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Cybersecurity Playbook for Multifamily Housing I.T. Enterprises

The U.S. multifamily property management industry encompasses 40 million multifamily units valued at $3 trillion. More than 800,000 people work as employees of the management industry, while tech and service vendor companies employ hundreds of thousands more. And the industry is growing, requiring 4 million more units by 2030 just to keep up with demand. (Source: https://www.forbes.com).   Say you’re one of those hundreds of thousands who has just been given the reins of an I.T. infrastructure in multifamily housing property management, and you don’t know where to start from a cybersecurity perspective. Well, this is your lucky day, because we’re here to take you from zero to hero in a few easy steps. Okay, well, they’re not that easy, and there are significant costs involved, but hopefully you will come away enlightened and prepared to justify your cyber budget to executive management.   Step 1: Identify Critical Data. And determine where it is: on premises, in the cloud, with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, and elsewhere. For example, a typical company might host its own Microsoft Exchange Server, or else it might be using Microsoft 365 online or Google Workspace. The corporate file server may be in the data center, or in AWS or Azure, or maybe it’s hosted with DropBox. Corporate finance might be hosted on-premises or in the cloud with Oracle NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM with SalesForce or Pipedrive, property management and customer payments with RealPage, Yardi, or Entrata. Don’t forget social media, websites, and other places that I.T. might ......
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Option Overload Can Hinder the Leasing Process

Option Overload Can Hinder the Leasing Process
You may have heard the phrase “analysis paralysis.” Even if you haven’t, you probably know the feeling it describes. Maybe you’ve experienced it at the Cheesecake Factory as you sit down for dinner with friends and you’re confronted with a seemingly endless variety of culinary options: Italian, Chinese, American fare, healthy options, not so healthy options, burgers, seafood. And all this before you even get to the cheesecake part of the menu…. Or maybe you feel it when you log into your Netflix or Amazon Prime account and see hundreds of TV shows that sound appealing and a dozen more movies you’re tempted to watch. Having too many options is just plain stressful, and can hamstring your decision-making process. Maybe you don’t make a decision at all. Or maybe you quickly regret the one you did make because you keep thinking about those other options.More options don’t automatically translate into better or more informed decisions.  This is something apartment operators should keep in mind when thinking about the leasing process. The more streamlined you can make it and the fewer opportunities you give prospects to fall prey to analysis paralysis; the happier those prospects will be and the more likely they will be to complete the leasing process – at your community. The Struggle Is RealThe stress of having too many options has been well-documented. A study compared shoppers’ reactions when confronted with a display of 24 different kinds of jam and another display with only six varieties. “The large display attracted more interest than the small one,” writes prominent psycholo......
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Speed Hiring! 8 Tips for Finding the Right People Fast!

Speed Hiring! 8 Tips for Finding the Right People Fast!
A recent tweet from GraceHill said that our industry is slow to hire.  It reminded me of why I try to be PASSIONATE about hiring.  When you have a vacant or about-to-be-vacant position, nothing is really more important.  If you’re a “MAN DOWN” You can’t get your work done as well, working to see the other person’s job is done  Everyone else has to work harder too You are torn between time to recruit, interview, vet and hire, and time to do what’s not being done by the “missing person”  And that doesn’t even consider the impact of the learning curve on co-workers’ time and keeping results up.  The best solution: REHIRE FAST! Here are 8 Tips to Speed Hiring: 1. Post ads before the ink dries on your outgoing employee’s notice!  Post the position on any site you think will draw qualified industry professionals: Apartment Association job sites, Craigslist, LinkedIn, MultifamilyInsiders, Indeed, and more!  2. Call your “Employment Pool.”  Think of people who have “WOWed” you, or who have sent you a resume in the past.  Call them now!  If they aren’t interested, ask if they know anyone else.   3. Network!  I was excited to get 2 great referrals from a business friend I messaged on LinkedIn!  Call your network and let them know what you’re looking for, and contact everyone they suggest.  Even if that person isn’t “the one,” they may give you a name!   4. Call any resume that meets your criteria FAST!  In fact, set an alarm so your email dings every time......
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If it goes missing…6 Simple Steps to Avoid the “Maintenance Took It” Syndrome

