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 Property Management

So maybe you heard about this: Earlier this year, rapper Armando Christian Perez, or “Pitbull”, partnered with Walmart and Energy Sheets in a social media campaign which took a turn for the worst. In June the trio announced a Facebook contest, in which the local Walmart store that received the most page “likes” would receive a personal visit from Pitbull so he could “share the experience of using Energy Sheets with [his] fans.

That’s when David Thorpe, writer for The Boston Phoenix and the off-color comedy site Something Awful, got wind of the promotion and hijacked the campaign by encouraging people to #ExilePitbull to a remote Walmart location on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The prank spread like wildfire season in the interior arctic, and by the conclusion of the contest, a city with a population of 6,000 incinerated the efforts of 4,000 other U.S. locations, achieving over 70,000 Facebook “likes.” 


Posted by on in Property Management
All too often, when people jump into social media, or when they try to expand into a new network, they seem to try to start from scratch, meaning they go out to try to find new fans/friends/etc without effectively leveraging their existing network.  You already have a group of people that you are already friends with, do business with, or generally have a good impression of you, so rather than try to find a whole new group of contacts, leverage these contacts to jumpstart your entrance! This strategy works for apartment communities, suppliers, and personal business networking.  An absolute great example of this is actually from one of our new bloggers, Talisa Lavarry.  It usually takes a blogger a while to establish his or her “voice” in the community and build a group of fans of their blogs, but I noticed that Talisa seemed to have a surprisingly high number of social mentions, specifically Facebook “shares” of her blog.  For example, her “If you got it FLAUNT it!” blog currently has 20 Facebook shares, which is fantastic for a relatively new blogger.  After looking a little further, it was clear that she was effectively jumpstarting the conversation for her blog by sharing it to her own Facebook profile, where she already had a strong network.  In other words, she was using her existing strong network on Facebook to help build her network on Multifamily Insiders – brilliant! So what did this “jumpstarting” program actually do for her new blog series?  (This...

Posted by on in Property Management
Apartment Community Pool Maintenance Here in North Texas, the rainy season is typically during the months of February, March, and April. Yet, this morning I’m staring out the office window and watching rain fall for the third straight day…in June! All this rain has been great for the region, leading officials in many Texas counties to officially declare that multi-year drought conditions have finally ended. But while all this rain is great for the apartment property’s landscape, it can have a negative impact on one of the most important amenities at your apartment community: your swimming pools. The Effects of Rain on Swimming Pools Swimming pools can turn green after a shower because of an infusion of nitrogen-enriched rain that provides the perfect breeding ground for algae. If left unchecked, that crystal clear swimming pool you worked so hard to prepare for residents to enjoy can turn green almost overnight if an algal bloom “blossoms.” At that point, the water is unusable for several days during the clean-up process. We visited with Mark Cukro, an instructor with the National Swimming Pool Foundation and president of Charlotte-based Plus One Consulting, who shared some swimming pool maintenance tips for keeping water clear and algae at bay. Cukro identifies three areas of pool maintenance to pay attention to: disinfectant levels, proper circulation, and optimizing filtration systems. Maintain Proper Disinfectant Levels Usually, a small dose of chlorine and algaecide immediately after the storm is all that is needed to keep algae at bay. But maintaining proper disinfectant levels—...

Posted by on in Property Management
turn signal jpg.jpgAre you using your turn signals?   As I drove through some mildly congested traffic last week, it amazed me at the lack of drivers not using their turn signals!  How much confusion and wasted time it created!  The drivers not using their blinkers, left other motorists having to guess what they were going to do; to turn or not to turn, and the many almost accidents caused by these thoughtless drivers pulling out of nowhere in front of innocent cars! So, what exactly are these blinkers, aka directional lights, turn signals for anyway?  They are there strictly for the consideration of OTHER drivers.  They do absolutely nothing for the driver of the car.  Their sole purpose is to advise other drivers of the intentions of the person behind the wheel.   And they’re fairly easy to use too, conveniently located with the ability to function with just the flip of your finger.   Good product – but not unless it’s used correctly! In property management, we have many opportunities to use our ‘blinkers’.  In our management and leasing offices, if we can use our blinkers correctly, it can offer insight, forewarn others of what’s to come, where we’re headed, let other know of our intentions, possibly the need to be accommodated and potentially avoid collisions.  That’s pretty good stuff! But do we do it?  It seems that both leasing and management seem to forget to flip on their turn directional at times.  Seemingly winding through traffic and tasks knowing exactly what they’re...

Posted by on in Property Management
Whether you are just getting started with your social media strategy or you’re paving the way for others in the industry, it is imperative to have a policy in place.  In this digital era, your employees need to be well versed in appropriate online behavior when they are representing, not only themselves, but  also the brand.  Policy can be a scary word for employees, which is why your social media policy should really be more of a set of guidelines.  Here are a couple tips to get you started on your set of guidelines: 1.    Team Effort – Creating a social media policy at your company should be a team effort.  Gather a cross-functional group from departments like PR, legal, strategy, sales, marketing and senior leadership.  All of these people will play an important role in crafting your guidelines. 2.    Common Sense – Make sure to include guidelines that you may think are common sense in your policy.  You cannot assume everyone thinks the same way and it is better to be safe than sorry.  Some examples of this would be: ·         Be transparent – If you discuss industry topics, make sure your company name and position are clear and included in your profile description. ·         Be respectful – The Golden Rule still applies: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Don’t say hurtful things about residents, the competition, coworkers or the company.  ·         Be professional – Post content in a professional manner and tone.  Also, never disclose company information...

