This is a great blog! Absolutely true! If the Assistant wants to be the team leader and cannot envis...

Training Trivia

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

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Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
What's your first reaction when you see these guys? Laborers? Don't judge. One could've been a scholar too. What’s your first reaction when you see these guys? Laborers? Don’t judge. One could’ve been a scholar too. “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ― Wayne W. Dyer Nowhere in my neurologist’s office did it say History Professor but when I noticed the Biography of Thomas Jefferson behind his desk last year, the history buff in me had to ask him about it. Little did I know I would spend the next 30 minutes talking to him about American History during the early 1800′s. Turns out, my Neurologist is also a History Professor and loves talking about history. Go figure. People would want to classify his life with a job title so let’s go with HistoricalProfologist. People really love job titles. In a psychology sense, it’s how people are able to place other people into compartments that they can understand. It’s called “Person Perception.” From Wikipedia: "Social perception is the study of how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people." A few years ago, while standing around the snack counter at AIM, Mark Juleen looked at me and asked, “Sitko, what do you do? I can’t figure it out.” I love ambiguity, especially as it relates to job titles. If I tell people I’m an IT Manager, they’ll immediately assume many things. That’s the human psychology that’s been hard wired into all of us, which is why I don’t hold it against you. We are constantly inundated with random...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Summer is finally here – the perfect time to organize a social event in your community. Events can be a great opportunity for your residents to get to know their neighbors and develop a sense of community. And let’s face it…residents who feel connected to your community are more likely to stick around year after year! Planning a resident event this summer? Read on for a few tips for a successful event. Give People What They Want Are your residents more interested in a BBQ or a community rummage sale? You won’t know until you ask! So before you start planning, find out what types of events your residents are interested in attending in order to get the most attendees.   Involve Residents in the PlanningHave you heard of the IKEA effect? Basically, the concept is that people place a higher value on things they help create. So recruit a committee of residents to help you plan your summer event. Not only will it take some of the work off your plate, but these residents will also feel more committed to the success of your event. Get the Word OutNow that you've planned a great party, it’s time to spread the word! Hang signs in the elevator, fitness center, leasing office and other common areas of your community. Send out an email about the event or include the details in your next community newsletter. And if you have an online renter portal, be sure to include the details there too! Take PhotosPerhaps you have...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Did you recently lose a considerable amount of organic traffic to your apartment’s website? Although your first thought might be that is has to do with an algorithm update or penalty, there are ways to find the real reason for the drop, which can help you better find a proper solution. Reasons Why: 1. Algorithm Update? Begin by checking your organic traffic levels for any major downward spikes. You can then follow through and look into whether or not the drop occurred because of just one search engine, which may prove some form of algorithm update from this single source. You can also check the timing of the drop and match it with the timing of any recent updates from Google with Moz’s Google Algorithm Update History page. 2. Penalty?  You can check for penalties fairly easily as well, beginning by getting a Google Webmaster Tools account. You will need to check this regularly for notifications from Google concerning any spammy links they may find. You can also do some detective work of your own by checking backlinks Google identifies and lists to see if your SEO Company has built spammy links.  3. Blocked Indexing? When traffic drops from multiple search engines, it could be a sign of an issue with search engine indexing. Be sure to check if your robots.txt file was moved to the live server, which would block indexing from search engines. Remove any disallow statements from the file to begin recovery. A few other issues to check that can prevent...

Posted by on in Property Management
20130706-075230.jpgGeneral referrals and “word of mouth” continue to dominate the source of prospective residents listed on guest cards and applications. Why are these people talking about your property? In some cases, it’s current residents.  Referring friends and families in response to the offer of a resident referral; cash in their pocket or a discount on rent. Another source are the satisfied former residents, who have moved from the community.  Its always a pleasure and a true sign of satisfaction when residents return to the property.  Creating contact tools to maintain a steady stream of communication with former residents could increase these referrals. Asking departing residents if their email will remain the same or confirming a forwarding address to keep in touch provides the information to start a special mailing or distribution list.  The relationship built through the leasing and residency tenure can easily extend as a resident moves to a new location.  Letting a resident know they will continue to be a member of the extended community family demonstrates the value of this relationship. Sending thank you notes to residents after their move out, extending appreciation for the time they chose to live at the property and an offer for returning resident of a discounted application fee or dollars off first months rent could be a scheduled outreach activity each month. This mailing (distribution) list can be used to send community newsletters and other marketing flyers.  Former residents can receive information about activities at the community and enjoy seeing pictures or...

