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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- Blog posts tagged in Amenities

Posted by on in Property Management
I remember once living in an apartment community where my unit had a view of the pool right outside of my window. I loved it. It was one of the things that aided me in making my decision to rent there.   I’d sit out on my deck often times and listen to the waterfall that was attached; it gave me feelings of peace and serenity.   I’ll never forget the night I happened to take a glimpse out my window and the pool surprisingly looked like a Miami resort! They had completely redone it and it was absolutely beautiful! I instantly wanted to grab a date and go hang out in it, and yes it had to be at night! I’d never gone out there at night and probably never would have desired to had they not added such amazing flashing light work that literally lit up the sky above. Between me and you it was a very sexy scene. I said to myself, “No kids allowed after 8 p.m.” Lol!   A few weeks later I got a notice on my door that said Pool Party. I immediately thought great, they are showing off the nifty new night features in the pool and I can finally go down and hang out with some of my neighbors. Boy was I wrong! I kept reading and realized they were hosting a two hour “pizza party” down at the pool in the middle of the day. It did not take me long...

Posted by on in Property Management
I came across a blog post (shared by Mark Juleen) where the author detailed out her apartment search and reasoning for her move in the first place.  From what I can tell, it doesn’t appear that she is in the industry, so I think this is an incredibly interesting view into a person’s buying decision! The Decision To Move Kelly seemed to really enjoy her current apartment, and she noted all the things that she appreciated:  “I have vaulted ceilings, a balcony, crazy kitchen storage, a big bathroom and a walk-in closet.  Not to mention a quiet community, great pools, and super nice neighbors.” But there were two things that the apartment community could not compete on:  Location and Friendships.  And as you will see, the location aspect was actually just a function of the friendships and how close she was to her friends: “BUT, its about a 15-20 minute hilly and curvy drive away from where all my friends live, my work, and where I like to hang out.  Which may not be a big deal for most people, but it puts a damper on enjoying happy hour, or being able to hop in the car and meet friends at the last minute or just have  an impromptu get together.” All except for one of the factors she just mentioned were specifically in relation to her social life.  In other words, the vaulted ceilings didn’t matter, the balcony didn’t matter, the crazy kitchen storage didn’t matter – none of that...

Posted by on in Property Management
A few weeks ago I discussed that our industry needed to learn how to be “exceptional”, and that we are so mired in small-scale struggles that we have no vision as to what apartment living could or should be like.  But for a moment, I want to assume that a given community has that vision.  They have created a community that is more than simple amenities, but rather a true home for their residents.  Their residents are rabidly loyal, and not only do they consistently renew their lease, but would actually be upset if they were forced to leave!  Consider the community to be the Apple equivalent of the multifamily world.  What would that type of community be like from a management point of view? Perspective is an interesting thing in life.  If we were talking about a new lease-up, saying that we had 25 units left would start to sound inspiring - like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  Suddenly, there is a sense of urgency in the leasing process.  With every unit leased, suddenly there is one less available, so prospects better start applying now!   On the flip side, if you have an older community and you have 25 units available, suddenly things don't look so rosy, and you start thinking about if you don't renew everybody AND lease some during the weekend, things are going to get a bit scary!  Two situations with the same numbers have markedly different reactions, don't they?   When you are...

Posted by on in Property Management
I toured an apartment complex the other day and was asking tons of questions of my leasing agent (who knew that I was a developer and was just shopping their product). I am always struck by the wall that goes up when you ask demographic questions (I do get that that these young folks are taught to not even address these questions for fear of being hunted down by the crazy Fair Housing police). Unfortunately, as a developer, these are about the only questions that really concern me.   When choosing whether or not to undertake a $50M investment, understanding who the prospective renter is- is actually a critical part of my job. Of course there is always the basic demographic info that we get from our consultants:   Income breakdowns. Traffic counts. Local rent comparisons. Gender breakdowns. Blah, Blah, Blah…   But to best serve the community and position my leasing team for success, it’s all demographics and psychographics:   ·         What are the racial and sexual preference demographics in the area? ·         What kind of cars do they drive? Do they require regular or premium gasoline? ·         Do they wash the car themselves or use a service? ·         Do they drink beer and wine or alcohol? Which brands? How often? ·         Do they have their shirts dry cleaned? ·         What gym do they belong to? Do they go or just pay for the membership? ·         What TV shows do they watch? ·         Do they have or want to...

Posted by on in Property Management Amenity MadnessIn the spirit of March Madness and, of course, all things data, I thought it would be nifty to craft a visualization of actual data in tournament bracket style.  With the help of our very talented Senior Graphic Designer, Laurie Genzlinger, we put together a data driven visualization that illustrates the top 16 user searched amenities on  To make this happen, we seeded each amenity, one through four, based on total searches and broke them into four conferences.  We then took this search data and let it solely dictate the outcome of the matchup, advancing the amenity with the higher relative search volume.  In short, our final four top searched amenities consisted of: Washer/Dryer in Unit, Parking, Dishwasher and Air Conditioning.  After a grueling round of matchups, Washer/Dryer in Unit and Air Conditioning moved to the finals, with Washer/Dryer taking the title. I like this visualization because it illustrates the importance of each of these amenities, relative to another, in the eyes of the renter.  For example, hardwood floors may be important to renters, but next to high speed internet it falls short.  Taking that a step further, the same included high speed internet is a really nice feature, but relative to parking, parking takes the cake. This was fun to put together and hopefully serves a useful visualization of some of the user search behavior we track at  As a property manager, which amenities do you find to be the highest in demand? For more visit