Posted by on in Property Management
What Three ThingsWhat can you do to show you appreciate someone, your residents, your family, your friends, or the person on the street you just passed?  As we learn and use the wonderful features of technology and social media, we tend to not interrelate like we once did.  We have all emailed the person in the next cubicle or office, and texted someone when we could have called them. What three things can you do on a daily basis that makes a difference in how people connect and react to you? Everyone has three things they can do to let others know they matter.  I recently sent an email about this to my fellow teams. Incidentally, I received more replies than normal and I would like to share some of the unedited feedback. Smile and compliment them. Make them feel welcome; tell them they have been approved for their new home. Ask them “How can we help”? Tell them you appreciate them, maybe bring them a coffee and tell them one nice thing! Or just give them a big hug.  Listen, people want to be heard and know that what they have to say matters, and it shows you value them, as well as what they have to say.  Speak directly to them, look in their eyes, and be attentive.  Use their name when you talk to them, it makes them feel important and gets their  attention.  A simple acknowledgement, “Great Job”.  To a stranger driving and trying to get in your lane, “Just wave...

Posted by on in Property Management
Small shifts in data tend to quickly make headlines and dominate conversations. Most recently, it’s the uptick in single-family home sales creating some news about apartment renters leaving to buy homes. But it’s not a big spike – and even if it was, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for the U.S. apartment industry. Greg Willett and Jay Parsons from MPF Research explain why in this video edition of Apartment Market Dynamics. [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD7QPR5O1KY&list=UUyoXp1Vnx1d1sw1ZzzT2AJw&index=2&feature=plcp 433x300]   Michael Cunningham is the Managing Editor for Property Management Insider....

Posted by on in Property Management
Digital Touchpoints By R. Aaron Warnock, Chief Scientist, G5 Some think 2012 is the year of destruction, but maybe the Mayans only meant that the old way of doing business would be over. In this new era, the Age of the Customer, businesses must master customer engagement in an ever more digital world. Local businesses continue to grapple with the challenges of the continuously connected consumer. The shift to online channels has accelerated, driven by the adoption of mobile computing and the rise of social media. To remain competitive, businesses must move well beyond online advertising and recognize how to deliver exceptional experience with digital touchpoints throughout the lifecycle. Successful companies will be those that place Digital Experience Management (DXM) at the center of their strategic plans. Customers Are Talking About You The Age of the Customer is forcing companies to revise their approaches to marketing andservice, and the impact to the marketplace is profound. Exceptional customer experience, which has traditionally been credited for driving loyalty and client retention, has become the hottest factor in marketing strategy. Why? Because connected customers drive brand awareness through online advocacy. These previously innocuous whispers have taken on new power: profiles for local businesses are increasingly associated with customer reviews and ratings, and these citations are critically important for effective digital presence. So if you’re thinking about strategies for out-competing, maybe it’s time to comprehensively reexamine how your business connects with new prospects and services existing customers.  Are you communicating where, how, and when they need to find you? Are you...

Posted by on in Property Management
5 Multifamily Marketing/Tech Models in TroubleLast week Blackberry/RIM and Best Buy were two businesses that went on a list of dying companies.  It's often hard to predict what the future holds, and we have a tendency to get tunnel vision when it comes to our own businesses.  It's unfortunate these companies have found themselves to be in dire straights, but for me I look at situations like this as an opportunity to reflect on my own business and industry. What may look like a solid model today, may not be tomorrow.  With that, I'd like to share my list of five multifamily marketing/tech models that may be in trouble. 1. The ILS - I've actually been known to say that the ILS is an absurd marketing idea.  While I may have been trying to generate some controversy with that statement nearly 3 years ago, it's interesting to think today I actually believe the ILS model is in trouble a bit.  At least the way the big players look today.  If you look at Apartments.com, ApartmentGuide.com, ForRent.com, Rent.com, Move.com, etc., you'll find their models really haven't changed much since they started.  However, the way people search online is changing.  We may see a few fall off over the next 5 years if they don't evolve in an aggressive way. 2. Pay Per Lease Marketing Model - As tracking becomes more sophisticated we're finding (and concluding) renters are using more than one source to find an apartment.  Is it fair to give all the credit to a single source and pay them a...

Posted by on in Property Management
Lyndon Baines Johnson signing Civil Rights Bill, including Fair Housing Act, April 11, 1968 The month of April is designated as Fair Housing Month, to commemorate Congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which includes the Fair Housing Act. The multifamily industry knows the importance of complying with Fair Housing rules, spending considerable time, resources, and money to ensure compliance across all aspects of rental housing. Yet, few may realize that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) fought an uphill battle before being passed and that the early days of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were not without controversy. Both overcame numerous hurdles in the civil rights era of the 1960s to form the groundwork for today’s critically important multifamily housing policies that prohibit discrimination. The History of the Fair Housing Act The beginning of the FHA ultimately rests with the formation of HUD, a Cabinet-level agency created in 1965. President John F. Kennedy proposed the agency in 1961 to restructure U.S. housing policies that dated to the 1937 U.S. Housing Act, and waged battles with Republicans and Southern Democrats who opposed the formation of an agency. It wasn’t until after his assassination that Congress approved the plan. President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill to form HUD with Robert C. Weaver, the first African-American to be appointed to a Cabinet position, at the helm. A Harvard scholar and former vice chairman of the New York City Housing and Redevelopment Board, Weaver was administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Administration (HHFA). With HUD under way, the administration sought a law that...