page and see what is happening? They can. But they don’t. According to Socialbakers, Facebook engagement rate is dropping across the board². It’s not just your page that Facebookers are losing interest in, it’s...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
As real estate crowdfunding builds a head of steam behind the JOBS Act, what are the benefits and initial concerns that will make or break this budding industry? “It is really this access problem.” says RealtyShares co-founder Nav Athwal and his partner Trey Clark. “The fact of the matter is, there is no easy-to-access marketplace for even investors to access a reliable source of quality private real estate investments and thus investors have traditionally invested in what is readily available – stocks, bonds and mutual funds.” When President Obama signed the JOBS Act in April of 2012, the crowdfunding industry achieved what has been identified in the industry as having “potential to be a game changer” for future private equity fundraising efforts. According to RealtyShares, the JOBS Act brought about for the first time since the great depression and the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933, the opportunity for unaccredited investors to be able to participate in a private equity deal. This is a huge step for investors looking to take advantage of the fact that private equity investments in the U.S. have traditionally outperformed the stock market. Up until the signing of the JOBS Act, these private equity deals were reserved for only for the wealthiest investors, while the average investor was left to invest in the public markets. And while the JOBS Act is considered by most to be a step towards balancing this inequality, it does have its limits. For both investors and fundraisers, understanding these limits is crucial.  For...