Wowza! What a great way to inspect and expect excellence! Very cool, thanks for sharing this! I r...
Amanda Friesz
Great article Scott!

Training Trivia

In which of the following situations should you cease follow-up with a prospective resident?

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960301295 [{"id":"232","title":"After three unsuccessful attempts at reaching them","votes":"34","pct":"27.42","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"233","title":"When you hear from a competitior that they have leased with them","votes":"8","pct":"6.45","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"234","title":"When they have told you they are putting off their move for a while","votes":"9","pct":"7.26","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"235","title":"None of the above","votes":"73","pct":"58.87","type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] sbar 200 200 /polls/vote/86-in-which-of-the-following-situations-should-you-cease-follow-up-with-a-prospective-resident No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...
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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
I know it may sound weird and different to some of you reading this, but if I am honest, I feel the most confident and “professional” when wearing a blazer, collared shirt, dark blue jeans and dress shoes. In business situations that do not require my wearing a suit, the blazer/jeans combo is my “go to outfit.”   (In fact as I write this post I am sitting at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, heading back home from a speaking engagement on the East Coast and, yes, I am wearing my preferred outfit, and NO the picture isn't me. But you already figured that out.)     So you can imagine my excitement when I was in Denver for a speaking engagement and I ran into a few colleagues that I used to work with when I lived in Colorado and they told me that the company changed it’s dress code since I worked there. The new dress code?    Yep, you guessed it….blazers/jackets and dark blue jeans.    The associates told me how they asked the leadership of the company to consider the change, how the leadership said “yes!” and how excited they all were about it.    Now, some of you just had a conniption (is that how you spell it??) thinking about your people sitting behind their desks NOT in suits or traditional “business attire,” but in jeans! And I can understand why you might have some heartburn just thinking about it.    BTW: This isn’t about jeans!  ...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Ahh…summer. It’s that glorious time of year when people come out of hibernation, ready to socialize and enjoy the warmer, longer days. And nothing says summer quite like watching a movie under the stars. This 5-step guide can help you plan an outdoor movie night at your apartment community that your residents won’t forget.    1. Get Your Equipment Rent a DVD player, projector, speakers and a screen from a local audio shop. Be sure to test out the equipment before the night of your event. Next, choose a movie. Pick a summer classic like Grease, a popular movie that was filmed in your city, or a new release. Or, get your residents involved in the selection process. Offer three options and allow residents to vote.   Also, consider what kind of seating you’ll provide for your guests, whether it’s blankets on the ground or folding chairs. If you don’t have many chairs on site, ask residents to bring their own.  2.  Plan the Food What’s a movie without the snacks? Set up a “concession stand” with traditional movie theater fare like popcorn, candy and soda. Pinterest has some fun ideas for making things look fun and festive.  If you’re on a tight budget, ask your residents to bring a snack or drink to share and make it a potluck. 3. Spread the Word What’s a resident event without the residents? Promote your event to residents through a variety of different communication channels, such as: Social media Your resident newsletter A link to...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Leasing can be extremely stressful. There I said it. Talking to clients on the phone, touring day in and out at your community, meeting your weekly goals, doing outreach here and there and managing your prospects all contribute to a large amount of stress. Leasing agents are the “face” of our business and day in and day out you are connecting with your clients, empathizing with their needs, solving their problems, listening to and responding to the good, bad and the ugly. You are preparing reports for your managers, calling for market surveys, planning the next resident event, and the list goes on and on. This week you are a hero with your 8 leases and next week back to a zero, having none. Rock star leasing agents seemingly handle all these situations with ease.  But once in awhile something happens. Something you can’t put your finger on. Your radiant smile has lost its glimmer; the spring in your step is feeling flat. Maybe you’re more tired than normal and the usual 40 oz macchiato doesn’t seem to be doing its job. The job you love and have been doing with light and ease is feeling murky and difficult. Then here’s that Talking Heads song that replays in your brain over and over  “You may ask yourself, how did I get here?”  Are you crazy? Maybe a little. But your “good crazy” actually helps to keep you sane in this industry, but that’s another blog. What is going on here can...

Posted by on in Resident Retention

I was watching a show today called "Inside Claridges", which delves into the inner workings of one of the most premier hotels in London.  Royalty, foreign dignitaries, and just immensely wealthy people stay at this hotel, which means that their attention to detail has to be without fail.  When they renovate a room, they require that a senior staff person actually stay the night in the room, examining it for any possible issue that might not provide the most exceptional experience for the guest. I realize that this is not a fair comparison, as our communities often don't even come close to the cost of these hotel rooms, so the resulting product simply will never completely measure up.  But after watching this, and seeing the passion for trying to create the perfect experience, I wondered if I took enough of a critical eye to each move-in as I could have, when I worked on site.  In that sense, I see this video as an inspiration of sorts - maybe an apartment community with fewer resources will always have a few warts, but I think a passion towards this view of the perfect experience could elevate us to the next level.   Enjoy the clip below:  (Skip to 52:20)  ...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
For anyone who’s lived outside of the country, it is pretty obvious that the definition of customer service is not universal. Once, while waiting to be seated at a beautiful café on the shores of the Mediterranean, another patron cut in line and was promptly shown to a table by the hostess. I gave the hostess an inquiring look and she told me in no uncertain terms that if I wanted a seat I needed to make sure I was at the front of the line. This experience was typical of the customer service I received during my time abroad. These memories stand in sharp contrast with another experience from the same business trip. On my return flight, I had a small layover in JFK, and decided to indulge in that most American of traditions; a Dunkin donut. The line was orderly and efficient, and when I reached the front I was greeted by a smiling, happy (by all appearance), Dunkin Donuts employee who kindly welcomed me to the establishment and asked me what I would like to order. Once she’d taken my order, she then proceeded to smile at my jokes and in remarkably short order, served up a delicious Bavarian Crème donut and orange juice. The experience was painless, and all the more remarkable when I realize the best customer service I had received in the past three months was at a Dunkin Donuts in a dirty New York City airport, at 6:30 in the morning. Customer service does...

