Great blog, Shellie, and I think this first class mentality becomes even more important after severa...
Commercial Appraiser
"How do you calculate value with cap rates? Let me show you a quick calculation. Let’s assume the ...

Training Trivia

If a prospective resident wants a lease with an ending date not available on the lease expiration matrix, it is smart to make an exception and allow their lease to end when they desire to secure the lease.

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Posted by on in Property Management
Well, my previous post from a view weeks ago was somewhat prescient as later that day Mr. Castro went public with HUD’s position on criminal background checks for folks wanting to rent.  That has created a flurry of comments, confusion, information and questions.  What blogger wouldn’t want to weigh in on that?  So I will do so, but first:   I told you so!  I have (for years!) encouraged and beseeched the apartment industry to soften up a bit on the “any felony, ever” basis for rejecting applicants.  I made the point that Martha Stewart would likely not be accepted as a resident (notwithstanding that while she may be annoying, she is not dangerous, that she can pay the rent, and at the end of a lease her unit would be more lovely than when it was rented to her).    Now, on to some tips as to how to navigate the current waters of criminal background checks for applicants…   1. First and foremost, there should be no asking for or looking at any arrest records whatsoever.  If this has been the previous policy, that needs to be changed immediately.  To further be in a safe harbor, it is suggested by some fair housing experts that you also ignore the following: misdemeanors of any kind adjudication withheld, dismissals, pre-trial diversions nolle prosse, acquittals on any offenses convictions for possession or use of illegal drugs or controlled substance or paraphernalia related paraphernalia (which is not the same as convictions for manufacturing...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Exercises to Reinforce Successful Sales Habits for Leasing Associates When we’re implementing our InSite Sales Performance Program, the training portion is (obviously) a crucial piece of the process. When conducting the training, we often draw analogies to sports and athletic endeavors.   The reason for this is that successful sales performance has a lot in common with athletic endeavors. Both require an understanding of the game being played, the process for success and the skills to make it happen. Another important similarity is the need to practice. Constant, ongoing reinforcement of skills and process is crucial to successful outcomes, in both pursuits. If you look at a successful golfer, you’ll see someone who hits thousands of balls each week in preparation for a tournament. Show me a strong hitter in baseball, and I’ll show you someone who’s working in the batting cage when no one else is there. Successful performers are always working on their craft. This practice goes beyond training, and frankly it’s where I see a lot of multifamily operators drop the ball. They invest significant money, time and energy into creating formal training programs (on a variety of subjects) and then leave it to chance to determine how that training is consistently reinforced. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the paradigm of successful selling is not natural to humans - and certainly not to leasing associates. Think about it. Humans are programmed to be self-focused. It’s why so many salespeople fall into what we like to call the “we do trap.” They fill their conversation with...

Posted by on in Property Management
One of the toughest parts about owning a multifamily property is the unpredictability of other people's actions. Depending upon the size of the property, you may have to worry about the actions, behaviors, and attitudes of tens or even hundreds of individuals. Thankfully, creativity can be your best friend when it comes to motivating tenants to consistently keep the best interests of the property at heart.  Incentive programs are a great way to achieve a win-win scenario for both landlord and tenant. Give tenants a good reason, and you'll see an improvement in performance. We look at employer incentive programs to see how this theory applies: Most organizations (86%) have an incentive program in place. 70% of those organizations offer between 3 and 6 different programs. Incentives are part of a $100+ billion industry; $46 billion is non-cash incentives. Organizations using incentive programs report a 79% success rate in achieving their established goals when the right reward is offered. Well-structured incentive programs can increase the occurrence of the desired action by as much as 44%. How can your property achieve the same results? Consider the following: Getting on-time payments—Give tenants a reason to pay on time by offering incentives such as discounts on future rent or gift cards. Property managers at the MNM Companies in Florida are a great example of how this can work. Their unique program rewards tenants with 2% cash rebates when they pay their rent on time for a minimum of six consecutive months and pass property...

