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Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Giving back to the neighborhoods where you operate communities is one of the simplest, yet most powerful things you can do.  With a new year upon us, your company might have set a goal of initiating or expanding its charitable work. If that's the case, I can't urge you strongly enough to do it. Working to improve the surrounding neighborhoods can benefit an apartment operator in numerous ways. It is, to borrow an old saying, truly the gift that keeps on giving. Among the rewards: Improved associate moraleRegularly providing chances for employees to perform charitable work enables them to satisfy the basic human need we all feel to help others. That in turn can make them feel better about your company. At the same time, group volunteer outings allow team members to strengthen their bonds with each other. Undertaking group charitable outings during operating hours or even offering associates paid time off to perform volunteer work are great ways to let employees experience the positive effects of helping their communities.  At ROSS, our associates have been able to experience the morale boost and bonding that comes from giving back through our work with Fisher House Foundation, which is a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment, and many other volunteer efforts.  Our work with Fisher House has included conducting spring cleanups of their facilities, hosting an Independence Day cookout for families temporarily residing there, making and delivering...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
b2ap3_thumbnail_For-Rent-Book-Review.jpgFor Rent: The Apartment Manager Series is a fun ride through the door of property management, following the adventures of our heroine, Cambria.  Like many of us, Cambria's story crystallizes how common it is for us to not necessarily enter the industry with a plan to be property managers, but rather fall into this crazy industry out of nowhere, until it sucks us in to its chaotic underbelly. Cambria, a single mom who is desperate for money, finds herself as the manager of a small property with plenty of quirky residents who seem to make it their goal of tormenting her as she struggles to understand the ins and outs of management an apartment community.  Add in a string of car thefts and a mysterious bag of wallets, Cambria's first forays into property management suddenly progress from gently getting her feet wet to a riptide trying to drag her under.  The book is a fun, fictional take on apartment management with over-the-top characters and a quick flow that slides the reader through the adventures of Cambria, as she desperately tries to learn the ropes.  Go in with expectations of a humorous take on property management, and you will undoubtedly enjoy For Rent: The Apartment Manager Series....

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Let’s face it, 2016 was a tough year. We’ve lost so many beloved icons, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. 2016 brought us a newly elected president, new Star Wars movies, terrible acts of terrorism, refugee crises, the death of Fidel Castro, a heartbreaking season premiere of The Walking Dead (yes, I yelled at the TV and maybe cried a little…OK a LOT—don’t judge me), Brexit, earthquakes, the Olympics, the Zika virus in Brazil, Kanye exhausted and hospitalized, plane crashes, Juno orbiting Jupiter, hacked election emails, and Hatchimals becoming the new Tickle-Me-Elmo. Oh, and let’s not forget Mariah Carey’s meltdown on New Year’s Rocking Eve. (For the love of the Pete, who runs around in the equivalent of a teeny tiny bathing suit in Times Square? I got frostbite just looking at her!) I’m exhausted from thinking about all last year wrought. Looking back on January 2016, I realize I don’t recall my 2016 resolutions. Something about being healthier, working harder, eating better, blah blah blah. The usual. I had my ups and downs, successes and…um…let’s call them less-than-successes. What about you? What were your resolutions? Did you succeed? Or did life start derailing them right around January 5th to the point where, like me, you can’t even remember them? So 2017—here you are. It’s with a sense of optimism that I’m diving in.  New year.  New me.  More than that, I’m looking forward to taking everything I learned in 2016 and making 2017 even better. I’ve been thinking...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Motivation is defined as “the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something”. I have come to define motivation as a mental strategy that you can use to perform the tasks you need to get the job done. The problem with most of us is that our motivation is low when we need it most. This article will discuss the two different types of motivated people, how to create a strategy to tap into motivation when it is needed and discuss how values and beliefs affect our motivation and how we can increase our motivation with aligning our actions with our values. Please allow me to use my successes and failures as examples throughout the article to illustrate how you can incorporate the strategy into your life. The two types of motivated people are the ones who move away from pain or the ones who move towards pleasure. The direction of your motivation is either towards what you want or away from what you don’t want. It is extremely important to find out what type you fall into. I don’t think either strategy is positive or negative, although I would always prefer to move towards what I want and towards whatever brings me joy. Unfortunately, I fell into the away from pain type. My success in real estate came from moving away from pain. I was dreading the thought of going to work, being stuck in an unfulfilling occupation, not generating enough income and most importantly not living...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
If you think that it is difficult, expensive or time-consuming to make green improvements to rental apartments, think again. Many energy-efficient appliances and household products have come down in price, making many green investments more reasonable for property owners. During a renovation among tenants, adding green features is an easy way to modernize the apartment and re-orient it to match demands and expectations of top-quality renters. Plus, these green improvements will even pay you back. 1. Switch to Low-Flow Water Fixtures Got an old running toilet? Then don't be surprised when your water bill spikes from the constant demand. Replacing old toilets, showerheads and plumbing fixtures with low-flow fixtures curbs water use and cuts your water bill. Depending on your location, you may be able to get a rebate just for replacing old water fixtures with green ones. 2. Switch to ENERGY STAR appliances If you plan to replace a refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer or other appliance, why not select an ENERGY STAR appliance? Your renters will value a brand-new appliance. You'll enjoy curbing energy use and utility bills. Better still, old appliances that work can be donated to local charities where they'll enjoy second lives (and you'll receive a tax deduction for your donation). 