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Posted by on in Property Management
We all know the benefits of having apartment-wide events. They make residents feel a sense of community, which in turn makes them more likely to renew their leases and give good reviews of the apartment. And you can use images in your advertising and social media to attract more potential renters. Plus, they’re fun. So, why not spice things up? And, unless you’ve been living under a Pokeball, you know that the hottest smart phone game right now is Pokemon Go. It was recently released, and people are projecting that it might even become more popular than Twitter!  Read the entire blog: Why You Should Host a Pokemon Go Event...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
As a corporate trainer and motivational speaker I travel a lot for my business. In fact I like to say that I "commute via airplane." It has gotten to the point where I can identify what restaurants I want to eat in and where they’re located in a particular airport. I have also found myself wandering the gates of airports looking for a restaurant that I cannot find, and then realizing that I wasn’t in the airport I thought I was in! And while I travel on a few different airlines, my favorite tends to be Southwest Airlines. At first glance this may sound weird to you, since Southwest is known as a “low-fare” carrier, they don’t offer you assigned seating, the seats are all the same; a flight attendant once told me, “It’s all first class here!” There is nothing fancy about what they do, yet Southwest consistently tops flier satisfaction surveys, and continues to do well in a highly competitive industry. Why? I think Southwest continues to succeed because of these factors: They know what their customers want They give it to them They allow their people to have fun Let’s look at all of these items. The first 2 they know what their customers want and they give it to them. Southwest customers want low fares, free check-in bags, decent snacks, points that are easy to earn and redeem, free in-flight entertainment and a friendly crew. (Well, at least this is what I want!) So, Southwest gives it to...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Imagine for a moment going to see your primary care physician because you’re feeling so ill you can’t work, your doctor visually looks you over from head to toe, pokes you in the belly and tugs on your arms and feet.   Your doctor suddenly decides to replace your liver, and suggests that if that doesn’t make you feel better than he’ll replace your kidneys!   How would you feel about that doctor? Would you trust him? Would you agree to his decision and allow him to proceed?   Of course not!   Before making any decisions on treatments you want your doctor to take your temperature, look in your nose throat and ears, order blood tests, take your blood pressure, listen to your heart and lungs with that ice cold stethoscope and put on a rubber glove and have you bend…Okay maybe we don’t want to go that far but you get my point…YES?   For maintenance technicians the clamp-on-multi-meter is the equivalent of all those tools a doctor uses to diagnose you, and far too many maintenance technicians don’t have clamp-on-multi-meters.   Many maintenance technicians own a meter of some type and don’t know if it’s the best type for the job or even how to properly use the one they own.   Multi-Meters are not all equal, any maintenance technician whom desires to be a Physician of Maintenance should own and have the ability to properly use a clamp-on-multi-meter that will test the following: Voltage Current Capacitance Resistance...

Posted by on in Property Management
FHA Helps Save Money In case you missed it, the FHA has cut insurance premiums for certain multifamily mortgages. The changes took effect on April 1, 2016 and place an emphasis on energy efficiency. The change also impacts affordable and mixed-income communities with reductions for housing affordability. FHA expects the reductions to spur the rehabilitation or production of 12,000 additional apartment units every year and reduce rent and utility costs for residents. It also displays major support from the government for multifamily to get green. So what are the qualifications and details exactly? Could your project be up for a rate reduction? Here are the main details you need to know, provided by housingonline.com‘s magazine, Tax Credit Advisor: FHA is lowering its multifamily insurance premiums to 25 basis points a year for energy-efficient properties. That’s a reduction of 20 or 25 basis points for many existing properties, with even larger savings for new construction deals. These properties must commit to meet an industry-recognized green building standard. Owners must also keep their buildings in the top 25% of multifamily buildings nationwide for energy performance, as determined using the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager 100-point score. FHA is also lowering its annual multifamily insurance premiums to 25 basis points for “broadly affordable” housing. That includes properties where at least 90% of the units are covered by a Section 8 contract or the affordability requirements of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. FHA is lowering its annual multifamily insurance rates to 35 basis points for properties that mix affordable housing with market-rate housing. That’s a reduction of 10...

Posted by on in Property Management
b2ap3_thumbnail_Dear-Gabby-Rainmaker.jpgDEAR GABBY,  I recently heard occupancy referred to as a "vanity" metric. What does this mean?   Sincerely, #MirrorMirror     Dear #MirrorMirror (on the wall...who’s the biggest, baddest multifamily sorcerer of all?).  Her name starts with “G” and ends with “abby” - I can only assume this is what you meant.  But all philosophical differences aside, let me address your curious inquiry. Solely using occupancy as a success metric can be a dangerous and misleading thing, similar to those 90s cigarette commercials (*cough*).   We promise they’re not dangerous or harmful to your health…they’re cool and only the cool people are doing it...suuuuuure buddy. High occupancy may lead to the conclusion that you’re knocking it out of the park.  Low occupancy may lead you to think you’re swinging and missing. Truth is, performance should be measured over time with equal attention given to occupancy and rent. Otherwise, you might distort your overall view and make poor decisions...like my last date. Yuck!    Until next time...*signing off*...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  1. Lead-tracking technology Demand generation and leasing effectiveness can only be successfully measured if a lead-tracking tool is in place.  The more resourcefully you can manage your leads and determine where they are coming from, the more likely you are to hone in on your target audience and delegate your resources toward capturing leases.  A formalized lead tracking and nurturing process is nearly impossible without the technology to effectively house your potential customers.   2. Assessing Marketing Effectiveness When looking at your marketing strategy and the effectiveness of your advertising, it’s important to consider what works best for leasing conversions. While there may be some common idea around what constitutes as apartment marketing success, there are some things that conventional metrics don’t tell you. We suggest measuring your marketing spend with frequent assessment of four main areas: cost, advertising channel, unit type and floor plan.     3. Website oversight When is the last time you took a good look at your community’s website?  I mean, a gooooood look.  Is your website optimized for lead capture?  What makes its appearance different than any other apartment community in your area?  Are your community photos current and up-to-date to include any new developments or renovations? I suggest a monthly audit of your community’s website to assess appearance, content, lead capture, links, and user-experience. Lastly, setting up Google Analytics for your community page will give you endless analytical insight into bounce rates, behavior, demographics, and performance for your website’s visitors.     4. Only using sources...

