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The Impact of Company Culture

Throughout virtually every industry, companies regularly tout the merits of a strong company culture. While it’s true that the presence of a flourishing culture is a common facet of many successful businesses, precisely what that label entails is somewhat abstract.   Without context, the term “culture” can seem a bit generic. But those who work amidst that dynamic undoubtedly understand that a positive workplace vibe can strengthen the daily performance of team members and increase the efficiency of the company as a whole. According to Gallup, companies with above-average levels of employee engagement enjoy 147 percent more earnings per share.   On the surface, a strong company culture refers to a happy workplace where the employees like one another and little disconnect can be found between departments. But it’s a lot more than that, and it’s built over time. Various methods can be utilized to enhance company culture – offsite team-builder events, fostering team collaboration in the workplace, empowering and trusting team members, incentives, etc. – and if a company is able to achieve it, the benefits are widespread.   Better Morale There are people who love their job and those who go to work to collect a paycheck. Those working alongside a healthy, thriving company culture generally fall into the former category. The workday is much more brisk and fulfilling when you’re happy, and equally importantly, around happy people. A negative company culture can drain the life from employees while an upbeat vibe creates higher-performing associates. Fortune regularly ranks the 100 best compa......
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Your 'No Excuses' Guide to Welcoming New Residents. Each one. All the time. Without Fail.

The Roomba Revelation     The Roomba is one of our favorite autonomous inventions. There are a lot of ways people can spend their time, and vacuuming doesn’t have to be one of them. All you need to do is tell it what time of day to vacuum and you have one less chore to do every week. It is such a simple concept, yet it has been insanely popular. iRobot ships over one million units every year. The Roomba isn’t successful because vacuuming is a difficult task. It’s successful because it eliminates the need for individuals to complete a monotonous, time-consuming task. Let’s be honest, a lot of us would love to say we vacuum every week, but that isn’t the case. Yes, vacuuming is essential, but skipping it for the week isn’t going to stop your household from running like laundry and dishes. We are busy. Finding time to squeeze in vacuuming doesn’t always happen. Stories of innovation like Roomba inspire us to make improvements for multifamily. Multifamily agents and marketers are overwhelmed with ‘chores’ that are repetitive and quickly forgotten.  One example: Resident Welcome.   What does a Resident Welcome email campaign entail? Welcoming residents helps set the tone for the resident’s experience. It is the first interaction with your prospects after they sign a lease. The resident welcome emails help you show your customers that you care about them, not just making a sale. Unfortunately, agents are swamped with nurturing prospects, handling resident’s needs, hosting events and about a hundred other......
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More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand

More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand
I’m often asked for tips and tricks on how to improve a community’s online reputation.  Over the last year or so these requests have become more frequent, as companies are realizing a positive online presence can directly impact leasing and renewal decisions.  I think it’s great we have an expanded awareness throughout our industry and I’m happy to offer any insight and support as needed.  “Reputation Management” is now a commonplace term within our industry, so much so that it is in jeopardy of becoming “white noise”; falling into the same lane as topics such as Fair Housing.  While teams know it’s important, they also feel as though they’ve learned all there is to know.  One Community Manager once told me “Unless something ground breaking happens, or it’s mandatory, I really don’t want to go to another reputation management class.”   Wow, harsh words, but I get it – I live and breathe this stuff daily so I’m not surprised that once standing room only crowds have dwindled to half-empty rooms.  Such was the case a few months ago when I presented at a conference. My first question to the audience was “Okay, let’s be honest…how many of you drew the short stick?” While many chuckled, many more nodded.  For our industry, reputation management tends to center around percentages and ratings.  Fixation over scores is a slippery slope because in reality, scores are low on the totem pole for renters.  We surveyed visitors to ApartmentRatings, hoping to determine which components of a community’s page was most valuable.&nbs......
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Raising Rents While Getting Resident Buy-In: Key Takeaways from Netflix

What are you binging these days on Netflix?

I ask because I totally know you're watching something. The streaming service currently has 118 million subscribers globally. Odds are, you're one of them. Oh, also, I'm always on the lookout for more shows to watch. Currently I'm watching You (and really considering changing the passwords on all my devices), as well as giving Tidying Up with Marie Kondo a shot (while getting anxiety sweats over whether an old 5K t-shirt is really sparking joy or not) and throwing in some Parks and Recreation for good measure (Chris Pratt).

So, assuming you're a subscriber, what did you think about the news that Netflix is going to be raising prices—its largest increase since launching the streaming service? Annoying, but you're going to keep using the platform, right? 

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The Kindness ROI

The Kindness ROI
There's no line item in the budget for practicing kindness throughout your company. But doing so creates a powerful ripple effect that ultimately has a significant benefit to the bottom line. For starters, kindness paves the way for happier, less stressed and more productive team members. According to information from Darthmouth College, those who regularly practice kindness experience a wide array of health benefits: more energy, increased levels of happiness, less anxiety, healthier blood pressure, significantly lower amounts of cortisol (the stress hormone) and longer lifespans.   Along those same lines, organizational development specialist Dan Schwartz advises workers to "be kind to your fellow employees and commit random acts of kindness to decrease stress in the workplace and increase productivity." When associates are healthier and less stressed, they are more likely to become long-term employees, which saves on the often-considerable expense of hiring and training new team members. And healthy, engaged associates lead to satisfied residents who are more apt to renew their leases. In my 23+ years of working with multifamily executives, leasing teams and supplier partners, here are some of the important things I've learned about kindness and the apartment industry. Everyone has a hand in creating a culture of kindnessEveryone is responsible for creating a culture of kindness, from the ownership group and investors to the executive leadership and onsite property teams.   Company executives and onsite team members need to practice kindness and courtesy in all of their interactions with employees. Treat each other – as well as residents a......
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How Technology Can Be Used to Build a Sense of Community in Your Multifamily Properties

