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Three Fundamental Steps to Successful Apartment Marketing

Three Fundamental Steps to Successful Apartment Marketing
  As a property manager, you likely have noticed the challenge that exists in apartment marketing. It can be hard to get the positives of a property across in many kinds of marketing, as most people are looking at the cost and spying closely for any kind of negatives. Basically, people are always looking for that one reason to look at another property rather than your own; your job then becomes trying to convince them not to do so. If you want to start making better progress when it comes to apartment marketing, here are three fundamental steps that can make a telling difference to your success rate. Use these, and you are far more likely to find it easy to get your apartments rented out to the right tenant. Host Community Events One of the most powerful tools that you can utilize for powerful and effective apartment marketing stems from hosting a community event. Not only does this allow you to draw in interested parties and gain some trust, it lets you begin to better understand the local community. That understanding can be essential to long-term success. Just make sure that you use a local calendar to find some spare time on the local scene; competing with things like school events will see turnout dwindle quite heavily. Also, give yourself between 4 and 6 weeks of marketing time to help build up local interest in the community. An event, though, from raising supplies and food for food banks and homeless......
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Beware of Bad Marketing - SEO Services That Fail

Outsourcing marketing processes can be a great way to efficiently attain your marketing goals.  That said, I've seen some incredibly bad solutions, especially for SEO services!  So just make sure you understand where they are posting and what they are posting! Given our size, we get requests daily to provide free content to us in exchange for a link back to their client's sites.  In almost 100% of the cases, we decline.  Why?  There are several reasons why that type of content is of absolutely no value to us, such as the content is only tangentially related, at best.  For example, one person reaching out to us right now is talking about home buying tips.  Not only do we not deal with home sales, the target audience is completely wrong - our audience aren't home buyers - they are professionals working in the real estate field.  The marketing company only saw that we were in real estate, but didn't really care to figure out that it wouldn't make sense.  You would never be so careless with your marketing, but a bad marketing company may not be as discerning. The second problem we encounter is that the SEO/Marketing company is often the one writing the pieces.  Why would we want content written by someone who has exactly zero experience in the field they are writing about?  This reflects badly on both us and their client.  Sometimes a hybrid approach can work - the marketing company does the leg work to get the......
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The 5 Top Reasons Why Multi-Family Investing Is a Very Smart Choice

I get asked all the time if they should REALLY invest in multifamily properties. Of course, my immediate answer is “absolutely!” I do not say absolutely because I actively play in the niche. I say so, because there is no reason that multifamily isn’t right for almost everyone. Okay, it is a given fact that we are all playing with different investor identities. However, multifamily investing mitigates almost majority of investment risks, making it an absolute choice for anyone who seeks to grow wealth. Multifamily property investments are obviously today’s most powerful strategy to get your money growing. This is the only type of investment that can provide a consistent cashflow month after month. But that reason alone is only the most common you may have heard many investment gurus talk about. Here are 5 more proof multifamily investing is a smart choice: 1. Makes Property Management Easy Imagine owning 12 single-family homes across the city and manage them. Long drives, impossible schedules and lengthy list of things to do are probably your perennial dilemma. Now, imagine just managing 12 homes under one roof? That means you can easily assign the property to an efficient property management of your choice. No driving, site visits, etc. freeing your time for things that matter most to you. 2. Easier Property Appreciation Appreciation is difficult and often rare. Why? You need to do specific renovations, improve amenities that can be a great benefit to the “tenants.” This is the only way appreciation may happen. With single-family homes, your......
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The 4 Levels of Customer (Resident) Experience

The 4 Levels of Customer (Resident) ExperienceOpen up any business publication and it’s a pretty good bet you’ll see something that talks about customer service or the customer experience. In the multifamily industry, the focus by nature is on our customer - the resident.  However, one problem with much of what’s written on the topic is that customer service and customer experience is often used interchangeably. To drive the type of results you want from your initiatives, you must understand the difference between service and experience, and the continuum of customer experience. Customer service is about process. It's a lot of the standards and internal processes. It's the basics that we have defined for our teams: the stand, smile and greet, the way that we engage with a customer when we meet them, when they come in the office, when we pick up the phone and so on. Customer experience, on the other hand, is a journey that companies go on as they start to evolve from providing service, that’s focused on our processes, to truly focusing on the customer and crafting an experience designed for them: and equipping our teams with the necessary processes and products to deliver that experience purposefully. Customer service is about standards, processes and techniques. Customer experience is how everything comes together to create an experience for the customer, and it’s how that experience feels to the customer. As you design your intentional customer experience, it’s important to understand there are, in essence, four levels of experience:   1. Random A focus on customer ex......
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Closets: The Untapped Resource

Closets: The Untapped Resource
How to become a front player in the estate development industry? Also, how to build and safeguard a strong financial muscle investing in real estate?  The next wave of consumers will want customization. Looking toward the next influx of buyers this is one way to attract a wider market and increase profits. With offering a wide range on configurations potential buyers are able to choose a design that fits their needs. Everyone from the working bachelor to the soccer Mom can benefit from a customized closet. Investors will benefit from properties “tailor made” for the consumer. This concept also will make the properties stand out from the competition. Widening the market will only widen profits. The closets by design concept allows the property to have as many as three to four different options for the potential consumer. Having multiple options will bring a fresh perspective on a normally routine event. This inspires a sense of ownership with the clients. A sense of pride when making it your own space only personalizes the experience. More and more the consumers want storage designed for ease and accessibility. This is how property management can capitalize on this growing need. With a cookie cutter approach to having closet configurations mass produced the initial investment is minimal to the offset of future earnings. Leading the way for this untapped market allows the property to stand out from the barrage of competition. Making it the desirable, useful, and fun alternative. The options of the closet design concept can......
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Don’t let a Landlord-Tenant Dispute Become a Natural Disaster

