Thank you for sharing this Breaking News Nadeen.
Ellen Calmas
Nice blog. Thanks for sharing

Training Trivia

For future renters or when putting someone on a waitlist, there is no real need to close.

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Posted by on in Miscellaneous
According to the Fair Isaac Corporation, in the 1950’s, Bill Fair and Earl Isaac founded the company, which introduced a new concept of credit scoring to credit grantors. In 1981, FICO introduced the first credit bureau risk score. Today, the predictive analytics company works with businesses in more than 80 countries to determine creditworthiness. FICO Score Analysis factors payment history, amount of debt, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used to determine an individual’s risk score. Long credit history, no serious delinquencies and recent credit card use help boost a FICO score, while high credit usage, recent collection and bad payment history have negative impact. Factors also include how many times lenders have requested information about your credit. Scores range from 300 to 850 and the higher the score, the better. Certain information is not included or factored in a FICO score, however. According to the Fair Isaac Corporation; race, color, religion, national origin and marital status are prohibited by U.S. laws from consideration. Other factors omitted include age, salary, occupation, title, employment history, where you live, interest rates being charged, and child/family support obligations. Consumer-initiated inquiries, such as ApplyConnect resident screening for landlords and real estate agents, are not included. Pre-approved credit offers and administrative inquiries are also not factored in the FICO scoring model. As the Fair Isaac Corporation provides predictive analytics to determine a consumer’s creditworthiness, information that is determined not to indicate future credit performance is also not included. If an individual is participating in credit...

Posted by on in Student Housing
  Student Housing presents some interesting dynamics and challenges for Property Managers and Leasing Consultant Teams. Some of my most recent observations include:   Helicopter Parents who initiate the leasing process for their college-age “child” because their “child” is simply too busy to find a place to live off-campus.  Many colleges and universities require Seniors to live off campus. Students are told this from the beginning, but somehow, it amazes me every year when some distraught parent calls looking for housing at the last minute. The most obnoxious residents in the Student Housing market are those students majoring in Pre-law or who are enrolled in law school. Without a doubt, they are the most argumentative of any resident.  They often do not read their housing contract until it is time to move out, at which time, they will argue every paragraph (even the same paragraphs previously initialed.) Students will order everything through Amazon. I wish I was an investor in Amazon. They even order toilet paper and diapers, something I never saw happen in my conventional properties. Students generally show up to events which provide giveaways for free food. The most polite Student Residents have been our Student Athletes. Not sure what the coaches instill in these students, but these Students are a pleasure to know. A lot of Students seem to be REACTIVE when it comes to paying rent on time. “What? Oh wait! Rent is due every month on what day???? Nobody ever told me that.” The apple does...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
There are plenty of ways to differentiate your apartment complex from the ones neighboring your area, but have you ever considered adding on services? There are a couple of highly needed services that your tenants will be willing to pay for and it will cause your complex to seem even more attractive! Supplying some much needed services to your tenants will create the illusion of a hotel rather than your tenants feeling as if they were in an apartment! Here are a few services I would recommend: Dog Walking: Every tenant living in your complex has a job and usually tenants have pets (unless your complex is not pet friendly), and it can become a hassle or time consuming to walk and feed a pet.  You can offer a dog walking service where you obtain permission to enter your tenant’s unit and you walk their dog twice a day every day. Of course, this will be an extra cost to the tenants, however the benefit would surpass the cost if you charge a cheap cost (i.e. 20 dollars a week). You could hire a dog walker for your complex or pay your on-site manager for the dog walking service. Cleaning Service: Did someone call for room service? The most appealing feature of hotels is the fact that you don’t need to clean up after yourself! Partner up with a cleaning service and offer this feature to your tenants. Offer weekly or monthly deals. This service will benefit you more than the...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
With all the growth the multifamily industry has seen in the last few years, it was inevitable that we’d eventually see the trend move out from the downtown, urban neighborhoods and onto the wide open hustle of suburban America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the shift in demographics from urban to suburban can be seen in the data being collected. Even with multifamily housing being the cornerstone of the current housing market and the fact that a majority of these projects are urban-based, census data is still leaning towards increasing growth in the suburban markets. (Note: for now, this growth can only be considered a small uptick in the suburban markets and is also accompanied by a small downtick in the relative urban markets which makes the shift more apparent.) As a matter of fact, the Brookings Institution reported that in some U.S. cities, we have actually seen more of this type of growth in the last three years than we did in all of the last ten years. For cities with a population of a quarter million or more, this growth is above average and can be as much as one percent or more. With this migration taking place, it’s not just the multifamily rentals that are seeing growth. The abundance of single-family homes left over from the pre-recession boom that was then vacated by the recession itself has since led to opportunities for investors looking to capitalize. Unfortunately, the purchasing, renovating, and renting out of a single unit does little to create jobs and instead offers would-be...

