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Property Management Companies, Please Stop Asking Your Vendors for Money

I think we need to talk about requests to “sponsor” property management company events.  If you truly believe your vendors are “partners”, please stop asking them to sponsor your events.  It’s inappropriate and taking advantage of a situation where you have more power.  Let me explain. When a PM company and supplier enter into a relationship, there is bound to be some sort of discussion about price.  So after some back and forth, we come to an agreement that both parties are happy about.  We shake hands and off to a great relationship.  But then, suddenly we get a request to “sponsor” an event!  A sponsorship is supposed to be a situation where my company pays for exposure to a new audience in the hope of getting new business.  But this scenario is just to give money back to an existing customer, which means all we are doing is giving an additional discount.  And this discount isn’t freely negotiated at the beginning – it’s a strong-arm tactic that implies that if we don’t pay up, then we will lose that client.  That’s not true with all clients, of course, but even the perception of that is detrimental to the idea that we are “partners”.  And here is the reality:  Existing suppliers who have been in the industry a long time will budget this into their bid.  But new suppliers, those who are trying their best to gain clients will have no idea and be bulldozed by this request for additional discounts after they have already agr......
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5 Steps to Improve Parking in Your Apartment Community 

5 Steps to Improve Parking in Your Apartment Community 
Remember the summer of 2020? When the pandemic was at its peak (or so we thought) and we were desperate for face-to-face quality time with our loved ones? Although social distancing was encouraged, our communities noticed an increase in apartment guest parking. In fact, unauthorized guest parking has been on the rise since the pandemic began.    Maybe a couple decided to move in together, or a university-aged student crashed with mom and dad. Perhaps a renter was subletting or allowing a friend to sleep on their couch. Let’s not forget the possibility that people may have been illegally crashing in empty apartments.   While discussing parking problems, Strong Towns reminds us of the basic fact that parking is complicated. And according to the National Apartment Association, decreasing ratios mean fewer spaces available for residents, more unauthorized guests within our apartment communities, plus additional parking management for staff.    All of these evolving trends have produced both positive and negative byproducts:  Security. You don’t know who is in your community, and where they are staying. Crime. A greater number of unauthorized guests on your property is related to an increase in crime. Revenue. Unauthorized guests may be a source of lost revenue. Abuse. A lack of a solid parking policy encourages further parking abuse.   But here’s the reality: managing your apartment parking is inconvenient and time consuming for your onsite staff team. If you’re ready to track your parking offenders and prevent future unregistered guests, it’s time to revamp your apartment......
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3D Floor Plans, Virtual Tours, & Renderings- A look at how virtual tours can increase pre-leases.

    Pre-leasing can make or break the success of a new apartment community, especially in today’s competitive multi-family market. Adding assets like 3D modeling, virtual tours, and interior renderings allow developers, property managers, and real estate marketing leaders to create more interest in their properties before the construction process is complete.   By using these tools in your marketing plans and content you are able to connect with future renters and give them the visual information they need to make a decision on whether or not your property is the right fit for them at an extremely pivotal time in their buying journey.    1) Why Would I Want a Virtual Tour or Interior Rendering? The obvious answer here is that it is literally impossible to showcase what your spaces will look like without these assets while your property is being built.  3D floor plans, virtual tours, and interior renderings give you access to digital assets that can accurately and effectively present your property's key features when it is physically impossible to show them.   2) What Makes a Good Virtual Tour or Interior Rendering? Accuracy. The purpose behind creating these assets while your property is still in the construction or developmental phase is to accurately present what the interiors and exteriors of your spaces and units will look like. The idea here is to be as close to a real photo or video as possible. Having photo-realistic visuals ensures that what future renters are seeing matches what they wil......
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How to Identify and Utilize True Leasing Automation

