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CRM 101: 5 Value-based Questions to Optimize Leasing Outcomes

CRM 101: 5 Value-based Questions to Optimize Leasing Outcomes
As an industry, multifamily runs one of the biggest sales teams in the country. This means that we must regularly evaluate our marketing and operations strategies to ensure that we’re investing in our leasing teams’ success in meaningful, technology- and data-driven ways.  The key to building a strong sales team in any industry will often come down to the customer relationship management strategy you've deployed. Salesforce, the largest CRM company in the world, defines CRM as, “technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.”  I take that one step further to say, CRM and lead management technology need to deliver value to your bottom line. If you invest substantial time, money, and energy into front office solutions that don’t drive NOI growth, then why bother?  Evaluating CRM (and yes, you definitely have one) for Value Multifamily CRM solutions come in all shapes and sizes, from handwritten sticky notes and spreadsheets, to top-notch point solutions, to enterprise front office platforms. By nature of the multifamily business -- responding to and engaging with prospects and residents -- you are already executing a CRM strategy. The question is, how much real value is your current strategy creating for your business?   Some questions you can ask yourself, your teams, and your broader organization to better understand how CRM is currently impacting your NOI (positively or negatively):  How confident am I that I have fully maximized my NOI, or would I like to improve it further? How happy are my leasing tea......
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In-Person Tours vs. Virtual Tours: Where is Apartment Marketing Headed?

When COVID-19 hit, there was an undeniable rush for apartments to offer more virtual tour options on their websites. There seemed to be an initial fear that if you didn’t have comprehensive videos and organized virtual tours, you’d be left behind and lose out on new leads. This is understandable with lockdowns quickly taking effect and whole cities coming to a screeching halt. However, was this a knee-jerk reaction from our multifamily community? Did we start changing our systems and strategies before taking stock of resident behavior?  While being proactive is essential to staying afloat in our industry, especially when the world completely shifts, my inclination is that we jumped the gun. We dove in before assessing the tide. For example, I had a surprising number of clients reach out to inform me that the locals in their respective areas were adamant about continuing in-person tours. Based on this, I continued to market in-person tours when quarantine was not in effect.  Personally, I feel like within days of the outbreak I saw on an onslaught of blogs covering the topic of how to lease a site unseen. I think this was helpful for a range of small properties that might not have known where to even begin with virtual tours. However, it wasn’t until about three months into the pandemic that I saw a shift in article topics due to data and information concerning resident behavior.  To recap a significant trend: retention rates rose. In the month of April, the industry saw a......
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8 Post-COVID Property Management Predictions


 

Working from home and hosting virtual meetings.

Sanitizing groceries, packages and literally everything else you might touch.

Finally getting see Hamilton, and without having to spend $849 for a ticket!

Things are...different...now. 

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Controlling the Chaos: 5 Ways to Carve Out a WFH Space

Controlling the Chaos: 5 Ways to Carve Out a WFH Space
We’ve all seen photos and memes posted across social media of makeshift work from home set ups. Everything from stacks of toiler paper, strategically placed cases of bottled water, and even ironing boards for those who prefer a stand-up desk.  Many apartment renters have had to get really creative on the fly in order to remain productive in their jobs.  Our SatisFacts COVID-19 National Renter Study found that 44.7% of renters in Round 3 said their biggest challenge when attempting to work from home is not having a dedicated workspace. Respectively, Rounds 1 and 2 were 38.8% and 36.4%.  The struggle is getting real for those renters with no end in sight when they will be returning to their usual work environment.  Let’s imagine someone living in a 1-bedroom home.  In a traditional floorplan layout, one can expect a living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.  If the home is without additional features such as a breakfast bar, separate dining room, recessed computer alcove, or a larger than usual bedroom, establishing a dedicated home office space may be challenging.  This pandemic has created an opportunity for our industry to reimagine how renters live in their homes today.  For those communities without additional square footage to transform into a workspace, here are 5 creative ways to make a 1-bedroom effective for those working from home.  Ditch the dining table – Traditional dining room sets may not be practical given society’s penchant nowadays to enjoy a meal while catching up on the latest episodes of popu......
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One Month Later: Fitness Center Reopening in Phases

