Multifamily Blogs

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Topics relating to construction and development of multifamily properties.

3D Floor Plans, Virtual Tours, & Renderings- A look at how virtual tours can increase pre-leases.

    Pre-leasing can make or break the success of a new apartment community, especially in today’s competitive multi-family market. Adding assets like 3D modeling, virtual tours, and interior renderings allow developers, property managers, and real estate marketing leaders to create more interest in their properties before the construction process is complete.   By using these tools in your marketing plans and content you are able to connect with future renters and give them the visual information they need to make a decision on whether or not your property is the right fit for them at an extremely pivotal time in their buying journey.    1) Why Would I Want a Virtual Tour or Interior Rendering? The obvious answer here is that it is literally impossible to showcase what your spaces will look like without these assets while your property is being built.  3D floor plans, virtual tours, and interior renderings give you access to digital assets that can accurately and effectively present your property's key features when it is physically impossible to show them.   2) What Makes a Good Virtual Tour or Interior Rendering? Accuracy. The purpose behind creating these assets while your property is still in the construction or developmental phase is to accurately present what the interiors and exteriors of your spaces and units will look like. The idea here is to be as close to a real photo or video as possible. Having photo-realistic visuals ensures that what future renters are seeing matches what they wil......
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Why Designing Modern Properties Requires Thoughtful Access Control

Why Designing Modern Properties Requires Thoughtful Access Control
Why Designing Modern Properties Requires Thoughtful Access Control   Until recently, access control into and around rental properties was considered a basic necessity, a line item that didn’t need any in-depth thought or design work. As long as locks took keys, intercoms buzzed people in, and keypads worked with codes or fobs, access control remained an integral — if not unremarkable — property design element.   But technology is changing all that with connected solutions that enable modern necessities like keyless curb-to-couch entry, secure package delivery, and unattended showings. These indicate that rental property management staff and owners should expect access control to be both a necessity and an amenity. The good news is that it’s relatively simple and cost-effective to implement new connected access systems into new construction and existing buildings.   How to Think About Access as Part of a Property’s Natural, Unique Layout   Below are some of the most common use cases we saw in 2020 that we think will continue to grow in 2021, along with insights around feasibility and ROI.   1. Resident doors: Keyless locks at resident doors not only enable a smart property experience for residents, but also provide major conveniences for both residents and property staff. For one, connected keyless entry makes easy-to-lose physical keys unnecessary. This eliminates the costs for key management systems and the time and money spent managing keys — which can take upward of 20 minutes per work order. It also removes the liability, safety, and cost issues that come up whe......
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The Benefits of Vertical Integration

The Benefits of Vertical Integration
If you were to ask my take on vertical integration in an apartment company, in a nutshell my response would be something like this: "If done correctly, the benefits are enormous. But you have to do it for the right reasons. Otherwise, it's easy to mess it up." Over the years, I've seen too many apartment owners create their own property management and construction divisions for the wrong reasons. Maybe they simply want to be able to tout their vertical integration to help them raise big money. Or perhaps they're just focused on maximizing the revenue streams these entities may create.  If you're an owner with these motivations, I'd strongly recommend against launching an in-house property management and/or construction company. The chances are, things will go wrong before they go right.  But if your focus is on building in-house divisions with the proper expertise and experience in place to optimize the performance of your own portfolio, then you and your investors can reap significant benefits from vertical integration.  For starters, when you have your own property management team running your apartment communities, they're bound to be extra motivated to do all they can to boost property performance and the bottom line. Plenty of third-party managers out there do great work – I'm not saying they don’t – but a fee manager's compensation structure might not necessarily result in them doing everything they can to maximize a property's revenue and performance. Stated another way, you're (hopefully) going to look after your own child......
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Why Plumbing Fixtures and Cabinet Hardware Don’t Have to Match

Why Plumbing Fixtures and Cabinet Hardware Don’t Have to Match

In the 1980s you couldn’t wear a brown belt with black shoes. 

