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Posted by on in Vendor and Supplier Topics
Property management professionals have to maintain successful relationships with a variety of people: fiduciary relationships with owners, tenant relations, and vendor relations. Relationships with vendors are arguably as important as having a good relationship with one’s owners because we rely on vendors so heavily during the course of our business. Instead of writing a ‘self-help’ article geared for the property management professional (which there are plenty), I decided to focus on that vendor who is trying to gain my business. During my decade of property management experience, I have noted several pitfalls for vendors, as well as ways they can earn “brownie points”.  Vendors take note! This article should be particularly useful as it is coming not from another vendor, but an actual property manager. Vendor Drop Ins. I get it. Instead of the cold call in which you will be immediately dismissed by a site manager, you want to meet him/her face to face and make a good impression and introduce your business. You plan several communities to visit over the weekend and on Monday you make your visits. Bad move. Why? On any given Monday property managers are dealing with issues that occurred over the weekend, following up on emails, and reporting for their owners. I for one have major reports due on Mondays, as well as payroll. The vendor that makes an unannounced visit at 9:30am Monday morning has immediately made a poor impression. My advice to you, the vendor: Mondays are the absolute worst day for you...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Multifamily occupants nowadays are becoming more concerned about cutting down their house energy footprint and save on electricity bills and therefore look for energy-efficient units for rent. In an effort to attract as many prospective tenants as possible, rental property owners hire professional renovation and construction services provider to convert their rental property  into energy-efficient housing units. As roofing system plays a key role in maintaining energy efficiency of a building, this post discusses top three solutions to make your existing roofing system more energy efficient. 1. Light-colored Shingles Dark roof can significantly increase the temperature of your multifamily or commercial property. On an average summer noon, a dark-colored asphalt roof may reach the temperatures between 150-175 degrees fahrenheit. This coerces the air conditioner installed in the building to consume more energy and provide cooling. Asking your multifamily renovation general contractor to use light-colored shingles along with white roof coating can help reduce the temperature of the roof by 50 to 60 degrees, thereby reducing the energy consumption by air conditioner to maintain the temperature. 2. Roof Insulation Due to poor roof insulation your multifamily property is forced to consume more electricity by air conditioner during summer season. During winters, it will take more energy to keep the thermostat working and keep the house warm. You must, therefore, get your multifamily renovation general contractor to insulate the roof, because a well-insulated roof keeps the air intact inside the room, thereby reducing energy consumption during both winter and summer season. 3. Highly...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
There are tons of ways to meet someone. On dating apps, through friends, “other.” According to a survey on Mic.com, the third-most popular place people meet is at work. (And shockingly not by meeting at a party and having a misunderstanding and one thinks the other is arrogant and the other is a ditz but then realizing you love each other just as you are, or by researching how to get guys to dump you for a magazine article you’re writing and falling for the guy who is secretly trying to trick you into falling in love with him but actually does love you as well, or by being a hooker with a heart of gold. I’ll have what she’s having!) It makes sense—this is where most people spend their time and have a lot of their social interactions. So, property managers, there are lots of employees at a community. What do you do when some inevitably start dating or seeing each other casually? It’s awkward to talk about, but it’s important to have some rules and guidelines in place. Here are some suggestions. Read the whole blog....

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, California. It was three full days of nothing but “social” and this social butterfly came back armed with SO many new strategies and solutions (which I’ll totally be sharing with you - don’t worry)!   This is one of the few industry conferences that is hyper-focused on one, very specific marketing niche and I appreciated that. In the marketing world there is an awful lot of “noise.” So being able to listen to ideas and approaches that zeroed in on one of the most customer-facing components of our industry today (social), was a real pleasure.   The conference was fast-paced, with a long list of experts, many of whom came from outside the apartment and multifamily industry. With a new presenter on stage nearly every thirty minutes, the ideas were flowing and the audience could barely take notes quickly enough. The first session featured keynote speaker Joel Comm, who reminded us that Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook is “all in” when it comes to video (he’s already invested $2 billion in Oculus, one of the top virtual reality tech firms).   No matter which social platform is your favorite, you’ll want to be sure you’re in-the-know with video. Why? Because every single expert who presented at #MultifamilySMS2017 dished out data and numbers that just simply can’t be argued with. Video (especially live video) consistently sees higher engagement rates amongst followers than any other form of content....

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
Anyone who knows me knows that I am fairly passionate about the topic of leadership. To put a finer point on it, I'm passionate about GREAT leadership; the type of leadership that inspires both internally and externally, and makes people, companies and industries better.   The National Multifamily Housing Council"s recent annual meeting had a great deal to offer in terms of leadership. Not only were many of the industry's movers and shakers in attendance and participating on panels, but this year's CEO panel as well as keynote speaker and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were particularly impressive.    NMHC always does a great job of pulling together intriguing personalities from leading companies for the CEO Panel, and this meeting was no exception with representation from Waterton, Greystar, Kettler, Marcus & Millichap and Steadfast.  While perspectives on various discussion topics may have differed slightly from company to company, one thing was a constant: all acknowledged that successful leaders and vision aren't the product of one individual, but of strong and diverse teams. Music to my ears.   And then, of course, is the impressive Dr. Condoleezza Rice.  Her credentials are far too extensive to enumerate here, but allow me to list a few:  aside from being the 66th Secretary of State of the United States (the second woman and the first African American to hold the post), she has earned three degrees, holds 11 honorary doctorates, has authored numerous books and served on many boards including three currenfly. And let's...

