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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Perhaps more than any other generation, millennials are having a profound influence on CRE design. The real estate industry has taken notice and certain trends catered to millennials are starting to become the industry norm. According to the most recent population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest living generation. The office, multifamily, and retail sectors are all changing to adapt to this emerging generation. Office Goes Collaborative Of all of the CRE design trends influenced by millennials, changes in the office sector may be the most apparent. Long gone are the days of expecting college graduates to jump at any job opportunity that provides them with a cubicle and a company computer. The wants and needs of this generation are much different from their predecessors. For instance, millennials are more inclined to pass up good job offers for opportunities that they find more comfortable. One company who recognized this trend and was quick to act upon it is WeWork. WeWork provides custom built-out office space for companies ranging anywhere from 1-100 employees. This offers employers optimal office space flexibility. The beauty of WeWork is that most of their workspaces are large and open such that more than one company can occupy the space at a given time. Aside from WeWork and other collaborative workspace providers, some employers are doing custom build-outs of their own offices to attract younger employees. These new offices offer perks rarely seen before in this industry. Some examples are: Free Food...

Posted by on in Property Management
One of the continual determinants for residents in choosing a new apartment is comfort and a sense of home. An attractive and audience-appropriate color palette that complements the architectural elements of an apartment is a surefire way to better attract and retain residents. The millennial demographic is the primary age group that pushes color change because of their innovative and change-driven ideas. Additionally, the baby boomer generation has been passed by millennials who are now the largest demographic in America. According to an interior designer at Sherwin-Williams, “They are a large demographic and they have new and differently inspired vantage points. Because of that, they are influencing everything.” This revelation is especially important for us at Trimark Properties since an enormous portion of our residents in Gainesville are students in the millennial generation. Since consumer demand is now driven by this generation, we as property managers need to adjust our own strategies to understand what millennials want in their housing. Today’s popular multifamily paint colors are transitioning from neutral, muted tones, to vibrant colors – a reflection of the ever-changing times and futuristic ideas. There is a mid-century revival occurring in the real estate market today that steers away from the previous idea of muted, khaki colors. Today’s color trends are bringing back color palettes from the early and mid-20th century to add a new spin on interior design. Eras such as the roaring twenties valued vibrant, bold colors that we should be utilizing in our apartments. Now, millennials are looking...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
It’s common knowledge in the multifamily industry that as properties age, they experience complications and failures of essential services including their various piping systems.  Historically, investors have stayed away from these properties due to the misperception that a leaking property is a money pit. However, an older property in need of a repipe doesn’t have to be an automatic disqualifier during the acquisition process. Recently, savvy investors have been specifically seeking out these types of properties, knowing they can scoop them up at great prices and have the repairs completed at a reasonable cost. With turnkey contractors who are able to quickly and cost effectively complete a repipe without having to move out residents, buying a property in need of pipe replacement can be a great financial investment if you plan ahead. By building the cost of a repipe into your transaction, you can very quickly realize some significant gains. Taken at face value, property owners are hesitant to invest in pipe replacement because new pipes (installed behind patched walls) have no curb appeal and an ambiguous correlation to increased rents.  However, what is often missed in the financial analysis of the potential acquisition is that a repipe can significantly improve your bottom line. Reduced maintenance/operating costs, decreased damages, fewer insurance claims and increased resident retention all contribute positively to your operating budget, and can often quickly offset the costs of the repipe. Those benefits, paired with the reduced purchase price of a leaking property, can all add up to a...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
At this very moment I am watching TV, checking my e-mail, Facebooking, reading an article about The Psychology of the Walking Dead, texting, and writing this blog.”   You see it everywhere, Ad's for new electronic "fix” touting the capability of using technology to accomplish several things at once. The "skill" of multitasking is a highly sought after attribute that can be found in many job postings and is widely used in the strengths sections of résumés. People pride themselves on being high-performing team players wearing the "I Am a Multitasker" badge loud and proud. Guess what? It's BS. The human brain is not built to work this way. Recent revelations in brain research tell us that the brain doesn’t (and can't) really do multiple tasks simultaneously, as we once thought. Actually, all we are doing when we claim to multitask is just very quickly bouncing between tasks. Any time we move from answering the phone to texting, emailing or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain.    That start-stop-start process is rough on us. Rather than saving time, it costs time (even very small micro seconds), it’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time it can be energy sapping and lead to massive amounts of stress, burnout or depression. In the business world, where concerns about time-management are all the rage, warnings about workplace distractions borne from a multitasking culture are on the rise. Newer research is concluding that workers are taking...

Posted by on in Property Management
A Budget Including Amenities Can Help You See and Save Green! It's that time of the year again: the preparation of next year's budget for your community. Your budget is likely to cover a lot of different areas; from marketing and sales to staffing and screening. While these are necessary for the property to keep functioning, make sure to make room for amenities. Amenities can increase occupancy and drive increased revenues. It can also be used in your marketing efforts to generate leads. When budgeting for amenities, there are a few things you need to consider. If you follow these three steps, you'll be good as gold! Survey The best amenity is a wanted amenity. A good way to gauge interest in a potential amenity before purchasing is to survey your community.  What do they want? What amenity adds convenience for them? What's going to make them want to renew their lease? You may think your community desperately needs a guinea pig playroom, but you better check first. An amenity collecting dust is a waste of money and isn't generating ANY revenue. ROI Stemming off of the first point, when you figure out what amenity or amenities your community wants, it's important to consider the ROI. You don't want to commit to an amenity with a short lifecycle. You're looking for an investment with long-term results. This can be challenging, especially when trends can come and go. Doing your due diligence through research will be vital to making sure your addition isn't a dud. Find industry resources...