 

Now you can wear whatever.  

 

Same principle applies to fixtures and hardware. 

 

With the right application, you can marry polished nickel plumbing hardware and matte black cabinet hardware.  

 

Or gold pulls and chrome pull down faucet. 

 

Please don’t let your property manager select these. 

 

It can just as easily go poorly. 

 

Or look bland by picking a “color suite” of finishes. 

 

But get it right and your property can really stand out. 

 

 

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Protect Multi-Family Flooring Projects From Concrete Defeat

The demand for low-cost, moisture resistant and waterproof flooring continues to grow at a rapid pace, and for good reason—with the right approach, the results are durable, low maintenance and long-lasting. Although the focus tends to be on cost per square foot and the flooring material itself, following strategic steps before the flooring goes in will save you from expensive repairs down the road. While the right system may cost a little more initially for many multi-family projects such as hotels, college dorms and apartments, it will provide significant savings when it comes time to replace flooring. Over the course of my career, I have seen more than my fair share of moisture-related flooring disasters in both commercial and multi-family spaces. My hope is that the information I cover below will help protect your investment and your sanity.  Map Out Your Priorities  Your focus may be on installing flooring that is affordable and moisture resistant or waterproof. You may also have your sights set on choosing environmentally friendly materials with low-VOC finishes and sealants. I recommend thinking in terms of the total cost of ownership and return on investment. With all of this in mind, we must look underneath the flooring surface. What Makes a Flooring Material Waterproof?  Before we jump into waterproofing specifics, it’s important to note that while waterproof flooring material is non-permeable by definition, it takes more than the right material to ensure overall waterproofing success. Even when the flooring itself includes some form of plasticizer or PVC, it ......
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New Construction Marketing Experience

Introduction So you've broken ground on your new property...Now what? Traditionally, construction is completed and then marketing begins. Often, this leaves nearly a year (or more in some cases) with zero outreach. In a perfect world, you would collect and nurture leads, blast emails, and market your property while it's being built! Not to worry, this world is not a Stranger Things parallel universe; it exists right here, right now.   New Construction Marketing NCM - New Construction Marketing - is marketing that allows you to market your property before the roof is even on. With New Construction Marketing you can: Collect & Store Leads Engage & Nurture Leads Distinguish Leads Outreach Quickly & Easily Migrate Leads to Your CRM   Collect & Store Leads Instead of your regionals and marketing directors dealing with leads they don't have time for, a good NCM experience collects and stores leads throughout construction so you never miss an opportunity. Make a Splash...Page Consider this, a good NCM experience starts with a splash page to direct and engage prospects to your property website. This allows you to showcase your future property and begin collecting leads.   Engage & Nurture Leads Engagement, tracking, and nurturing is time-consuming especially with no established staff during construction. NCM experiences automate these processes allowing you and your team to simply set it and forget it! Starter/Full Marketing Drip After your splash page is up and running, a good NCM experience offers a series of blast emails and drip campaigns. These emails feature your......
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Multifamily Construction

Multifamily Construction
As 2020 winds down and I think about multifamily construction lending in 2021, I expect to see sidelined construction lenders re-enter the market amid more efficient capital markets.  Multifamily has been a desirable asset class, and as concerns of exposure to COVID -19 subside, projects in this sector will continue to attract favorable financing terms especially when they are in a growing or high demand market with an experienced development team.  We are optimistic that we will see diminishing numbers of COVID hospitalizations and deaths, encouraging vaccine news and better therapies in early 2021. Loan terms, rates and LTC for multifamily construction lending vary from project to project and amongst types of lenders. Two to three-year initial terms are typical along with extension options. Rates for a recourse construction loan is currently below 4% for the right sponsor and project.  Non-recourse is approximately 100 basis points higher. LTC on a non-recourse construction loans will stop at 60% LTC, however additional players can be added on to bring the total solution to north of 75% LTC.  Recourse financing will push leverage higher and pricing lower. Recourse lenders requirements typically include a full or partial repayment guarantee in addition to debt service, bad boy, environmental and completion guarantees.  Non-recourse lenders do not require repayment guarantees and typically do not require a debt service guarantee. I expect to see the most multifamily construction financing activity in the top 25 MSA’s and gateway cities. Some of the MSA’s with growing demand drivers are Austin, Denver, Sal......
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Community Banks Filling the Void Left by Large National Banks

