True. Dealing with the difficult situations allow us to grow and learn as managers, etc. The hardest...
Thank you Jason. The point I was trying to make regarding the resident event is that the vendor open...
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Category contains 1 blog entry contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,   I guess I’m getting old. My daughter just had to show me how to download an app on my new smart phone. Technology is advancing so rapidly, and I’m having a hard time keeping up, especially when it comes to smart home technology.   All of the young property managers are talking about it and I feel out of the loop. What should I be focusing on when it comes to new technology at my multifamily housing community?   - #NotTheNextSteveJobs     Dear #NotTheNextSteveJobs,   It’s okay, I think my teenage son knows more about technology than me too. Kids these days! The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to understand how technology works in order to start capitalizing on the benefits it can provide to your apartment.   Smart home tech is one of the hottest trends in the multifamily industry right now. Why? Smart-home features such as smartphone-managed lighting and security are giving renters a greater sense of control.   Millennial renters aren’t going to be scared off by technology -- they already know how it works… and they like it. In fact, according to a new study from Bailey Brand Consulting, 74% of them believe technology makes their lives easier. And since millennials currently make up the largest group of renters, it’s a good idea to focus your efforts on appealing to them.   Okay, now that you understand the “whys” of smart technology, let’s focus on the “what.” Here’s a list of...

Posted by on in Property Management
If you’re complaining about your feet hurting you should invest in a new pair of heels (I say heels because my boss doesn’t care for flats). But you should also be changing your perspective on leasing……. Tour after tour doesn’t make me tired, it’s the investment I put into each tour that makes me tired. There’s an emotional roller coaster that goes along with leasing. The emotional investment. The high from closing the deal. The low from losing the lease. Even beyond that, my competitive nature and always wanting to win, beat myself, beat others, even that is emotionally exhausting.  I get so emotionally attached to every person that walks in the door, hearing their story, their wants and needs, helping them through each step, and then I move on to the next person and start all over. Asking the questions you should be asking should lead to a level of vulnerability for your prospect. They’re opening up an important portion of their life to you. If you’re not feeling that, you’re probably not asking the right questions.  Even if you have an applicant that is denied or cancelled, even more so then, they have a story. There’s a reason. Our job is to help even at that level of the process. They cancelled because of a life changing event. Be sympathetic. They were denied due to something that effects their self esteem, more than likely, and a huge part of their life, their HOME. Be gracious and kind and figure...

Posted by on in Property Management
A recent post online:   “I’d love to show up to a tenant’s job and cause a scene like they do in the leasing office. Show up at your Walmart and yell at you because my eggs were cracked. Hit other people’s buggies and say it wasn’t me. Threaten to throw away my reward card Litter. EVERYWHERE! Get to the front of the line at check out and only pay half the bill. Complain about how overpriced the groceries where (misspelled) and terrible store is … Ask to “speak to the Manager” And respond with, “Well I’m only paying half the bill because my eggs were cracked.” We deal with so much”   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^   Out of 62 comments (and there may be even more by this point), I don’t think there was one response that disagreed with the Poster. Many commiserated with her and joined in with agreement in earnest. I know the post was meant to relieve stress and validate her feeling of frustration. I get it.   The thing is though – we work where our Residents LIVE, in their homes, not the other way around. What are we doing to help our onsite teams feel better, feel less bullied by some Residents, and relieve the stress as we move into high leasing season? Venting online cannot possibly be the best way to ensure our teams are cared for, being heard, and assisted in strengthening their relationship management skills.  ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Let me take you back to 20th century’s property management for a minute…Property managers are walking from door to door, frantically knocking and collecting rent payments in ‘cash’. Unfortunately, it’s not going as smooth as they had previously hoped. Although some landlords and managers stereotype renters as fiscally irresponsible people, one thing is sure- a bulk of tenants lead very hectic lives. A typical day might include waking up on time to drop kids at school, rushing to work, running a couple of errands during lunch time, before winding up with  evening meetings and extracurricular activities. Of course it’s understandable that rent may actually be last thing on such a renter’s mind. That’s why the 20th century property manager, in our case scenario, may end up with quite a couple missed payments. And that translates to additional trips to renter’s apartments, not to mention consequent frustrations. Strange as it may sound, there are many property managers stuck in the same cycle. While they may not be actually knocking on tenants’ doors, they are facing pretty much similar challenges. They are forced to consistently follow up on payments on a monthly basis, with tenants giving excuses like: “I’m sorry. I forgot..” “The bank is too far…” “I couldn’t find time to pay..” Well, while some of these excuses are already a bit cliché, many tenants are genuinely worried about time and convenience of payment. Although timely rent payment cannot be guaranteed, providing a convenient system helps improve response and compliance.  And that’s exactly where...

