Thanks, Jacob! I can't give away all the secrets, but I needed to get this one out there because it'...
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Training Trivia

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

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Property Management

- Blog posts tagged in Property Management

Posted by on in Property Management
When it comes to tiny property repairs, a molehill can very easily become a mountain if it’s not resolved quickly. Whether you’re a DIY kind of person or would prefer to have a contractor or handyman take care of your property’s repairs, time is of the essence. Not only is it important to take care of repairs and maintenance quickly for your tenants’ sakes, but also for your bank account’s. In so many cases, a little problem that goes unaddressed can turn into a big, expensive problem not so far down the line. Budget for the unexpected. As we’ve discussed before, setting money aside for those unexpected repairs that always come up sooner or later is one of the smartest moves you can make as a landlord. No matter how good your intentions are, it’s almost impossible to move on any repair quickly if the funding simply isn’t there. Move quickly, no matter how innocent an issue appears. Cracked plaster? Leaking roof? Chipped window? All of these are examples of “little” issues that are easy to set aside, but will only grow with time. Cracked plaster can easily begin to crumble, resulting in a much bigger mess. A leak can expand and run rampant, causing significant water damage. A tiny window chip can quickly spread, leaving no other option than a complete window replacement. Maintenance and small repairs go hand-in-hand. There are some maintenance duties that count just as much as repairs, and should be performed just as efficiently. Cleaning gutters...

Posted by on in Property Management
Newsletters are one of those aspects of property management that can swing either way. Depending upon your business and goals, newsletters can either go a long way toward improving and growing your business or, frankly, result in a relatively low payoff for a lot of effort on your part. So how do you know where you fall along the spectrum? Following are some ideas to keep in mind that will help determine whether a newsletter is a good business strategy for you and your property management business. Newsletters offer a great medium for getting information out there in a regular and proactive manner. Rather than requiring people to actively take the time to come to your website, a newsletter gets the information you want spread right into their inbox. Generally speaking, property managers want to get three primary forms of information out there: 1) vacancies, 2) company marketing information, and 3) information that affects tenants such as policies and procedures and property updates. With this in mind, although you ultimately want to spread all three varieties of information, the best medium for doing this is not uniform across the spectrum. Let’s look at each of these areas specifically. No: Advertising Vacancies Advertising vacancies is one of those scenarios that is most often best handled through mediums other than newsletters. For newsletters to work optimally, you need a targeted mailing list. By its very nature, it would be almost impossible to formulate (much less keep updated) a list of potential tenants. When...

Posted by on in Property Management
Litmus Test - Ric Campo, CEO of Camden, national REIT based in Houston, BELIEVES in litmus tests. Camden is awaiting waves and raves. Multifamily Executives are asking for it. They're sticking their toes into the water...they just want Reviews and Communication through Social Media done RIGHT. They are seeking new ways to bridge the Consumer & Community Gap. Check out these recent Tweets; A national Apartment Management Company sent out this St. Paddy's Tweet..."My Lucky Day! I just turned my first negative Resident Tweet into a Positive!" And this one during March 19th's weekly Friday afternoon Twitter #AptChat. "Rented on of our apts recently? If so, let other renters know how you like it by rating it at http:..." In an ironic twist and despite the ever-growing frustration with various apartment ratings sites, several Multifamily executives are not only willing to put their properties up for review, but they are actually asking for it. “Regarding apartment reviews, it’s not that somebody has to do it, it’s that somebody has to do it right,” said Mark Juleen, VP of marketing for the JC Hart Company based in Carmel, Indiana. “Ratings and reviews have been out there for a long time in the form of ApartmentRatings.com and now Yelp.com. The problem is, these companies aren’t fostering open communication between the renting community and the apartment community.”  Companies eager to engage in the two-way dialogue taking action today include Camden, Mission Residential, Mills Properties, Gables Residential, Urbane Apartments, and the JC Hart Company.“We believe in...

Posted by on in Property Management
Embarking on renting to Section 8 tenants is one of those decisions that property managers should undertake only after thoroughly researching all the implications of renting to this very specific demographic. Following are some of the primary pros and cons to consider when evaluating whether or not Section 8 rentals are for you. Pros: Government subsidies mean that your rental income is more assured than in other cases.Since Section 8 tenants are by nature low-income tenants, many landlords are rightfully concerned that renting to this sector will result in difficulties with rent collection or, even worse, default altogether. The truth of the matter, though, is that in many ways Section 8 rental income is among the most reliable. Under Section 8, tenants are responsible for approximately 30 percent of their rent, while the US government picks up the balance of the rental payment. This US government balance is paid directly to the property landlord. Cons: Renting to Section 8 tenants puts your property under greater scrutiny due to government rules and regulations. Be aware that before approving one of your units for Section 8 occupancy, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will determine your unit’s Fair Market Rent (FMR). Once the FMR is determined, you are obligated to cap your Section 8 unit’s rent at that rate and are not allowed to accept outside payments that will result in a rent higher than the FMR. In addition to FMR restrictions, Section 8 properties are also subject to a...

Posted by on in Property Management

This is the Multifamily 5x5 for the week of March 15th, 2010, Behind the Leasing Desk's weekly web show where you get 5 topics in 5 minutes. 

