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The Current State of Assistance Animal Accommodation Requests

The Current State of Assistance Animal Accommodation Requests
Rental housing providers throughout the country often struggle to handle requests from residents and prospective renters to accommodate assistance animals. This is a contentious — and potentially litigious — issue, and the number of complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging discrimination in the evaluation of these requests is increasing significantly. To help rental housing providers understand the accommodation request landscape around them, PetScreening publishes quarterly reports summarizing the results of its ongoing evaluation of these requests. The latest report is based upon a subset of more than 75,000 accommodation requests submitted to PetScreening from across the nation between second-quarter 2017 and first-quarter 2021.  Among the findings:  41.3% of the reasonable accommodation requests submitted for a formal legal review achieved a "recommended" determination. 36.2% of requesters started, but did not submit, a reasonable accommodation request for a formal legal review.  More than 93% of accommodation requests involve support animals, and just less than 7% involve service animals. Dogs account for 82.4% of the accommodation requests. Cats account for 16.6% and other animals – including rabbits, guinea pigs and fancy rats – for 1%. Pit bulls are the dog breed most commonly involved in an accommodation request, followed by mixed breeds, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and Chihuahuas. Moving beyond the specific data, it's important for apartment operators to keep a few things in mind. To start with the obvious: there are many residents with legitimate disabilities and disability-related needs for assistance animals and reasonable accommodation(s) should be made......
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Why 1 in 4 On-Site Managers May Leave Their Companies in the Next 12 Months

                   While the rental industry has been brainstorming new and better ways to find or retain Maintenance Techs and Leasing Professionals, a new threat has been silently growing with very significant reach. Over the past year, our employee engagement data has shown On-Site Property Managers’ intention to remain with their company slowly shift from “Very Likely” to an increasing response of “Neutral,” and “Unlikely.”  This rising level of uncertainty is certainly understandable. Since March 2020, On-Site Managers have dealt with new and changing situations on a daily basis, with no frame of reference or past experience to draw from. Not only did community offices close, requiring a sudden shift to a remote workforce, but policies, procedures, and processes had to be created and rolled out guiding everything from which service requests the maintenance teams would be allowed to address, to amenity shutdowns, to disinfection requirements, to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement, to rent collection and notice restrictions, not to mention the management of a stressed-out team, increasing resident calls/complaints/concerns, skyrocketing package management, etc., etc., etc. It’s been a year, to say the least. While there has always been a segment of managers who are unsure about their likelihood to remain with their company, that number has typically hovered around 12%, with one or two percent expecting to depart in the next twelve months. In 2020, however, that uncertainty increased to 15%. Unfortunately, five months into 2021 the numbers are looking even more bleak. 18% of On......
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Common Metrics/Terms an Investor Uses to Analyze Commercial Real Estate

Common Metrics/Terms an Investor Uses to Analyze Commercial Real Estate
It’s not a secret that numbers drive real estate investment decisions. But the real question is, which metrics are valid? Which metrics matter? Depending on your investment goals and property type, some metrics are more important than others. The following metrics/terms real estate investors commonly use when making portfolio decisions:  1. Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate)  Cap rate is mostly used for apartment complexes and commercial buildings. Capitalization rate can also be used for houses and small multifamily properties, but the flip side is that operating expenses are unpredictable with houses since you can’t know how often or how bad your turnovers may be. Cap rate allows you to compare properties in the same asset class with different characteristics that make direct comparison impossible. The disadvantage of the Cap rate is that it’s only a snapshot. It says nothing about the expected growth in expenses, rents, property value, and whether using leverage will increase your return.  2. Cash Flow  When evaluating rental properties, it’s vital to figure out your expected monthly cash flow. When determining total expenses, you should include:  Property taxes  Flood and hazard insurance  Water  Sewer  Garbage  Electricity  Property management  General maintenance and upkeep  Capital expenditures  Vacancy rate  3. Return on Investment (ROI)  RoI is helpful for analyzing how well a deal did in the past. This measurement is always good to have because you can’t adjust your future investing unless you know how your previous investments performed.  4. Internal Rate of Return (IRR)  The internal rate of return is used to m......
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Is Investing in an Opportunity Zone Really Worth It?

