Interesting analogy Jason! Loving the student housing posts, keep them coming.

Training Trivia

Maintenance costs associated with a student property are typically lower than conventional communities.

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Posted by on in Student Housing
I'm at Starbucks almost every day. It's not because I'm rolling in the dough. Starting your own business means you have to be scrappy. You have to tighten up your belt. Nope, I still pay almost double for my morning cup of Joe because Starbucks pays attention to the small details.  Starbucks, in other words, is premium. Think about those two things for a second. One, offering premium services means a hyper focused attention to small details. And two, people are willing to pay ridiculous prices for your product if you do.  Here's my typical experience when I go hang out at Starbucks. Logistics Design: I walk in and order my coffee. The line is usually short but, when it's not, it moves quickly. Since I'm ordering a drip coffee, they immediately pour it for me when I get to the register. I don't have to wait behind someone that ordered a double frappuccino with skim milk, whipped cream and chocolate syrup. I hand the card to the Barista (instead of having slide the card myself.), no "debit or credit" question, no entering in a pin, no waiting for the software to log onto the internet. Nope, just hand my card, they hand it right back. Done. That is not an accident. That is a well planned logistic design strategy.  Interior Design: I grab my venti cup, walk over to a table and place my backpack on the back-end of the seat. A seat that is purposely heavier than normal chairs so the weight of my bag...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
Epoxy pipe lining is often viewed as an alternative to replacing the old piping with a completely new system.  In theory, the lining process involves coating the inside of the pipes with an epoxy resin to seal off pinholes and corrosion, creating a lasting solution to solving your pipe problems.  That’s the theory. In practice, the challenges with epoxy are numerous: For one, there is no way to know how well the epoxy adhered to the inside of the pipe, and if an even coat was achieved, without cutting into the pipe. Second, if a leak occurs at a future date, repairing an epoxy-lined pipe is very difficult. The resin cannot take heat, and application of a torch to try and solder in a new piece of pipe or a fitting ruins the integrity of the lining at that location. Likewise, use of a “press-fit” connection (the solution by many epoxy companies for epoxy-lined pipe repairs) may crack the epoxy lining at the point of the repair, allowing water to get between the pipe and the lining, further corroding the pipe. The initial epoxy lining process itself creates a certain amount of pressure on the pipe walls, and may blow out at weak spots or threaded areas. And lastly, critical elements of the piping system are often excluded in an epoxy lining job. Because of these challenges, SageWater encounters failed epoxy lining jobs, or partially completed epoxy lining jobs, that now require a full pipe replacement.  These, as well as other...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
In my research I believe there are two distinct communication styles that people have. Last time we talked about the Direct Communicators. ​Direct Communicators are people who “Say what they mean-and mean what they say!” You will typically know what a DC is trying to communicate to you because there is no ambiguity or lack of clarity in their communication style. Direct Communicators say “My words are my words!” Lucy Van Pelt from the Peanuts comic strip is a great example of a Direct Communicator! (And no...I'm not saying that all DC's are loud, bossy and obnoxious like Lucy!)    On the other end of the spectrum are INDIRECT COMMUNICATORS. In contrast to Direct Communicators, Indirect Communicator’s words often do NOT reflect what they really feel, mean or want to say. If WORDS are the way Direct Communicators communicate, Indirect Communicators communicate through their body language, expressions, and mannerisms. Let me give you an example…Let’s pretend that a Direct Communicator (DC) and an Indirect Communicator (IC) want to go to lunch. DC: “I’m feeling like Mexican food today. Does that sound good to you?”IC: (Fidgets, crosses arms, looks away) “Uh…I just had Mexican yesterday. Did you hear about the new Chinese place down the street? BUT, if you’d really like Mexican, I guess I’m okay with that.”DC: “Awesome! Let’s go.”IC: Sighs (internally) and goes to eat Mexican food, and is NOT happy about it! Later on that same day...The Indirect Communicator meets up with a fellow Indirect Communicator and is ready to explode! IC: You’ll never believe what happened at lunch today!IC2: What?IC: You know...

