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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Apartment Community

- Blog posts tagged in Apartment Community

Posted by on in Property Management
We all have a love/hate relationship with our apartment ILS's. We love them for everything they do, and we hate them for everything they do. Yes, I'm talking about,,,, - those are my big ones, but I'm sure I'm not mentioning dozens of other ones. I'm talking about ALL of them! Don't get me wrong, I love all my providers! They bring me traffic. Traffic is king these days. The provider's sales agents are great - friendly, helpful, a HUGE resource to apartment communities. But, the actual services all lack something EXTREMELY important - make it easy for the prospect! KISS! (Keep-It-Simple-Silly!*) (*I hate calling anyone stupid, so have replaced stupid with silly)A recent blog post I did and two recent discussions on Multi-Family Insiders got me to thinking:Give the prospect what they want. In the end, they are our customer.To read the recent RENT SODA blogpost and discussions on MFI that got me to thinking, click below:There's a MARKET for THAT! (my RENT SODA marketing blogpost)Advertising on Yours (and Others') Good Names : an MFI discussion started by Mike WhalingThe ILS Conundrum - an MFI blogpost by Mark JuleenWhy can't the ILS model be more simple, and cater to the prospect? Make it easier?If they get THEY want, you get more traffic, and you drive more traffix to US, and we get WE want...everyone's happy!I've been a renter before, and as a renter, or anyone looking for a service for that matter, I love it when:...someone else has aggregated all the...

Posted by on in Property Management
You’ve almost finished those turkey leftovers and the boxes of holiday decorations have been dug out from the depths of the closet and are ready to be hung. This can only mean one thing: colder days are on the way. And for financially-savvy landlords and property managers, cold weather means winterizing. Last year we looked at the top seven things every landlord should do to prep their properties for the winter months (to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to keep heating costs down and unit temperatures up, be sure to take a quick refresher look at that post). And for even more tips and ideas for winterizing with the best of ‘em, read on. Door stoppers. Most of us have been programmed to make sure that any gaps between the front and back outside doors and the floor are filled in with rubber door stops. But don’t stop at the exterior doors. Consider doors inside of your building that may be allowing heat to escape. Doors leading to attic stairwells are a prime example of an often-overlooked heat vacuum. Survey your property carefully to make sure that all doorways (both interior and exterior) are fitted with weather-stripping and rubber stops as necessary. Pre-set temperatures. If you’re providing tenants with controlled heat, investing in an electric, programmable thermostat will likely save you a lot of money in the long-run. While you certainly don’t want to freeze your tenants out, it’s also not necessary (or comfortable, for that matter) to keep the...

Posted by on in Property Management
Dear Abby:I've been looking for an apartment over the last few weeks and I've noticed some strange behavior on the part of the salespeople who are trying to get me to lease apartments. I believe they are called "Leasing Agents" or something like that. It's sort of annoying and I want to know what you think.I went to a lovely apartment community to see about renting a two bedroom. The Leasing Agent was very nice, but after she filled out this card about me, she started doing the strangest thing. She kept using my name, over and over and over again. I thought maybe she was just forgetful or something but then when I went to the next place, the Leasing Agent there did it too! And at the next place and the next. They were doing it on the phone all the time as well. It was really starting to bug me. So, I actually started counting how many times they used my name.One place used my name eight times on the phone. Eight times! After they got my name, they said, "Well, Annie, what is important to you in your new apartment?" Then they said, "We have one that will suit your needs, Annie", and "When can you come out to see us, Annie?". It was really over the top. At one place I visited, they used my name 17 times. I'm not kidding. 17 times.By the 17th time that woman used my name, I was ready to run...