Posted by on in Property Management
     It’s simple economics. When rents go up, it becomes harder for people to afford leasing an apartment. But for most typical renters—working class families, recent college graduates, and young professionals climbing the career ladder—qualifying for a new apartment lease just gets tougher as monthly rents increase. And asking applicants for more money in upfront security deposits only shows they can come up with that cash, while likely setting them up to be cash-strapped at some point in the lease. That’s why residents often pay rent late or fall behind completely, resulting in unwanted action by community staff who are just doing their jobs in enforcing a lease.      While owners and managers look diligently at opportunities to renew residents and keep them at their properties longer, payment issues are typically the straw that sends hard working assistant community managers to court to earn their stripes in fighting for what’s due from delinquent residents. In the high flying rent market of San Francisco, for example, the March 2016 Rent Board Annual Eviction Report showed some 30 percent of evictions in the past year were due to habitual late payment, non-payment or breech of rental agreement. (According to published articles, the next most common way to end up in eviction court is when there’s evidence of a violent or antisocial criminal act or a drug related offense that merits a felony conviction, or less serious though equally problematic issues related to specific lease violations.)      Huge amounts of time in court to correct residents’ wrongs can’t possibly be a favorite part of the...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
  Escape Rooms are all the rage these days. It’s a locked room with various clues and puzzles that need to be solved in order to escape. If you haven’t had a chance to participate in one, check it out. It’s a great team building activity, excellent way to support learning, relatively easy to design, and affordable! I was inspired at the Learning 2016 conference to develop an escape room of my own for an upcoming Regional Manager meeting devised to support leadership ideas. Depending on how intricate you make the clues, an escape room can easily take over an hour. For this event, I had about 30 minutes, so it needed to be quick and uncomplicated! Knowing I needed help, I started by enlisting a partner right away. Next, I used Stephen Covey’s second habit of highly effective people, “Begin with the end in mind.” We then put our heads together and determined how to summarize the entire activity: What would be the main takeaway? We landed on the idea of servant leadership, and began the search for a quote to tie into this theme. Robert Greenleaf, the father of Servant Leadership, said, “Good leaders must first become good servants.” Perfect! Now that we had our quote, we needed to determine how the participants would solve the puzzles to uncover this quote. Remember in the old days, when you wrote secret codes by aligning a number and a letter and it allowed you to decode a secret numerical message? Well, those devices...

Posted by on in Affordable Housing
Dear Gabby,  I know you have talked about the micro apartment trend before, but could you give us an update? Should they still be on my radar? I am not sure if my location will even be affected since I live in a smaller market. People here didn’t find out that Bey was pregnant until 2 days after her Instagram announcement for goodness sake! #ATrendyMultifamilyManager    ________________________   Dear #ATrendyMultifamilyManager ,  First off, where do you live for people to be that out of the loop? We had a celebratory toast at the office in honor of Bey’s pregnancy.  Second, thank you for the fabulous question! With new trends there is always the risk of it losing steam and becoming just another fad. With micro apartments, however, that’s not the case!  As I said in my last post, micro apartments mean something different to different people. Some think about their environmental footprint and opt to live in a smaller space to minimize their impact on the earth. Others choose the smaller unit because it is cheaper. They would rather sacrifice space than location, quality, safety, etc. Lastly, some people choose the space simply because it is trendy. No matter the reason, people seem to choose a micro apartment to serve a totally different purpose than a conventional one. On average, micro renters don’t stay as long, causing community to have higher turnover. That’s not to say that these communities are going to begin emptying out. More and more people (mainly young...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
In recognition of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we thought it would be fitting to discuss a clever new way for landlords and property managers to show their tenants some love.   A relatively new trend in the rental industry is the introduction of tenant reward and perk programs, whereby accommodation providers offer discounts, incentives, and prizes to their tenants.   Tenant satisfaction and retention are two central aspects of maintaining a successful rental housing business, which makes these reward programs an excellent way to help keep tenants happy. Tenant retention is a particularly tricky issue in student housing, as the average turnover rate is about 50% per year, according to Centurion Apartments.So what are some examples of these tenant reward programs?   While there are certainly no shortages of tenant reward programs that have popped up over the last few years, the following are a few of our favorites.  Killam Perks – Killam Properties operates several student housing locations across Canada which offer a program known as Killam Perks. Tenants receive a perks card which grants them access to discounts and special deals from a huge list of retailers.Our favorite offer at the moment? Save the tax at a fast-growing fresh food chain, Freshii.  MoolaPerks – One way or another, tenants have to pay rent; so why not get rewarded for doing it? RentMoola’s MoolaPerks program does just that. This third-party rent payment company allows their users the ability to be rewarded with a slew of discounts, freebies and perks from a plethora of retailers.Our favorite offer at the moment? A...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Gabby,   I guess I’m getting old. My daughter just had to show me how to download an app on my new smart phone. Technology is advancing so rapidly, and I’m having a hard time keeping up, especially when it comes to smart home technology.   All of the young property managers are talking about it and I feel out of the loop. What should I be focusing on when it comes to new technology at my multifamily housing community?   - #NotTheNextSteveJobs     Dear #NotTheNextSteveJobs,   It’s okay, I think my teenage son knows more about technology than me too. Kids these days! The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to understand how technology works in order to start capitalizing on the benefits it can provide to your apartment.   Smart home tech is one of the hottest trends in the multifamily industry right now. Why? Smart-home features such as smartphone-managed lighting and security are giving renters a greater sense of control.   Millennial renters aren’t going to be scared off by technology -- they already know how it works… and they like it. In fact, according to a new study from Bailey Brand Consulting, 74% of them believe technology makes their lives easier. And since millennials currently make up the largest group of renters, it’s a good idea to focus your efforts on appealing to them.   Okay, now that you understand the “whys” of smart technology, let’s focus on the “what.” Here’s a list of...