Hi Michelle,

That's a clever strategy especially with international students or even students liv...
I am a Property Manager. I ran a student property - UCR - University of CA Riverside, for 5...

Training Trivia

Which of the following practices is permissible and in accordance with Federal Fair Housing law when managing student housing communities?

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Apartment Marketing

- Blog posts tagged in Apartment Marketing

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
As a marketer I am a very visual person.  Images speak to me much faster than words.  I imagine that this is the same for many of you.  For example, what was the main reason that you clicked on this article?  Was it my subject line that we’ve read variants of for a hundred years, or was it the picture? I was recently reading a few articles that talked about the top online marketing trends for 2014 and I was shocked to find out that there was nothing really new or shocking.  The articles talked about tactics like content marketing, social media marketing, less is more marketing, and image-centric content.  All these ideas have been around for many years but are we using them as effectively as we could? The one tool that I feel like very few marketers are using to the full potential is imagery.  Not only does a great image help your websites and marketing collateral stand out, but it can really help you gain an edge in an increasingly difficult web marketing landscape.  Here are a few ideas to help you create and make the most of online visuals for multifamily marketing. Optimize images for SEO The craft of Search Engine Optimization is an ever-changing art that requires creativity and continuous attention.  One area that SEO practitioners tend to overlook is how the metadata and url structure of the images can impact results with Google. A couple of things that you can do in order to make more out of...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Earlier this month was National Letter of Intent Day for college football. Top recruits around the country committed to schools by signing their acceptance of scholarship offers. As a big college football fan, I’m always curious to see which players my school has signed and to get a sneak peek at who I’ll be cheering for over the next few years. Football recruiting is a time-consuming process that involves creating interest, pitching benefits, fending off competition and finally securing a commitment. In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to the process leasing professionals undertake as they try to reach qualified prospective renters. Let’s take a look at some of the tactics used by effective football recruiters and see how they can be applied to find and commit the best residents for your communities. Play by the rules Football coaches are expected to comply with a lengthy NCAA rule book that outlines the things they can and cannot do in recruiting. Failure to closely follow these rules may result in recruiting violations that can cost schools scholarships or even postseason eligibility. For leasing professionals, the rule book is the Fair Housing Act. It’s crucial to have a solid understanding of the Fair Housing Act and the considerations that need to be made throughout the leasing process. You can ensure that your staff is prepared by taking advantage of training offerings from NAA* or other industry sources. It may also be a good idea to have a designated on-site or corporate contact who acts as...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Since the dawn of the internet, the Multifamily Housing industry has been evolving to meet the changing behaviors of prospective residents. Gone are the days when signage, curb appeal and print ads were the primary focus for driving traffic. Today, curb appeal means much more than just making sure the bushes are trimmed and colorful flowers surround your signage. Curb appeal should now include your property’s internet visibility and presence, or in other words, your property’s "virtual curb appeal". Virtual curb appeal includes anything that a prospective resident can find online about your property. This includes your property’s website, online advertising, reviews of your property, and the property’s social media involvement. Virtual curb appeal is now the primary way that prospective residents get their first impression of your property. This means that managing your property’s virtual curb appeal is CRITICAL! In fact, you should consider your virtual curb appeal just as important as your physical curb appeal. So what can you do to manage your virtual curb appeal? The first area on which to focus is your overall online visibility. You need to know where your property is listed online including search engines, web directories, and review sites. You should regularly search your property’s name through the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.). Keep a list of all of the sites on which you find your property listed for future reference. You should review each website that includes your property’s information including your property website. Make sure the information is accurate, complete,...