Donald D. Miller
There is a easy solution to solving high turnover, longer term leases, let the tenant chose the term...
Hi Theresa, The good news is there are many ways to get into the industry! While many people do want...

Training Trivia

Incorporating social media into your marketing and resident retention efforts is good practice for all student communities.

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Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Recently I joined Jon Soldan, Daniel Bowden, and Robert Humphreys (of Property Solutions, the University of Utah, and the Western Governors University, respectively) in an Alumni Speakers Series panel discussion on cyber security threats. Over the past 15 years, in various roles from system administration to Engineering positions, I’ve witnessed exploits ranging from small WordPress SQL injections to full-blown multi-gigabit denial of service attacks from large-scale botnets. Some of those DDOSes were so massive they crippled our systems, even though we were routed through DDOS mitigation. The past 12 months was an active period for security vulnerabilities. Highly-impactful bugs were found in core services and technologies (like SSL): Heartbleed, Poodle, Shellshock (and now FREAK!) Fortunately the principles of a secure system remain largely the same. First, avoid risky behaviors (weak passwords, opening emails/attachments from someone unknown, pissing off Anonymous!, surfing sites known for malware, etc.) Then, follow these IT security best practices: Only grant access to those who need it. (The principle of least privilege) Patch your systems and configure them to standard Stop using MD5/SHA, instead use adaptive hashing via bcrypt based on the Blowfish cipher with random salt (okay, that’s a new one) Lower your risk portfolio, by making your information less useful if compromised (for example, use a 3rd party credit card tokenization service instead of storing credit card numbers yourself) Don’t say embarrassing things in emails or chats (Thanks, Sony!) Centralize logging of all server information Enforce and audit your Information security policies regularly Invest in security awareness...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Fannie Mae proclaimed their commitment to a more eco-friendly and green multifamily industry by announcing in February that they will be offering special, discounted or lower interest rates on any of the loans they make to any certified energy-efficient multifamily properties. The idea of offering deep discounts to property owners who are willing to improve their properties’ energy performance doesn’t just make for a more sound investment in our future; this move is also designed to see the overall quality and affordability of these multifamily properties improve in the long run. Fannie has agreed to lower the interest rates on any loans they make that either refinances, acquires, or is made as a supplemental multifamily mortgage loan on any qualifying green property by 10 basis points. Fannie’s new program is designed to push multifamily builders and investors to seek more energy efficient alternatives for their new and existing projects. This push is seen as a much needed incentive for decision makers who might be on the fence about building or converting over to green energy and efficiencies. This comes at a time when gaining green certification means becoming eligible for a number of green funding opportunities and a variety of rebate programs designed to help balance the additional costs of executing any new energy conversions. Because of this cost offset – which can sometimes equal the total cost of the conversion - more commercial investors and owners are choosing to gain Energy Star, LEED, and/or one of the other certifications available...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Do you have a feedback system in place in your community? A feedback system is a means through which you can determine what your residents are happy about and what needs improvement, and then do something about it. Without a feedback system, you will mostly hear from people who are angry about something and from those who are chronic complainers, but rarely will you hear from the majority of people, even if they have some concerns. They may talk to each other but you won’t know what they are saying. No news is not necessarily good news. Most people who are mildly dissatisfied will never tell you unless you ask. Some multifamily executives and managers are hesitant to ask for feedback for fear that they will encourage their residents to think about problems. Encouraging feedback isn’t going to cause someone to think of what problems they are having, but it can get them to share their concerns with you so you can make things better. Let’s look at five ways you can effectively receive feedback from your residents. 1. Walk Around Your Community You don’t need an expensive market research project to get meaningful feedback. Something as simple as walking around your community common areas and listening to what people are talking about will give you invaluable feedback. Stop and talk to them. Ask questions. Be friendly and make it clear that you are seeking suggestions for how to do better. Every organization or business can always do better – the...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
While that might be a tagline from on old TV show, the same premise applies when it comes to the systems and technology we use in our day to day operations. We are always looking for improvements in our systems to enhance the user experience, streamline operations, increase efficiency, and overall improve our bottom line. But what is the determining factor that qualifies it into one of those categories? That is a question that is highly dependent on the needs of the company and is not a “one size fits all” answer. One of the first things you have to ask yourself is who will this benefit?  Typically you can break this up into three different groups:  the company, employees, and the customer. Take the Online Application and Availability product that many software companies offer and think about how each of those three categories benefits. The company reaps the benefit of increased applications, thus revenue, via a more accessible application process that is not reliant on the prospect walking through the doors to physically submit an application.  Our site teams now have less administrative work to do as all the information was entered by the prospect, monies paid online, and the site team now just has to follow up with the application as opposed to having to be the driving force for it to be entered into the system. Lastly, the prospect can apply for their new home from any computer or mobile device, from any location they choose, and can...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Pricing-revenue-management-softwareNOTE: This post originally appeared on the Multifamily Executive and was written in response to an editorial by MFE editor-in-chief Jerry Asicerto posted on April 18. Read Jerry’s piece here.  A rent increase of 50% dictated by revenue management may shock a short-term renter, but it appears more reasonable when one considers the long-term picture. I listened intently as Jerry described the situation last year that caused him to question the long-term value of pricing and revenue management software. So let’s start with the facts (at least as he reported them): He leased a unit for 12 months; Come renewal time, he wanted to move but needed to extend his lease; and He was offered a month-to-month option at a 50% increase on his then-current rent. From this, he felt like he “was treated like cattle” and concluded that revenue management software is essentially “anti-human.” Let’s look at this in more detail. Daniel Ariely, author of the seminal book Predictably Irrational, discusses how every “deal” we ever make has both an “economic” and a “social” element to the transaction. Imagine if humans were truly homo economicus, that elusive metaphorical species who makes decisions only on the cold, calculated mathematical realities of what’s in her or his best interests and candidly exists only in the minds of economists. For one thing, we’d stop buying presents for each other—they have a negative expected value (economically speaking). Because we have to guess at what the recipient wants, we’ll never buy the perfect gift every time. Economically speaking, both...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
I’ve always felt jipped out of the really cool amenities (heck, even really lame ones); first, there was school. I went to a tiny liberal arts college in Virginia. The campus was old, including the dorms for men, so amenities weren’t really a thing-- my freshman year was the first year the dorms had wifi (granted this was back in ‘09). Upperclassmen housing wasn’t much better, consisting mostly of town homes. We had wifi and cable, that was basically it. After college I moved across the country to Utah, lived in student housing a little longer (it was cheap!) and had as sparse amenities as I did in Virginia, and now I live in a condo owned by the bassist in my roommate/best friend’s band in a community where, you guessed it, we’re sparse on amenities. I think we have a tennis court? The point of the story is that the next time I move, if it’s not into a house, it’s going to be into a community with some freaking sweet amenities… and being able to afford it shouldn’t have to be a problem. By this point, many of these amenities should be standard. But what amenities should I be looking for? What amenities do people (millennials like me, specifically) really want? The most sought after amenity is a fitness center. But why not expand on that? Biking related amenities and anything related to the outdoors are on a rise. Adding an outdoor running and biking trail will give residents...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology

A few weeks back, a video came out about the "Connected Home", a discussion with Dan Daugherty, Lucas Haldeman, Steve Lefkovits, and hosted by Jacob Gerber.  It offered some absolutely great tidbits of information about how "smart" devices can and have been implemented in apartment units.  Here are a few of the points I found especially interesting, and feel free to watch the video below! Residents are looking for home automation for home devices, such as text alerts for safety reasons and smarter comfort controls. 31% of new renters chose to pay an ancillary fee of $20/month for automated features like the ability to control the locks and thermostat via a smart phone app.  Additional features offered include cameras, lamp controls, garage door controllers, and other devices. Pet cams and nanny cams are in high demand, as well as cameras in common areas.  For example, a camera in the laundry facility is helpful by helping show how busy the washing machines are. Lots of requests for washing machines that can text the status of the wash, as well as the monitoring of the amperage of HVAC units.  A spike in amps might indicate a unit that is about to go out, which would necessitate service.  They are seeing a lot of interest in tracking gym machine usage, such as what machines are being used, how many calories are being used, and other features relating to exercise and fitness. Utility companies will pay $35/year per device for aggregated utility data. Energy usage...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Google just launched a new feature for Google Plus listings. This new feature is called "Place an Order" which allows you to order food for delivery without leaving Google. It utilizes 6 of the top delivery websites such as: Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. They will be adding more as time follows. Now imagine a day when you can lease an apartment straight on Google. This may sound a bit far fetched but let me finish. Google has already taken over the market when you search for hotels, airplane tickets and many other major industries. I see a day when Google takes over the multifamily industry by creating a way for searchers to lock-in a lease right from Google without ever having to go to another site. Only time will tell if I am right or not. What are you doing to ensure your Google listing is being shown to your potential residents in your geographical area?  ...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
There are so many devices connected to the internet these days. They range from traditional desktop and laptop computers to phones, tablets, game consoles, televisions, cameras, and even baby monitors. And not all websites perform equally well on all devices. We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to navigate a site that wasn’t designed to be manipulated by fingers on a touchscreen—whether it’s because of buttons that are too small, menus that won’t stay open, or special features that won’t run. No one wants to waste time navigating an awkward website. A few years ago, a website that wouldn’t work well on mobile device wouldn’t have significantly affected your website traffic. But that has all changed. Recent reports1 indicate that there are now more adults in the United States who exclusively use the internet on their mobile devices than there are who exclusively use traditional desktop and laptop computers. Here are some basic stats: 60% of global mobile consumers use their mobile device as their primary or exclusive internet source2 45% of all email3 is opened from a mobile device 80% of American adults have a smartphone4 In other words, there are officially more people visiting your site from tablets and cell phones than there are visiting it from computers. With those kinds of numbers, no one should want to run a website that wasn’t mobile-friendly. What’s more, mobile-friendly sites now have an even greater advantage than a less-frustrating design. Just last week, on April 21st, 2015, Google changed5 the way their site and search results look at mobile-friendly websites. See,...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
You’ve written a great blog post on a topic you know your readers will love, and now you're ready to post it for the world to see. Not so fast! Before you hit “publish” make sure you blog post has these 5 key ingredients.   1. A Compelling Title Write a blog title that captures your readers’ attention and entices them to read the entire post. I know, I know…easier said than done, right? Well, start by thinking about your own online behavior. What are some blog titles that have compelled you to keep reading? Also, don’t be afraid to test out different title techniques to see what works with your audience. Here are some techniques you may want to try: Lists: 10 Must-Try Restaurants in Phoenix Negatives: How NOT to Find a New Roommate Still stumped? IMPACT has a fun blog title generator that can help get the creative juices flowing. 2. Subheads According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average human attention span is just a little over 8 seconds. You read that right -- 8 seconds!! Break up your blog posts (and make them easier for your readers to scan) by using techniques like subheads, bullets and numbering. 3. Captivating Visuals Compelling images can capture people’s attention in a way words alone can't do. Plus, research shows that visuals can actually make your content more memorable. According to Wyzowl, people only remember 20% of what they read, but they remember 80% of what they see and do. Think of ways you can show...