One Month Later: Fitness Center Reopening in Phases
As a certified fitness professional who serves multiple multifamily apartment communities and thousands of their residents in the Dallas market every year, I’ve seen how this pandemic has affected multifamily community operations all over the metroplex. The common thread is the need to establish proper safety guidelines, communicating those guidelines to residents, and finding additional support especially in the form of gym attending and cleaning. States are lifting COVID-19 restrictions on public places, and plans for reopening our seven gyms at three different properties are coming together in phases. I've been fortunate to work with one of the greats, Lincoln Property Company. Phase one: cautiously re-open with safety guidelines and accommodations. We discussed these points in our previous blog “12 Steps To Re-Open Your Fitness Center with Success”, feel free to check that out to get up to speed. Now as residents are trickling in to utilize the amenities they’ve missed these last few months, we’ve seen a diverse mix of results. This is what we know after hiring attendants to monitor capacity levels, wipe down high touch points and ensure social distancing measures: The positive: Capacity: As to be expected, the repopulation was gradual. Maximum capacity wasn’t reached until a few weeks after reopening, allowing time for residents to adjust to all the new changes. Attendants available to enforce max capacity numbers and keep high touch points cleaned was helpful to staying compliant and reassuring residents could feel comfortable. Usage: Individual use time limited to one hour has, for the most part, ......
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How a 3-Cent Drop In Rent Can Have a 'Serious' Effect on Apartment Leasing’s Busy Season

How a 3-Cent Drop In Rent Can Have a 'Serious' Effect on Apartment Leasing’s Busy Season
The ‘startling’ monthly decline in rents and social unrest could push 'busy season' to the fall. When you think about a 0.3 percent drop in anything it hardly seems like a big deal. It’s just 3 pennies on every 10 dollars. Or $3 on every $1,000. And if you are an apartment operator and that reflects the national average on rents for May compared to April, some would figure it’s something not too difficult to make up. But what if it isn’t? The three-tenths of a percent is the drop for one month, and 12x that comes to 3.6 percent annually. All of a sudden, that could be serious. During what would typically be the middle of prime leasing season, rents declined nationally by 0.3% on a month-over-month basis, reports Jeff Adler, Vice President of Yardi Matrix. He says that drop in rents is startling. “Is it a harbinger of things to come? A warning sign?” Adler says. “When rents being offered to new residents drop like that month-over-month, year-over-year you have to ask yourself.” Adler says current occupancy is mostly steady (a good thing). And there’s no deterioration in demand as measured by apartment search activity. (another good thing). “But this is peak leasing season,” he adds. “Falling like this would be at a rather significant clip. If we see it again next month, then demand will not have stabilized. And data show this is happening to high-end apartment communities.” A General 'Roll Down' in Rents The steepest declines in rents on a MoM basis were s......
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5 Mindfulness Tips to Improve Resident Well-being & Reduce Stress

mindfulnessDuring the day-to-day challenges produced by COVID-19, many residents are experiencing an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression. As renters continue to adjust to the new normal, they should be mindful of taking care of themselves and those they love. While we’re all coping with the evolving coronavirus pandemic and other stresses that can have a major impact on our well-being, developing a self-care practice such as mindfulness is essential.   What is mindfulness? According to the American Psychological Association (APA.org, 2012), mindfulness is “…a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.” In other words, it’s about paying attention while being aware of the present moment through guided meditation practice. And, with practice and curiosity, it can be a powerful tool that can help us in these trying times. As we become more aware of what’s happening in the present moment such as the sound of birds chirping, the wind blowing, or even the smells that surround us, we are learning to calm the body and mind.  Awareness of the five senses through visualization exercises will help connect with the presence of sense in well-being. For this reason, the practice of mindfulness can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, make us feel more connected to our loved ones, and most importantly, help us be physically and mentally well.  5 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness As residents continue to carry out their day-to-day lives, they can practice several mindfulness techniques that will help improve their well-being. 1.  Be aware of your breathing.  As you i......
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Reopening Strategies for Apartments

