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5 Mindfulness Tips to Improve Resident Well-being & Reduce Stress

mindfulnessDuring the day-to-day challenges produced by COVID-19, many residents are experiencing an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression. As renters continue to adjust to the new normal, they should be mindful of taking care of themselves and those they love. While we’re all coping with the evolving coronavirus pandemic and other stresses that can have a major impact on our well-being, developing a self-care practice such as mindfulness is essential.   What is mindfulness? According to the American Psychological Association (APA.org, 2012), mindfulness is “…a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.” In other words, it’s about paying attention while being aware of the present moment through guided meditation practice. And, with practice and curiosity, it can be a powerful tool that can help us in these trying times. As we become more aware of what’s happening in the present moment such as the sound of birds chirping, the wind blowing, or even the smells that surround us, we are learning to calm the body and mind.  Awareness of the five senses through visualization exercises will help connect with the presence of sense in well-being. For this reason, the practice of mindfulness can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, make us feel more connected to our loved ones, and most importantly, help us be physically and mentally well.  5 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness As residents continue to carry out their day-to-day lives, they can practice several mindfulness techniques that will help improve their well-being. 1.  Be aware of your breathing.  As you i......
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Keep Talking. Employees are Listening.

       As we look toward entering a new phase of management during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to survey multifamily employees to see how they are feeling about the ever-evolving situation. Data from the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey shows that employees' feeling of safety in carrying out their responsibilities tracks with the level of communication and leadership visibility they are experiencing. In other words, the more leaders communicate directly with their teams, the greater the employees' feeling of safety in completing their work.  In speaking with leaders of 30 property management companies, there is a universal perception that it's time to take the foot off the gas pedal regarding company communication, now that we're through the initial tidal wave of change that arose due to the pandemic.  "We're turning into Zoombies!" commented one employee, which perfectly represents the fatigue many team members are feeling in regard to the volume of meetings we all seem to be having. However, while I may agree that the quantity of meetings may need to be toned down, the quality of communication is still critically important. Polling conducted with hundreds of multifamily employees during webinars over the past few weeks shows a shift from general feelings of uncertainty to concerns about how their communities are addressing or planning to address re-opening. In addition, beginning on May 18th, the data from the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey has shown the rating trending downward on the topic of, "I feel well-informed ......
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Multifamily Tours Best Practices - Keeping Staff, Residents, and Prospects Safe

Touring is an essential part of the leasing process for every arena of real estate, but it’s especially vital for multifamily.    Since multifamily properties are a community of units and residents, the property’s ultimate success lies not in one lead-to-closing conversion, but in many conversions to keep vacancy low. Because of this, tours and property showings play an essential role in a healthy multifamily asset’s toolbox. When the tours stop, the sales funnel goes stagnant. Conducting tours is a requirement for filling vacancies and actualizing the asset’s full ROI potentials.    However, the current global climate is putting a halt on traditional touring protocols and forcing industry professionals to find new alternatives that better align with the times.    COVID-19, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders are sparking widespread concerns for the health and safety of the leasing staff, residents, and prospective residents. Needless to say, conducting tours is now a challenge… and one that needs to be conquered immediately if multifamily professionals want to keep up their momentum.  Overcoming the Obstacles Fortunately, it is possible for multifamily property managers to conduct tours safely while accommodating all of society’s ‘new normals’.  By combining cutting-edge technologies with strategic best-practices, you’ll be able to conduct tours with confidence and provide an extraordinary customer experience for prospective residents.  Explore Modern Touring Options Optimize your multifamily tour procedures according to the moment with these 4 creative ideas:    Pre-Made Video Tours Being exactly what the name suggests, this tour option allows multifamily managers to compile a ready-made vide......
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Five Benefits to Paperless Parking

Five Benefits to Paperless Parking
More and more companies every day are switching to paperless parking solutions, whether it be a condo or HOA, multifamily complex, or a business center. Not surprising either, considering the many advantages. Here are just five ways you can benefit with paperless parking permits. Environmentally Friendly Everyone is concerned about the environment nowadays, and rightfully so. Reducing paper waste, reducing deforestation and pollution, etcetera. The worries and struggles of endlessly printing out paper and stickers for residents and their guests will be totally negated, contributing to the elimination of the paper waste. This change will make a substantial difference for every leasing and management office. Ease of Access & Use Not only can going paperless can earn you points for being more environmentally conscious, it will save you time from having to issue and re-issue parking permits over the span of a day. You won't have to keep your binder full of hang tags anymore. And, just think of the never-ending task to record and keep track of vehicles associated with those hang tags. The burdens associated with distributing physical parking permits are phased out once you switch to a paperless parking system. Especially when it comes to guest parking; residents and guests will now have 24/7 access to purchase their parking permits, allowing communities to maximize on ancillary revenue even when the office is closed. Resident Satisfaction Our quality of life can be greatly improved upon in the digital world. This no doubt includes paperless parking permits, where residents or......
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Benefits of investing in Real Estate over the Stock Market

Investors often turn to the stock market as a place to invest their dollars. However, not everyone knows that real estate is also considered a form of investment. In fact, real estate can yield higher returns, be lower risk, and offer better diversification. Start by comparing the benefits of real estate investment and buying stocks. Market stability The stock market can experience extreme ups and downs. It may even cause you to lose all your money if the company you invested in goes under. Even big international companies can crash overnight. However, the real estate market is much more predictable since it is hard for a real estate business to fail. Property can always be sold to keep a real estate company afloat during economic difficulties.  Asset management You can physically check the property you are investing in and decide if you want to buy it or not. This means it’s harder to be defrauded. On the other hand, stocks are non-physical assets, and you have fewer options. When you choose a company to invest in, you cannot choose which stocks you want, because all stocks are the same. Another one of the benefits of real estate investments is that you are the owner of your property. When you buy stocks, you depend on other people’s management. Cash flow The cash flow from rental properties in real estate acts as a monthly income that you can live on. On the other hand, you will not see any cash until you sell you......
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Traffic and Leasing Move up From Pandemic Low

Traffic and Leasing Move up From Pandemic Low
It’s been two months since the initial lockdowns started across the country. This week, we saw a number of other states start to open up, and our industry is showing some positive signs in terms of some leading indicators.On a national basis, both traffic and leases were up during the week ending on May 13, according to data from Radix. Specifically, traffic and leases were up 8.7% and 6.6%, respectively, week over week. They were down 41.7% and 18.2%, respectively, year over year. On the plus side, the YoY deficits for these two metrics have been dropping in recent weeks. For example, leases were down more than 50% on a YoY basis just four to five weeks ago.Nationally, the occupancy rate dipped 11 basis points to 92.85% during the seven days ending on May 13 (it was down 139 basis points YoY). However, that was the smallest WoW decline since the start of April.The accordion effect of these leading indicators is now showing signs of more significantly impacting net effective rent (NER). In the week of May 13, we saw the largest WoW drop in NER – 1.1% – since the pandemic began. And, for the first time since the coronavirus came to the U.S., we saw the YoY comparison dip into negative territory at -0.8%.What could all this mean? We could be seeing the first signs of demand stabilization as leading indicators are improving and stabilizing. The slow but constant gains in traffic and leasing are encouraging and we are makin......
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The One Vacancy You Want During the Pandemic

     Ivory tower. Corner office. Private beach. La-La Land. Hidey-hole. It's been called many things recently in our COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey, but ultimately it's the place some employees believe their executive leadership has been hunkering down while front line employees feel they are personally putting their health and safety at risk.  I say "some employees," because the great news is that 85.2% of rental housing employees agree that their executive leadership has been visible and communicative during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's more than 5 out of 6! Whether conducting weekly virtual Town Hall meetings with all employees, showing up at different communities to help sanitize common areas, personally delivering a much needed supply of masks, or announcing new work-from-home guidance to reduce face-to-face interactions in the leasing office - leaders across the country are demonstrating that they won't ask their team members to do anything they are not willing to personally do themselves. Ivory tower = Vacant! A key benefit of seeing executive leadership in action is the strong correlation to the employees' perception that leadership is making good decisions in response to the pandemic. Employees want to have confidence in the direction they are being given. These recent findings support what we learned through the Swift Bunny Multifamily Employee Engagement Study, that "Respect for executive leadership" is one of the strongest influencers on employee engagement.  Employee engagement is critical for every property management company in order to successfully pull through a crisis. It's what enables each team ......
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Parking Solutions through License Plate Recognition

