Thank you for sharing this Breaking News Nadeen.
Ellen Calmas
Nice blog. Thanks for sharing

Training Trivia

For future renters or when putting someone on a waitlist, there is no real need to close.

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Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
In a recent survey, we delved into how apartment communities develop their budget, and one question in particular asked about what frustrations and challenges they had in finding suppliers.  One of the most common responses was surprisingly simply getting suppliers to submit a bid!  Now the layperson might be thinking that is ridiculous - We are trying to give them business and they don't even bother to submit a bid!  But there is often another side to the story, and I have heard an alternate response from suppliers:  Essentially, a supplier can spend so much time submitting bids that they lose focus on the service itself that they provide.  And with many quality bids losing out to unqualified companies with lower bids, it can be a frustrating process, leading to wasted time.  So instead, it is a better use of time to focus on the personal relationships with their contacts where work is obtained without going through as many hoops. So this is a request for suppliers to share their side!  What are some of the frustrations with submitting bids?  What would you suggest property management companies do to increase the number of bids they get, by making it easier/less time consuming/etc for the supplier to take the time to submit a bid?   Share your thoughts in the comment area below!...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
It’s been around three months since Google rolled out the Pigeon Update, and we’re still seeing changes and upheaval in search results and the factors that influence them. But it’s been long enough that some people are beginning to piece together, if not a clear idea, then at least a translucent idea of what is going on. Moz and SIM Partners are among the groups who have been surveying webpages and their search engine placement across several different industries. Here’s some of the actionable conclusions they’ve come to. Build a Strong Domain When asked which factors made the biggest difference to search results in competitive markets, Moz’s respondents listed elements that build a strong domain— the domain authority of the website, the quality, authority, and consistency of structured citations, and the quality and authority of inbound links to the domain and landing page URL. SIM Partners found similar results in their study, noting that businesses with a higher external equity score and page authority score performed better than those with lower scores. The takeaway is this: businesses with a strong domain and national brand are served well by Pigeon, and can best capitalize on the update by having well-optimized, mobile-friendly location pages that are clearly architected and which live off of their website.  Smaller businesses, meanwhile, can look into barnacalizing their local optimization efforts, attaching their brand to larger, trusted sites, while they work to establish a strong, authoritative domain. Don’t Over-Optimize A common SEO practice for location pages is to include high amounts of location-specific...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing

