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Do I need an attorney for my commercial real estate deal, or is my broker enough protection?

Does a seller or a buyer of commercial real estate really have to hire an attorney? The unmistakable answer is, "Yes!" A broker is a licensed professional who you hire to negotiate the sale or purchase of a real estate for a fee or a commission. However, they are typically not attorneys. Many of them will clearly state that real estate brokers are not providing legal advice. Real estate brokers don’t usually get paid unless they close the deal (or unless you are somehow obligated to pay a commission, for example, by withdrawing from a deal). Therefore, brokers are usually not going to take care of the legal details and may even try to push a deal to close as fast as possible. Be sure that separate legal advice from a good real estate lawyer is usually worth the additional cost. It's much more cost-effective to hire an attorney to get the deal done right than to get involved in an expensive lawsuit. A good attorney can also be crucial to getting a beneficial purchase. Also, keep in mind that it’s best to hire an actual commercial attorney who deals with this kind of transaction daily. It may cost a bit more than a general lawyer, but it’s well worth it. What does a real estate attorney actually do? The job of a real estate lawyer is to negotiate and make a transaction happen in a peaceful way that's amenable and fair to all parties. A real estate lawyer takes over after......
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Week of July 19 Brings Welcome Improvement in Multifamily Market

Week of July 19 Brings Welcome Improvement in Multifamily Market
That's more like it. After the week ending on July 12 brought with it a bevy of bad stats, the following week showed a nice upturn. In general, the apartment market has shown fairly steady improvement since its low points early on in the pandemic. Last week, I cautioned that one bad week can be just that: one bad week. I urged readers not to worry too much until we saw leading indicators like traffic and leases continue to decline over several weeks in a row. Fortunately, during the week ending on July 19, we saw moderately positive uptick across most data points and most markets, according to Radix.  Nationally, leases and traffic increased on a week-over-week basis, with the former also increasing when compared to the same time last year. The national occupancy and leased-percentage rates were up slightly from the preceding week, and the metrics also closed their year-over-year gaps that were so large in the initial stages of the pandemic. Impressively, even the average net effective rent in the U.S. rose 10 basis points from the week before. To be sure, these were, overall, not outsized gains. But when we consider the July 12 data, it certainly is a positive to see the declines of that week come to a stop. We will continue to monitor the data to see if the gains morph into a longer-term positive trend over the next several weeks.  Below are some of the specific takeaways from the week ending on July 19:......
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What 2020 Has Taught Multifamily Leasing Professionals About the Power of Human Connection

What 2020 Has Taught Multifamily Leasing Professionals About the Power of Human Connection
As 2019 came to a close, the world felt tired, overworked, and even “peopled out”. The overall sentiment in those early days of 2020 boiled down to a two-word phrase: burn out. Gallup’s research results showed that around 45% of Millennials experienced “sometimes” burnout. 45% is a massive number. 2020 was expected to be more of the same – some predictions even seeing that number climb. And then the COVID-19 pandemic slowly began to emerge in China, making its way to the United States in early March 2020. The pandemic caught us off guard and threw the entire world into upheaval. When was the last time the entire world faced an event of this magnitude? If we had told our 2019 selves that shaking hands would be banned, the Olympics would be postponed, parents would become teachers, and news segments would be held via Skype from broadcasters’ dining room tables, we wouldn’t believe it. And while 2020 has rocked us, it has also been a gift in that it has taught us many important lessons. It’s forever changed the way we conduct business. And, most importantly, it’s taught us that we weren’t actually “peopled out” – but rather, we’ve been craving meaningful human connections more than ever before. Don’t miss the keyword: meaningful. Trust. Authenticity. Transparency. Rawness. Let’s take a look at a few of the lessons we have seen firsthand through our innovative multifamily, hotel, and corporate housing real estate industries: COVID-19 as a Forcing Function For Innovation As the pandemic slowly forced businesses around the world to close their brick and mortar d......
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Controlling the Chaos: 5 Ways to Carve Out a WFH Space