Reopening Strategies for Apartments
Each apartment community has had its own set of unique challenges during the pandemic, but they’re relying on each other for advice when it comes to the next steps. Multifamily properties are creating phased reopening strategies; improving communication with their teams and residents, while making sure everyone stays safe; and deciding how they start to begin in-person apartment tours again.  As part of our recent virtual panel, Reopening for In-Person Tours, we talked to three experts from multifamily property groups — Jamin Harkness, EVP and Partner for The Management Group, LLC; Heidi Jehlicka, Senior VP of Marketing & Employee Development of Bainbridge Companies; and Steve Ostipow, Director of Marketing at Drucker + Falk, LLC — to share how they’re approaching life after lockdown.   Apartments Cautious about Reopening Fully During the discussion May 21, 40% of property representatives who took our webinar poll said they’re still not sure when they’d be reopening the leasing office to the public and residents, while 25% said they already had. Rounding out to 10% each: Within the next week, within two weeks, within the next month, and more than a month. Virtual, self-guided and video tours are still widely being used and will continue. Our panelists said many of their properties started out with cell phone video tours and used them on YouTube, on social media or their website to attract and engage prospects. Today, some are also using outside resources to shoot professional videos. While the process has been slow to get started, some properties ......
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Normal is Not Gonna be so Normal… You Have Not Heard This Take Yet.

So while you are in the middle of this big global pandemic, what are you doing to get ready for the new normal?  The next normal will be different. Here are my predictions. ZOOM Meetings Will Continue…and They Will be Effective Most everyone is doing it…online meetings.  They are not virtual, they are real and they are more efficient and much cheaper than face to face.  Many of us have learned to make these sort of team gatherings work quite well and are becoming creative and bold in our prep and direction of the “ZOOM”.  Employees who cannot adapt to this sort of team meeting will be left behind.     Training Will Adapt to Online in New and Unique Ways The canned online training sites will get better, more impactful in creating positive change and growth in skillsets.  It will also get a lot cheaper.  Technology will make packaged leasing, customer service, and fair housing courses more interactive and enjoyable.  Employees will consider online training fun and look forward to these high-tech presentations taught by almost life-like avatars.   Again, it will be a lot cheaper.     Expert and guest speakers will still be popular but will present live, online, eventually as a life-size hologram .  Travel costs will be eliminated and their speaker fees will drop as they begin to compete with popular industry avatars.   On-site Leasing will continue to become More “self-service” and the real live leasing professionals will be as rare as gas station attendants.   The ......
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Pet Adoption and Fostering Can Be Therapeutic For Residents During Social Distancing

Pet Adoption and Fostering Can Be Therapeutic For Residents During Social Distancing
By nature, apartment renters are social people. They often choose their homes based on the sense of community and opportunities to interact with their neighbors. But like everyone else, renters have been left to deal with the stress of the COVID-19 crisis. They’re often alone, due to social distancing guidelines. Relegated to their apartments and separated from their friends, they could be among the first people to suffer from depression and anxiety.  Pet owners might be better equipped to navigate these symptoms, due to the Human- Animal Bond. After all, it’s tough to feel alone when a gleeful ball of fur jumps into your lap. Studies by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America have shown that animals provide their owners with a sense of meaning and purpose. This helps alleviate the depression and anxiety that can often be associated with isolation. Because of this, it is beneficial for apartment owners and operators to support and encourage pet inclusiveness for their residents during this difficult time. The Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, a research and resource development initiative that promotes access to the joy of pets in every home identifies the benefits of owning a pet. The benefits of pet ownership are physical In addition to reducing feelings of stress and loneliness, pet ownership has tangible physical benefits. The simple act of petting a cat or dog has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and improve heart health, according to a Washington State University study. The need to walk or run wit......
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