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Marketing to Seniors

The NEW Generation of RentersNow that the baby boomer generation has begun entering retirement we are starting to see the impact on property behavior. This is the NEW generation of renters.  This generation - those born between the end of World War 2 and the early years of the 1960s - are a very large group in our society; 76 million strong. This means that we are facing a large and growing demographic that is getting increasingly older with corresponding life needs. Changing needs While some may continue to live in the family home as they age, others will look for new housing, especially if it offers smaller, more manageable, more comfortable space. It is fairly common for older people to sell larger, family homes because the bigger space is no longer needed and the maintenance requirements have become inconvenient.   Growing customer base According to the U.S. Census, there are 35 million seniors in the U. S. today—12.4% of the population. Over the next decade that percentage is projected to increase to 16.5% (53.7 million people). Considering this as a customer segment, it has the potential to become one of the best sales pipelines in the market today. So, how do we attract this population to our community? Attitude is key. Remember to whom you are marketing. Yes, of course to the senior prospect - but also to their children and influencers. Don’t approach your customer as ‘old’ - studies show that we routinely think ‘old’ means ten years older......
Recent Comments
Mindy Sharp
Emily, you give some very valuable insights and advice on this topic. This is a suggestion to those who want to be competitive in ... Read More
Saturday, 01 September 2012 03:48
Stephani Fowler
I am fortunate to manage a building developed by a company that has many senior assets and they do seniors housing very well. We h... Read More
Sunday, 02 September 2012 03:27
Connie Whittall
Great article! First let me say that I am one of the ‘seniors’ aka baby boomers at the age of 62. I am fortunate to work at a +55 ... Read More
Thursday, 06 September 2012 00:08
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Welcome Means So Much

Welcome matWelcome means so much.  Have you been to a Wal-Mart recently?  If their greeter is out to lunch, and not replaced, you haven’t been greeted properly by their standards and you have missed out.  It is normally a senior citizen with a warm and friendly smile who goes out of their way to grab you a buggy. How do you greet your new prospects? Does your property say, live here?  First impressions are huge in every industry. Have you noticed that the sales force for pharmaceuticals, copy machines, and real estate are always dressed to perfection with big smiles, bright eyes, and ironed shirts with ties for the men and perfectly coifed ladies from hair to make-up and business suits, every detail in perfect order? So, how do you rate onsite? How about your community? Is your community dressed for success? Are your leasing specialists looking their professional best? Clothes make the man and woman, otherwise, would there be so many fashion magazines out there?  I hardly think so, something to think about. Swept sidewalks, groomed grass and flowers when in season, impeccably clean glass windows and decorated lobbies are all a factor when you want to put out the welcome mat. And speaking of, is your welcome mat clean and vacuumed?  Do you have a candy bowl or fruit available?  A kid friendly snack for children keeps little hands busy and bottled water is always welcome. How about courtesy and kindness upon entering the leasing office? Are you standing up......
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The Day My Industry Let Me Down

I have a friend, Debbie, who's worked with me for over 10 years. Recently, she decided to make a lifestyle change and decided to leave her house and rent an apartment, a move that I wholeheartedly supported. She consulted me on area apartment communities - where should she live? What should she spend? She was uncertain - she hadn't rented for almost 30 years.  She called, visited and toured several properties. She finally settled on one that was just about perfect. The model was lovely, the staff professional, the location was good and the price was right. Best of all, they could have it ready on the date she needed it. Unfortunately, the actual apartment she was to get was occupied; she'd have to settle with viewing the model and a 'walk by' of her actual apartment's location. But that was good enough for her.  The first hint of trouble came when her Leasing Professional called her to ask her if she 'needed' it repainted. She (the LPro) said the apartment had been painted a lovely shade of red and perhaps Debbie would like the red? Deb asked my advice. "No," I explained. You haven't seen it, you don't know that you'll like it and you'll want new paint. She took my advice and turned them down.  She proceeded to call the leasing office not once, but *twice* prior to her scheduled move in date to make sure the apartment was going to be ready. "No problem," they assured her, "It will......
Recent Comments
Nate Thomas
Hello Lisa,From what you outlined there is a problem in the property management itself and I do not see things getting better. Fir... Read More
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 23:56
Mindy Sharp
while I cannot say for sure that you should step in and assist in this issue, I do think Debbie should take photos and take her Mo... Read More
Thursday, 31 May 2012 02:00
Emily Goodman, CPM,ARM,CAPS
Lisa,I have to agree with  Mindy. They made a big mistake. But maybe it was a one time fluke.  I say give them the opportunity to ... Read More
Thursday, 31 May 2012 09:25
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Are you using your blinkers?

