Elesa Kassoff
I don't do much blogging(no time) but when I do I usually comment on your blog. You do seem...

Training Trivia

Incorporating social media into your marketing and resident retention efforts is good practice for all student communities.

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Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
I am a video person. What does that mean? Well, video is actually my job. I write scripts and produce videos. But when I say “I’m a video person,” I also mean that I really like videos, I like ‘em a lot. They’re a great way to get information. They are entertaining. They make things easier. Why read the news article when there is a video posted right above it? I don’t have to imagine what happened, I can see it. I don’t want to read about a product and how it works, I want to watch it in action. I have, on occasion, used the patronizing phrase “Don’t tell me, show me.” I am a visual person. A visual, video person. But so is everyone else. According to Cisco, mobile video viewing was responsible for 55% of total mobile data traffic in 2014. This will increase to a whopping 72% by 2019 when we can watch videos in our self-driving cars. Seventy percent of the top search listings on Google are video results. So yeah, people like video, but mostly what I’m trying to say is that you should be using it on your property websites. Here comes the list of reasons why... The emotional connection It’s not just about numbers. Video allows you to use sight and sound to connect emotionally with your prospective residents. They can see their new home and imagine the memories they will make there, the fancy friends that will come visit them there, and what the...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
A wise doctor once said, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." That doctor was Dr. Seuss. (Ok, he wasn’t really a doctor, but that’s not the point I’m getting at.)   This is one of my favorite all-time quotes, and smart words to live by. But Dr. Seuss didn't have to worry about his online reputation. In an age where anyone with access to the internet can read the good, the bad and the ugly about you, those who mind do matter. Perception is reality.   We all know our home may be the only place we feel comfortable, secure and in control. However, when something happens that negatively affects our home (whether it’s the AC going out, a hot water heater breaking, a gate not working, or a neighbor not picking up after their dog) it messes with our peace of mind. The sanctity of our home has been breached! And often we get…well, let’s call it passionate. When it’s your resident whose sanctity of home has been breached, they’re going to reach out to you…passionately. Whether or not it's your fault, you're going to get the brunt of it. Is it fair? No. But like all of our moms told us when we were kids: life's not fair.   People write reviews for many reasons. There’s the “I got kicked out and I’m really upset,” review. Then you have the “I have a gripe that I feel isn’t being addressed” review. And my favorite,...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
The age-old saying quality is better than quantity holds particularly true when it comes to rental marketing and leasing. Sometimes rental property owners and operators will put more stock in the quantity of leads generated, rather than quality.   A flawed rental marketing strategy would be to try and maximize the number of leads possible by posting rental property listings with every free-to-post service online, and then renew on a continual basis. A ton of rental leads may give the illusion of marketing success; but if they aren’t qualified leads, is this really a successful marketing strategy? The answer is no, and here is why.  Low Quality Leads: This type of lead is one that is very unlikely to generate an actual lease signing. The problem is that they consume time, resources and often don’t produce results.  Time: Time is money and a precious commodity. Allocating time effectively can help streamline the leasing process. The task of having to respond to hundreds of unqualified or low-quality leads can take a lot of time; often not generating a lot of leases. Furthermore, the constant need to post and re-post listings can eat up even more time.  Low ROI: Even if money isn’t being spent on an advertisement, there is still an investment occurring. This is in the form of staff hours to handle the inquiries and leasing process. Low ROI means that the number of leases being signed doesn’t match the investment being put forth.    Frustration: It’s incredibly frustrating to follow-up and respond to dozens of rental...

