Randi R
Sounds great. Would love to see in a low income community. Lol. Maybe they could influence the wa...
Thanks Terry, Let me know when your article is published. I want to share it with our community as ...
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Posted by on in Property Management
For an end of the year report, I pulled some data on the number of move ins for my group. While the results are good, and show some occupancy improvement..I’m all about the next step. What can I learn from the data? What do reports tell us about our performance? When a property is performing well, occupancy is strong, and rent collection is excellent. It becomes increasingly difficult to expect continued improvement. Or so I thought. The first report that I reviewed provided a list of the total number of applications received during 2016. Adding a filter identifies the number of approved applications. Then the reality check. The number of approved applications was almost double the number of move ins. Literally 100’s of approved applications never became move ins.  Somehow they fall between the cracks of our daily busy-ness.  They never became our residents. They didn’t add to our rent revenue or occupancy number. Individuals had enough interest to pay the application fee, obtain the thumbs up for approval. Then…..lost…..stolen by aliens? This is not Area 51 in the desert. Low Hanging Fruit Its alarming and comforting. How could we have not done the follow-up to secure the move ins? But once again, the low hanging fruit shows us the opportunity for improvement. It’s certainly not impossible. We already have everything we need to increase the occupancy. Now, we need a process to follow-up on the approved applications. For my group, 20 apartments will grow our occupancy 1%. Thinking that...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
pot-new-pets.jpg (Warning: Don’t read this if you’re not interested in hearing a provocative point of view) I was meeting with a client of mine who has communities in California, and they shared a letter they were sending their residents. The letter was informing residents that, while California had passed a recreational marijuana initiative, the law gave apartment owners the right to declare their property to be marijuana free. The letter went on to inform residents that this company was exercising that right and that any use of marijuana in their apartments would be a violation of their lease and could result in eviction. As a resident of Colorado (one of the earliest states to approve recreational use in homes) and a demand management modeler, this got me thinking. I wasn’t surprised that my client exercised their right; in fact, I expect that virtually all professionally managed communities will do or have done so already. But is that really the right business answer? Perhaps the continued disconnect between these state laws and federal laws makes it the right answer. Perhaps there are indirect liabilities I’m not fully aware of (though not a lawyer, I would struggle to understand how liabilities surrounding marijuana would be any different than what already exists with alcohol consumption)? Or perhaps there are legitimate concerns related to managing issues like the potential for, shall we say earthy, aromas to permeate a building and annoy other residents (more on that later)? All of which reminded me of pets and...

Posted by on in Student Housing
For many first year students, on-campus housing is often seen as an ideal transition into independent living. Students can accept more responsibilities and independence, while still enjoying the luxuries of having mostly everything taken care of for them. The next stepping-stone for many students is the move into off-campus housing, where even more freedom and responsibilities are awarded to them. Typically, living off-campus is where students get their first real taste of complete independence. Students can choose one of two rental accommodations.  All-Inclusive: A rental accommodation where tenants do not pay their utility bills (electric, gas, sewer, water, etc. are paid for by the landlord and factored into the monthly rental rate).  Non-Inclusive: A rental accommodation where the tenants set-up and pay their utility bills. In most cases, students (specifically ones without much rental experience) will prefer all-inclusive rentals for a variety of reasons.  Less Hassle: Chances are, students have never had the opportunity to set-up utility accounts, aside from perhaps their cell phone. For many students, this can be unfamiliar territory filled with uncertainty. Some students would prefer the easy route of having everything bundled and set-up for them.  No Surprises: There’s a certain comfort in knowing exactly what is owed at the end of each month, especially for students. Living on a student budget can be tight and having to resourcefully budget for utility bills can be difficult; especially with varying due dates and fluctuating costs based on usage. Some students would prefer to just pay rent at the beginning of each...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
A week from today, I'll be boarding a jet with my good friends at Delta as I journey to San Diego for the 2017 annual meeting of the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), along with the preceding Apartment Strategies Outlook Conference.   As I was checking the agenda against my calendar to figure out the best windows for a few conference calls, it hit me that this will be the first NMHC conference in some time with a new U.S. administration in place. A brand-spanking-new and really different administration. No matter what your political leanings, or how you feel about our incoming and outgoing Presidents, it's safe to say we can all acknowledge this will have an impact on our industry. We just don't yet know what that impact will be.   And all the more reason I'm anxious to attend this year's meetings. What will our industry leaders and data experts project?  Who will feel bullish and who will be more conservative? And speakers like former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice and former presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are sure to be queried for their opinions of the newly-inaugurated President and his cabinet choices (think HUD secretary, for example). I'm personally looking forward to Emmy-winning comedian Dana Carvey and award-winning political journalist Jeff Greenfield to add some levity and political scrutiny to the mix.   So, it promises to be a very interesting few days, to say the least. If you're also attending, I hope to see you...

