I work for a company right now that does NOT practice the "Create a positive culture" part of this b...
Jules Carney
Among table stakes for the industry is service. If you want to stabilize and grow your reputation, ...
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Posted by on in Property Management
Consider the Unicorn Frappuccino. You might be curious about  the trendy Starbucks item. It’s colorful! It’s fun! It’s begging to be Instagrammed! Admit it. You’re curious. And, maybe you’ll even try it out. Once. But then you’re totally going back to your regular coffee or latte. Because how many times do you really want to have pay for that sugar abomination? (You certainly won’t get more likes on your picture the second time you post it.) Fads fade. Classics are for forever. Same goes for amenities. Read on for the full blog....

Posted by on in Property Management
Capture.PNGSmartphones are no longer a luxury; they’re today’s primary communication tool. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. And we use them for much more than calls and texts – they’re all-purpose portals digitally connecting people, accounts and even objects to make our lives easier. The ability to control the environment around you at the tap of a finger is a huge opportunity for the security industry to employ new tech applications that increase renter convenience – and in many ways, to help protect against security concerns stemming from traditional building security methods. The real estate industry is embracing mobile technology to entice potential residents with increased convenience and flexibility. Today, security software for smartphones allow renters to unlock doors using their phone, eliminating the need to keep track of physical keys. This techy upgrade is attractive to renters who are accustomed to using their phones for everything from ordering groceries to scheduling door-to-door transportation. Importantly, mobile credentials can also increase building security. Residents are more likely to immediately notice if their phone is missing compared to a physical key. As soon as a resident reports their smartphone missing or stolen, the property manager can easily revoke access to that device as needed from a computer or smart device – meaning a decreased time window for unauthorized access.  Additionally, the digitization of access management makes for a less involved rekeying approach. A recent survey of key multi-family housing and mixed-use property decision makers found more than...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
In our internet-driven society, having a website is now not only strongly advised, but a necessity for property management firms. A company’s website needs to have visual appeal, be easy for visitors to navigate, be optimized for search engines, and also have that “wow” factor that gives you a competitive edge over your competitors. No pressure! Whether you are a new property management business who needs to develop a website, or you already have one but it needs some serious updating, you’ll have to make the choice between designing the site in-house or outsourcing the project to an advertising or web design agency. There are plus-sides and disadvantageous to both, and a lot of it depends on the current structure of your company.   At my property management firm, Trimark Properties, we’ve used both an outside agency and an in-house developer over the years to design the website for our apartments near UF. We ultimately realized which course of action was best for us, but which one should you choose – an in-house developer, or an outside ad agency? An easy-to-navigate, visually striking webpage is critical for property management companies. Benefits of Designing a Website In-House  You know more about your company culture and what will attract tenants Nobody knows more about your apartments, company culture, typical tenant profile, and marketing vision more than you do. While you can relay this information to an outside agency, it can be difficult for them to develop a website that fits your specific vision....

Posted by on in Resident Retention
As you know by now, I travel a lot for a living-which means that I spend a lot of time in airports-which means that I am around a lot of people who have a REALLY difficult time following directions, and yes, a lot of customers who are very, very wrong! On a recent trip I remember someone in boarding group 5 for an airline trying to board with the “Elite, Premier, Ruby, Platinum, Really Big Deal Folks” you know the ultra special peeps…and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t board in that group. If you know air travel, you know that a Group 5 boarding group is probably the last group before the plane departs (believe me, I know, I’ve been in that group many times), so someone who is in the last group trying to board with the VIP group causes frustration for the crew and passengers. There was another time when a passenger kept trying to jam an (obviously too large) bag into the overhead bin, even after the flight attendants made numerous announcements regarding this. The passengers behind him were getting irritated because he kept trying to do something he couldn’t (and it didn’t fit!) and it delayed them getting to their seats. Finally the flight attendant grabbed the bag (nicely) and brought it out of the plane to have it put with the rest of the checked baggage. In all of these situations the customer was wrong. You have two problems when a customer is wrong. The first is the...

Posted by on in Property Management
You’re out at a restaurant having dinner with several of your friends. The drinks are flowing, the conversation is engaging, and the food couldn’t be better. It’s a great time until the bill comes. The mood quickly changes as everyone tries to figure out how much money to pony up. Someone suggests splitting the check evenly, but that’s clearly not going over well with the person who only ordered a salad. Your vegetarian friend doesn’t want to pitch in for the table’s calamari, and a few of your friends didn’t drink any of the wine that was ordered for the group. Most likely, someone will leave for the night feeling like they paid for much more than they consumed. Divvying the utility bill for a multifamily property can be a lot like dining with a large group of friends. Fairly allocating the charges isn't always cut and dry. If you’re lucky, your property is equipped with submeters, which will give you a precise reading of what each unit is responsible for. However, submeters aren’t feasible at every property, which leads many property managers to use RUBS when allocating resident utilities. RUBS stands for Ratio Utility Billing System, and is a cost-effective and fair alternative to submeters. RUBS essentially divides a utility bill among your residents based on certain criteria. Different utility types can often influence what RUBS formula a property uses. If you are thinking about billing back for utilities and want to implement RUBS, here are the different calculations...

Posted by on in Construction and Development
a1sx2_Mixed Use emoticons_Mixed-Use-Emoticons.JPGInstead of giving you my thoughts about this, I'd like to hear from you all.  What do you think about this mixed used development that used emoticons in the design?  Don't be shy - share your opinion below. Source and more information.
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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
After our initial shock when we saw the unprecedented traffic jam and bridge collapse on Atlanta’s major thoroughfare Interstate 85, the first thing we thought was: How is that going to affect package delivery? When you’re in this business, those are the connections you make. Atlanta features notoriously heavy traffic to begin with – the fourth-worst in the nation, according to INRIX – and the bizarre I-85 incident clearly won’t help. The bridge collapse on March 30 reportedly was due to a homeless man starting an accidental fire beneath an overpass. If that wasn’t enough to compound things, a portion of Interstate 20 buckled on April 17 due to an underground gas leak, which sent a biker airborne. We’re not here to criticize traffic situations in particular towns, and we’re eager to see the vibrant city for the Atlanta Apartment Association’s 2017 Trade Show. But this spurred thoughts as to how much package delivery could increase in Atlanta, considering two of its major vessels have endured significant setbacks. Will the city’s residents be less eager to commute to brick-and-mortar stores when they can simply order items online? Will lunch-break shopping trips decline as residents are foregoing the traffic challenges and opting to work from home? According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, freight traffic traveling through the city is now being directed to I-285 to bypass the city until the projected June 15 reopening of the bridge on I-85. As more vehicles use the alternate route, times will slow for commuters and logistics firms alike. Toby Jorgensen, a senior analyst at CBRE...

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%...