Jennifer Carter
We are missing number 9.. Trait #9....
Another great post Leasing Angles. Point #5 is very important. Personalization is so effective becau...

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 Apartment Leasing
I was recently reviewing a leasing survey conducted by Multifamily Insiders and saw some really interesting statistics worth pointing out. Multifamily Insiders conducts these kinds of surveys regularly. While not entirely scientific due to sample size (in this case 166 respondents) and possible response bias since all respondents a) are members of Multifamily Insiders which may or may not be representative of the entire industry and b) chose to respond which may or may not represent the entire industry, I do think these surveys give important insights into key issues. I’m glad they do these and encourage them to continue to do more. Only 25% of respondents use a call center. Several years ago, Steve Lefkovits wrote a whitepaper using data from a test of a call center that proved the value of call centers. A substantial portion of the industry is leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of these services. Very few are using kiosks, hand-held tablets or other forms of on-site digital engagement. This doesn’t surprise me given that most of these digital engagement options are used in urban and/or luxury environments and thus represent a small portion of the entire industry. Vendors in this space have a huge upside opportunity if they can build a business case for a B or C class suburban garden community. The average closing ratio reported was 49% (median 43%), yet I know from multiple other data sources that the growth of online leads has driven the lease-to-lead ratio...

Posted by on in Property Management
Let’s be honest, folks. When you and your team are wading through the middle of the quantifiable quagmire that is a RFP and are trying to decide which property management software solution is right for your business, you are going to be putting a lot of focus on the operating costs, performance metrics and anticipated ROI of your investment in a software package. After engaging in the necessary due diligence and ultimately selecting a software company you believe is the best value for your business, you complete an integration progress, get certified, have some training on the product and away you go, skipping blissfully through the flower laden fields of successful property management with your new best buddy, ever. I mentioned that we’re being honest, right? As a former property manager,  eCommerce director and a strategic client manager, I can tell you straight up that you better keep a very close eye on where you and your new property management software buddy are happily skipping, lest you both end up with something rather icky on your shoes. All too often, a critical component of a RFP is neglected until you have picked out your property management software provider and integrated it into your day to day operations. I’m talking about the quality of the relationships you will have with the people behind the software. Yes, I know that you checked references during the RFP. But did you talk to the right people? Let me explain. Most references during an RFP process come from...

Posted by on in Affordable Housing
If you are looking for a safe way to invest in real estate, why not start with a multifamily property? There is a great need of multifamily units in the U.S., specifically because there has been a higher demand for multifamily property and the real estate market is finding it difficult to meet this surge. This implies that there are many advantages of investing in multifamily property. In this brief blog post, we discuss about the benefits of investing in multifamily property. Lesser CompetitionMultifamily housing has been here for a while but the competition is still less in comparison to other sectors of real estate. Lesser competition means better opportunities and profit for the investors. People tend to avoid investing in commercial property like multifamily units because it requires more work and comes with a huge price tag. The long term benefits that multifamily properties come with definitely overshadow a few negatives.Availability of Loan OptionsThere are separate loans for the individuals who want to purchase a multifamily property with up to four units. Investors can borrow more money as they can use the rental income to qualify for a loan. In addition to this, the owner-occupant loans have lower interest rates and lesser down payments as compared to the commercial property loans.Beneficial in Difficult TimesIt is true that income from a multifamily property can be of great help during unexpected events. It is an additional income that may be used to pay mortgage, medical bill or study loan. In addition to...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
      Or should I have said "The list WILL NOT surprise you??! There's A Rock Star Leasing Agent ... Then There's Everyone Else! Everyone else comes to work to luck up on a lease, go to lunch on time just to come back late, do follow up calls just because they're told to do it simply because its part of the process and leave work at 4:55pm with prospects waiting in the lobby. Rock Star Leasing Agents are simply cut from a different cloth therefore you gain a totally different experience with these people. Trait #1: They dress for success! Everyone can see a star shining bright - just like a Rock Star Leasing Agent, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to spot these people in a crowd. Trait #2: They are always prepared! Every noticed why Stacy writes everything down as it comes? Answer: So she can plan her day, week, month and coming months accordingly. As a aspiring successful Rock Star, you are nothing without your trusty notebook. Guest cards simply don't give you the ammo you need to shoot those constant contact bullets. Trait #3: Positive attitude! A smile and a "can - do" attitude will always take you further then otherwise. Trait #4: They understand the art of "relationship building". Understanding the art of "relationship building" is not an easy task and only a dedicated person will reach that "holy grail", if I may. This road comes with a lot of negative attitude confrontation, a lot of conflict...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
  If you're reading this article then ... Congratulations! And welcome aboard the "Constant Contact Train". Let's begin! This is going to be fun! Oh! Wait! Before we begin, lets make sure that you understand that the "Constant Contact Train" doesn't just stop at the "Welcome Home Station" it goes well into the "Resident Renewal Station" and then pulls back around to the "If You Move Out, We're Still Going To Follow Up With You Station" (that's my favorite one too :-). To fully understand marketing, you have to thoroughly understand that marketing is all about relationship building and relationship building never ends. So for you, as a Leasing Professional, the "Constant Contact Train" must never run off the rails. Step 1. Understand Your Prospects Needs I can not say this enough - understanding is the key to building every relationship. By understanding your prospect as an individual, you gain a better understanding of their needs, wants and desires. By doing so, you understand the best way to contact them, the best time to contact them and the best approach toward contacting them. For example: A prospect comes into the office and instead of completing an application, they tell you they're still looking and will come back if they want to do the application. For one, before that person leaves from your office you MUST know the following - they're the beginning building blocks to your professional relationship: Name and nickname if applicable, date of birth, phone number, email address, facebook, twitter, instagram, projected...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
So what???!!! Your Community is beautiful - so is everyone else's. You have 4 swimming pools, 3 fitness centers and 2 playgrounds - Awesome! Soooo does everyone else.  And you know what everyone else has too ... 1 Leasing Consultant at the front desk that doesn't stand to greet you with a smile or thank you for coming in because you didn't have to or ask you how your day was - You got where I'm going with this yet?Prospect walks through the door ... Your most important task at hand now? Answer: Deliver something that no one else is guaranteed of - Rock Star Customer Service by building a relationship. You can't sell the difference between you and every other community down the block if you don't know nor understand the needs of whom you're selling to.1st Step:  Stand, Smile, and Go Meet Them At The Door! Positive initial engagement is key toward setting your stage for closing the deal. Greet every everyone genuinely.  Make your guest feel valued, at home and welcomed.Making someone feel comfortable is key toward relationship building. By understanding the needs of your prospect and building a relationship atop your understanding of their needs as a single mother, single father, animal lover, business owner, etc. ensures that both you and your prospect win.Always Remember:  Rock Star Customer Service will always be the key that sets you apart from the competition. The amenities to a community are great, but surveys show that for the most part, they are simply that - great to want oppose to a great necessity to have. So, your job is to replace their wants...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
What would you give for a peek inside the minds of your residents? Thanks to the results of a recent apartment resident customer satisfaction survey from leading marketing research firm J Turner Research, you may be closer to understanding than you think.  Let’s take a closer look at the study findings, along with what they mean for strategic-minded property managers. The Research Is In After analyzing 10,000 customer satisfaction surveys nationwide, J Turner’s list of the “Top 10 Multifamily Apartment Resident Complaints” included the following: Rental rates Poor grounds/common area upkeep Disorganized staff/lack of communication with staff Quality of response to maintenance requests Overall customer service of management staff Quality of parking/parking availability Concerns over security/safety/lighting Lack of upgraded amenities Pets not on leash/poor pet waste removal General lack of preventative maintenance Some of these aren’t exactly surprising. After all, what resident wouldn’t opt for better parking or lower rental rates, given the choice? Others involve straight-forward fixes, such as maintaining common areas and upgrading amenities. However, a few are eye-opening — particularly as they pertain to the roles and responsibilities of the typical property manager. A Common Thread When announcing the survey results, J Turner Research president Joseph Batdorf said, “Apartment residents remain concerned with a broad range of customer satisfaction issues but far and away the immediate opportunity to improve customer service and resident satisfaction levels is by addressing dissatisfaction with onsite staff responses to resident concerns.” In other words, resident relations with apartment community staff is a critical customer satisfaction factor. Failure...

