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Property Management

- Blog posts tagged in Property Management

Posted by on in Property Management
When I was a little girl, I would stay up all night and dream of one day being in the multifamily housing industry? Okay, well... not exactly.  Just like the majority of us in "the industry," (as we so lovingly call it) I stumbled upon it by sheer accident. It started with "The Honeymoon Phase."  How does one know when they are in this phase? Well for me, the symptoms were quite obvious.  In fact, they were easily diagnosable to even the common eye.   They included: excitement, eagerness to get to work, overflowing creativity, boundless energy, and enthusiasm for miles.  Just like in the early stages of any courtship, I gave careful thought and consideration to what I would wear the next day.  In fact my wardrobe prep mirrored that of an elaborate Celine Dion concert.  I visualized myself leasing one apartment after another.  All the while thinking how lucky I was to have stumbled into this beautiful relationship.  I prayed that we would have a lifetime of happiness together.Fast forward three years.    I was the same girl but now I was terribly ill.  A new set of symptoms had presented themselves.  They included: inside the box thinking, tardiness, grogginess between the hours of 9-5, and really boring outfits.  The situation was really dire.  What was wrong with me? After careful thought and self examination, it become obvious.  I had been bit with a career killing bug--"The Over-It Phase." I had lost my will to be fabulous at my...

Posted by on in Property Management
There’s no doubt about it—of all the business problems you could potentially have, being too busy is certainly not a bad option. However, being too busy can become a problem if you lack the bandwidth to stay on top of things. If you consistently find yourself putting off certain tasks or letting them fall through the cracks altogether, it’s time to make some changes. Being overloaded can result in a slip in the quality of the service you provide or oversights, both of which may guarantee you’re not so busy for long. The obvious answer to too much work is bringing more hands on deck. But, of course, just because you’re busy doesn’t necessarily mean you have the budget to hire additional employees. Property management software may give you the extra help you need at a lower cost than an additional salary. Multi-tasking Functionality One of the great benefits of property management software is that it essentially acts as an office generalist. For example, hiring extra staff to take care of accounting work may alleviate that workload, but that same person can’t necessarily take on other tasks such as advertising. Modern property management software, on the other hand, handles a diverse variety of functions. It does accounting, allows tenants to make rent payments online, provides an advertising platform, runs credit and criminal checks, creates reports, and keeps records. Cost-effective Investment Property management software requires only a nominal investment when compared to hiring new staff and adding an additional salary to your...

Posted by on in Property Management
When utilities are included in an apartment complex's rent, some tenants are naturally going to consume more than others.  High utility users, even if they represent a small group of tenants, can substantially increase costs. Since these cost increases are effectively hidden in the rent, those residents who use utilities responsibly subsidize those who don't.  A question to consider then is how much are high users increasing utility expenses?  Does it make financial sense for an owner to include utilities or bill tenants directly?  If an owner does decide to transition away from the utilities included model, what options are available? The Challenge of a Master-Metered Multifamily Complex An owner is most likely to include utilities in the rent when his multifamily complex is master-metered for water, gas, or electricity.  The drawback of a master-metered community is that there's no way to tell how much of a given utility each resident is using.  If I'm one of those residents who runs the heat continually, lets a broken toilet flapper leak without reporting it, or keeps the air conditioning on even when I'm not home, it's my neighbors who pick up most of the tab.  The usual feedback loop that links the amount I pay, to the amount I consume, is missing.  Without this feedback loop, I'm more likely to consume carelessly. As we're about to see, careless or abusive consumption can raise multifamily utility expenses as much as 70%! The RUBS Example Assume you own a 150 unit complex, each...

Posted by on in Property Management
“Life is like a grindstone--whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends on what you're made of.” Unknown   Wouldn’t it be great if we could just click our heels together three times and repeat “There’s no place like 2006, there’s no place like 2006, there’s no place like 2006….    So here we are still sitting in the Dark Forest waiting for the Yellow Brick Road to find us.  One expert says “we will not see recovery until 2014”, another says “the local real estate slump is over” are we going to just stay here and hope the poppies keep us asleep until then?!  No!  We need to look for ways to get out of the Dark Forest, out from under the poppies spell and back to the Yellow Brick Road! Smart marketers and businesses know a thing or two: They know that even in a down economy there’s always opportunity. They know that economies go in cycles. Good times will be back, even if they’re different. They know that those who market aggressively are the ones who will be there when the good times roll again. They know that winning means thinking creatively, borrowing ideas from other industries and focusing on customers and prospects. They don’t cut their marketing budgets. In fact they increase them and market even more aggressively. Maintaining a Positive Attitude – Let’s start with maintaining a positive attitude for everyone on your team! Be a realist, but keep your chin up!  Even when things look their worst,...

Posted by on in Property Management
Training directors, leasing experts, property managers and even owners ask me how they can overcome a particular objection on their community.  I want to say this up front though, I do not try and jam a circle prospect into a square apartment.  Yes, you may close them, but many of them cancel and many more will be unhappy after they move in, as they have been sold not guided.  On the other hand, let’s say a prospect said she needs a balcony and you do not have one.  Ask a qualifying question.  For example, I was doing a lease up at a community that did not have balconies, and everyone told me they lost a ton of leases because of this.  I said, really?  At the end of the lease up I only lost one because of this.   Many people are in love with the idea of having this or that, but let’s be honest, many times we never use it.  I had personally rented a 7th floor apartment south west exposure with a huge balcony in brand new luxury high rise located in Atlanta, GA.  I rented that particular apartment because of this balcony and in the two years I lived there I walked out on the balcony a couple of times for a few minutes, never put any furniture out there either.    So when the lack of a balcony at our lease-up came up as an objection, I asked them if they were in love with the idea...

