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How to gain a competitive advantage in the eyes of tenants as the demand for rental housing continues to rise.

As the amenity war continues in the multifamily space, the new buzzword is proptech. Demand is at an all-time high for apartment homes and housing facilities, and as such has driven up prices, pushing many consumers to closely compare their housing choices to see what amenities each have that could help seal the deal or save them money in the long run. Proptech is something many people – particularly Gen Z and Millenials – are closely looking at when selecting their rental destination of choice. However, in many cases, proptech is something utilized behind the scenes, helping with leases or security for example. While proptech in these instances do help the company, they aren’t things that the tenant sees on the frontend as added value. And while we’d like to think that most consumers see value in the unseen, the truth is that most have to see it to believe it, and buy into it. In our ever changed world, we are seeing advances in proptech emerge that can save consumers money, reduce waste, and allow for efficient use of space in rental units. Once such advancement is the introduction of Brevvie. This consumer product rental management company offers turnkey solutions that reduce waste and expenses, while helping residents free up space within apartment homes. Companies like this combine renting consumer goods (like Dyson vacuums which are the number one rental item) through electronic lockers that are conveniently operated via mobile applications. While rents may be at an all-time premium, offering solutio......
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Custom 3D Modeling: When To Know If It Is Right For Your Property (Free Estimate Tool)

We often times get asked how much does it cost to add virtual tours, 3D floor plans, or photo-realistic renderings to our property's portfolio. To help with this question we've made a tool. When it comes to 3D modeling there are typically two types of vendors: Custom 3D Modeling/Rendering Firms & Out-Of-The-Box Solutions (like floorplanner.com or 3dplans.com). While the Out-Of-The-Box solutions are often times cheaper, you dont always have the ability to accurately represent your space. These solutions are often limited in terms of finishes, selections, materials, furnishings, etc. Custom 3D modeling on the other hand allows you to control every square inch of your unit or spaces design, ultimately better representing what they will look like when construction is complete. Here are three ways to tell if custom 3D modeling is right for your team. Your Property Is Still Being Built/Under Construction We have found that this is the best time to add custom 3D Modeling assets to your portfolio. Why? Because it is quite literally impossible to showcase your spaces any other way. Custom 3D modeling gives you the ability to the match finishes, furnishings, materials, fixtures, and more that your team has decided to use months before construction has been completed. Once these assets are created you are free to add them to ILS, like apartmets.com, Zillow, and more to start building out your pre-leasing lists. Renovations & Additions Much like the point above, it is extremely hard to show something that is being built or is not yet......
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Five Essential Steps to Get Your Property Ready for the Holiday Season (+FREE TEMPLATE)

Five Essential Steps to Get Your Property Ready for the Holiday Season (+FREE TEMPLATE)

Managing an apartment community is rarely straightforward, but your job can get a lot more complicated during the holiday season with changing weather, increased deliveries, and overnight guests. This blog will cover a list of the top five winter property management tips to help you make sure your staff and residents have the best experience possible this holiday season. And don't forget to download the free resident holiday email template!    1. Send a holiday newsletter to residents Your residents started making their holiday plans as early as September, so it’s best to send your holiday newsletter ASAP. While your newsletter can be as creative as you want, make sure to cover a few key points that your residents need to know.  Holiday business hours: Many businesses have different hours to allow employees time at home with their loved ones during the holiday season. If your staff is taking time off or adjusting their schedules, include that information in the newsletter. Your residents will want to know if the doorman is gone for a week or the front desk will be closing early.  Fire safety warnings: Did you know that Christmas trees are one of the most common causes of residential fires? And more cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. So, include apartment safety tips for residents like using non-flammable decorations and turning lights off when unattended.   Guest policy: Many residents have family and friends coming to visit during the holidays. So, if you h......
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Fair Housing and the Supreme Court Ruling for the LGBTQ+Community

