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Great Websites for Your Clients - Useful Information, Moving Assistance, Etc.!

With all the day to day stresses, time constraints and hectic schedules, we hardly have time to "stop and smell the roses."  The minutes and hours slip by and before you know it, the day is almost over.  To assist my Residents and Prospective Residents alleviate some tension,  I have put together a list of some very useful websites that I personally have found to be particularly helpful.  These sites can reduce some of the moving and relocation headaches that many of us experience.

www.moving.com

* Find Licensed and Insured Movers

* Rent a Moving Truck

* Find Local Storage Facilities and Compare Rates

* Print Valuable Moving Coupons

* FREE Change of Address Service

* Helpful Moving Tips and Reminders

 www.neighborhoodplace.com

* Review Statics for Your State and County

* Stats Include Information on Schools, Population, Cost of Living, Average Home Prices and More

 www.InsWeb.com

* Compare Insurance Quotes and Find the Best Rates and Policies to Meet Your Needs

 www.healthgrades.com

* Review Ratings for Local Doctors, Hospitals and Nursing Homes

* Note: There is a fee associated with some search inquiries

 www.schoolmatch.com

* Review School Ratings and Statistics

SPECIAL PROJECT! - Create a flyer that has these websites, as well as any others you may feel useful to your specific Community and location, and present it to your Prospective Resident during their tour, or when your new Resident is signing their lease.  These small gestures will mean the world to your Community visitors and Residents.   

Don't forget, this is also an amazing marketing tool and resource for your On-Site Team to utilize and share with local businesses, storage companies, movers and more!

I hope this information is as useful and beneficial to you as it has been for me!  Feel free to share with the Multifamily Insiders Community which websites you have found to be advantageous and why!  Thank you!

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Three E-Mail & Social Media Marketing Tips

I finally did it. I culled the herd. I unsubscribed to most of my email lists.

Why? Some were pushy, some were irrelevant, and one actually offended me. I haven’t seen multifamily marketing make these mistakes, but keep them in mind as you plan your campaigns.

Don’t post too much. Whatever your platform, be respectful. I quit Ann Taylor’s list because I didn’t need to hear about a weekend sale 4 times in 5 days.

Keep it relevant. I live near Philadelphia. So why did Groupon send me deals in Birmingham and Chicago? Remember the nature of your products, too. Last year I purchased custom window treatments from Smith & Noble. While I’m very pleased with the results, I don’t plan to purchase new ones for at least a decade.

Don’t offend me. Humor is a valuable tool, but listen to yourself. I dropped off Philadelphia Magazine’s e-mail list because a blogger used crass and insulting stereotypes for residents of my area. It was meant to be funny, and some readers thought so. But if it was too mean-spirited for my inbox, how many others felt the same way?

Want to keep your email and social media connections growing? Keep your content compelling, but know your audience. Respect them. A few carefully chosen, well-timed words are your most powerful marketing tool.

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Time Travel; The Apartment Developer's Dilemma

I’ll bet that each of us has said, at one time or other, ‘I wish that I knew then what I know now.’ If you haven’t yet, you will. And I can promise that if I had a Way Back Machine, I would do more than catch a David Bowie show on the Ziggy Stardust Tour; I would give myself some great advice. Sadly, the best that we can do now is to submit our wisdom and musings to cyberspace. I would tell my younger self that, as a developer, you are a CEO. And as such, you need to develop a CEOs toolbox. But what does that mean? Within our individual toolboxes are both hard and soft (as you may have guessed) tools. A hard tool would be the ability to run a proforma, whereas a soft tool would be speaking ability (or presentation skills). The difference between the two is that you acquire hard tools and develop the soft ones. I’ve found that the real differentiators in one’s life and career, come down almost solely to the soft skills (As an aside, in the near future, we will discuss how one of the primary failures of the real estate development industry is that it has shifted to hiring for and developing hard skills in its young folks rather than the ones that actually determine success). So if soft tools are the key to growing our CEO toolbox, then logically not all tools are created equal. What are the top......
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AHHHHH! How to Cope With Anxiety - Calming Your Prospective Resident and Yourself