Posted by on in Property Management
Whether you’re the manager for a number of properties, or you’re an individual owner of a property you manage as a business, the right tools are a necessity. One of the greatest things about technology today is the availability of and accessibility to high quality, comprehensive management applications. Best of all, because you download them to your smartphone, they’re accessible from anywhere (highly coveted feature for us on-the-go individuals). Here are our top five recommendations for the best apps in the industry: RentTracker. This app has received favorable reviews and takes the #1 spot for property management app on both iTunes and Google Play. The application is available for free and managers can track information for up to 3 tenants at absolutely no cost. Larger portfolios are managed in packs purchased as add-ons, so there’ no waste. Managers will find benefit in the ability to manage a great number of functions, including: tenant and contractor information, owners and vendors, and in-depth financial information with reporting features. Visit www.renttracker.com for more information. Buildium. With this paid-for service, users have access to its mobile application, which means access to custom-designed property websites, rental listings, rental applications, credit and background checks, and more. Visit www.buildium.com for more information and then visit the App Store to download the free mobile manager. AppFolio. Also a paid-for service, current customers of AppFolio have the opportunity to access its free Android and iOS application. This provides full property management options on-the-go, including photo uploads, contact management, listings...

Posted by on in Property Management
As I sit here dictating this letter to you, I must admit to having some mixed feelings. On the one hand, I want to congratulate you on choosing to do business the way I would. I love it when you raise prices prior to a "sale," so that the customer thinks he is getting a bargain. I think it is terrific business when you coerce a customer to tell you what she wants to spend, under the guide of "helping her", only to then raise the price of the good or service to what she told you she wanted to spend.   I have spoken with your sales employees who have been taught by you to lie and cheat to push products and services on your customers. I have visited your real estate developments, driven your cars, eaten your food and worn clothing that was made as cheaply as possible to increase your profits.I am amazed that you have invested more of your resources in something known as "search engine optimization" (quite frankly, I am not sure what that means) while you seemingly reduce or eliminate investing in your employees and customers. It is fantastic to see you get more excited about a new software upgrade, computer system, building method, and/or marketing campaign than you do about your very own people. I enjoy seeing your people stuck in an endless trap of non-advancement, while still instilling in them a sense that they should feel privileged and honored to work for your...