I’ve started a new video series on YouTube.com.  If you haven’t checked it out that’s OK.  My goal is to summarize each week’s posts into one blog post.  So if you subscribe here, you’ll get the email with the summary.  A couple things.  1.  I’d love your feedback on the format, content, and any insights you can add to the posts.  2. If you have a topic you would like me to talk about just let me know. Thanks so much for following, sharing, and contributing.  Together I hope we shake up the apartment marketing world. In this episode I talk about Taylor Swift’s move to take her music off Spotify. In this episode I talk about McDonald’s attempt at being transparent. You can learn more here – http://www.cnet.com/news/finally-mcdonalds-reveals-mcrib-secrets/ In this episode I talk about #AlexFromTarget ‘Alex From Target’ and how meme marketing can work http://mashable.com/2014/11/06/alex-from-target-memes-marketing/ ...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
Move In: Once you have gone through the process of showing your vacancy, finding potential tenants, screening those tenants, and finally picking the perfect tenant then you can start the move in process with your new tenant! Step 1: Before the new tenant moves in repair any pre-existing damages in the unit. Step 2:Make sure all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and light bulbs are working. It’s best to install new batteries in the detectors and fresh light bulbs in the units upon tenant move in. Step 3: Check for signs of mold, and if the building was constructed before 1978, check to make sure there is no lead based paint. These are both hazardous health issues. Step 4: Make sure all utilities are in working order. Even if the tenant is responsible for paying for the utilities themselves, they must be in working condition. Step 5: Change the locks of the unit. Step 6: Review the lease with the new tenants and after they have stated they understand the lease, you and the new tenants should sign and date the lease. Also, you should collect the first month’s rent and security deposit during this step. Step 7: Depending on how the former tenants left the unit you may need to hire a cleaning company to clean the unit. Even if the apartment seems clean it is always a good idea to get the unit professionally clean to prevent molding or debris. Step 8: Before your new tenant moves in conduct...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Selling for multifamily operators used to be a pretty simple task.  First get a great (or good) location.  Make sure the units are appropriate for the market. Promote the property, buy balloons for the entrance and get a guy to spin a sign down the street. That created the foot traffic needed, and from there you just needed to train your leasing agents/consultants/associates (salespeople) to answer questions about the property and to serve as a tour guide.  Demand took care of the rest. Oh, how times have changed.  Now you’ve got to manage apartment listing services, Craigslist, SEO, PPC and ApartmentRatings reviews. Prospects have more power than ever before and research from the likes of Forrester Research indicate the customer has often completed as much as 90% of their buying process before they step foot on your property! Prospects already know what floor plans you offer, the prices for various units and what the property down the street is offering as well.  This “Zero-Moment-of-Truth” (ZMOT) has not only changed how your customers shop, it’s changed how your salespeople need to sell.  If you don’t adjust, the ability to sustain NOI growth will be stunted. Yesterday your salespeople needed to be prepared to answer simple questions and provide a compelling tour.  The tour path was basically the same for everyone because all of your prospects lacked the same information.  Today, your salespeople need to be curators of information and access. Their jobs have become far more complicated and far less predictable. ...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
November is CHILD SAFETY & PROTECTION MONTH. Here are 5 ways your apartment community can get involved. ***Check out www.kidssafe.org for safety tips. Pick a different kid safety theme each week (bike safety, fire safety, etc.) and post tips in the mail center, laundry room, community board, etc. ***Contact your local police department to see what kid safety programs they’ll offer at your property- bike safety, finger printing, pedestrian safety, etc. ***Have a drawing contest for the kids. Each child who draws a picture of themselves doing something safely selects a small prize from a treasure chest. Post the staff’s favorite 5 on your facebook page and allow residents to vote with a “Like”. The winning drawing wins a pizza party for their class or tickets to a themepark. ***Allow parents to purchase ID kits for their kids at a discount by purchasing them in bulk through The National Child ID Program- the organization endorsed by the FBI. ***Post additional signage around the property reminding drivers to take caution and watch for children.  What other ways can you get involved?...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
If your leasing office isn't automating your application process, you may already be behind the curve. A comprehensive, end-to-end  electronic application and leasing process can save a property countless administrative hours and can usually be implemented quite easily. We already know the demand for online services is high. Here are three other important reasons you should get your application process up and running online right this second. Set a New Standard Instituting an electronic application process can create a quality standard that is hard to compromise. When applications are conducted online, you can automate all the required processes into one smooth workflow, especially with integrations between your property management software, screening vendors, and more. A digital process ensures that required parameters are always met. Information flows from your applicants into your system and gets screened along the way with little or no data entry from the office staff. Eliminating the variable of human error means that crucial information is collected and evaluated correctly each time without fail. Your checks and balances can now be checked and balanced. Grab them Quickly Time is always of the essence when it comes to renting, and providing an online application will help capitalize on your prospect's urgency. Allowing renters to view images of floor plans, submit their rental application, and even sign lease documents online can mean the difference between getting a prospect interested in your property and losing that interest when things don't move fast enough. You'll see further evidence of this in many modern leasing offices, which...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
This week there were two major announcements about innovation in keyless technology. The products differ significantly in both technology and target: one is mobile-focused and has an obvious home in tourism; the other is electronic and aimed at single-family households. Given that keys as we know them have existed since time immemorial can both new technologies survive in the long run? And which one will make the breakthrough in multifamily? Starwood Hotels announced the launch of its app-based keyless entry system for its hotel guests. All a guest has to do is check in ahead of time, receive a code, and walk straight to her room, bypassing the front desk altogether. The guest touches her smartphone to the reader above the handle, and, voilà, the door opens. We believe this type of keyless entry can and will succeed in multifamily in the long-term, principally due to its emphasis on mobile. Smartphone usage is on the rise and people seem to lose keys more than they lose their phones. Additionally, when new tenants arrive we’ve heard property managers say they would love to press a button to re-set the locks instead of having to install new ones. So it seems like mobile keyless entry can do for security what the iPhone did for telephony. But Google Wallet also seemed poised to revolutionize payments, and several years later Apple Pay is struggling (albeit early on) with the same goal. And while the trend is toward smartphone adoption, it is not yet universal. Schlage...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
I visited a luxury apartment community to have lunch with a friend the other day and was greeted at the front desk by someone who had this look on her face:       Yep. Just like that.    I had hopes that when she opened her mouth the experience would be different. Nope.    I don’t think she could have looked any more disinterested, ticked off, upset, bored, “over it!” and whatever other adjective you can think of to describe someone who clearly did not want to be there at that desk. Unfortunately for this community this person is the FIRST thing everyone walking into the community sees and interacts with.    Ouch.    As soon as we left the office I turned to my friend and said, “What’s the deal with her?”    It’s Not Easy!   Listen, I worked onsite for many years. If you’ve been to one of my training seminars you’ve heard me vent about my many experiences behind the desk. So I know that sitting behind the desk, answering endless phone calls, having to take service requests, watching a resident drink his 4th cup of coffee while he complains to you that you don’t have French Vanilla creamer, and then the phone rings again and again, isn’t easy. It isn’t easy.    So, what are you going to do with it not being easy? Are you going to be like the young woman I encountered at the community, who looked like she was being held...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
We just finished preparing our 2014 Lease Renewal Survey, and one thing shocked us right from the start:  18% of respondents gave exactly zero days warning for their renewal letter!  Let me explain:  If you have a 30 day notice to vacate, you would anticipate that a community would send out their renewal letter at least a few weeks or a month before that, which would give the residents time to digest the renewal letter and make a decision before they have to give their notice to vacate.  But 18% of communities told us that they give zero days or less notice, which means that if they had a 30 day notice to vacate, they were giving out their renewal 30 days prior to the end of the lease, which is the same day the notice to vacate is due, giving the resident zero days to make a decision.  Two communities surprisingly had a 60 day notice to vacate, and yet only sent out their renewal letter 30 days prior to the end of the lease, meaning the resident got their new rental rate 30 days after the notice to vacate was due. I've been in this situation as a resident, actually, and it infuriated me.  I felt steamrolled into making a quick decision, and even though I think I did renew (it has been many years, so I don't recall exactly), I had a newfound distrust and dislike for the community. So the question is whether this is simply the...