Posted by on in Property Management
Investing a large amount of money into multifamily properties can be risky for the unprepared. Answer the following questions and check your answers at the end to determine if you're ready to start shopping for properties.  1.    Which of the following functions are the responsibility of an apartment manager?  a)    Lawn and landscaping services  b)    Pest control  c)    Tenant relations and dispute mediation  d)    Emergency repairs (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.)  e)    All of the above  2.     What are the two methods of communication a majority of all apartment residents prefer?  a)    Mail  b)    e-Mail  c)    Doorknob hangers  d)    Telephone calls  e)    Texting  3.    What is the largest expense for an apartment renter?  a)    Groceries  b)    Car payment  c)    Day care  d)    Utilities  e)    Rent  4.    What are the biggest risk factors for a multifamily housing investment?  a)    Contractors  b)    Maintenance  c)    Customer Service  d)    All of the above Answers: 1.     Answer: g) All of the above. And then some. As soon as a property owner signs those closing papers, he or she becomes “the management.” Apartment management involves all facilities maintenance, customer relations and emergencies, just as a sample. 2.     Answer: b) e-Mail, and e) Texting. A recent survey by SatisFacts and TurnSocial revealed that 87.2 percent of renters today have smartphones, and they want apartment management to communicate through them. 3.     Answer: e) Rent. Tenants pay a majority of their income to live in a property, and they expect the property manager to address issues quickly and efficiently. 4.     Answer:...

Posted by on in Affordable Housing
A Significant Impact to Affordable Rental Housing The state of New Jersey has introduced a bill that would significantly impact affordable housing across the state.  Senate, No. 1585 is seeking to establish guidelines for creditworthiness determinations concerning government subsidized housing programs.  The new restriction is intended to aide applicants who have poor credit history so their chances of receiving government assistance are improved. Any algorithm that factors FICO and other risk models into the final decision would be prohibited.  The language contained in the proposed bill is ambiguous enough that it appears that more than just the standard FICO score would be affected.  Companies who rely upon a standardized model to assist their leasing agents in making objective decisions would be required to modify their criteria, or remove it all together. The critical shortage of affordable housing in New Jersey has forced many low and moderate income households to reside in market-rate housing.  This is only a temporary solution, as many of these renters are unable to afford their residences and end up with damaged credit or eviction records because of it.  S1585 would remove a portion of the difficulty that these families face when attempting to be approved for subsidized housing. The problem with this bill (as it is currently written) is removing a basis of objective information can potentially open the door to biased decisions during the rental process.  Credit scores and decision models rely upon current and accurate information that helps to qualify each applicant in a fair...

Posted by on in Property Management
   The  Property Manager role is so vital to the success of the on site team, the community, the company, the owners, and of course the four R’s -Revenue, Retention, Reputation and ROI. How do you know if you are… or have the right Community Leader at the helm of this precious investment? Check out the  questions below to find out!!   1.     Does the property manager have genuine respect and concern for the employees and residents? 2.       Is the property manager courteous, respectful and approachable? 3.       Does the property manager display a positive attitude? 4.       Does the property manager tolerate differing opinions by giving consideration to different points of view? 5.       Does the property manager let employees know what is expected of them? 6.       Does the property manager honor commitments and keep promises made? 7.       Does the property manager exhibit pride in the company, community, and team? 8.       Does the property manager listen to issues, problems, and suggestions? 9.       Does the property manager encourage openness and freedom to speak without fear of retaliation? 10.   Does the property manager freely share information? 11.   Is the property manager fair with work assignments without playing favorites? 12.   Does the property manager hold people accountable and effectively deal with poor performance? 13.   Does the property manager give recognition for outstanding performance, saying  thank you for a job well done?   If you can answer these 13 questions with an emphatic yes, then congrats you are, or have, a Rock Star Property Manager who...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Traditional sales (and the training that supports it) relies too heavily on closing strategies and overcoming objections. The typical reason given for this approach is based upon the mythology that you need to ask people to buy multiple times to get them to say “yes” and that objections are “buying signs”. The real reason for this tendency, however, lies in something far simpler than the common rationalizations. More sales opportunities are lost because salespeople (and this issue certainly applies to leasing associates) don’t know how to manage the event when a prospect doesn’t make a decision immediately. The moment the prospect leaves the community, salespeople lose control of the interaction, and turn their energy toward the next prospect that comes in the door. As time allows, they chase the ever elusive “follow up.” Walk through a leasing office in an afternoon or on a quiet morning and take a look at the stack of guest cards awaiting follow ups (we realize that the stack today is not always physical and may reside in a community’s CRM or PMS system). We’ve seen it (as I’m sure many of you have as well). A leasing associate gets some downtime, picks up a stack of cards and starts plowing through… Hi, this is Debbie from Acme Communities, just following up on your visit to our community. Can you call me back when you get this message? Hi, just wanted to check-in on your efforts to find a new home. Just wanted to let...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
I was recently asked to speak and facilitate at a leadership conference and retreat for a company whose front line employees are mainly in their early 20’s with the managers and leadership of the company primarily in their late 30’s and 40’s.    While there was a tremendous amount of camaraderie and team cohesion (they were a very fun group to be around!) I couldn’t help but notice the difference between how the generations viewed the concept of “work ethic” and how that created a natural tension, even among an amazingly close-knit team. Some of the older ones were venting about “kids” not having work ethic and some of the “kids” wondered if the older peeps needed to “work smarter” instead of just “harder.”    So who is right?   I believe they both are right and wrong-at least from a “connection” perspective; which if you know me, you know that connection is what I am all about!    Let me unpack that further…   If you're a manager and you believe your people have no “work ethic” how do you communicate that to them? You may choose to say, “You have no work ethic!” As soon as you level that charge at someone (who probably believes that s/he does have work ethic) the person gets upset at you, says lots of bad words in his/her head, draws up the defenses, and disconnects-which isn’t good.    There is a cohort of leaders in the workforce who believe that employees should live,...

