Your post came across as honest, not cranky or irritated. Properties/companies handle it differentl...
Gregory Duff
I work for a company that consistently uses mystery shops. It's not a bad process but many of the qu...

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Which of the following is true about student housing?

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- Blog posts tagged in Amenities

Posted by on in Property Management
By Peter Lamandre, Better By Design Real Estate, Scranton, PA I was out and about this week and while on the interstate I pulled behind a contractor that had a QR code on the back of their tow trailer. While I applaud them for embracing an emerging technology, it occurred to me that that may not be the best application of a QR Code. Some of you are probably wondering, “What the heck is a QR Code?” QR code is an acronym meaning Quick Response code. It seems as though QR codes are the latest rage in advertising. But what are they? Without getting into the computer advantages of using QR codes versus standard bar codes; they are in essence a 2D bar code allowing you to pack a large amount of information in a small space. The QR code was invented by a subsidiary of Toyota in the mid 1990s for tracking parts during shipment. The format of the code allowed machines to quickly scan and track parts on a conveyor belt and route their destination accordingly. Fast forward 20+ years and with the proliferation of smartphones with cameras what was once a way to track machine parts is now the hottest new way to pack more advertising into smaller spaces. Would you rather see this… FOR RENT 3 BR, 1BA ½ double $xxx/mo plus utils call for details XYZ Management, Inc maybe with a picture, a phone number perhaps a website, etc. or A single image that when scanned...

Posted by on in Property Management
Have you noticed the little yellow review stars appearing in Google search results?   Google is picking up reviews from various places on the web, and inserting them into the RESULTS pages. This means that, before a prospect even decides to click on your website, they are seeing a rating of your community— assuming one exists.  I don’t know about you, but those little stars influence what I click on! Historically apartment communities have had a policy to ignore reviews in regards to online reputation management (ORM).   However, it is important to take the opportunity to listen— and even respond— to what residents are saying online because the conversation is happening whether you choose to participate or not. What is ORM? Online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility. A recent survey conducted in the UK and US found that 69% of respondents trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  So what are you doing to monitor your reputation? Where to find online reviews: With about 855,000 apartment ratings and reviews is the largest and most comprehensive apartment ratings website.  Reaching approximately 30% of apartment hunters nationwide, it is among the Top 5 most-visited apartment hunting sites in the world., a Coralville, Iowa-based site offers a different rating methodology. It doesn’t invite renters to air gripes, but instead actively polls residents about staff, living conditions and...

Posted by on in Property Management
Every now and then, a tenant offers to make repairs to the unit he’s living in. Often, such offers are made in exchange for rent (in other words, the cost of the repairs is deducted from the monthly rental rate). In other instances, the tenant simply wants certain upgrades in his unit (a new paint job, removed carpet, etc.) and offers to do them himself. The argument for this is that the tenant can enjoy a place that “feels like home” and you reap the rewards of these upgrades once the tenant vacates the unit. Clearly, there can be benefits to this sort of situation: You receive property upgrades at a reduced (or negated) cost, and your tenant gets to customize the unit to his own preferences. Unfortunately, though, there can also be some pitfalls. All too often in these scenarios, tenants are not qualified to complete these upgrades or updates up to par. The result is unfinished or sub par work that ultimately becomes your responsibility to rectify. Not only this, but such deals can also result in sticky financial situations and—in extreme situations—legal problems. Let’s say that one of your long-time tenants wants to repaint his living room from the standard white all of your units are painted in to a more colorful rustic red. You agree that the color would suit the space well and tell your tenant can deduct the price of paint and labor from his next rent payment. When the first of the next month...

Posted by on in Property Management
To generate more rental income, it’s sometimes necessary to put a little work into your property. If a potential renter is comparing your property to a similar, less expensive property, the renter will need to be able to easily identify those aspects (whether it’s aesthetics or features) that make your unit worth more than the competition’s. Depending on where you’re starting from and where you want to go, upgrades may consist of as little as some simple “rejuvenation” projects or, alternatively, some larger-scale renovations. Generally speaking, your bathroom and kitchen are two key areas that play a large role in making or breaking the value of your rental unit as compared to competitors’. All other factors being equal (such as size and location), chances are most renters will select the unit with a nicer looking or more upgraded bathroom or kitchen. Many renters will even be willing to pay a bit more if there is a noticeable difference or greater utility in one or both of these two rooms. In other words, these are the first places you should make improvements if you want to command additional rental income for your property. What does this mean exactly? Let’s take a look. Renovation There’s not really any way around it—complete renovation of a bathroom or kitchen (appliances, lighting, tiling, fixtures, etc.) will cost you a few thousand dollars. However, it will also likely pay off in the form of a higher rent rate. Consider a renter who is looking at your apartment...

Posted by on in Property Management
“A fool is someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.” -Oscar Wilde We live in a world that seems to focus on price— not value. Price is only one factor in a buying decision. What we often don’t realize is that we make value-based buying decisions every day. We buy our clothes, cars and food based on the perceived value that we get from what we purchase. A recent Harvard University study revealed that buyers want more than a “cheap price”. In fact, only 1 out of 6 buyers are true price shoppers. The study also showed that most price objections that salespeople encounter are self-inflicted; meaning salespeople are more concerned about price than customers. In fact, buyers rated price 7.2 (on a 10-point scale), while salespeople rated it price 8.3. Who’s making the bigger deal about the selling price? As a true sales professional, it is your job to determine what the prospect values. Sometimes, higher prices can actually be considered a selling advantage. A higher cost creates a perception of higher quality or a "cut above". Top Leasing Professionals welcome a price difference because it gives them an opportunity to demonstrate how good their product is and how great they really are! Leasing professionals who employ value-added selling techniques sell 3 things: Themselves Living is selling. Start from childhood and remember all the sales you made. You worked up a sales pitch to get your parents to raise your allowance, buy you a nicer...

