Great point, Brent! That's also where AFPOE can be helpful. Responses which come off like "because...
Wendy Dorchester
Hire for culture, train for skill! Love this. Jared, you have always emulated great culture in every...
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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
a1sx2_Thumbnail2_marketmomentum_5-15-17-1.jpg    A survey of industry decision-makers about business plans, expectations and trends in the apartment housing industry provided by the National Apartment Association.      
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Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
The multifamily housing industry is a people-centered business. Even if you wanted to avoid people, you couldn’t could you? There are people moving in. People moving out. People who want to move in. People who want your business. People who want to work for you. People who work for you. People who you work for.   | You cannot escape people … they will always find you. Always.    With so many people that you interact with in a day the odds are good that at some point you will encounter tension with someone else! I have studied connection and communication for many years and one of the most common reasons for miscommunication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, angry feelings, frustration etc. is tied into our different styles of communicating. If you’ve read this blog you know that I speak often of the two main communication styles: Direct Communicstors Indirect Communicators Direct Communicators say what they mean and mean what they say. If you want to know what a direct communicator is thinking and feeling, just listen to the words! If they like something they’ll tell you. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you. If they’re upset at you, you’ll know! And if they’d do anything for you, you’ll know that too. In contrast to the Direct Communicators are the Indirect Communicators, whose words have hidden messages in them. In fact their words often do not communicate the whole message, and much of the message is found in their expression, demeanor, body language, or lack thereof,...

Posted by on in Student Housing
Since 2003, one of our key recommendations for landlords looking to enhance their online rental listing has been great photography. Photography has been a staple in the multifamily rental industry for well over a decade now; but it may find itself eventually replaced by virtual reality tours and 3D floor plans.Student housing is a prime market segment that is likely to be at the frontier of virtual reality tours, especially as they become increasingly more affordable, accessible and easy to facilitate. Virtual reality tours go a step beyond photos and video, whereas they allow for an immersive and interactive experience for student renters, without leaving the comfort of their current home. Out-of-state or out-of-country students typically cannot arrange for in-person tours of accommodations, which is where virtual reality triumphs.So will virtual reality tours be the next big thing for marketing in student housing? The current market environment would lead us to believe so.There are already a handful of major student housing players that have adopted and started to implement virtual reality tours including:   Domus Student Housing Campus Suites Varsity Properties Campus Life & Style Campus Apartments   UForis VR that works with Domus Student Housing conducted a case study on the units they equipped with VR tours and saw a 20% increase in year-over-year monthly number of units rented. In addition, Domus Student Housing saw a significant decrease in workload for their leasing agents and estimated that it resulted in 40-50% less work.Even on-campus housing properties are taking an interest in VR, as MacEwan University Residence has...

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s always fun when you have the opportunity to sit down with an industry business leader who has a passion for making the intangible tangible, the non-measurable measurable. Such was the case with long-time multifamily professional Jared Miller, who views a company’s culture as the real power that makes an organization’s engine run smoothly and efficiently. Jared is no stranger to a how culture can optimize performance during his career with companies such as Lane, RedPeak, Bainbridge and currently Homestead Development Partners – and in a variety of roles and company types, from marketing leader to operations and asset management, from fee to owned to development to being a partner in his current firm, to all of the above simultaneously. He was awarded MultiFamily Executive’s first ever “Rising Star” award in 2010, and was an NAHB “Pillars of the Industry” finalist for best marketing campaign in 2007. He gets it; he really gets it. “Our current economy is very stable, our industry continues to perform quite well for owners, operators and investors, and as a nation we are seeing full employment for the first time in many years” says Miller. “Culture has always been a differentiator, but now it’s an imperative – it’s the only lever that can impact overall experience end-to-end, and therefore turnover among both employees and residents.” So what is the end-to-end experience? Miller emphasizes it’s really about “everyone who touches your company,” adding that, “it can’t be about only your employees, although everything flows from their cultural...

