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Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
Internet revenue is fast becoming the new ancillary income for multifamily apartment owners. Many apartment owners have known for years that Internet is one of; if not the most important amenities prospective residents are looking for. What may not have been so intuitive is how many Internet choices are available to property owners that were not in the market place until now. Additionally, they may not realize all the new business opportunities that are now available by maximizing the “Internet Real Estate” they own. What’s the Current Market Place Like? Up to this point it has been common place to allow the “Big-Box Internet” companies to provide antiquated infrastructure and services to residents. In some cases the property owners are even incentivized to “push” or market the services for financial gain. Although this model has been the norm for years in the multifamily industry, it has fundamentally disregarded huge advances in technology, namely ones dealing with Internet delivery. Compounding this issue are the huge amounts of profit left on the table by property owners. The current model enables monopolistic “Big Box Internet” providers to offer inferior services while making a majority of the revenue from YOUR residents. Unfortunately, there are no good reasons for this mentality to change. They will go on offering inferior residential services for astronomical prices mainly because it makes financial sense FOR THEM.  Think about it…Why cannibalize your billion dollar infrastructure with upgrades, when there is really no push-back from the marketplace to do so?  When you...

Posted by on in Property Management
Innovation . . . it’s become a somewhat over-used word in business.  A recent Wired article even referred to it as the “buzzword of the decade,” becoming “the canned response of executives, politicians and educators to the question, ‘What do we need to be successful?’” Waterton is a notable exception to the buzzword mentality, however, beginning with the fact that they don’t just do apartments. Their portfolio includes nearly 18,000 units of residential real estate in major markets throughout the U.S., and 13 hotels including brands such as Aloft, Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt and Marriott. CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder David Schwartz has a lot to say about innovation, both within Waterton and in the multifamily industry. “Multifamily in general has been slow to embrace innovation compared to other industries. In our organization, we feel strongly about trying new things and the potential that new technologies offer by way of improving productivity, and customer service.” “We’ve seen first-hand how quickly the hospitality industry adopted innovations such as keyless entry and single-click reservations – could you imagine if we could do that with a lease?” Schwartz continues. “Ironically, an apartment resident can list their unit instantly on Airbnb with one click, but leasing an apartment still takes days or weeks, with endless amounts of paperwork. As an industry, multifamily is behind the times.” This is why Waterton leadership is so passionate about taking the lead on innovation, not only internally, but also throughout the industry. So much so, that they’ve made significant investments and...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
As most renters and apartment owners will testify, good apartments are harder to find and today’s rents are well above levels of just a few years ago. Lots of reasons for this – both increased demand and limited supply. On the demand side, former homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure or damaged their credit during the downturn are now renting. Millennials who desire mobility, have high student loan balances or don’t have sufficient down payments are also competing for apartments. Supply is tight because very few apartments were built from 2007-2012 and the cranes in the sky in hip and cool cities nationwide today are basically catching up to the shortfall created during that five-year period. Limited availability of well-located land, entitlement challenges, NIMBYism, shortages of construction labor, escalating lumber and material prices also pinch supply. As a result, practically the only apartments being built are class-A, luxury properties – and many folks can’t afford those. So what’s a tenant and an apartment investor to do – and what does it bode for the future of apartments? Think ATT – affordability, transportation and technology. As people on a limited budget know, when the money runs out near the end of the month, tuna fish, peanut butter and mac & cheese may be on the menu for days on end. For penny-pinching apartment dwellers, affordability might mean a longer commute, a smaller pad or doubling up with a roommate. Apartment developers know that trees don’t grow to the sky and 3-7%...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  I absolutely love this use of Instagram for an apartment community!     Happy Birthday to one of our maintenance technicians, Rodney! We are celebrating with coffee and donuts in the office, but be sure to wish Rodney #HBD when you see him today! #WildOakKC #DunkinDonuts #Birthday A post shared by Wild Oak (@wildoakapartmenthomes) on Apr 20, 2017 at 7:12am PDT ...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
The multifamily industry is the new El Dorado for investors. Everybody wants a piece of the action. Because there is more money than action available, there are new multifamily developments popping everywhere. On a 5 mile stretch between my work and my doctor's office, 3 new properties are being built as we speak, on top of the 4 or 5 existing. Last I've heard, Silicone Valley is not relocating to Gwinnett County, Georgia. This is all about developers selling the dream to their investors. Fast forward 2-3 years from today, we are going to have a hefty surplus of apartments and an acute workforce shortage. That's when the multifamily industry will meet the real Hunger Games.There is a way to survive it: focus on service. Hiring and retaining the best talent. When it comes to hiring, nothing can replace the human interaction. If you think a software is going to do a better job than a human can, remind me how using the latest miracle talent management program improved your employee retention rate. Having somebody with service background in your talent acquisition department will give you the upper hand over competition. Pay top dollar for the right candidate. Scenario: You want to hire a great service tech, but he is asking for $1.50/hour more than you can offer. This is roughly $3,000 a year. If this guy can save you a resident a month by providing exceptional service(average cost to bring a new resident in to replace a resident that is moving...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
I have been in Multifamily for 13 (Gasp!) years now starting as a leasing agent, and working through many positions along the way. I am currently a proud Senior Property Manager for Artcraft Management in Virginia. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I LOVE Multifamily and I LOVE what we do and I LOVE to learn.    I'm so excited to be headed out to California in May to attend the AIM (Apartment Internet Marketing) conference to learn about ways to do all of the above. I have been dreaming about this conference for years now!   In an industry where we are more and more dominated by everything internet based, we need to find ways to adapt, ways choose the right methods, and ways to integrate and roll out new and changing software.    In looking at the agenda, I'm sure I'm going to leave with more than my brain can comprehend in 3 days. But let me tell you, I'm going to try.   Digital Storytelling, Artificial Intelligence in Apartment Marketing, Persuasive Communication, and Becoming a Data Obsessed Marketer will fill day 1.    Digital Storytelling? There has to be new ways to use the sites and social media outlets we already utilize to really tell, or work our community story and I'm sure this session will lead me to understand how.   A Renter Focus Group, The Evolution of CRM, a Yelp Data session, and Nurturing a Strong Sales Culture are on the docket for day 2.    I am especially excited to...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Today, multifamily housing investors look for renovation ideas that offer them optimal utilization of available space within their budget. Whether you own a property in Scottsdale or nearby counties, a professional renovation contractor can help you augment the exteriors and interiors of your home aligned with your business objectives. As every year multifamily industry witnesses change in home remodeling and designing trends, 2017 is no different. Continuing the discussion further, we take a look at some popular multifamily renovation trends to watch for in 2017.Wide-open SpacesWe all need our personal space, so why not have some space for your occupants? Multifamily property owners undertaking renovation or remodelling projects are providing spacious rooms or wide-open spaces such as balcony in every apartment. Hiring a professional remodeling and design company can help you ensure maximum utilization of your property while ensuring enough space for free movement within the unit.Granite DecorationsContemporary renters look for affordable multifamily housing unit that offer them luxury without breaking the bank. This is why decorating multifamily rental units can never be out of trend. It can only evolve. Granite has always been a popular choice for flooring, but today it has slowly cropped its way to countertops, table tops, and even clocks. When undertaking a renovation project, multifamily property owners should look at granite more than just a flooring option.Bold and Unique ColorsMultifamily property owners are now getting more experimental than ever. They are experimenting with bold and unique color combinations to make their property stand away from the...

