I hear you Susan. Even if you live in a bigger area, finding a Regional Position is hard. I would ...

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A recovered drug addict is protected under the Handicap Status section of the Fair Housing Amendments Act.

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Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
One of the things I’ve observed in the past year is a growing recognition that sales has been the neglected stepchild of the multi-family housing operating world. Over the past 15-20 years, we’ve changed how we handled credit scoring, moving from multi-day research to virtually instantaneous decisions; we’ve moved pricing from manual to automated pricing and revenue management solutions; we’ve move property management from DOS-based to web- and cloud-based; and we’ve moved marketing from books and balloons to sophisticated eCommerce solutions. But the one thing we still model and teach the same way we did 20 years ago is sales. Operators are starting to turn to sales as the next place for significant improvement. That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of those I’ve talked to seem to be approaching this as a “training” problem. They want to improve their leasing associates’ success by implementing a sales training program. That will almost certainly get some form of incremental improvement—sales training is unlikely to hurt. But in today’s world, it’s simply not enough. Pricing and revenue management wasn’t successful because we implemented training—or even because we implemented software. It succeeded because most CEOs/COOs viewed it as a significant strategic and cultural change, and they supported it beyond just the project. They hired and/or promoted people, created new positions, changed rewards and incentives, etc. And of course they also introduced new and updated training. Substantial improvements in sales requires no less effort. In fact, I would argue it needs...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
With all the construction that the real estate industry has endured in the last decade, it looks like one sector has risen above all others to claim the top spot in development coming out of the recession: multifamily. As the demand for new apartment units surges and rents for those units are projected to rise for a fifth straight year, experts speculate that even with a ton of multifamily construction breaking ground it’s unlikely that we’ll see any real relief anytime soon. So, even with the 6% rise in apartment rents that we saw take place over the last decade and the accompanying 13% drop the average renter saw in theirincome, we’re still seeing more first-time and returning tenants looking to rent. These renters are not only seeing multifamily as a financially viable solution to their living needs, but also as a lifestyle choice that puts them in a community that affords them proximity to both work and play. A growing trend that we can expect to do nothing but thrive in the upcoming years. That’s also why we’ve seen multifamily construction spending continue to increase throughout the first half of 2014. The idea of multifamily becoming the hottest sector in the real estate industry really boils down to the shifting job market. The lack of access to available credit and the struggles in the employment sector have taken ownership off the table for a majority of Americans. Also, as job markets begin to return, we’re seeing more urbanization as these new employment...

