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Five Tips for Remembering People’s Names

A fairly popular playwright once asked What’s in a name?  Well, I’m going to argue a lot!  Our names are very important to us, so your potential renters’ and current residents’ names should be even more important to you.  Here are five unforgettable tips to help you remember the name of everyone who walks into your leasing office:   1.       Focus – It may seem obvious, but when a person introduces themselves really focus and listen to what they are saying.  If this is what goes on in your mind when you meet someone, then you are not focusing: I have to grab a guest card.  Where did I put my pen?  Should I get a sandwich or Mexican food for lunch?  I like her shoes.  Don’t forget to tell her about our special this month.  Oh shoot, what was her name?!  Clear your mind, pay attention, look the person in the eye and focus on what they are saying to you. 2.       Repeat – Ok, so Pete and Repeat were on a boat.  You know how this one turns out.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!  After someone introduces themselves, repeat their name back to them.  “Hi, I’m Jim”, “Hi Jim, it’s so nice to meet you”!  Then try to use their name two more times during your conversation. 3.       Write it down – This tip is courtesy of every waitress I have ever had who thought they had such an incredible memory they did not have to write down my order.  If......
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Customer Service Isn’t Just Dead… It was MURDERED!

  I hate being reminded that general common courtesy (as well as common sense, a lot of the time) is just NOT common anymore. I’m left, after numerous interactions and transactions on a daily basis, scratching my head wondering where the service is. Is it just acceptable now to provide sub-par service? Is it OK to be rude to a customer? Is it just no longer a focus of companies to provide training for and more so, demand their employees provide good service? I’m truly beginning to wonder. Let me tell you about the kind of day I had… it started with Kohl’s department store. Many of you know that Paul and I are expecting our very first baby, Luke! We’ve had sort of a tumultuous pregnancy and after a scare we quickly realized we needed to start buying the essentials. On Sunday, I noticed that Kohl’s was having a sale… I also had a coupon for 20% off and free shipping (which ended that same day). While browsing their site I’d found several things we needed and promptly scooped them up (along with some savings). This morning, however, I’d received an email saying that they cancelled my order, with no further information. I was quickly frustrated. Not jumping to conclusions, I simply called the number on the email and discovered it was their fraud department. I was unsure why I was directed there, but none the less, I waited in the queue and finally spoke to a live person. I explained the......
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In order to sell your community, YOU must be sold!

Earlier this week a new employee, who we’ll call Jack, started in the office. I was under the assumption that Jack was familiar with the sales process as he started at a sister community several months ago so I asked him to follow up on a few guest cards.  The calls were more than horrific.  He began raising objections after I offered some advice on follow up techniques. His objections indicated to me that he definitely needed additional training. I began a conversation to essentially overcome his objections. He cut me off in mid sentence with “why are you trying to sell me?”. Through the shock and awe on my face, I managed to get out “In order to sell your community, YOU must be sold!” When I was first hired on, I was asked to create a feature benefit analysis. During this process, I sold MYSELF on our community. Kudos to my manager, she knows who she is :)  Do you have your employees do a feature benefit analysis on the first day? If not, I suggest you implement this before any of them are allowed back on the phone. Something so simple may be the difference between a dead guest card and a new lease. Now this particular situation was based on follow up, but any person involved in the initial prospect interaction MUST be sold on your community to effectively sell your community. Have you ever asked a simple question and been told “you will need to speak with so ......
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A Roadmap to Success? One Girl's Journey to Make On-Boarding Better!