Posted by on in Property Management
Bold statement, I know.  But as someone who is embedded in the world of feedback, I witness the impact ratings and reviews have on the leasing decision every day.  In a recent user poll conducted on ApartmentRatings, we asked people to tell us their reason for visiting the site.   Check this out: •58% plan on signing a lease within 7 days •91% were visiting to read reviews before deciding where to lease •29% said their final site was ApartmentRatings •78% were basing their decision off the reviews they read on ApartmentRatings Combine these findings with the results from our SatisFacts “2017 Today’s Online Renter Study” and the picture becomes even clearer: •81% of renters researched their options online before making any type of contact with the community •71% trust online ratings and reviews as opposed to 36% who trust the community’s website When the need arises for a new apartment home, renters pick up their phones, tablets or computers and begin the search.  They collect as much information found online as possible – availability, floorplans, photos and yes, online reviews.  They also talk to those closest to them (77% trust friends, family and co-workers) to whittle down their options even further. By the time they call, send an email inquiry, or walk through the doors of the leasing center, they have a good idea where they’d like to live.  The tour merely at this point is a means of verification.  Renters want to know what they’ve seen online is true in...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Model-Home-Sign-IMG_4614.JPGWhen my family gets together for a weekend, we often tour model homes to see what builders are doing with new construction.  One of the model homes this past trip used cards throughout the house that featured amenities and highlight the benefits of living at that house.  I absolutely love that idea, and we have seen it applied in model apartments, as well.  But with any idea, bad execution can make a good concept a joke!  Let's dig into these cards and see how these mistakes can, and do, happen in apartment communities. To give some context, these cards were found in a model home close to 4,000 square feet in size.  Let's dissect this first one:  It's important that all marketing is contextual.  In other words, marketing that works for a Class C property may never work for a Class A property.  So if we are talking about a 4,000 square foot house, having a large master closet (in this market) is an absolute given.  Highlighting features that all other comparable properties have makes absolutely no sense, and frankly, just highlights the lack of interesting features in your own property.  This is the same as apartment communities boasting that they have a resort-style pool or a fitness center when every one of their comps does, as well. Second, I would imagine that this marketing is really susceptible to insulting someone.  On this I could be wrong, as I'm not a woman, but it just seems so - is sexist the...

Posted by on in Property Management
By now, you’re probably aware that there are plenty of software tools out there for pretty much any type of business or office set up. That’s why techies are always encouraging businesses to go online, and literally forget dealing with actual paper files. Well, of course it all sounds good and rosy until you come to critically think of it… Is there any actual benefit of going paperless, apart from the all-too-known fact of being eco-friendly? Considering all the computers and storage drives you’ll have to purchase, isn’t paperless significantly more expensive than paper at the end of the day? And most importantly, is paperless feasible in property management? While converting from a paper-based to a paperless environment could be intimidating and confusing to a property management firm at the beginning, it’s exceedingly feasible, and could possibly be your most strategic move yet. Although only 3% of businesses have managed to go completely paperless, 28% of paperless firms achieved full ROI in less than half a year, and 59% did it in less than one year. Overall, 84% of such businesses achieved payback in less than 18 months. Here’s exactly how paperless helps you achieve this: It’s Actually Cheaper While you may have to purchase a couple of devices at the beginning, paperless is considerably cheaper than paper-based systems. As a matter of fact, with some property management systems, you don’t need to get an extra computer at all. It can work just as well on your smartphone because it’s all cloud based. Although the cost...