How Technology Can Be Used to Build a Sense of Community in Your Multifamily Properties
As a property manager, you probably feel in your business how big the rental market has become. But do you know how big, exactly? A Pew Research Center report built with Census Bureau data indicates that 36.6 percent of household heads were renting their property in 2016 — the highest number in over 50 years and close to the 37 percent peak in 1965.   The booming rental market is no doubt good news for property managers, but it also means more competitors are entering the space. Developers are in an amenities arms race as they rapidly install poolside cabanas, indoor basketball courts, and the latest golf simulators in an effort to differentiate their offerings. With rising interest rates and limited new home supply likely to continue into the foreseeable future, a strong and growing rental market is likely here to stay.   It's no shock to a property manager that improving retention is great for the bottom line — but how? As competition heats up, a clear trend is emerging — half of the top 10 most popular amenities added since 2014 revolve around bringing people together. But you don’t need to spend thousands on new swimming pools or outdoor kitchens to entice new residents to call your property home. Instead, smart use of technology can do the trick.   It’s Not Just Technology — It’s How You Use It   There’s a common misconception surrounding our use of technology — namely, that it isolates us and reduces the quantity and quality of our human interactions. Fro......
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What an Interesting Move-In Gift!

This comes from the world of single family, but I thought it was too interesting not to share!  This person’s realtor gave them a Christmas ornament of their new house! 

To be clear, not everybody celebrates Christmas, so a Christmas ornament wouldn’t fly in multifamily.  That said, it was so unique and personal that I had to share!  I don’t know if there is a spin-off idea that can be used in multifamily, but hopefully this gets someone’s wheels turning this morning. 

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Pet-Friendly Apartment Marketing Ideas

The American Pet Products Association's 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey found that 68% of U.S. households own a pet. Last year, RentPath revealed research claiming that 66% of renters are pet owners. In an effort to cater to this growing renter base, many communities have adopted pet-friendly pet policies. Most of these policies allow renters to have up to two pets and they require additional pet rent and a pet deposit.  While much of the pet market is pet-tolerant, not as many communities encompass the true definition of pet-friendly. If your community embraces this pet demographic, there are many ways you can signal to pet owners that your community is a good fit for them. Here are some pet-friendly apartment marketing ideas your community can use to get the attention of pet owners. Search Engine Marketing We know that there is a demand for pet-friendly apartments, but are renters actually searching for apartments this way in Google? Emphatically, the answer is yes. Over the last five years searches for “pet-friendly apartments near me” has grown significantly in popularity. This Google Trends report nicely illustrates this growth.   The popularity for this search term was the highest among the following regions.   Popularity for pet-friendly apartment searches was the greatest among metros in the Midwest, New England and Los Angeles. If you happen to be marketing a community in one of these areas, this is a rental segment you don’t want to miss out on! How can communities capitalize on the rising demand for pet-fr......
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Pros and Cons of Leasing a Fully Furnished Flat

Property owners usually face a dilemma – to lease a fully furnished suite or an unfurnished one? Which one is better? There’s no easy answer here. We’ve found that it’s best to consider the merits of one of the two – the fully furnished one. It’s always best to decide whether something is good or not by making a list of its good and bad sides. We will give you all the pros and cons of leasing a fully furnished residence, so you can get a clearer picture and decide if that’s the way you should go. The Price Some might think that the price is a negative for fully furnished apartments – as it’s expensive to equip an entire rental for your tenants. However, they are not looking at the bigger picture: fully furnished rooms will yield a higher rent making it a better long-term investment. Naturally, the price will differ from city to city, but the overall picture is clear – fully furnished always bring higher rent. Changing Tenants More Often Furnished units are usually rented by people who are only looking to stay somewhere temporarily. It usually means that your tenant turnover will be high. However, this is not necessarily the case. Some people are looking for long-term furnished rentals. Although, changing your tenants often is good for some landlords, as they get the chance to make upgrades to modify the price before getting a new tenant. Higher Deposits It depends on the state, but based on whether or not an apartment......
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Working Your Business Strategy

Working Your Business Strategy
In my blog post "What Is Your Business Strategy?" I mentioned that there are three basic elements of business: price, service and quality. In my experience businesses that succeed compete well in two of the three categories. You may be wondering, "Shouldn't successful businesses compete on all three?" While I think that would be great, it's often not economically sustainable to try and have the lowest pricing and high quality and amazing service.  How this worksOne of the communities I worked at was ultra high-end luxury apartments with stunning ocean views in a very affluent area. When I started at the community we offered great service (we had a lot of staff on-site to cater to our residents) but we were undergoing a massive renovation at the time which meant that the majority of our amenities (a huge reason to rent there) were not able to be used for a while and we were doing renovation work in our apartments as well. All of this work affected the quality of what we offered to our residents and made our community less attractive to potential renters and to our current residents. We marketed this community as ultra-luxury but that was not the reality of the experience during this season. However we did NOT compensate for the temporary drop in quality with a decrease in our overall pricing strategy. There was a disconnect between what we offered and what we delivered. We were only competing in one of the three main areas and we suffered......
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