True. Dealing with the difficult situations allow us to grow and learn as managers, etc. The hardest...
Thank you Jason. The point I was trying to make regarding the resident event is that the vendor open...
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- Blog posts tagged in Amenities

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...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
No pool?Wish you had a workout room? Kitchens with old appliances? In my career there is one thing I love more than leasing apartments and that is to get on stage and talk about great leasing techniques. But to be a believable speaker, I have to do what I speak about with my audiences. This is why I love to pick up the model keys and leasing kit whenever I am visiting one of my consulting clients. Leasing is always a challenge for me because I am rarely working on a property that has it all and is leading the market. Why would that owner need me?!? My consulting projects are typically turning around a leasing and marketing situation to improve economic occupancy. My job would be easy if each apartment had granite countertops and a rocking amenity plan to add to the value of the apartment community. Most times, I am working on properties where there is a gap between what the customer wants and what we offer. This is when an emotional connection can win the leasing game. Here are 10 things you can do to create that connection:1. Before you ever show an apartment, make certain you ask questions to find out what is important to this customer. Using this key information on the leasing tour will help your customer see that this apartment meets their needs.2. I don't have to tell you to use the customer's name, you learned that years ago in leasing class. But, here is a thought to take that idea one step further: Create a connection by putting their...

Posted by on in Property Management
My Community is located in a city that has seen an increase in job growth and demand for apartment living.  In response to this growth we were able to increase our rents by $100 for new move-ins.  We have been able to maintain an occupancy of 95% since August of 2010 and a turnover just over 65%(our normal).  Since January we have been increasing renewals 2-11% based on their lease term selected.In August we introduced the Valet Waste door-to-door trash collection service to our residents. While some where excited about the front door trash pick-up, others are upset that we would bring in a service they did not request or seek their approval. Beginning with October renewals we are increasing their rents $18 for Valet Waste and 3-11% in rent, which is about $40-$100 total depending on the renewal lease term.  We recently sent out renewal offer letters for November expirations with increases proposed as stated above.  I have just received a petition signed by 40 residents, several of which are not up for renewal at this time.  Why I can appreciate the community coming together on something, I am overwhelemed by their reasoning for no increases: 1) They did not have a say in the Valet Waste service. 2) Request for benches to be installed at playground has not been granted. 3) Our promise to provide proper house, safety and service has not been fulfilled entirely. Too many outsiders coming into the community anytime they want because there is no gate. 4) Not enough laundry machines in...

Posted by on in Property Management
By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA In my last entry, we discussed how it was possible in this great country of ours that a burglar could sue a property owner for injuries he sustained while robbing that same property owner.  In my next entry, we will discuss why it is in the fine state of California that a tenant can sue his landlord for injuries sustained on the property which are inflicted by criminals.  But in this entry, I will get a little more practical:  we will discuss just what your responsibility is to your tenants regarding the liveability of the unit. Just what do you – the property owner – have to provide to your residential tenant to remain in compliance with the law?  Well most of this is just common sense.  If people are going to live in the premises, if you do not provide the following, not only are you not being nice, but you are breaking the law: A weatherproof environment.  The unit has to have a roof and walls as well as doors and windows that are unbroken (more on this next entry!) Electricity.  It may come as a surprise to you that most will not want to rent your unit if they cannot plug in a TV and refridgerator.  Or it may not. Plumbing.  It may also come as a surprise to you that not only would most tenants enjoy a good shower and functioning toilet, but the law generally requires it. Gas and heating.  People don’t like to be...