Posted by on in Property Management
Breakfast On The Go Dedicated to a freezing cold below zero Michigan Morning on February 2…a few years ago…..with Katie Bolger Vondra and her team.  The only thing better than Property Management Minutes, are Property Management Memories. Breakfast On The Go is a quick and easy resident appreciation event.  Organizing the leasing and maintenance team at the property entrances with coffee, juice boxes, and packaged pastries offers a smile and breakfast treat for your residents as they leave the property for their morning commute. Ground Hog Day One year we used Ground Hog Day for our theme. As we handed out the breakfast treats, we asked each carload for their vote. Would the ground hog see their shadow or not? On a cold Michigan morning we spent more time explaining which way the shadow meant, long Winter or short until spring. Everyone laughed and started the day with a smile. As the final cars left the property, we called a local radio station that was talking about the groundhog shadow thing. We offered our votes….  of the 115 people we polled at the gate for Homestead Apartments, 76 votes for seeing shadow, 49 votes for no shadow. That little comment planted an advertising seed. We got to mention our property name and location on the air. Even a 30 second ad would have cost hundreds of dollars. At the same time, we offered our snacks to our residents laughing with smiles. We weren’t asking about lease terms or reminding them to pay their rent....

Posted by on in Property Management
It seems that everyone loves an open house. Realtors have portfolios with hundreds of homes for sale. A simple phone call can arrange an appointment for a home tour. But placing a sign in the front yard announcing OPEN HOUSE TODAY, creates interest. The results are significantly different than the inquiries generated by the HOME FOR SALE sign. Open House for Multi-Family The same principal can be effective in multifamily housing. Advertising for an open house creates a different perception.  It’s not about decorations or free food.   Having the sign on the property announcing OPEN HOUSE, creates an invitation. For us in the real estate industry.  We know the invitation is unnecessary.  Our teams are always ready and available to lease an apartment home. But having an open house sign seems to encourage prospects who may be “just driving by” to take a few minutes out of their day for a tour of the property. Creating Urgency Another effective sign is APARTMENT TOURS TODAY. Again, for every manager and leasing professional, we know we give tours every day, any time of the day. But having a sign announcing tours TODAY gives “permission” to stop in without an appointment. Another technique employed with both of these signs is the word, TODAY. Subconsciously, the word is creating a sense of urgency. You need to look at the apartment today. The sign implies that maybe a tour or the open house event is for today only. Waiting, could mean you would miss out on the opportunity...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,   Parking. It’s every property manager’s worst nightmare. So many problems arise between us and our residents because of it. Trying to having enough spots, regulating who parks where, I can’t seem to keep everyone happy. Please help!   Sincerely,   #IGot99ProblemsAndParkingIsOne     Dear #IGot99ProblemsAndParkingIsOne,     Ah yes, parking is a perennial problem property managers face. It seems like every multifamily community just turns into parking lot tetris (not as fun as it sounds).   Unfortunately, property managers are responsible for dealing with the neverending parking struggle. Adequate parking at rental properties is one of the most important amenities for residents and can be the make or break for some when it comes to signing or renewing their lease. After all, parking is what cars do most of the time. In fact, the average automobile spends 95 percent of its time sitting in place. People buy cars because they need to move around, but the amount of time they actually do move around is tiny.   Providing parking is important. Luckily, you have me to help you navigate the treacherous roads (pun intended) of multifamily parking.   Property managers who want to keep their residents happy and reduce conflict between neighbors should have a clearly defined parking plan for their property. Here are some things to consider:   Assigned Parking Spaces: To make sure that all residents in your multifamily housing community have plenty of parking for their own vehicles, there should be assigned parking spaces. Many...