As everyone knows, the property management industry is constantly shifting and evolving to accommodate new technologies helping to make the lives of property managers a lot easier. Over the last few years, leasing automation has quickly become one of the most valuable additions to the industry, specifically within the multi-family community.    For those who haven’t yet experienced true leasing automation, it gives your prospective residents what they want - real-time responses and tour scheduling at their convenience. It gives your leasing staff what they need - dramatically less time on the phone and responding to e-mails, tours efficiently scheduled based on their real availability, and high-touch automated follow-ups throughout the leasing process. Multi-family property managers wear so many hats that the more time that can be saved, the better. Leasing automation is re-envisioning how prospects and management companies interact and it’s time to get on board.   It is important to understand that not every company that offers what they consider to be “leasing automation” actually has true end-to-end leasing automation. True end-to-end leasing automation doesn’t need to be regularly touched or fed information. A fully automated platform empowers the individual prospect to self-conduct the entire leasing process within constraints and guidelines pre-set by the property manager or owner. On the management side, a fully automated platform allows for tremendous cost savings, serious growth without additional staff, a significantly better experience for prospective renters, reduced on-market times, and a happier leasing staff who is more likely to stay with the company. ......
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Protect Multi-Family Flooring Projects From Concrete Defeat

The demand for low-cost, moisture resistant and waterproof flooring continues to grow at a rapid pace, and for good reason—with the right approach, the results are durable, low maintenance and long-lasting. Although the focus tends to be on cost per square foot and the flooring material itself, following strategic steps before the flooring goes in will save you from expensive repairs down the road. While the right system may cost a little more initially for many multi-family projects such as hotels, college dorms and apartments, it will provide significant savings when it comes time to replace flooring. Over the course of my career, I have seen more than my fair share of moisture-related flooring disasters in both commercial and multi-family spaces. My hope is that the information I cover below will help protect your investment and your sanity.  Map Out Your Priorities  Your focus may be on installing flooring that is affordable and moisture resistant or waterproof. You may also have your sights set on choosing environmentally friendly materials with low-VOC finishes and sealants. I recommend thinking in terms of the total cost of ownership and return on investment. With all of this in mind, we must look underneath the flooring surface. What Makes a Flooring Material Waterproof?  Before we jump into waterproofing specifics, it’s important to note that while waterproof flooring material is non-permeable by definition, it takes more than the right material to ensure overall waterproofing success. Even when the flooring itself includes some form of plasticizer or PVC, it ......
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Suppliers, Have You Ever Been Guilty of This?

I saw this post from Amy L. Harris on the Multifamily ShareSpace about her pet peeve of suppliers going over her head if they are not getting answers quick enough.  I’d actually love to turn this into a positive moment for sharing what suppliers should do instead!  Suppliers, if you had a situation where you thought the sale was stalled, what is a better way to handle this, rather than trying to go over your prospect’s head?  Those on the property management side, what is a better way for suppliers to approach this situation, so it can be a positive process rather than a negative?  Please share your thoughts below!

P.S. Thank you Amy for sharing your story so we can all learn a little bit about how to better work together!

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When Supplier Partners Speak Multifamily’s Love Language

When Supplier Partners Speak Multifamily’s Love Language
The multifamily industry used to be lampooned as being way behind the curve when it came to technology. But in recent years, it’s been exciting to see apartment owners and operators embrace new technologies. Across the country, multifamily operators are implementing cutting-edge solutions that enhance the resident experience and improve operations. The pandemic - which has compelled many operators to begin offering self guided and virtual tours - has accelerated the growth of technology in multifamily. But as operators adopt new solutions and systems, they often come to realize that working with supplier partners without strong multifamily backgrounds can be a frustrating experience. It’s Not Me, It’s You One of the challenges of working with supplier partners that don’t come from multifamily is they don’t truly understand what goes into leasing and operating apartment communities. They don’t appreciate all the nuances of the industry and the day-to-day challenges faced by onsite associates. They don’t know the multifamily workflows. Smart home technology, self-guided tours and even package management solutions demand a deep, comprehensive understanding of the industry to operate effectively.  Just as important, these supplier partners may not understand the need for integration with other solutions. The lack of integration - those actually driven by open APIs and not just parallel interfaces - among multifamily technologies and systems has long been a sore spot for operators. The inability of many multifamily solutions to “play nice” with other technologies can result in redundant data entry, data loss or duplication of effort, creating inefficiencies across the board.......
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COVID-19 Trend: Printing Needs Have Increased for Residents and Staff