Fair Housing and the Supreme Court Ruling for the LGBTQ+Community
In line with the Supreme Court’s decision regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, President Biden signed an executive order earlier this year mandating that all federal agencies review the ruling and make needed adjustments. So what can property management companies expect? Should we wait on updated guidelines from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) or should we make changes now to avoid any appearance of housing discrimination against LGBTQ+ prospects?   A Quick Legal Recap President Biden signed an Executive Order on January 25, 2021, requiring protections of LGBTQ+ people in housing, health care, and education. The Executive Order cites the recent Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, that held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in the Equal Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Executive Order requires the applicable federal agencies, including HUD, to promulgate actions consistent with Bostock and the various civil rights laws. This Executive Order will result in new HUD regulations explaining the protections of LGBTQ+ persons under the Fair Housing Act.     A New Protected Category? There is always confusion with any change. With this new ruling questions have been raised as to whether or not this ruling meant a new protected category. To clarify, we do not have a new protected category, rather we now have an expanded protected category of sex. Under this expansion, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation or the gender they are p......
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Your Website is No Longer Your Most Strategic Marketing Asset.

Welcome to The Local Search Economy.  Google My Business (GMB) is upstaging your community website. This spells trouble for a few reasons:  You’ve invested (and continue to invest) time and money in your website. Users form first impressions based on your GMB profile, then decide whether to visit your website. You depend on your website to generate leads and leases.  So, what’s going on?  Things change rapidly in a digital-first world. Google introduced GMB in 2014 and since then has steadily evolved the platform and its localized search algorithm. GMB is now a critical part of local search for any business with a physical location and an ideal solution for apartment marketers.  Consider the following six points: GMB is Free. Setting up a GMB profile for a physical location is free and helps ensure your communities can be found on Google search and Google maps while prospects are actively searching.  The Rise of Zero-Click. 65% of Google searches end without a click to another website, with users' queries resolving directly from the search results page. Prospects can call, get directions, view your offers and other info, right from your GMB profile. Catch prospects where they are and provide them with what they need to choose your community.   Google is (Still) Eating The World. Google dominates the global search engine market share, handling more than 92% of all search queries globally. And Google's local search algorithm favors signals from GMB profiles that are complete and consistently updated. Optimizing your GMB profile is you......
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Upgrading Amenities for a Modern Apartment Experience

Upgrading Amenities for a Modern Apartment Experience
Leasing has become more competitive than ever, and apartment operators have been rethinking the types of amenities they’re offering. Residents, like operators, have new apartment needs. With a greater number of residents working from home, there is increasing demand for high-speed internet and community-wide WiFi. High-speed internet and community WiFi is very important to residents and it powers other highly desired amenities, like co-working spaces and interactive fitness programs. Ubiquitous WiFi provides seamless connectivity throughout the entire apartment community, from common spaces to inside individual homes. Residents have constant access and reliable coverage and the service eliminates “dead zones” in certain areas of the community. Community-wide WiFi has become an essential part of enhancing the resident experience. Here are three considerations as to why operators need to make this a priority amenity:   WiFi for WorkCommunity-wide WiFi and faster internet service have become a necessity for modern renters, especially if they work from home. Many companies are continuing to support remote work or at least implement a hybrid work schedule. There is also a growing gig economy and increasing number of U.S. workers shifting to independent contract work. These residents will typically work from home or in a business center. Operators have started to switch gears to cater to these residents by offering more co-working space or offering two-bedroom apartments as one-bedrooms with an office.  High-speed internet and WiFi mean a lot to residents and typically factor into their search for an apartment home. A 2020 survey by the National Multifamily Housing Counc......
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Turning the Tide on Bad Resident Reviews

Turning the Tide on Bad Resident Reviews

When a community’s ratings and reputation is struggling, it can be incredibly challenging to pull those ratings back from the brink, all while not having the team get discouraged along the way. And for those communities that are already doing well on that front, how are they proactive about getting resident feedback before that feedback turns into negative reviews?

These are two of my favorite parts of my interview with Danielle Johnson, Vice President of Marketing and Training at Bridge Property Management. She dives into how they impact Google reviews, measure the results, and how they implemented touchpoints for feedback after tours, move-ins, work orders, move-outs, and other key points along the resident and prospect journey. Plus, she shares the most common reasons for bad reviews, and how her partnership with Opiniion helped gauge impact in her efforts!