Posted by on in Property Management
CreditDonkey recently completed its annual Consumer Survey. One of the questions included has to do with contracts and how many respondents actually read them before signing. You likely won’t be surprised to learn that of 1,200 participants, a significant percentage admits to signing without reading. The breakdown follows: 14.8% of those between 18-24 years of age sign without reading 12.6% of those between 25-34 years of age sign without reading 6.2% of those between 45-54 years of age sign without reading As an apartment manager, your thought may be: “Not my problem. It’s detailed in the lease; a tenant’s neglect doesn’t make it my issue.” And, you’re partly right. But, consider things this way: how much damage could potentially be done to your property by an unknowing (uneducated) tenant? There are policies included in every standard lease that guide tenants on the proper use of the property and its units. If they aren’t reading it and don’t know, for instance, that certain items can’t be flushed or potato peels should never go down the drain, the potential damage from the absence of such knowledge could lead to bigger headaches for you down the road. The solution? Help your lease come to life. With just a bit of extra work, you can creatively keep your tenants informed on the critical aspects of the lease on an ongoing basis. Here are some ideas: eNewsletter: Gather up your tenant’s emails and send a regular newsletter with property updates and news. In it, include...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Making an apartment complex more attractive to prospective tenants. That’s our daily goal, isn’t it? And yet, it seems that many of the methods used to lure them cost an arm and a leg. But that doesn’t have to be the case. So, in this blog, we’ll give you some simple and cost effective methods you can employ today that will set your property apart from the rest. Let’s just call them “lifehacks” for the apartment manager. Staging. You can hit some estate sales, Goodwill, eBay, and similar buy, sell, trade sites or locations to get your hands on some good furnishing and decorating deals. Set up an empty unit as a showcase for the property, which will give prospects an idea of its potential. If this isn’t a possibility, make sure the office is welcoming and clean, with updated floor plans of all available units. Find Your Place in Cyber Space. These days, there’s no excuse for not having a website. Yet, many still fall into the trap of believing them to be cost prohibitive. This is where a service like Wix.com comes in real handy. For a very low monthly cost, your property could easily have a super attractive and interactive site, that is so easy to build, someone with no experience could put one together in a matter of minutes. Just drag and drop. Get Collateral. Just because you have a great website doesn’t mean you get to neglect those who like to have materials in-hand. Do...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
businessclockAahhh, success.  The prospect walks through the door of your community and says, “Hello, I’m looking for a new apartment.  I did some research on the Internet and I saw this place and I was wondering if you have a 2 bedroom with a den available?” As a leasing representative, what more could you ask for?  This interaction, simple on its face, is actually quite complex.  There are three aspects that make this a critical touchpoint, and a potentially dangerous moment for your team. The leasing associate and the prospect are currently experiencing very different emotions.  While the leasing associate is probably excited that this prospect has walked through the door and “feels” qualified; the prospect is stressed, confused and frustrated.  In today’s Zero Moment-of-Truth world, the prospect has also done research on other communities, is overwhelmed with information and can’t tell the difference between your community and the others they’ve visited (either in person or virtually). The next two minutes will disproportionately impact the likelihood of success. It is a truism that people don’t buy logically; they buy emotionally and then justify their decisions logically. Research done in retail and other environments show that from a biochemical perspective, the emotions one feels when makinga decision as big as where they will live (not to mention the size of the check they will write) are the same as when their lives are put at risk. The most important objective during this point is the sales process is creating alignment and synchronizing...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Are you trying to better connect with renters on Facebook? What you do is just as important as what you DON'T do. Read on for a list of 5 things NOT to do on Facebook. Say “Facebook is Dead” “Facebook is dead.” “No one is using Facebook anymore.” Have you heard some variation of those phrases? My response to that? Take a look at the numbers and decide for yourself. According to the Pew Research Center, about 73% of online adults use Facebook, making it the most dominant social networking platform. The bottom line is this: if your audience is active on Facebook, you should be too. Complain about Facebook’s Organic Reach We’ve all heard it again and again (and again). Facebook’s organic reach continues to decrease. And I’m not going to lie here…it’s the truth. But instead of focusing on how many people you can’t reach, start focusing on creating useful content that your followers will find valuable and want to interact with, thus increasing your organic reach. Also, consider Facebook advertising. It’s a relatively low-cost marketing tool that allows you to reach folks based on a number of different factors including demographics, interests and behaviors. Ignore or Hide Negative Posts When someone posts something negative about your community on Facebook, it’s tempting to hit “hide” or “delete” and just pretend like it never happened. But that’s not the best way to handle it. For one, if an angry resident sees that you’ve deleted her post from your page, it may just add...