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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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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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How and Why You Should Respond to Negative and Positive Online Reviews

How and Why You Should Respond to Negative and Positive Online Reviews
Because teams tend to focus on damage control when it comes to negative reviews, responding to positive reviews are often sidelined.  After all, responding to positive feedback is often sidelined as many times the focus is on damage control for negative reviews. How many times has an ecstatic review gone viral? Whether renters are reading a positive or a negative review, responses surely have an impact. 52.3% of prospects feel communities have great customer service and 50.6% of prospects feel communities really care about their residents, according to our 2017 Online Renter Study. Although the reviewer may not return back to read a community’s response, the benefits to responding to reviews is twofold. A thoughtful, engaged and authentic response will attract new renters as well as boost retention rates which can have a profound effect on the community’s bottom line. Follow these 4 simple steps to craft a well-rounded response STEP 1 – Examine ·        Read the review in its entirety and alert team members of any possible areas of improvement or areas of success. STEP 2 – Acknowledge ·        Pinpoint areas in the review to acknowledge. Address the issues specifically and avoid any canned responses. STEP 3 – Market ·        Look for marketing opportunities to reiterate in the review response. Remember people will be reading your responses for year years to come – don’t miss out on a chance to promote your community. STEP 4 – Respond ·        Respond to the review authentically and honestly. Leaving your name and contact information in the response.  ......
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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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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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7 Low-Maintenance Ways to Boost Your Property’s Curb Appeal

  on 7 Low-Maintenance Ways to Boost Your Property’s Curb Appeal These days, most renters find their new home through online listings, not by driving around the neighborhood. However, that doesn’t mean property managers can afford to overlook curb appeal. If your properties fail to impress when a prospective tenant drives up, it won’t matter how good the online photos look. Even property managers in highly competitive rental markets should pay attention to curb appeal. A great-looking exterior doesn’t just get tenants in the door; it also attracts high-quality tenants who are more likely to treat your property with care and respect. Of course, if you’re managing a lot of properties or a single high-density property, you don’t have a lot of time to spend manicuring lawns and flower beds. So how can you create great curb appeal without spending a lot of time? These seven tips show you how. 1. Paint the Front Door Don’t underestimate the impact a fresh coat of paint on the front door can have. A cheery front door can make an otherwise unremarkable home stand out and leave passersby wondering what’s on the other side. A Blissful Nest recommends 10 hues that are perfect for front doors. In a multi-unit property, try painting each door a different, but complementary color to set the units apart. 2. Replace House Numbers Is that newly painted front door flanked by dated, faded, or missing house numbers? Make each unit easy to find by replacing house numbers with a new set that’s easy to read from the str......
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What You Need To Know About Rent Concessions

  on What You Need To Know About Rent Concessions With rent concessions on the rise nationwide we need to have an understanding what giving or offering a concession can do to your property value if not handled correctly. Let’s start with the definition of a rent concession, a concession is any “reduction in price, rent or other benefit provided to a potential tenant as an inducement to lease your property”. There are many ways to give a concession, reducing the first month’s rent, reducing rents for a contracted time or maybe even upgrades the property they are considering ie: an accent wall or upgraded appliances. Your goal should be to have all scenarios have about the same amount of rent paid.  Also, if you can get a new tenant to accept an upgrade to the unit as a concession, it can be even more beneficial to you. What you need to consider as you are offering your concessions is how do these concession affect my long term value of my investment.  If you find yourself wanting/needing to refi and you begin the underwriting process you will find that lenders are interested in how much income an asset is producing and how much income an asset can optimally produce. Concessions add an additional layer to the equation. When underwriting the Net Operating Income of an asset, concessions are typically subtracted from the Gross Rental Income in order to determine the Net Rental Income — which also factors in things like vacancy and unpai......
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Don't Let the Sign Police Outsmart You- Know Your Sign Code!

We all know that sign code enforcers love to catch us trying to advertise our properties! When I leased for CLASS in the late 90's, most of our clients were under the belief that they really couldn't do much advertising with temporary signage and balloons. It was our job to educate the client and ourselves on the code and rethink how we work around what is permitted/not permitted.  Over the years sign code has closed some of the loopholes we found, but there are still some there if you are savvy enough to find them. We recommend becoming familiar with your sign code and keeping a copy saved to your desktop. Code enforcers take advantage of the fact that most properties are unaware of what their sign code says. Back in the day, we used to put a banner on our rental car and tie balloons to the antenna to attract drive by traffic. We've used bubble machines in Orlando, FL (strictest sign code EVER), purchased the largest American flags allowed by code (they could be seen from the interstate!), and lined the wrought iron fence with red, white, and blue buntings. There is a way around pretty much any code, if you just look hard enough. I challenge each of you to peruse your local sign code and come up with a few ways to advertise your community using temporary signage, balloons, sign spinners, etc. It is as easy as 1-2-3! 1. To find your code, visit Municode.com and click on the red library tab at......
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Lead Management in a Hyper-Connected World

When it comes to lead management, most apartment operators have fairly rigid standards.   Respond to all emails within 24 hours. Manage automated responses to all digital inquiries. Secure a call center that handles all after-hours calls.   But in today’s information-obsessed, instant-gratification world, that simply isn’t enough. Twenty-four hours is far too long to wait for a response. That prospect will reach out to several additional communities in that time, and the longer you wait, the further you fall on their consideration list.   Today’s Generation Z and Millennial prospects expect real-time communication options such as texting and online chat. It’s all about mobile access and speed. They can book a hotel or make a restaurant reservation at 2:37 a.m., so they expect to be able to book a tour of an apartment community at their convenience.   It’s a real challenge for many apartment operators to meet that increasing demand for immediate feedback. The more effectively a community can provide real-time answers, the better chance it has of securing leases.   Here are a few ideas to consider:   Equip leasing agents with company-issued mobile phones: Leasing teams still have to tour prospects, attend community events and solve resident complaints. But empowering them with company-issued cell phones will increase their ability to engage with prospects in real time while managing those other duties.  Just because a leasing agent is away from their desk doesn’t mean they’re tied up in a face-to-face interaction with a prospect or resident. The ability to fol......
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Top 5 Mistakes Leasing Agents Make

Top 5 Mistakes Leasing Agents Make
Let me start by saying, everybody makes mistakes. But the only way to correct those mistakes is to acknowledge them and work on fixing them. Whether it's a lack of training, laziness or case of the "Mondays", it's important to make sure you are on the top of your game each day. Here are the top 5 mistakes leasing agents make and how to correct them:Lack of FollowupI've seen a lot of leasing agents focus their follow-up efforts on renters who have toured the community and showed a real interest in the community or property. But not many take the time to follow-up with EVERY lead (including ones that haven't seen the community already) that comes across their desk. Sometimes that lead that requested information but never set up a tour is busy. Following up on all your leads is vitally important.Not Gathering Enough InformationSo you have a prospects name, email, move date and price range. But what about the other stuff? One fundamental selling technique is building rapport with a potential resident. Selling involves matching a renter's needs with your product. Ask questions like: where do you work? What are you most looking for in an apartment? What's your decorating style? Is view important? Do you have a pet? What do you do for a living? Get to know your prospect! Touring Only Sample UnitRenters want to see the space they are going to live or something close to it. Showing them a bottom floor unit that is staged when the......
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