turn signal jpg.jpgAre you using your turn signals?   As I drove through some mildly congested traffic last week, it amazed me at the lack of drivers not using their turn signals!  How much confusion and wasted time it created!  The drivers not using their blinkers, left other motorists having to guess what they were going to do; to turn or not to turn, and the many almost accidents caused by these thoughtless drivers pulling out of nowhere in front of innocent cars! So, what exactly are these blinkers, aka directional lights, turn signals for anyway?  They are there strictly for the consideration of OTHER drivers.  They do absolutely nothing for the driver of the car.  Their sole purpose is to advise other drivers of the intentions of the person behind the wheel.   And they’re fairly easy to use too, conveniently located with the ability to function with just the flip of your finger.   Good product – but not unless it’s used correctly! In property management, we have many opportunities to use our ‘blinkers’.  In our management and leasing offices, if we can use our blinkers correctly, it can offer insight, forewarn others of what’s to come, where we’re headed, let other know of our intentions, possibly the need to be accommodated and potentially avoid collisions.  That’s pretty good stuff! But do we do it?  It seems that both leasing and management seem to forget to flip on their turn directional at times.  Seemingly winding through traffic and tasks knowing exactly what they’re......
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Shifting From a Sales-Oriented Model to an Experience-Oriented Model

Last week, I discussed what it would be like to be an exceptional apartment community, and how that would affect our view of our community, our confidence in our product, and our entire operational process.  I would like to expand upon one of the bigger elements: Creating a community that truly provides a memorable experience shiftswork from a sales-oriented model to an experience-oriented model. What does that truly mean, and why is it so difficult?  As I mentioned, if you have a scarce product, and you have high demand, sales happens easily on its own.  The problem is somewhat of a “chicken and the egg” scenario, however, because how do you allocate labor to creating an experience, when you need that labor to plug the holes from residents walking out the door?  This is where the “bravery” part comes in.  Too many owners like to run their communities short staffed, and while that may work for a short period, who really believes a run-down, over-worked, and generally exhausted employee is going to be able to help create an experience that is memorable for their residents?  Even staffed at normal levels doesn’t work because the duties require a temporary overlap.  Efforts into creating a unique community that result in lower turnover don’t manifest immediately, but rather build up over time, which means that the “back door” won’t be shut immediately.  So additional labor is needed in the short term to build up the “experience” while leasing continues to maintain occupancy.  Therefore, owners......
Recent Comments
Jeffrey Spanke
I couldn't agree more, Brent. I recently commented that apartments are both a product and an experience and that, yes, it behooves... Read More
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 21:57
Charles Fiori
Brent, I would draw a parallel with my business development efforts. Cold calling is one-dimensional and one starts with a name an... Read More
Thursday, 10 May 2012 02:50
Brent Williams
Thanks for the comments, Jeffrey and Charles!
Friday, 11 May 2012 13:28
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Ten Ways to Make People Feel Like They Matter

What Three ThingsWhat can you do to show you appreciate someone, your residents, your family, your friends, or the person on the street you just passed?  As we learn and use the wonderful features of technology and social media, we tend to not interrelate like we once did.  We have all emailed the person in the next cubicle or office, and texted someone when we could have called them. What three things can you do on a daily basis that makes a difference in how people connect and react to you? Everyone has three things they can do to let others know they matter.  I recently sent an email about this to my fellow teams. Incidentally, I received more replies than normal and I would like to share some of the unedited feedback. Smile and compliment them. Make them feel welcome; tell them they have been approved for their new home. Ask them “How can we help”? Tell them you appreciate them, maybe bring them a coffee and tell them one nice thing! Or just give them a big hug.  Listen, people want to be heard and know that what they have to say matters, and it shows you value them, as well as what they have to say.  Speak directly to them, look in their eyes, and be attentive.  Use their name when you talk to them, it makes them feel important and gets their  attention.  A simple acknowledgement, “Great Job”.  To a stranger driving and trying to get in your lane, “Just wave......
Recent Comments
Guest — Laura A Bruyere
Great read Alison! Funny how easy these steps are, but often forgotten I think in todays technology driven society, these kind an... Read More
Monday, 30 April 2012 22:14
Alison Voyvodich
Thank you Laura for your comment, kind and personal appreciation breeds so much more productivity in everyone. I like to always ke... Read More
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 22:37
Guest — Denise Sipe
Hi Alison! Wow! You hit the nail on the head! We are becoming more automated and less personal all of the time! Reach out and touc... Read More
Sunday, 20 May 2012 10:51
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Leasing Rewards