Parking Solutions through License Plate Recognition
It’s 2020. Going paperless is an option for just about everything we use – when it comes to banking, news, advertising, etc. Almost every day, corporations and organizations are finding ways to reduce the amount of paper used and improve their overall environmental impact. Not only that, but it can be financially beneficial in the long run. Saving time, money, and reducing waste.   This can open opportunities and parking solutions in areas where parking issues may arise, especially in urban areas. When visiting cities, or more dense locations, you will notice that some vehicles out and about may have small stickers displaying numeric codes placed somewhere on their vehicle or hanging from their rear-view mirror. Usually, these are used to apply parking rules in areas within multifamily complexes or commercial parking for a business center. It is a rather commonplace quick fix for parking issues. They can be used to identify certain vehicles, and/or whether they are permitted to occupy certain spaces, etc. The managers of these multifamily complexes or business centers typically charge a fee for these, and allow the consumer to park within the compound, whether it be in an allocated section of the parking network, or a specific spot on the lot. Regardless, most people do not look forward to placing these often colorful, obtrusive, and wasteful stickers on their vehicle. Not only does it cause frustration and inconvenience for the user, but it can also create issues for the landlords or managers who enforce parking regulation in ......
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12 Steps To Re-Open Your Fitness Center with Success

  We know residents are anxious to get back to their routines, which for many, includes the use of your amenity areas and more specifically, fitness facilities. We’ve all probably found ourselves doing a little too much couch-sitting and chip dipping and our residents are most likely in a similar situation and looking forward to getting back on track with their fitness goals, along with everything else that was recently put on ‘pause’.   As a certified fitness professional who serves multiple multifamily apartment communities and thousand of their residents in the Dallas market every year, I put together some recommendations that can be utilized for any community that is looking to re-open, safely.   1. Ensure good social distancing practices by marking floors in your fitness     areas, the recommended six-foot distance and moving equipment     where needed   2. Store jump ropes, resistance bands, medicine balls, and yoga mats -     these are items that are harder to disinfect and should be stored for     another time. The goal is to eliminate items for public use that may be     harder to clean.   3. Set up gym wipes and hand sanitizing stations that are visible, easy to             access and placed in high-touch areas   4. Improve fitness center airflow and quality with air purifiers and fresh,             outdoor air, if possible (open windows/doors, etc.)   5. Temporarily disable public water fountains   6. Es......
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We As Americans Love A Good Come Back Story. This Is Ours.

During my years in the business, I have seen and weathered multiple downturns in our economy; though nothing has been quite like what we’ve all seen the last few weeks. The past downturns that I went through were financial related for the most part and took time to come together, this however, is a health crisis that is creating financial hardships, many of which are yet to be seen that may in turn be difficult to recover from.  If this is your first experience with an economic downturn, I believe you are about to witness an incredible comeback. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this will happen overnight or even the next few months, this will take time and a maximum of effort. I have seen people sacrifice a lot over the last few weeks, strangers helping strangers do things they probably would have been less likely to have done before.  Times of crisis really show you who people are, and, in this crisis, I have seen a lot of support, creativity, generosity and kindness. If we maintain this mentality, we can all continue to work together and get most everyone back on track, building our businesses and our economy once again. I do believe that we as a country are realizing how important we are to one another. The people that we see daily on TV, social apps or movies are not the ones saving our country from devastation, it’s the people that normally run behind the scenes and j......
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