Controlling the Chaos: 5 Ways to Carve Out a WFH Space
We’ve all seen photos and memes posted across social media of makeshift work from home set ups. Everything from stacks of toiler paper, strategically placed cases of bottled water, and even ironing boards for those who prefer a stand-up desk.  Many apartment renters have had to get really creative on the fly in order to remain productive in their jobs.  Our SatisFacts COVID-19 National Renter Study found that 44.7% of renters in Round 3 said their biggest challenge when attempting to work from home is not having a dedicated workspace. Respectively, Rounds 1 and 2 were 38.8% and 36.4%.  The struggle is getting real for those renters with no end in sight when they will be returning to their usual work environment.  Let’s imagine someone living in a 1-bedroom home.  In a traditional floorplan layout, one can expect a living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.  If the home is without additional features such as a breakfast bar, separate dining room, recessed computer alcove, or a larger than usual bedroom, establishing a dedicated home office space may be challenging.  This pandemic has created an opportunity for our industry to reimagine how renters live in their homes today.  For those communities without additional square footage to transform into a workspace, here are 5 creative ways to make a 1-bedroom effective for those working from home.  Ditch the dining table – Traditional dining room sets may not be practical given society’s penchant nowadays to enjoy a meal while catching up on the latest episodes of popu......
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The Impact of COVID-19 on Multifamily Employees

The COVID-19 pandemic brought schools, commerce, commuting, travel, and more to a halt, and it changed A LOT of how we operate apartment communities - nearly overnight! And yet, while many things changed for most of the U.S., multifamily employees had the challenge of figuring out how to continue to provide service and support for residents who were now home 24/7 for months on end. In our Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Impact Study, we explored how multifamily employees were feeling and faring during so much change. Here are some of the highlights we found: Employees feel well-informed More than 85% of multifamily employees agree they feel well-informed, and nearly as many feel they are getting the information they need that is relevant to their jobs.  WARNING! Many executives, upon hearing this great feedback, shared they were considering pulling back on the volume and frequency of communication. The theme we heard from employees loud and clear was that they still need and want that level of communication. As different cities and states consider re-opening, re-closing, or limiting amenities, services, events, and more, there is still a lot of information to share. Keep talking! Employees are listening.  Companies are taking care of their residents Employees overwhelmingly agreed that they were confident in the support provided to residents. While there were - and are - logistical challenges, such as office closures and emergency work orders only, employees felt companies were providing information and creative options to keep residents comfortable in their homes. New ......
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6 Tips for Better Posture at Work

6 Tips for Better Posture at Work
For optimal health, we have to be mindful of how we manage stress physically by analyzing posture and its role in helping us stay well. The hard-working staff in multifamily do the majority of work from a desk. The phrase “sitting is the new smoking” is beginning to ring more true as longer hours propped in front of a computer start to take a physical toll.   In this post, we’ll define what posture and form are, show a few examples of how it affects health & wellness, and provide at least six best practices for getting started with posture mindfulness and correction in your current lifestyle. What is ‘Good’ Posture? Good posture is an “upright” position. Slouching or slumping places undue stress on the joints and other physiological systems.   Neutral pelvic position  If you don’t remember anything from this article, remember this term: Neutral Pelvis. Awareness of a pelvic tilt is a major step in the process toward better posture. Next time you sit in a chair or at your desk, take a moment to analyze what your natural tendencies are - how you sit and where your tailbone ends up. If your tailbone is tucked or protruding, there’s some work to be done. If your tailbone is aligned with your spine, you’re on the right track. Pilates is a great resource for practicing a neutral pelvis position, and a method proven to improve core strength and stability.   Spine alignment and neck position The spine has natural curvature that stabilizes the body......
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Google Leads Apartment Review Sites, According to J Turner Analysis

Google Leads Apartment Review Sites, According to J Turner Analysis
Apartment resident review volume reached an unprecedented level in Q1 2020, more than doubling the total number reviews posted in the prior quarter (Q4 2019), giving credence to the importance of reviews and ratings. “We have observed that apartment reviews follow the same pattern as the industry leasing seasonality. Given the holiday festivities in Q4, the review volume is generally low, and it picks up again in the first quarter. It climbs up further in the second quarter due the leasing period in various communities nationwide,” explained Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research. These data come from the fourth edition of The Mechanics of Online Review Sites and ILSs produced by J Turner Research. The report is an unparalleled resource on the growth of online reviews, review sites, and Internet Listing Services (ILSs) relevant to the multifamily industry. It offers a quantitative perspective on the progression of online reputation in multifamily. Its analysis originates from the online reputation monitoring of nearly 116,000 properties nationwide across various review sites and ILSs, each month. As of Q1 2020, there are 9,777,352 reviews for the 115,948 properties J Turner monitors, and 86 percent of these properties – 99,579 have at least one review. In this report, all analysis is based on these 99,579 properties. In 2015, it monitored 55,700+ properties. The number of reviews has grown 3.5 times from 2,741,818 reviews in 2015 to 9,777,352 reviews in Q1 2020. Additionally: Number of reviews per property – The average number of reviews per property in 2019......
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One Month Later: Fitness Center Reopening in Phases

