Guest (Nadeen Green)
Ms. Lujan, your rule to not allow skateboarding, roller skating and loitering for everyone is OK. Y...
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In Property Management, the only true "Close" is asking for the deposit.

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Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
The marketing gurus at consumer product giants get it: marketing increases product value. They get that marketing increases return on investment. They get that you should never stop marketing even when demand is higher than supply. Consider Apple, which simply never stops marketing. Even when demand far outpaced supply of the iPhone 5s, Apple continued its television, email and online marketing efforts to drive even more demand. Yet, in today’s hot apartment market, in which Axiometrics reports that apartment occupancy hit 95 percent in June, some apartment companies are wondering if they should scale back their marketing activities. It seems like a logical consideration, since there is very little (immediate) supply available to offer and a lot of demand for apartment homes. But what Apple and other consumer-product marketing gurus have discovered is that creating demand even while supply is low has substantial benefits that flow right to the bottom line. Before you say that product companies are able to create more supply while you’re not, remember that you’re able to increase price while in many cases they can’t. There’s only so much people are willing to pay for a phone. And, in this hot market, new apartment communities are being built in droves. Translation: supply is coming. With that in mind, here are the top three reasons to maintain your marketing efforts even in a hot apartment market: 1. Marketing creates more demand, which means higher rents in the market. This is the beauty of price flexibility, which even Apple...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
You spend weeks planning a great resident event at your apartment community. Then, the big day arrives, and attendance is less than stellar. Have you ever been in this situation? Don’t despair! Here are 4 tips for increasing attendance at your next resident event.  Give Residents What They WantYou can plan the best football watching party in history. But if your residents don’t like football, no one will show up. Find out what types of events your residents are interested in attending by sending out a quick survey. Recruit a CommitteeRather than planning and executing the event on your own, recruit a committee of volunteers to help. Residents who are involved in planning the event will be more committed to making the event a success – including recruiting their neighbors to attend! Promote, Promote, PromoteNo one will attend your event if they don’t know it’s happening! So be sure to promote your event to your residents through a variety of different channels. Here are some ideas: Send out an email to residents Include information about your event in your monthly newsletter Hang signs in the elevators, fitness center, mail room and other common areas Post on your social media channels Add information about your event to your online resident portal Ask for FeedbackAsk residents who do attend your events for feedback. What did they enjoy? What could use some work? Then, use that feedback to put together a plan of action for your next event. What other tips do you have for increasing attendance at your...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
I recently came across an interesting article1 published by Harvard Business Review that discussed the need for more introverts in marketing. The basic premise of the article was that marketers need to spend less time talking and more time listening. The author detailed why common characteristics of introverts often allow them to discover insights that remain hidden to those that aren’t as prone to spend time listening. As I read the article, I found myself thinking about how much time I personally spend talking versus listening. In my job responsibilities, I’m often thinking, “What do I want to tell my audience?” However, it may be more beneficial for me to flip that question and instead ask, “What does my audience really want to be told?” The answer to that second question can only be gained through truly listening to and examining the insights provided by customers. Apartment marketers have the unique opportunity to have frequent interactions with their customers throughout the prospect and resident lifecycles. Let’s take a look at a few areas where you can sit back and listen to what prospects and residents have to say: Are You There? In order to be an attentive listener, you have to first make sure that people are able to get through to you. Did you know that the average apartment community misses between 40-50% of calls each day? Leasing agents are busy people. Their days are consumed with paperwork, on-site visits, phone calls, resident problems, etc. For most properties, it’s impossible to answer...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Have you ever thought about the kinds of questions that you typically ask a prospect when s/he visits your community. Doesn’t it have the tendency to sound like an interrogation? “Were you looking for a one or two bedroom? “When do you want to move-in?” “Will you be bringing pets with you? “What is your budget?” “How many will be living in the apartment?” “What is your credit like?” “Have you ever been featured on ‘To Catch a Predator?’” (kidding!) While I absolutely believe that you need to ask specific questions about a customer’s specific needs, wants and desires, I believe that it’s also important to include the following five questions (not in any particular order)  somewhere in your tour, so you can “go deeper” and truly unpack what your prospect is really looking for. What kind of research have you done? I learned this one from the great Lori Snider when she trained me at a company I worked for many years ago. It’s a great icebreaker question that I loved using especially when I saw someone coming in with a stack of papers printed from the Internet, or when I saw them with apartment magazines with pages dog eared, bookmarked and written on! These folks have done their homework…let them tell you about it! Then you won’t repeat information they already know; freeing you to focus on the things that can help you close the sale. What communities have you visited? I always wanted to know about my prospect’s...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