shutterstock_171847709Don’t wait until disaster strikes to protect yourself and others from damages. Have a plan in place to prevent landlord-tenant disputes when there is property damage of any kind.  You should take steps to ensure that the lease clearly designates who is responsible for what damages and when.  Both parties should also have insurance when replacements or repairs have to be made. Mind the Lease Lease Termination Landlords should take special care in the rental agreement about terms and conditions for terminating or breaking the lease. This should include stipulations that specify how much advanced notice a tenant must give in order to break the lease and what fees will be incurred if the contract is violated.  Both parties are required by law to provide a 30 day notice that they will be terminating the lease, but you can choose to request a larger time frame in the lease.  Keep in mind that if special circumstances develop on the property, such as a tornado ripping off the roof of the property, the tenant can’t be expected to continue to live in the property.  In such situations that the property is deemed to be untenable, the Landlord must either provide alternative housing for the tenant during the period of repairs or terminate the lease. Damage Repair Replacement and repair for damages are generally isolated for the landlord and the tenant.  The tenant is to be responsible for their own personal belongings inside of their unit.  The landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the physical property inside and out. What if the pro......
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Can Great Service Include Residents Fixing it Themselves?


One of the best benefits you can give a resident is control.  While you may provide phenomenal, quick service, sometimes residents simply prefer to handle an issue themselves.  So giving them control gives them the option of using your fantastic service, or empowering them to handle it on their own!

On Wednesday, Kristi Fickert shared a ton of great ways to use social media to engage with residents and prospects to drive renewals and new leases, and she touched on this great way to get the maintenance team involved by providing residents information on how  to tackle issues in their own apartment!  Take a look:

Kristi also included a tip about showcasing the leasing team, and I'd like to expand on that just a bit.  Not only is this important for when residents first move in (or are considering moving in), but it is also vitally important when a team member leaves!  When a leasing consultant secures that lease, they did it in large part because of the connection they made with the prospect, now resident.  That connection is the tether between the resident and the property, so if that leasing consultant ends up leaving, that relationship is at risk!  By using videos in social media featuring the on-site team, a community can rebuild those connections with the resident and provide more tethers to that resident to secure the future renewal!

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It's R-U-D-E to Pay Rent Late

Why do Residents consider it rude for a Manager to ask a Resident whose account is delinquent when to expect the rent to be paid? Do Residents think that paying rent is an option under the Lease Agreement? For the past several months, I think I may be laboring under the assumption that Management has no right to even ask or remind a Resident that rent has become past due. Chronic late payers need to be corrected in their thinking that paying rent late does not matter to the “Big Bad Management Company” who has all the money in the world. Even if they do have all the money in the world, that isn’t the point. Delinquent payers CAN cause a Management Company to delay payments to vendors, put off capital improvement projects, even scrap a plan to replace outdated appliances for the quarter when collecting rent is THE paramount goal for the onsite Office team. Recently, spurred by this topic, I suggested some “creative” ways for Residents to scrape up the money to make it through another month. While directing concerned residents to the obvious sources: United Way agencies, township offices, Trustee Offices, churches, and other local charitable organizations, I was also wondering if there are other ways worthy of consideration.  How about: 1.       Payday Loans (One manager I know has used this successfully at his property. I don’t know how that ultimately helps a resident in the long run, but it can keep a roof over one’s head for a month or ......
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Wonderful Career Advancement Tip From Apartment Hacker, Mike Brewer

I ran across a video from Mike Brewer who shared advice that he gives to all those who ask how to grow their career in the multifamily industry.  How can they improve their career path?  Take a moment to listen to Mike's great advice:  (Starts at 0:40)

Although both tips are fantastic, that first tip really perked my ears up.  The people who do an amazing job of advancing in this industry don't advance because they do a good job at handling the easiest properties - they advance because they know how to tackle the most difficult of challenges.  The skills you obtain by pushing yourself into a difficult property are so much more powerful compared to handling a property that runs without too many problems.  

Also, not only are you building your advanced skill set, but you are also making yourself known to the leaders in your company, showing that you are the type of person to take on any challenge.  The world is filled with employees who do just enough to get by - the ones who excel show they are determined to take on new responsibilities and excel.

I hope you enjoyed Mike's advice as much as I did!

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Budget Season: Tips to Make This Challenging Time Less Painful

Budget season is among everyone’s favorite. It’s right up there with tax day, cleaning out the garage and having toenails pulled.  Much thought goes into creating a budget – not to mention a lot of back-and-forth from everyone who is a part of the process – but the information is often obsolete the moment it’s finalized. The spreadsheet might look tidy, an accurate spending forecast for the year to come, but things change quickly. Budget-breakers, such as unforeseen repairs, unexpected increases in vendor costs or the need to upgrade to a more sophisticated software platform can throw the original budget into disarray. Seeing that the process of constructing and modifying a budget can be painful, here are a few concepts that can help alleviate the process: Be timelier: Many companies want the first draft of the budget to go to the asset management team in September, which doesn’t take into account four more months of revenue when attempting to predict up to 16 months out. Seeing that many are not approved until December or early into the next year, constructing a budget too early can paint an inaccurate picture. Delegate some of the hours elsewhere: This is not advising companies to skimp altogether on constructing a budget. But seeing that the information can become outdated the moment it is printed, perhaps it’s best to shift some of those hours to other tasks. When I was at AIMCO, our COO estimated that 100,000 hours were expended per year on budget preparation on the 385,000 u......
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