December 29th, 1998. It was my first day of “real” work. I was now a professional… trading in my costumes (I was Cinderella at Disneyland and Marilyn Monroe at Universal Studios), for suits and business attire (which I bought at places like Wet Seal and Clothestime)… hey, I was only 18! I was psyched! I was a “grown up” now… and to boot, I had a 50% rent discount at a very nice community (my primary motivation for becoming a Leasing Consultant, by the way). My first day of work consisted of being given a really thick “Employee Manual” and I was assigned a “Buddy”. My excitement quickly turned to panic. This community was huge, at 512 apartment homes, I was confident I would never be able to get back when I was out touring. To say that I was overwhelmed and completely scared out of my mind… would truly be an understatement. My “buddy” didn’t have much time for me and I sensed she was going to be no “buddy” of mine. She told me to go shop the comps and tour the models, I was to get “familiar” with the community. I had no idea what she was talking about… I was never actually trained to lease, believe it or not. My company had no training program to speak of and come to think of it, no training department at that time. Being that I was in school, “training” or being in a classroom was all I’d ever known…......
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The Apartment Agent Leasing Kit - Be Prepared (Part 1)

The Apartment Leasing Kit - Be Prepared!

Throughout the years, I have created a Leasing Kit for each Property I have managed.  I have found this Kit to be extremely helpful and the most vital tool for the Leasing Team.  I hope this helps your Team as much as it has mine!

The leasing kit is your map to a successful and thorough presentation.  Although the leasing kit is designed as a sales tool, it must also be attractive.  Use a high quality binder and keep it organized at all times.  Papers should not be sticking out of the edges, and you should always be prepared with enough documents for your clients.  Do not run out!

The contents of the leasing kit may vary depending on the needs of each Property, but make sure to include the following:

  • Floor Plans – Include room dimensions such as wall lengths, window sizes, linear feet of closets, storage capacity, etc.  Include the special and unique features found in each floor plan and location throughout the Community.  You can never have too much detail for your prospective residents!   Example:  All A2’s on the 2nd floor have vaulted ceilings.
  • Site/Property Map – Indicate the exact location(s) of where you have available apartments. 
  • City and Neighborhood Maps – Include public transportation locations and routes, shopping and business districts, schools, grocery stores, etc. 
  • Reference Page – Names and addresses of schools, medical facilities, areas of special interests, etc. 
  • Leasing Collateral – Brochures and business cards are vital.
  • Tape Measure – Assist your prospective resident with furniture placement and other special needs.
  • Calculator – You never know when your prospective resident will inquire about a "pro-rated rent" or what the average utilities and rent add up to monthly.  Be prepared!
  • Community Newsletter – Share while on your tour and discuss upcoming Community Events.
  • Rental Applications/Rental Criteria – While on the tour, offer a rental application once you you’re your prospective resident is ready to lease.  This is a great closing technique.
  • Apartment Availability Report – Never leave the Office without your Availability.  You never know if your prospective resident will inquire about other apartments and their availability. 
  • Notepad/Guest Card – Document any questions that require follow up by the Property Manager or Maintenance Manager.
  • Important Information Sheet - A list of all the important, daily contacts (vendors, repair technicians, etc.) the Property utilizes. 

Your leasing kit should contain a clip to hold the guest card.  This will help insure that you do not forget your client’s name!  Use the Guest Card to write comments and to continue gathering qualifying information.  This is a great place to write down pet’s names, amenity preferences, etc.  The more information you write down, the more your client will feel secure and comfortable knowing they have someone working with them that cares about their interests and not just a commission.  Remember to HUMANIZE yourself!  No Used Car Salepersons!

Having the client’s guest card with you will eliminate the need to “interrogate” them again for their information as well as showing that you are organized and very thorough with your tours.

Thank you!

Chris Hyzy

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Tenants Have Legal Responsibilities Too

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Recent posts have suggested onerous burdens and detailed obligations owed by landlords.  “What about the tenants?” you ask.  They have some responsibilities, too.  If a tenant in California does not adhere to these minimum requirements, a landlord may not be held responsible for failure to provide a tenant with a habitable residence – i.e. the bare necessities.  Let’s outline them here, ok? To successfully prosecute a claim against you for not providing those bare necessities, a tenant probably should be able to show that: He kept the unit clean and not unsanitary.  He cannot let it get dirtier than it was when he first started renting. He cannot abuse or misuse the plumbing, gas, or electric fixtures in the unit. He should prevent his guests from damaging the premises. He should make written requests of his landlord when he wants something in the unit fixed. When you come to fix it, he should not prevent you from doing so.  He should not put the chain lock on.  He should not refuse to let you come to fix it on reasonable notice. He should throw out his trash and garbage. If your standard lease agreement does not spell out some of these responsibilities, you might consult with your transactional attorney to see if such terms can or should be incorporated. Basic equity (and some statutes) provide that a tenant should inform you if he believes the premises are or have become uninhabitable.  Any ......
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Is Your Apartment Community "The Voice"?

