Great point, Brent! That's also where AFPOE can be helpful. Responses which come off like "because...
Wendy Dorchester
Hire for culture, train for skill! Love this. Jared, you have always emulated great culture in every...
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Category contains 1 blog entry contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s always fun when you have the opportunity to sit down with an industry business leader who has a passion for making the intangible tangible, the non-measurable measurable. Such was the case with long-time multifamily professional Jared Miller, who views a company’s culture as the real power that makes an organization’s engine run smoothly and efficiently. Jared is no stranger to a how culture can optimize performance during his career with companies such as Lane, RedPeak, Bainbridge and currently Homestead Development Partners – and in a variety of roles and company types, from marketing leader to operations and asset management, from fee to owned to development to being a partner in his current firm, to all of the above simultaneously. He was awarded MultiFamily Executive’s first ever “Rising Star” award in 2010, and was an NAHB “Pillars of the Industry” finalist for best marketing campaign in 2007. He gets it; he really gets it. “Our current economy is very stable, our industry continues to perform quite well for owners, operators and investors, and as a nation we are seeing full employment for the first time in many years” says Miller. “Culture has always been a differentiator, but now it’s an imperative – it’s the only lever that can impact overall experience end-to-end, and therefore turnover among both employees and residents.” So what is the end-to-end experience? Miller emphasizes it’s really about “everyone who touches your company,” adding that, “it can’t be about only your employees, although everything flows from their cultural...

Posted by on in Property Management
Features You probably know someone who has recently purchased a new vehicle.   It’s all about the touch screen features, navigation, blue tooth, wi-fi connections, adjustable cup holders and maybe the average miles per gallon. No one has to tell you it has a motor, four wheels, or even a transmission.  Its a vehicle!   Every vehicle has those components.  But what makes it different?  What makes it special? Locating Cup Holders Applying this descriptive process to our apartments; creates features out of hidden attributes in our apartment homes.  We can make these items into “cup holders.”  The specialized knowledge about these details can add to our expertise and establish our authority about our product. Are you selling the extra shelf in the refrigerator, the energy star appliances or the hundred lineal feet closet storage? Or are you giving them the “four wheels” – Here is the kitchen, There is the closet… Finding the “cup holders” will make you stand out from your competition. Point out the number of shelves in the cabinets. The Energy Star Electric range has two cooking racks and a broiler pan. The programmable thermostat is rated to save “insert your data here..”, either a percent, or a specific dollar amount every year.  This type of data is available for most appliances.  You can point out savings opportunities for every appliance in the apartment. Calculate the cubic feet of storage space in the cabinets, linen closet or pantry.Know the potential savings from the Energy Star appliances. (Energy Star)...

Posted by on in Property Management
In the past, the world of online reviews was like the Wild West.  It was a no holds barred, every man for himself kind of environment – truly survival of the fittest.  It wasn’t surprising to see responses just as shocking as the reviews themselves. I was one of those managers who loved negative reviews.  Want to gripe about your apartment, the management team, or post an outright lie?  I'm all about it Mr. Resident.  Let's do this.  I responded point by point for each resident grievance until I realized defending my team and our honor was not the answer.  Most reviewers were either one foot out the door or already gone.  And those who weren’t simply needed an avenue to vent or finally get the management team’s attention. 5 techniques for tackling the bad and the ugly. 1. ICYMI – In Case You Missed It.  Some residents have simply misinterpreted the terms of the lease which can lead to a review that misinforms potential future residents.  Reviews about unreturned security deposits (“They stole my deposit”), additional fees (“Why is there a pet fee and deposit”) and the like are perfect opportunities to clarify your policies and educate those possibly considering your community. 2. RBTL – Read Between The Lines.  A review which spans the entire length of a resident’s 5 year stay, documenting in great detail every negative event (resolved and unresolved), almost begs for a lengthy response in return.  Don’t take the bait - it’s important to ignore such...