Posted by on in Property Management
Features You probably know someone who has recently purchased a new vehicle.   It’s all about the touch screen features, navigation, blue tooth, wi-fi connections, adjustable cup holders and maybe the average miles per gallon. No one has to tell you it has a motor, four wheels, or even a transmission.  Its a vehicle!   Every vehicle has those components.  But what makes it different?  What makes it special? Locating Cup Holders Applying this descriptive process to our apartments; creates features out of hidden attributes in our apartment homes.  We can make these items into “cup holders.”  The specialized knowledge about these details can add to our expertise and establish our authority about our product. Are you selling the extra shelf in the refrigerator, the energy star appliances or the hundred lineal feet closet storage? Or are you giving them the “four wheels” – Here is the kitchen, There is the closet… Finding the “cup holders” will make you stand out from your competition. Point out the number of shelves in the cabinets. The Energy Star Electric range has two cooking racks and a broiler pan. The programmable thermostat is rated to save “insert your data here..”, either a percent, or a specific dollar amount every year.  This type of data is available for most appliances.  You can point out savings opportunities for every appliance in the apartment. Calculate the cubic feet of storage space in the cabinets, linen closet or pantry.Know the potential savings from the Energy Star appliances. (Energy Star)...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
A super-fantabulous 7 minute recap of the Futurist key-note speaker from AIM 2017.  Rohit Bhargara, trend creator extraordinaire gave us not only a glimpse into future trends, but showed us how to curate them.  Well-known for maxims such as “Big Ideas Don’t Work” and “Most Trend Predictions Fail”, Bhargara teaches a framework for discovering and testing trend creation and putting the insights to work in a profitable way.  Sharing 8 of the Top Trends, attendees were on the edge of our seats, and we were not disappointed.  Better yet, we left motivated on how to think differently about ideas and current trends. Industry Leaders, we are in a believability crisis.  See through the noise; find the ideas that have meaning.  Teach yourself to spot ideas and make them trends.  Accelerate the ideas.    The TOP 8 trends for the next year.  Here is how they produced the trends: a.       Gather- save interesting ideas b.       Aggregate the data c.       Name the trend d.       Elevate e.       Prove TOP 8 TRENDS: Virtual Empathy- people want to understand the process.  They want to feel, touch, see everything- during all milestones.  This makes them feel connected.  Bring them into the story. Use VR, AR, and Mixed Reality to take people behind the scenes- Video is a big tool for this.  Fierce Femininity- YEAH! Take a stand and make a statement where you can.  Women are strong, hardworking, inspiring and fierce.  No longer seen as pretty girls. Passive Loyalty- these days, people choose convenience unless they are...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
My absolute favorite show is This Old House, and this weekend they featured a 3D scanner tool for mapping interior spaces that attaches to mobile tablets!  Take a look at the clip below, and I would love to hear your all's thoughts of using this technology in multifamily!  Comment below!  ...

Posted by on in Property Management
In the past, the world of online reviews was like the Wild West.  It was a no holds barred, every man for himself kind of environment – truly survival of the fittest.  It wasn’t surprising to see responses just as shocking as the reviews themselves. I was one of those managers who loved negative reviews.  Want to gripe about your apartment, the management team, or post an outright lie?  I'm all about it Mr. Resident.  Let's do this.  I responded point by point for each resident grievance until I realized defending my team and our honor was not the answer.  Most reviewers were either one foot out the door or already gone.  And those who weren’t simply needed an avenue to vent or finally get the management team’s attention. 5 techniques for tackling the bad and the ugly. 1. ICYMI – In Case You Missed It.  Some residents have simply misinterpreted the terms of the lease which can lead to a review that misinforms potential future residents.  Reviews about unreturned security deposits (“They stole my deposit”), additional fees (“Why is there a pet fee and deposit”) and the like are perfect opportunities to clarify your policies and educate those possibly considering your community. 2. RBTL – Read Between The Lines.  A review which spans the entire length of a resident’s 5 year stay, documenting in great detail every negative event (resolved and unresolved), almost begs for a lengthy response in return.  Don’t take the bait - it’s important to ignore such...

Posted by on in Property Management
REFLECTIONS ON FAIRNESS 28 YEARS IN FAIR HOUSING Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume, an American television journalist and political commentator, has said that “Fairness is not an attitude.  It’s a professional skill that must be developed and exercised.” For more than a quarter of a century I have been a believer in, and a teacher and writer of fair housing law as Fair Housing Lady.  For more than 20 of those years I have been supported and encouraged in that role by my employer,  And with the invitation from Brent Williams it has been an honor to have a place to share my thoughts and ideas as to fair housing with industry professionals here at  It is, however, time for me to move on to another chapter in my life and that new chapter will begin with my May 26th retirement.  So as I say good-bye and hang up my Fair Housing Lady hat, I would like to share some thoughts with you one more time. Before the Fair Housing Act was amended in 1988, most of us in our industry had little if any knowledge about fair housing laws.  It was not that we were bigoted or evil.  On the contrary, the “good guys” did not intentionally discriminate and at the time, that was all that mattered, especially as there were “bad guys” who did in fact do so and that was the fair housing focus. With the 1988 amendments to the Act, however, fair housing became a widespread...

Posted by on in Property Management
Meeting The agenda for your team meeting establishes if you’re sharing goals and expectations, or simply outlining the schedule for the week.   The team meeting is an opportunity to: Share the leasing goals for the week. Report results from the prior week. Ask for input on supplies to be ordered. Including your team in these discussions creates the opportunity for ownership in your property and its operations. I’m often reminded of the Chicken Soup for the Soul story, where a member of the janitorial staff at NASA was asked about their job.  The response, “I help put people into space, and we’ve put a man on the moon.”  The goal/objective and successes of the team were the immediate response.  Encouraging our property management teams to take ownership in the responsibility that we take care of peoples’ homes could be a game changer. Does your team know the monthly or annual Gross Rent Potential for the property? Is the current focus to increase rents?  Reduce vacancy?  How much rent was given away for the  “I’m  sorry”  concessions in the last month? Consider these talking points: Having an apartment ready for move in on Friday instead of the next Monday, the extra three days of rent revenue generates how much additional income if this happened for every move in? Exceptional maintenance on service requests, sparkling clean common areas could strongly influence an individuals decision to renew their lease or move.  How much is your average turnover expense?  Decreasing turnover, could save thousands of...