Posted by on in Property Management
Peachtree Business ProductsSeveral weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Peachtree Business Products in Atlanta.  During a tour of their facilities, they showed me a process their company was going through, which can (and should) be applied to on-site leasing teams, as well! When I first started the tour, I noticed that it was actually surprisingly empty – their facilities are fairly large, and yet, there were significant areas that were simply vacant.  Before I could ask, however, they told me that the company was going through a large overhaul, led from the ground up.  They had started to re-assess all of their processes, but instead of making large, sweeping directives from upper management, they had built teams that included front line employees, brought together to figure out how to make all their jobs more effective. It turns out that the facilities were not previously so vacant, but instead, just vastly reorganized.  They had moved around equipment to streamline the manufacturing process, so employees would have all their materials and key equipment laid out in a logical and efficient manner, rather than running from different areas of the manufacturing floor to get different processes accomplished.  Amazingly, this reorganization reduced the distance walked from 16 miles to only 2 miles! As I listened, it was clear to me that there are great opportunities to recreate this concept at our apartment communities!  Even though apartment communities are not manufacturing, they still have processes they have to go through.  For example, think about the time...

Posted by on in Property Management
Well, here we are almost to the end of the first quarter of 2011.  Many of you made your usual New Year resolutions and two weeks into it, found that it was not at all what it was cracked up to be.  This is most likely because we make idealistic goals for ourselves.  Resolutions should be sensible and attainable, with reach.  So let’s look at where we are now and make adjustments before we move into the second quarter: ·         Be realistic by setting achievable goals.  Winning the lottery, for example, is out of your grasp!   ·         Stop trying to be perfect.  Nobody is perfect, so stop trying so hard. Begin the New Year by allowing yourself the luxury of imperfection.  Perfection is the worst enemy of success. Consider completion to be your goal - not perfection.   ·         Describe your resolutions in specific terms. Instead of "I want to be more active," opt for "I will walk every night after dinner" or "I will cut down on watching television.”   ·         Break down large goals into smaller ones. For instance, commit to losing weight by resolving to join a gym and improve your eating habits.   ·         Find alternatives to a behavior that you want to change, and make this part of your resolution plan. So you want to quit smoking, but you smoked to relax yourself? What other forms of relaxation are available to you?   ·         Write down your resolutions and set action plans to keep you...

Posted by on in Property Management
     Have you made a mistake lately?  What did you do with that?  Did you hide it, or were you forthcoming and go to your boss and say, hey, I made a mistake, and it cost us X amount of dollars.  If you hide it, how much do you think that cost is?  The cost is horrendous, not only in time, but possibly in your integrity. How about your personal character?  Lots of cost there.  Last I checked we are all human, with the propensity to make mistakes and fall very short of doing everything right. But, I haven’t met a mistake yet, that I haven’t learned a great deal from.      Mistakes are learning opportunities for all of us.  Yes, we make mistakes, and yes, we correct mistakes all the time.  When you make a mistake, as a leader it is important to own up to it and learn from it. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the possibility of creating an even larger error.       Who has needed a property manager and there wasn’t anyone really qualified to hire? Or their personality wasn’t quite right for the existing team onsite. If you hire someone that doesn’t fit or isn’t qualified, you run the risk of setting them up for failure and worse, having to let them go and find another to take their place.  Again, it’s the cost of making the mistake of hiring the wrong person.      When you learn from a mistake and admit to making it...

Posted by on in Property Management
What is it about those certain residents (and let's be honest, we've all dealt with them) that causes a roomful of otherwise mature professionals to suddenly revert to  8-year-olds on the playground? "1-2-3 Not It!" everyone declares, in their own way - whether averting their eyes from the approaching resident, answering a non-ringing phone, or suddenly deciding the printer urgently needs new toner. The leasing agent who has not found an occupying task quickly enough is now "It" and must assist That Resident. 'Tis true, these interactions can feel draining and less-than-productive. Here are a few tips to fall back on to make lemonade out of lemons, or at least add a twist of lime to your crushed tortilla chips: - Listen. Really listen. Too often, we can believe we are listening, when in reality we are forming our next response. By carefully listening to the issue, you may be surprised to discover there is a misperception at work or a simple clarification that can resolve the issue quickly and easily. - Stick to the current issue at hand. It is easy to drag up past confrontations and wrongs to use as illustration, but that typically only adds fuel to the fire. By focusing on the here and now, there is a greater likelihood of identifying a resolution for this particular topic. - Be polite. Whoever came up with “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” must not have ever worked with customers... or had a sibling. Name-calling and insults can...

Posted by on in Property Management
For years I've surrounded myself with people I like (most of us do this, it's pretty natural), but also people that have gifts.  Everyone has some kind of unique gift, but we make choices in who we gravitate toward.  The people I gravitate toward, to me, are inspiring.  Not just the fact that I like them, but how their unique gift, as a human being, sticks with me.  With the way the Internet has evolved with social media I'm exposed to even more inspiring people than ever before, and what I find is that technology also allows me to memorialize interactions with these people.  Whether we follow each other on Twitter, interact on Facebook, or even if I just subscribe to their daily blog, we're connected and I have a log of our interactions and ideas. Hugh MacLeod has a little cartoon about inspiration I shared in a post last week.  Today, even more than ever, I think we have the opportunity to inspire and be inspired.  We have the opportunity to share our unique gifts, and we also have the opportunity to soak in and seek out the unique gifts of others.  I know I will continue to share my thoughts and ideas here, and I truly look forward to connecting with more of you along the way. To try to kick start the idea of inspiring one another, I'd like to share some inspiration with you.   Yesterday, Gary Vaynerchuk's new book, The Thank You Economy, came out.  Gary has been an inspiration...