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s one of the oldest plays in the book: Two imposing figures walk into the room. The first one looks stern and completely void of compassion. The second one looks equally serious, but there is also a look of humanity and understanding. The suspect sits in the sterile room, hands cuffed on the cold metal table as the first cop jumps into action. The goal is simple: Focus on the facts and elucidate every possible, painful recourse. There is no sympathy here— only cold, callused consequences. The second figure steps in at the exact right time and empathetically says “I can help you out of this; I just need you to cooperate.” After some back-and-forth, the suspect eventually concedes. The “Good Cop/Bad Cop play” wins again! Imagine how effective this scenario would be when dealing with a late payment! Bad Cop: Your rent is going to be late again!? This is unacceptable! Do you know what would happen to the world if everyone was late on rent for X months in a row?! I’ll tell you what would happen, the world would EXPLODE! Do you want the world to explode? How could you be so inconsiderate!?! It’s eviction time!! You (Good Cop): Calm down Bad Cop. I know that rent should always be paid on time, but this is a great resident who was going through some difficult circumstances. Resident, I know that you signed an agreement that says you can be evicted if your payment is X days late or late for X months in a row. I know you've almost reached...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
The days are getting shorter and the big box stores are all discounting their pens, notebooks and folders. That can only mean one thing – it’s just about time for millions of college students across the country to head back to school! What does that mean for you? If your apartment community is near a college campus, late summer and early autumn can be a busy time of year. Are you looking for ways to attract more student renters to your community this school year? Read on for some helpful hints.   Offer Flexible LeasesMany college students are at school eight or nine months of the year, then return home for the summer. With the high cost of school expenses, many students aren’t willing – or able -- to pay for three or four extra months of rent while their apartment sits vacant. So, consider offering shorter lease options to your student renters. Or, as an alternative, consider offering student renters the opportunity to sublease their unit during the summer. Embrace Photos and VideoMany college students choose to attend a school that is far away from home. These student renters usually don’t have the luxury of touring dozens of apartments before choosing their next home. Some may even rent an apartment without setting foot on the property. Give these renters a virtual tour of your apartment community by providing high quality photos and video of your community on your website and ILS ads. Not only will you help renters narrow down their...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
As a corporate speaker and trainer I am often asked by my clients if I have any specific needs or requirements when I am invited to speak at an event. My typical answer is usually something like this…   “I really don’t have any specific requirements, I’m pretty easy-going. The only thing that I must have when I speak are Pellegrino and only green M&M’s.”   I like doing this because it tends to break the ice, it helps my clients see that I do have a personality and hopefully reinforces the idea that we’ll enjoy working together. The line usually gets a laugh from my clients … well, once they realize that I really am not some sort of “divo” (Is that even the word for a guy diva??) and the conversation moves forward.   My Gift   Recently I did a speaking engagement in Atlantic City, New Jersey for an incredible company as part of their annual employee conference. After I finished the presentation the president of the company thanked me for speaking and handed me a gift bag. When I went back to my hotel room, I opened the gift bag and found …    You guessed it! A bottle of Pellegrino and green M&M’s.    I immediately started laughing. I couldn’t believe that Mary (the person at the company who invited me to speak and who put the conference together) actually remembered that I said that and then went through the effort of buying the Pellegrino and an...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Last week, I shared an NAA Education Conference-inspired blog about not seeing our prospects as commodities, realizing that some prospects are inherently better than others, such  as those who stay at our community longer, pay rent on time, and treat their neighbors with respect.  In a perfect scenario, we would take the "pick of the litter", snagging the absolute best prospects first, and leaving the less-than-ideal prospects for our comps, all while strictly adhering to Fair Housing laws.  The challenge, of course, is to find this information and act on it, by either targeting certain demographics or increasing acceptance criteria to weed out negative prospects.  But the benefit is enormous by finding residents who stay longer, pay rent online, and have the potential to truly fall in love with your community!  There are countless ways to improve your mix of residents.  In the preparation of this blog, I was able to identify six targeting/screening options, but you will surely find more as you dig deeper. NOTE:  By attempting to do any targeting as I mention below, it is extremely important to understand Fair Housing laws.  I am not advocating targeting by (or against) any protected class - these suggestions are to encourage targeting for other factors, such as if someone is fitness oriented or a dog lover.  But also be careful to not discriminate unintentionally.  For example, would targeting hockey fans be a problem considering 92% of fans are white?  Consider those implications before implementing. 1) Overall demographic targeting.  This is...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
When you own or manage a multifamily housing complex, one simple backed up sink can cause problems for many residents. Knowing how to prevent common plumbing problems is essential to keeping your residents comfortable and your building protected. Common Issues for Apartment Buildings  What type of plumbing issues do apartment buildings face? The truth is, apartment buildings can face the same issues any residential building faces, from backed up toilets to plugged up drains. The difference is that some problems can create issues for more than just the resident who caused them. Consider a plugged kitchen sink, which is quite common. When one unit's sink gets backed up, it can cause multiple sinks along the line to back up. If the backup is too large, the lower unit may even end up flooding. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Dirty water can be another problem in multi-family buildings, particularly in older buildings in urban communities. Often the water pipe corrosion in old water and sewage lines that have begun to break down are the cause of this problem. If your building is older, be sure to inspect the quality of the water regularly for signs of a problem. Finally, apartment owners can experience problems when the main water or sewer line breaks. These leaks are often hidden away from plain sight, so it's difficult to notice them until a serious problem occurs, such as a sewage backup in a unit. One indication that you may have a...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Summer is here, which means it’s time for vacations, trips to the pool…and getting at least a handful of move-out notices from your residents. As a property manager, no one has to tell you that retaining residents is preferable to looking for new renters each year. After all, when a good resident moves out, you’re not only losing a valuable renter, but you’re also losing money, since finding new residents doesn’t always come cheap. Looking to get more leases re-signed this summer (who isn’t?)? Here are three tips to make it happen. Notify Residents the Right WayDon’t send your renters an impersonal notice letting them know their lease is up. Instead, give them a call to personally let them know. Small things, like using their name and thanking them for being great residents, can go a long way, especially if renters are on the fence about renewing. And don’t wait until the last possible minute to alert them – especially if you’re raising the rent. You don’t want your renters to feel pressured into making a quick decision. Offer an IncentiveYou know those ideal residents – the mild mannered folks who pay their rent on time each month and keep their apartments clean. Obviously, keeping those renters in your community is ideal. So, consider offering an incentive to residents for re-signing their leases, such as a complimentary carpet cleaning or a fresh coat of paint. Or, offer to keep their rent at the same price for another year.   Ask for...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
When looking at all the new development taking place in our nation’s multifamily industry, it seems that most markets are seeing not only growth in their local communities because of all the new construction, but an emerging trend in which multifamily is actually taking the lead in kick-starting local economies. It’s a trend that is beginning to show us just how important a role multifamily plays in our local communities. A role that goes beyond the demand for new rental units and becomes a key catalyst that’s fueling the other sectors of our economy. We know that those looking to buy a single-family home in the current market are finding that they have limited access to available credit and it’s forcing them to reconsider purchasing for the time being and it’s fueling the rental market, but did you know that multifamily development is responsible for leading the recovery in the residential sector and  boosting the growth we’re experiencing in the construction markets? According to recently released U.S. Census data, permits for new housing construction saw an 8% boost in April 2014 with a majority of those permits being issued for multifamily structures that are planned for five units or more and overall multifamily construction was up 32.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2014. With all these new communities coming together, the concentration of new residents means that existing businesses in the these areas are seeing a boost in new customers.  This translates into a need to hire more people to service the influx of new...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
This month's Multifamily Executive magazine outlines how the apartment industry is breaking through the traditional formula of supply and demand. I look forward to the next part of the conversation about the payment practices of the today's renter nation and what can be done to make sure they stay - and pay - reliably.  Read more here and let's talk about what's working at your communities to move in residents to tools to deliver their rent on time without eating into your ability to predict cash flow and profit.   http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/occupancy-and-vacancy-rate/5-reasons-occupancy-is-growing-stronger_o.aspx?dfpzone=home&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=jump&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MFEBU_071714&day=2014-07-17    ...