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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
According to recent polls, the clash between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is set to be brutal, with Americans gearing up for what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in the history of the country. It’s evidently a very unusual contest, with Trump being a presidential hopeful with no past political experience, and Clinton, on the other hand, a candidate who has been through the best and worst of two administrations. According to economists and realtors, the final result could possibly have a profound effect on the U.S. economy, including the real estate sector. Already, both Trump and Hillary have included various proposed economic reforms in their manifestos, and have subsequently been vocal about their policies. Of course they are expected to impact the real estate market one way or another, with businesses and individuals adopting to new administration policies. But, before we even get to the elected president part, it’s critically important to start by analyzing months leading to the actual elections. Past Real Estate Trends During Presidential Election Periods Over the last couple of decades, the real estate market has been recording drops during the election period, mostly due to uncertainty surrounding the whole process. According to a study conducted byMovoto on the real estate Market within California, it was established that the appreciation of homes drops by an average rate of 1.5% during an election year, compared to the preceding year. Interestingly, the subsequent year after the election, the rate bounces back, with an...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Developing a brand identity through popular social media websites such as Instagram and Facebook is one of the most important marketing strategies property management firms can implement to attract and engage with their target audience and advertise their multifamily properties. Instagram, the mobile online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking app, has recently surpassed Facebook as the top marketing platform for businesses. Instagrammers are also the social networkers most likely to follow brands, with over 50% of users following accounts for businesses and products. Additionally, millennials ages 15 to 35 are the age group most likely to rent from a multifamily property, and over 73% of them have Instagram accounts. That being said, it is becoming increasingly imperative for multifamily firms to have an active Instagram account to be able to expand their brand and connect with both current and potential residents. Instagram’s platform is so interactive, in fact, that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Creating an aesthetically appealing, popular Instagram account that propels advertisement is a key secret to success in the multifamily property industry. Below are a few tips for building an Instagram that will increase brand awareness, improve resident relations, and successfully market your real estate development or property management firm. Simple, High-Resolution Photos are Key Instagram photos that are high-resolution, crisp, and not too intricate are the best for presenting a professional, aesthetically appealing account. While bright, vibrant colors are...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, which became law in 1994, mandates a maximum flush volume of 1.6 gallons for toilets manufactured and installed after this date. Prior to enactment of the Energy Policy Act, toilets used from 3.5 to 5 gallons per flush.  According to the EPA, the water saved through implementation of the act has had a number of positive environmental consequences, including restoration of wetlands and fisheries and savings in the amount of energy needed to pump water. While intended to yield environmental benefits, the Energy Policy Act has unfortunately resulted in some unintended consequences on the nation’s plumbing systems. In older properties, the majority of drain pipes are galvanized steel or cast iron, which over time become corroded and rusty.  When an older property upgrades to low-flow toilets, there is often not enough water to keep waste and other disposables moving through the pipes. Further, as a result of the low-flow requirements, the ratio of water to sewage has changed, making the flow of waste thicker and slower, allowing the build up of bacteria, and producing a corrosive acidic gas that also causes corrosion in the piping system. Often, if the pipe is already corroded, toilet paper and waste can get caught on the rough corroded surface, further exacerbating the problem.  In the end, reduced flow and more concentrated waste result in a rapid acceleration of the corrosion process, ultimately leading to clogs, back-ups, broken pipes and leaks. Corroded drain pipes cause the overwhelming majority of water...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Millennials.jpg I was recently reading the April issue of Harvard Business Review (yes, I know it’s September now; that’s just how behind on my reading I am), and there’s a fascinating article by Bruce Pfau entitled “What Do Millennials Really Want at Work? The Same Things the Rest of Us Do.” Those of you who know me know that I typically take a skeptical view of any and all claims of how something (or someone) is “different” until I see data as evidence to back up the assertion. While it makes me occasionally be a bit of a curmudgeon, I find it also serves me well in avoiding lurching from one “shiny new bangle” to another. This has never been truer than with the plethora of articles and consultants exhorting us to understand the strange, exotic beast known as the Millennial. When I read how Millennials want purpose in their jobs and like to work in teams, I immediately think, “Don’t baby boomers and Gen Xers want purpose? And don’t they enjoy working on teams? I know I do.” Now there’s some real evidence to back this up. As Dr Pfau, KPMG’s Vice Chair of Human Resources and Communications puts it, “While pithy descriptions of what makes Millennials unique are presented as self-evident and seem to have a ring of truth to them, very few are supported with solid empirical research.” To the contrary, he points out that there’s a growing body of credible research showing there are far more similarities than differences...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Apartment Rental Cycles Generations always differ from one another in a variety of ways – the culture in which they’re raised, their relationship with technology, their priorities, and their likes and dislikes. But there are also things they have in common. For example, in most generations, younger people tend to rent apartments and older people tend to buy houses. This fact has kept the rental market and the housing market buoyed for decades. The current generation making the decision between renting and buying is the millennial generation, generally considered to be those born between 1980 and 2000. The oldest of this generation, now in their mid-30s, should be moving toward traditional home-buying. But research indicates that’s not the case. Millennials are Defying the Trend Many millennials are choosing to continue renting. Why? Part of the reason, surprisingly, is the evolution of transportation. One of the main downsides to living in a major city is trying to find something to do with your car; frustration with lack of parking and/or exorbitant garage fees is what drives many city dwellers to seek out a driveway of their own. But now with so many options, including Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, to mention just a few, millennials are living the dream – staying in the heart of the city, where all the action is, with transportation at the touch of a button. What this means for the Apartment Rental market What does this mean for the apartment rental market? If current trends continue, there should...

