By definition charging something other than for actual use is unfair. The degree of unfai...
Elliot Rich
Hi Guardiana,

I think you've got it right when you say that utilities if not billed out separatel...

Training Trivia

Which of the following is a true close?

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1578299117 [{"id":"224","title":"Would you like to fill out an application?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"225","title":"Do you want to move into apartment 1215?","votes":"2","pct":"3.51","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"226","title":"Would you like to put your deposit on apartment 1215?","votes":"22","pct":"38.60","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"227","title":"All of the above","votes":"33","pct":"57.89","type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] sbar 200 200 /polls/vote/83-which-of-the-following-is-a-true-close No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...
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Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
b2ap3_thumbnail_email-marketing-smallest.jpg A few months ago, we released a white paper on the state of email re-marketing in our multi-family housing industry. We sampled 31 different companies, and tracked their responses. The results, to be kind, weren’t very good. We kept the white paper very journalistic by strictly reporting the results and shying away from any editorializing. But blogs are for opinions, so let’s talk a bit about these results. It’s 2104, so there really isn’t a good excuse for not having an email re-marketing campaign. We invest significant money to generate the lead to begin with, so let’s spend the pennies needed to stay in touch. At a minimum, I believe that multi-family marketers should have an automated drip campaign of at least 4-6 emails. My experience has been that there is relatively little drop off in open and click-through rates from the first through the sixth as well as surprisingly low unsubscribe and spam compliant rates. Remember that the vast majority of leads are going to rent somewhere, so you’re sending them highly relevant content that many of them want to see; if they don’t want to see it, it’s easy enough to unsubscribe. These emails should emphasize different elements of what makes your community (and your services) unique. Include graphics customized to the community, and to the messaging. The automated emails can be supplemented by personal content from site associates, but I strongly advocate against relying on site associates to do sufficient follow-up. That approach doesn’t scale well, and discipline...

Posted by on in Property Management
When you want to rent your apartments, do you expect that potential renters will be able to pay you the rent and honor the terms and conditions of your lease? Do you know that there is the potential that important rental criteria and lease terms could possibly be verboten?   If I have managed now to get your attention, I will now direct that attention to an important case that is due for oral argument with the United States Supreme Court beginning January 21, 2015.  It is not a sexy case (TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, et al., Petitioners,v. THE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES PROJECT, INC., Respondent) but the impact of this decision will be huge (the housing industry will either heave a great collective sigh of relief or begin to operate in a vastly different way).   This is soooo important and impactful, and a challenge for me to bring you up to speed at least in the general sense.  Let me try: The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (gender), familial status and disability. The language of the FHA makes it clear that you cannot intend to make harmful decisions based on those protections. The FHA does not address unintentional discrimination, which can happen statistically when a neutral policy (applied across the board for everyone) actually impacts one of the protected groups.  This is called disparate impact. Disparate impact cases do not require intent, and are distinguished from “disparate...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
One of the best parts of the holiday season is giving to others, whether it’s by volunteering your time, baking a sweet treat to share, or picking out the perfect gift for someone. Any of these gift giving options can be incorporated at your community for a small cost, but with a high impact. If you’re leaning towards hosting a holiday party for your residents, consider incorporating one of these types of gifting:   White Elephant This is a fun activity that residents of all ages can be involved in, and the best part is, they don’t have to spend much in order to participate- in fact, setting a limit is preferred! Invite your residents to contribute a wrapped gift, and place all gifts in the center of the room on the floor or on a table. Draw numbers out of a basket or hat to determine who gets to pick a gift from the pile first. The first person will have to pick from the selection of wrapped gifts, but each person thereafter will be able to either pick a wrapped gift or ‘steal’ the unwrapped gift from anyone who has already picked. If an unwrapped gift is taken from someone, that person can either ‘steal’ from another participant or select a wrapped gift. This game can continue until all gifts are chosen from the wrapped pile and each person has taken a turn. In this game, the perk of going last means that person can pick any gift they’d...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing

Well, I reached the 20th episode of the Marketing Minute this week (not including the guest post from Mike Whaling last week). So here they are in one spot for you in case you missed them.  This week I cover…depth vs. width in marketing, inexpensive creative work through, an ad right smack dab in the middle of the ad I pay top dollar for, and why it’s time to overhaul your Google Adwords campaigns and pay for some Facebook Ads. Enjoy, and as always, subscriptions and comments are welcome. Marketing Minute Episode 17 – Depth vs. Width in Marketing Marketing Minute Episode 18 – Fiverr  Marketing Minute Episode 19 – Ad Right In The Middle Of My Ad Marketing Minute Episode 20 – Google Adwords and Facebook Ads  ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Is Quality Maintenance The Secret To Pro Longing Tenant Retention? There are a few ways that an owner can improve their tenant retention. One way is improving your building maintenance routine. In 2012, a research group published an EBook, Getting Inside The Head Of The Online Renter, which stated “Maintenance services and customer service delivery by the office staff have the most dramatic impact on the renewal decision.” Other crucial factors that affect tenant retention are safety, proximity to their job, and space. Fix Problems Before They Happen The First step to bettering your maintenance in your building is establishing common maintenance requests. Establishing common maintenance requests prevents a tenant’s need to generate them. If you are aware that plumbing becomes an issue during the winter season, send maintenance to inspect the units before the season begins, and detect issues that will become a major problem in the coming future. Help Tenants Help Themselves You should also supply your tenants a list of simple fixes. A few problems can be easily fixed without the need of maintenance. Usually the case revolves around the tenants lacking the knowledge of simple repairs. This can be solved by giving your tenants a list of simple fixes and instructions when they move in. The simple fixes should include the following items:   Relighting a stove pilot Snaking a drain Changing a light bulb Changing the batteries in a smoke alarm Resetting a circuit breaker Resetting garbage disposal   Now this isn’t to say that supplying...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Nearly 2.8 million Americans quit their jobs in September, according to a recent article (12/4/14) in USA Today. The article cites the improving economy (it is improving, right?) as the reason for the exodus of people leaving their jobs. When the economy was down, employees felt fortunate to simply have their jobs; so they decided to stay put and ride out the economic downturn, figuring it was better to have a job that they didn’t like, than to have no job at all.  Now that things are better and workers feel more confident in the future, they’ve decided that now may be the time to make the move on to new careers. Paul McDonald of staffing firm Robert Half is quoted in the USA Today article as saying, “There’s more people poking their heads out and looking … rather than taking that hunkered down position.” So … are your people the ones looking for new opportunities? Are they now feeling emboldened to at least put their feet in the water and see if they can find a better opportunity somewhere else? The odds are good that the answer is yes!  If you lead people, or employ people, why should this matter to you?  Because you don’t want your good people to go, especially your tenured ones. These are the people that know your industry, your company’s culture, the expectations, the ins and outs of the operations. They don’t have an organizational “learning curve” that they need to master, they’re the ones...