Posted by on in Property Management
A guest post by Samantha Harvey, General Waste Collection, Lancashire, United Kingdom With sustainability becoming more important to the general population, there is an ever-increasing necessity to provide eco-friendly properties. The rise in popularity of green technologies has led an industry that was once seen as expensive and niche-based into one that has competitive prices for many aspects of the building process. With the decreasing initial price disadvantage combined with the always present efficiency positives, the green movement presents a good deal of incentive to implement more eco-friendly resources. With the majority of greenhouse gas emissions coming from buildings, incorporating sustainable processes in homes is vital for curbing the impact of global warming. As a property manager, the bottom line is the strongest guide as to how a property is to be managed. Incorporating green strategies can be a very productive aspect of property management. A major incentive for providing eco-friendly aspects to homes are the tax breaks, whether on a local or national level. Whether it is windows, heating systems, or solar panels, incentivized government programs are out there waiting for people to take advantage. Along with tax incentives, the strategies of increased efficiency provide savings in the operating costs of residential buildings. In cases where utilities are included, the bottom line effect can really add up. If utilities are not included, the potential renter will, or at least should, recognize that their own personal utility bills would be lower. This provides a key advantage over non-green buildings where potential...

Posted by on in Property Management
No matter what our role is within the multi-family industry, there is always one word which is used more than any other; “community.” Some of us own communities, some of us develop communities, some of us design communities and others of us lease or operate them. And chances are that many of us live in an apartment, condominium or townhome community as well. So then why is it that there is so little ‘community’ in our communities? When it comes down to this failure’s root cause, it can really only be one of two choices; a.       Either the management team does not expend their energies in a manner that creates a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere that encourages interaction, or b.      The developer did not guide the design in a manner that supports congregation. Now because I am an owner and developer by trade and not a manager, my expertise is limited when it comes to the nuance of property management. I am positive that I undervalue the challenges of those on the front lines. But where I do have some insights is on the development side of the industry. I have mentioned in multiple other essays that the developer has become effectively a highly functioning project manager. We have lost our intellectual curiosity about how folks ‘actually’ live. We have lessened our study of the ways that neighborhoods, communities and cities are formed, only to concentrate on sharpening our excel acumen and expand our address book of consultants. Instead, we generally...

Posted by on in Property Management
Years ago when I had the task of putting together my first leasing guide, I relied heavily on the advice of a good friend, a supervisor with years of experience and obvious selling chops. One terrific tip she shared with me was that a leasing agent needs to become adept at finding the things in each room of an apartment home that the prospect was not likely to see. She suggested that we require each leasing agent to go into all rooms of an apartment, even the baths and closets, and find at least two things that were not obvious and explain what those features meant and how they could benefit the prospect. In the years since, I have used that great idea as a cornerstone in my training. Think about it. When a somewhat less engaged leasing agent does a property tour, they usually spend a lot of time on pointing out the obvious, if they are even interacting at all. I cannot count the number of times I have walked into a furnished model with a leasing agent I was “shopping” and been lead to a room with an oval table and six chairs while the leasing agent offered “this is the dining room.” What a master of the obvious! Why do we even waste the time and energy if we are only pointing out things that are clear to just about everyone. I have had leasing agents fall this up by steering me into the kitchen and...

Posted by on in Property Management
As much as we talk about the importance of recycling, the United States is the number one trash-producing country in the world.  This means that 5% of the world’s population generates 40% of the world’s waste! With last week being National Recycling Week, I thought it would be fun to show you some ways to conserve waste and save money by repairing, versus replacing, your appliances.  The below infograph, from Part Select, shows the cost to replace some common appliances.  If you click on the buttons, possible symptoms and their fixes are shown.  Have fun playing around with this and maybe next time one of your resident’s dishwasher leaks, you can save some money by repairing it.   For more visit

Posted by on in Property Management
Learn how to use descriptive language to spice up your marketing! I’m all about saying something in a unique way when marketing apartments, but sometimes I find myself  with a brain cramp and it takes me a while to get those creative juices flowing. How many times have you found yourself in the same situation while in a time crunch to get your copy out a.s.a.p. and all you can come up with to describe your community pool is “Sparkling”? Genius word, isn’t it? I bet if I went through the various apartment guides at least 70% would describe their pool as “sparkling”. Same with “State-of-the-Art Fitness Center”… if you are still using the same over-used wording it is time to come up with some new and unique descriptive language to describe your community! I recommend looking online in other markets to see how community features are being described. I also get great inspiration by watching HGTV and I love to research other industries, like the hotel industry. These provide a great inspiration as to how to describe the latest and greatest in features. While on a flight to do a marketing assessment, I was reading Air Tran’s Go magazine and came across an article about business centers in hotels and whether they were dying out. The hotel industry is re-vamping the concept and Hilton has introduced “Technology Lounges”. I thought, wow, what a great way to describe a business center! During a recent Marketing Rally, the team and I...