Is Investing in an Opportunity Zone Really Worth It?
The main aim of Opportunity Zones is to encourage long-term investments, especially in low-income rural and urban areas throughout the country, and to boost the economy. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed rural or urban community that has been identified by state, local, and federal qualifications.  Opportunity Zones offer a great investment opportunity for smart real estate investors. However, investors should bear in mind the risk profile of Opportunity Zone deals, which can be much higher in some targeted census tracts than the exchange. The key is to stay diversified while taking advantage of the capital gains tax relief that is available through the program. On the other hand, if investors remain diversified, there may not be enough funds flowing to these vehicles.  Only time will tell if this latest program will succeed in identifying the areas that will benefit most from the subsidy, as well as in overcoming the issues that have limited the effectiveness of similar initiatives. Although this concept sounds socially responsible, investors are only delaying or deferring their capital gains taxes.   This program could be good for investors in the sense that it lowers their capital gains taxes, but whether or not it’s going to be good for the people in those communities is still to be seen within the next decade. However, waiting may not be the best move for investors, since these assets are as cheap as they’re ever going to be.  Opportunity zones offer three benefits that make real estate attractive to professional inves......
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Why Plumbing Fixtures and Cabinet Hardware Don’t Have to Match

Why Plumbing Fixtures and Cabinet Hardware Don’t Have to Match

In the 1980s you couldn’t wear a brown belt with black shoes. 

 

Now you can wear whatever.  

 

Same principle applies to fixtures and hardware. 

 

With the right application, you can marry polished nickel plumbing hardware and matte black cabinet hardware.  

 

Or gold pulls and chrome pull down faucet. 

 

Please don’t let your property manager select these. 

 

It can just as easily go poorly. 

 

Or look bland by picking a “color suite” of finishes. 

 

But get it right and your property can really stand out. 

 

 

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Setting the Record Straight: Short-term Rentals Here to Stay

Setting the Record Straight: Short-term Rentals Here to Stay
Apartment owners might be skeptical of short-term rental companies—after all, several of them went belly-up during the pandemic. But the reality is that while the short-term rental providers operating under master lease agreements struggled, others developed uniquely sustainable business models that proved their resiliency under the most difficult conditions in a century. These providers are now thriving, offering tremendous revenue potential for owners and operators.   Here are a few reasons why:    Working from home is here to stay Many companies have announced plans to increase employee access to remote work or make remote work permanent. As a result, employees increasingly feel unconstricted by geography. They are blurring the distinctions between work and travel and seeking ways to live with more geographic flexibility over the long-term. Spending a couple of months in Denver in the winter, spring in Austin, and summer in Chicago, for instance, might be a kind of planful nomadism that people increasingly embrace. Multifamily communities need to adapt their offerings to this accelerating base of demand. Apartment communities that don’t offer a flexible, furnished option could be left behind.   The revenue-sharing short-term rental model offers upside while protecting the downside    Pre-pandemic, several short-term rental companies operated on a master lease model, which seemed low-risk to many multifamily companies. But those master leases proved to be toxic financial instruments for both parties once demand and revenue plummeted in every market simultaneously. Owners were left with units that were vacant and not monetizable for months on end. Sho......
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5 most common Missteps Operators Make When Conducting a Smart Home Retrofit

5 most common Missteps Operators Make When Conducting a Smart Home Retrofit
Smart home technology has become a must-have feature at new multifamily developments, but the technology isn’t just for new builds. Owners of apartment communities constructed prior to the smart home revolution are conducting wide scale retrofit projects to equip their properties with modern enhancements. However, the retrofit process requires careful consideration and planning. While the cost savings and improvements made possible through smart home implementation are attractive, missteps in deployment could result in unnecessary expense and performance problems.  We’ll take a look at five common missteps operators make when conducting a smart home retrofit, and discuss how to avoid them. Product Selection The options for smart home devices and features are almost endless for owners, but choosing the right products for a particular community is crucial. From locks to thermostats, leak sensors, lighting, plugs, shades, garage door controls, doorbells, video intercoms and more, operators have a lengthy menu to select from when it comes to smart home features. It’s easy to simply choose products with the most promising return on investment but it’s important to first fully understand the investment. With existing properties, the layout and construction of the community can significantly impact installation costs. Many smart products simply replace existing fixtures, though others require more involved system upgrades – and with that more capital. Also, owners of existing communities often choose a phased approach to installation, maybe installing smart thermostats first, followed by smart lighting and locks on subsequent budget cycles. An a la carte path of implementation is great, so long a......
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The Evolution of CRE Agents and Lead Generation on Social Platforms