Posted by on in Property Management
Maximize your marketing efforts and reach more prospective residents with a community video. Highlighted below are the top eight ways to generate even more exposure through various social networking avenues using your community video. 1.      Email Signature: Including a hyperlink to your video in your signature allows prospective residents easy access to virtual contact with your property. 2.      Facebook® Status Updates: Posting the YouTubeTM link in your status update provides a measurable distribution channel allowing syndication of your video through fans' newsfeeds. It affords residents the opportunity to showcase their apartment community to family and friends who are potentially searching for apartments, leading to increased views and positive sentiment. 3.      MySpaceTM Status Updates: Posting the YouTube link or MySpace video link to community video in status updates creates consistency across platforms and encourages employees and residents to post. It affords residents the opportunity to showcase their apartment community to family and friends who are potentially searching for apartments, leading to increased views and positive sentiment. 4.      LinkedIn® Status Updates: Posting a YouTube link to statuses allows for exposure among influencers and other contacts and encourages employees and residents to post, increasing relevant viewership. 5.      TwitterTM Status Updates: Tweet your video through work and encourage residents to tweet. This affords followers the ability to resend to their followers, allowing promotion of the community and increasing the probability of your video going viral. 6.      Embed Video on Blog: Embedded code to your blog coupled with written and video content provides prospective residents...

Posted by on in Property Management
Thanksgiving is around the corner. I'm going to take a break from my 3-part series on facebook, and be thankful. I'm  thankful for some of the hardest working yet most underappreciated people in our industry - the vendors of the multi-family industry.I should also point out, that as an industry, WE, ourselves, are vendors. We are vendors to every person who rents an apartment from us. Knowing how bad it feels when a renter takes out their frustrations on us, why do we do that to our vendors? We know that it takes time to learn about someone in order to sell our value proposition (remember all those questions from the guest card?), and how frustrating it is when our prospects say,  "just tell me how much it is," and yet we're always asking this of our vendors all the time. (Remember when you asked your sales person to *JUST* give you a number, without taking the time to explain what you want?) How hard is it to sell on value when you prospect says, "Well, ABC Apartments down the road is giving away 2 months free rent," and we turn right around and tell XYZ contractors their bid is 2 cents too high. Our renters don't buy IT, as we aren't buying IT ourselves. Kinda sucks when the shoe is on the other foot, huh?Don't get me wrong - smart business is still smart business. We definitely need to know where the market is and demand competitive pricing from our vendors. Whether the service is software, advertising, carpeting, screening, information, bulk...

Posted by on in Property Management
The poor economy has caused landlords and property managers to take drastic measures to lease units and keep them occupied. Some of the measures are understandable, considering the circumstances, but others make absolutely no sense at all.This week I reviewed approximately 80 files from previous tenants who left a large residential property in Sarasota, Florida, owing money. I sat with the manager and discussed how the residential housing market has been turned on its ear, and in some ways seems to be in a downward spiral. I noted that not only had the number of debtor accounts more than doubled, the amount of the average debt had increased by at least a third.The manager explained that the property had tried to increase its occupancy by allowing tenants to try and work out payment arrangements. As I looked at her over this mountain of files, I asked her, "How did that work out for you?" She understood my sarcasm and explained that the owners of the property had pressured her to do something to keep their residency rates up. She agreed that allowing tenants to pay late had only delayed the inevitable and increased the amount of bad debt the property must now write off.I would argue that in such cases, if closely analyzed, the cost is actually even higher. The tenants she allowed to get behind on rent grew accustomed to management's tolerance. When she finally drew the line and required payment, she was then often forced to file eviction proceedings...

Posted by on in Property Management
For most of us, winter has already arrived. These low temperatures of the season can affect us all, not to mention the living conditions for our residents. It is a must that maintenance employees have a proactive approach in getting ready for the winter. It goes without saying, but one of the most important steps in getting ready for winter should be having a well-stocked and organized maintenance shop with all the equipment, supplies, and parts necessary to maintain and repair water heating systems, HVAC systems, plumbing and electrical systems. Planning ahead will save you time, money and the frustration of not being able to serve your residents in the middle of winter. Examples of these items include: Thermostats, heating elements, heat relays, safety switches, relief valves, gas valves, water valves, pipes and fitting, and soldering supplies. Before ordering any parts, maintenance technicians should make an inventory of existing supplies to be able to order only what is absolutely needed, and prevent waste and overstocking. In addition, technicians will also need to order any materials for insulating exterior structures, fixtures, and piping that might be exposed to weather conditions and could cause damage to buildings or equipment, or cause cold air and water intrusion into the inside of apartment homes. Examples of these items can be: Exterior caulk, weather stripping, insulation, sand and filters. The following is a list of preventive maintenance recommendations to be ready for the winter time and prevent emergencies caused by equipment breakdown.Preventive Maintenance for the Winter...

