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The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding

The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding
  Setting standards on products, services, approval processes, and GL codes not only makes your process more efficient, but also saves you money and makes costs (and budgets) more predictable.  When paired with software to elevate visibility and enforce controls, your organization can more easily get the right things done, and eliminate time spent wondering what to do and/or what happened.   Product and service standards, approvals and GL coding all have common attributes.  They are necessary in order to operate profitably and to provide your residents with high quality service, and yet there are too many choices.   What are Product and Service Standards? Defining what products and services to use for a given class of property or region is what I mean by product and service standards.  For example, there may be a certain carpet spec and color used in your class A properties, and specific appliances used in your class B properties.  You may have regional differences in what you decide to specify, for example you may want to use an eggshell paint in more humid areas, and flat paint in temperate areas.   Some of the categories in which companies often enforce standards include:   Floor Covering Carpet Cleaning Appliances HVAC Water Heaters Paint Paint Services Landscape Services Plumbing Fixtures Lighting Fixtures Fire and Security Equipment Window Coverings   If you don’t provide guidance on standards, your staff may have too many choices of what to buy, who to buy from, and what to pay.  As you c......
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The Effects Of The Blockchain On Real Estate

  Blockchain is an emerging technology which will transform the way we buy, sell and lease real estate. “A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order.  It allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically. Originally developed as the accounting method for the virtual currency Bitcoin, blockchains – which use what’s known as distributed ledger technology (DLT) – are appearing in a variety of commercial applications today. Currently, the technology is primarily used to verify transactions, within digital currencies though it is possible to digitize, code and insert practically any document into the blockchain. Doing so creates an indelible record which cannot be changed; furthermore, the record’s authenticity can be verified by the entire community using the blockchain instead of a single centralized authority.” (1) Real estate will not be passed over when it comes to the blockchain disruption either. There will be a need for education in order to transition from the current standard analog norms into the digital space for high value assets such as real estate. Blockchain technology introduces smart contracts on its platform. This allows assets like real estate to be tokenized, and be traded in the same vain as cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin and others. You will be able track all information on real estate,......
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Security Concerns with Off-Campus Housing

When students move off campus it adds a new layer of safety concerns that on-campus students may not consider. While living off campus offers students freedom from university housing rules, more space than the dorms, and the freedom to come and go as they please, it also forces students, parents and property managers to look more closely at the safety of multi-family residences. Students living on campus can rely on university security, building monitors and video cameras, and emergency phones across campus and in its buildings, but moving off campus requires students to ensure the safety of their rental property or home themselves. In a recent survey about key sharing, the majority (63 percent) of Americans reported that at least one person who does not currently live with them has a key to their home. In fact, 18 percent of Americans have given a key to their home to three or more people who don’t live with them, while one-third of Americans admit to making a copy of a house or rental apartment key without asking permission from the property manager or landlord. In an effort to increase the security in off-campus housing and to ease the minds of students and parents alike, property managers can update amenities and building technology in a multi-family building to include an integrated access control system or a smart interconnected lock, which will increase operational efficiency for property managers who will no longer need to worry about that hassle of mechanical key management or students m......
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The Americans with Disabilities Act for Landlords And Property Managers

The Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly known as “ADA” is a federal civil-rights law protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA places guidelines for access to: Employment State and local government programs, services and buildings Access to places of public accommodation such as businesses, transportation, and non-profit service providers Telecommunications George Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; standing left to right Reverend Harold Wilkie, Sandra Parrino of the National Council on Disability; seated left to right, Evan Kemp, Chairman of the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, George Bush, Justin Dart, Chairman of the ‘s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Washington DC, USA, 26 July 1990. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images). The scope of the law is fairly broad and addresses many of the obstacles affecting the participation of people with disabilities within society. Many of the ADA’s civil rights protections parallel the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the protections it established for racial, religious minorities and women. Occasionally, management companies may be faced with a lawsuit for non-compliance with ADA laws.  These compliance problems are usually preventable as many times they result from violations which stem from the lack of proper guidelines, policies, procedures, and/or practices regarding accessibility. Implementing current policies can go a long way toward avoiding the expense associated with ADA lawsuits. As owners, landlords, managers, and tenants can be jointly and severally liable in the event of non-compliance. Making it important to ensure you have safe practices in place to address......
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The Best Cities to Invest in Student Housing in Canada - 2017 Edition