In the early days of my leasing career, I was fortunate enough to work for a company that realized the benefits of offering a ‘hefty’ reward for perfect leasing of the property. The goal – 100% leased.  The reward – dinner.  Not just any dinner, but dinner for the entire leasing team, anywhere in St. Louis we selected and we could order anything we wanted.  Shazaam!!  This was a big deal.  Such a big deal that we pushed daily to achieve this goal.  Often the 100% leased status only last a day or two, due to applicants being denied or the inevitable cancellation, but we were still maintaining incredible leasing percentages and occupancy; all on a property with harvest gold appliances and chocolate brown carpet!  The entire team would be talking about where we would go, what we would wear and what we would order and cheering each other on to reach that goal on a daily basis.  The cost to the owners of this extravaganza?  For a staff of 5-6 team members, at most $1,000.00 and that’s probably on the high end.  Heck, we were dining at places without prices on the menus! The payoff for owners?  Thousands and thousands of dollars, for years to come.  At an average rent of $500.00 per month on a 400 unit property maintaining an average of 97% occupancy, tip to 100% leased, that’s a lot of revenue. But just for old times’ sake, let’s do the math.  400 units leased/390 units occupied x $500 rent per month......
Recent Comments
Brent Williams
First of all, I love this blog. Second, I hope people realize that the value is beyond just money - it's not like they gave every... Read More
Sunday, 29 April 2012 09:14
Guest — Mark Harlan
Great idea. How often would the dinners be available? Every month for occupancy reaching 100%?
Monday, 30 April 2012 01:47
Laura Bruyere
It was a great & successful experience - I remember it well and it was over 20 years ago! Our leasing percentage was reviewed by t... Read More
Monday, 30 April 2012 22:25
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Hola! Aquí estamos. Are you ready, or not?

  Hola! Aquí estamos. Are you ready, or not?   We are an assortment of cultures and ethnicities in America. Savvy multifamily marketers know they must learn “who” their audience, or target market, is in order to effectively lease more apartments.   One of every four Americans is ethnic or foreign born.  The largest cultural groups found in the US today are Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and European.  With numbers totaling 50.5 million, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the US, representing 16.3 % of the total population.  The buying power of Hispanics, which are an ethnic group but not a racial group, will rise from $1 trillion in 2010 to $1.5 trillion in 2015, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the nation’s total buying power. The Hispanic market alone, at $1 trillion, is larger than the entire economies of all but 14 countries in the world–smaller than the GDP of Canada but larger than the GDP of Indonesia. Nearly half of all Hispanics in the US – nearly 25 million people – rent their homes. Apartment owners and managers in the South and the West should take note as the 2010 Census indicated more than three-quarters of the Hispanic population lived in the West or South.  That does not mean Northern or Eastern property management professionals should forgo bonding with this group.  Larger MSA’s such as Chicago, New York, New York and others should seek to connect with Latinos as well.  So how Multicultural are YOU?  What are you......
Recent Comments
Johnny Karnofsky
I am not against immigration; it is illegal immigration that bothers me when peope cross our borders and expect us to learn their ... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 09:03
Brent Williams
And from what I understand, under Fair Housing rules, you can actively target the Hispanic demographic!
Sunday, 29 April 2012 09:02
Guest — Jeff Gough
A property management firm was fined by Fair Housing for placing ads with an all-white family. It conveyed the message that they o... Read More
Thursday, 03 May 2012 04:25
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Lead residents down a green path this Earth Day

As property owners, managers or leasing agents, you understand the need to conserve energy at your apartment community.  By installing energy-efficient appliances and windows and using eco-friendly alternatives for floors, countertops and paint, you are not only significantly reducing your carbon footprint, but also banking significant savings on energy costs.  If 10,000 owners of large apartment communities change to Energy-Star appliances, the energy saved could power each of your TVs for 1,640,625 years!  While the people on the property level are doing their part to protect the environment, we want to provide you with four sustainable tips you can share with your environmentally-friendly residents—leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd—that they can put into practice today. 1. Be a Savvy Shopper Cut down on the amount of paper or plastic consumed by bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store.  If eco-friendly shoppers forget their tote, ensure those plastic grocery bags get reused to line garbage cans or when scooping kitty litter.  Additionally, fuel and distribution costs can be reduced by shopping at local farmers’ markets instead of large chain grocery stores for produce.  2. Kick the Bottled Water Habit Americans use four million plastic bottles every hour – but only one in four is recycled.  Instead of reaching for bottled water, use a water filter on the kitchen faucet and fill up a non-leaching, lined aluminum SIGG bottle with filtered tap water.  If 10,000 people gave up their daily bottled water habit for a year, they could ......
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Failure to Inspect or Repair = Trouble

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA I once lived in house in downtown San Jose that was next to an abandoned "historic" house. The house was abandoned because it was "historic." The city had an ordinance that prevented the owner from demolishing the building and rebuilding it, or selling it. Because the house was built before a certain time, the city ordinance prohibited him from doing anything with the property other than fixing it up. Rather than doing that, in protest, he did nothing with the property. And I mean nothing, other than board it up. Mistake! You see it was downtown San Jose. It was right in the middle of urban, night time activities. The abandoned home soon became a sort of an attractive spot for the seedier and less fortunate souls. We frequently had to call the police. There were the typical late night guests, drinking, broken glass, and other non-printable activities going on in there. After enough of these visits, the neighbors reported the landlord to the city, and hearings were held. Fines were levied. Landlords got mad. Fences were put up. Pulling the restrictive ordinance and the obstinacy of the landlord out of the equation, the landlord had a duty to know what was going on at his property. He should have inspected it, even if he did not have tenants. What kinds of things can happen, from a legal perspective, if you do not inspect and repair? What will happen if the......
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