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The All-In-One or Best-of-Breed Dilemma: Which Technology is Best for Multifamily Companies?

The All-In-One or Best-of-Breed Dilemma: Which Technology is Best for Multifamily Companies?
In the property management industry, there is a technology to solve almost every problem.  From paying rent online to managing packages, the industry is bursting with solutions that tackle all the tedious aspects of being a property manager. But first, you have to find the vendor that’s right for your company, and that can be a tough task. The best way to whittle down your choice of vendors is to determine if you want to use an all-in-one or a best-in-breed solution. You may not be sure which one is the best fit for your business, so here are the pros and cons of each. First, let’s take a look at all-in-one solutions. All-in-one providers catering to the property management industry offer a combination of management, investment, marketing, leasing, and resident tools. All-In-One Pros An all-in-one solution can be an easy sell for some property management companies. The idea of a single platform being able to solve multiple challenges at once sounds very appealing, especially if you have limited internal resources. The IT requirements required to use an all-in-one provider may be reduced when a single vendor is used because there are fewer programs to maintain. If your team is not particularly tech savvy, only having to learn one platform can help avoid confusion among users of the software and shorten the learning curve. Plus, users will only need a single login to manage each application. Only having one technology vendor to juggle can be convenient, too. You’ll only have one ve......
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A Day in the Life of a “Smart” Apartment Renter

According to a study published on Business Insider in 2016, the average cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times each day. The modern individual’s reliance on technology stems further than just mobile devices. Everything from our cars to our watches and cell phones have an operating system today. So, what does an operating system look like in a smart apartment? It’s no secret that the smart home revolution is upon us. From the smart lock on the door to Wi-Fi thermostats, residents in smart homes and apartments are be able to customize their living spaces far beyond paintings hung on the walls or carpet on the floor. Home automation is used to describe devices that utilize connectivity and embedded sensors to complete common household tasks. With the implementation of home automation, a single-family resident is able to enter a personal pin code for their smart lock that opens the front door, which then triggers their music of choice to play on speakers, while the lights adjust to a relaxing preset, and the oven preheats for that night’s meal. The advent of the smart home has been made possible through the Internet of Things (IoT), which allows everyday objects to send and receive data, making home automation and related products easier to use and more affordable for the average renter. But it’s not just the desire of being on the cutting edge of technology and having the highest end amenities that attracts renters, owners and property managers to smart technol......
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You Are Being Watched!

Cameras are in use on every street corner, in most businesses, in theaters, maybe even in our churches. I hope not in hotel rooms. Privacy is no longer a privilege when we have baby and nanny cams, shoplifting cams, dressing room cams; restaurant cams; red light cams, the list is endless.  There are both positives and negatives to this lack of privacy.  Recently I read that a couple had cameras in the their apartment which they could could check from their IPhones.  Sadly, a resident watched a pest control person come in, sit down, play with his IPhone, then get up and walk out.  The pest control was not done, but when the manager checked the invoice, the property was charged for spraying.  On a different property a resident checked his camera and found two strangers having sex in his bedroom.  That shocking scene resulted in a move out.  Another resident , different property, recorded an employee taking a bottle of fine whiskey from the kitchen.   There are a couple of points here. 1. Live your life, run your business, do your job as though someone is watching you.    2.  Warn your employees and vendors that they most likely are being observed while on and in your property.   It is sad that our world has come to this, and it will become even more invasive.  Watch the Tom Hanks movie, The Circle.  Next week a new television series is starting featuring how to get the entire world involved,......
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How to Fix Slow Internet, Generate Revenue and Ditch the “Cable Guys” With a Multifamily Internet Service

An Educational Series for Apartments, HOA’s and Co-Op’s: Part II “Pure Internet”   Pure Internet, the refreshing, no hassle experience of fast, fiber backed“Internet That Just Works”. It flows like the crystal clean rivers in the Glacier Mountains, unpolluted by the impurities of the big cities. It rushes to its destination, shimmering off the rocks with a turquoise clarity. Pure Internet is an unadulterated network of low latency paths, moving data directly and efficiently to its endpoint. Traveling unobstructed by bottlenecks or inefficiencies; safely and securely arriving to its destination.  The pipes are bountiful, clean and safe; the obstacles that litter most networks have been removed. The end-user is left with a great sense of freedom, ease and gratitude from the Internet experience, so much so they may even begin to take it for granted.    In contrast, in part one; we discussed the current “Dirty City Water” Internet experience that most Americans are accustomed to. In short; you have been sold Internet speeds that are not really speeds at all but rather capacity, on an oversubscribed network.  Speeds that are asymmetrical, transmitting over antiquated wiring technology, first used 100 years ago. You have “hired” yourself to configure your network, trying desperately to fend off dirty data and professional hackers with an over-the-counter router. You call for support and reach your, “not-so friendly” monopolistic ISP who has no financial incentive to improve the situation. For an “arm-and-a-leg” they promise they will give it their “best effort”; however they seem to be having a hard enough time fix......
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Top 7 Questions Before You Run A Screening Report On A Potential New Resident

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A RELEVANT CRIME? Many property owners/managers see a background report as being more important than a credit report. You really must know who you are bringing into your community, as you have a responsibility to the rest of your residents. When you allow someone into your community who could potentially could bring harm to the other residents or the property, it can do a lot of damage to your investment in a short amount of time. HAVE YOU EVER BROKEN A RENTAL AGREEMENT? OR RECEIVED A NOTICE TO PERFORM OR QUIT? If they tell you they have broken a lease ask them what happened. Sometimes circumstances dictate it to be necessary. I would recommend talking to the property management company to confirm all reason are correct and true. It will allow you to feel positive about your decision. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN EVICTED, OR EVER HAD AN UNLAWFUL DETAINER FILED AGAINST YOU? If they answer yes to this one, you need to dig deeper into the “why” of this situation. There are circumstances sometimes which can be explained. Maybe their current financial situation has gotten better. You shouldn’t automatically just toss them out. MONTHLY INCOME? The quick rule of thumb which many properties use is monthly income should be 3X the rent.  This may vary though based upon the asset class, and what other financial obligations the prospective resident has. HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE LIVING IN THE UNIT? This one seems like a no bra......
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What Property Managers Can Learn from the New ‘Bachelor'