  In late 2015, Places4Students published one of our most widely circulated blogs, The Best Cities in Canada to Invest in Student Housing – Province by Province. Since then, the market has grown considerably as more purpose-built student housing has developed throughout Canada, inevitably changing the market landscape. We decided to revisit this topic and once again highlight some of the best cities in Canada to invest in student housing.   The methodology for determining the best cities was based on collecting CMHC data, college and university enrolment statistics, average real estate prices and other rental market data. Other criteria included student enrolment and projected growth, average rental rates, availability of on-campus housing, vacancy rates, number of academic institutions and more.*The following data reflects vacancy, average rental, turnover and availability rates from 2015 to 2016. The average rental rates are based on two bedroom apartments.   Ontario – Peterborough: Last year, Guelph held the number one spot. According to Alan Mason from TrilliumWest, the three key success factors for Guelph included: low vacancy rates, coupled with limited housing options for students, increased enrolment and an improving housing market. Although Guelph is still a top city for student housing investment this year, the number one spot goes to Peterborough. Peterborough has some very favourable rental market conditions:   ·       Vacancy rate dropped from 3.7% to 1.0% ·       Average rental rate (2 bedroom) rose from $959/month to $980/month ·       Turnover rate of 17.4% is the fourth lowest in Ontario ·       Availability rate dropped from 5.1% to 2.2% ·&n......
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Not All Tenant Screening is Created Equally

You can’t always predict who will be a good tenant, but past behavior often indicates future behavior. Whether you’re a landlord, a property manager, or a real estate agent, you should be doing everything in your power to protect yourself from the hassle of dealing with bad tenants and bringing unwanted tenants into your community as they can be can be both time-consuming and financially destructive. Tenant screening can be handled in a few different ways, and one screening process is not always as successful as another. Making your decision solely on price can be a mistake, as many companies bypass certain steps in order to keep prices low. Here are some things you should know before deciding how to handle screening in the future.   Many companies advertise no on-site inspection for their tenant screening; however, you should know that these inspections are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. While these companies can offer some valuable information about your tenant’s past, they are not providing full credit reports. Instead, these companies access public data to compile an independent score that only partially represents your tenant’s history. These companies tend to offer the cheapest prices, but at the expense of legality and comprehensive information. Many companies require the tenant to initiate the transaction. While this practice isn’t inherently problematic, it can cause certain problems. For one, because it requires tenant initiation, time can become an issue. In this scenario, the property manager loses some of the control. In some instances it also prevents ......
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Graduate Student Housing Shortage: An Underserved Market?

Graduate Student Housing Shortage: An Underserved Market?
In many college and university communities, there are complaints about too much student housing, but this problem tends to be the polar opposite for graduate student housing. In numerous rental markets across North America, there is a lack of on-campus graduate student housing available, often resulting in fierce competition and long application wait-lists.   The shortage of graduate student housing at many campuses has become a contentious issue, as the following cases illustrate.   At UC San Diego there was a reported 2,500-person wait-list for graduate student housing. Many are left to find alternative options in the off-campus housing market. At Brown University campus housing is not guaranteed for graduate students and only 100 of the university’s 2,000 graduate students live in Brown-owned housing, due to lack of options and availability. McMaster University, boasting a graduate student population of over 4,000, has no designated graduate housing at all. However, the university is exploring options to build their first graduate residence in the very near future. The University of Miami has foregone the idea of providing graduate student housing in their ten-year housing plan and opted to prioritize the undergraduate population.   Problems relating to a shortage of graduate or family housing are nothing new; however, the earliest mention of the issue we could find dates back to August 1947 at Harvard University.So why is there such a shortage of graduate student housing?   There are a few reasons that potentially attribute to the shortage:  Undergraduate student populations tend to be significantly larger than the amount of graduate s......
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Student Housing - The End of Marketing to Millennials & the Rise of Gen Z