According to the reports, Monaco's “Most Expensive Apartment in the World” boasts a floor plan that spreads out over five separate floors and comes complete with its own water slide that connects the state of the art dance floor to the luxurious infinity pool. And you can have it all for the thrifty price of only $400 million. To put this extravagance into prospective, you could sell Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion, the Spelling mansion, Tiger Woods'sFlorida estate, and Oprah Winfrey’s home and still not have enough in escrow to buy one of these units outright. Nevertheless, the mecca that is Monaco, located on the French Riviera, is preparing to open its first new high-rise skyscraper in over three decades--abandoning fears of ruining the precious coastline. Known for catering to the wealthy with loose tax laws that include no income taxes, low business tax, and the reputation of being a tax haven or the rich, Monaco knew they had to take this project up to the next level if they were going to make an impression. Dubbed “Odeon Towers”, the home of this record breaking apartment, that has been described as the “ultimate home between the sea and the sky”, is planned to stand 510 feet tall, be 49-stories, and include 70 luxurious units, right on the beach. The 38,000 square foot “Sky Penthouse” is being developed by the Monégasque firm, Groupe Marzocco and is being designed by architect Alexandre Giraldi, with interior design consulting being done by Alberto Pinto. Prince Albert II approved the project over...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
4.0   It's the grade-point average parents wish for their children. It's an earned-run average Major League pitchers strive to be under. And in the current apartment cycle, 4% represents an effective rent growth rate not seen in more than two years.   Until August. Annualized effective rent growth for the United States apartment market was 4.1% in August 2014, the first time the rate surpassed the 4% barrier since May 2012. While not at the heady 5% levels of mid-2011, the national apartment market is four years into the sector's recovery from the Great Recession, and there hasn't been any notable deceleration in rent growth. August's national growth is only 1 basis point (bps) lower than that May 2012 figure, also rounded to 4.1%. The last time effective rent growth could be rounded above that mark was in October 2011, when it reached 4.4%.      The 4.1% effective rent growth recorded in August is a 29 bps increase from the 3.8% in July and an 89 bps rise from the 3.2% in August 2013.     YTD Rent Growth Still Best of Recovery   The July Market Trends Report dubbed 2014 as "The Year of the Apartment Market" because year-to-date (YTD) rent growth so far has been the strongest of any post-recession year. August's strong numbers indicate that the market appears to be gaining momentum.   YTD effective rent growth was 5.5% in August 2014, an increase of 40 bps from the 5.1% in July and 35 bps ahead...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
This would have to be one of the most intriguing and attention getting models you could design. Can you imagine the attention this would draw?  This was done by IKEA furniture manufacturers to promote a store opening in France, but how fun (and expensive I admit) to open a new property?  Especially if you could take it to different locations during events. ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Payment drop boxes were once a fixture at every community office across America. Nowadays they are slowly disappearing.  With so many residents choosing to pay their rent online, drop boxes are becoming antiquated. An even bigger factor for their decline? Lately, the risk of leaving a check or money order in an overnight drop box has skyrocketed. Thanks to a surge in drop box thefts over the past few years, many property management companies are choosing to discontinue the practice. Crafty thieves, equipped with coat wires and adhesive, are able to fish thousands of dollars’ worth of rent checks and money orders from overnight drop boxes. These crimes often result in payments being fraudulently cashed, leaving residents and property management companies at a loss. In some instances, the theft leads to a legal battle between the resident and the management company about who is responsible for the missing rent payment. Despite the risks, some management companies continue to offer drop boxes as an option for residents who need to make a payment after business hours. If your management company still utilizes drop boxes, here are some tips to minimize the liability. Increase signage at the drop box Placing a sign at the drop box informing residents that they can pay online is a great way to remind them there are safer, more convenient ways to pay. Your online payments provider may be able to provide you with this type of signage. You may also want to add a sign that...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
In 2009, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) conducted seminal research in the field of sales.  Later dubbed The Challenger Study, it was designed to identify what separates high performing salespeople from the middle of the pack. As such, they dug deeply into a variety of sales teams, structures and people. Specifically, they interviewed 600+ sales people (since expanded to several thousand) and measured them across several dozen dimensions. From these interviews and assessments they were able to establish that there were five fundamental approaches salespeople took. While they went into the study with a basic belief that there was not a single personality or approach to be a high performing salesperson, what they found was truly astonishing: “Core performers” are spread relatively similarly across all 5 clusters of sales styles. In other words, any kind of sales approach can achieve average results In contrast, “high performers” are clearly over-represented in just two clusters: Challengers and Lone Wolves with Challengers represented significantly more often than Lone Wolves. Perhaps most strikingly, Relationship Builders (the dominant approach in multi-family sales) are severely under-represented among high performers. They come in a distant fifth out of five.            Source: CEB White Paper, The New High Performer, 2009 So, what makes a salesperson a Challenger? More specifically, how can a leasing associate become one? The simplest answer to these questions is to ask better questions and to spend more time focused on what we call The Inquiry Phase.  One of the most interesting things about Challengers...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
I remember a story I read a few years ago from a book (I think it was Living Large by Sarah Wexler) in which the author described the experiences of a young woman who was a sales associate in a national retail chain. This sales associate proudly explained the strategy that helped her sell jeans to men and it goes something like this … (paraphrasing)  “When a guy comes out of the fitting room in a pair of jeans, I stare at his butt several times as he looks in the mirror. Then when ne notices me “checking him out,” I act embarrassed and flustered and smile nervously so that he thinks he caught me admiring how he looks in the pair of jeans. This usually encourages guys to buy those jeans!” As this associate went on to tell the story, it was clear that the higher ups in the store approved of her selling strategy; after all, she was getting the results everyone wanted; the young woman hit her numbers, the store likes sales, and the customer thought the cute woman in the store was checking him out, so everyone was happy, right? So, what’s the problem? After all, sales people everywhere use their “gifts” to close the deal, all the time. I mean, look at me. I can’t tell you how many times I used my charm and devastating good looks to encourage someone to rent from me throughout my career! (You’re not buying that are you? As well you...