Posted by on in Property Management
When going to the NAA Education Conference and Exposition, it can always be a challenge to decide which education sessions to attend.  Fortunately, I managed to hit the jackpot by attending the session, Strategic Procurement.  Rather than my typical blog post format, I thought it would be best to simply share the many tips I was able to jot down during the session:  (I have attributed when possible) 1)      My first tip was a general overall observation by Eric Broughton of eSupply Systems, who noted that marketing topics get so much more love, even though maintenance and other community spend is over 3X larger than  marketing.  In other words, in our professional development, it might be more fun to go to marketing-related events, but are we also making sure to hit the "less sexy" aspects of property management that might make a bigger financial impact? 2)      If you use a variety of vendors for the same function, there are certain drawbacks, such as additional non-compliant spending, issues with uninsured workers on the property, and a diverging product because of different suppliers.  Also, soft costs can go up, such as having to process multiple invoices and deal with multiple deliveries. 3)      Although online invoicing can mean vendors have to sign up with a variety of payment processing entities, Krystin Reuter of Avesta noted that it can also be a help to vendors by reducing payment times.  She saw processing time reduce from 23 days with a paper invoice to 7 days from...

Posted by on in Property Management
As a residential property manager, you’re likely already gearing up for the 2017 budget season. As busy as property managers are with the many hats they wear — marketing and sales, screening prospective residents, assisting with all manner of residents requests, and more — most understand that putting together a solid budget is critical for financial performance all year long. A budget tells you where you are and where you’re going, and it helps you measure your progress along the way. It provides an organized and easily understood look at money coming in and going out for anyone who might need the information, including your staff, community investors, and financial professionals. It’s also an invaluable tool for you in assessing how your community is performing, identifying any fat to be trimmed, and adapting as situations change. As you prepare your 2017 budget, take a look at the tips below to help make the process as painless as possible. Review industry dataVisit the library, use an online database, or search online to review standard income, expenditures, profit margins, and other metrics for your industry. You can find lots of free information simply by searching online for various keywords, and you can also find annual reports from market research firms that give away some information for free and include others for a fee. Generate methods for increasing revenueIf your community isn’t at full occupancy, create a marketing, sales, and communications plan before working on your budget. Does your website need work? Should you...

Posted by on in Student Housing
Nostalgia can be incredibly powerful; that certainly has been demonstrated with the release of Pokemon Go in North America!   Pokemon Go isn’t just for kids either; baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z’s are all playing, which has attracted the attention of business and marketers. While coffee shops, cafes, and bars appear to be the first businesses to catch on to the marketing potential of Pokemon Go, other industries are watching and taking note.One realtor in Victoria, BC has already started to utilize Pokemon Go to lure interest into a home for sale. He’s not the only one doing this either; there are reports from San Francisco, Cincinnati, Williamsburg and more with realtors and renters using Pokemon Go in their marketing strategies. Student housing is an industry that could cash in on this opportunity in a few different ways.  1. Pokemon Go Lease Promotions:Some student housing properties are on the (poke)ball and have already launched Pokemon Go related marketing campaigns. Take RezOne Waterloo, for example. They are currently running a promotion where level 17+ Pokemon Go players can get a $200 Visa gift card when they sign a lease. Another example is The Hub at Columbia, where they are incorporating Charizard into a ‘hot summer deal’.Considering the bottom line is most important in apartment marketing (signing leases), it takes some brainstorming on how to employ Pokemon Go marketing strategies that generate ROI and lead to signing leases.   2. Catch-‘Em All Resident Party:   Credit goes to Axiometrics for coming up with this one – hosting a Catch-‘Em All resident party. Normally, a successful...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
We all know the importance of keeping a sharp mind in the maintenance field, but what about working just as hard on your physical fitness? Most of us maintenance supervisors have been in this game for a while. Many of us are a little older than we would like to admit. We are a wealth of knowledge but are we giving our company and co-workers 100% if we deliberately allow ourselves to get so far out of shape that we are no longer able to convert our knowledge into action? Working out 30 minutes a day will not only improve how you feel, but also improve your ability to get-in-there with your co-workers and not just tell them how things should be done but SHOW them how to do it. If your people are like mine and most hands on learners, they learn a lot better when you physically show them. For those of you who are in the student living side of this business you understand how demanding 7/31 through 8/15 can be! We’re on our feet 12 to 16 hrs. a day, going up and down stairs and living here in Arkansas it’s as hot as you know what!!!!  If you can’t physically keep up, your people will be over worked and looking to you for help but you will have nothing left to give.  Don’t be that guy.  Moral of the story, your fitness affects more than just yourself in your work/personal life. Live Well.    J John Jones...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Dear Gabby,   What is a Net Promoter Score and why is it relevant to me?  #JohnnyDollar$igns     Dear #JohnnyDollar$igns,   I’m a little disappointed. I thought your submission was going to go down something like this… JohhnyDollar$igns: I want to share everything with you Dear Gabby: Let’s start with your bank account   **Sigh**…maybe one day. But I must say, I love the question. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is something that I get asked about quite a bit. It measures the loyalty that exists between a supplier and a consumer.  You know, like the reason you’ve been going to the same tailor for years…because he really suits you.   Well, this loyalty metric calculates NPS scores ranging from −100 to +100. For example, cheating ex-boyfriends typically land in the -100 range while a mythical creature like Prince Charming would land in the high positive zone.  If you happen to find a Prince Charming, please capture it safely, keep it alive, and bring it in for additional research. I’d like to study it and figure out how to replicate it.     Net Promoter Scores are calculated using the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” (1-10 Scale)     Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.  Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative...