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Apartment Marketing 101 - Professional Photography

Apartment Marketing 101 - Professional Photography
There's a case to be made that photos are the most important part of apartment marketing. While some would argue differently, there is no denying the impact that quality photos (or lack thereof) have on potential renters and their decisions to visit your community. For that reason alone, it's imperative that you have quality photos of your community. While some ILS's now offer professional photos with their listings, most of those images are watermarked, limiting their use in other areas. Not to mention, that in most cases, you do not have a say in who will be photographing your community or building, much less the final images. With that in mind, I always advise my clients to hire a professional photographer. Here are several tips on hiring the right photographer and getting the best photos of your community: FINDING A PHOTOGRAPHER Google Search - Most people start with a Google Search to find anything these days, and the same is true for finding a photographer. One thing to consider is searching for your specific city for photographers, not national firms. Also highly suggest using sites like Yelp, and Google Reviews to get more information on the reputation and reliability of the photographer. Competitors - This may sound counterintuitive, but asking competitors (who have great photos), who they used, is a perfectly acceptable course of action. In some cases, you can even find the photographers information on their website. Company or Individual - There are a large number of companies as well......
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5 Essential Automation Plays for Resident Satisfaction

5 Essential Automation Plays for Resident Satisfaction

What is the Resident Zone?

Before we jump into the Resident Zone, here is a refresher on the concepts behind Lifecycle Programming:

  • playbook is the complete guide to automated customer lifecycle marketing. It maps out personalized content to engage customers from the time a prospect fills out a guest card until they move out.

  • A zone defines where the customer falls in the customer journey.

  • A play is designed to move customers from one lifecycle stage to the next. 

 

The Resident Zone encompasses all customers from the time they sign a lease to until they move out. If you have looked through our Playbook, you probably noticed the Resident Zone has more plays than the other two zones combined.

There are three reasons why this zone has the most plays:

  1. It’s the only zone where the PMC’s make money (so we want to keep customers there!)
  2. It has the longest time frame. A customer can be a resident for years. So, it is important to keep them engaged throughout their residency.
  3. The Resident Zone has the most lifecycle stages; therefore, it has the most plays.

 

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4 Ways To Use Maintenance Data During Multifamily Budget Season

  For multifamily managers, budget season typically is not the highlight of their annual calendar. Off-sites, bootcamps, late nights, endless spreadsheets, stacks of reports for filter through...ugh. A thorough, well-crafted budget often requires us to step outside of our comfort zone and deal with personnel issues and other things that personally impact people we work with/for. If this isn't challenging enough, the budget proposal is just the first step. It is most often followed by upper management/C-level/board review and in many cases, the dreaded word - CUTS. Wash, Rinse, Repeat until you get to something that works.  OK, enough of the monotony - so how can maintenance data help? Data collected within your maintenance operations can be a hidden gem when it comes to the overall condition or staffing of your property from a maintenance perspective. Here are four of our favorite areas to dig in:   1. Maintenance Categories/Tags   Most property management software tools do a very good job of enabling categorization of requests. Analyzing and sorting work-orders/service-requests by maintenance category (some systems refer to this as "tagging") can provide a treasure-trove of information during the budget process. Based on multifamily industry data, the average 300-unit property generates average of 150 resident service requests per month. Add another ~50 on top of that if your sites track make-ready activities or preventative maintenance. Over the course of a year, or even just 6-months, there is a lot of harvest-able information when budget-time rolls around. Export them into a spreadsheet ......
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Can’t Keep Up With Your Tenants’ Maintenance Requests? Here Are 3 Ways To Fix This

Dealing with tenants’ maintenance requests is one of the biggest issues landlords face, especially with so much (rental) competition around. Tenants know that they can get the same or better service for their buck virtually wherever they turn. It is giving them a confidence boost to demand their landlord’s active involvement in their apartment upkeep, repairs, and all other pending issues, no matter how trivial. Naturally, every landlord’s goal is to keep the tenant’s happy; on that note, we’re listing a few ways that can help you get on top of your tenants’ demands and find the best solutions for both insignificant and significant requests. Have a Plan Whether you are dealing with your rental property yourself or through a property management company, the best way to handle your tenants’ requests is to have a plan for maintenance requests. That way you’ll respond promptly as requests come through, and you’ll know what do. Outline how the tenant should notify you of any problems Chart your response timeframe Keep a list of local contractors, such as plumbers, electricians, and general contractors to be ready should something urgent happens   Know the Law Running your property rental business needs to be done within the landlord/tenant law for you to execute your rights as a landlord. Since this law considerably varies from state to state, make sure you’re within the right one to avoid any potential problems. Also, it’s crucial you stay within both federal and state legislation. Most states have clear guidelines on how soon you’re required to res......
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To buy technology or to build technology? The cost is the true question.