Posted by on in Property Management
It's almost May. And, while that makes many people think of Mother's Day and the end of the school year, to the average multifamily property owner, it's a time of anxiety. To them, the month of May signals the beginning of termite swarm season. From May to June of every year, the likelihood of a termite infestation increases as winged kings and queens meet, mate and start new colonies. Of course, the more wood, the greater the possibility; and that's a big risk for multifamily properties. What It Is Termites101.org describes swarming as follows: "The combination of warm temperatures and rain in the spring leads swarmers to leave the nest in large numbers by flying through mud tubes, which are specially constructed tunnels for the termites to use to exit the colony. Termites continue to swarm throughout the warm season, although these swarms are less frequent than those during the spring. Colonies normally swarm only once per season, but may swarm multiple times. Later swarms generally do not match the intensity of the first swarm." How to Spot’em So, how do you know you have a termite issue? The following are five tell-tale signs: Mud tubes—A rather obvious sign, termites tend to leave behind pencil-size tunnels to and away from their nests. These tubes can be easily seen leading up from the soil and into the building structure. Hollow-sounding wood. Because they are devouring the wood’s insides, it will quickly take on a hollow sound. Cracked or distorted paint. Seen as...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
As a leasing agent there are a lot of things to consider when trying to close a deal. Many leasing agents think of the transaction between a leasing agent and a prospect as a challenge that only they can handle 1 on 1. That could not be further from the truth! When trying to convert a prospect into a resident, a leasing agent should use his or her entire team at their disposal. From their office staff, to the maintenance personnel; teamwork is required and the very best leasing agents realize this. Introduce your prospects to the maintenance staff You want your prospects to have piece of mind. Introducing them to the maintenance staff will allow them to know that when they move in, if anything goes wrong in their apartment home, that they will have someone familiar and reliable that they can call on to fix their issues right away. Additionally, introducing your maintenance staff to your future residents before they execute their lease agreement, gives your prospects a sense of relief and community that they will surely think about if any doubts or worries cross their minds about the apartment. Keep in mind that maintenance satisfaction plays a major roll in your communities occupancy rates. Communities with outstanding maintenance teams usually maintain their current residents longer than those communities with poor maintenance teams. Introduce your prospects to the property manager Find the time to introduce your prospects to both the assistant manager and the property manager. This is a great...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
I recently ran across a quote released in a white paper publication from a leader in the multifamily management industry.  To loosely describe the white paper subject, as to retain some anonymity, the discussion was surrounding the increasing competition in property management along with increasing client demand.  The quote was bothersome to me as a multifamily professional and infuriating to me as a leader.  It is reprinted here as follows: “We typically don’t distract regional managers and community managers with financial metrics.  If they push rents and occupancy, it trickles down to the bottom line.”  I could be taking this quote out of context so for the purpose of this article, let’s take it at face value to highlight an underlying epidemic in third party property management…………lack of personnel development. Executives within management firms who are not coaching their management teams (Regional Managers and Community Managers) on financial metrics are doing a disservice to the career development of their associates; promoting a gap between owners and management teams; reducing owner confidence in management team capabilities; and losing a competitive advantage over rivaling third party managers.  In my experience, the more a leader arms their teams with knowledge and understanding of the impact of their jobs, the more team members are conscious of their actions and strategic in their approach.  In the end, all third party management companies perform similar duties; therefore, the biggest differentiator is the associates.  Thus, management executives need to respond to the challenging climate of third party management...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
The rat race conjures many different ideas and definitions, but it affects all of us in a similar manner.  I simply define it as being caught in a maze and getting nowhere fast.  The thought that earning more money will solve my problems and lead me out of this inexhaustible race, and the ability to have no work-life balance encapsulates the notion of a rat race for me.          There are countless negative habits associated with being trapped in the rat race.  People are competitive in this state, and view life as a zero sum game.  I must win; therefore, he has to lose.  We lose all sense of creativity, and the ability to create win-win relationships.  We tend to focus on the short-term goal, instead of focusing on the bigger picture.          Individuals also tend to lose focus on following their passion, and yield to the daily pressures of earning a living instead of creating a lifestyle.  My biggest mistake while trapped in the race was having my business pay for my lifestyle instead of creating a lifestyle around my business.  I was suffering from symptoms of being in the rat race, possessing a foggy mind and not being able to think outside the box.          Our society has been teaching us to form our thoughts toward this model:          Do good work---Have more $$$--- Be Happy. Have you ever heard of: go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a good education, find a job, etc. We...