Posted by on in Property Management
One of yesterday's blogs gave me an idea.  Target Stores being in trouble today because of a T shirt furthered my idea and purpose in today's topic.  It is so easy when trying to be creative to step on toes.  Examples; Washington Redskins asked to stop using 'redskins' as it isn't complimentary to Native Americans.  Target's T-shirt is part of their fun wedding attire...it says in big letters across the front TROPHY as in trophy wife.  Women all over America are upset; one today said "it makes women feel like they are an 'object"  The confederate flag has been deemed inappropriate to many Americans.  This takes me back in time.  About 20 years ago, in order to be politically correct and gender appropriate, these recommendations were made.  We might say; Not postman, but letter carrier Not waitress, but food server Not stewardess, but flight attendant Not policeman, but police officer In the apartment industry we have tried very hard to use more appropriate terms, such as: Not maintenance man, but service or maintenance technician/tech Not leasing agent, but leasing consultant or associate or something even more polished Not complex or project, but community or property Not apartment manager, but resident manager or business manager Not unit, but apartment home Doesn't this make a more user friendly statement "A resident living in an apartment community in their apartment home" than a tenant going to their unit in the complex?  We have been practicing this for many years! And rather than imply that the...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
It’s the early afternoon. I’ve just eaten the last of my snacks, and I feel like I am wading through almost-set concrete. I am trying to make this lovely property in Florida sound like the quality establishment it is, but I’ll be honest, I am stuck. “Write quality content!” they say. “Google is always watching!” they say. But unfortunately, I have a demon on my shoulder, and that demon is named Generality. I am not sure what makes this property unique, so try as I might, I’m going to be using general terms to describe this community and its amenities. This means a lower level of quality for you and a more difficult job for me. This doesn’t mean you need to hire a think tank, though. Here are four tips to make your content better and your content writer’s job easier. (Note: If you are having someone else write your content, then you may have a questionnaire to fill out. Even if you do, these tips will be helpful for you to fill out that questionnaire in a way that will illuminate the best qualities of your property.) 1. What is the purpose of this piece of writing? Or, simply, “what’s the point?” You need content for your website/blog/social media, etc., and you want the best stuff. While your content writer can come up with all sorts of fanciful descriptions and ideas, quality writing starts with a clear, definable purpose. When you give your content writer a concrete purpose, the piece will be interesting and informative. A purpose can be something...