One Month Later: Fitness Center Reopening in Phases
As a certified fitness professional who serves multiple multifamily apartment communities and thousands of their residents in the Dallas market every year, I’ve seen how this pandemic has affected multifamily community operations all over the metroplex. The common thread is the need to establish proper safety guidelines, communicating those guidelines to residents, and finding additional support especially in the form of gym attending and cleaning. States are lifting COVID-19 restrictions on public places, and plans for reopening our seven gyms at three different properties are coming together in phases. I've been fortunate to work with one of the greats, Lincoln Property Company. Phase one: cautiously re-open with safety guidelines and accommodations. We discussed these points in our previous blog “12 Steps To Re-Open Your Fitness Center with Success”, feel free to check that out to get up to speed. Now as residents are trickling in to utilize the amenities they’ve missed these last few months, we’ve seen a diverse mix of results. This is what we know after hiring attendants to monitor capacity levels, wipe down high touch points and ensure social distancing measures: The positive: Capacity: As to be expected, the repopulation was gradual. Maximum capacity wasn’t reached until a few weeks after reopening, allowing time for residents to adjust to all the new changes. Attendants available to enforce max capacity numbers and keep high touch points cleaned was helpful to staying compliant and reassuring residents could feel comfortable. Usage: Individual use time limited to one hour has, for the most part, ......
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How a 3-Cent Drop In Rent Can Have a 'Serious' Effect on Apartment Leasing’s Busy Season

How a 3-Cent Drop In Rent Can Have a 'Serious' Effect on Apartment Leasing’s Busy Season
The ‘startling’ monthly decline in rents and social unrest could push 'busy season' to the fall. When you think about a 0.3 percent drop in anything it hardly seems like a big deal. It’s just 3 pennies on every 10 dollars. Or $3 on every $1,000. And if you are an apartment operator and that reflects the national average on rents for May compared to April, some would figure it’s something not too difficult to make up. But what if it isn’t? The three-tenths of a percent is the drop for one month, and 12x that comes to 3.6 percent annually. All of a sudden, that could be serious. During what would typically be the middle of prime leasing season, rents declined nationally by 0.3% on a month-over-month basis, reports Jeff Adler, Vice President of Yardi Matrix. He says that drop in rents is startling. “Is it a harbinger of things to come? A warning sign?” Adler says. “When rents being offered to new residents drop like that month-over-month, year-over-year you have to ask yourself.” Adler says current occupancy is mostly steady (a good thing). And there’s no deterioration in demand as measured by apartment search activity. (another good thing). “But this is peak leasing season,” he adds. “Falling like this would be at a rather significant clip. If we see it again next month, then demand will not have stabilized. And data show this is happening to high-end apartment communities.” A General 'Roll Down' in Rents The steepest declines in rents on a MoM basis were s......
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Reopening Multifamily: Lead with Compassion when Returning to Work

Multifamily workplaces around the country are wrestling with the challenges of reopening their offices. According to research by SHRM, 50% of employers plan to return to the workplace by July 15, and 39% will implement a phased return to work strategy. As multifamily housing operators make their return to work plans, leaders should adopt a people-first mentality and demonstrate compassion for the concerns of their associates. Here are just some of the issues that team members may be worried about:   Some may be recovering from COVID or have underlying conditions that put them at higher risk Some may live with someone considered high-risk for infection Many act as caregivers and may be wrestling with extended closures of schools, camps, daycares, and adult care facilities Some may rely on public transportation to commute to and from work and fear that option is unsafe or may have limited operating hours According to Fortune, more than 1/3 of office-going adults are most concerned that “others in the office will behave in a way that puts me in danger” Many may be experiencing anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress syndrome. According to Harvard Business Review, “Many have suffered profound losses during the pandemic and have not had sufficient opportunity to grieve.” Resolving the numerous practical challenges of reopening—such as securing adequate supplies of PPE, disinfecting workspaces and amenity areas, and reconfiguring office layouts to accommodate social distancing—while challenging indeed, may be the easiest part about returning to work. Addressing the fears and concerns of team memb......
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