Posted by on in Property Management
Because a Community CAN Stick Together! In today’s world of thriving technology, it’s hard to peel a cell phone out of someone’s fingers. It’s even harder to get them logged out of their preferred social media platform. With over 2.3 billion active social media users around the world, it can be hard to find others wanting to spend time in person. The scenario presents a catch-22: being social without actually being social. This can prove to be a problem in multifamily communities, where residents can be shy living amongst strangers. Luckily, we have a few tips that can help residents meet new friends within the community. Think about it: it will be hard to move out if all their friends live next door! Community Layout – A building’s architecture can’t change, but certain features can. Does the game room have a billiard table? Can residents get coffee on site, and if so, is it in a high foot traffic area? When strategically placed, these examples can turn into social beacons for residents. These small changes can have a huge impact; common interests are the key to a fruitful friendship. On-Site Events – Want to get your community together in the same place? You may want to consider throwing a monthly event. No, not the hotdog and hamburger socials we’ve had since middle school. Think something upscale like a mixer. You can turn things up a notch with cocktails and formal attire (age restrictions apply). If the property can accommodate, maybe community movie nights during the summer would be a good fit. You...

Posted by on in Student Housing
Perhaps one of the most empowering elements of the Internet is the ability to give every single consumer a voice. Consumers now have the ability to have their voice heard by millions, with little to no effort. Ever since the introduction of Yelp in 2004, there has been an increasing importance for online reputation management in virtually every industry.It’s now common practice for consumers to seek out reviews online before ever purchasing a product or service. This holds particularly true when it comes to the apartment rental market. According to SearchEngineLand.com,apartments are the second most impacted industry by online reviews. Now more than ever, renters are seeking out online reviews when deciding where to live. Consider some of the statistics below:   92% of consumers read online reviews. 87% of consumers would not consider using a business with an average rating of 1 or 2 stars. – Search Engine Land 46% of renters look at ratings and reviews when searching for an apartment – Satisfacts 88% of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations – Appfolio  Consumers are putting a lot of trust into online reviews, which is making it increasingly important for student housing providers to have an online reputation management plan in place. This is especially true when it comes to managing an online presence on Google.   More often than not, students will use Google as their primary search engine; it’s often where they’ll search for student housing information. This is important because Google shows online reviews directly in search results.  ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Right now, I'm sitting on a plane at 39,000 feet and I'm thinking about customer service. I'm in the row right behind first class. There is a net curtain separating me from the free champagne, food that doesn't come in a box and warm towels to wash my hands. Basically I'm with the huddled masses back here in economy class, rather than first class literally three feet ahead of me. (I'm close enough to kick the person in first class in front of me if I wanted to. Obviously I didn't--I'm not a savage for Pete's sake!) It got me wondering, what is it about first class that people are willing to pay approximately 50% more? I mean honestly, we're ALL in a flying box, little better than a Greyhound Bus, squished in with other people, and we're not any of us comfortable, whether we're in first class or stuck between two sweaty dudes in the back of the plane.  The true difference I believe is the service (plus the first on, first off thing, and a little more legroom). Don’t get me wrong, our attendants were great. They just weren’t first class great. Those attendants in the first class were on it! They were constantly checking in, constantly giving service over and above. Can I get you a drink? Would you like a blanket? How can I help you? I have to admit I was a smidge jealous of the amazing service. Take a moment to stop and think in our...