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How Well Do You Really Know Your Residents?

How Well Do You Really Know Your Residents?
Did you hear?  Mr. Jones in unit 210 just lost his job in a very competitive industry and without any severance.  There’s more!  Tim and Amy in 202 recently got engaged, Mrs. Martin over in 312 is going through a divorce, and the Porter’s son in 121 was just diagnosed with cancer.  Oh, and Maria in 324 received a major promotion last week!  What’s that?  You didn't know any of this? At times, it feels that our industry can be a cold world where leads are nothing but marketing costs, applicants are just calculated risks, and residents are little more than sources of revenue.  The phone rings on-site to the collective groans of an office staff bracing for more complaints from so-and-so who is always calling in to complain about such-and-such.  Didn't that lead see the sign that says the office closes at 6:00?  What audacity to walk in and ask for a tour at 5:55!  Don’t even get us started on renewals and evictions. This is, granted, a negative view of things.  There’s nothing wrong about a business that focuses on the bottom line— in fact, it’s essential.  As I have had an opportunity to live and breath in the soft side of the industry, the part where the little interactions we have each day with our prospective and current residents add up to something larger, I've noticed a few things.  I've also asked a lot of questions.  For example, does it really matter if we know our residents?  And do we truly know......
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It's all about the Services Program!

It's all about the Services Program!
I've recently been traveling all over the nation with my position.  I've been from Atlanta to Charlotte to Dallas to LA trying to understand what different markets are doing, new trends on properties and what is being offered to the current resident base.  Every city that I go to has something different that stands out, but one underlying commonality among many different properties across the nation, is the shift toward Service Programs. Our Industry has adopted a shift toward offering a Lifestyle package at our properties.  We have seen that residents love the interaction on social, they come out and enjoy themselves when we host great parties, they have become interested in what the community can offer them.  Well, a natural progression was for us to start offering Services, and I have seen many being offered at all property types.  Many of the people that reside in our communities are looking for convenience.  Our residents work long hours, frequently travel, have kids that they need to cater to, are downsizing so that they can enjoy life; they are looking for events, services, and conveniences that will make their daily lives easier.  What I've liked most is a property that knows their true "Niche"- say they are LEED certified and aggressively try to make the community and area a better/greener place to be.  It's very cool to see Services that this type of community can provide that evolve from the Green lifestyle.  Some ideas: Recycling Services; Green Irene Services; Light Bulb changing; Organic......
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Do We Always Remember That Moving Is Tough?

If we are helping well over a 100 people move into our community over the course of the year, there is a very good chance that we stop remembering how difficult the move can actually be for our residents.  While it is an everyday checklist for us, it is a major life change for them.  I came across this letter today that is surprisingly from a fellow neighbor who "gets it".  He obviously understands how difficult the move is, and amazingly offers to help.  It was personal, and it showed he cared.  So when things are busy and we have a ton of move-ins happening, are we taking the time to act like Chris?     When this image was shared on Reddit, here was a great response: Thing is, it doesn't take much. Back in the days when people came in as neighbours people would give them a lasagna, cookies, and whatnot. It doesn't cost much, it doesn't take much time. But in the context where nobody does it, actions such as Chris' strike the imagination of people because they are not ordinary, they are not the "usual". A simple gesture such as Chris or anything else can mean the world to new neighbours without the time to cook or to get familiar with the neighbourhood. I wish we came back to a time where such behaviours were the norm, not the exception. That is so very true.  Think about those simple Stouffer's lasagnas.  What are they, $10?  If I......
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Showcasing Your Residents To Help Build A Sense Of Community

b2ap3_thumbnail_resident-table.pngI’ve been pushing for a while the idea that our residents themselves are assets, where they not only pay money to live at our community, but they bring their own selves into the community as well, which includes their talents, their personality, and everything else about them.  But oftentimes, residents don’t have a clue who they are surrounded by; they have no idea there are so many interesting and fun people living just one building over.  They are limited to a very small segment of people that may happen to be in between their front door and car door, and even then, they often don’t take the time to get to know each other in that span.  So while we have active, interesting, and vibrant residents all around, they are effectively hidden from each other. Making this problem even more difficult, when looking at someone we don’t know, it is often human nature to assume that the person is not like us, rather than like us.  This is even more true as our communities are often “one size fits all”, so there are often not obvious common threads between the residents.  This leads to people feeling somewhat isolated in their own community.  They feel comfortable with their leasing consultant, but that’s about it.  So we have the potential to significantly improve their standard of living, making them feel much more at ease, if we can make them aware that they are surrounded by all sorts of fun and interesting people.  Today, I found one o......
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A Good Maintenance Team Is More Precious Than Gold

Pilera Repairs

It would be great to live in a world where things never broke, wouldn’t it?Pilera Repairs A world where drains were never stopped up, dishwashers lasted for an eternity, and lightbulbs never burnt out. Sounds glorious.

But that’s not this world, not by a long shot, and that’s why you need a solid maintenance staff to tend to your property. And the larger the property, the bigger the team you’re going to need to stay on top of things.

Maintenance team members have to be jacks of all trades. They need to know a little about plumbing, a little about carpentry, a little about appliances, a little about carpets and paint, and most importantly, they need to know when to call in the highly skilled professionals when they’re out of their league.

But your maintenance men and women are more than fixers of things that break. They’re also ambassadors for your property management team. They’re the most likely candidates to pay your residents a visit, so it’s important that they’re professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. As a property manager, you’re well-versed in customer service and satisfaction; it’s important that you imbue your maintenance staff with those same skills.

