I work for a company right now that does NOT practice the "Create a positive culture" part of this b...
Jules Carney
Among table stakes for the industry is service. If you want to stabilize and grow your reputation, ...
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Category contains 1 blog entry contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Property Management
Consider the Unicorn Frappuccino. You might be curious about  the trendy Starbucks item. It’s colorful! It’s fun! It’s begging to be Instagrammed! Admit it. You’re curious. And, maybe you’ll even try it out. Once. But then you’re totally going back to your regular coffee or latte. Because how many times do you really want to have pay for that sugar abomination? (You certainly won’t get more likes on your picture the second time you post it.) Fads fade. Classics are for forever. Same goes for amenities. Read on for the full blog....

Posted by on in Property Management
Capture.PNGSmartphones are no longer a luxury; they’re today’s primary communication tool. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. And we use them for much more than calls and texts – they’re all-purpose portals digitally connecting people, accounts and even objects to make our lives easier. The ability to control the environment around you at the tap of a finger is a huge opportunity for the security industry to employ new tech applications that increase renter convenience – and in many ways, to help protect against security concerns stemming from traditional building security methods. The real estate industry is embracing mobile technology to entice potential residents with increased convenience and flexibility. Today, security software for smartphones allow renters to unlock doors using their phone, eliminating the need to keep track of physical keys. This techy upgrade is attractive to renters who are accustomed to using their phones for everything from ordering groceries to scheduling door-to-door transportation. Importantly, mobile credentials can also increase building security. Residents are more likely to immediately notice if their phone is missing compared to a physical key. As soon as a resident reports their smartphone missing or stolen, the property manager can easily revoke access to that device as needed from a computer or smart device – meaning a decreased time window for unauthorized access.  Additionally, the digitization of access management makes for a less involved rekeying approach. A recent survey of key multi-family housing and mixed-use property decision makers found more than...

Posted by on in Property Management
You’re out at a restaurant having dinner with several of your friends. The drinks are flowing, the conversation is engaging, and the food couldn’t be better. It’s a great time until the bill comes. The mood quickly changes as everyone tries to figure out how much money to pony up. Someone suggests splitting the check evenly, but that’s clearly not going over well with the person who only ordered a salad. Your vegetarian friend doesn’t want to pitch in for the table’s calamari, and a few of your friends didn’t drink any of the wine that was ordered for the group. Most likely, someone will leave for the night feeling like they paid for much more than they consumed. Divvying the utility bill for a multifamily property can be a lot like dining with a large group of friends. Fairly allocating the charges isn't always cut and dry. If you’re lucky, your property is equipped with submeters, which will give you a precise reading of what each unit is responsible for. However, submeters aren’t feasible at every property, which leads many property managers to use RUBS when allocating resident utilities. RUBS stands for Ratio Utility Billing System, and is a cost-effective and fair alternative to submeters. RUBS essentially divides a utility bill among your residents based on certain criteria. Different utility types can often influence what RUBS formula a property uses. If you are thinking about billing back for utilities and want to implement RUBS, here are the different calculations...

Posted by on in Property Management
Innovation . . . it’s become a somewhat over-used word in business.  A recent Wired article even referred to it as the “buzzword of the decade,” becoming “the canned response of executives, politicians and educators to the question, ‘What do we need to be successful?’” Waterton is a notable exception to the buzzword mentality, however, beginning with the fact that they don’t just do apartments. Their portfolio includes nearly 18,000 units of residential real estate in major markets throughout the U.S., and 13 hotels including brands such as Aloft, Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt and Marriott. CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder David Schwartz has a lot to say about innovation, both within Waterton and in the multifamily industry. “Multifamily in general has been slow to embrace innovation compared to other industries. In our organization, we feel strongly about trying new things and the potential that new technologies offer by way of improving productivity, and customer service.” “We’ve seen first-hand how quickly the hospitality industry adopted innovations such as keyless entry and single-click reservations – could you imagine if we could do that with a lease?” Schwartz continues. “Ironically, an apartment resident can list their unit instantly on Airbnb with one click, but leasing an apartment still takes days or weeks, with endless amounts of paperwork. As an industry, multifamily is behind the times.” This is why Waterton leadership is so passionate about taking the lead on innovation, not only internally, but also throughout the industry. So much so, that they’ve made significant investments and...

Posted by on in Property Management
Bold statement, I know.  But as someone who is embedded in the world of feedback, I witness the impact ratings and reviews have on the leasing decision every day.  In a recent user poll conducted on ApartmentRatings, we asked people to tell us their reason for visiting the site.   Check this out: •58% plan on signing a lease within 7 days •91% were visiting to read reviews before deciding where to lease •29% said their final site was ApartmentRatings •78% were basing their decision off the reviews they read on ApartmentRatings Combine these findings with the results from our SatisFacts “2017 Today’s Online Renter Study” and the picture becomes even clearer: •81% of renters researched their options online before making any type of contact with the community •71% trust online ratings and reviews as opposed to 36% who trust the community’s website When the need arises for a new apartment home, renters pick up their phones, tablets or computers and begin the search.  They collect as much information found online as possible – availability, floorplans, photos and yes, online reviews.  They also talk to those closest to them (77% trust friends, family and co-workers) to whittle down their options even further. By the time they call, send an email inquiry, or walk through the doors of the leasing center, they have a good idea where they’d like to live.  The tour merely at this point is a means of verification.  Renters want to know what they’ve seen online is true in...

