Chris, the issue is not how old the residents may be who are riding scooters, bikes and skateboards ...
Good stuff as always,Lori! Ebullient elocutionist huh? I must have missed those words on my SAT prep...

Training Trivia

In Property Management, the only true "Close" is asking for the deposit.

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Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
One of the things that continues to frustrate me about our industry is the general lack of measurement and adherence to analytical decision-making. Don’t get me wrong, we’re much better now than when I first entered the industry in 1999. But we’re still woefully behind many other industries—and even when we do measure things, it’s often not the right things. To align with this blog’s focus on leasing/sales, I’ll cover 1 metric we should STOP measuring and suggest a few worth focusing on. STOP measuring closing ratio! What? Isn’t that the classic measure for all salespeople? In industries with essentially unlimited supply, of course it is. But in capacity-constrained industries like multi-family housing rentals, it’s an incredibly dangerous metric. That’s because the metric itself implies that a higher number is good, and a lower number is bad. If a community has high exposure, that’s true; but if it has low exposure, then it’s not true—show me a high closing ratio at a low exposure community, and I’ll show you units that are priced too low. Accurately measuring closing ration is practically a herculean task. We are forced to get everyone to understand that whether this metric should be high or low is situational, and what typically happens is that leasing associates learn how to “manage” the metric by selectively entering and not entering guest cards. This hurts our ability to understand demand and to judge the success of our marketing efforts. Plus it encourages a culture of “cheating” on data...

Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
Despite the many unpredictable demands property managers must handle, offering residents with flexible rent payment options can ease the amount of time spent collecting and receiving timely resident payments. Here’s a look at the benefits and potential drawbacks of accepting multiple rent payment options. Electronic funds transfer. Accepting paper checks for rent payments is inherently inefficient: Not only can it take up to 10 days to receive “snail mail,” there’s the potential that the check gets lost in transit or in a sea of paperwork, compromising the security of residents. (According to the ACH Network, an average of seven people have access to sensitive financial information like a payer’s bank account and routing numbers, in paper check transactions). Assuming the check is received, additional time is required to deposit the check into a bank account. If the resident’s account doesn’t have sufficient funds to cover the check’s amount at the time of deposit, the resident and property manager may be subject to NSF fees imposed by their respective financial institutions, which can be as high as $35 per bounced check. Implementing electronic funds transfer (EFT) as a rent payment option can eliminate many of these issues, allowing the tenant to pay directly from his or her account, with greater efficiency and security (funds electronically transfer directly from a resident’s deposit account to property manager’s account). Because an EFT transaction can be set up to take place on a recurring basis, and on a given date, it also minimizes collections efforts, and...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
