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Tidying Up for Property Managers: How to KonMari Your Property Operations

Tidying Up for Property Managers: How to KonMari Your Property Operations
Like millions of Americans, I’ve gotten sucked into Netflix’s crazy-popular show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. If you haven’t heard of it, you are probably living under a rock, or maybe a big pile of clutter.  The show features Japanese tidying guru, Marie Kondo, as she visits American families whose homes are in disarray. Marie, with the assistance of her translator, helps families declutter using her self-named KonMari method.  In a nutshell, KonMari is about getting rid of items that don’t “spark joy.” The items you select to keep are organized by category (instead of by room) and with specific methods that optimize the home.  The results are life-changing. Kondo believes that clutter and unnecessary objects weighs down one’s ability to lead a joyful and productive life. Each episode illustrates how decluttering allows the show participants to lead happier lives and be more present and focused on what matters to them. This strangely-addicting show compelled me to purge unnecessary items from my home and up my organization game. I can attest that letting go of things that don’t spark joy has been hugely satisfying. So much so that it’s inspired me to apply Marie Kondo’s principles to other areas of life.  Since we work with property management professionals, I’ve thought of a few ways they can clear the clutter, and become more productive and joyful in their day-to-day lives. Here are a few areas to start:   Cut back on paper checks and increase online rent payment utilization One of Marie Kondo’s tidying rules is to min......
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Elements of a Rock Star Review Response

Responding well to an online review is more involved than you might think at first glance. There’s a lot of customer service and public relations theory working in the background that has to be incorporated into a few short sentences. And it’s happening while you’re trying to hold back the emotion from being skewered online. If you can find a way to tame the angry beast inside and remember the following five elements, you can become a response rock star. Authenticity This isn’t a statement to the media or a legal letter. It’s a response to an upset resident with hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective renters watching. If your response reads like you outsourced it to your legal team, it’s not going to sound natural and prospects are going to know it isn’t genuine. Be natural, be authentic and prospects will believe you truly care about your residents. Honesty The worst thing you can do is lie. Saying your service manager was at the community at 9 a.m., when they didn’t show up until 3 p.m. might seem like a good idea because prospects will believe you arrived on time. But the truth always comes out and it’s more believable when it comes from a resident. The resident will call you out on a follow-up post and other residents might post their own negative reviews about late service just out of principle. Always tell the truth, even when responding to a review. Friendly It’s hard to be friendly to someone who just que......
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Creating Community: Appealing to Gen-Z in a Mobile World

  Meet Generation Z: the first generation of tech-savvy individuals that grew up with technology and instant convenience in arm’s reach. This group started entering adulthood in 2014, and with this transition came businesses trying to figure out how to best tap into this brand new market. Unlike previous generations like Baby Boomers and Millennials, attracting the business and loyalty of Gen Z presents unprecedented challenges that are only just now being understood and adequately attended to. The Gen Z tribe will likely become part of your residential community, either now or in the very near future. If you want to appeal to this up-and-coming age group, you’ll need to do more than offer them a place to lay their heads. This tech-savvy group is all about convenience and modern amenities, and here’s how you can meet their expectations: Mobile is King! Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is the calm, cool, and connected generation of our time. They grew up around many of the modern conveniences we have today, including the increasingly mobile lifestyle. One study found that 95% of Gen Z members have a smartphone, with a whopping 25% of those admitting they got their first cell phone before age 10. In other words, constant connectivity and mobility are their norm.  For them, it’s not just a new-and-improved solution for modern problems, but rather the way of life as they know it. The majority of Gen Z-ers are on their phones for five hours or more every day. That’s significantly higher compared to the av......
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Six Tips to Consider With Lawn Maintenance

  Lawn Maintenance is one of the most important seasonal contracts. As the weather conditions improve, we can sense leasing season is about to begin.  Two items bring prospects to our leasing center.  Our leasing skills, and the appearance of the property are the first impressions we offer our prospects.  Our grounds, the lawn areas are the foundation to our curb appeal with flowers and exterior decorating. When the grounds keeping services are provided by a contractor, communication is key to achieving the appearance you desire.  The decision and awarding of the grounds contract will take considerable effort.  Here are a few tips to get the most out of this important service.  Understand the proposal. The contractor will be selected based on the price of his services. The grounds contract generally includes mowing, blowing grass cuttings,  edging and sometimes other services. Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash Meeting with each contractor that gives a proposal will eliminate any confusion on the expectation for work to be performed. I managed a very large property and selected a contractor on a very economical price for edging. Several weeks into the contract, I noticed the property was not being edged. A call to the contractor provided an answer that he would do some edging every week, but certainly not the entire property it was too large!  My decision based on the edging price didn’t take into consideration that the edging was going to be a portion of the property each week. 2.  Meet The Crew Ow......
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[Google My Business Tip] Add These Categories for More Traffic

[Google My Business Tip] Add These Categories for More Traffic

In today's marketing tip, I'm going to share one easy hack for generating more traffic with your Google My Business (GMB) listing. 

Here it is: Add more business categories to your listing.

When you set up your GMB listing, you chose a primary category that tells Google what your business is about.

This primary category is very important as it has an impact on local search rankings plus it's the only category that's publicly displayed. 

In most cases, the primary category you chose would be:

Apartment Building or Apartment Complex

Now, it's time to take this a step further by listing additional categories underneath your primary. Here are the categories I recommend adding.