Posted by on in Student Housing
Student tenants specifically come with their own set of unique expectations and some common problems that may be encountered. Here are ten of the most common complaints voiced by student renters and insight on how to effectively handle these issues.   The landlord/maintenance person takes too long to fix things.Student renters live in an era of instant gratification, where they expect things to be delivered upon quickly; this is especially true for repairs in their accommodations. One of the most common complaints from student renters is the time it takes for things to be fixed by their landlord or maintenance team. The solution to this complaint is quite simple - promptly repair things or be honest about delays, if a repair cannot be made within a reasonable time frame.J Turner Research surveyed nearly 12,000 students and when asked about repair times for something broken in their apartment, 30% of students expected the repair to be completed in 24 hours or less. Even more shocking, 23% of students expected it to be fixed in 6 hours or less.  I didn’t get my security deposit back.This ranks at the top of the complaint list. Disputes often arise over the return of a security deposit, when a student renter is set to move out. Landlords can avoid this potential conflict by simply doing a walk-through with the tenant and specifically detailing what needs to be done in order for the student to get the full security deposit back. If the landlord cannot arrange a walk-through...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” – W.Clement Stone Do you have professional goals to move to a multisite position or have you recently been promoted to your first multisite position after climbing through the ranks?   Whether you aspire, or are about to tackle an entirely new chapter in our industry, the biggest obstacle you will face is fear.  Fear of failure?  Fear that you don’t know what you don’t know?  Fear of fear?  Fear of putting your hand in a box full of spiders? (no, that’s another show). The fear that I’m referring to is not any of these, it’s actually quite different, but you are probably feeling them all!  I’m referring to a major fear of saying “I don’t know”, or “please help me”, first with yourself and then to someone else, and being completely comfortable with that statement.   Just as each position before, a multisite position will bring you an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities to develop new skills that often are not fully developed on site.  Our industry has incredible training programs for every level, and some directly related to success in a multisite position, but the resources are definitively more limited than our on-site support programs.  We generally assume that success on individual sites will transfer to multisite, and that is often not the case.   So, how do you succeed?  Follow these few steps to get started. 1)   Search out successful mentors, previous bosses or industry vets that have successfully navigated...

Posted by on in Property Management
  Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the Fair Housing Matters conference in Nashville, Tennessee, hosted by the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, a private, non-profit organization with the mission to eliminate housing discrimination (  Bryan Greene, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, was a keynote speaker.  His presentation paid homage to those women who exhibited their courage in standing up to landlords whose housing discrimination and harassment rose (or more aptly, sank) to the level of being despicable.  It is stunning that in today’s day and age that the following scenarios (all resulting in fair housing cases) would even occur:   In West Virginia, three employees of a management company threatened a resident with eviction if she would not participate in sexual activity.  Keys were used at night to access her apartment and to demand sex, all while children were asleep in the next room.  Additionally, a maintenance worker would expose himself while doing maintenance work in the apartment.  One employee’s wife was the manager of the property and she was also charged as she did not address the complaints that were brought by the resident. A resident in Tennessee was offered a rental special, although it certainly was not one that should have ever been presented to her.  The “deal” was one month free rent…in exchange for nude photos of the resident.  And failing to take advantage of this offer would result in a 30 day eviction. Berlin, New Hampshire had an ordinance stating that...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
NAA’s units magazine will report on Curb Appeal trends in the July 2015 issue. They are seeking input from member communities. Please send NAA’s Paul Bergeron your best “curb appeal” photo and a description (100 words or less) about why your curb appeal strategy works. Frontal property shots with landscaping preferred. Please don't send swimming pool images or renderings. Entries must be submitted by 2 p.m. ET Friday May 29 to Paul Bergeron. Entries must include a high-resolution photo (4x6 inches at 300 dpi) to be considered. You may submit multiple entries. The decision to publish a photo entered for the July cover is up to the discretion of NAA units Magazine....

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Ten calls and ten straight customer hang ups. That's what it took for "Tom" to acknowledge that his French skills were grossly insufficient. Tom was already hired when I became the manager of a multilingual sales team earlier in my career. As the only French speaker at the company, I was curious how his language skills were tested during the process. The answer was simple: the hiring managers believed that Tom spoke French fluently because Tom believed he spoke French fluently. Since I knew what Tom didn't know, it took about 2 minutes of conversation for me to realize that he didn't. Tom, on the other hand, took more convincing before he finally acknowledged that he didn't know that he hadn't known his linguistic shortcomings. There are a lot of aspects to becoming a successful manager or employee. Of these aspects, none is more important than knowing what you need to know. So how do we avoid the pitfall that overtook Tom in this instance and overtakes so many others in different ways? Here’s the simple process that can help keep you in the clear so that you can "Know Like a Boss!" Define your goals. This is obvious. You need to know what you are aiming to accomplish before you start to accomplish it. Are you looking to increase retention? Are you trying to improve occupancy? Are you trying to recover more unpaid revenue? Whatever the goal, you need to identify it before you can work towards it. Once you’ve defined your goals, determine how...