I was sitting in a small regional plane at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport waiting for the go ahead to disembark the plane. As I sat in the airplane I noticed the Captain of the airliner (another small regional plane) next to us walking around his aircraft. He looked under the nose. Then he walked to the engine closest to me and visually inspected it. Finally I saw him go under the fuselage, run his hands on several areas, and continued with his inspection.    There was a part of me that figured that United Airlines would have someone else who could/would do the visual inspection of the aircraft, freeing up the pilot to do all of his pre-flight preparations in the cockpit. Yet, even if there is someone else who could do it and does do it, I can understand why the pilot would do it also; after all, it’s “his” plane isn’t it? And his life and the lives of the passengers on the flight (like me) are counting on him!    In other words, regardless of what anyone else is supposed to do, he is ultimately responsible isn’t he?    Are You the Captain?   As I thought about this-and as I am writing this, I have to admit to feeling so BUSTED! on this in my life right now, and throughout my life in general. I like the idea of being the “Captain” but I have too often resorted to blaming the “flight attendants” or “ground crews” in my...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
I recently had the opportunity to shop a number of new communities, and let me tell you, compared to the no-frill floor plans, kidney shaped swimming pool and fitness center the size of my desk I sold during my leasing days, it’s a salesperson’s Nirvana out there. Impeccably designed, thoughtfully appointed and generating a hip and now vibe, each of the communities I shopped was stellar. The leasing people looked professional, seemed to know availability and didn’t seem unhappy to show us around. It was, well, OK. Sort of like a date where you don’t have a bad time, you just don’t fall in love.    So what’s the problem?  It didn’t appear we were the tenth tour of the day, and none of the leasing professionals seemed to be tired or ill, they just seemed a bit... apathetic.    apathy - a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern.  Websters.   They’ve got a product that pulls out all the stops, a pleasant environment to work in and in my opinion, a great job.  They get to help people find a place to live, and that’s important.    So where’s the love? Where’s the over the moon, “I can’t stand it I love this place so much and you will too!” feeling?  Where’s the enthusiasm, the pride in product?  Why didn’t any of them look at me and say, “We want you to live here.”?    Don’t get me wrong, they pushed their product - hard. Trouble is, I felt a...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
If you own a property in Los Angeles then you know how important inspections are. Inspections could be the breaking point of your profit if you fail, therefore it is important for owners to be informed of the inspection process. The Los Angeles Housing Code Enforcement Divison is cracking down on unapproved construction and unsafe living conditions. It is stated in the their mission statement "It is the mission of the Los Angeles Housing Department Code Enforcement Division to identify and facilitate the abatement of physical conditions and characteristics of substandard and unsanitary residential buildings and dwelling units which render them unfit or unsafe for human occupancy and habitation and which conditions and characteristics are such as to be detrimental to or jeopardize the health safety and welfare of their occupants and of the public." On top of the routine inspections given by the Housing department, there is a separate division under it called the Complaint Department. This department's sole purpose is for tenants living in a property who feel their living conditions are unsuitable for them to live in. The city inspection department answers within 72 hours. After, the department has spoken to the complainee, an inspector will come to visit the property and unit of the tenant that made a complaint. In most cases the owner is unaware of the inspection happening because it is not required to inform the property owner until after the inspection is completed. If the inspector finds three or more violations in the building,...

