Guest (Cat at TheSuiteLifeLA.com)
Love this, Rommel! I also love to point out how close the nearest gym is to the community and if it...
Ooops...I just re-read my previous response and wanted to clarify in the first sentence that this sh...

Training Trivia

In Property Management, the only true "Close" is asking for the deposit.

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Posted by on in Property Management
  ...if you are being naughty when it comes to fair housing and familial status issues.  Actually, you would likely prefer a spanking than what you might get for your misbehavior with rules for children at your community.  Because rather than a spanking, you could get a HUD complaint or lawsuit, and the opportunity to pay out lots of money.   “How many times do I have to tell you?”  I have blogged and written articles and lectured on the fair housing implications of overly restrictive rules for children for years and, yet lately there have been a number of new cases which make it pretty darn clear that the message still needs to be repeated.  Here is information on two of those recent cases:   HUD recently reached a discrimination settlement agreement with both an owner and manager for putting overly restrictive rules into place to control the free movement of children at a community.   The allegations include management prohibiting children from using the swimming pool during certain hours, placing restrictions on children playing outside, and even requiring children to clean the manager’s office toilet when they were found outside unaccompanied by an adult (I don’t even know what to say about this!).  The families were even threatened with eviction.  Under the terms of the agreement, the owners and manager will pay the fair housing organization $3,750; waive four months of rent for five of the families (a total monetary value of $19,000); pay two former tenants a total of...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
This week we have a guest column from Doug Davidoff, one of our partners in our InSiteSM Sales model. I’ve been involved in sales training for more than 25 years. As a salesperson, an executive building a sales team and a sales trainer myself, I’ve learned one simple truth. Most approaches to sales training fail. Don’t get me wrong; most of the training is pretty good. The problem isn’t the material (necessarily). The problem is far more complex than that. Sales training isn’t build for the real world. It teaches what I like to call “the illusion of certainty.” Too much of the training focuses on techniques and it teaches a “right way” and a “wrong way” of doing things. In the real world, there are no absolute rights or wrongs.   No two situations are the same. Instead of teaching techniques and tricks, sales reps need to be taught how to deal with situations and scenarios. The days of the “power close” are over (though, actually I’m not sure they ever really existed). As The Challenger Study from the Sales Executive Council taught, successful selling is not about personalities, but rather about approaches; it’s not about talent, it’s about skill; and it’s not about tactics, it’s about technique If you’re looking to create sustainable improvements to your revenue and operating performance you need to avoid these three pitfalls that will doom any effort: It’s not built for the way customers buy today. If you’re in the process of considering new...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
It’s that time again--time for all the ghouls and goblins to put on their favorite costumes and head out into the neighborhood in search of a little Halloween fun. But, how will your community prepare? How will the young and young at heart know who is participating in the seasonal festivities? What kinds of activities are there that the whole family – or better yet the whole community – join together and participate in? Now in a residential or single-family neighborhood the children can go door-to-door looking for a trick or treat simply by looking for decorations or a porch light on. Unfortunately, not all multifamily communities are set up to make it so simple. So, if you are looking for a few ideas to get your multifamily community in haunted holiday spirit, try these top five picks out: 1. "Participant" Flyers Try printing out brightly colored "participant" flyers that can be placed on doors to let the kids know which units are handing out candy this year. A bright orange pumpkin hung on a door will allow those who don’t mind the children coming to their doors the opportunity to enjoy the tradition, while those that would prefer to abstain from the festivities can do so in peace. 2. Door Decorating Contest While a cute little pumpkin cutout is good, going all out with the spooky door décor can be awesome. Make flyers offering up some sort of prize determined by the staff or even the neighborhood watch participants for...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
In any business setting, there is always a need for creative thinking and new ideas. The question is, what are the best ways to generate these ideas? For many companies, the process involves some sort of formal brainstorming meeting. Unfortunately, many of these discussions turn into ineffective uses of time where everyone leaves the room frustrated and feeling like nothing has been accomplished. Throughout my career in advertising and marketing, I’ve been invited to participate in my fair share of brainstorms. After witnessing a few brainstorms gone bad, I’ve found that most brainstorming failures can be prevented with a few small adjustments to how the meeting is approached. Today, I’d like to walk through some basics in brainstorming and share observations from the most effective idea sessions I’ve been a part of. Identify and set objectives - It seems obvious, but it’s tough to come up with ideas that work if you don’t know exactly what you’re working on. Before going into a brainstorming session, there needs to be a few clearly defined objectives. Identify what needs to be solved and then set specific items to generate ideas around. Get the right people in the room - Once the meeting objectives have been solidified, it’s time to carefully think about who to invite to your meeting. A big part of a successful brainstorm is getting the right people in the room. Limit the group to people you can count on to prepare and participate. Also, look for opportunities to include people with varied...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
November 2014 marks another update from Google. Local numbers will soon be able to be used for call extensions through Google forwarding numbers. These forwarding numbers will appear on your apartment ads, showing the same area code or regional area code as your own local business phone number. The perks: People are much more likely to call a number with a local area code than an 800-number. To implement and prepare for this update, all you will need to do is update your current call extension phone number. There are two ways to do this, either by entering a toll-free number or local number. Google will generate a toll-free forwarding number or a local forwarding number depending on what you enter. If a local Google forwarding number is not available, your ad will instead show a toll-free Google number. These Google forwarding numbers can mean more calls for your apartment community and are relatively easy to implement! Just edit your call extensions in your ads, whether to a toll-free or local number, and Google will provide the call forwarding numbers when available....