Posted by on in Affordable Housing
Dear Gabby,   So I’ve been hearing a lot about these “micro apartments”...what exactly are they? Are people just okay with living in closets? I can’t imagine living in one room with my boyfriend...where would we go to get away from each other after fighting? That would be HORRIBLE!   #AConcernedGirlfriend   __________________________________________________________________________________     Dear #AConcernedGirlfriend,   First off, you may want to rethink living with you boyfriend if you’re concerned with “space”. My first thought, of course, is closet space…where would all my shoes go?! Anyway, to the actual point. Micro apartments are sweeping the nation...well at least sweeping the nation’s big cities. Some members of the architecture community and urban policy makers will tell you that these micro apartments are becoming popular because people want to create a smaller environmental footprint. If I’m being honest, I think the main reason they are popular is because there is an affordable housing crisis going on. People need a place to live but can’t afford the average rent in major cities. Now developers are creating really small spaces, putting a smaller price tag on them, and calling them “micro apartments” to make them “trendy”. They are even going as far as describing the units as “micro luxury”...puh-lease! Even if you do believe that the ultimate goal of these small spaces is for environmental reasons, micro apartments may not seem so trendy and fun once you think about it realistically. Your house or apartment is supposed to be a safe space for...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
There are many challenges in multifamily investing, but depending on the type of investor you plan to be there are larger challenges that typically keep investors from getting their first deal done.  Seth Godin wrote a book called "the dip" that articulates how to view these large challenges.  Excerpts from Seth Godin’s book: ·        The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery.     ·        Organic chemistry is the dip for pre-med students. ·        The dip creates scarcity and scarcity creates value.  ·        Biggest mistake in school is being well rounded is the key to success. How often do you look for someone who is good at things you don’t need them to do? We reward the exceptional. ·        Successful people lean into the dip, they push harder, and are rewarded by the marketplace as being the best in the world. ·        While starting is thrilling, it is not until you get through the dip that your effort pays off. If you are not able to get through the dip, you must quit. Now that you know what the Dip is, let’s see how it applies to the 3 ways of investing in multifamily (Independent Rental Owner, Lead Investor, and Limited Partner). This article will look at the biggest dip for each type of investor and how to overcome them.  Independent Rental Owner- Independent rental owners are individuals with strong balance sheets looking to own their own properties without partners. The Dip: Creating the Balance Sheet Saving enough money with your "day job” so that you have enough money on your...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
The goal of an IPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence) coach is to have a complete understanding of what a client wants, what is blocking them and why.  This article is going to focus on what those blocks are and how to break through these barriers. A block is simply anything that hinders you, and it comes from the external (economy) or internal.  An internal block could be your beliefs and your attitudes about the world.  Ironically, 95% of our blocks are internal.  Have you ever heard the saying “Your external appearances are a manifestation of what’s going on inside”?  Simply put, what’s going on inside will reflect your results. Let me give you a simple example.  Have you ever noticed someone who is always late for his appointments and is living in constant chaos?  This is just a reflection of what he is processing internally.  On the other hand, a person who never has an excuse, is always present and attacks any challenge is one who has very few internal blocks. Let me list the four blocks and discuss how to conquer these blocks: Limiting Beliefs Interpretations Assumptions Gremlin A coach uses the acronym GAIL to refer to the blocks.  Gremlins are the most powerful blocks, and limiting beliefs are the least restrictive.  The goal is to understand each of these blocks, remove these blocks and create a new reality.  Let’ begin with limiting beliefs: Limiting belief: This block is responsible for holding someone back from achieving success.  It is something that you accept in life that limits you.  If you believe that you will not...

Posted by on in Property Management
September for me will always be “back to school” time, even if so many schools, colleges and universities begin classes as early as August 1st (which is the case in the county where I reside).  So back to school I went this month, at the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic (in my favorite US city of Chicago).  Their annual conference on fair housing not only provides me with necessary continuing legal ed credits, but also the opportunity to learn from, talk with and listen to people from HUD, FHAPs (Fair Housing Assistance Programs), FHIPs (Fair Housing Initiatives Programs) and private law firms that practice exclusively in the area of fair housing from the plaintiff’s perspective.  I have referred to this in blogs past as my “peek behind the curtain” and once again I have gleaned information that I would like to share. During one of the sessions (with the captivating title of “Enforcement: Public or Private: State or Federal; Judicial or Administrative?”) the audience, particularly those involved with FHAPs, were chastised for not aggressively seeking emotional damages in their fair housing cases.  There was discussion about how the denial of housing or housing rights does not only mean that someone does not get to live in their housing of choice.  It can also mean that they are angry, hurt, shamed, discouraged, and perhaps facing consequences that could be life defining (such as their child not being able to attend the good public school in that...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
By the turn of the century Blockbuster was collecting $800 million dollars per year in late fees alone. The company was opening a store once every 24 hours and profits were strong despite a rocky IPO. The country’s love affair for movie night was bigger than it has ever been and Blockbuster was the center of it all. Budgeting Bad Will When you look at three industries with notoriously low customer satisfaction – cable, telecommunications and airlines – you’ll discover that fees make up a significant amount of their revenue. This isn’t a coincidence, in my opinion. Fees can eat at any good will a company may create. Any rental manager can attest – residents really, really dislike late fees. Not because they don’t want to accept the consequences for paying their rent late (okay, sometimes it means that) but because it doesn’t feel great when someone profits from their misfortunes or mistakes. That feeling creates bad will towards a company or industry. And bad will, when it’s budgeted for and even relied upon, creates a pretty big chink in our company’s armor. All it takes is a disruptive company to come in and expose the vulnerability. Consider what happened to Blockbuster. The company became so addicted to late fees (accounting for 16% of total revenue by 2000) the thought of anything challenging that revenue stream was likely a horrifying one. Instead of buying Netflix for a modest $50 million back in 2000, Blockbuster decided to ink a 20-year deal with...