Enter your email address for weekly access to top multifamily blogs!

Multifamily Blogs

This is some blog description about this site

More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand

More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand
I’m often asked for tips and tricks on how to improve a community’s online reputation.  Over the last year or so these requests have become more frequent, as companies are realizing a positive online presence can directly impact leasing and renewal decisions.  I think it’s great we have an expanded awareness throughout our industry and I’m happy to offer any insight and support as needed.  “Reputation Management” is now a commonplace term within our industry, so much so that it is in jeopardy of becoming “white noise”; falling into the same lane as topics such as Fair Housing.  While teams know it’s important, they also feel as though they’ve learned all there is to know.  One Community Manager once told me “Unless something ground breaking happens, or it’s mandatory, I really don’t want to go to another reputation management class.”   Wow, harsh words, but I get it – I live and breathe this stuff daily so I’m not surprised that once standing room only crowds have dwindled to half-empty rooms.  Such was the case a few months ago when I presented at a conference. My first question to the audience was “Okay, let’s be honest…how many of you drew the short stick?” While many chuckled, many more nodded.  For our industry, reputation management tends to center around percentages and ratings.  Fixation over scores is a slippery slope because in reality, scores are low on the totem pole for renters.  We surveyed visitors to ApartmentRatings, hoping to determine which components of a community’s page was most valuable.&nbs......
Continue reading
787 Hits
4 Comments

All About Convenience: 5 Value Adds for More Renewals

All About Convenience: 5 Value Adds for More Renewals
I once read a social media post where a customer wrote a personal thank you to a popular grocery store.  In his post, he explained that he attempted to enter the store, not realizing it had closed ten minutes prior.  He found the entrance locked, however a manager opened the door and asked how she could help him.  The customer explained he just needed to get one item and didn’t know the store had closed.  As he turned to walk back to his car, the manager invited him into the store and told him to take his time getting the item he needed.  The man hurriedly grabbed the item and headed to the checkout.   At the checkout, he was greeted cheerfully by a cashier who proceeded to ask if the customer needed anything more than just that one item.  The man told her that he didn’t want to hold them up and would come back the next day.  The cashier smiled and responded, “You should get it now.  That’s what we’re here for”.  The customer told her that his one item was enough, paid for his purchase, thanked the cashier and left the store. As he sat in the parking lot, he felt compelled to write about his positive experience.  Not only had he arrived ten minutes after the store had closed, but he was allowed to enter the store and make his purchase.  He also was given the opportunity to continue shopping without feeling rushed by employees who were ready to go home ......
Continue reading
2694 Hits
2 Comments

5 Steps to Solving the Social Media Conundrum

5 Steps to Solving the Social Media Conundrum
In 2017, our Online Renter Study determined that social media was not a key influencer with renters.  During the search for a new home, only 14.1% of renters said they used a community’s social media page as a source for information.  And when asked if the community’s social media presence factored into the overall decision to lease, the consensus was “no”; placing social media at #46 out of 48 in terms of importance.  So, if social media holds little value for prospects, does the same hold true for existing residents?  Our Annual Satisfaction Survey helps connect the dots even further.  We know, based on 1.6 million survey responses, the #1 driver for resident satisfaction is perception of value.  Bottom line, residents want to know they are getting their money’s worth where they live.  But what drives value?  What are the things teams should focus on to convince residents to accept a rent increase and stay another year? Perception of value is tricky because value itself is subjective.  Consumers in general would gladly pay more for certain purchases because in their eyes, it’s worth it.  Whether that is a certain brand of coffee or the top of the line SUV, price is only an issue in the absence of value. Every 6 months we examine the correlation between the survey questions of our Annual Satisfaction Survey and perception of value. After our most recent analysis, we were surprised at the results.  The #2 driver for perception of value was social media.  What stunned us ......
Continue reading
1889 Hits
1 Comment