Posted by on in Property Management
backlinksThis is from a post on Apartminty in their ongoing “Quick Marketing Wins” series. The opinions expressed in here are mine. At first they called it the Now Generation, but I guess that had too many letters in it, so they officially named it the Y Generation but Google prefers you to call them the C Generation. Whew. Either way you look at it, these Millennial‘s want things NOW and are used to getting it that way. I speak as if this Generation is outside of my own. Err, let’s change the subject. If you’re under 35, you’re used to YouTube, getting things now, fast computers, and small devices you can hold. This generation makes up the majority of our new renters. This is who we need to cater to. Of course, you aren’t going to cater to them by the older, more traditional methods such as Any Apartment Magazine. It takes much bolder, more technologically driven initiatives. In the world of Information NOW, how can you make sure you’re showing up where people are searching for you? By utilizing free tools. Remember, in this day of Marketing 5.0, the biggest new development is the proliferation of better marketing tools that aren’t just for Coca-Cola’s big budgets. In fact, I’ve found many in this industry that can help you rent apartments. In keeping with the Quick Marketing Wins series, I’ve got 3 big ones here for you, to help you grab that Millennial’s attention for even the briefest of seconds: Craigslist / Ebay Classifieds / Oodle Honestly, I never say no to...

Posted by on in Property Management
  ...if you are being naughty when it comes to fair housing and familial status issues.  Actually, you would likely prefer a spanking than what you might get for your misbehavior with rules for children at your community.  Because rather than a spanking, you could get a HUD complaint or lawsuit, and the opportunity to pay out lots of money.   “How many times do I have to tell you?”  I have blogged and written articles and lectured on the fair housing implications of overly restrictive rules for children for years and, yet lately there have been a number of new cases which make it pretty darn clear that the message still needs to be repeated.  Here is information on two of those recent cases:   HUD recently reached a discrimination settlement agreement with both an owner and manager for putting overly restrictive rules into place to control the free movement of children at a community.   The allegations include management prohibiting children from using the swimming pool during certain hours, placing restrictions on children playing outside, and even requiring children to clean the manager’s office toilet when they were found outside unaccompanied by an adult (I don’t even know what to say about this!).  The families were even threatened with eviction.  Under the terms of the agreement, the owners and manager will pay the fair housing organization $3,750; waive four months of rent for five of the families (a total monetary value of $19,000); pay two former tenants a total of...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
This week we have a guest column from Doug Davidoff, one of our partners in our InSiteSM Sales model. I’ve been involved in sales training for more than 25 years. As a salesperson, an executive building a sales team and a sales trainer myself, I’ve learned one simple truth. Most approaches to sales training fail. Don’t get me wrong; most of the training is pretty good. The problem isn’t the material (necessarily). The problem is far more complex than that. Sales training isn’t build for the real world. It teaches what I like to call “the illusion of certainty.” Too much of the training focuses on techniques and it teaches a “right way” and a “wrong way” of doing things. In the real world, there are no absolute rights or wrongs.   No two situations are the same. Instead of teaching techniques and tricks, sales reps need to be taught how to deal with situations and scenarios. The days of the “power close” are over (though, actually I’m not sure they ever really existed). As The Challenger Study from the Sales Executive Council taught, successful selling is not about personalities, but rather about approaches; it’s not about talent, it’s about skill; and it’s not about tactics, it’s about technique If you’re looking to create sustainable improvements to your revenue and operating performance you need to avoid these three pitfalls that will doom any effort: It’s not built for the way customers buy today. If you’re in the process of considering new...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
It’s that time again--time for all the ghouls and goblins to put on their favorite costumes and head out into the neighborhood in search of a little Halloween fun. But, how will your community prepare? How will the young and young at heart know who is participating in the seasonal festivities? What kinds of activities are there that the whole family – or better yet the whole community – join together and participate in? Now in a residential or single-family neighborhood the children can go door-to-door looking for a trick or treat simply by looking for decorations or a porch light on. Unfortunately, not all multifamily communities are set up to make it so simple. So, if you are looking for a few ideas to get your multifamily community in haunted holiday spirit, try these top five picks out: 1. "Participant" Flyers Try printing out brightly colored "participant" flyers that can be placed on doors to let the kids know which units are handing out candy this year. A bright orange pumpkin hung on a door will allow those who don’t mind the children coming to their doors the opportunity to enjoy the tradition, while those that would prefer to abstain from the festivities can do so in peace. 2. Door Decorating Contest While a cute little pumpkin cutout is good, going all out with the spooky door décor can be awesome. Make flyers offering up some sort of prize determined by the staff or even the neighborhood watch participants for...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
In any business setting, there is always a need for creative thinking and new ideas. The question is, what are the best ways to generate these ideas? For many companies, the process involves some sort of formal brainstorming meeting. Unfortunately, many of these discussions turn into ineffective uses of time where everyone leaves the room frustrated and feeling like nothing has been accomplished. Throughout my career in advertising and marketing, I’ve been invited to participate in my fair share of brainstorms. After witnessing a few brainstorms gone bad, I’ve found that most brainstorming failures can be prevented with a few small adjustments to how the meeting is approached. Today, I’d like to walk through some basics in brainstorming and share observations from the most effective idea sessions I’ve been a part of. Identify and set objectives - It seems obvious, but it’s tough to come up with ideas that work if you don’t know exactly what you’re working on. Before going into a brainstorming session, there needs to be a few clearly defined objectives. Identify what needs to be solved and then set specific items to generate ideas around. Get the right people in the room - Once the meeting objectives have been solidified, it’s time to carefully think about who to invite to your meeting. A big part of a successful brainstorm is getting the right people in the room. Limit the group to people you can count on to prepare and participate. Also, look for opportunities to include people with varied...