COVID-19 Trend: Printing Needs Have Increased for Residents and Staff
Printing Demands Crumple the Notion of Going 100% Paperless As multifamily companies continue to extend the scope of their sustainable environmental practices, one movement that has gained traction in recent years is the idea of “going paperless.” In theory, going paperless essentially means eliminating paper flyers, guest cards, sticky notes and other paper products in favor of digital alternatives and cloud-based technologies. It sounds simple and, of course, good for the environment. But in practice, going truly paperless is an unrealistic goal. Take a look around the typical leasing office and it’s easy to see that still it’s far from the reality, as many property staff depend on paper materials to help educate residents on important topics. With thousands of digital communications flooding residents’ inboxes on a weekly basis, it's often the paper communications that are most likely to be noticed, read and engaged with. While going paperless is an admirable idea, it’s not a feasible business model at the property level. Nor is the idea realistic for residents, particularly under current circumstances with more people working remotely and attending school virtually than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent survey, 51.8% of respondents reported that their printing needs have held steady or increased since working or schooling from home. Many parents especially depend on paper printouts so that their children can learn and complete homework assignments, versus relying on entirely screen-based education.  Fortunately, printing for residents and property staff does not have to be unsustainable. In fact, many ......
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Apartment Intercom Systems: Here are Four Ways to Choose the Right One for Your Building

apartment intercom system    Whether you own or manage an apartment building or you’re developing a new building, it’s important to remember that every prospective resident’s first impression starts at the front door. That’s why your entry system is so important. To ensure the best first impression every time, invest in an apartment intercom system. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which intercom to buy? Read on for a handy guide to choosing the right apartment intercom for your building. Before you buy an intercom, consider these four important factors:   1. Wired vs. wireless intercoms Have you noticed the trend in wireless technology? Your headphones are wireless, your phone charger is wireless — your intercom should be wireless, too.  Traditional intercom systems require wiring between the outdoor intercom and the indoor panels in every unit. That’s a lot of wiring — which equates to high installation costs (up to 3 times what you paid for the hardware). These days you don’t even need hardware in each apartment unit because 96% of Americans already have a better solution in their pockets: a cellphone. Instead of installing expensive, buzzer-style hardware in every unit, choose a wireless apartment intercom system that residents can operate from their cellphones.  Something to keep in mind: While intercoms without building wiring are the best way to go, intercoms wired directly to the internet are more reliable. Instead of relying on spotty WiFi or an overloaded cellular network, choose an intercom with a direct internet connec......
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Gyms Deemed Safe with Sanitizing Protocol

Gyms Deemed Safe with Sanitizing Protocol
Pandemic or no pandemic, sanitization is always in style. Property managers stretching their maintenance team thin trying to keep up with the recent increase of cleaning demand can be stressful to everyone, and if the standards can’t be met, residents ultimately suffer.   In this post, I'll share the latest news in sanitizing and disinfecting to prevent COVID-19, how it may affect your property, and provide tips for what to do next. Safe & Sanitized The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and MXM, a technology company specializing in member tracking within the fitness industry, found that fitness facilities are safe and are not contributing to the spread of COVID-19. They analyzed member check-in data across 2,873 gyms, sports clubs and boutique fitness centers from May to August 2020. “The check-in data proves that health clubs – when following strict cleaning and safety protocols – are safe,” said Brent Darden, IHRSA interim president and CEO.    Overall, the data they gathered proved two major points:  1.) Properly sanitized gyms are safe for employees and members and  2.) Gyms are not linked to spikes or spreading of COVID-19. Our Survey Results Gathering feedback from residents is important to understand their wants, needs, and priorities. In our most recent survey, we asked more than 1,000 residents about their interest in group fitness activities. 98% of residents at two properties surveyed said they would take a class if, and only if, protocols and CDC guidelines were in place. With the help of an online am......
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