Posted by on in Property Management
Mark Juleen posed the question, “Is 30 minutes too much to ask?” when it comes to site people devoting time to social media, in response to Jen Piccotti's post “Resident Retention: Dare I Say It - Don't Believe the Hype.” Whether the answer is 5 minutes or 30 minutes, without a way to monitor whether people are actually putting effort in, you'll have no way to know that social media tasks are being done in a timely, cost effective manner—let alone at all. Even in my own personal experience, social media is one of the first things I let slide on days when proposals, sales presentations, travel, and time sensitive tasks get in the way. I have a lot more flexibility with my day than the average on site person, and since I own my own business, I put in more hours than many. However, there are days when I don't even have enough time to pen a tweet (and believe me, it's not that I'm inefficient or lack commitment). As you roll out social media initiatives, don't forget to put a system in place to measure social media input. If you don't hit your social media efforts goals, these systems will let you know that it wasn't because people simply didn't do the work. Ideally, put technology in place that lets you monitor posts, comments, and mentions for all your sites from one login.  Ellen Thompson is a founder of 4Walls, as well as an investor in Postling.com, which...

Posted by on in Property Management
Ever since I started in the apartment industry, one thing has bothered me:  Problems with occupancy, specifically for well-run communities.  Although supply and demand should level out across a large enough market, when you are talking about an individual community, I couldn't seem to get my arms around why a well-run community should have any problems whatsoever.  There are so many poorly run apartment communities in existence that it seemed odd that any well-run community couldn't have enough supply of prospects to fill up possibly twice the number of apartments that they had.  But that ultimately was the problem.  No matter how amazing the community, they had a finite supply, which means that they physically couldn't lease double the amount of apartments.  Instead, they were capped at the number of units they had, and using normal courses of business, they couldn't progress beyond that point.  So because they had a finite amount of product, they couldn't pull ahead in any way, which also meant that any hiccup could quickly bring them back to the masses.  In fact, it doesn't even take a "hiccup", as on average 20% of residents are un-savable, meaning they are going to move regardless of your service.  This means that the great community is going to be only 80% occupied at the very best, without an influx of new residents.  Now I know what some of you are thinking:  Every business has to replace lost customers to some extent.  This is true, but the problem is...

Posted by on in Property Management
You read it right -GOOD Customer Service is DEAD. Where is the LOVE?[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpYeekQkAdc 444x250](Video: Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love?)This is actually good news - If you are one of the few apartment communities that consistently provides good customer service, you are WAY ahead of the game. Even if you THINK you're doing a great job, this article will be an EYE OPENER. Read on! (This blog-post was inspired by a recent blog post and discussion initiated my Brent Williams - read his original article here.In today's market, the BEST way to control vacancy is to close that back door - meaning KEEP your current residents! Don't let them leave! We all know it costs us a WHOLE lot less to keep a current resident than it is to turn an apartment and find a new resident! The few prospects that ARE in the market for a new apartments - they KNOW they are a WANTED commodity, SO they are shopping for the best deal. Our current residents? They want a good deal too - however, more than wanting a good deal - they want to feel good about choosing to spend their money with YOU.GOOD Customer Service is Dead...Where is the LOVE?So why is this good news? Good customer service can be IMPROVED. It's not like a location or an expensive amenity.YOU have the power the improve this! Not only do you have CONTROL over this, based on recent experiences (See Brent Williams blog about his recent renewal experience here), it wouldn't take much these...

Posted by on in Property Management
With vacancies at 10 year high's, apartment communities are finding ways to become more appealing to the apartment dweller. An area that you can use to broaden your renter population: Pet Owners!(The happy spirit pictured is my dog, Jazz, one of the happiest, most loving dogs EVER. I would never live someplace that does not allow me to bring this sweetie with me!)If your community has historically been a no-pet community, or one where there are stringent pet restrictions, this maybe a good time to take a look at your pet policy, and see if there is room to broaden it. Here are some facts about pet owners:The Humane Society's statistics:39% of US Households have 1 or more dogs.33% of US Households have 1 or more cats.The CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL states pets can:Decrease Blood pressureDecrease Cholesterol levelsDecrease Triglyceride levelsDecrease Feelings of lonelinessIncrease opportunities for exercise and outdoor activitiesIncrease Opportunities for socializationSounds like a recipe for happy, healthy residents to me!In a 2006 survey, roughly half of the pet households consider their pets to be family members.Family members! - that's a pretty strong connection!We have all heard or seen the worst of the worst when it comes to pets - right? Pets that have chewed through furniture, pet droppings, pet smells, pet dander, pet barking, un-ruly pets, etc! Don't let this sway you. I was once an unruly child too...Seriously, there are ways to set-up pet rules & guidelines to make pet ownership in an apartment community work for everyone.10 ELEMENTS of a...

Posted by on in Property Management
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are dedicated to doing your job right. But just as much as doing your job right involves knowing your business and completing necessary tasks efficiently and effectively, it also means taking care of yourself. After all, if you’re worn down and stressed out, chances are your work will ultimately suffer for it, no matter how dedicated you are. So for all of you workaholics out there, yes! Believe it or not, you should consider taking care of yourself and making a concerted effort to find some downtime nothing short of a vital part of doing your job right. But even if you are convinced that creating a good work/life balance is something you should attain, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s simple to do in this industry. Following are a few tips for finding the time you need. 1. Create a back-up system. Just because you need a break doesn’t mean that all work-related issues will grind to a halt. In order to make sure everything gets taken care of whether you’re in the office or not, it’s important to have a back-up system in place. Depending upon your situation, a back-up system may consist of extra staff on hand to make sure someone is there to address tenant concerns or property issues 24/7 or just an answering service to ensure that tenants’ calls are answered no matter what time of day they come in. 2. Make sure your back-up system is one...