Over the last several years the larger banks have dominated the multifamily lending market. It seems like Chase was the first lender on the list any time a multifamily deal came into our brokerage. If not Chase, then it was a similar large bank, and the smaller local banks were typically an afterthought. COVID has changed all of that. The big banks that previously had a bit of a stranglehold on the multifamily market are now busy dealing with forbearance and other issues brought on by the pandemic and are no longer offering the most aggressive terms. Nowadays, agency loans (mortgages offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are the hottest thing on the market. They are offering historically low rates and high LTV’s along with other attractive terms that make taking the agency route an easy decision. However, there is a void to be filled for multifamily loans that do not meet the agency criteria – and the community banks are filling that void. 9 months ago, those loans that couldn’t go the agency route but were still considered good, clean deals would be snatched up by a big bank. Now that those banks are no longer aggressive in the multifamily market, the community banks have an opportunity to step up and grab those deals. And for many borrowers, these community banks will provide some extra advantages. For one, community banks lack the strict rigidity of larger banks. They often have a little more wiggle room when making deals and will ......
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When and How Much Should My Community Charge for Parking

When and How Much Should My Community Charge for Parking
"How much to charge for a parking space" is a common concern we hear on a frequent basis. A lot of communities, specifically in the multifamily industry, struggle with knowing how much and when to charge for parking due to the concern of negative response or backlash from residents. It is an unfortunate reality, that offering free parking at a community such as an apartment complex or shared condo parking lot can lead to numerous issues and even place a higher long-term cost on the local community itself. Overcrowded lots result in unhappy residents that spend additional time searching for parking; which is just one issue that can arise when there is no cost tied to parking a vehicle onsite. Parking Lot Supply and Demand Considering if a multifamily community or apartment complex has fewer spaces than it has units or is above the average of 1.88 vehicles owned per household (according to the U.S. Department of Transportation), the demand outweighs the supply causing a parking deficit. This results in parking problems such as residents wanting to park their vehicle close to their own home only to find out the space has been taken by a neighbor's guest who has been occupying the space for far too long. This can be managed effectively by pricing out permits based on the deficit. Every city has building codes which allocate a specific number of parking spaces per unit, however depending on the data that was used at the time of construction, this may......
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Top 5 Tools for Managing Renovations

Real Estate portfolios strive to increase asset value by pursuing renovations and other strategies.  Yet the tools available to manage such strategies haven’t changed dramatically even as technology has continued to evolve.  To understand the pros and cons of the various available tools, one needs to understand the key criteria considered to renovate.  Then, one can analyze the most popular software tools against these criteria.   The decision to renovate is typically financially driven and can be determined looking at the expected revenue gains and costs versus not renovating at all.  Given that renovations require a unit to be vacant, a company must manage their renovation schedules to minimize vacancy loss within reason.  If not paying close attention to all of the activities required to be coordinated between staff and suppliers / contractors, renovations can easily drag on much longer than expected, resulting in higher costs and greater challenge in meeting the financial goals. With this in mind, we provide what is believed to be the most important criteria for evaluating a renovation software tool/solution: Does it track financial performance of the renovations over time? Is it user friendly and intuitive? Does it allow for easy data collection (including pictures) for efficient reuse for future tasks? Does it enable efficient collaboration with suppliers and staff? Does it provide execution insight allowing for proactive decisions to save money and for ensuring critical tasks are completed?   Renovation Tool Criteria Financial Performance Tracking When undergoing any investment, it is critical to understand whethe......
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