ABC finally announced who will be their new Bachelor—Arie Luyendyk Jr., a race car driver and former Bachelorette runner up from 2012. But, why am I telling you this? Of course you've been obsessively checking Twitter for days and watching Bachelor in Paradise to play amateur detective and getting into heated debates with your spouse about the merits of Eric (his suggestion, an OK one) vs. Dean (who knocked himself out after his treatment of poor Kristina) vs. Jack Stone (just me?), right? (Apparently I've come a long way since I've been a The Bachelor apologist, and learned some property management tips from it nonetheless.)

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Get Ready Multifamily, It's Time for Generation Z

Yes, it’s true. . . just when we were getting the hang of Millennials, Generation Z is upon us. To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the multifamily industry is the broad range of our clientele across the generations. Where else do you serve such a diverse group of target customers with something so personal and primal as the very home and community in which they live? With each new generation we face the challenge of blending what is important to the current generations we serve while simultaneously renewing our physical product and supporting services to attract and appeal to the new generation coming of age. Recently, I’ve spent some time researching the various statistics and opinions of what makes Generation Z unique and how that is expected to influence their behavior as consumers in the future. To that end, I offer the following few simple thoughts and takeaways of what it means for our industry to begin preparing now for what is to come. There are varying statistical references as to the precise makeup and definition of Generation Z. For the most part, it is agreed Gen Z consists of all those born in 1995 and thereafter. According to Forbes in 2015, this generation made up 25% of the U.S. population. They contribute an estimated excess of $44 billion to the economy and are further expected to grow to a full third of the U. S. population by 2020. This makes them a larger generation than both the Millennials and the Baby Boomers before them. As the first of Gen......
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Hurricane Preparedness: Stock up on Supplies, Know Safe Spots

Two hurricanes have already landed on U.S. soil. And another is about to do so if Hurricane Juan builds momentum. Hurricane preparedness is the utmost importance now. It’s a small measure of relief that technology allows near-precise timeliness of when and where these devastating acts of nature will make impact. Technology can also help you best prepare for disaster. In the case of Hurricane Irma, residents in Florida, the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard had more than a week’s warning for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record.   While that doesn’t soften the potential impact for apartment residents and operators, it gives them more sufficient time to prepare. As many go to local shops and stores to get supplies the result is often bar shelves. However, a few-day window exists to utilize online shopping. Apartment communities could see a gigantic rush of supplies ranging from non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and other survival-type goods. This is also the time for property managers to have a firm emergency plan intact. It is vital to have procedures in place to notify residents and team members. This isn’t the time to ignore evacuation orders or the advice of first responders. But no matter how direct, widespread or valuable the advice, some will choose to wait out the storm. In fairness, south Florida apartment developments are better prepared for a hurricane after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. Construction standards have increased, windows are designed to withstand high impact and most new developments can absorb winds of up to 175 mph. But that ......
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Three Tips for Preparing Your Community For An Emergency

Emergency contacts  Emergency Contact List Keeping the Emergency Contact List updated is the first step for a property’s emergency plan. This includes a reminder to contact alarm companies or other support service providers with changes in telephone numbers or staffing.  This should be included on the team meeting agenda.  When an alarm company is unable to contact a manager or maintenance supervisor important time is lost as they continue efforts to make someone in the company aware of the problem.  Unfortunately a failure in this process usually results in a former employee or the company COO receiving a middle of the night notification. This happens because they were the only active accurate number on the call list with the alarm company.  In an emergency, effective time management is critical.  Overseeing real estates investments worth millions of dollars warrants responsible care and planning. Emergency Plan Too often emergency plans are not developed until a critical incident occurs.  This tool assigns team responsibilities.   It also provides a list of supplies; necessary to keep on hand at all times. Years ago I managed an apartment building that experienced a devastating fire.  This fast-moving fire consumed most of the building in minutes.  The first responders with the help of the staff were able to safely evacuate every resident safely.  A list updated on a regular basis; documenting every resident with mobility limitations was credited with assisting in the evacuation efforts. Tour The Property Contact emergency service providers; fire, ambulance and police departments.  Schedule appointments fo......
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LEASING TIPS AND DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!

LEASING TIPS AND DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!
  Leasing Tips & How To Follow Up’s: With so many online, social media, and other software’s out there now, how do you keep up with it all? Start out by keeping an inbox folder on your email identified as Online Leads. You will have all ILS and email leads centralized for reference if needed. One of the largest parts of your online presence will be how and where your community is presented. The largest part of your leasing tool kit is your People, Product, and Perception. Even down to the vendor who hosted a resident or staff party or luncheon.  You get your leads via email, or by looking on your ILS sites. First things first, enter them into your system. Don't wait!!! Again, I repeat DON'T WAIT! Enter them as a prospect by their online or email requests you will potentially know what their name is, their email, phone number, what size apartment they are looking for in addition to their price range. If their phone number is listed, guess what… they want you to call them! Call them from your office phone and not your cell. It takes out the confusion and prevents liabilities.    Smile when You Dial!  Smiling when you are dialing a phone number or answering a call, puts you in the mood to consult! Smile when you dial that phone number. At this point your greatest priority is to schedule a time for the prospective resident to see your community! Remember you are in control of th......
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