Posted by on in Property Management
Charlie thought he’d found the perfect apartment community in a booming Denver neighborhood. It was located near a popular jogging and biking trail, and the twenty-something fitness enthusiast envisioned lots of long, health-boosting runs in the Colorado sunshine. But a low credit score and poor rental payment history unraveled his rental application. Spending his young adulthood being a little too careless about paying his bills and rent put his chosen lifestyle in jeopardy. Credit scores can have an impact on many aspects of life. But a large number of apartment residents aren’t aware of how a low credit score or an insufficient credit history can hamper their ability to make significant purchases. A good credit history is a major factor in securing mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and, yes, apartment homes. With low vacancy rates across much of the nation, apartment communities — especially higher-end properties — are requiring stronger credit history and higher credit scores to lease an apartment. And with more and more multifamily communities reporting their residents’ rental payment history to credit bureaus, leasing teams now have an additional method of determining which prospects are most likely to pay their rent on time and in full each month. Put bluntly, a less-than-stellar credit score and a spotty payment history means applicants might be less likely to land their desired home in today’s marketplace. But poor credit scores do more than harm the apartment residents themselves. It’s well-documented that the lower a renter’s credit score, the less likely he...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Ready or not, the future is here! The smart home market has grown rapidly over the past several years and is considered by nearly half of Americans to be mainstream according to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Marketplace Survey. What's next? Smart apartments! Here's an overview into what's to come: Who? Of Millennial homeowners ages 18 to 34, 72% would pay $1,500 or more and 44% would pay $3,000 or more to make their home smart (Coldwell Banker 2016). Furthermore, 44% of millennial renters would rather have an apartment equipped with smart technology than an apartment with a parking space (Allegion 2016). Yet across all age groups, the U.S. homeownership rate at 62.9% has now fallen to its lowest level in more than five decades (Washington Post 2016). This means we have millions of Americans who want and are willing to pay a signifcant price for smart home technology, but don't own a home. Therefore the demand for smart apartments is more apparent than ever, and will become essential to offer in order to make your building appealing to tenants before we know it. Why? The reasons to equip your building with smart technology extend far beyond the fact that everyone's doing it. As a property manager, smart technology is incredibly convenient. It allows you to manage countless features in your building from the temperature, to the security cameras, to the door locks, and everything in between from a single dashboard on your smart device. If a resident is...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
puckTuesday night my ten-year-old son, Frankie, and I went to witness the Anaheim Ducks beat the Dallas Stars at the Honda Center. Frankie has been begging me for five years to take him early so we can meet the players before the game. Not knowing anything about hockey, and not trusting the word of a hopeful child, I never went early. But on this particular day, the timing worked out and we arrived at the game about two hours in advance. “What in the world do you do for two hours before a Ducks game?” you ask. A very good question indeed. We covered every inch of the arena, including the Team Store (hold on to your wallets!) and soaked in the rich history of the Honda Center sports, concerts, and events. (Did you know the band, KISS, has an arena football team that plays there? You’re welcome.) At one point, we met a friendly usher who mentioned fans were permitted near the team bench to watch warm ups, which were beginning in about 20 minutes. We rushed down to secure premium seating, but the best we could get was eighth row on the rails of the tunnel used by the players when traveling from the locker room to the bench (and ice). The players were about to come out when Frankie leaned over the rail, extending his ten-year-old arm as far as it could possibly stretch in order to high-five the players as they walked by. Unfortunately, because of his...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
