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How to Maximize the Space of Your Rental Property

image4.jpgMany landlords and other property owners try all sorts of methods to increase the value of their property. It’s always advisable to do so as you can receive some excellent returns for minimal effort. The same goes for the space in your property. There are many methods that you can use, many of which amount to fairly simple tricks that are always effective for renters. Let’s take a good look at the best of them to enable you to maximize the amount of space your property has and thus increase your earnings Hanging Things on the Wall One of the main ways renters and others use to maximize the space of their property is to hang anything they can on the walls to free up the floor space. The thing about this idea is that it’s quite easy to do and yet it’s so effective. Many things can be mounted – from smaller worktops to lights, nightstands, and much more. That way you won’t only effectively maximize space, but you’ll also make the property appear much bigger. Less Space for Beds Beds are an essential aspect of every rental, but they also might clog areas. The bigger beds are more attractive to your potential tenants, but there will be less space for other furniture. Keep the size in proper comparison to the room space, so it doesn’t hamper the flow of the area. You require a massive area for a king-sized bed. The solutions here are several: Murphy beds – many of which are ......
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Considering Concessions? Think about Eliminating Deposits Instead

Considering Concessions? Think about Eliminating Deposits Instead
When the market softens and vacancies begin to rise, apartment operators traditionally turn to lease concessions. Whether they take the form of discounted rent or gifts such as a free iPad or a free television, the goal of concessions is the same: boost occupancy.But while concessions do have the benefit of decreasing vacancy rates, they can cause their fair share of trouble down the road including increased out of pocket expenses or even devaluing a property. Instead of offering concessions, operators should consider boosting occupancy by permanently doing away with security deposits.The Current ClimateMultifamily has been on a roll for the last decade. Rents soared while vacancies were sliced razor-thin. But the market has softened recently as new development has increased. And where there is a lot of new construction, there are bound to be lease concessions. This past spring, RealPage noted that rental concessions are particularly prevalent in the 15 markets with the most new supply.In September, Doug Ressler, director of business intelligence with research firm Yardi Matrix, told National Real Estate Investor that concessions are now present in all 133 apartment markets tracked by the company.Concessions could increase in the months ahead. In the National Multifamily Housing Council's most recent quarterly survey of CEOs and other senior executives of apartment-related firms, the survey's Market Tightness Index was 41. A reading below 50 indicates that market conditions are getting looser.The Problems with ConcessionsWhen you're in the midst of a softening market and you see more and more units sitting unoccupied,......
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The Supply and Demand Sides of Short Term Rentals

iStock-484711826  Sometimes new technologies and strategies change the way that we do business. More frequently, though, things that have worked in one industry find their way into other sectors, leading to fresh innovation. In multifamily, it is often the hotel industry that supplies some of the most plausible new ways to sell, market and deliver the experiences that define our industry. In the weeks since OPTECH 2018, there has been much discussion about short-term rentals. An array of vendors has emerged across the value chain - from apps that make it easy to rent out your apartment to platforms that run entire apartment buildings as if they were hotels. Demand for short-term rentals is growing rapidly, and business models are changing as we see shifts in both the demand and supply sides of the business. A few years ago I wrote a piece for Multifamily Insiders on the rise of Apartments.com and the parallels I saw with the growth of the Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia and Priceline and their impact on the hotel industry. At the time, an unprecedented escalation in spending on apartment marketing was raising the profile of the sector (including buying ad spots in the Superbowl!). Multifamily Internet Listing Sites (ILSs) seemed to be taking greater control of the customer. As I argued, it reminded me of the dynamic in the lodging sector, where OTAs had developed a value proposition that competed with traditional hotel companies and their websites. Since I wrote that piece, the ILSs have consolidated further, ......
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For Leasing Consultants Who Sell Value, Fluctuating Rental Rates Can Cause Massive Headaches