Posted by on in Property Management
As a property manager, you have a great resource that shouldn’t go untapped right at your fingertips: your tenants. For as well as you know your property, most property managers don’t actually live on-site. Because of this, your tenants are more qualified than anyone else to provide insights into potentially beneficial changes, improvements, and upgrades that can make your property more appealing—and perhaps even more valuable. You can solicit information from tenants in a number of ways: through an old-fashioned suggestion box either on-site or at your property management office, through an online form, or through a questionnaire for tenants to fill out upon move-out (or at any other point during their residency at your property, for that matter). In addition to all this, when it comes to encouraging tenants to share their thoughts and suggestions, property managers may want to consider taking a cue from condo associations. Hosting forums on an annual or bi-annual basis for tenants to submit ideas for changes and/or to vote on potential changes you are considering rolling out at your property is a great way to not only receive important feedback, but also to bring tenants together to brainstorm and share ideas that you may have never even considered. Though you have the ultimate say about what does or does not happen at your rental property, receiving this sort of organic feedback can lead you in the right direction, providing a lot of insight into what tenants do and do not want to see happen...

Posted by on in Property Management
Example Tenant Welcome KitUsing travel-sized toiletries and cleaning items, one can create a unique tenant welcome gift that can create a lasting impression, especially during those hectic first few days of move in.  To choose what to put in the gift basket of goodies, one must think like a new tenant, whose stuff is still boxed up, but everyday things need to get done from the moment of arrival.  Some helpful tasks and accompanying products to include are: Laundry: Include a single use laundry detergent, bleach, and fabric softener to help get that first emergency laundry load underway Cleaning: Even with a professional cleaning, new tenants may want to clean certain things, or even clean their own stuff as they unpack it and set it up.  Thus, include a travel size cleaning solution, paper towels, and Lysol. Dishes: Cleaning that first round of dishes before being fully unpacked can require certain items, so include a sponge, washcloths, liquid dish soap, and a packet for the dishwasher (if there is one). Bathroom:  You could include the typical toiletries, but odds are, those have been prioritized in the packing and you don’t need to provide for emergency supplies (and, those tend to be more brand-specific to each person’s tastes).  Thus, a hand sanitizer can be helpful, and a travel sized roll of toilet paper for move-in day. Miscellaneous: Tape is always needed when moving, and not just when packing up.  Thus, a travel sized roll of duct tape (which is more versatile than packing tape) can...

Posted by on in Property Management
Property Management Handle Repair RequestsProperty management companies, landlords or property managers – try responding promptly to address the tenant’s requests. In some extreme cases, the tenant may be entitled to withhold rent and your property management company could be held accountable for personal injuries as well.   Guide to Handling Tenants Repair Requests:1. If you’re not available by phone at anytime, make sure that you have some type of answering or paging service available at all times.2. Provide all tenants with several copies of Maintenance/Repair Request forms when tenants move in.3. Make additional forms readily available to your tenants. 4. For all telephone requests, complete the form and file it in the tenant's records.5. In responding to all complaints, you may want to verbally follow up and then provide a written response. 6. As a rule of thumb, you should try to fix problems within 24 hours that may cause major inconveniences to the tenant and less serious requests within 48 hours.7. Use a 24-hour repair service if required for personal security and safety problems8. Be sure to comply with state and local laws and ordinancesIt is important to take action at the earliest to address the tenant's repair requests....

Posted by on in Property Management
I came across an interesting twist on the self storage concept today, and just had to share. offers free round-trip shipping to a centralized warehouse where your boxes are kept until you need them back. All you have to do is download a label (they even have an app for that), schedule a USPS carrier pickup and pack your boxes. That’s it. The price is $29 per month for 5 boxes, $49 for 10.Easy breezy. Somebody else does all the work. Convenient. And a new solution to that old objection, “not enough closet space”.Take a peek. They’ve taken the U Store It concept and truly made it all about you.Let me know if you have tried this service and what you think....

Posted by on in Property Management
In many ways, the current economic climate makes for a great time to purchase a multi-family investment property. The prominence of short sales and foreclosures has given way to good purchase prices in many areas of the country. Add to this the fact that there are some incredible interest rates out there right now (even for investors) and the fact that many former homeowners have now found themselves back in the rental market, and there’s a very valid argument that this is a good time to get into the multi-family market. If you are considering making a multi-family property investment of your own, following are a few things to consider before taking the leap. Know what you’re looking for Before you even begin to look at properties, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to put into a property, both financially and in terms of your time. Of course, this is always subject to change if you find just the right place, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go into the house-hunting process without a fairly narrow baseline in mind. Aside from basics like location and size, you also want to have know whether you’re looking for a “fixer-upper” or a “as-is” property. Look at the whole package Looking for a multi-family investment property is different from looking for a single-family home and requires a bit more of a discerning eye. Remember that you will be renting multiple units out to different tenants. To...