If it goes missing…6 Simple Steps to Avoid the “Maintenance Took It” Syndrome
No one actually loses anything anymore.  Maintenance took it. So if you can’t find your gold ring that you KNOW you left right on the table, it can’t be your memory or that you misplaced it.  Or if you are a beer short in your refrigerator, it can’t be that your teenager sneaked it while you were out.  Or if you left change on your dresser and it’s gone, or if the blinds are moved, or any other of a list of other things, it has to be that Maintenance did it.  I even remember one resident who stopped up her commode late one night, and then fussed at me because Ben (SUPER Maintenance Supervisor) supposedly used her towels to clean up the after-hours overflow.  It was actually towels he brought to the scene of the crime, and she neglected to apologize for accusing Ben.  Our maintenance team is so vulnerable, so it’s important to hire well, train well, and then protect your maintenance team from accusation.  Some ways Maintenance Professionals can do that are: ·       Keep track of any keys to apartment homes that leave the office and when they are returned ·       Document how long you are in the apartment on a particular work request ·       Don’t go in any part of the home you don’t need to ·       Don’t move anything you don’t need to ·       Always put a “Maintenance Is here” door hanger on the door handle while you’re inside ·       Leave the resident  a clear description of what work was completed, a......
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Eight Ideas for a Better Brainstorm

Eight Ideas for a Better Brainstorm
In any business setting, there is always a need for creative thinking and new ideas. The question is, what are the best ways to generate these ideas? For many companies, the process involves some sort of formal brainstorming meeting. Unfortunately, many of these discussions turn into ineffective uses of time where everyone leaves the room frustrated and feeling like nothing has been accomplished. Throughout my career in advertising and marketing, I’ve been invited to participate in my fair share of brainstorms. After witnessing a few brainstorms gone bad, I’ve found that most brainstorming failures can be prevented with a few small adjustments to how the meeting is approached. Today, I’d like to walk through some basics in brainstorming and share observations from the most effective idea sessions I’ve been a part of. Identify and set objectives - It seems obvious, but it’s tough to come up with ideas that work if you don’t know exactly what you’re working on. Before going into a brainstorming session, there needs to be a few clearly defined objectives. Identify what needs to be solved and then set specific items to generate ideas around. Get the right people in the room - Once the meeting objectives have been solidified, it’s time to carefully think about who to invite to your meeting. A big part of a successful brainstorm is getting the right people in the room. Limit the group to people you can count on to prepare and participate. Also, look for opportunities to include people with varied roles and respo......
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Somehow. Some Day. Somewhere!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Reaching-up.JPGI look to the sky, and wait for an answer!   "When will my toilet be fixed, and has my request to move my assigned parking spot even been looked at?"   For most residents on most days of living in an apartment community, the routine is simple: They wake up, they go about their daily obligations, they may fit in some leisure activities, they go to bed.  But then there are those certain days when their routine gets derailed, in large ways or small. A burner on the stove stops working. They receive a late rent notice. Someone parks in their assigned spot. There is dog waste outside their home for the 3rd day in a row.  That is when residents look to their property management teams for help. For answers. For solutions.  Do they raise their hands in futility as they wait endlessly for assistance, or do they have confidence that the team will listen and help immediately?   These are the moments of truth. These are the memorable moments. And YOU have the power to make them memorable in a really good way, or a really bad way. Either way, keep in mind that it is very likely that that memory you make together will be broadcast across the world wide web within minutes.  So, how do make your interactions divinely memorable, worthy of a virtual thumbs-up? Respond! Whether a resident calls, emails or stops by, really listen to what they are saying or asking. Let them f......
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