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Leasing Up in London - Familiar Challenges in a New Multifamily Market

  Last week I was in London – the city where I grew up and spent most of my formative years. I have never used trips home to view multifamily real estate, but this time was different. A couple of weeks ago at NMHC Annual, I attended the session that provided an overview of London’s Wembley Park project. With that presentation still fresh in my mind, I couldn’t leave my home town without taking a tour of the development. For those unfamiliar with the project or its locale, Wembley is home to England’s national soccer stadium. It is familiar to most people as a concert venue, the home of the annual FA Cup final, and the iconic site where England won the World Cup (in 1966). Although it is not far from central London, all paths lead to the imposing stadium that dominates the whole area. Crowds arrive for the game or concert and then leave – or at least that’s the way things used to work. Today a revolution is underway that will change that forever. Inventing a Neighborhood and an Industry The Wembley Park project is exciting for a number of reasons. First of all, it includes 7,000 units of high-end, high-rise residential real estate. Having grown up in London that’s a jaw-dropping idea. Stadium aside, Wembley was an unlovely suburb in which relatively few denizens of London aspired to live. You’d pass it on the North Circular (the Northern half of London’s “inner loop”) but would seldom linger. That looks set to change. A vibr......
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7 Crucial Questions to Address Prior to Implementing Self Tours

7 Crucial Questions to Address Prior to Implementing Self Tours
The shiny new object of our industry in 2019 is “self-guided tours,” allowing prospects to visit communities and tour without a team member. While allowing someone to tour themselves isn’t new, and was how less professional buildings conducted operations even as recent as a decade ago, this time it’s here to stay.   With the evolution of technology, the self-guided tour experience can now be purposeful, intentional and fabulous. Before jumping in the self-tour deep end, however, there are crucial questions to address. Of course, there will be lessons learned and pivots to perfect this approach, but thinking ahead will create a better experience and save headaches down the road. Remember when Facebook was a new shiny object and properties started creating pages with fake birthdays as if the property was a person? Then the page sat stagnant because there wasn’t a plan on how to implement and manage them.  Knowing the objective is half the battle.   As you determine whether you want to implement self-guided tours as an option for your prospects, think through your objective, your brand and the experience you want prospects to have. Consider what industries and businesses have effective self-service business models and what you like about their models from your local grocery store to Silver Car.  Then, address these questions: Will prospects have a choice or will self-guided tours be the only way to see a home? Will prospects be able to tour outside of the office hours? How will you verify people who will be walking t......
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From Imagination to Implementation – MICA in Review

MICA II 2019 (8 of 53)As long-standing supporters of the annual AIM conference in Southern California, we had been looking forward to the launch of its south-eastern sister conference – MICA (Multifamily Innovation Conference Atlanta) – which took place last week. The inaugural MICA event promised a showcase for innovation in one of the nation’s multifamily industry hotbeds, and it didn’t disappoint. An impressive crowd experienced a program that ranged from the creative, cutting edge of marketing to the nuts and bolts of implementing the innovations that residents are increasingly expecting of multifamily providers.  First, the “Wow Factor”  Day One featured – amongst other things - Frederik Eklund, uber-successful New York residential real estate broker and the star of Million Dollar Listing. Besides bringing some much-appreciated stardust to this new meeting, Frederik shared insights into brand-building in the New York luxury real estate market. The themes are familiar: beyond location, location, location, high-end buildings are increasingly using hospitality-like services and experiences to attract buyers. The discussion on stage was punctuated by some quite beautiful examples of websites for multifamily properties. The content reminded us of the ways that immersive, persona-based branding is helping to establish the lifestyle experiences that attract today’s discerning residents. Interestingly, the discussion turned at one point to self-show, and its appeal relative to current leasing experiences. A show of hands revealed that only one company represented in the audience was currently inviting prospects to conduct an unaccompanied tour. Those following this area of multifamily technology will be unsurprised to learn that it was a single-family housing company.......
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Ten Questions You Should be Asking Yourself about Leasing

iStock-949178104Recently it's been my privilege to interview 20 senior multifamily executives to get their viewpoints and understand their priorities for the next few years. (The interviews were part of our research for a new white paper that we'll be publishing soon - you can pre-register for your copy here.) Through the interviews, one thing was crystal clear: most companies see sales as a top training priority for 2019. Readers of this blog will not be surprised by this finding - we have long been calling for a revolution in multifamily sales. Multifamily leaders seem to agree, and there are good reasons for that: after a decade of growth in multifamily, the sales muscles have perhaps not received the most rigorous of workouts lately. It makes sense to strengthen them before markets start to soften - whenever that is. While the motivation to change and upgrade sales is clear, the question remains: what is it that we should be changing? Through the experience of working with companies to help boost their sales performance, we’ve found ten questions that will help you understand what your opportunities are. Ask yourself these ten questions about your organization: 1. Is your leasing process driving higher occupancies and rents?Of course, it is - we train our leasing associates to close as many leases as possible, right? However, think of the sales conversation at your property: do many of your prospects become residents because of the leasing process? You can only say yes to this question if you think your agents ar......
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The Ultimate Luxury Apartment Marketing Guide