Posted by on in Property Management
Six words or less!   This month, we challenged our property management leaders to tell us in their own words what their superpower is. Why they are successful—in six words or less (most made it within six words). We had so many insightful, smart and passionate answers. Our leaders have summed up those key skills that have made the difference between leaders and great leaders: Leadership, Learning, Customer Service, Passion, Teamwork, and Hard Work and Values.   Here’s what they shared:   Leadership: ·         Hire character, personality, & work ethic.  ANNA BANKSTON ·         Be available to your team! MONIQUE PINEDA ·         Lead with empathy, and by example. SARA BURROW ·         Authentic, adaptable, engaging, integrity, impact and influence. SANDRA MORFIN ·         The ability to negotiate successfully. CATHY STALLINGS ·         Lead by example! SUSAN SCHNEBERGER ·         Surround yourself with the right people. ANNA BANKSTON ·         You MANAGE things; You LEAD people. ISABEL ALVAREZ   Learning ·         Always be eager to learn! HEATHER HOVINEN ·         Never stop learning or teaching. VICTORIA WILKINS ·         Asking questions & time management! CANDACE GREEN ·         Great mentors & coaches. MESHA GILBERT   Customer Service ·         Patience is key. Value people. FAITH EVANS ·         Patience and a Smile. RAVEN SHARP ·         Listen… SMILE… be tactful… eat chocolate! LORI HERRERA ·         Be good to yourself, your team & your residents! MELINDA SHEA ·         Customer service is always #1! GRISELDA MURO ·         Compassion and listening skills are paramount. SUSAN SANSBURY ·         Great Customer Service is your most valuable asset. DIANNA WINGO...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
I was not a happy camper my first year of marriage. I thought it was boring. It got much better once the kids came along and married life turned into family life! In any event, I had to find a way to fill my time in between, so I chose teaching and was, it turned out, pretty good at it. However, even after a few years teaching kindergarten, I longed for a little bit more, so when the administration created a new position as the school’s Art Director, and they asked me to take it, I was apprehensive, but thrilled for the challenge. Turns out, having the opportunity to create a whole new curriculum where none existed before was the best thing to stimulate my growth as a leader. An entirely new opportunity to set the stage for learning was my perfect world. Our school was the first of its kind in offering art education to children from preschool to kindergarten age, so it became my responsibility to share that knowledge with everyone else in our state. This meant that I would have to actually teach the adults by presenting at professional development conferences. Now that I am in the multifamily/property management world, I crave those opportunities to learn anything new! One of the best ways for us to receive any level of professional development is through the Apartment Associations, either at the local, state, or national level. It is vital that our onsite teams be given the opportunity to participate...

