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Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, California. It was three full days of nothing but “social” and this social butterfly came back armed with SO many new strategies and solutions (which I’ll totally be sharing with you - don’t worry)!   This is one of the few industry conferences that is hyper-focused on one, very specific marketing niche and I appreciated that. In the marketing world there is an awful lot of “noise.” So being able to listen to ideas and approaches that zeroed in on one of the most customer-facing components of our industry today (social), was a real pleasure.   The conference was fast-paced, with a long list of experts, many of whom came from outside the apartment and multifamily industry. With a new presenter on stage nearly every thirty minutes, the ideas were flowing and the audience could barely take notes quickly enough. The first session featured keynote speaker Joel Comm, who reminded us that Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook is “all in” when it comes to video (he’s already invested $2 billion in Oculus, one of the top virtual reality tech firms).   No matter which social platform is your favorite, you’ll want to be sure you’re in-the-know with video. Why? Because every single expert who presented at #MultifamilySMS2017 dished out data and numbers that just simply can’t be argued with. Video (especially live video) consistently sees higher engagement rates amongst followers than any other form of content....

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Apartment developer American Land Ventures has capitalized on the popularity of selfie photo booths by including one in the elevator of its community Vu-New River, located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The “camera” is dubbed The Vu Tube and is built into the video screen that is mounted to elevator cabin wall. There are touchscreen “buttons” on the monitor so that residents and their guests can take candid shots. The image then appears on the screen in a preview pane and the residents have the choice to save or delete it. Images saved are then posted on the community’s social media channels, including the Twitter wall in the lobby. “Our residents love it and it’s a great memory point that we have during our prospect tours,” Jason Robertson, Vice President, Development, American Land Ventures, says. “It will stand out for apartment hunters, especially those who have visited a lot of different properties in one day.” Robertson says the technology was simple and inexpensive. “It was just a matter of programming the software to enable images to be taken and shared,” he says. This blog was originally shared in UNITS magazine published by the National Apartment Association....

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Residential apartment owners and managers are always looking to minimize overhead, maximize their reputations for quality and reduce resident turn. New technologies now offer solutions that can address inefficiencies in repair and maintenance and help property operators manage quality assurance across their entire portfolio. In the mobile era, where  social media can dramatically impact how residents perceive the quality of their communities — from building appearance to amenities offered — it’s critical that properties are maintained in superb conditions. By doing so, operators will decrease turnover and improve the speed at which vacancies are filled, leading to lower marketing costs to attract and retain residents.   Just a few short years ago, monitoring repair, maintenance and quality assurance across residential housing was typically managed by conducting inspections using spreadsheets or paper-based checklists. Today, new technologies are changing the game by streamlining the inspection process and empowering building supervisors to customize their inspection forms, include timestamped photographs as part of their inspection records, and save each inspection online for easy reference. With the right platform, inspection data can be aggregated for analysis, and segmented by region, property and unit. These new advances help apartment owners and managers optimize their capital expenditures, improve each property’s reputation and reduce resident turnover.   Mobile inspections improve operations by standardizing maintenance checks and ensuring compliance with codes and regulations. A regular cadence of inspections using a mobile platform — and the powerful use of in-line photography — can help spot issues with big-ticket items such as...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
      We at Trimark Properties specialize in student housing, a special niche of the real estate market. The Millennial generation is more mobile friendly than any previous generations, meaning the days of paper storage and outdated computer systems is over. The Internet has reshaped the real estate industry since properties can now be viewed and utilized on a phone, tablet, or computer. Potential residents can take a virtual tour online of an apartment before committing to a real tour and have a plethora of information at their fingertips. Therefore, they are much more knowledgeable about the apartment market since online research is so easy to undertake. The multifamily industry is now focused on what things millennials are looking for. Even though millennials are the most mobile friendly age group by far, many other generations still have the same expectations for ease of technology use as well. Regardless of age, if a person drives past your property and sees it is for rent, they should be able to easily search for that property on Google, find a comprehensive list of the property’s amenities, interior pictures, and contact information for a leasing specialist. Since Trimark has mostly college students in our Gainesville market, many parents are very involved in the leasing process. For a parent who is worried about the living situation of their first child at college, technology can be your company’s greatest weapon, or its greatest weakness. Lack of pictures on your website paired with an unfriendly format doesn’t...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Since its debut earlier this month, Pokemon Go has become a massively popular app, prompting millions of downloads and user numbers that rival Twitter. For those not familiar with Pokemon Go, the app is based off of the Pokemon franchise which features animated “pocket monsters” that users can catch. Though the franchise has covered movies, a TV show, games, trading cards and more, Pokemon Go marks the first time it has been available as a free mobile app, where users can sign up and instantly begin playing the game. Because Pokemon Go is a location-based app, many real estate companies have seen a positive flow of traffic, particularly on the multifamily side.  Pokemon Go players are now visiting what are called PokeStops, designated spots where they can collect more Pokemon. These are mainly random businesses scattered throughout each area. With the game focusing on location, apartment owners and managers have the opportunity to capitalize on this fun trend. If you’re a student housing professional, or have simply noticed your residents using Pokemon Go at your apartment communities, consider using these marketing tips to keep residents happy and attract new ones as well! 1) Have a photo contest of residents who take pictures of Pokemon at the apartment community. Since Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game, users will see Pokemon appear on their phone. This makes for fun moments when they can see Pokemon appear in places like their living room or kitchen. The most creative picture can win a prize from the...