The way to increase the value of a multifamily property is to either increase the income or decrease the expenses, which will affect the Net Operating Income (NOI). The NOI is a key metric when analyzing the value of a multifamily property. For the purposes of this article, I would like to focus upon the top line of the investment, revenue, and how to grow the revenue of the asset. The asset classes that we focus upon are B & C properties. If you would like more information on NOI and increasing the value of your asset, we have an article on our website that goes into depth about NOI. Add additional units On our most recent purchase, the property had laundry rooms spread throughout. The rooms were large, and we began to consolidate the laundry and decrease the size. We were able to create three additional studio units from the extra space, which allowed us to increase our monthly revenue by $1,800 per month. At a 7 cap, the value of the asset increased $308,500. We are in the process of building additional units throughout our portfolio from space that was deemed “useless” from previous owners. One of our favorite strategies is to convert units that are being utilized as storage units back into apartments. It’s a lot cheaper to go out and buy a shed to store your supplies. Laundry Revenue When you think of laundry, you don’t think of excitement. But you should!! Laundry is a vital service...

Posted by on in Property Management
Weekend hours Is your leasing center open on Saturday, possibly even Sunday? Many are open on the weekend.  It’s a great opportunity for future residents to have time to explore and investigate possible options for their new homes. Usually weekday leasing appointments are crunched between transportation pick ups, lunch hours and errands.  This limits the time available, putting a quick end to a visit. Too often, weekend hours are viewed a punishment to a property for not achieving an occupancy goal. The team needs to understand and appreciate the hours of operation.   Actually, Saturday and Sunday hours can be very productive to finalize decisions on leases, and complete lease renewals.  Assigned to the leasing office for the weekend schedule can be the best opportunity to lease. Customer Service Multifamily housing is a customer service industry. We provide homes, and we service those homes. This requires us to be open and available to provide service when needed by our customer. Our customers are current residents as well as prospective residents Setting up the schedule for Saturday hours often involves assigning the newest team member to cover this assignment. Tenured staff members will say, “I’ve paid my dues. I don’t or shouldn’t have to work the weekend schedule.” Teams I’ve worked with, usually have a revolving schedule to cover weekends. This is more difficult on smaller properties, with less staff. Why Are We Open? Weekend hours are not simply covering the office IN CASE a prospect might stop by. In addition to the appointments that...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
most-effective-email.jpg I was talking with one of my clients about sales management, and the topic of how many unanswered follow ups are appropriate before declaring a lead to be 'lost'. He admitted his company had no standard, but surmised that if they did have one “It would be at least three, maybe four”. I generally agreed with him that three or four was reasonable, provided he added to that one more email or voicemail…the most powerful and effective email/voice mail in a salesperson’s bag of tricks. It’s so powerful that it can only be used once with a prospect; and like many powerful tools, using it too early will negate its power. What is this magical email or voicemail, you ask? Well it’s not really magical, but it does have strong results. We call it 'the break up email' and it goes something like this:   You’ve left some combination of four emails and/or voice mails (preferably a mix) with absolutely no response from the prospect. You don’t know if the lead is lost, and you’re clearly stuck. Leaving more messages would just be annoying, so it’s time to take control (one of the three Ts of InSite Selling). Send an email (or leave a voicemail) like this: Dear (name), Thanks again for your interest (fill in community name). In the past couple of weeks, I’ve made several attempts to contact you again to discuss this. I know you’re probably very busy, or you may no longer be interested in leasing a new...