Primary Category:

Apartment Building

Additional Categories:

  • Apartment Complex 
  • Apartment Rental Agency
  • Furnished Apartment Building (if you offer furnished units)
  •  Real Estate Rental Agency
  • Student Housing Center (for student housing properties)

 Here's what it looks like in a GMB dashboard:

Note: If you used Apartment Complex as your primary category, that's totally fine. Just put Apartment Building in your additional category list.

Wrapping Up

If you pay attention to your GMB listing and fully execute on the new features Google releases, you will be rewarded with increased traffic.  

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Rental Data Delays Are Not OK

Rental Data Delays Are Not OK
  "Life moves pretty fast." So said the wise philosopher Ferris Bueller in the 1986 classic movie.I can't help but think of that line sometimes when thinking about apartment rental rates. They move pretty fast, too. In fact, they're changing on an almost daily basis.To make the most effective decisions regarding pricing and concessions, apartment communities need access to real-time rental rate data, or something extremely close to it.The problem is, though, many operators are relying on data that – especially in the lightning-fast world we live in now – seems downright out of date.Delayed DataOperators rely on a number of data points when trying to determine how rates for their communities compare to the competition. These data points include everything from market rent, concessions (upfront and/or amortized) for each unit type, occupancy and leased percentage, traffic and leases, amenities, etc. To help ease the process of gathering all these data points, operators sometimes turn to market surveys compiled by third-party research organizations. These surveys are usually conducted at the market level and then a regression analysis is performed to determine submarket data. While this methodology seems to offer the most robust and logical look at how an entire market or metro is performing there are two key areas of concern: 1) the survey data is, in the best-case scenario, 30 days old and 2) the surveys don't provide true insight into the surrounding submarket, let alone at the property/comp level. It is a common practice for research firms to collect mar......
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If you are reading this, you might have a tracking problem.

Spoiler alert: The majority of your leads aren’t coming from your property website. It would be awesome if your prospects search for your property website right off the bat. However, that’s just not the case for most properties, even though a lot of PMC source reports say so.   If your sourcing report looks like the graph on the left, keep reading. Your source tracking is not set up correctly. Instead of tracking the original source of a lead, you are recording the last place your prospect visited. Once you have the full story of how your prospects are finding your property, you can dig into which sources are most cost-effective and allocate resources accordingly for next year’s budgets.   Why is the Original Source Important? When my daughter was growing up, her favorite movie was A Cinderella Story, starring Hilary Duff. Her Dad’s catchphrase was, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”   Maybe I’m sentimental. Maybe it’s just an inspiring quote. Whatever the reason, this quote stuck with me. For years I believed this quote was a result of great screenwriting. Recently, it was not-so-gently brought to my attention this is a famous Babe Ruth quote. Needless to say, it was embarrassing. How was I supposed to know? The movie never stated he was quoting Babe Ruth, and technically I was right. Her dad did say it. However, he isn’t the original source. Even though it was an honest mistake, that didn’t stop me from suffering t......
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What Are You Handing Out to Hot Prospects?

What Are You Handing Out to Hot Prospects?

When was the last time you took a good look at what you were giving out to prospects that just toured your community?

Is it just an application? A community folder with the application inside? A brochure?

Why not switch to a custom branded box that wows your prospect. Then fill the box with your necessary information plus a few extra goodies.

You could call it your “New Lease Toolkit.” What would you put inside? Here are a few ideas:

•    Floor Plan Sheets, Brochures, Application

•    Local Area Discounts, Movie Tickets

•    Tape Measure, Candles

•    Scratch Off Lottery Tickets

•    Candy

Here's a recent box we created using Packlane.com.

Packlane lets you customize every square inch of the box - inside and out. The cost is minimal and you can order as many or as few as you need.

Don't forget -  Your  overall goal is to give your hot prospects a leave-behind that holds their attention. If your box is good enough, you may even benefit from a prospect opening the box on video and then sharing it on social media.

Consider this - on Instagram you’ll find over 475,000 posts tagged #unboxing. And since 2010, YouTube videos with “unboxing” in their title have increased 871%.

What would you rather have - a fun box full of goodies or a community folder with information?

 

 

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6 Ways to Empower Women in Real Estate

Happy International Women's Day!

Let's all pull on our sparkly Michelle Obama boots and get in formation. Because even though there have been many strides to empower women in real estate, there is always more work to be done. (According to a 2015 report from CREW, only 9 percent of commercial real estate C-suite positions are held by women.) What can we as an industry do? Here are some suggestions.

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Tips to Help Make Your Investment Property More Carbon Neutral

Did you know that almost forty percent of global emissions are attributed to some sort of real estate? There is a big push to get investment properties more carbon neutral and many tenants are requesting that the landlords start the process and get programs in place. To start making their properties more carbon neutral, we wanted to help create a few tips to get you on your way.  Even cities are getting in on the act, with some requiring new construction buildings to be carbon neutral within the next decade. 1)      Start with getting your LEED Certification – a popular green building certification 2)      Create incentives for your tenants to get involved:  incentives for decreasing energy consumption and create a recycling program 3)      Buy efficient A/C and heating systems, even a smart thermostat can reduce energy consumption 4)      Buy window coverings that operate efficiently 5)      Create on-site renewable energy via solar panels 6)      Post the building performance for example, state that your building utilizes thirty percent less energy than the average office building. Studies show that tenants prefer buildings that are greener and are willing to pay a little more in rent 7)      Encourage your tenants to walk or bike to work and utilize the steps. Install bike racks and work with the area metro lines. 8)      Show the tenants the results of their efforts - send an annual report showing how their usage declined 9)      Consider holding a competition for the company/resident that lowers their usage the most 10)   Communicate r......
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