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Don’t you just hate your job? It’s always changing, you’re constantly being pulled in a thousand different directions, and it feels like you’ll never catch up. No? Well maybe your job is too monotonous. Maybe you feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over; using different pieces but getting the same results. These complaints are all-too-common in the workplace. Ironically, these are the same concepts that fuel a multi-billion dollar gaming industry. That’s right, people pay money to do the very thing that you get paid to do! Solving puzzles is a top priority in any workplace just as it is the top recreational activity in any home. This begs the question: Why do we love doing puzzles for recreation, yet they are the bane of our professional existence? Many artists lose the passion for their craft once it becomes directly tied to their livelihood and its success is contingent on the approval of others. I submit that the art of puzzle solving is the same. Think back to that time that you were playing Solitaire, Tetris, or Candy Crush, and you had someone looking over your shoulder. I bet you either stopped playing or you asked your kibitzer to leave. Why? Odds are they weren't saying “Great job” or “Wow, I didn’t see that before you did it!” Instead, they were probably saying “Oh, put that card there!” or “Ah! Why’d you do that? You could have done this instead!” Yes, the things we enjoy are often less enjoyable when they are judged...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
You know that most of the apartment hunt happens online in one form or another: desktop or mobile/local searches, ILS browsing, online reviews/ratings, etc. So how are you engaging prospects (and residents!) in those digital areas? Beyond click-to-call and email options, many businesses use chat to provide real-time help to website visitors in a more convenient, on-screen way. Texting is also hitting the business scene in different ways (check out my previous post). Both chat and text can improve consumers’ digital experiences by avoiding hold times or email delays. But how do they differ? Which is right for your community’s needs? Well, it depends. The Skinny on Website Chat Chat is a two-way conversation between a shopper on a website and a business or answering service (speaking on the company’s behalf). One reason you often see chat on a retailer’s site is because it can help e-commerce shoppers convert better. Quick history lesson: Studies found that  many people who put products in their shopping carts never actually checked out. When live chat was added to these sites, cart-to-checkout conversions exploded. Why? People had questions. Questions breed doubt, which can offroad sales of almost any level. With chat, shoppers can easily ask questions and get answers in real time, which made them feel more comfortable about purchasing. Property chat can give apartment hunters the same sort of “comfort” and subconsciously build trust, important when people are seeking a new place to live. Keep in mind: Chat conversations typically last 1 - 8...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
As my grandfather aged, he had more and more trouble getting around. Still, he kept getting up to change TV channels because the remote wasn’t readable to him. I knew there had to be a better option. (After all, he already had a lot of miles on him; no need to add to them!) So I researched and bought him a huge remote he could read and use instead of getting up. My point? Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Question Everything I came to age amid a flurry of technological adaptations, which helps me see things differently than people like my grandfather. At 35 and growing up on the edge between Generation X and Y (depending on which study you reference), I can remember when computers were housed in a room by themselves and spit out green-and-white paper onto the floor. My dad used to drop me off at Circuit City when we went to the mall because they had a computer to play with on display—I would spend hours on that thing. Now I hold my “computer” in the palm of my hand. With the constant tech improvements over even just the last seven years since the iPhone came out (in 2007), it’s no wonder those in the millennial generation view things by how they work, and then find ways to make them more efficient. They question everything—not to be rebellious, but to find those better ways. And that,...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
The increased availability of video content and the rising cost of traditional cable programming are prompting a growing number of consumers to “cut the cord” and ditch their cable bundles for stand-alone high-speed internet. The decision to move away from the traditional Cable/Internet/Phone package in favor of an individual product – most often high-speed internet – is often referred to as unbundling. Content applications like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have made the most popular TV shows and movies available online for streaming anytime, anywhere.  Additional episodes and movies are available for purchase via applications such as iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.  This expanded availability has made internet-only unbundling a viable option, as consumers can now find nearly all of their favorite content online. Further, local programming continues to be available within traditional transmission areas.  This programming can be accessed with minimal investment in an HD antenna, also known as “bunny ears”.  The programming itself, including local live sports, is free. With content readily available by other means, rising cable costs are often the catalyst that leads consumers to cancel their cable service.  The FCC reported that “basic cable service prices increased by 6.5 percent [to $22.63] for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013.” (FCC Report via ARS Technica)  And that 6.5% increase is not an anomaly; according to the same FCC Media Bureau’s annual survey of cable rates, the average monthly cable bill has risen about $2 to $3 per year for the last two decades. A related benefit of unbundling...

Posted by on in Student Housing
With each passing academic calendar year, more and more student housing is being made available for colleges and universities across North America. There has been a great deal of speculation within the multifamily housing industry on whether or not there is an oversupply of student housing hitting the market. Some industry insiders have proclaimed that the student housing market is becoming oversaturated, especially within the United States. Others believe this is a myth. Let’s examine some facts. Beginning in the late 2000’s, REIT’s and private-equity firms began adding a great deal of purpose-built student housing to their portfolios, as they saw great investment potential. The Wall Street Journal claimed that some developers overestimated future enrollment rates and didn’t consider other student housing developments, which led to an oversupply in some markets. This is perhaps what sparked the discussion about national oversupply in student housing. However, this oversupply was only occurring in a select few markets within the United States. It’s imprecise to attribute a national trend of oversupply, based on only a handful of markets. While it may hold true that certain popular college towns are in a state of oversupply, there isn’t enough quantitative data to demonstrate oversupply on a national basis. AxioMetrics estimated that in 2014, a total of 60,000+ beds, both on and off-campus, would be delivered nation-wide for the fall. This has created concern. However, it should be noted that while student housing deliveries are increasing, they are being spread across more universities and states than in...