By the way, if you like this type of content where we talk with different property management pros, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the bell icon!

How do we pick companies to talk to?

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My POV as a Renter: The Dilemma of Looking in an Active Market

As a renter who falls into the category of looking over 6 months out, I can confidently say that it’s the properties that stay in touch with me that end up being the ones I tour at. Here’s my story as a renter and I hope you’ll take the time to read it.   Surprising data collected by PERQ shows an interesting and growing trend in renter behavior: 20% of rental prospects are much like me and looking to move 6+ months out from when they begin their search for their next apartment. From the perspective of the leasing agent, that’s a lot of people who might be considered what many call “looky lous”, or casual online shoppers.  But, they are actually high intent shoppers that are qualified leads. These shoppers are more organized with their search process and have a better understanding of what they want and what they don’t want. These renters will be the perfect lead in just a few months. There are several reasons why we are looking now instead of closer to their move-in date. First is increased rental volume. With COVID-19 causing us to spend more time in our homes and living spaces, we felt the shortcomings of the spaces we were living in and a desperate need to start fresh in a new space caused a shift in rental activity. In fact, data collected by USPS shows that 27% of temporary movers moved in the first six months of the pandemic. That’s a lot of rental activ......
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Five Big Take-Aways From A Welcome Return to AIM

Five Big Take-Aways From A Welcome Return to AIM
This week marked an important step in the rehabilitation of the multifamily industry’s annual conference circuit. The Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference (AIM) is one of the joys of the conference schedule.  Marketers and operators normally flock to Orange County, CA in May for this event. A COVID-related reschedule pushed this year’s show to October, but a normal-sized crowd and a full complement of speakers made AIM 2021 feel like things are back to normal. On Tuesday, I got to attend a fascinating session entitled “Seven Executive Marketing Lessons from Seven Great Brands,” which featured two industry marketing leaders: Sheri Killingsworth, the VP of Marketing at Lincoln Properties and Justina Omokhua, the newly-minted Chief Marketing Officer of smart building technology provider, Latch. AIM has always prided itself on driving the conversation about technology and innovation. In this session, the seasoned multifamily marketer mined the blue-chip experience of the industry newcomer to look for lessons that we can learn from the marketing departments of companies like Apple, Pepsi, Verizon, and Nokia. Unsurprisingly, the insights came thick and fast - some of the main take-aways may be summarized as follows: 1. How Followers Become Rabid Fans A recurring theme of this session was how marketing is about establishing a meaningful relationship with our customers that is reinforced at every touchpoint.  Pepsi provided a rich source of examples here, as Justina explained the prominence of entertainment in building the brand platform as repeated sponsorship of the Super Bowl and partnerships with major music acts helped the mega-brand as they sou......
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Community-Wide Connectivity Powering Post-Modern Tech Stacks

Community-Wide Connectivity Powering Post-Modern Tech Stacks
A new era of apartment leasing and living is upon us. From self-service leasing and smart home technology to the industry-wide adoption of PropTech, technology is empowering residents, onsite teams and operators alike while creating operational efficiencies.  While these technology features and solutions can really take apartment communities to the next level, a lot of these tools need a robust internet foundation to run smoothly. Apartment communities probably have WiFi, but it’s typically isolated to certain parts of the building, whether it’s the leasing office or designated common area spaces. Unfortunately, a lot of smart home technology isn’t confined to these spaces and is present throughout the community. Here are some technologies that could be optimized with community-wide WiFi to run smoothly and the benefits for operators: PropTechThe majority of apartment tours used to be standard agent-led tours. The emergence of nontraditional tours, such as self-guided, virtual and video tours, has changed the technology needs for apartment communities. The industry has made it clear these various tour options are here to stay. Self-guided tours also integrate other types of proptech into the overall experience, like wayfinding technology, interactive maps, virtual viewing, access control, ID verification and chat functionality with leasing agents. Self-guided tour and access control technologies have become a foundational component of running agentless tours. Seamless connectivity can help power proptech and self-guided tours to work in all areas of the community. Otherwise the prospect will find themselves offline and in need of assistance. This causes issues for both the prosp......
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