Posted by on in Property Management
When I transitioned into a Customer Success role, I did so because I was passionate about creating solid relationships with my customers and doing everything I could to make sure that our software was helping their company become wildly successful. I imagine that most of you are in the multifamily industry because of similar reasons—you thrive on the fact that you are able to create relationships with your residents and that you are able to impact their lives in a significant way by finding a home for them and their families. It’s a great feeling. Conversely, when we lose a customer or a resident because we weren’t able to make the software or our property work effective for them, it’s a sinking feeling of failure. It’s a big punch to the gut. It rarely feels good. In Customer Success, we are always thinking of tools and indicators to help us be better prepared to know when a customer is at risk or even leaving our platform. However, we focus on a number of different things to help ensure the customer achieves success from the very beginning so that our customers never show up on any of these reports. Here are our areas of focus and how they apply to you: Smooth Implementation It can be difficult on a customer and their staff to switch from a new software to ours and we are very aware of that. One of the ways that we ensure success is to do everything we can to make...

Posted by on in Property Management
...you say "potato" and I say "patata".  If you have ever wondered (as I have and as I have been asked many times as a fair housing teacher) what the difference is between "Latino" and "Hispanic", I have finally figured it out.  That is because there is an amazing comic that clarifies this and now I know that "Latino" is a term of geography (where someone is from) and that "Hispanic" is a term of language (what someone speaks).  How easy-peasy is that?  I give double thanks to Terry Blas, the very clever cartoonist for (1) clarifying the question/issue and (2) making this one of the easiest blogs I have written because all I need to do is send you to the link:  http://www.vox.com/2015/8/19/9173457/hispanic-latino-comic. Adios!...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Let’s admit it - when it comes to payments in the multifamily housing industry, evolution seems to have stopped a decade ago. In the age of ApplePay, Venmo, or Square, you are still spending an inordinate amount of time processing personal checks and money orders. Deep down, everyone knows rent week costs real money, and a lot if it. In personnel time, mistakes, fraud… you name it.  No one likes to admit out loud that manual payment processing is nothing more than wasted time, that clerical errors happen with what could be considered an alarming frequency, or that blank money orders in high denominations are an inevitable temptation to give in to. In this day and age, technology should serve you better. It does everyone else. What’s worse, in this process of standing still, you are also alienating your own residents. According to the US Census, two thirds of adults in rental housing are less than 45 years old. This demographic is extremely reliant on technology and always connected. Pew Research reports that 82% of adults less than 50 years old own a smartphone. 19% of these smartphone owners rely on this device for internet access. Both property managers and payment providers say they accept ACH payments, or online credit card payments, but are still not doing enough to address a glaring market need. If anything, most currently available solutions are increasingly disconnected from the market need. How do you bridge this gap? How do you get ahead? First, work within your own organization. The...