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Leasing lessons from the "Elf on a Shelf!"

As a mother of 2 small(ish) children (7 & 4) we have an Elf on the Shelf. His name is Handy and the day after Thanksgiving I unearth him from the plastic bag, inside the tupperware, in the back of the closet on the top shelf where he lives the other 322 days of the year.   Then the fun begins. Every day I have to make sure I'm up before the kids to move Handy to a new location so he is visible, so they can see him "watching them".   Handy has got me thinking. There really are parallels between moving the elf and leasing apartments.   Here are three lessons I came out of my thoughts with. The elf is forcing me to take a look around my house and find new ways to use it.    I'm having to think of places I hadn't thought of and different ways to use things I've had a long time.  A lot of us are on the same site everyday and sometimes it's hard to remember that there are different ways to use and see the amenities and features of our homes. Have a friend come by, go on a tour with a co-worker, or walk an apartment with your service staff once in a while to get that new or fresh prospective! I have to get up before them and make sure it's done. The feeling and the faces that my kids make on the rare occasion (usually the......
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3 Ways Leading Multifamily Operators Are Using Business Intelligence (BI)

purplepeople.pngMost multifamily operators know they should put “gut feelings” aside in exchange for technologies that can turn raw data into meaningful information for better decision making. And while on an intellectual level they know that a data-driven business is more effective strategically, tactically and operationally, the exact way to go about it can be daunting. Not so for leading multifamily operators. They know exactly how to accomplish this through the use of business intelligence (BI). Continue reading for 3 ways leading multifamily operators use BI to improve decision making. 1. Role-based Dashboards A role-based dashboard is like having a boss in a box. Like a good mentor with tons of experience, a role-based dashboard can guide employees through business processes and teach them what’s important until those work principles are ingrained into their day-to-day behavior. For community managers, regional managers, service managers and others, personal dashboards based on their role can be viewed in real time. When employees are directed through their dashboards on what needs to be done, great things start to happen. Besides dramatically improving efficiency, employees are actually being trained to be better at their jobs. By having actionable items in their queue across project portfolios, employees must notice, read and react accordingly. This improves transparency, accountability and decision-making skills in their designated roles. This is one of the most important features of BI. By building the brains into the system with the right set of key performance indicators, lower and mid-level managers know immediately where to put their attention and w......
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ReMarketing - The Secret Weapon of Apartment Leasing

ReMarketing - The Secret Weapon of Apartment Leasing
So you're browsing the internet. Let's say you're on Amazon.com. You view some items then decide to check the news over at CNN.com. Magically, you start to see ads for products you just saw on Amazon on the CNN site. How did they know? Is it magic? Some kind of sorcery? No, it's Remarketing. Remarketing is a relatively new way of showing targeted ads to individuals that have previously visited your website - as they browse elsewhere on the internet. It has been primarily used by big retailers over the last couple of years with great success and now, could be a game changer for the multifamily industry. Remarketing & Apartment Marketing One of the most significant deficiencies in the apartment marketing world has been brand awareness and website conversion. Let's say Jane Renter is browsing your website. She likes your building but isn't ready to pull the trigger. She leaves and keeps browsing the internet. You've now lost her as a lead. You've spent considerable dollars and time to get Jane Renter to your site, only to see her leave without contacting you. However, with Remarketing, Jane Renter will now start seeing eye-catching ads for your building on other sites she visits. This will increase your brand awareness as well as the overall conversion of your leads. Benefits There are a variety of different benefits to utilizing a remarketing campaign as part of your communities overall marketing plan. Inexpensive - Instead of paying for ads to a broad audience, you can......
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A Door-to-Door Guide for Apartment Operators