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  1. Lead-tracking technology Demand generation and leasing effectiveness can only be successfully measured if a lead-tracking tool is in place.  The more resourcefully you can manage your leads and determine where they are coming from, the more likely you are to hone in on your target audience and delegate your resources toward capturing leases.  A formalized lead tracking and nurturing process is nearly impossible without the technology to effectively house your potential customers.   2. Assessing Marketing Effectiveness When looking at your marketing strategy and the effectiveness of your advertising, it’s important to consider what works best for leasing conversions. While there may be some common idea around what constitutes as apartment marketing success, there are some things that conventional metrics don’t tell you. We suggest measuring your marketing spend with frequent assessment of four main areas: cost, advertising channel, unit type and floor plan.     3. Website oversight When is the last time you took a good look at your community’s website?  I mean, a gooooood look.  Is your website optimized for lead capture?  What makes its appearance different than any other apartment community in your area?  Are your community photos current and up-to-date to include any new developments or renovations? I suggest a monthly audit of your community’s website to assess appearance, content, lead capture, links, and user-experience. Lastly, setting up Google Analytics for your community page will give you endless analytical insight into bounce rates, behavior, demographics, and performance for your website’s visitors.     4. Only using sources...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Every so often something comes along in the Social Media realm that makes me giddy with excitement when I realize what it means for our industry.  A few years ago, I went nuts with Pinterest and using it for all things property management.   Since then, I have dabbled with a lot of other social media sites, ideas, options, and functions, but honestly, it wasn't until a few days ago that I had found that next little thing that made me swell with glee. Perhaps you've already seen it in your Facebook feed, but what I am excited about are Facebook 360 photos.   Okay, before I get too far ahead of myself, what I am specifically excited about is the fact that this can be done with your cell phone.  Yep!  What was once a thing that required a special camera, has become a thing that each and every one of us can do. So, what are Facebook 360 photos and why is it exciting?  Facebook 360 alone is a type of video that allows a viewer to see all 360 degrees of a photo/video/place simultaneously.   Now, when using your cell phone it's reduced down to a 360-degree photo that allows the user to pan/zoom and experience all of the dimensions as if they are truly in the spot the photo was taken.  It's very similar to the virtual tour that one of the industry's big ILS's provides. Ahh and that brings me to the fun property management part!...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Facebook-likes_20160601-190911_1.JPGThere is an absolutely fascinating story hitting the news right now about an apartment community that attempted to force residents to like their Facebook Fan Page within five days through a bizarre "Facebook Addendum" taped to their doors.  The addendum also tried to ban residents from posting negative comments about the community on any public forum.  I'm not sure who thought that was going to go over well, or if it is even enforceable, but as one can imagine, rather than get the likes they wanted, they instead racked up over 800 one star reviews and has since taken down the page entirely.  We hear these stories pop up once or twice a year, and it always amazes me that they don't anticipate the backlash. UPDATE:  I received a note from a company representative that the addendum as posted was not approved by the company, but rather posted by a single person at the property without authorization.   If that weren't enough of a story, I wanted to see the fan page for myself, but since it had been taken down, the page I found was for a community with the same name but across the country.  Guess what is happening there?  Sadly enough, that page is now getting bombarded with one star reviews and negative comments on the page, even though it isn't at all related! So my first question was why is the unrelated community's page not fighting back?  Why haven't they done anything to show that it isn't...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
There’s no doubt about it: if you aren’t using social media to connect with prospective renters, you’re missing out on a valuable advertising source. Apartment complexes across the nation are successfully promoting their communities on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram . But what should property managers post about on the social media pages for their apartment complexes? Working with a group of popular apartments in Gainesville, I’ve found seven critical topics that every marketing director should post about: 1. Rent Specials and Move In Specials According to Rent.com, most people move between May and September. Saving money is an important part of the moving process, as expenses can add up quickly. Advertising rent and move-in specials can promote the apartment community, as well as a boost traffic and create interest on your Facebook page. 2. New Availability This ties in with posting rent specials, because when people are moving, they tend to research both rent specials and availabilities. It seems obvious, but if you want to lease vacant apartments, it’s always a good idea to advertise when there is a new availability. You’d be surprised how many apartment complexes don’t post vacancies on their Facebook pages! 3. Resident Appreciation Events Another way to encourage engagement is to promote resident appreciation events. Resident appreciation events make tenants feel appreciated by the management, and this is especially important since it can create relationship with the renters and encourage renewals! It’s important to add value to the residents, as they increase the value to the property. 4. Apartment...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Let’s rewind a decade to the beginning of 2005: Blockbuster was still in its prime. Facebook was still called “the Facebook”, membership was exclusive to select colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and it boasted roughly 5 million registered users. For business purposes, social media was largely nonexistent at this point. Since then, organizations have begun adopting social media as a means to sell products and services, provide customer support, and to engage with their audiences. While many businesses and organizations identified the need to be on social media, once they got there, they often didn’t know exactly what to do. In particular, the student housing industry has been relatively slow at adopting social media. The communities that have accepted it often have difficulty navigating the social media landscape and understanding how to effectively use it. This inexperience with using social media can cause some student housing communities to commit what we refer to as a social media faux pas. We’ve highlighted some of the key faux pas to avoid committing below.   1. Registering for Every Social Media Platform Imaginable While it does make sense for a student housing community to secure a brand name on social platforms, there are many different social media networks that aren’t a good fit for these brands. It’s productive to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ but not necessarily on Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Ello, Flickr, etc. (you get the point). Rather than signing up for every social media platform, it’s best to...