Posted by on in Property Management
Online shopping isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that has slipped by apartment owners and managers for far too long. A new survey of more than 84,000 renters sheds some light on the issue of package delivery, and reveals that around-the-clock access to package lockers is the new must-have amenity for today’s renters. Internet eCommerce sites used to be a nice way to shop for the holidays, but nearly 87 percent of multifamily residents have a package delivered at least once a month. More than 20 percent of your residents expect to receive five or more packages monthly, and that’s a lot of traffic for office staff to handle. Some complexes have moved to allowing doorstep delivery, but that option comes with disappearing package issues and lots of delivery traffic—and delivery trucks in the parking lot—that could disturb residents. Enter: Package Lockers Package lockers aren’t a new idea, either, but managers need to be aware that providing one or two lockers per 100 units is no longer a viable solution in the age of online shopping. In fact, a 100-unit complex typically receives a minimum of 25 packages a day, with volume easily doubling as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing. Package lockers are the preferred way to handle large delivery volumes, but they aren’t the only solution. Another approach is a package delivery room, managed by a private company such as Parcel Pending or Luxer One. These rooms can be pricey to install (although the Luxer One...

Posted by on in Property Management
Tenants living in apartments should feel close to one another, right? After all, residents in neighboring apartment units live in closer proximity than do people in houses. These conditions don’t always lead to relationships between tenants, or a relationship between property managers and tenants. However, Trimark Properties has a few tips that we’ve used to create a sense of community in our properties that encourages tenants to stay with us, long-term. Gathering Places – Having an attractive gathering area for residents to relax in is important in building a sense of community. Gainesville’s Solaria Luxury Apartments offer gathering benches in the courtyard for tenants to meet their neighbors. This outdoor courtyard also has a beautiful fireplace with Spanish accents – a place people want to look at. Our company uses landscaping and other methods of upkeep to show our care in making the property appealing. This level of care speaks to tenants and makes them want to stay in a place that demonstrates such incredible care. Management – Facilitate group activities and other perks. Simply build the option for residents to congregate, like the courtyard built at Solaria. Make yourself known and your team members known by making nametags visible to demonstrate you are a person that cares. Demonstrate availability by making residents feel wanted when offering your services at any time. Seeing is believing – so the smiles and friendly faces of your team go the extra mile in making residents feel comfortable in their community. Social Networking – Make a Facebook page for each...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Believe it or not, the majority of property inspections are still conducted by pencil and paper. This is an analog process in an increasingly digital world.This failure to transition leads to multiple challenges; a lack of a consistent inspection process and consistent documentation,limited collaboration potential, and reliance on the inspector's skill set to name a few. Many organizations conducting property inspections will increasingly move to a digital environment. Not only has the mobile tech world blossomed to provide increasingly affordable and effective devices (phones and tablets), but digital inspection platforms enable strategic value for everyone. Digital inspection platforms utilize devices such as iPads/iPhones and Android devices, not only accelerate an effective capture of various media, but also streamline,videos, photos, diagrams, forms and more. The days should be past when an inspector's notes on a piece of paper are only legible to the inspector. The digital inspection  can be reviewed by a manager, administrator, colleague or a separate contact who can use the information for whatever the productive needs necessary.An analog inspection process produces limited data, both for proactive and reactive inspections while a digital inspection platform provides limitless data potential. As mobile inspections platforms advance, they will add value to early adopters who elect to embrace them and modify their work streams accordingly. At the end of the day, these platforms represent a drastic improvement for the industry and increased monetary benefit for those who can recognize this....

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
lead-management-approach.jpg Multifamily operators live in a world where demand is determined by factors completely out of their control. Sure, through levers like marketing and pricing, they can affect how much of the demand they capture, but they really can’t affect the overall demand itself. That’s determined by factors that drive household creation, e.g. job growth, divorce rates, and other macro demographic statistics like the number of students graduating college programs each year. If you still doubt this, just ask yourself whether an apartment company could advertise in a way that suddenly made someone go, “You know what? I think I’ll move next week.” This “structural demand” contrasts with most consumer-driven businesses that can and do create demand (“I will …” “take an extra vacation,” “buy a car a year earlier than I planned,” “go out for dinner tonight,” …) and has dramatic implications for how we approach all aspects of lead management and leasing. Since we can’t control the total number of potential residents and it’s very expensive to increase lead generation directly, lead capture and conversion is the single most important set of activities impacting how many people lease at your community and/or how much pricing power you have for your leases. And the sad truth is that most communities are mediocre at best, and at worst quite poor at lead capture and conversion. Consider the following:  12-15% of calls come after hours and either don’t get answered or are sent to voice mail where a) the prospect doesn’t leave a  message or...