Luxury Apartment MarketingThe national apartment market is predicted to grow by over 450,000 units in 2019. According to Fannie Mae's Director of Economics & Multifamily Research, this will be one of the largest supply increases in the past decade. Most of this growth will be concentrated in ten metros, and as many of you have might guessed, most of this new supply will be for luxury Class A units. (Multifamily Executive) The industry trend towards new luxury development has been going on for years. In 2012, only half of all new apartment builds were considered high-end. In 2017, 79% of all new multifamily construction were luxury builds (Yardi Matrix).  A recent Bloomberg article aptly described the situation, “Tenants are gaining the upper hand in urban centers across the U.S. as new amenity-rich apartment buildings, constructed in response to big rent gains in previous years, are forced to fight for customers.”  Luxury communities are competing against more properties than ever for a small, high end portion of the rental market. If you're in charge of marketing a luxury community, you might be feeling the affects of this increase in supply. Now more than ever, luxury communities need to take a strategic approach to their marketing efforts. In this guide I share some of the strategies, observations, and advice I picked up working at a multifamily marketing agency with a track record of helping luxury communities sustain and grow occupancy rates in competitive markets. Understanding Your Place in the Luxury Apartment Market Understanding the market surrounding your......
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Four Common Misunderstandings about Centralized Revenue Management

iStock-944574186There’s an interesting debate we’ve seen start to percolate in pricing and revenue management (PRM) these days—whether to have pricing authority centralized or whether to decentralize it. From the examples we’ve seen with clients and prospects, there seem to be three approaches:  With centralized pricing, there is a team of PRM experts in the headquarters (or home office) generally regarded as having pricing authority. They may (should) collaborate heavily with the field, but in the end, they control the process and the data flow.  With decentralized pricing, pricing authority is delegated to the field. This can reside solely with operators/sales teams or it can be structured such that a divisional or regional VP has her own pricing person collaborating with her team.  A third option we’ve seen involved establishing a centralized PRM team but leaving pricing authority clearly in the hands of field operations/sales. In this scenario, the central PRM team acts more like a set of advisors or internal consultants as opposed to controlling the process the way a “pure” centralized approach would.   The case for decentralization   Often, the preference for either of the latter two comes from a desire to “empower” the field to control their own fate. They get bonused on business results, so the logic goes, “Why not give them full authority where they have responsibility and get rewarded (or punished) accordingly?”  There are some compelling elements to that thought process. It makes sense, for example for pricing to “live” closer to where the customer is. Pricing can have a more intuitive understanding of local market conditions and make decisions more quickly when pricing associates ar......
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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......
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Raising Rents While Getting Resident Buy-In: Key Takeaways from Netflix

What are you binging these days on Netflix?

I ask because I totally know you're watching something. The streaming service currently has 118 million subscribers globally. Odds are, you're one of them. Oh, also, I'm always on the lookout for more shows to watch. Currently I'm watching You (and really considering changing the passwords on all my devices), as well as giving Tidying Up with Marie Kondo a shot (while getting anxiety sweats over whether an old 5K t-shirt is really sparking joy or not) and throwing in some Parks and Recreation for good measure (Chris Pratt).

So, assuming you're a subscriber, what did you think about the news that Netflix is going to be raising prices—its largest increase since launching the streaming service? Annoying, but you're going to keep using the platform, right? 

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Why The Challenger Sale Matters to Multifamily Leasing

iStock-833441596If you're anything like me, then this is the time of year when your nightstand groans with books that friends and family kindly sent you over the holidays. You feel grateful and daunted at the workload entailed in reading those books in equal measure! You reach for recommendations and reviews and other data points to decide which text gets to the top of the pile. Every now and then a business book comes along that everyone in your field seems to talk about and recommend. One such book from a few years ago was The Challenger Sale - a text that was so revolutionary when first published in 2011 that it has become a framework for sales strategy, talent management, and training in sales-driven companies ever since. While the book centers on research carried out in B2B sales organizations, its findings are highly relevant to multifamily leasing. Here I will explain why that is. First, the background.   The Challenger Sale is based on a seminal piece of 2009 research by the Corporate Executive Board into the behaviors of different sales representatives and their levels of success. The analysis segmented salespeople into five categories: Lone Wolves - those who primarily rely on their natural wit and charm and operate with relatively little support Problem Solvers - those who take a more consultative approach, digging deeply into how their companies' solutions solve customers' problems Hard Workers - those who put in long hours prospecting, following up and seeking to make their numbers by the law of averages Relationship ......
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What’s next in Multifamily: Co-Living?

What’s next in Multifamily: Co-Living?
  The majority of young professionals don’t want to live with their parents until they get married. However, they don’t want to live alone, either. While not entirely new, Co-Living, or shared housing is on the rise. It is most prominent in London and New York where housing prices are forcing residents to seek out new and innovative ways to rent in big cities without breaking the bank. Co-living isn’t really all that new. The Baby Boomers started the communes to escape an oppressive and rule-driven way of life. Millennials, on the other hand, like having rules and a sort of parental authority. They are searching for co-living housing of no more than 4-10 people. Co-living communities enable viable lifestyles through sharing and economical use of resources and space.  A diversity in their roommates, different backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages is desirable. Not anyone they work with, but people that they can be friends with. Developing relationships is more important than square footage. Places, like Ollie have houses in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Residents unite around a common interest to collaboratively manage a communal space, share resources, and organize activities which contribute creatively and academically to the world around them. Ollie boasts amazing amenity spaces that invite their residents to shape the lines of life, work, and play with areas such as communal lounges, pools, gyms, spa areas, juice bars, roof decks, and flex spaces. As an Ollie member, residents have an all-access pass to the amenity spaces of an incre......
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