Finding knowledgeable, customer-focused property ambassadors is challenging, but not impossible. It takes patience and persistence, but they’re out there. And once you’ve assembled a solid, dependable team, do everything in your power to keep them happy. They’re as good as gold.

photo credit: damian m via photopin cc

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Preparing For the Inevitable with Your Property

b2ap3_thumbnail_preparations_20130115-171541_1.jpgWithin the wake of numerous natural disasters over the last decade, it has become sadly obvious that a large majority of the world is not only unprepared for the worst, but remains unconcerned at the possibility of being struck by a natural disaster. Granted it's understandable most forget when natural disasters hit at random, however, as a major communal threat, it is imperative that your properties have a back up plan available. In aiming for the safety of your residents, staff, and assets, here are a few key points to consider when preparing your emergency plan: The Physiological Backup: One of the most notable aspects when preparing for the worst, the physiological backup, deals with stockpiling basic supplies (such as water, canned foods, batteries, flash lights, matches, etcetera). This factor, while apparent when extended towards residents, may also be needed towards staff. Is your property equipped to aid, not only your residents, but also your staff should they be required to remain on site? The Physical Backup: Whether or not this tip is already known, it is still important to stress the usefulness of having some staff that are cross trained in each other's jobs. While expertise is in no shape undesirable, little matters - such as where to keep their important documents, what their passwords might be to access records, and where they store their list of vendor contacts - will go a long way during a crisis. The Vendor Backup: In addition to staff adapting to an emergency p......
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New California Laws Effective January 1, 2013

b2ap3_thumbnail_california-laws-2013.jpg  In less than two weeks 2013 will be upon us, and with it comes some new laws that might affect how property managers and landlords may conduct business. Take note of these, modify your policies, and educate your staff to help protect your assets and the best interests of your residents. 1.) Assembly Bill 2610 – Foreclosure and Unlawful Detainer An act to amend §2924.8 of the Civil Code, and to amend §415.46 and §1161b of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to tenants. Adhering to this change will better protect tenants living on foreclosed properties. Tenants must be notified by new owners when a notice of sale has been posted on the property informing the residents of the protections available to them. A Landlord must notify the tenants that: A.) If their lease agreement specifies they are renting month-to-month then the new owner must present a new contract, or give 90 days’ notice before they will be evicted. B.) If their lease specifies an amount of time they can remain on the property, the new owner must honor this agreement, unless one of the following criteria is met: · The new owner will be occupying the property as their primary residence · The current tenant is who defaulted on the properties loan, or is a direct relative to the original owner such as a child, spouse or parent. · The lease was not the result of an arms’ length transaction. · Fair market value proves that the current rent payment is be......
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Tips for Getting Residents to Be More Social at Your Community

Social activities are a great way to build rapport with your residents, encourage them to get to know their neighbors and become involved in your apartment community. If you’re looking for ways to make your property and residents more social, these are some ideas to get you started: Summer Socials: Take advantage of nice weather and create outdoor activities for your residents. If your property has a pool, invite renters to attend a pool party and grill up hamburgers and hot dogs for the guests. Have an ice cream social one night, or hand out treats to residents as they pass by the leasing office as a nice surprise as they come home from a long day at the office. Holiday Cheer: Spread cheer to your residents through holiday events. Hold a canned food drive at Thanksgiving or encourage residents to donate gifts through a charity like Toys for Tots. Have a potluck dinner where residents who may not be able to spend the holidays with family have a place to enjoy a meal and spend time with their neighbors. Book Club: Book clubs are a great way to help renters meet and befriend their neighbors. Organize a book club for your residents that meets once a month. Surprise book club members with fun party favors inspired by the book as a great way to end the night. Fitness Fun: Help your residents be more fit by providing free workout classes on property. Hire an instructor or put a call out t......
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How Pitbull Turned #Exile into Social Media Accolade

So maybe you heard about this: Earlier this year, rapper Armando Christian Perez, or “Pitbull”, partnered with Walmart and Energy Sheets in a social media campaign which took a turn for the worst. In June the trio announced a Facebook contest, in which the local Walmart store that received the most page “likes” would receive a personal visit from Pitbull so he could “share the experience of using Energy Sheets with [his] fans.

That’s when David Thorpe, writer for The Boston Phoenix and the off-color comedy site Something Awful, got wind of the promotion and hijacked the campaign by encouraging people to #ExilePitbull to a remote Walmart location on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The prank spread like wildfire season in the interior arctic, and by the conclusion of the contest, a city with a population of 6,000 incinerated the efforts of 4,000 other U.S. locations, achieving over 70,000 Facebook “likes.” 


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Apparently, There’s an App for Everything, But Which Are the Most Appealing?

App Facebook Survey Results

 

As smartphone ownership increased from 3.2 percent of mobile subscribers in 2006 to 44 percent in 2011 (Nielsen 2012), so has the demand for phones to act as a multipurpose tool for entertainment, socializing, shopping and everyday life in general.  Smartphones now provide freedom from needing multiple tools on hand at any given time, as creatively pointed out by a recent cellphone provider’s commercial, through the development of application software, more commonly known as “apps.”  Not only has the variety of options increased, so has the technology and functionality in apps.  This advancing technology can be seen through numerous application offerings including the ForRent.com that not only allows renters to search for the perfect apartment in the palm of their hand, but they can also utilize the augmented reality function that allows them to view their current location through the camera of their smartphone with a “layer” showing all of the available apartments on ForRent.com within a 10-mile radius.

 

With more than 600,000 apps to choose from in Apple’s iTunes Store alone (Mobile Marketing Watch), we wondered which are the most popular and how they stack up.  Since mobile mania is well underway, we provided some reviews on our favorite apps and most recommended apps for work and play.  

 

To start, we gathered recommendations from renters by asking our Facebook friends which app is their favorite. More than 80 different comments came back in one day, all confirming the latest national statistics.  Here is what we found from our survey:

App Facebook Survey Results

 

 

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