5 Techniques for Negative Reviews: Bring It!

5 Techniques for Negative Reviews: Bring It!
In the past, the world of online reviews was like the Wild West.  It was a no holds barred, every man for himself kind of environment – truly survival of the fittest.  It wasn’t surprising to see responses just as shocking as the reviews themselves. I was one of those managers who loved negative reviews.  Want to gripe about your apartment, the management team, or post an outright lie?  I'm all about it Mr. Resident.  Let's do this.  I responded point by point for each resident grievance until I realized defending my team and our honor was not the answer.  Most reviewers were either one foot out the door or already gone.  And those who weren’t simply needed an avenue to vent or finally get the management team’s attention. 5 techniques for tackling the bad and the ugly. 1. ICYMI – In Case You Missed It.  Some residents have simply misinterpreted the terms of the lease which can lead to a review that misinforms potential future residents.  Reviews about unreturned security deposits (“They stole my deposit”), additional fees (“Why is there a pet fee and deposit”) and the like are perfect opportunities to clarify your policies and educate those possibly considering your community. 2. RBTL – Read Between The Lines.  A review which spans the entire length of a resident’s 5 year stay, documenting in great detail every negative event (resolved and unresolved), almost begs for a lengthy response in return.  Don’t take the bait - it’s important to ignore such temptation.  Realize......
Continue reading
3671 Hits
2 Comments

Reputation Management Is Not Enough

Reputation Management Is Not Enough
Bold statement, I know.  But as someone who is embedded in the world of feedback, I witness the impact ratings and reviews have on the leasing decision every day.  In a recent user poll conducted on ApartmentRatings, we asked people to tell us their reason for visiting the site.   Check this out: •58% plan on signing a lease within 7 days •91% were visiting to read reviews before deciding where to lease •29% said their final site was ApartmentRatings •78% were basing their decision off the reviews they read on ApartmentRatings Combine these findings with the results from our SatisFacts “2017 Today’s Online Renter Study” and the picture becomes even clearer: •81% of renters researched their options online before making any type of contact with the community •71% trust online ratings and reviews as opposed to 36% who trust the community’s website When the need arises for a new apartment home, renters pick up their phones, tablets or computers and begin the search.  They collect as much information found online as possible – availability, floorplans, photos and yes, online reviews.  They also talk to those closest to them (77% trust friends, family and co-workers) to whittle down their options even further. By the time they call, send an email inquiry, or walk through the doors of the leasing center, they have a good idea where they’d like to live.  The tour merely at this point is a means of verification.  Renters want to know what they’ve seen online is true in real life.  And for ......
Continue reading
2165 Hits
0 Comments

I Miss Apartment Living: 5 Things Would Be Homeowners Need to Know

I Miss Apartment Living: 5 Things Would Be Homeowners Need to Know
This month marks my second year as a home owner and I truly miss apartment living.  Buyer’s remorse? More like the apartment blues.  Don't get me wrong, I love my home but I jumped into things with all of the wide eyed exuberance of a first time buyer.  I had big plans for my new home; remodeling, painting, hardwood floors – the works.  Now that all of the work has been done and the newness is wearing off, the reality of what it means to own a home is overwhelming at times. Articles abound describing the pros and cons of renting versus buying and while arguments can be made on both sides, highlighting the cons of home ownership could sway residents into staying a bit longer at your community.  Beyond the move-out calculator, here are 5 things to impart upon residents who are considering the switch. 1. Maintenance – kind of a no brainer.  Maintenance is usually our go to defense when residents talk about home buying.  But let’s go a bit further.  Do residents have a full understanding of what entails a professional service call?  Plumbers, electricians and the like incorporate additional fees such as trip charges and diagnostic testing on top of labor and material costs.  Some companies often do not have the proper licenses and insurance coverage – things apartment residents may not know to ask. ACTION ITEM: Create an itemized list of costs associated with common household repairs.  2. Neighbors – where to begin.  If there is one sticking po......
Continue reading
4880 Hits
6 Comments

Turn of Phrase: 5 New Takes on Multifamily Lingo

Turn of Phrase: 5 New Takes on Multifamily Lingo
Every morning as I was growing up, my dad would put a single word on the refrigerator.  It was the family word of the day.  Before bedtime we had to give an example of how the word influenced our day.  Some words were easy such as “friend” and “smile”; over time they became more mature like “altruistic” and “fortitude”.  Early on I learned that words held the power to affect my actions and decisions.  I adopted the practice when I became a parent and now my daughter is in an eternal love affair with words. Interactions with residents and prospects are predominantly verbal and the words we use can help or hurt our efforts to lease and renew.  It may seem improbable that a single word could do all that but we know when it comes to multifamily, nothing is improbable.  Here are five words I believe we can work into daily conversations to win over prospects and residents. 1. Home – As an industry, we’ve moved away from sterile words such as “unit”.  Early on in my career, I was taught to use the term “apartment home” because it sounded warmer and gentler to the ears.  But what if we can soften things up even more and instill a little pride in ownership to boot?  Next tour, try your best not to use the word “apartment”, instead stick to saying “home” – a simple switch that relays a sense of comfort and dignity.  “Well John, I think I have the perfect home just for you.” “Hi Mary, ......
Continue reading
1839 Hits
2 Comments

