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What do you need in a leader?

A number of my blog posts have focused on the front office team, the leasing agents and consultants who bring home the bacon. But in the property management universe, our leasing agents don’t fry that bacon up in a pan. That is the manager, or in a larger operation the manager and their assistant. So what should we look for in a property manager in this day and age? Who succeeds while others falter? Just what does it take to be a leader who can guide an asset to a successful quarter, year and longer? I am the first to tell anyone that I am not really a good property manager. I have hired many, worked with dozens and fired a few, but myself? Nothing to brag about. I am too direct, not politically correct and rather abrasive. In the mid-90’s as a supervisor, I was once asked to go with my on-site manager to a tenant’s apartment and explain the necessity of keeping the air conditioning running in South Florida. I asked to see the resident’s closet, and proceeded to explain to her that keeping all this crap in the closet against the walls without the a/c running was causing mold, endangering my asset, and we would likely evict her for it. I was then told to go screw myself. This was an early indication that my skills in dealing with residents were not stellar. But in the years since, I have learned who and what is a good on-site......
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Multifamily Mommy: Apartments, Diapers and Work… OH MY!

I’m 30. There, I said it, I got it out there. I’m 30 and my husband and I just had our very first baby, 3 weeks ago. Up until now, we both favored college and then careers over family. We wanted to be established, be able to provide for a child before we committed to having one. For the last few years, thankfully, we’re at a point where we can provide the way we want to and so the “having a baby” journey, began. So why am I telling you this? Well… at 30, I’m established in my career and my husband and I are accustomed to having fun and traveling… and with a baby, well, a LOT of things will have to change… or will it? If you read any “mommy” books or blogs, many describe motherhood and caring for a child as the single hardest thing they’ve ever done… clearly they’ve never worked during budget season for a multifamily company, but I digress… Admittedly, I am no expert on the subject of being a working mom just yet, but I’ve learned a lot in the past 3 weeks. Many of you might assume that I am on maternity leave… and while I am, sort of, I’m still working about 25-30 hours a week (from home). So I’ve sort of gotten a crash course in this whole dual role thing and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Maybe I’m lucky and I have a good baby… ......
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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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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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Computer Illiterate? Seek Help!

Let’s face it… the internet is NOT a fad (sorry Al Gore) and the role both the internet and computers play in our business is vast and ever growing. Let’s take a look at what parts of our business are computer and/or internet based:    Communication (with Colleagues & Prospects)- Email, usually Outlook is used in our business Learning Management Systems- Does your company offer online learning? Property Management Software- On our computers and generally on the internet Social Media  Rent Payments- A good portion of us allow residents to pay online Advertising- Our biggest source of traffic, in a lot of instances is apartments.com Weekly/Monthly Reports- Excel and Word play a big role in how we relay information Performance Appraisals- Many are integrated into our HRIS systems, which are internet based Payroll Time Tracking- Does anyone use a manual system anymore? New Colleague Orientation- Unless your company is 100% local, the internet is often used Accounting- Most accounting departments use our property management software in conjunction with computer and/or internet based financial software Payroll- The majority of us rely on Direct Deposit, which uses a computer to transmit. I could go on and on… I think the writing on the wall is pretty clear, to be successful in our business you MUST have some sort of computer know-how. I’m not talking learning HTML here… I’m talking the VERY BASICS of computer understanding! Frankly, I’m blown away, nearly on a daily basis; at the lack of computer knowledge so many ......
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Not Everyone's a Property Manager!

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA I made a quick trade, put an offer in on a property in Arizona and then closed my laptop and headed with the kids for lunch in La Jolla. It was after lunch that I had an all too familiar experience. We were playing tourist for the day and on the walk back to our vehicle we stopped into a small boutique store near the cove to allow each kid to choose an item of there choice as a fun reward for good behavior throughout the day. I noticed the owner of the boutique slumping over his cash register near the back of the store and I greeted him and asked how his day was going. He responded quietly, “Better then yesterday” and we struck up a conversation. The conversation quickly went toward business and the owner proceeded to tell me that he just bought the store last year and sales were considerably down. To make matters worse the landlord was increasing his rent. I empathized with him and offered some of my ideas for a short term solution but it was obvious they were falling on deaf ears as the owner quickly interrupted me and said something that made me stop and think. He told me that he was not really worried about the slower sales at his store because he was going to start managing some real estate for a couple of friends that own rentals in ......
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10 Ways to Lose an Employee in 10 Days