Recently NBC launched a new show called “The Voice” and it inspired me on so many levels. From the shows concept, marketing with the use of Social Media, to the coaches them selves.  While watching this fantastic show, I could not help but see how I could use this as a learning tool.  I also saw so many ways that the Multifamily Industry is similar to The Voice.  The makers of the show and NBC seriously had the formula down pat on the marketing side and knew how to keep your attention.  How does this work for our industry? ‘The Blind Audition’ - This is my favorite part—before they ever get to your community or even call, prospects judging you from your advertising.  One of the things about the Voice that really impressed me was how they used Twitter, FaceBook, Blogging, YouTube and ITunes to market their show and artists. Each media was different so it kept you going from one media to another, to read/see more about the show.  They kept it fresh and exciting all at the same time. Do you stick to what everyone else is doing or do you jump out of the box and become different?  It is very important that the way you advertise, immediately sets you apart from your competition. Can your community advertising pass the Blind Audition? ‘The Battle Round’ - Congratulations you have passed the Blind Audition now instead of 32 properties you are up against 8 other properties. How you answer the......
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Community from the tenants' point of view

Having been on MFI for two years now, I feel that there is a need for another perspective that most Insiders do not see.  Most everyone here has been on the leasing end so long that the feelings and needs of the tenants is more theoretical as opposed to someone who has lived in apartments most of their life.The word COMMUNITY is misused frequently here as it is not meant to be a grouping of people with a common thread (they all live at the same complex), but community to me is human interaction and exchange of ideas amongst residents of a community they call home.Ask yourself, "What have we done to promote COMMUNITY and distinguish our property from the rest?"  If the answer is a great pool, playground, fitness center or clubhouse, you are missing the meaning of community.  A better question may be, "What have we done to build relationships with our tenants and improve their social interactions?"  WHile a small percentage of people want to be shut-ins and not talk with anyone, I have found that most people want to meet others that they have something in common with.  Where they live is a great first thing to have in common.Interactions with tenants should not start off, "Yes?" or "Can I help you?" but should be, "Hi!  How are you doing today? Dis you see the new shrubbery we put along the fencing last week?"  Create a friendly environment for them to talk freely and work WITH you......
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Blogging Fundamentals for Multifamily

Blogging is just pure fun.  I mean it!  I love the fact that I am seeing more and more property management company’s jump onboard with a plan and a set of goals when it comes to blogging.  On my personal site I wrote about what makes it easier for me to share blog posts.  That post really was very general overall and applies to everyone.  There are a couple of items that I wanted to share with you that I have found helpful for traffic, SEO and conversation.

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A Property Management Revolution?

Rebuilding communitiesBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Property management… just mentioning those two words usually sets off a plethora of comments, memories and grunts. Most of them are bad memories and grunts of frustration, annoyance and mild to wild anger. Yep, this sector of the real estate industry has grown up to be like the delinquent teenage child who is hell bent on causing pain and humility, rebellious in every sense of the word. You only have to ask around to discover that this is a problem the world over… yes, that’s right, the world over. Why? There are many reasons why, but the good news is there is no need to be seen as the delinquent and rebellious child anymore. Property management is set to become the golden child of every real estate business. For those agencies that don’t provide leasing and management services it’s time to sit up and listen. It’s time to feel confident in knowing that as a business owner you can design and deliver the leasing and management service of your choice. It’s important to truly understand what we mean when we say the world is changing and so is the industry. Real estate businesses can no longer rely on commission from property sales alone. The last few years have highlighted the vulnerability each and every real estate business faces. First there was the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The GFC should have been the wake up call to every real estate business owner needing to understand that ......
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