Posted by on in Property Management
DIY: Owner’s Guide to Making An Elegant Look Without The Expensive Cost. Part 1 The nicer your property looks the better the value!  We all know this golden rule, but we also know that upgrading could be very costly.  Here are a few pointers on how to make your property apartments look much nicer without spending an arm and a leg.  In this entry, we will cover walls and accents.  In future articles we will cover other budget friendly improvements.  1. Walls: Repaint your walls after each tenant so it can have that fresh new look. Make sure you don’t plaster paint on your walls. When the paint dries, check to see if there are paint drips anywhere on the wall, if there are remove them with these easy steps.      a. Use a scraper to scrape back the paint drip b. Sand the area to a smooth finish c. Repaint the sanded area The best color to paint each wall is white.  White will make your rooms brighter and seem more spacious.  It’s also a more neutral color that is not as subject to the renter’s preference.  Also being that everyone one has different color furniture, any other color may clash with their designs.  More recently, owners have started to paint their apartments beige for its warm color. I tend to disagree with this color choice as it can still be dissatisfying to potential tenants. If it’s still important to you to add some color to the apartment, asking a prospective tenant...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Capacity-constrained industries like multi-family housing have an interesting challenge. In most industries, pricing and sales tend to get along. Both want to maximize sales, and both ultimately want the company to succeed. There are occasional areas of conflict—sales may want lower prices to make it easier to sell while pricing may want higher prices to protect margin and profit. But usually they can agree on what constitutes success—things like high closing ratios, overall volume, growth in volume and margin. But in capacity-constrained industries like multi-family housing, these normal rules don’t apply. In fact, when sales succeeds, pricing makes it harder to continue to sell by automatically raising rents. This makes it particularly hard for organizations to agree on what the key metrics are and what the standards for performance should be. As a simple example, take closing ratio. Every good manager knows a higher closing ratio is better than a lower one, right? If you’re Oracle selling software, that’s pretty much true. But if you’re business is leasing apartments, that’s not true. Sure, at high exposure, a high closing ratio is good; but at low exposure, a high closing ratio is bad since it means you probably weren’t setting rents high enough. Similarly, metrics like raw volume and year-over-year (YOY) volume may not be useful. If exposure is low, leasing associates don’t have the opportunity for high volume. If exposure was high last year and low this year the YOY number will look bad even though the property is doing better....

Posted by on in Property Management
The picture attached is of my Milo.  He and his brother, Beckham, are like my children.  I would do anything for them, really- almost anything, and I'm not alone.  We are seeing, more & more, how much pets are truly becoming a part of the family.  If I was looking for an apartment, my search would start with my boys having a great quality of life.  Yes, pet searches are one of the top searches that renters look up, but they are also exploring a lot more- what's in it for the pet?  How can we create a pet paradise in our apartments? 1. Dog parks are so important.  Pets need a place to run, exercise, play and socialize.  If you have a pet park, market it.  Take your park a step further, add some agility pieces.  This is inexpensive to do, a see-saw like bridge, a tunnel to run through...  add some colorful elements to get more pets having fun at the park. 2. Happy Hour in the Dog park.  Everyone loves to watch their pets run around and have fun, while playing with other pets.  Everyone loves a drink!  Combine the 2 for a fun hour at the park. 3. Offer some pet services on the property.  Dog walkers, pet sitters, pet mobile grooming- have these services for your residents for their convenience and busy schedules. 4. Host fun Pet Meet ups at the pet park!  Or a pet walking Meet up...  Give people the time and place to...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Negative SEO is any action that damages competitors’ organic search rankings. Some of the ways to do this are by hacking into a website and injecting malware or inserting HTML hyperlinks in code. Making duplicates of content or even stealing content can hurt website rankings as well. One major issue is building low quality links that point to a website, which will be further discussed. Is your apartment site being affected by negative SEO? How to find out: Regularly look through your backlink profile, at least once a week or once a month. To get a proper view of these links, be sure to utilize Google Webmaster Tools or consider other options such as Majestic SEO, Opensite Explorer, etc. The main things to look out for with these links include: Any new links that are not normal for your apartment website Links with anchor text for competitive keywords Links from low quality domains or blogs How do I resolve negative SEO issues? The first solution would be to personally request a site to take these links down. Keep a record of any of these interactions so Google is aware of your efforts to clean up your backlinks. If links are unable to be removed, you can also disavow these links using a Google and Bing Disavow Tool. Disavowing asks these search engines to not take these links into account when assessing your site. Especially if this has become more of an ongoing issue, communicate with the website to determine how these...

Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
As a multifamily speaker and trainer I get to attend trade shows and conferences around the country-and one of the things I love to do is just to walk the trade show floor to see what’s going on. At every trade show I see exhibitors who seem to have a knack of inviting people to visit…and others who have a knack of encouraging people to leave quickly, or not visit at all.    Here are some tips that I think will help you…   1) Unleash the secret weapon…YOU! While I am sure that your product and service is awesome, the fact is there are probably a few other exhibitors who have a product or service that is similar to yours. So, while you may have the greatest technology, or have a proprietary secret that is so much better than your comps in the next aisle, you still need to get people to want to hear why they should choose you.    2) Put the phone/tablet/laptop away: For many of us (myself included) our tech toys have become a security blanket of sorts that we just automatically pick up and check whenever we have a free minute. When you’re looking down at the phone, you’re missing what’s happening in front of you…or it may make you seem uninterested in engaging with clients…neither of which are good things.    3) Don't vomit all over everyone! I was at a show a few months ago and one of the exhibitors just went...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
[Note: This blog first appeared in the Multi-family Data Exchange blog. Full disclosure: the Multi-family Data Exchange is one of my clients. I believe I would write the same blog independent of that fact and leave it to the reader to interpret the blog with this knowledge] This past year marked my 15th year working in multi-family housing. I’ve seen our industry adopt many best practices from other industries—instant credit checks like the automobile industry, pricing and revenue management like the travel and hospitality industry and customer portals like the online retail world, just to name a few. But one of the things that continues to baffle me is how we continue to benchmark our key operating performance indicators against benchmarks that are not “apples to apples.” I’m talking about how 3rd party data benchmark providers call (and/or screen scrape) for asking rents, the growth of which we then compare to our actual rent growth. The plain and simple fact is that asking rents are a leading indicator. They’re an indication of what might come based on what operators are trying to get as rents for their units. Actual rents are a trailing indicator. They’re a factual representation of what actually happened. Comparing one to the other simply doesn’t make sense. On top of that, asking rents are only about new rents. They don’t include any information about how renewal rents are performing. And renewal rents are typically half or more of the rent roll! Why is this is so, and...