3. Install LED Lights in Common Areas While LED light bulbs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they last longer than compact fluorescent bulbs and consume less electricity to run. Switch to LED lights in all common areas to reduce your electric bill at rental properties and...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Apparently when we planned our November schedule, we forgot about the old adage, "Don't bite off more than you can chew."  Fortunately, we have a great team that can pull it off!  Since we have a lot of things going on, I thought it would be best to share everything here so nobody misses a beat.   How To Deliver Bad News November 2, 2016 Presented by Lisa Trosien One of the worst (but most necessary parts) of the job as a property professional is delivering news that the recipient really doesn't want to hear. From telling someone they will be evicted to correcting a staff person's behavior, these situations can be really difficult! Learn how to handle these meetings more easily. From pre-meeting prep to follow up, this session will take you through the difficult path to delivering bad news.   Mastering Maintenance: Seven Fair Housing Pitfalls Your Service Team Must Avoid November 8, 2016 Presented by Doug Chasick Since Maintenance Professionals have more direct and close contact with residents than any other staff person, going in and out of residences and working throughout a property, they have great exposure when it comes to fair housing compliance. We’ll look at specific situations and interactions in which Maintenance Professionals need to be aware and have strategies to navigate the potential pitfalls of any situation – and give you those strategies.   Followership: How Dynamic and Trustworthy Followers Create Successful and Effective Leaders November 16, 2016 Presented by Rick Ellis Never be...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
I’ve been in the real estate investment sales arena for a long time and I like to think of myself as a creative and effective marketer who knows how to generate results.  My firm’s job is to “make a market” for our sellers’ properties, identify the best buyers, and maximize price.  This is a pretty straight-forward undertaking in most instances; however, unique seller requirements, unusual property characteristics or challenging market conditions occasionally conspire against us.  In such special circumstances, we have found success by changing things up and collaborating with an experienced auction firm to ensure a successful outcome.  In other instances, we have been called in by an auction team to leverage our specific product or market expertise.  Either way, a professionally executed, dual-platform real estate auctions can be an extremely effective, albeit non-conventional, means of ensuring sellers achieve their disposition objectives, particularly in “special situations.” One Plus One Equals Three Broker/auctioneer collaboration can be extremely powerful, providing seller-clients with the optimal combination of broad market exposure, a proven auction platform, and specialized brokerage expertise.  Representing the “brokerage” side of the team, we still conduct our typical investment sales-style marketing, carefully coordinated with our auction partner who is simultaneously promoting the asset through their own channels.   The “dual platform” approach provides deeper market penetration than either of the individual platforms would generate on their own, resulting in more qualified bidders and superior pricing. Why Sellers Love Real Estate Auctions Speed of execution. Real estate auctions can be completed in 90 days, sometimes...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Dear Gabby, Pool season is my favorite time of the year to relax and catch some sun. But lately, others at the pool are ruining it for the rest of us with uninvited guests, blaring music and obnoxious activity. Have you had any experience with this? #ConcernedPoolGoer     Dear #ConcernedPoolGoer, Pools rock and even as summer winds down, the pool is a community hot spot but it can go wrong so quickly…public displays of affection, a little too much skin for that suit (or not enough suit for that skin), pool toys…the list goes on. But here are the worst pool faux pas. If you encounter these, feel free to pull your hair out.   1. Non-resident guests Pretty simple really. A guest here, a guest there, fine. I get it; we all have friends we’d like to invite over from time to time. But if the head count starts looking like a softball roster, you’re outta here. Also, please stop making me get up to let you in since you conveniently “left your card at home”.   2. Pool Toy People Acceptable: floaties (for children of course)….and really, that’s about it. Unacceptable: everything else. Keep the extended loungers, footballs, and for heavens sake, the “noodles” at the comforts of your own pool (or at least a private one).     3. Cannonballs!!!! CANNONBALLLLLLL! **SPLASH** Book soaked, cell phone ambushed, and mood, salty. Just don’t.   4. PDA Hey there cassanova. We see you’ve been practicing those sweet moves you learned...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
Temperatures are soaring and the A/C is cranking. Condo associations can reduce cooling costs in common areas with a few simple techniques. Read on and start saving!   Natural Cooling with Plants Indoor temperatures rise when the sun beats down on roofs and walls. Keep indoor temperatures cooler by planting tall bushes around the property and trees in the line between the sun and the roof.    Solar Screens Try putting solar screens on east- or west-facing windows. These mesh screens can block 70% of solar energy before it gets into the building. Window films can do the same thing, but they only work if windows are closed. If windows in common areas are frequently open, solar screens are a better choice.    Automation Use automatic settings to lower air temperature during the day and raise it during the night. If offices or common areas are closed at night, there’s no need to cool them for the people who aren’t there.    Location, Location, Location If there’s a basement section of a common area, consider making it a gathering place for residents. Instead of putting a pool table or a couch and TV on an upper level, locate these items on a naturally cooler basement level. Keep cool this summer, but be smart about it to save money. Enjoy your summer!  ...

Posted by on in Miscellaneous
b2ap3_thumbnail_scaventure_hunt_blue--Kate-Good_20160616-162735_1.pngWe are launching our first ever Insiders scavenger hunt at the NAA Education Conference. Track down these elusive Insiders for a chance to win a gift card at the end of the week!  Click on the image below to see each Facebook Post.          ...