Posted by on in Property Management
This is PART I of a 3-part series. You can read the intro here:3 facebook questions everyone asks when starting out... OK, so the million dollar question is:What is the ROI (Return on Investment) of facebook for my site? Usually followed up by - how many leases can I get from facebook? Serious questions, and just like an owner/investor/upper management to get to the point - eh?Well, short answer is your ROI is either 0% (yes you read it right, ZERO) or 100% depending on how you look at it. Intrigued? Read on...Facebook is all about creating community.  It's all about people connecting with other people because they have at least one thing in common. There is a group for just about anything and everything, from politics, to sports, to music. Some as broad as "I Love Music" fan page which has over 2.4million fans, to the more specific, like "Sting" fan page that has over 300,000 fans, to your local band, who may have 100 fans.Your apartment/site IS a community - whether you are 30 units or 300 units or 968 units, your apartment IS a community. Your #1 person on site - their title is "COMMUNITY MANAGER." hmmmm....Before facebook, and it wasn't so long ago, most sites had a bulletin board of some sort. The community manager &  staff would decorate this board, organize it, and make sure it fit within the guidelines of your community in appearance and postings. You allowed residents to post random things on there, like...

Posted by on in Property Management
City ApartmentParticularly if you own a property in an urban area or near a university or center of business, many specialized tenant markets are just waiting to be captured. Specialized property management may be just the solution you’ve been looking for to decrease vacancies and guarantee steady rental income. When considering just a few of your options below, be sure that you take your property, location, property management style, and goals into consideration. Section 8 and low-income housingEssentially, the Section 8 program provides low-income individuals with government-assisted rent. Generally, tenants pay approximately 30 percent of a unit’s rent and the government pays the remaining balance directly to the tenant’s landlord. In such a scenario, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) will determine the unit’s fair market rate (FMR) and the landlord is not allowed to charge the tenant anything over this amount.  While it is up to you to choose whether or not to participate in Section 8, keep the following points in mind: You will be subject to property inspection to ensure you meet HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.You will not be able to charge a Section 8 tenant more than FMR.Regardless of your state’s laws, you cannot evict a Section 8 tenant without judicial action for eviction. While there may be some similarities, low-income housing is not the same as Section 8. Rather than receiving rental income from the government, property owners who run low-income properties are eligible for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). But it’s important to...

Posted by on in Property Management
I love jingle bells. I love trees decked out in all their glory, lit with all those gorgeous lights, a-dazzle with tinsel, loaded with beautiful ornaments.I love carolers and warm fuzzy sweaters and silver menorahs and snow - and yes, I even love the dancing Santas! Call me crazy, but I absolutely love this time of year. It's so cheery and cozy and before you bah-humbug me, here are a couple ideas you can use to get your team and/or residents in the spirit of the season!Cookie swaps! Everyone loves cookies - peanut butter kiss cookies, good old-fashioned chocolate chip, oatmeal butterscotch raisin cranberry and so, so many more. Set up a long table in your community center or cabana or conference room and instruct all invitees to bring at least two dozen (that's an average batch) of homemade cookies, along with a stack of recipe cards to exchange, and voila: instant party! Throw in some hot chocolate (don't forget the marshmallows!) for extra enchantment.Host a craft fair! This might take some organization on your part, but whether you opt for outside vendors or just take some of the PTA-types and ask them to set up some make-n'-take booths (little stations where wee hands can create simple craft items, like ornaments, to take with them), it's sure to be a hit. Sing-alongs, anyone? It doesn't even have to be holiday-related, just the act of getting people together and giving them permission to follow along to their favourite musicals (or, for little...