To buy technology or to build technology? The cost is the true question.
There are certain technologies that apartment operators simply shouldn’t build on their own – like property management and revenue management systems, business intelligence platforms and even customer relationship management programs. With the growing demand for resident-facing technology from renters, many apartment operators are left with this question: should we build the tech ourselves, or should we buy it from a proven supplier? There’s a reason you wouldn’t ask a fisherman to cut your hair – you end up paying for it in the long run, and the same can be true when trying to build a technology someone else has already developed. Translation: an apartment operator serves itself and its residents best when it hires a company that specializes in the design and implementation of new technologies to do the work. The True Costs of Building a Technology YourselfIn theory, it may make sense to tackle building a new technology in-house – I mean, you may already have an IT team. But in reality, building the technology that will deliver the results and success you are looking for can be costly, both in terms of actual expenses and the extent to which an operator has to draw valuable resources away from its core mission. Let’s take building a custom, white-label mobile app for an apartment community as an example. White-labeled apps are those used by residents to communicate with management, pay rent online, make service requests, for example. They are created with both the resident experience and onsite process top-of-mind and are different......
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Are You Aware Of the 7 Year Rule In Background Checks

I have found that many are not aware of the 7 year rule when running a background check so I wanted to be sure you are all fully informed. The 7-year rule states that all civil suits/ judgments, non-conviction arrest records, and paid tax liens can’t be reported in a background investigation after 7 years. This rule applies to every state in the U.S., some instances, states chose to take it even further with their regulations, such as in California, New York, and Kentucky, where non-convictions can’t be reported at all, except for pending charges. Most criminal convictions are not governed by the 7-year rule. (see this chart for some of the exceptions) Since the 7-year rule is a federal guideline it applies to all states for non-criminal convictions and to many states for criminal convictions, you may find that your background check provider will only provide information according to those parameters. People earning over $75,000 annually may see arrest information longer than seven years in the past included on their background reports due to a Salary Exception, but this also depends on the state. Before requesting the report from the agencies, employers are required to provide the applicant with a clear disclaimer of disclosure and obtain the applicant’s written consent of the query. The employer is also required to inform the applicant about the types of information that will be requested in the report. If the employer decides to take adverse action as a result of the report, they are requi......
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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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What's The Price?

What’s The Price?  How many times over the course of my 30 year career in multifamily housing I have asked or been asked this question?  When I was the one asking, it seemed like it should be a simple cut and dry answer and when I am the one being asked, it seems just as simple that there can be a ton of variables.  As a leasing agent I was trained not to answer the price question right off the bat, but to build value into the answer…yet when I was a 20 year old renting my first apartment, in my mind it didn’t matter if there was daily maid service included, I couldn’t afford what I couldn’t afford.  When I was on the management side of the desk getting contractor bids, many times I was impatient with the sales pitch thinking it was wasting my and the vendors time doing the “dance” to find out if it was even in the ballpark of my budget…again, didn’t matter what additional value was included, if it didn’t fit my budget I couldn’t afford it.  Back on the other side of the desk, I am now the vendor...I am the one setting the price and most times I find the question very difficult, if not impossible to answer without asking what my prospective client sees as a slew of qualifying questions. We produce video tours nationwide so obviously travel is one of our major expenses. The expense of producing one video at a single community thre......
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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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Managing community pool pass memberships

For multi-family communities with member-only swimming pools, what's the best solution for keeping track of who has access to your pool, checking members in at the front desk, and processing their pool pass applications? Whether you're managing a swimming pool in a neighborhood or apartment building, management methods can be grouped into three categories:   1. Paper passes and a log-book. The traditional method is to process membership applications from your community members and then distribute paper passes. The pool front desk attendant collects them when members enter the community pool and returns them when they leave. Perhaps members sign-in on a paper logbook. Labor costs are high to process all the applications by hand. You can't suspend someone's pass easily. You can't easily determine how many people are using the pool each day. And you have to trust that the person holding the pass is really the person named on the pass.    2. Standalone computer with Membership software. Building your database can be as easy as filling out an Excel spreadsheet. You can load member images or take them from a webcam. Using pool passes with barcodes makes check-in easy using a barcode scanner.  You can suspend members at any time (for example, if dues aren't paid). And you can track pool usage much easier than a paper log.    3. Cloud-based membership software. Options abound for services that provide online membership management: these are usually geared for commercial facilities such as gyms. They offer features like member billing, class scheduling, employee......
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