Posted by on in Property Management
By now, you’re probably aware that there are plenty of software tools out there for pretty much any type of business or office set up. That’s why techies are always encouraging businesses to go online, and literally forget dealing with actual paper files. Well, of course it all sounds good and rosy until you come to critically think of it… Is there any actual benefit of going paperless, apart from the all-too-known fact of being eco-friendly? Considering all the computers and storage drives you’ll have to purchase, isn’t paperless significantly more expensive than paper at the end of the day? And most importantly, is paperless feasible in property management? While converting from a paper-based to a paperless environment could be intimidating and confusing to a property management firm at the beginning, it’s exceedingly feasible, and could possibly be your most strategic move yet. Although only 3% of businesses have managed to go completely paperless, 28% of paperless firms achieved full ROI in less than half a year, and 59% did it in less than one year. Overall, 84% of such businesses achieved payback in less than 18 months. Here’s exactly how paperless helps you achieve this: It’s Actually Cheaper While you may have to purchase a couple of devices at the beginning, paperless is considerably cheaper than paper-based systems. As a matter of fact, with some property management systems, you don’t need to get an extra computer at all. It can work just as well on your smartphone because it’s all cloud based. Although the cost...

Posted by on in Property Management
Remember back in the day when stand-up comedians all used to do bits about how terrible airline food was? “What’s the deal with airplane food?” etc. So cute. Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, security at United Airlines recently forcibly dragged a passenger off a full flight—bloodying him in the process—to make room for United employees. Of course, someone pulled out their smart phone and recorded the incident. Not only has the whole mess gone viral, but United’s stock has plummeted in the process, losing a billion dollars of value in one day. United’s CEO Oscar Munoz pretty much offered a halfhearted #sorrynotsorry. Which…well, didn’t really do much to help. Let’s not talk about whether or not this was legal. (It was.) But the incident clearly provides a “What Not to Do” situation when dealing with customers. Property managers, take note: There is a right way, and a United way, to deal with PR crises at a community. Read on for 4 Reputation Management Lessons from United Airlines' Latest PR Disaster....

Posted by on in Property Management
Fire is a property owner’s worst nightmare, but advances in technology could help lower the risk of apartment fires using web-connected appliances. It’s a feature that many tech-savvy young renters are looking for, and it could pay dividends in reducing kitchen fires. Getting Smart from the Inside, Out Smart technology allows renters to control appliances and thermostats, set alerts, and control security systems inside the home with a smartphone app. Most apartment fires are started by stoves left on and unattended. If a renter sets up an alert that notifies them when they leave home and forget to turn off the stove, they can quickly turn the stove off with the app. These same apps can adjust a thermostat like Nest to help a tenant save money on heating and cooling, and they can be linked to smart smoke alarms so the tenant is immediately notified when an alarm is triggered. But, it’s not only what’s inside the apartment that counts. New door lock technology might make keys a thing of the past, connecting smartphones to locks via access code. That could also lower costs for landlords, since physical locks don’t need to be changed when a renter moves out. A new access code for the new renter, and their security is covered. A Customizable, Step-Wise Approach Little by little, technology is gaining a foothold in multifamily property management. The good news is that the investor can also incorporate that tech in baby steps. A Nest thermostat and smart door locks...

Posted by on in Property Management
We’ve all seen a wide gamut of attitudes in the business world when it comes to getting things done, from “it’s not my job” to “I’m on it” and everything in between.  The Franklin Johnston Group strives for a very simple but powerful approach with their site teams, encouraging them to “Be the Solution” with whenever they encounter a challenge or opportunity. Chris Beckwith (VP of Marketing), Mary Stine (Marketing Manager) and Morgan-Taylor Miller (Digital Marketing Specialist) are the enthusiastic shepherds of “Be the Solution,” the seeds of which were born during a recent business retreat. “Every year our culture committee reaches out to the site teams as a group and individually for their feedback, and it was clear they wanted to be more involved with decision factors in determining programs, policies and procedures. We wanted to create a program where our employees feel empowered that they are the solution day in and day out,” says Chris Beckwith.  Mary Stine adds that, “it really gets our teams motivated to do their best, and they are so excited to participate.” So, what is “Be the Solution?” There are four cornerstones that support the philosophy, including training, standardization, customer service and people. TFJG created a video from the company executives (it all starts at the top, after all) that you can view here.  In addition, every site employee is eligible for a weekly prize and can be nominated by managers or other team members. For example, here’s the nomination for recent weekly award...

Posted by on in Property Management
When millions of homeowners make their mortgage payments on time and in full each month, they’re doing more than just fulfilling their contractual obligations. They’re creating a better financial future for themselves by building their credit history. A strong, positive credit history makes it easier to obtain car loans, credit cards and mortgages — and to do so at favorable interest rates. A person’s history of paying certain bills, such as a mortgage, is the largest component of his or her VantageScore® 3.0*, accounting for 40 percent of the final number. In the end, the equation is a simple one. If you miss a mortgage payment entirely or send it in late, your credit history can be hit with a late payment. If you pay on time and in full every month, you build credit history. However, the majority of apartment residents who pay their rent on time every month aren’t able to enjoy the same impact to their credit history, because many apartment companies don’t report payment history to credit bureaus. Although prior to the launch of Experian’s RentBureau® in 2011, apartment companies weren’t able to do so. While a growing number of apartment companies are now reporting rent, some have yet to consider it. But they should — for a number of reasons. Apartment rents are sizable financial commitments. The average U.S. apartment rent was $1,302, according to RealPage data released on April 3. Why shouldn’t people meeting that kind of financial obligation every month build their credit history...