Guest (Jack Weissman)
Great advice Shelby! I feel like the level of professionalism in our industry has improved over the...
Making it easy for the resident to submit a service request is important, too. If the problem is sma...

Training Trivia

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

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Posted by on in Miscellaneous
I'm recently returning from a trip to Disney World.  Need I say more?  The land where dreams come true!  The land of hopes, your return to childhood and of course the last stop for all of your savings!!  After paying about $100 a day for tickets to this "land where dreams come true" I enter "The Park" (and by The Park, I mean a park a day as Disney World offers 4 amazing parks, 2 water wonder lands and several food and entertainment venues to choose from).   After you are able to actually get into a park, either by walking two miles from the parking lot, by tram where we are squished between two crying toddlers who clearly were awoken from their slumber, or forced on a ferry or monorail to get to this "magical kingdom" you are greeted by smiling faces!  I mean it we spent 4 days in and out of Disney and even the lady whose job it is to walk around the park looking for gum and scrape it off is smiling and even humming the Disney propaganda.  So how do they do it?  How can Disney possible get their tens of thousands of workers to drink the Disney juice, even when they dealing with crazy people who spit their gum on the ground so others can step on it, even when they have to do that 2 mile trek into work EVERY DAY, even when some of them are the 100 degree heat for hours...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
There are many types of apartment owners out there.  Some see a cash flow and say, “I am doing well!” and the other see a cash flow and say, “How can I improve or increase my cash flow?” There are those that look at the numbers, perform due diligence, hire the management company and look at the income statement. There are those that roll up their sleeves, get out on the property, and smother their property managers. Then there are those that constantly try to improve.  Whether it is studying their target market, monitoring satisfaction ratings and training to improve them, income optimization,  shortening the time it takes to “turn” or make a unit ready to lease, focusing on collection of “other income”, etc., there is always room for improvement. The first type will often see opportunity to increase their profit by cutting costs or deferring maintenance.  These owners often view themselves as shrewd, conservative, and good business people, but often teeter on the edge of being a slum lord.   Others recognize their property is an asset, not just a cash flow.  The value is far more than the cash flow.  Upon sale, many investors base their offer on capitalized value, but you often see offers re-traded to take into account the deferred or poorly handled maintenance issues.  These physical issues that come up during due diligence often cost the owner far more in the final sale price than it would have with small investments of time and effort along the...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Budget season is upon us, which means you’re probably on the hunt for ways to save money. Well, one savings strategy you may be overlooking is retaining your current residents. Multifamily professionals spend a lot of time, money and energy on acquiring new residents. But it’s time to shift some (or even a lot) of that focus to your current residents. After all, vacant apartments are expensive. On the other hand, retaining your residents year after year can save you money and improve your bottom line. Looking to improve resident retention in your apartment community? Read on for a few tips. Welcome Residents WarmlyResidents want to live somewhere that feels like home. It’s as simple as that. Start off on the right foot by giving new residents a call or stopping by in person to introduce yourself and ask how their move was. Consider providing a packet of information to new residents with helpful information about your community, like the fitness center hours and how to submit a work order. But don’t stop there. After a new resident has moved in, be sure to smile and greet them by name when you see them out and about. Create a Sense of CommunityResidents who play together, stay together, so be sure to provide your residents with opportunities to meet their neighbors and get involved in your community. Consider organizing social events on a regular basis, such as quarterly or twice a year. Extend personal invitations to new residents to encourage them to attend these events and meet their neighbors....

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Do you want to make sure your ads reach people who have already shown interest in your apartment community? You can easily reach people who have visited your apartment’s website by adding Remarketing to your current campaign. This feature helps you follow-up with what could be potential residents, tailoring a message to encourage their return to your site and maybe even to close the deal. Especially if you are already using Google Analytics, adding Remarketing is simple and can quickly improve the performance of your campaign. All it takes is some additional code, or remarketing tags, on the pages of your apartment site. Visitors will be added to a remarketing list, and will then receive your targeted ads. You can rest assured that these ads are reaching the right people at that pivotal moment of deciding whether or not to rent from your apartment community. Through Remarketing, you can set ads to display during online browsing time, during Google searches and even on mobile apps. Strategic Remarketing can help drive sales and promote more online awareness of your apartments for rent. Add Remarketing to your current Google campaigns and start seeing an increase on ROI (Return on Investment), making an important connection with new renters. ...

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...