Apartment Jobs: 10 Ways to Lose an Employee in 10 Days

Apartment Jobs: 10 Ways to Lose an Employee in 10 Days

1.)   Change their job description 3 times in the first week... without their involvement.
2.)   Misplace their direct deposit paperwork... twice.
3.)  Use "You'll figure it out" as a motivational tool.
4.)  Introduce them to coworkers as "Our newest sacrifice".
5.)  Make them wear their nametag with an added "I'm new, thank you for your patience".
6.)  Constantly compare their work to their predecessor's accomplishments.
7.)  Move your file pile to theirs.
8.)  Ask them if they want in on the "Countdown 'Til Newbie Quits" pool.
9.) CC yourself on every email you send to them.
10.)  Use a stopwatch to clock their restroom breaks.

Believe it or not people, this list is taken from a 2 mile stretch of apartment communities in North Carolina.  Everything on this list was contributed by site level staff in our industry who, amazingly enough, are still working.  Please add to the list.  Then print and promise never to tresspass into the sanity of our own as we endeavor to forgive those that trespassed against us, and lead us not into the temptation of repeating the HR transgressions we've all suffered.

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 Before the InterviewWhile some people have an innate talent for landing the perfect job, the art of the interview is a skill that can be learned. Remembering a few key points will help you find success in your endeavors to advance your career. Consider the following tips to do before the interview as you prepare to search for your next job: 1 - Organize the night before. Lay your clothing out and prepare your portfolio with resume and reference letters before you go to bed so you won’t have to worry about it in the morning.2 - Confirm the location, time and date of the interview. Drive by the location the night before the interview if you are not certain of your route or how long it will take you to get there.3 - Research the company and find out as much information as you can. Use the Internet to search the company Web site for general product and service information. Search for information about the company in the online archives of your local newspapers and news media.4 - Find out what you can about the interviewer, including full name, designations, title and the correct pronunciation of the individual’s name.5 - Be prepared to ask a few questions of the interviewer. Ask questions that show you’ve done your homework on the company and the position. Don’t ask questions about compensation or benefits. What follows are a few recommended questions:“What are your expectations of me in this position?”“When I come on board,......
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Top Websites for Job Postings, Career Searches and Resume Postings!

For those looking for a new career in the Apartment Industry, or Property Management Companies needing to post job openings, I have created a list of websites I have been using. Americasjobexchange.com AAGDallas.com (Apartment Association of Greater Dallas) Apartmentcareers.com Apartmentcareerhq.org Apartmentjobs.org Apartmentjobz.com Backpage.com Bright.com Careerbuilder.com Careerfield.org Craigslist.com         Getpropertymanagementjobs.com Getthejob.com Ihirerealestate.com Indeed.com Job.com Jobfox.com Job-search-engine.com Jobster.com Locljobboard.com Monster.com  (AKA – hotjobs.com)    Oodle.com (AKA – facebook.com) Pmjobs.com  (AKA – apartmentjobs.com) Propertymanagerjobs.com Resumebucket.com        Salesgravy.com Simplyhired.com  ...
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Teach 'em To Reach For The Stars!

The worst thing we can do for someone's development is to discourage them; especially to discourage someone who makes progress, no matter how slow it is. -MMD The way you look at someone and the tone of voice you use may be discouraging your staff and causing damage beyond repair. Perceptions lead to, stem from and essentially are opinions and while inevitable, can be damaging on so many levels if made public.  You are who you are, you do what you do, you say what you say and that’s why this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Artists push boundaries, scientists imagine the unimaginable, comedians identify the humor in in everything and why should you be any different?  Why do we obsess over what other people think?  What good would it do if we conformed and masked our true self? I agree that not all behavior is appropriate for the workplace so please don’t misinterpret the meaning behind this post.  Don’t lose sight of your customer and the level of service necessary to keep them.  On the same token, don’t lose sight of who YOU are and the level of acceptance YOU need to keep growing. Bob Dylan, Jim Carrey, Lady Gaga, Jeff Dunham, Eminem…I could go on for hours.  Do they offend you?  People’s perceptions dictate popularity.  No wait, they don’t.  Ok well technically they do.  Majority rules right?  I’m sure many of you reading this will answer yes to the question above and many of you may answer ......
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