Posted by on in Student Housing
NIMBY [nim-bee]: An acronym standing for not in my backyard. It’s commonly used to express opposition by a group of people towards the development of a residential, commercial or civic project, such as student housing. In such a circumstance, the group believes that the project will have adverse effects on the surrounding community, often leading to decreased property values. In many cases, these community members identify the need for such a project, but prefer it be developed outside of their neighborhood.   So how does NIMBYism relate to student housing? To start, it’s a relatively common occurrence for local or neighborhood collectives to voice opposition towards the development of major student housing projects, citing reasons such as increased noise, decreased property values and vandalism. Many groups often paint a pretty negative portrayal of student housing.   This sense of NIMBYism is often echoed through media channels, as these stories are picked up because they stir up a lot of controversy and attention. Almost every other week there is a story about student housing being opposed or rejected. Here are just a few examples:  Concerns over new student housing development near McGill Student-housing plan faces opposition in Fort Collins Homeowners complain of student housing growth in Hamilton Purpose-built student housing will not be permitted in the downtown urban core   While scanning student housing news, it quickly becomes clear that NIMBYism is a big problem in this sector.   One of the most troublesome things about NIMBYism in student housing is how the opinions of...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Multifamily Insights Gleaned From NMHC.. Are we in the 7th Inning? I recently attended the NMHC annual meeting, and the effects of what is likely to be the biggest and longest bull run in multifamily housing in my career were certainly evident. In several conversations, I shared a belief that no one really knows how long this run will last. It seems like everyone likes using the baseball analogy, saying “we’re in the 7th inning.” However, I don’t think that’s the result of strong analysis. Rather, it’s simply a reflection that saying anything like the 3rd or 5th inning implies a Pollyanna-ish view since no one believes a run like this will last 5 or more years, while saying it’s the 9th inning would ignore current job growth and imply that a housing recession is just a quarter or two away. So being the data driven person I am, and using 3Q 2009 as the start of the current run (rents bottomed out in 2Q 2009), here’s what the baseball analogy portends depending on what inning you think we’re in (and presuming we’re “in the middle” of each inning): Inning Proj End      1 4Q71      2 3Q40      3 2Q30      4 1Q25      5 4Q21      6 4Q19      7 2Q18      8 2Q17      9 2Q16 While a perception that we are in the 7th inning is reasonable, anything from the 5th to the 8th seems plausible to me. With interest rates low, job growth strong, macro-demographics in our...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
I was having lunch at an Applebee’s with a friend of mine not too long ago when he said something to the waiter that absolutely mortified me and made me cringe. I was in disbelief when he said what he said and I couldn’t believe that he actually said it-and I told him so too! He simply looked at me and gave me the “So, what?” look and laughed.  I laughed too. If anything magnified the difference between our two communication styles, it was this moment at Applebee’s when the waiter asked us, “So…how was your food?” ​My friend looked at the waiter and said, “I’m sorry, but I just wasn’t that impressed with this. It had no flavor. I thought it was going to be a lot better and it wasn’t.” To his credit the waiter apologized, made several suggestions to enhance the flavor, offered to have the chef re-season it to make it taste better, all of which my friend politely declined. Say What You MeanMy friend is a classic Direct Communicator. Direct Communicators say what they mean and they mean what they say. With a Direct Communicator you know EXACTLY where you stand at all times. There is no ambiguity. No confusion. No grey areas. It’s all black or white. I am NOT a Direct Communicator-which is why my internal mechanisms went crazy when my friend calmly but firmly trashed his lunch to the waiter. I can tell you that my natural tendency would NOT have been to do what my friend did-and I’ll...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Let's go over how to implement the writing down of information into our active listening strategy. When a resident or potential resident comes to you with a question or concern, give them time to finish their statement before you respond. This concept may sound obvious, but a common complaint regarding poor customer service is that the client kept getting interrupted. Even if you know what they are going to say, let them finish. Otherwise, they will feel like you are rushing them and what they have to say is not important to you. Write down the information while they are talking, and after they are done wait a second or two before responding to ensure that they had completed their thought. Face them and make eye contact. Always have open body language, and never fold your arms. Stay calm and objective. As you are writing, briefly repeat the information they had given you in your words so that they know you understood them correctly. This vital but often overlooked principle can significantly increase the odds that a prospect will choose to lease with you and not your competition. Your residents need to know that you will take the time to listen to them and that you care about what they have to say. This is why it is important to write information down, and it will make you stand out in a positive way. It is one of the most important things you can do, but it is also one of the...

Posted by on in Property Management
Getting up in the morning is hard enough but getting up to do the parts of your job that make you want to cringe can be torturous. We’ve kept a tally recently of the top three biggest complaints shared by property staff.  Here goes: “My pet didn’t do that”- and other similar resident comments that result in property staff literally dealing with a bunch of poop. My toilet, shower, dishwasher, stove – you name it – isn’t working again…even when you have an all star maintenance staff and the problem of the hour has already been assigned. Chasing rent -- The check is in the mail…or the virtual mail…or really not at all and getting residents to pay up makes you want to throw up. Certainly there are workarounds for all these issues that make property staff the true heroes of property management. Providing plastic bags and trash cans at strategic locations around the community, especially in designated in pet areas, can all but eliminate messy clean up.  Creating an online request system for maintenance issues with recorded online updates can take the burden off of trying to reach residents to communicate the status of repairs. And providing automated rent delivery options that essentially remove the resident from even managing the part of their take home pay that should go the community for rent is another.   Sure, every headache has a cure, but it doesn’t mean they don’t hurt until you make some changes....