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Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
If you live in DC and you'd like to find out of your home or multifamily community has a lead water service line, check out https://geo.dcwater.com/Lead/
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Posted by on in Property Management
By Scott Matthews  The summer months present a perfect opportunity for managers to reinstate a sense of community by bringing residents together in the patio, courtyard or other outdoor common areas. Outdoor space can serve as everything from a venue for social gatherings to a relaxing oasis for renters to recharge and dine. Use the space as a way to differentiate your property from competitors, helping to attract and retain residents. Here are a few projects to upgrade the outdoor space. Refresh furniture Encourage community onsite with patio furniture that allows residents to relax and dine with their neighbors. When choosing the furniture, invest in fabric material that is durable and water-resistant to withstand wear and tear. Another factor to consider is the frame material. If portability is important, choose lightweight materials, such as plastic, wicker or aluminum. For sturdier furniture that can handle strong winds, choose wood or wrought iron material. Read the entire post: Ways to Transform Outdoor Common Areas...

Posted by on in Property Management
Tenants want amenities that add perceived value to their monthly rent, but a recent National Multifamily Housing Council study has revealed an evolution of thought when it comes to what certain amenities are worth to renters. While the pool and the fitness center are still in the top five amenities your renters want, other common areas have become just as important to these potential long-term tenants. The Top Four Things Renters Want The most important amenity your renters want is close-in parking. Nearly 95 percent of the 120,000 resident surveyed said parking is their number-one, make-or-break issue when shopping for a new rental home. A community pool came in second on the most-desirable list, closely followed by fitness centers and gated community access. Improve Offerings and Services to Attract the Best Tenants It’s not enough to just have a fitness center anymore, however. Developers are consistently doubling the size of community fitness centers—and other common areas—to provide more value to renters who have come to expect it. Your prospects may be willing to pay more in rent for a property with more gym equipment, a saltwater pool, or the option of covered parking. Ultimately, renters want amenities that are more than a bullet point on a sales brochure. They want facilities and services that are modern, clean, and that they can actually use. If space is an issue, consider reducing the size of the leasing office; you won’t need space these days for all those filing cabinets, so take advantage of...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
When Jake and I purchased Park Place apartments, we knew that the property was underperforming and we had a terrific opportunity to “force” the appreciation on the asset.  The property was grossing only $53,000 per month due mainly to poor management.  Our goal was to implement our three-step repositioning framework, increase the Net Operating Income significantly over the next twelve months, and with some luck, refinance the property. The next twelve months proved challenging, but with determination and hard work, we were able to increase the revenue to over $80,000 per month.  We implemented RUBS (ratio utility billing), began to charge all types of fees (late, pet, application), and raised the rents to market.  We drove the income on all different fronts, while focusing on reducing expenses. At the end of eight months, we began to shop around different lenders to refinance the property.  We received our first appraisal in December from a CMBS lender, a disappointing $5.7 million.  (We purchased the property at $4.075 million, but we felt the appraisal still came in light)  The lender just could not comprehend how we turned around an asset within eight months, and delivered a very low appraisal. We then approached another CMBS lender, and as you can see on the picture above, we were met with more resistance.  At this point, we were losing faith in getting a deal done.  This is where our mantra kicked in: Patient, Persistent, but Willing to Walk Away. We decided to seek out another lender who would give us the best terms. Finally, almost a year after...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
In competitive markets where there are more available apartments than prospective tenants, renters have the luxury of being selective. Rather than simply settling for the first available apartment that meets their needs, in many cities, there is enough supply of vacant apartments for a renter to shop around and compare the amenities that are available at each apartment complex. In such markets, the apartment complex needs more than a large clubhouse and an infinity swimming pool in order to outcompete the apartment complex down the street. Staying in touch with the most cutting-edge amenities can be vital to a property management company. Adding cool and unusual amenities such as the ones mentioned below are considered low risk investments which are guaranteed to yield ROI in a shorter period of time. At Trimark Properties, we believe that it is essential to understand our renter’s needs and to provide amenities that help us stand out from the crowded and competitive market for apartments in Gainesville.   Here’s a list of 4 cool amenities in our Gainesville apartments that our tenants rave about. 1. High-Tech Peepholes: Believe it or not, the peephole that we offer is a guaranteed conversation starter. The upgraded peepholes from Door Scope offer a revolutionary, high-tech version of the conventional peephole. These peepholes provide an undistorted view of the outside of an apartment from up to 7 feet away from the door. Our tenants love the non "fishbowl-like" view of the outside which is flat and crystal clear as opposed...

Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
The NAA Conference & Expo is next week, and for those who have been before, trying to visit each booth in the Expo is just about impossible, as there are  just so many great companies to visit.  So somehow, we must narrow down our list of booths to visit.  Normally, we don't allow advertising in the comments here, but for this blog we are making an exception!  Vendors, share below why the Insider community should visit your booth!  Who has the best story to tell?...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
The NAA Education Conference is fast approaching and it's a great chance to connect with other industry leaders and multifamily professionals in San Francisco. If you have a spare travel day or two, San Francisco is a beautiful city with attractions for all types of travelers. When you’re not at Moscone Convention Center from the 15th to 18th, here are 10 fun sights (in no particular order) that we recommend seeing. – The Golden Gate Bridge When travelers think of San Francisco, they often think of this iconic bridge in the city. Take a bike ride across the bridge or have a picnic at one of the nearby areas overlooking it. One of the Wonders of the Modern World, the Golden Gate is the longest suspension bridge in the world at 4,200 feet. It’s not a trip to San Francisco without catching a glimpse of this famous landmark. – Fisherman’s Wharf Not too far from Moscone is Fisherman’s Wharf, a popular tourist attraction that overlooks the scenic bay area. Fisherman’s Wharf includes attractions like Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square, Buena Vista, and many fresh seafood restaurants. Come to Fisherman’s Wharf to dine, shop and see the many attractions, including street performers and even sea lions. – San Francisco Cable Cars  San Francisco is famous for its unconventional transportation: cable cars. Hop on a cable car and see the city in a brand new way. They are both scenic and convenient to Moscone. The trolley tour is an experience you can only get in...

Posted by on in Property Management
If you think that climate change has nothing to do with property management, think back to the last time you experienced a weather event at your managed properties. Hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, deep freezes, and other weather events can affect the property and units. To be prepared, property managers must anticipate how climate change will impact their buildings and plan for protection. The Real Effects of Climate Change While the debate on climate change continues, everyone can agree severe weather can cause real, lasting damage to property assets. Imagine the effects of a flooded basement where renters have stored their things, or where your common laundry facilities are located. Or consider how a wildfire brought on by drought and dry weather could ruin your landscape and your apartment in a worst-case scenario. The best way to protect your property is to understand the risks you face and be prepared. Consider the different weather events that could impact you, and then plan ahead. Do a test run of your disaster recovery strategy to make sure everything works. If you’re nervous about flooding, for example, you may relocate expensive equipment to higher ground or perform preventative maintenance. By safeguarding gutters and downspouts, cleaning drains regularly, patching cracks in the foundation, and installing a sump pump, you can mitigate water damage. For added insurance, invest in a wet vac or set up a priority arrangement with a local water damage company.  Since flooding may disrupt electrical systems, install a generator. With many disasters, time is...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Every year businesses budget thousands for market research. Prices may range from a few hundred dollars for general market overviews to tens of thousands for customized market-specific studies. But before you start shelling out the big bucks to find out what the market thinks about you and your properties, take a moment to consider the information that is already freely available to you. Where is all of this valuable market data, you ask? Look no further than your social media accounts and reviews. That’s right. Resident complaints and feedback provide real and specific opportunities to find out what’s important to your prospective renters and identify the details that will make your properties more appealing. Sometimes your residents are going to walk into your office and tell you exactly what they think. But these days they’re just as likely (or more so) to do their venting online: where the whole world can see the problem. Some properties, hoping perhaps to avoid this potentially ugly challenge, have adopted policies that restrict the rights of residents to post their dissatisfaction online, or as in a recent example, actually added a clause to the lease forcing residents to connect with the property on social media. These policies are not only the source of widespread criticism and ridicule, they have the potential to make it harder for properties to benefit from the honest and open communication that the internet facilitates. Finding ways to effectively “listen” to resident complaints, whether they’re received in person in the leasing office or...

Posted by on in Property Management
Just because rents are up is no reason to become complacent with your property investment. If you’ve chosen to hold onto your assets, now is the perfect time to get ahead of the inevitable tapering off of rent growth by instituting a five-year property improvement timeline. It’s easy enough to start with smaller changes that add a high-end feel at a lower price point, and then go for bigger upgrades as you reinvest naturally rising rent surpluses back into your property. Year One: Add More Units Depending on your location and the market forecast for your area, now’s the perfect time to add more units to your multifamily property. Take advantage of a booming market to invest in generating more income in the future. Year Two: Surface Upgrades Regular move-out maintenance is a great time to give your property a facelift with durable and attractive upgrades to countertops and floors. Vinyl, wood-look flooring and man-made countertops that add the look of granite without the cost are your best bet for the highest ROI. Opt for surfaces with proven applications in multifamily—time-tested durability and ease of cleaning are a must. Year Three: Big-Ticket Investments This is the year when you’ll need to think long-term. Those new countertops won’t do much for outdated cabinetry. Simply re-facing existing cabinets with a sturdy skeleton is one way property owners can save money while adding a “wow” factor to kitchens and baths. Replace roofing with durable and attractive materials that will see your property through the...