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Tips for selecting the right screening provider

Selecting a company to help screen prospects is one of the most important decisions apartment operators make. Simply put, it’s a decision they have to get right.   High-quality residents — those who always pay their rent on time and in full and are respectful of their neighbors — are the lifeblood of successful communities. When residents don’t fulfill the financial obligations of their leases, a community’s revenue is compromised, budgets are derailed and investor returns are diminished.    Bottom line: Apartment managers need top-notch screening providers to sign top-notch residents. So what should operators look for in a screener? Here are some tips.   Make sure the screener covers the basics. It’s imperative that your screening provider examine an applicant’s credit history and conduct criminal background and eviction history checks. Obviously, problems in any of these areas would raise major red flags.   Make sure the screener is on the lookout for fraudulent applications. In this day and age of hackers and identity theft, operators need to be sure their applicants are who they say they are. When interviewing potential screening providers, insist that they have technologies in place to verify consumer identities and spot fraudulent applications and identity theft. It would also be beneficial if the screeners havea means of identifying any aliases applicants may have used over the course of their lives.   Make sure the screener incorporates rental payment history. A high credit score doesn’t always mean a resident is likely to pay rent on time and in full, and a lower score doe......
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Top 5 "Kid Friendly" Amenities for Apartment Communities

Top 5 "Kid Friendly" Amenities for Apartment Communities
I recently posed a question to a group of developers...What if you started looking at your communities from the standpoint of children being the residents, instead of the adults? Now obviously, I'm not talking about a community where every unit is filled with slides and see-saws or kids roaming the grounds like Lords of the Flies. But it's a question to highlight what can be done if the primary motivation for the planning of amenity space, marketing and the overall feel of a community was done with children in mind.With 33% of all renter households (14.3 million) having minor children, it's an important question. And as more and more residents with children decide to rent instead of buy, having a true "family friendly" community can become a huge differentiator in the marketing and retention of tenants.So what would a community that is designed around the family and actual children look like?Onsite Daycare This may be a game changer when it comes to "family friendly" communities. One of the most significant issues for families is finding quality child care close to their residence. Having an on-site daycare within your community solves many problems for working parents and could be a tremendous asset to your residents. We see partnering with a local daycare to open in a retail section of your community or underused space. You get a great tenant that genuinely adds value to your community, and your residents get a one-of-a-kind amenity. On-Demand Babysitting With services like Care.com, you can set up a "portal" for your residents......
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Are You Aware Of the 7 Year Rule In Background Checks

I have found that many are not aware of the 7 year rule when running a background check so I wanted to be sure you are all fully informed. The 7-year rule states that all civil suits/ judgments, non-conviction arrest records, and paid tax liens can’t be reported in a background investigation after 7 years. This rule applies to every state in the U.S., some instances, states chose to take it even further with their regulations, such as in California, New York, and Kentucky, where non-convictions can’t be reported at all, except for pending charges. Most criminal convictions are not governed by the 7-year rule. (see this chart for some of the exceptions) Since the 7-year rule is a federal guideline it applies to all states for non-criminal convictions and to many states for criminal convictions, you may find that your background check provider will only provide information according to those parameters. People earning over $75,000 annually may see arrest information longer than seven years in the past included on their background reports due to a Salary Exception, but this also depends on the state. Before requesting the report from the agencies, employers are required to provide the applicant with a clear disclaimer of disclosure and obtain the applicant’s written consent of the query. The employer is also required to inform the applicant about the types of information that will be requested in the report. If the employer decides to take adverse action as a result of the report, they are requi......
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How-To Guide: Texting With Residents and Prospects

Renters-TextingTexting With Residents and Prospective Renters Over 81% of American adults use their phone to send SMS (Short Message Service) text messages, making it the #1 mobile phone activity. So, why aren’t apartment professionals tapping into this highly-used activity for business? Many property managers and owners assume that renters don’t want to be texted (it’s an intrusion) or the technology simply isn’t available. Well, I'm here to tell you those two thoughts are flat out false. Here are 5 how-to tips that every apartment leasing professional can use to start texting prospects and residents. Tip #1 Use Awesome Texting Tools Having a tool that is uniquely designed to communicate with prospects and residents via text message is important. Luckily, there are many real estate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software platforms that were developed with this in mind. When choosing a CRM, be sure to ask if it can: Capture a communication log of all inbound and outbound text messages, as well as emails and phone calls. Receive real-time alerts on both desktop and mobile for fast responses to inbound prospect or resident communications. Can be intuitively learned by leasing staff without causing tension in day-to-day processes. Easily integrates with your existing PMS (Property Management System). Tip #2 Only Text Those Who Want To Be Texted Text is the fastest growing medium over direct mail, email, voicemail and live calls. But, there are still the few that prefer more traditional forms of communication. Sometimes it’s easy to spot traditionalists, like when a landline is shared ......
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Top 5 Amenities Renters REALLY Want (and 5 they don't)

Top 5 Amenities Renters REALLY Want (and 5 they don't)
Everyone in the industry these days is talking about amenities. What renters want, what they don't, and what they will want in the future. The problem is, most developers aren't listening to the actual renters. Over my career, I have spoken with 100's if not 1000's of renters, listening to their wants and needs for a place to call home. Contrary to popular belief, not every renter is a millennial who wants a smoothie bar in their bathroom. The vast majority of renters have simple needs in a building or community when it comes to amenities. Real Closet Space When I say "real," I think we all know what we are talking about. Not the closets with one bar that can fit a shirt and jeans. We're talking about walk-in closets or ones with built-in storage. Renters these days are older or moving from established households and have more clothing. Many developers are "afraid" to take a portion of a bedroom to enlarge a closet, but I can tell you from first-hand experience, I think most of us would like larger closets and a smaller bedroom. More Storage This is a must-have for most renters these days. Unlike prior years, when renters were younger with very few things, today's renters are older and have amassed a lot of items. It's important to give residents enough space to make a difference, especially when units are small. I've never seen a renter say "I'm going to give up all my possessions so I can live in......
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5 Highlights of Donald Davidoff’s Multifamily Matters Interview