For Leasing Consultants Who Sell Value, Fluctuating Rental Rates Can Cause Massive Headaches
I have always been a value seller, in that I justify the cost of an item by showing all the value that the person will get out of it.  So when I was leasing apartments, if the rent was $1,000, then there must be $1,000 (or more) of value that we are providing in order for me to be confident in my sales approach.  However, as different pricing strategies came into play which resulted in constantly fluctuating rental rates, it really threw me for a loop.  I’m guessing that there are others who struggle with this same issue, so hopefully this helps! Let’s say that a certain 1 bedroom floor plan two months ago rented at $1,000/mo, but since then, the supply of 1 bedrooms has gone down, and also the market rates in the area have turned up, so now that same apartment rents at $1,100.  The challenge for me was that nothing had fundamentally changed in my idea of “value”.  The amenities hadn’t changed.  The level of customer service, although great, hadn’t really changed.  It was essentially the same apartment and living experience as it was two months ago, and yet it was more expensive.  From a practical perspective, I understood what was driving the price up, but I was having trouble being as confident in an apartment that was more expensive even though nothing had really changed with its “value”.  Now, not everyone will have issues with this value conundrum, as people sell in different ways, but for those who happe......
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Spotlight Interview: Linda Early on Landing Her First Job And The Future Of The Multifamily Industry

Linda Early Head shotSuccess equals talent plus luck. No one knows this more than Linda Early. Linda got her first gig in the multifamily industry by chance (otherwise known as sisterly persuasion) after graduating with a Biology degree from James Madison University. Years later, she established herself as a vice president for Archstone. Then, came AvalonBay Communities. Today, Linda is a vice president with Brookfield Properties Corporation - and she has a lot to say on not just where she’s been, but where she - and the industry - are going.    How long have you been working in the multifamily industry?  I’ve worked in the multifamily industry since 1994. After I graduated from college, I stayed with my sister before figuring out whether or not I wanted to go to grad school. But at one point, my sister had enough of me sitting on the couch and told me, “Hey, they need somebody in the office of this complex. You should check this out and get a job.”   What happened next?  I started as a leasing consultant at a 1000-unit property with Charles E. Smith Residential. It was something I really didn’t even know you could have a career in. Even though data and research was something that I was interested in, I’m more of a people person and I liked working with teams. So, I just kind of started and never really looked back.    You worked at Archstone for nearly two decades. Why did you stay so long?  The customers were the focus of the decision-making. The company truly focused on making things better for them. But also, you were able to try things at Archstone - and you were able to f......
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5 Smart Strategies To Attract New Tenants

image7.jpgWhen you decide to put your property up for rent, you have to be super smart about who you are renting the unit to, and for how long. Even so, the market today is tough, and the competition pretty strong. So, what are you to do when you want to avoid problem renters, attract new, great tenants and encourage them to rent your property? There may be a few things you should consider: Neat as a New Pin Tenants will be attracted to a well-kept property that looks great and appears easy to maintain. Your property doesn’t have to be the best and most luxurious house on the block or in the street, but – as long as it’s well presented and has potential – you are good to go. How so? Because tenants don’t always look for never-before-lived-in apartments; usually, they’d go for units that merely “feel” right, look fresh and clean, and give them an impression of a home. So, before you put up your property for rent, organize an open house or bring in a professional photographer to snap photos of it, consider booking a cleaning agency to spruce up your place and make it sparkle! Don’t Force Your Tastes on Anyone There are plenty of positives and negatives of renting a property, and you want to be on top of your game. Renters don’t want anyone’s style imposed on them, so make sure your property features neutral colors, plain décor, and not too much furniture. You want the tenants to env......
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Working Your Business Strategy

Working Your Business Strategy
In my blog post "What Is Your Business Strategy?" I mentioned that there are three basic elements of business: price, service and quality. In my experience businesses that succeed compete well in two of the three categories. You may be wondering, "Shouldn't successful businesses compete on all three?" While I think that would be great, it's often not economically sustainable to try and have the lowest pricing and high quality and amazing service.  How this worksOne of the communities I worked at was ultra high-end luxury apartments with stunning ocean views in a very affluent area. When I started at the community we offered great service (we had a lot of staff on-site to cater to our residents) but we were undergoing a massive renovation at the time which meant that the majority of our amenities (a huge reason to rent there) were not able to be used for a while and we were doing renovation work in our apartments as well. All of this work affected the quality of what we offered to our residents and made our community less attractive to potential renters and to our current residents. We marketed this community as ultra-luxury but that was not the reality of the experience during this season. However we did NOT compensate for the temporary drop in quality with a decrease in our overall pricing strategy. There was a disconnect between what we offered and what we delivered. We were only competing in one of the three main areas and we suffered......
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What Would You Do? Tips to Reduce Staff Turnover