Posted by on in Property Management
REFLECTIONS ON FAIRNESS 28 YEARS IN FAIR HOUSING Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume, an American television journalist and political commentator, has said that “Fairness is not an attitude.  It’s a professional skill that must be developed and exercised.” For more than a quarter of a century I have been a believer in, and a teacher and writer of fair housing law as Fair Housing Lady.  For more than 20 of those years I have been supported and encouraged in that role by my employer, ForRent.com.  And with the invitation from Brent Williams it has been an honor to have a place to share my thoughts and ideas as to fair housing with industry professionals here at MultifamilyInsiders.com.  It is, however, time for me to move on to another chapter in my life and that new chapter will begin with my May 26th retirement.  So as I say good-bye and hang up my Fair Housing Lady hat, I would like to share some thoughts with you one more time. Before the Fair Housing Act was amended in 1988, most of us in our industry had little if any knowledge about fair housing laws.  It was not that we were bigoted or evil.  On the contrary, the “good guys” did not intentionally discriminate and at the time, that was all that mattered, especially as there were “bad guys” who did in fact do so and that was the fair housing focus. With the 1988 amendments to the Act, however, fair housing became a widespread...

Posted by on in Property Management
Meeting The agenda for your team meeting establishes if you’re sharing goals and expectations, or simply outlining the schedule for the week.   The team meeting is an opportunity to: Share the leasing goals for the week. Report results from the prior week. Ask for input on supplies to be ordered. Including your team in these discussions creates the opportunity for ownership in your property and its operations. I’m often reminded of the Chicken Soup for the Soul story, where a member of the janitorial staff at NASA was asked about their job.  The response, “I help put people into space, and we’ve put a man on the moon.”  The goal/objective and successes of the team were the immediate response.  Encouraging our property management teams to take ownership in the responsibility that we take care of peoples’ homes could be a game changer. Does your team know the monthly or annual Gross Rent Potential for the property? Is the current focus to increase rents?  Reduce vacancy?  How much rent was given away for the  “I’m  sorry”  concessions in the last month? Consider these talking points: Having an apartment ready for move in on Friday instead of the next Monday, the extra three days of rent revenue generates how much additional income if this happened for every move in? Exceptional maintenance on service requests, sparkling clean common areas could strongly influence an individuals decision to renew their lease or move.  How much is your average turnover expense?  Decreasing turnover, could save thousands of...

Posted by on in Property Management
  "Do you talk to strangers?”  Asking a leasing candidate about a conversation with a stranger is a good starting point to understand how easily they can connect. The answer to this question from a prospective leasing consultant may give you some insight into their character and personality.  Interview questions for an individual that has not leased before can be challenging. Closing techniques, demonstrating an apartment, property tours and using a software application are skills that can be taught.  Skills that can be developed through training.  At the time of the interview, making the decision to hire involves anticipating if a new leasing consultant is going to be able to quickly connect with a prospect.  They must be able to create rapport, and start building a relationship. Hiring For the Wrong Reasons All too often, a manager will offer the recommendation, “I liked them, he/she seemed quiet, but once they understand the information and the industry.  I think we should hire them.  I’m sure they’ll be fine.” Sixty days later, we wonder why the individual doesn’t seem more confident.   Their closing ratio isn’t increasing.   Regardless of training and strong traffic on the phone and coming through the door. Quiet people, are for the most part quiet people.  We have hired the wrong person. A successful leaser can start, build and sustain a conversation with anyone. Interviewing someone who tells you they talk to the cashier at the grocery store, had a chat with the overnight delivery person about the benefits of Amazon or...

Posted by on in Property Management
Does your property offer “Just Right” pricing? If its an affordable property, it probably does, and this unique sales tool is overlooked, ignored, or forgotten.  Instead of focusing on the regulations and the administration of the policies putting the applicant as the focus. The catch phrase describing most affordable properties, “Rent Based On Your Income” creates, in many cases a negative impression built on long standing opinions that housing for low and moderate income families is poor in quality, poorly maintained and abused by fraud. Many individuals that could benefit from affordable housing never apply because they aren’t aware they could qualify and benefit from rental rates that can be adjusted if income changes or rental rates that are regulated against increases. “Just Right” The “Just Right” description creates a mental picture from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Prices and security deposits that aren’t too high, not too small, but “Just Right.” The leasing dialog can start out with an explanation that a personalized approach is used to determine the rental rate and (depending on the program) the security deposit. In many cases, medical or child care expenses will be included in the calculation to determine the rental rate. Before the actual rent is finalized, an additional adjustment for the utilities paid by the resident is also included. A prospective resident receives personalized service from the leasing staff.  Focusing on the individual and their personal circumstances as opposed to their ability to provide verification of their income and assets. Diminishing...

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...