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Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Upscale living and luxurious amenities are no longer only enjoyed by owners at high-end condominium properties. They are now a reality at select rental properties too. Millennials and Gen-Xers are driving greater demand for luxury rental living at affordable prices, specifically looking for apartments that support healthy, creative and social lifestyles.   Many people want to personalize their living spaces, take advantage of preferred amenities and work efficiently from home, all in a place that showcases innovation and creativity. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter apartment sameness.   Savvy property developers recognize this reality and offer premier luxury rental properties in walkable, thriving communities. Some install unique artwork, encourage residents to choose their wall colors (yes, in a rental unit!) and create shared spaces that reflect these new lifestyle trends.   A Unique Frame of Mind   Apartment properties are meeting the demand for distinction in innovative ways. Utilizing public artwork to differentiate a sense of place used to be relegated to commercial buildings, but no more. For example, a new rental property in Tampa called Aurora features a unique art installation on the outside of the building that enhances the Downtown Tampa skyline and adds to the property’s unique elements. At the same time, the colorful, multi-story artwork announces on a grand scale that the building owners embrace a sense of style and uniqueness. Aurora’s artful façade enhances the downtown Tampa skyline. Thinking outside the norm in this way helps cater to apartment seekers and others looking for a...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
E-commerce {online} purchases account for 10% of U.S. consumer spending; but don’t let that figure fool you. Double-digit growth is predicted in the online sales space for the unforeseeable future. Already in the six years since 2010, online sales have posted 15% increases annually. Although those numbers are holding steady, I hear a lot of folks tell me that they only see an increased package volume "at the holidays.” But do they really? I’m sure they mean the winter-season holidays, but due to the ease of online shopping, “the holidays” now come all-year-long. From Valentine’s Day, to Amazon Prime Day, to Halloween, to Cyber Monday, and of course the traditional holiday season around Christmastime. Maybe you’re thinking that I’m kidding, “Craig, we all know the winter season is the biggest increase for package deliveries.” Well, let’s assume for a moment that my custom sparkly-fairy Halloween costume (just in-time for October 31st) consists of a wand, tutu, leggings, a sparkled top, a tiara, my make-up, fun shoes, etc.. and I’m just one of the residents at your apartment community. I’ve already received seven packages for my costume, and maybe I’ve got more on the way. On Valentine’s Day, I send gifts and flowers galore, and I LOVE the deals on Cyber Monday because those Black Friday lines are chaotic… now, which “the holidays” were we talking about again? I forgot. Online sales last year totaled nearly $350 billion. Of course, every Internet purchase requires delivery in some form to get that purchase to...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Immersive Youth Marketing recently released the results of its thought-provoking study on the best ways to capture the attention of Millennials. In it, the agency identifies many ways marketers can best reach this demographic. It’s a report written about Millennials, most likely by a Millennial, in Millennial-speak. So, we’re taking the liberty here to break it down and show just how applicable these recommendations are, even for the multifamily industry.  Do something eye-catching. This is a visual demographic. They are techno-savvy and digitally-minded. Your marketing efforts should take this into consideration. Make sure your content fits the media environment. Simply put: make sure your marketing can reach your target audience on any device, anywhere. Don’t put out a video that’s so large, most devices can’t process it. Make your ideas easy to navigate. Running a contest for your tenants? Want to grab the attention of Millennials with a new promotional offer? Don’t get caught up in the details. Make it straightforward, easy to understand, and, more importantly, easy to join in on. Remember: people are processing hundreds, if not thousands, of details being fed to them digitally, every day. Make your message simple, yet memorable. Find a Trojan horse. Sometimes, the best way to get your message out to the public is to have help carrying it to them. Is there a well-loved local band that can sing your jingle in a commercial? How about a partnership with a beloved local charity with which you can partner with for in-community promotions,...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