The term millennial doesn’t have a clear-cut definition but is ever-present when it comes to apartment marketing. Commonly, millennial is often used as a catch-all phrase referring to nearly any young renter that falls beneath the age of 30. But what is the actual period when millennials were born? Chances are, if you were to try to pin down the exact time frame for the millennial generation, you’d encounter some conflicting answers. ·     Born between 1977 to 1994 – Metlife ·     Born between 1980 to 2000 – Time Magazine ·     Born between 1982 to 2004 – Demographers William Straus and Neil Howe ·     Born between 1983 to 2000 – US Public Interest Research Group By and large, the consensus is that the last millennials were born around the year 2000, which would currently make the youngest millennials 17 years old; which is around the age most students graduate from high school and go off to college or university. This group is what we classify as the last millennial class. The proactive student-housing marketer knows that this is the end of the road for marketing to the millennial generation - but what’s next? Move aside Millennials – get ready for Generation Z. While the last class of millennials could potentially still have another 4 to 5 years in student housing, the focus will largely be shifted to Generation Z now. Much like the millennial generation, there isn’t a defined date range for Gen Z; but most often quoted as between 2001 to 2015. Using this timeframe would mean the eldest group of Gen Z would be heading off to college or university in the n......
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How to Leverage Free User-Generated Content for Apartment Marketing & Social Media

Creating and curating content for apartment marketing and social media can be time-consuming, costly and involve using a lot of creative capital. Many apartment communities simply do not have the resources to employ an entire marketing team, so staff often have to multitask.   Property managers are sometimes responsible for far more than just marketing; their duties can involve graphic design, social media, resident event management, lease up programs and more. Due to the multi-tasking nature of these positions, focusing a lot of time and energy on content is practically impossible. However, curating content from tenants or staff isn’t nearly as strenuous on time or resources. An article written by Bill Gates all the way back in 1996, titled Content Is King, emphasized the value of content far before Internet marketing ever took off.  Many of Gates predictions came true and content has reigned supreme in online marketing. The average Internet user consumes a large diet of content; but also produces content as well – this user-generated content is an often-overlooked area for apartment marketing content curation.   User-generated content is extremely valuable for several reasons, most importantly being that it resonates better with users and develops a better brand image. User-generated content also appears more genuine and authentic. Consider some of the following stats:   1.     Bazaarvoice found 86% of millennials say that user-generated content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand. 2.     Adweek discovered that user-generated content results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or w......
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Decreasing Safety Concerns among College Students and their Parents

When college students move from residence halls to off-campus housing, many parents are concerned about their child’s safety, knowing the facility might not be as secure as their dorm. Recognizing these worries, property managers can update facilities to increase security, ensuring residents are safe and parents are at ease. One specific way to help address these safety concerns in an off-campus housing facility is to integrate an electronic access control system to increase building security. With students regularly moving in and out every year, it can be difficult to ensure that only authorized individuals can enter the facility. By implementing an electronic access control system, property managers can easily grant or revoke access as needed, ensuring that building access is limited to those who are permitted. Knowing that only authorized people can enter the facility, residents will feel safer and their parents will have one less thing to worry about. The benefit of upgrading to a new system doesn’t end there. Electronic access control systems also allow property managers to view a history of building access. The timeline provided in an access report is valuable in many situations, such as a theft investigation. After reviewing this information, those involved will have a better idea of who visited a specific area and the time frame and duration of their visit. While upgrading to a new system might seem daunting, investing in an electronic access control solution can provide many short and long term benefits. During the upgrade process, property managers should consider bot......
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