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Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
a1sx2_Rain Apartment Marketing_Rain-Apartment-Marketing.JPGI am definitely not arguing this is a good idea, but I really like thinking about new concepts, even if they can't (or shouldn't) be implemented, as it can sometimes get the creative juices flowing!  So today I bring you - The Rainy Day Marketing Approach.  Basically, when we think about marketing our apartments, we almost exclusively focus on bright, well-lit rooms.  But there are also other environments that also appeal to people in a home setting.  For example, some people find a gentle rain or light thunderstorm as soothing.  If you talk to those who are big readers, you will find a large chunk whose ideal day is to snuggle up under a warm blanket, with a cup of tea by their side, reading an engrossing book, all while the rain gently patters against the window.  Want to get a sense of what I mean?  Click on the image below to find what I think is probably the best web-based rain simulator I've ever seen.  I guarantee there are a lot of people that probably have this webpage running in the background just to feel that sense of calm and soothing that comes with a gentle rainstorm.  From a marketing perspective, I would love to see a community use different landing pages tied to different marketing campaigns, so that they could realize the entire scope of how different residents live.  For example, some residents want to see that bright, sunny room.  Others might want to see a cozy, soothing room...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
I recently met with a first-time multifamily investor who was in the search phase for the perfect property. We discussed the importance of neighborhoods (i.e., location), current tenants, property classifications, and the many other considerations that go into such investments. Then, he made an interesting statement. “If I offer all-bills-paid, I won’t have to worry about anything else as much. Everyone likes having all their bills paid.” While there’s truth in the statement, I found it to be a great opportunity to discuss the unique considerations that accompany such properties. Here’s a brief recap: It’s not widely applicable. You can’t just choose any property and make it all-bills-paid; at least, not without considerable additional investment. All-bills-paid properties are designed as such, without meters on each individual unit. While you can turn a property from an all-bills-paid property to one that is not, and vice versa, there is an associated cost. So, it’s often best to purchase a property that is already setup to accommodate your planned pricing strategy. Your pricing strategy will determine the type of tenants you attract. He was right when he said that everyone likes all-bills-paid. And, for this reason, all-bills-paid properties rarely have vacancies. Yet, the stereotypical tenant for these properties aren’t always on-time with payments, don’t always take care of the property the way they should, and aren’t likely to be loyal, long-term tenants. Understanding this as you go into the decision to offer all-bills-paid will at least help ensure you have realistic expectations of what’s...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Hey, how did you hear about us? It’s a question many businesses ask new customers in order to pinpoint which advertising channels are most effective. But renting an apartment home is much different than calling a cleaning service or trying out that new coffee shop. The apartment search process is much more involved. In turn, the way apartment operators attribute where their leads come from should be just as involved. Conventional wisdom suggests attributing leads to either the first or last website the prospective renter visited. The logic is either that the first touchpoint garnered the awareness or the last touchpoint closed the lease.  With the amount of information available in an increasingly digital world, that method leaves something on the table. An apartment search is an emotional journey for the prospective renter. With Internet Listing Services, community websites, social media, traditional media (TV, radio and print) and word of mouth, every lead can actually be attributed to several sources regardless of when the prospective renter saw the listing.  To pinpoint where the leads are coming from, a multi-touch attribution model is the most comprehensive solution. Multi-touch attribution is the act of determining the value of each customer touchpoint leading to a conversion. This helps determine which marketing channels should be credited with the conversion, and where you should allocate more budget.  Multi-touch attribution assigns a weight to each touchpoint in the search process to help determine which sources were most integral in closing the lead. For example, let’s say a...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
When I made the jump to multifamily investing, I was unsure of the steps I needed to take to get into my first deal. I was very familiar with buying single-family homes, but fear and doubt was building inside me just at the thought of buying a multifamily property. The objective of this article is to create a roadmap for you to follow on your first multifamily deal. I would like for you to read the 7 Steps To Success In Real Estate. This article focuses on the actions all real estate investors need to take in order to become successful. This article will drill down into multifamily investing and present a framework for you to follow. Let me outline the steps and then describe each step in more detail: Choose market/begin research Contact brokers Start to build a team Begin analyzing deals 100-10-1. Analyze 100 properties – Bid on 10 – Acquire 1. Write Letter of Intent Negotiate and begin to acquire financing Create purchase and sale agreement (Contract) Perform due diligence Renegotiate – address any needed repairs/issues Close   Choose a marketThe majority of investors who are new to multifamily investing focus on the deal, and pay very little attention to the market. My focus is to first zero in on markets that have job growth, household and population growth and favorable demographics. Read our article on analyzing markets to learn how to invest in an emerging market. I would rather invest my time and money in a market that is exhibiting...