You probably already know that D2’s CEO, Donald Davidoff, revolutionized the multi-housing industry seventeen years ago when he led the team that built the first automated pricing and revenue system.  But he certainly wasn’t content to rest on his laurels. Donald, an engineer by training, has continued to transform the industry with a holistic viewpoint tied together by a common thread: data. Multifamily Matters, a national weekly radio show dedicated to interviewing the best in the industry, was eager to have Donald on as a guest so he could share his unique perspective. After all, as host Paul Marks pointed out, not only was Donald prescient about the multifamily industry’s need for analytics, he has continued to be a “legendary thought leader” for Pricing and Revenue Management (PRM). Here are some highlights from Donald’s hour-long interview, followed by a link to the full conversation with Paul Marks and Donald’s former client, Brian Hilton. Hilton is the current head of PRM at Simpson Housing, which was the second multifamily operator in the industry to implement PRM software.    1. How Did PRM Begin? Donald, who has been in the multifamily industry since it all started, shared first-hand stories about the origin of pricing and revenue management. Learn more about the 1979 airline deregulation, Archstone-Smith Trust CEO Scot Sellers, and Donald’s own involvement in building the first pricing and revenue management software for the industry. 2. A PRM Overview Marks asked Donald to break down pricing and revenue for listeners who might not be familiar with......
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Managing Racial Allegations in Online Reviews

The discourse about racism has penetrated almost every industry, and the apartment industry is no exception. Starbucks, H&M, and Roseanne Barr are among the more visible brands/personalities embroiled in these controversies in recent months. You don’t want your company or property to face the same challenges and their consequences. Today, residents will vent their concerns online, accusing the onsite staff or management company of engaging in discriminatory behavior. A typical complaint may include feeling belittled or demeaned by a team member because of race.Following are the common racial allegations and how to deal with them. Racial profiling Residents criticize one or more staff members of racially profiling them. Often a resident of color shares feeling marginalized due to the tone, attitude, and/or body language of a staff member. There may be a more explicit charge of name calling or using racial slurs. Sometimes, residents express delays in service requests as a factor of their race. Discriminatory enforcement of community policy Residents of color, sometimes, allege that onsite staff arbitrarily enforce community policies based on race. They express that staff imposes restrictions on them and not on “white” residents. For example, smoking on premises is disregarded for certain residents while residents of color receive a violation letter. In reviews, residents have accused a manager of simply showing more courtesy and friendliness to certain people and not others – who happen to be people of color. Neighbors are racist Another type of racist allegation is when residents accuse their fellow neighbors of being ra......
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How Real Estate Can Be Socially Responsible


Partners Joe Killinger and George Pino were recently guests of the "Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing with Rod Khleif" podcast. We've broken up the podcast into segments for convenience.

First topic of conversation is how #realestate brokerage can also be socially responsible.

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Customer Service Tip: Take Care of You!

Customer Service Tip: Take Care of You!
I admit it…I let my emotions get to me at work one day. I was alone in the office all day, and quite frankly, I was “done!” Have you ever been there? When you cannot handle one more phone call, or request, or someone asking “When is Amazon getting here???” and on and on and on. Well, I was having one of those days when the phone rang. That would have been enough to set me off because, as I mentioned, I was “done!” Did I mention I was “done????” Well, the customer on the end of the line was not happy with something; and while I don’t remember what it was that made me so mad, I do know that I took off my headset and threw it at my desk. As it left my hand I knew it wasn’t going to be good and I immediately regretted the decision! After the headset hit the desk and I saw a couple pieces of plastic go flying in the air, I KNEW it was a bad decision. Why am I telling you this story? I wanted you to know that if you have bad days, if you have days (weeks, months, years) when you’re over dealing with customers, that I totally get it and understand! Customer service is hard work. It’s not easy dealing with people day in and day out. It isn’t. Because people are messy, complicated, confusing, frustrating and unpredictable.  And yet, while we know that it’s understandable when we don’t give great customer ser......
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The Multifamily Executive's Quick Access Guide to Artificial Intelligence

ai-guide-blogThere’s a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) these days, so much so that it’s hard to separate the reality from the hype. Add to that the fact that multifamily housing (MFH) is typically a technology laggard, and it’s easy to assume that MFH executives can afford to wait a few years to see how things shake out before worrying at all about AI. Yet AI is potentially applicable to any business process that has measurable data inputs and a complex process to get to outcomes that are also measurable—a description that matches many MFH processes. Not surprisingly, AI has been accompanied by a tremendous amount of hype, myth and confusion. To help MFH executives makes some sense of AI, we’ve put together a quick guide on the key areas where AI can (and often should) impact your operation. We highlight: Call Center & Sales Support – Provide specific feedback in real time, based on the caller’s tone as well as the content of the conversation. Marketing – Google (and Bing) don’t want us to be able to reverse engineer their algorithms. Let AI optimize these algorithms for pay per click (PPC), paid social and paid digital platforms. Learn how AI can overcome the complex challenges for customer segmentation for email campaigns and more. Influencing Basic Customer Interactions – Replace unreliable voice-activated personal assistants, associate and resident interactions with more reliable AI-driven chatbots. Let AI handle functions from service requests to much of the initial prospect inquiry phase, learning and expanding its capabilities each time it encounters a......
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