How to Copy With Anxiety - Calming Your Prospective Resident and Yourself Here are some helpful tips and advice to utilize when dealing with the everyday stress you may come in contact with.  Remember that keeping your prospective resident calm is just as important as keeping yourself calm! Calming your prospective resident a. Don’t assume you know what your prospective resident is feeling. - Try to get them to share what is on their mind and understand their fears. Once you have determined what their fears are, alleviate them quickly. HELPFUL HINT - Provide positive information, statistics, testimonials, market comparable property surveys, etc. to help alleviate your prospect's stress or apprehensions. b. Ask you prospective resident what they expect from you and make sure to follow through 100%. - Communication is very important and often overlooked during the leasing transaction. Don’t be too quick to make it to the finish-line; you may end up burning your prospect in the process and losing them due to their lack of trust. Find out their preferred method of contact (email, phone, or text messages), hold to your commitments and your prospect's expectations. Consistent and reliable communication will go a long way and calm their anxiety.   HELPFUL HINT - I refer to the points of contact with your prospective resident as a "touch."  My Leasing Team is required to create ten "touches" before the Guest Card is considered a Dead Card.  The "touches" can be email, phone call, a personalized letter mailed out to their home or business,......
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Follow Chick-fil-A’s Recipe for Outstanding Customer Service

Chick Fil AI am always on the lookout for examples of outstanding service because it defines you as a company and sets you apart from your competitors. Great service can come from anywhere – from businesses where you expect to be treated special, like Nordstrom's, to businesses where you are thrilled to just to be treated like a human being, like most fast food establishments. Recently I had the pleasure of having a Chick-fil-A employee deliver food to my table and offer to grind fresh pepper on my salad. Wow! It made me compare what they are doing to the multi-family industry and what we could be doing differently. In this down market, Chick-fil-A is leading the fast food industry in profits of over $3.5 billion and the company has so little debt that they plan to be debt free in less than three years. I was curious as to what their “recipe” for success is and how we can implement some of those same ideas to make us a standout at customer service. Here’s what I learned: Hire the Right People Chick-fil-A is extraordinarily selective when hiring and they put tremendous energy into training and retaining employees. You can teach someone a skill, but you can’t teach them to have a great personality. Not only are they selective with hiring team members, but they are extremely selective when selecting owner-operators. Out of 22,000 applications in 2009, only 100 were selected. “Happy employees make for happier customers” Truett Cathy Up the Ante Chick-fil-A implemented a......
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Confessions of a Virtual Employee

I’m not new to the virtual workplace but I’m new to working for my current company, virtually and I have a confession to make… I’m WAY more productive at my home office than at our corporate office. Shocked? In disbelief? Think I’m not exactly being truthful? Well, then do let me explain and I’ll make you a believer! When I’m working from my home office, I’m doing just that… working from a HOME OFFICE. I’m not in bed; I’m not watching TV… I’m at my desk just like a “real” employee. What I don’t have is:  A commute (not that I have much of one normally, I live a staggering 3 miles from our corporate office). Morning “hello’s” and sharing with my work friends (come on… we ALL do it). The office gossip stopping by… even though you try to politely indicate that you don’t want to hear it (again, we ALL have one… maybe it’s you, ha!) they always outstay their welcome. General distractions… the mail cart coming by, people dropping in to converse some more, etc… Now, I’ll be totally honest here… I do miss the camaraderie that comes with working in an office setting. I work with some GREAT people whom I consider friends as much as colleagues and working at home has been an adjustment and a bit, well, lonely (shhhh don’t tell my husband). But all of the “what I don’t haves”, mentioned above, translates to one GIANT thing I do have: UNINTERUPTED TIME TO WORK…......
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Establishing Transfer Policies for Multi-unit Properties

By Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL Transfer policies are often a detail overlooked by landlords and property owners who own/manage multi-unit properties. A tenant requesting a move from one unit to another presents challenges and can add unnecessary and unexpected costs for property owners. Ignoring these requests or not addressing them properly can open landlords up to potential resentment from tenants and even legal liabilities if not properly documented. There are a lot of reasons why a tenant might request a transfer to another unit within the same property and there are positive and negative impacts resulting from this type of request. The most common reasons for these requests in my experience are: - Problems or issues with current neighbors - Maintenance issues within their current unit which they feel were not or will not be addressed - Lack of upgrades due to extended tenancy (newly remodeled units are obviously more desirable) - Preference regarding location within the property (different floor, closer to parking, amenities) - Moving from 1 unit type to another such as moving from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 2 bedroom Regardless of the tenant’s reason for the transfer request, there are both positive and negatives that you should consider. The positive: - Your tenant obviously likes the property enough to want to stay - You have a history with this tenant so you know what to expect regarding care for the property and rental payments. No surprises. That is always a positive. ......
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How do you deal with racism when it is you being attacked by the resident?

This is going to be a touchy subject for many, but one that I realize we do not talk about enough in our industry. Today I experienced for the first time in this industry, racism towards me in front of a room full of people. I did not know how to handle it and it took all the strength I had to not cry or go off on the resident. No one ever trained me to know what to do when a resident is racist towards you!  I was trained on what to do when a co-worker or a vendor is rude or racist. What was even more embarrassing was the fact that I was the only one of my race in the room and the others were either speechless or giggling about what was being said. So what do we do when this happens to us? Do we ignore it or address the issue right away? Would it even matter to the resident? I chose to calmly ask the resident to please leave my office.  I was told that I was denying them their right of freedom of speech. They did have the right of freedom of speech but not in front potential residents. This only added fuel to the fire and after several minutes of telling them to leave, they finally did. I turn around to see the astonished looks on my leasing specialist’s and the applicant faces.  I noticed that two prospects were giggling about the whole thing.......
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Search Engine Optimization for Property Managers

Title tagBy Geoff Roberts, Buildium, Boston, MA Whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, my go-to response is that “I work in marketing and public relations for a software company.” That’s a sufficient reply for most social situations, but on occasion I’m asked more specifically about my job responsibilities. Inevitably I’m stopped as soon as I mention “search engine optimization” or “SEO.” While this is a small part of what I do, I’ve found that it fascinates people – they tend to look at it as something of an enigma. “I’ve never understood search engine results” or “Google makes it all up anyways” are common responses, but the probing questions regarding SEO never stop there. Regardless of the industry you are in, search engine results are likely playing an increasingly important role in your company’s ability to be found by prospective customers and others interested in the products/services your business offers. As I’ve been receiving an increasing number of emails regarding SEO from Buildium customers, I figured I’d start by laying out some of the basic tried and true practices that can help your company rank more highly in search results. What exactly is SEO? According to Wikipedia, search engine optimization is the “process of improving the visibility of a website or web page in search engines via the ‘natural’ or unpaid search results.” In plain English, when you go to Google and run a search for anything, say “Boston Property Management,” it’s the process of improving how close ......
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The Frustrations of a Trainer… and What WE Can Do Better!

I hadn't been in Multifamily housing in a few years... instead I left and worked with the Dale Carnegie Training Organization, honing my craft and providing training solutions and direction to businesses across the globe. I was, however, eager to get back to my first love... the Apartment Industry!  Things hadn't really changed much... on one hand, I was glad, because I could get right back into the swing of the "business" without missing a beat on the other hand, I couldn't believe that evolution hadn't really happened. It was "the same old"...  Upon joining the Sterling family, I developed our all new Intro to Leasing course in my first month of joining the organization (and 17 other courses since then). The company had lacked any real training prior to my joining the company and it was so welcomed, that I felt a little overwhelmed at its reception (in a good way, of course).  In our Intro to Leasing class, I set out to start the evolution (at least at my company)... covering some pretty advanced stuff and I’d say it's safe to say that most people haven’t experienced the kind of training I provide, before. Now, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here; however, I’ve discovered that our industry “trainers” are usually people who’ve climbed up the property management ladder and who’d been successful onsite. That’s great… that’s how I started! But, I left our industry for some time and was trained on how to train. Something I......
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