The Evolution of CRE Agents and Lead Generation on Social Platforms
COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS!  Glengarry Glen Ross was spot on for that time, cold call, cold call, cold call. When asking many CRE Agents how they choose to market themselves many say they focus on cold calling, they don’t see the value in utilizing social platforms. However, the modern-day CRE agent has so many more options to generate leads that it’s almost overwhelming.  With so many new social platforms, email programs, CRMs, referrals, cold calling, blog writing it’s almost too daunting to figure which is best for you to utilize.   Sales agents often forget about long-term lead generation, and how social platforms can impact them. The long history of outbound lead generation has proven to be successful but like any marketing tactics it’s designed to create relationships for the long term, that can easily be done on social platforms and create blogs and a good email campaign. The evolution of any business is critical to its success and CRE is quickly evolving thanks to social networks and APPS.   Most brokerages have their social platforms, email marketing campaigns, and sometimes blogs, which are all good except many companies are not showing their agents how powerful of communication tools these have become, and how they can exponentially increase their leads. I am a firm believer in an agent creating their own identity in the marketplace, and social marketing helps to create that personal.   Cold calling everyone if your community can be difficult, plus many other agents are making the same calls to the same pe......
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Barriers to Entry

Barriers to entry are restrictions that prevent new competitors from quickly entering an area of business or industry. These include regulatory clearances, securing licenses, tax benefits, and customer loyalty. Startup companies need to contend with these different barriers, depending on their industry. Some may be caused by government intervention or even other firms that deem the new businesses a threat. These firms may be protecting the integrity of the industry, attempting to avoid products that they believe are inferior to the market, and at the same time, watching the market shares. New business ventures have a lot to contend with before entering the market. Without sufficient research, they will have difficulty penetrating a market that already has strong and established barriers to entry. These barriers have already equipped them with years of experience and mastery of the technology. They have already selected the dominant control over the supplies and have the upper hand to the industry's advantages in that area, including the consumers' trust.  Kinds of Barrier to Entry There are two kinds of the barrier to entry 1. Structural or Natural Barriers to Entry These include the ownership of the primary resources such as sugar plantations for soft drink companies or bee farms that produce beeswax, which can be used in various products. There are also high set-up costs from advertising and marketing costs. Increased research and development costs will match the more prominent firms to compete. There are also the risks of competing with a product or service that......
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Multifamily Financing: Allocations Increased and Lenders are Eager to Deploy Capital in 2021

Multifamily Financing: Allocations Increased and Lenders are Eager to Deploy Capital in 2021
Multifamily Financing: Allocations Increased and Lenders are Eager to Deploy Capital in 2021 Bridge Financing Multifamily remains one of the most appealing asset classes. Deals located in core-markets or strong growth secondary locations can expect interest rates in the low 300s over LIBOR range. Total coupons are hovering at all-time lows with leverage pushing into the 75%-80% of cost range. Despite an uptick in spreads above 2019 levels, floating rate indexes (LIBOR & SOFR) have significantly decreased resulting in interest rates at similar pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, Lenders are less concerned over hedging index volatility as floors continue to contract. While the most advantageous terms remain available for loans with proceeds in excess of $15-$20M, smaller bridge deals can fund with banks and private money funds with a pricing premium between 150-300bps. Permanent Financing Bank Lenders continue to quote rates for non-recourse perm debt on multifamily assets in the ultra-low range of 3.10%-3.50%; depending on the length of the fixed rate term; 5, 7 or 10 years. Banks are scrutinizing tenant credit profiles and rental collections during underwriting. Many Bank institutions continue to offer discounts on pricing when transferring considerable deposits. The CMBS market is off to a strong start this year. Expectations remain high for 2021 with total originations volume predicted at $107B compared to $60B over the prior year, a 78% increase YOY. AAA bonds have executed extremely well in the most recent conduit securitizations exhibiting an average of Swaps +62; the BANK 2021-BNK31 achieved a low of +61. These......
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