The importance of understanding what multi-family residents are looking for in a rental facility is critical for property managers and operators to keep up with the competitive rental market. In today’s technological society, updating multi-family facilities to feature the most updated building technology and amenities is expected among many renters. Until recently, updating buildings to include electronic locks was more a question of if, not when, for property managers and operators. Elevated installation and implementation costs were enough for even the most experienced multi-family operator to turn away. The question has now become where the best place to start implementing these locks is. The answer – the renter’s front door. Today, the cost of installing electronic locks in a multi-family community has decreased significantly and become more mainstream. What’s more, this technological upgrade is an amenity that residents have come to look for when searching for an apartment as it is the first thing a prospective renter sees upon touring a facility. While installing a smart interconnected lock was once more difficult, the trouble has since been mitigated and these locks now provide an added sense of security for both property managers and renters. Electronic locks log who comes and goes and gives property managers the ability to manage who has access to the facility and when. To entice more potential renters, property managers and operators should consider the switch to electronic locks. For example, in a recent survey of 1,000 Americans by Wakefield Research, 61 percent of millennial renters said they we......
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Critical Mistakes Some Property Managers Have Made

Not Screening Potential Residents The stories I have heard from managers that have chosen to not screen their potential new residents are dumbfounding to me, if you don’t know the history of an individual(s) you can put yourself in jeopardy by having them move into your community. To be safe you should at least run a background check and always be sure to check references (work and last residences). Hiring Unskilled Maintenance Members I understand the desire to save money but hiring unskilled workers will eventually cost you more than doing it right the first time. The work that a novice does will more than likely need to be replaced in a shorter time frame if not completely just redone properly. Have it done right the first time. Hiring New Contractors on a Regular Basis When big projects arise on property and you reach out to get 3 bids every time in an effort to save money you are setting yourself up for bigger problems. While you are getting multiple bids, which will take days your issue on your property is sitting with nothing being done with it and residents/tenants are put out so the longer it takes the more likely you will also have resident/tenant complaints. The paper work you are created by going out for these bids every time will also take a lot of additional time. We always recommend building a team around you, find a great plumber, contractor, roofer and have them be your go to people. L......
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The Importance of a Move-In and Move-Out Checklist

shutterstock_232553836A landlord/property manager is required to document any expenses that are taken out of a tenant’s security deposit; therefore, good documentation is vital. A move-in/move-out inspection with a checklist, pictures and/or a video is essential. These Checklists can be Beneficial to the Property Owner and Tenant The Move-In/Move-Out Checklist is a convenient, all-inclusive and reliable way to document the property’s condition. Tenants can benefit from a Move-In Checklist because any existing conditions will be predated to his/her occupancy. This checklist helps the landlord/property manager by reducing liability risks due to disagreements related to security deposit reimbursement; thus, protecting the value of the property. Documenting Improvements/Repairs Made to the Rental Property New carpeting, countertops and paint all need to be documented prior to new tenancy. Take pictures/video of the unit before the tenant moves in. Remember to take before and after pictures, and/or video of repairs made to the rental unit itself or its contents (refrigerator, stove, etc.) throughout each tenancy. The Process Prior to the beginning of the rental term, walk the tenant through the property. What to look for and document on a walk-through: Each room of the property needs to be addressed and documented separately. This is where a well-planned Move-In/Move-Out Checklist allows for a quick, yet accurate, documentation process. Entire Rental Property Missing ceramic floor/countertop or splashguard tiles Loose ceiling and wall fixtures Scratches on floors Missing glass or ripped screens Furnace/Heaters Air conditioners Tears or burn marks in the carpet Rubbed off/Faded paint Outlet receptacles and covers Kitchen Scratches or ......
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What goes into Employee Background Checks: The OFAC Patriot Act Search