iStock-545982614In our new series, we’ll be tackling common and frequently asked questions from operators and operator executives in the multi-family housing industry.   Ask a multifamily operations-focused executive what their biggest concerns are, and it likely won’t take long for the topic of staffing—and by extension, turnover—to  come up. High turnover rates have a number of negative implications for operators, including hiring costs, lost productivity, lower sales results and more.  While turnover is a fact-of-life in multifamily, there are things you can do to manage and mitigate the problem. In today’s installment of the new What Would You Do? series, we’re tackling employee turnover.   Here is a common scenario we encounter:  “I’m the head of operations for a Midwest regional operator. We own 2/3rds of our portfolio and 1/3rd is owned by others. We’ve got 21,000 units with 65 properties. Turnover for our onsite personnel is running at 37-46% and has been increasing over the last several years. What’s more, with lower unemployment, we’re finding it harder to fill positions and the expectations from applicants is increasing. This is impacting our ability to fully cover properties and while our performance is still strong, we’re worried about how this is going to impact us into the future. What would you do?”  This question deals with two important considerations for every employer: how do you get quality employees on your team, and (even more importantly) how do you keep them?  High employee turnover can be a stressful situation, but it’s a solvable problem. Let’s look at ways to address it step by step.  Why Are Em......
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4 Ways to Determine the Rental Fee of Your Property

image3.jpgTrying to make a profit on your investment property is one thing; setting the price for it is another. With the competition as strong as it is, you need to make yours stand out and make it a desirable option for the tenants. It means pairing a high-quality offer with the right rental price. With a little market know-how, research and math, you can determine the suitable rental amount for your investment property. Take these four tips into consideration when determining the rental fee of your property: Consider the Market Depending on the market where your property is located, the formula to figuring out a proper rental price is pretty simple: the higher the competition, the lower is the price. However, if you want to have the advantage compared to other properties, survey the market, see what the general prices of those properties are, then find the middle ground that appears ideal for your property. Research Rental Prices for Units Similar to Yours It may be a little hard to find this out yourself, as all information of this type usually is confidential (unless you are a buyer.) You can always try to find out how much rent others are charging for their units to determine the starting point of yours. You can also consult sites like Zillow, Craigslist and Trulia. Start with practical things a rental unit should have: those that resemble yours by age, square footage, amenities, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, etc. Make a list of ......
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NMHC OPTECH 2019 In Review: Disruption and the Hype Cycle

NMHC OPTECH Genera SessionNMHC OPTECH 2018 is in the books, and once again this year the mix of fresh ideas and great minds to discuss them with made for a great conversation. Those who made the trip to Orlando got to consider which emerging technologies will own tomorrow, and which - in the home of Disneyland - will be consigned to the realms of fantasy. Below are some highlights from the show. How Smart is Smart Home Technology for Multifamily? Smart home technology has a high profile in the industry right now, and there was no shortage of exciting new technology on show. Keyless entry is gaining popularity, and a group of vendors discussed the opportunity on Thursday morning. During the panel, Vivint presented some research into the impact of the technology on residents’ appetite for other services. The services in the survey were: House cleaning, Dog walking, Grocery Delivery, Laundry/Dry Cleaning, and Babysitting. The results compared the attitudes to each of residents with smart access and residents without it. The levels of comfort were high and positive in keyless entry environments and low and mostly negative in properties without – clear findings at first glance. It’s appropriate, however, to be skeptical of survey-based research like this. House cleaning and babysitting services tend to be performed by people familiar to the resident, so it’s hard to see how smart locks have such an impact (I am an enthusiastic consumer of both services, and my door locks are not a factor in my consumption). However,......
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