sales-ecosystem.png In several blog posts over the last 12 months, I’ve talked about the need for a conversation in the multifamily industry regarding sales. While in my experience, very few multifamily operators are satisfied with their sales/leasing process, but to date there has not been a lot of discussion about how to improve it. Multifamily operators expend significant resources – time, effort and money – to attract prospects to their communities, and engage in a wide variety of marketing activities to generate leads. Yet the process to convert leads to leases (sales) has gone relatively unchanged despite radical changes in prospect behavior (see Google’s seminal Zero Moment of Truth [ZMOT] study for just one important component of that change). This fundamental lack of attention to this “last mile” of the demand management platform, the place where all those investments in demand generation pay off with leasing, must be addressed. It’s easy to state the problem but much more difficult to actually solve it. So what does a solution to improving multifamily sales performancelook like?   It Starts with the Sales Ecosystem One of the things I’ve observed with the growing recognition that sales has been the neglected stepchild of the multifamily world, is that when they decide to address it, operators approach the sales issue as a “training” problem. They want to improve their leasing associates’ success by implementing new training. They figure a focus on training will almost certainly get some form of incremental improvement—and besides, it’s unlikely to hurt. But today that...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
heart-key.jpgI was reading "Shopping, Suduction & Mr. Selfridge", which is historical biography about the owner of Selfridge's in London.  He was an absolutely brilliant marketer, both creating spectacles to draw in the public, and including the press as a key element to driving awareness and interest to his store.  One of the thing that I found really interesting was this part: When the store opened, all visitors (as he preferred to call customers) received miniature silver keys as a gift “so they would feel at home.” I found that token incredibly fascinating, as even though it was a fake key, it still gave the impression that the store was their's as well, to create that emotional connection.  One thing I think apartment communities can struggle with is building the idea that the resident feels a sense of ownership over their own apartment, and not just borrowing someone else's property for a while.    It seems to me that there are probably ways we can improve that emotional bond for a resident.  What do you all do to help cement that idea that the resident takes emotional ownership of the apartment, and not just legal possession?...

Posted by on in Property Management
A recent tweet from GraceHill said that our industry is slow to hire.  It reminded me of why I try to be PASSIONATE about hiring.  When you have a vacant or about-to-be-vacant position, nothing is really more important.  If you’re a “MAN DOWN” You can’t get your work done as well, working to see the other person’s job is done  Everyone else has to work harder too You are torn between time to recruit, interview, vet and hire, and time to do what’s not being done by the “missing person”  And that doesn’t even consider the impact of the learning curve on co-workers’ time and keeping results up.  The best solution: REHIRE FAST! Here are 8 Tips to Speed Hiring: 1. Post ads before the ink dries on your outgoing employee’s notice!  Post the position on any site you think will draw qualified industry professionals: Apartment Association job sites, Craigslist, LinkedIn, MultifamilyInsiders, Indeed, and more!  2. Call your “Employment Pool.”  Think of people who have “WOWed” you, or who have sent you a resume in the past.  Call them now!  If they aren’t interested, ask if they know anyone else.   3. Network!  I was excited to get 2 great referrals from a business friend I messaged on LinkedIn!  Call your network and let them know what you’re looking for, and contact everyone they suggest.  Even if that person isn’t “the one,” they may give you a name!   4. Call any resume that meets your criteria FAST!  In fact, set...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
I would like to share the simple method that I used to create a free lead generating "machine" for a very small property (24 units) that I manage. This tenant lead generation method may not work for every property, and it certainly isn't a novel idea, but it works nicely for this facility located in a small village with only a 1,066 population (2013 census). Apartment buildings located in larger towns and cities may see even more responses in a shorter period of time with this lead collecting method! Create a Free Lead Generation Form First, create a simple lead generation form using a free platform like Google Forms, JotForm or 123ContactForm. I chose to use Google Forms because it is free no matter how many leads are generated unlike the other two mentioned. The goal I set when creating the form was to add questions requesting enough details to pre-screen individuals before even calling them for an interview or showing. Curious what questions to ask? Here is the exact information that I chose to request from leads for the property that I manage. Just remember that every property is different and it’s important that your questions reflect your facility’s needs. Email, Name, Phone number, What is the best time of day for us to call you?, Present Address, Previous Address, Landlord Name & Number, Current Employer & Income, References, Criminal history, When are you looking to move in?, Reason for moving?, How many occupants & rooms needed. You may have...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends

Dear Gabby,   I’ve been trying to follow this crazy presidential race but it is getting so nasty! I don’t care about all the drama...I just want to know how this is going to affect the housing market...PLEASE HELP! #AFedUpAmericanWithAQuestion   _________________________________________________________________________ Dear #AFedUpAmericanWithAQuestion, I feel your pain...I really do. Did you watch the debate last week? I’ve never been a fan of reality TV, but sometimes I just wish Donald Trump would go back to The Apprentice and the Clintons would get their own E! reality show.       I hate to go around bursting bubbles here but realistically there are only two ways this election is going to end. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will become the next President of the United States. Since housing prices hit rock bottom around 4 years ago, home prices have been on the rise. Progress has been occurring and things have been moving in the right direction. This will mean two very different things for our country. Image sourced via DonkeyHotey Flickr User   If Donald Wins: According to a survey conducted by Zillow, there would be a “decidedly negative” impact on the housing market. Of course this remains an educated guess but it’s been concluded that home values would decrease and housing finance reform and the overall economy would be negatively impacted as well.   You may wonder why this is the case when Donald is a long-time real estate developer -- I know I was a bit confused at first...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
It’s cheap. It’s immediate. It’s effective. These are just a few of the reasons why I love email as a marketing tool. Cheap. You can get an email marketing campaign up and running for next to nothing. Providers such as MailChimp and Constant Contact have basic subscription options that don’t cost anything if you have small lists. The only financial investment is if you decide to use more advanced templates that require a designer, in addition to your own time outlay. Immediate. It’s as quick as a click. There are very few other direct marketing channels that can reach a target audience so quickly. Effective. The likelihood that your target audience uses and will see your message is very high. And, unlike print, billboard, and many other traditional channels, you can track the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign easily by monitoring click rates and behaviors (made available through the dashboard of email marketing providers). For multifamily property owners and managers, email campaigns work for reaching potential tenants and communicating with existing tenants. Here’s how: Lead Conversion When you’ve had an individual contact you through a form, you’ve captured their contact information automatically. Forms are my favorite. Using a tool like Gravity Forms takes all the guesswork out of lead capture as it easily integrates your email lists and campaigns into your website marketing. You simply create a page on your site, design a clear call-to-action, and use the form as the ‘action.’ Their information will be automatically updated if you’ve...

Posted by on in Property Management
2-hatching-hope-silly-box-packedSince its’ launch in January 2016, Hatching Hope of Alabama has continued to be the change we want to see in the world. Hatching Hope spawned from the giving hearts of Keli Lynch-Wright and her son Ashton Wright. After 20 plus years of serving multifamily residents on the vendor side, Keli and her son decided to take matters into their own hands and thus Hatching Hope of Alabama became the first and only 501c3 that was industry born and gives directly back to our multifamily residents in times of disaster. Hatching Hope’s most recent endeavor occurred at the Alabama Apartment Association Conference & Expo in September with NAA Next Gen sponsoring the event. One of the most important parts of this endeavor was spreading the word about what Hatching Hope is, why they exist and what each of us can do to be a part of the difference they are making. The NAA Next Gen Lunch & Learn was led by committee member, Kayla Quint, property manager with Alexander Properties Group in Mobile, Alabama. While enlightening AAA/NAA members on the Next Gen Committee, Hatching Hope was able to showcase their boxes that arrived late the night before with their hashtag (#multifamilystrong). The hashtag comes from a deep rooted understanding that all multifamily professionals know and believe in, that this industry and all the individuals in it, when combined into one collaborative effort, whatever it may be, can have the strength to overcome and conquer any challenge. Hatching Hope provides the ability...