Snap66  Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the lengthily named “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act,” commonly known as the “Patriot Act.”  This piece of legislation was aimed at arming law enforcement with tools to both detect and prevent acts of terrorism.  While the Patriot act has had both supporters and nay-sayers, it has become of great value to employers.  One of the services included in theRRD’s employment screening packages is the OFAC Patriot Act Search.  This tool screens for individuals and groups associated with terrorism.  By screening your employees with this service, you’re helping to prevent potential terrorists from receiving an income for their terrorist activities.  You’re also helping to ensure the safety of your own employees. History Of OFAC During the administration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This law authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual or extraordinary threat to the United States from a foreign source. The provisions of IEEPA are administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the Department of the Treasury, which publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific.  Collectively, such individuals and companies are called Specially Designated Nationals (SDN......
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Three Keys to Improve Follow Ups

In most leasing centers, prospect follow up is a scheduled activity. Sometimes the purpose of follow up is confused with completing the task. Too often, the follow up efforts are listed as “left voicemail/sent email….” For someone that has visited and toured the property, leaving messages doesn’t bring any closure to the leasing efforts. Follow up is the opportunity to sustain interest from an individual that was unable, unwilling or not asked to make a commitment to an apartment home during their visit to the property. A leasing person that is not confident about asking for the sale or deposit during a property visit may not be effective in their follow up efforts. The follow up call should be specific. Ms. Jones, I’m so glad you had the opportunity to tour the two bedroom model at Happy Acres this morning. Offer a sense of urgency. The two bedroom apartment on the second floor with the great closets you loved is still available. As you are making your decision remember, I only have one apartment in the specific floor plan you preferred available for immediate move in. Start additional dialogue: I’m wondering how you’re coming in making a decision, and if there any questions that you have? You mentioned you had other appointments scheduled for visits. I’m confident that our two bedroom apartment will be the best home for you. I’m in the office today until 6 pm, I’d love to hear from you. If you have a minute to give me a call, we can talk about what needs to ......
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Apartment Marketing 2.0 - Top 5 "Must Have" Marketing Strategies

Apartment Marketing 2.0 - Top 5 "Must Have" Marketing Strategies
“What do you mean I can’t just post an ad on Craigslist and lease my entire building?” In this day and age, I never expect to hear that, but to my surprise, I still hear those words from developers and managers. The problem is, long gone are those days of posting free Craigslist ads and watching the leads roll in. These days, it takes a lot more than simple ads to get a building leased and stay competitive. Even communities or portfolios who have moved beyond that, have resigned themselves to the status quo of marketing. You know the ones, they throw an ad on Apartments.com and post "how to spruce up your kitchen" posts on Facebook and still wonder why they have vacancy issues. You have to be creative, involved and spend the time and money to ensure your property is at the forefront when renters are searching for an apartment.  Here is what should be the most vital parts of any communities marketing plan: SEO | SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION This might be the most important of all the recommendations. Having a comprehensive SEO strategy is paramount to your community being found online. It also can provide a HUGE boost to reduced cost lead generation as well as a competitive edge in your market. PPC | ADWORDS A fundamental of leasing these days, AdWords advertising can produce excellent results if you know how to optimize it. The keys to a successful AdWords campaign is testing, good copyrighting and keyword selection. Remem......
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Resident Retention Tips For Property Manager & Landlords

Resident retention in the real estate industry is a critical part to an investor’s success.  Several factors go into the cost of acquiring residents, marketing, and make ready costs. There is also lost revenue from vacant units, making it a key part of your ROI. We put some tips together to help you retain your residents. A key factor in a resident staying is they feel they belong to a community. Their apartment should be more than a place to sleep and eat. Create a social media presence for your community. Try to get your resident to utilize your page to talk about the events you hold on the property. Talk about your staff and the community. Look to create experiences within the community. The day a new resident moves in, you should have a nice welcome gift waiting for them. Something they can use in their new place. Also, a popular idea is a gift certificate to a local restaurant for takeout or pizza. After a long day of moving, it’s nice to order some food and relax. Creating events for your property can give your residents a sense of community, and allow them to get to know each other as well. Fun events like cook-offs, BBQs or events for their children are usually big winners. An added benefit is once your residents get to know one another, they become more vested in the community, looking to better it, and taking a pride of ownership mentality. Training your staff in t......
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