Bust a Move: 5 Marketing Strategies to Try Now

Bust a Move: 5 Marketing Strategies to Try Now
So there’s this guy who stands at the corner of a very busy intersection in my neighborhood on the weekends.  He’s not your average sign spinner – this dude is beyond awesome.  He has been known to literally cause traffic disruptions because drivers can’t take their eyes off of him.  He spins, kicks, flips, robots and boogies like no other.  Funny thing though, I have no idea who or what he’s advertising.  Although entertaining and mesmerizing, many would consider him an epic marketing fail. Unfortunately some apartment communities can relate; the bells and whistles, the stuff you read in a brochure or see on a website, all add up to the sign spinner in our world.   Our sign spinners are successful at grabbing attention but not so successful at closing the deal.  Why the disconnect?  Traditionally, our marketing strategies have been product centric.  Successful strategies today are focused on the consumer. Consumers.  It’s all about them and what they need.  People don’t buy products.  They buy satisfaction of unmet needs.  And for consumers, needs are non-negotiable.   I once read an article that illustrated this point flawlessly.  In the article, a man was attempting to sell a used jeep equipped with a snow plow.  His ad contained photos and all of the pertinent information along with the subject line “Jeep with Snow Plow: Great Condition”.  The man ran the ad for 2 weeks with zero response.  Making only one change, he revised the subject line: “Be Your Own Boss: Start Your Snow Removal Business To......
Continue reading
1841 Hits
2 Comments

Forget Your Rep, Worry About Mine!

Forget Your Rep, Worry About Mine!
Here’s a hard truth; residents could care less about the jobs that we do.  Residents have no clue what a day in the life of a multifamily professional entails.  I should know – I used to be one of them.  As a resident, I thought management teams had the easiest jobs in the world.  Planning parties, answering the phone, maybe showing an apartment here and there, how hard could that be?  You can only imagine how quickly and dramatically that theory was eviscerated the day I began working onsite. Management teams are a special breed.  At its core, teams do their very best to make sure residents are happy where they live.  Aside from putting in long hours, dealing with a multitude of different resident personalities and watching the bottom line to ensure owners are profiting from their investments, teams also have to contend with not-so-nice things being said about their performance in online forums. Reputation management has become prominent and prevalent in recent years.  Back in the day when I was leasing, very rarely would a prospect mention that our online reviews were the reason we were chosen over a competitor.  Nowadays, it’s commonplace for a prospect to outright take a community out of contention or sign on the dotted line squarely based on what they read online. Just as a community’s reputation is vital to its success, a resident’s own reputation can determine where they call the next year “home”.  Our SatisFacts Insite Q1 2016 analysis, released just 3 days ago, sug......
Continue reading
2604 Hits
10 Comments

Residents: 5 Truths About the Most Underrated, Most Underutilized Marketers on the Planet

Residents: 5 Truths About the Most Underrated, Most Underutilized Marketers on the Planet
Remember when prospects battled like shoppers on Black Friday - scratching and clawing for a handful of underpriced, supersized vacant apartments?  If you answered yes, chances are those days are long gone.  Marketing is essential to leasing and retention; without it communities become ghost towns and owners disappointed in the teams hired to manage their assets. Beyond the banners, balloons, and latest gimmick of the moment, marketing is most effective when the message is conveyed by those who believe in the product itself.  So, if the goal is to market a lifestyle, as opposed to an empty box, who better to spread the word than residents at your community?  Here are 5 truths that point to why residents can be a powerful marketing ally. 1. They have an extensive network – the wider the net, the better.  Family, friends, co-workers, friends of family members, friends of co-workers, the cashier in the checkout line, their children’s teachers …you get where I’m going with this.  As discovered in our “Today’s Online Renter Study”, 74.4% of apartment hunters trust the opinions of people they know.  You never know where the next lead will come from and residents could be a powerful and FREE marketing channel. 2. They love to brag – and will do so to a worldwide audience.  In the same study, 61.0% of residents said they would be willing to post a positive review if asked by their management company.  Talk about low hanging fruit!  Especially considering that 67.7% of apartment hunters trust online re......
Continue reading
2199 Hits
2 Comments