Posted by on in Property Management
  Apartment communities change owners and management companies frequently. Among the list of challenges we often face in a management change, the online reputation that is inherited can be one of the most difficult. Historically, review sites have not accounted for a change in management in the overall score of the property. This can be costly as many people will focus on the score or star ratings rather than spending time reading the actual reviews and discovering that there has been a management change. There are several ways to overcome this both online and off.    The short term solutions are fairly straightforward. Notify prospective residents on your website, social media, signage, brochures and email blasts that a new company has taken over management and is making a commitment to a better reputation. Just be transparent and be sure to do what you say you are going to do. If there are capital improvements coming, be sure to mention them and provide a realistic timeframe.    The long term solutions are a bit more complicated since you actually have to get positive reviews. Directly soliciting positive reviews all at once is not recommended. Instead, you have to create a culture that promotes feedback from your current residents. Here are ways to do that:   1. Leave a card for your residents after service has been completed in their unit that invites them to share their experience with you and create an incentive for them to return it. If you get a glowing review...

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s important for tenants to have a sense of community. Or is it? Depending on the source, it’s either very important to encourage community involvement through events and activities, or it’s one of those things that tenants could care less about. One thing is for sure, however: people are motivated by causes. Here are some stats from For Momentum:  Nearly all U.S. consumers say they have a more positive image of a company that supports a cause (93%) Americans are more likely to trust (90%) and be more loyal (90%) to companies that back causes Millennials are hyperaware of cause-related efforts to make the world a better place – for themselves and broader society African Americans are more steadfast in their convictions to gravitate toward things that promote social good “Hispanics are more apt than the general U.S. population to not just purchase products and services associated with causes (94% vs. 89% general population), but also go beyond the register to donate (70% vs. 65%), volunteer (47% vs. 42%) and advocate on behalf of companies (43% vs. 38%)” Want to host an event your tenants will care about? Here are some ideas sure to set you apart from the competition: Charities. Pick a charity for the property to sponsor. It’s best to choose a local, community-based charity with which tenants can identify. Let the charity know of the sponsorship and have it become an ongoing thing. You can have a monthly, quarterly, or yearly event, in addition to opportunities for...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Did you know that the brain processes visual information at a rate that’s 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to our brains is visual? That’s according to a recent article in which the article addresses the need for marketers to up their game when it comes to online storytelling through images. Yet, when talking about the stories we’re telling about our own multifamily properties, the reasons for doing so are even more basic: tenants want to see what they’re getting and be able to see themselves in it. Regardless of the reasoning, every property needs high quality images for websites, ads, and other marketing materials. And, no, stock images don’t count. In fact, according to a recent survey, 69% of tenants say they are annoyed to see stock images meant to represent a property. This situation can be intimating as it poses a potential predicament to novice photographers. The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional or even know that much at all about photography to produce web-worthy images. All you need is a good camera (preferably digital), and the following tips: Watch the clock. Bright and sunny. These are the conditions the average individual believes to be perfect for outdoor picture-taking. Unfortunately, these conditions can be just as disastrous as a rainy day. Instead, you want to try for early morning, in the first hour after the sun rises, or in the evening, in the last hour of sunshine....

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Brand management is a huge thing that you likely hear about on a regular basis, in one form or another. If you’re not into marketing, then it’s also likely you feel “brand management” is a current buzz word or fad that will change with the times. The truth, however, is that it’s anything but a new concept, and has been a ‘thing’ for as long as there have been brands. The Management Study Guide defines brand management to include “developing a promise, making that promise and maintaining it… defining the brand, positioning the brand, and delivering the brand.” In other words, the management of a brand is the act of keeping it true to its intentions. And, of course, the reason we hear so much more about it these days than even a decade ago is because the Internet makes doing so that much more of a challenge. Just imagine a time without the web. No online review sites. No ability for consumers to get all the information they need to make informed decisions before they ever try out your product…or step foot on your property. The Internet opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to building brand recognition, but it also means having many, many more spaces and places where that brand has the potential to be tarnished. And, rental properties are no exception.  Your property is a brand just like any other product or service, and it must be managed as such. This means having a...