Posted by on in Property Management
For an end of the year report, I pulled some data on the number of move ins for my group. While the results are good, and show some occupancy improvement..I’m all about the next step. What can I learn from the data? What do reports tell us about our performance? When a property is performing well, occupancy is strong, and rent collection is excellent. It becomes increasingly difficult to expect continued improvement. Or so I thought. The first report that I reviewed provided a list of the total number of applications received during 2016. Adding a filter identifies the number of approved applications. Then the reality check. The number of approved applications was almost double the number of move ins. Literally 100’s of approved applications never became move ins.  Somehow they fall between the cracks of our daily busy-ness.  They never became our residents. They didn’t add to our rent revenue or occupancy number. Individuals had enough interest to pay the application fee, obtain the thumbs up for approval. Then…..lost…..stolen by aliens? This is not Area 51 in the desert. Low Hanging Fruit Its alarming and comforting. How could we have not done the follow-up to secure the move ins? But once again, the low hanging fruit shows us the opportunity for improvement. It’s certainly not impossible. We already have everything we need to increase the occupancy. Now, we need a process to follow-up on the approved applications. For my group, 20 apartments will grow our occupancy 1%. Thinking that...

Posted by on in Property Management
Charlie thought he’d found the perfect apartment community in a booming Denver neighborhood. It was located near a popular jogging and biking trail, and the twenty-something fitness enthusiast envisioned lots of long, health-boosting runs in the Colorado sunshine. But a low credit score and poor rental payment history unraveled his rental application. Spending his young adulthood being a little too careless about paying his bills and rent put his chosen lifestyle in jeopardy. Credit scores can have an impact on many aspects of life. But a large number of apartment residents aren’t aware of how a low credit score or an insufficient credit history can hamper their ability to make significant purchases. A good credit history is a major factor in securing mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and, yes, apartment homes. With low vacancy rates across much of the nation, apartment communities — especially higher-end properties — are requiring stronger credit history and higher credit scores to lease an apartment. And with more and more multifamily communities reporting their residents’ rental payment history to credit bureaus, leasing teams now have an additional method of determining which prospects are most likely to pay their rent on time and in full each month. Put bluntly, a less-than-stellar credit score and a spotty payment history means applicants might be less likely to land their desired home in today’s marketplace. But poor credit scores do more than harm the apartment residents themselves. It’s well-documented that the lower a renter’s credit score, the less likely he...

Posted by on in Property Management
Weekend hours Is your leasing center open on Saturday, possibly even Sunday? Many are open on the weekend.  It’s a great opportunity for future residents to have time to explore and investigate possible options for their new homes. Usually weekday leasing appointments are crunched between transportation pick ups, lunch hours and errands.  This limits the time available, putting a quick end to a visit. Too often, weekend hours are viewed a punishment to a property for not achieving an occupancy goal. The team needs to understand and appreciate the hours of operation.   Actually, Saturday and Sunday hours can be very productive to finalize decisions on leases, and complete lease renewals.  Assigned to the leasing office for the weekend schedule can be the best opportunity to lease. Customer Service Multifamily housing is a customer service industry. We provide homes, and we service those homes. This requires us to be open and available to provide service when needed by our customer. Our customers are current residents as well as prospective residents Setting up the schedule for Saturday hours often involves assigning the newest team member to cover this assignment. Tenured staff members will say, “I’ve paid my dues. I don’t or shouldn’t have to work the weekend schedule.” Teams I’ve worked with, usually have a revolving schedule to cover weekends. This is more difficult on smaller properties, with less staff. Why Are We Open? Weekend hours are not simply covering the office IN CASE a prospect might stop by. In addition to the appointments that...