Posted by on in Student Housing
While it’s difficult to predict the future, one thing is for certain – the student housing market will continue to grow. How exactly it will grow and evolve is something a bit more difficult to predict.   By looking at current and forecasted trends, it is possible to paint a picture of what the future might hold for the student housing industry. Here are a few predictions being discussed.   The amenity race will come to an end.At some point, purpose-built student housing professionals will simply run out of ideas when it comes to one-upping the competition with unique amenities. They will also identify some luxury amenities that aren’t attracting residents and determine the additional cost may not be worth it. Campus Advantage agrees, and predicts that the end of the amenity war is in sight. Campus Advantage stated that location is the most important amenity; far more important than the bells and whistles stuffed into luxury buildings. Student housing centralization will be the focal point.This point should come as no surprise. With location being the most important aspect of student housing for developers and students alike, we’ll continue to see centralization around campuses. Housing located miles away from campus will become increasingly less desirable as more properties become available in close distance to campus. Many college and university towns are now seeing high-rise purpose-built student developments being built and it is enabling a higher volume of students to live near campus. Axiometrics demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between proximity from...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
If you’re having trouble recruiting millennial employees, you're in trouble. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce last year. And their share of the labor pool will grow in the coming years as more graduate from college and baby boomers retire. But if your property management company is having trouble attracting millennials, you're not alone. In a 2014 survey commissioned by Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding, 53 percent of hiring managers reported "difficulty finding and retaining millennial talent." Apartment owners/operators should get better at recruiting this generation because of the many positive qualities millennials bring to onsite community teams. They have been unfairly painted as "entitled" and "job-hoppers," among other negative stereotypes. In reality, millennials bring energizing doses of entrepreneurialism, technological know-how and creativity to apartment teams. So, how can your company improve its recruitment of millennials?  • Emphasize a Bigger Picture. Millennials want more than a paycheck. They long for jobs that give them a sense of mission and make them feel part of something bigger than themselves. Working to ensure that residents have quality, safe, clean housing and enriching experiences at their communities can provide exactly that sense of mission. Property management companies should make sure they emphasize this in job descriptions and in-person interviews.   • Give Them the Long View. Millennials also want to be where they can grow. They're often criticized as being restless, but if they know there are opportunities for advancement, they're as loyal as the preceding...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
airbnb-logo.png A couple of weeks ago, AirBnB announced its Friendly Building program. By applying to join, multifamily owners can control which units are eligible for short-term rentals as well as terms such as lengths of stay, number of nights, etc. And the landlord will earn 5 to 15% of the tenant’s revenue on any rentals. Then last week, at the MFE Conference in Las Vegas, I met an owner from Kansas City who was testing renting two units to a small business that placed units on AirBnB. This business was paying a 60% premium for those units on a 12-month lease. With all of this new activity, I thought it might be a good time to discuss the opportunities and potential challenges with AirBnB in multifamily. There are three ways in which apartment owners can participate in the sharing economy: 1. Allow residents to sub-lease through sites like AirBnB. This is what the Friendly Building program is all about. 2. Allow businesses or individuals who have no intention of living at your community to lease apartments (at a premium) that they will then sell on sharing sites. 3. Participate directly by furnishing one or more units and marketing them for short-stay through AirBnB. These options each come with their own set of considerations. I’ve sat in on at least four industry conference panels or presentations, and here’s a summary of the concerns that I’ve heard. Liability. The biggest concern seems to be a fear of liability. I’m not an attorney, but my...

Posted by on in Property Management
I worked for a big company as a Regional VP and was ready to leave. It was just time. The owner of the company, who had always driven Toyotas bought his first status car – a Jaguar. When I gave my notice, he said if I stayed I could use his brand new Jaguar for a year!   First, he didn’t have a clue what motivated me, although I’d worked for him almost 10 years. Second my mind was made up. But 3rd and most important, the notice period was very awkward because I wasn’t planning to stay and a good employer/employee relationship soured a little. So don’t do the “Jaguar!” Don’t ask the person to stay, offer them more money, or negotiate, no matter how tempting.  Even with your best employee ever. MAYBE there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, it’s not a good practice. Here are 3 reasons why: 1.Even the best employee has had to “divorce” you in his/her mind in order to accept another position. In fact, they have had to consider ways the next option is better, and possibly come up with things they don’t like about your company.  In most cases, even if they stay, they don’t stay long, so you still have to replace them anyway.   2.If you have to offer them more money to stay, there is always the question in the back of the departing employee’s mind: why wasn’t I worth that before I gave notice?  And that can...

Posted by on in Property Management
About a year and a half ago I blogged about sexual harassment in housing.  At the time I had recently been an attendee and speaker at the Fair Housing Matters conference.  There, Bryan Greene, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, was a keynote speaker who paid homage to those women who exhibited their courage in standing up to landlords whose housing discrimination and sexual harassment rose (or more aptly, sank) to the level of being despicable.  More recently (last month in fact) I attended the annual fair housing conference at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Keep in mind that most attendees are passionate civil rights supporters who work for HUD or FIPs or FHAPs or who are in private practices that mainly bring plaintiff’s cases in the world of fair housing.  During these classes I learned that the DOJ (Department of Justice) Civil Rights Division had successfully brought to conclusion the largest ever sexual harassment case in DOJ history.  For those of you who like case references and are inclined to read about this in much greater detail than this blog provides, check out United States v. Southeastern Community and Family Services (M.D.N.C.).  For those of you not so-inclined who would rather just hear the pertinent details, here goes… ·         The Complaint was filed against Southeastern Community and Family Services, and two employees: John Wesley (Section 8 Housing Coordinator responsible for managing the Section 8 waiting list, determining the distribution of Section 8 benefits for applicants and...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
A few months ago, we had an absolutely fantastic webinar with Lisa Trosien, who discussed the idea of Lead Nurturing.  On first blush, people tend to confuse "lead nurturing" with creating a simple follow up strategy, such as scheduling phone call follow-ups within 2 hours, then within 2 days, and maybe again after a week.  What Lisa shared, however, was well beyond a few simple follow-ups, as she helped to redefine what those follow-ups could be. For example, when most people think about follow-up, they tend to follow a common script: "I just wanted to check in and see how your apartment search is going" "Are there any questions I can answer for you?" "Can I follow up with you again in a few days?" In all of those interactions, the goal is fairly self serving - we are ultimately trying to pry out any information about their potential sale with us.  But with lead nurturing, it is much different - the goal with each interaction isn't designed to get something from them, but rather add value to the prospect, and ultimately build a goodwill bridge between them and the property.  For example: Share a link to an article of the "top 10 things people often forget when moving". Share a comparison resource for different schools in the area. Share a list of qualified movers that can help in their move. Share a curated list of the top 10 restaurants in your area. These are all things that are value-add -...