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Media and communication trends are growing by the minute and it’s affecting how people expect to receive information - quick and efficient. Consumers don’t want to be bombarded with too much information, just enough to make a decision on whether they would buy-in to the messages that brands and media are sending out. For apartment residents, the same mindset carries over to how they perceive multifamily email notifications. In a lot of ways, email remains the dominant channel. And if the email content displays responsive to a mobile device; even better. No more fliers on residents’ doors; save your time and money. Contact residents using a medium they rely on most for their on-the-go lifestyles. But with all of the messages consumers receive in one day, advertisements or emails, you want your messages to be the ones they remember. And not just remember, but that will add a positive perception of your property and site staff. When you can provide residents with positive interactions and experiences with your property, their beliefs and opinions change, they’ll be more likely to renew their lease and then provide you with referrals. Win-win. Here are 7 crucial components of effective multifamily email marketing: Catchy: 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line. You have 3 seconds to grab the recipient's attention amongst all of their other messages in their inbox. Use buzz words and incentives to encourage more opens. Compelling: Pictures set the tone for your message. Place an image at the top of your message...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
    Throughout the year, we hear of absolutely amazing companies who are driving innovation within the multifamily industry.  So we are starting a new program to showcase some of these incredible companies once a month, and in the process, negotiate a special deal specifically for our Insider community.  This month's feature is Community Rewards by Modern Message. Company Showcase:  Community Rewards by Modern Message   (Important:  Don't forget to scroll to the bottom to see the discount we have negotiated for Insiders!)   Using social media is pretty easy, but using social media effectively is a whole different story.  We've seen a lot of communities try hard but ultimately miss the mark when it comes to getting prospects and residents engaged with their online locations, such as their Fan Page.  So this is what Modern Message attempts to tackle - they make it incredibly simple to get residents and prospects engaged with their apartment community, in exchange for prizes and fame within their community.  Each community has the potential to incentivize certain actions in exchange for earning points, which can lead to a selection of prizes for each resident or prospect who plays the Community Rewards "game".    For example, resident referrals are worth their weight in gold for apartment communities, and Community Rewards makes it incredibly easy and beneficial for residents to spread the word.  For apartment managers, the program automatically tracks resident referrals through their friends' social profiles:     Now, your residents are actively endorsing your community...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
It’s been months now since Craigslist decided to give their user base a better search, user and mobile experience. Since my last article about the changes to Craigslist and the debate about posting tools, another major change was released. I think this latest change can put the debate to rest. If you watched the Webinar with Sarah Greenough on MFI, you know all about it. In December, Craigslist changed their Terms of Service and forced our users to agree to it. These terms mean that WE as Property Management Companies can be sued by Craigslist if we post ads using a posting tool. Here is the legal mumbo jumbo: "USE. You agree not to use or provide software (except for general purpose web browsers and email clients, or software expressly licensed by us) or services that interact or interoperate with CL, e.g. for downloading, uploading, posting, flagging, emailing, search, or mobile use." "to pay us for breaching or inducing others to breach the “USE” section, not as a penalty, but as a reasonable estimate of our damages (actual damages are often hard to calculate): $0.10 per server request, $1 per post, email, flag, or account created, $1 per item of PI collected, and $1000 per software distribution, capped at $25,000 per day." Scary stuff huh? Some Craigslist tips In the webinar I mentioned, Sarah Greenough talked about some great ways to overcome the recent Craigslist debacle. Sarah gave some good pointers: Consider posting directly to Craigslist, and create Craigslist kits which...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Leasing is like a dating game…maybe a game of blind dates, more accurately, where you’re eager to find a match but you really don’t know the person you’re going to meet until they walk through the door. What would you give to drive the right kind of traffic to your communities?   Fifteen percent of your marketing budget?  Twenty percent?  More?  Or would you look for a pay-as-you-go formula that only cost you money when a qualified applicant shows up at your leasing office to get acquainted?    But wait, our industry is too decentralized with each and every property company and many a  regional manager setting their own acceptance terms.  This jungle of differences, albeit in compliance with Fair Housing, makes the possibility of a uniform utopia where applicants could be pre-qualified like a future dinner companion nearly impossible. But wait again, your future residents are trying to move in that  direction now in much the same way dating candidates put themselves out there online for potential matches.  We see services that enable people to share their rental and employment history online as a means to give a future community a glimpse of their desirability.  And we see ILS aggregaters trying to make it easier and easier for applicants to find the handful of rental units they want to visit as their possible new abodes just as Yelp and Zagat’s have become the directory of where to take a date. But wait once more, where in all this sea change does...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
In October, Starbucks released a new way to send friends and clients a cup of coffee via twitter: Tweet-A-Coffee. This new Starbucks campaign has taken off!  The campaign earned Starbucks a whopping $180,000 in sales with more than 27,000 fans using the program since October 28th, demonstrating that direct response marketing can work. How can businesses demonstrate their own success utilizing the Starbucks Tweet-A-Coffee campaign? Is it possible to jump on the Tweet-A-Coffee bandwagon in order to engage with and retain customers? What about improving sales? JcPenny has taken to this like creamer to coffee! They asked their followers to tweet them a picture of a JcPenny’s receipt and responded by Tweeting-A-Coffee to the sender! Businesses can reach out with an unexpected introduction by sending a cup of coffee to prospects! Search hashtags and keywords and then tweet a few cups of coffee! Here are a few examples for your local community: Have a new follower on Twitter, send them a cup of coffee to thank them for following! Share a cup of coffee with local students and teachers “Take a study break and have a coffee on us!” Tweet a cup of coffee to prospects moving to your area or looking for apartments “Here’s a coffee to jumpstart your apartment search this weekend!” Respond to a complaint about a competitor community, “It looks like you’re having a rough day, maybe this coffee will make it better?” Just take a look at how Monroe Street Market, an apartment community in Washington, DC, encouraged their followers to RT a recent status update...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
snowman welcome home apartment marketingI just got married a few weeks ago! And with all the positive changes and excitement comes… moving. Although I’m not moving into an apartment, I have spent a good deal of time on Craigslist the past few months as my fiancé and I have talked about our budget and priorities when it comes to renting a home. It has been interesting and valuable to be reminded of the prospect experience first hand. Instead of being on Craigslist with my “work” hat on, I was scanning the site with a “renter” hat on. What really stood out to me was how many of the apartment community ads started to blur together. Many of them use the same types of what I call “power words” to describe what they offer and at a certain point, the phrases seem to feel empty and vague. On a property website, where you are not competing for visual attention with another community at the exact same moment, phrases like “come relax here”  or “the lifestyle you’ve been looking for” can have more power behind them. This is because generally, they are immediately accompanied by photos and other text that support the claim. But on Craigslist, it is crucial that you use a variety of headlines for different ads and be sure to include some that are VERY specific. For example: Upstairs, Corner 2BR w/ Large Windows & Pool Views – New Dishwasher – Laundry on Site. In addition to the title, it’s important the the information...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Do you text your prospects or residents? Do they text you? Should you let them? You might already be researching those questions, which means you’re paying attention. With the move toward mobile everything, there are multiple ways to use text to your team members’ and community’s advantage. (FYI, Nielsen notes that of the 94% of people with mobile phones in the U.S., about 86% text with them. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s not higher. Even people with *gasp* flip phones send text messages!)  But first, you need a plan.  Write Down the Point of It AllWhat are your business goals (what do you want your team to accomplish by texting in 2014)? Perhaps you want to increase resident satisfaction with an amazingly convenient customer service experience. Maybe you want to help your team get more done in less time, like following up faster. With this in mind, you can start looking into the types of texting services out there.  Think Beyond Marketing. Think Convenience. Don’t assume that the only way to text your prospects and residents is through automated marketing messages. For example, after ordering contact lenses from 1-800-Contacts, I text a picture of my prescription for faster turnaround. Within a few minutes, their staff texts back to confirm if they will be shipping today or tomorrow. It’s amazing how friendly little conveniences like that can stick with a customer.  If you take a more personal, one-to-one  texting approach, here’s what you could do: Respond when prospects’ interest is highest - Say a...