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Do Model Apartments Actually Help You Lease?

In what may be our most controversial survey result to date, we analyzed the role of model apartments and whether they were actually effective in the leasing process.  Several interesting results came out of the survey, such as how much apartment communities spend on decorating their model apartments, and how often they change that style.  However, the most interesting results revolved around their effectiveness as leasing tools.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Trudie Fry
I only have one question..did anyone take a poll to determine whether the leasing agents and properties polled actually new how to... Read More
Saturday, 05 May 2012 20:50
Brent Williams
Thanks for the question, Trudie. By the nature of the poll, there will be a wide range of education/training levels on how to use... Read More
Sunday, 06 May 2012 00:10
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Lease like an Athlete - Finish Strong!

Lease like an Athlete – Finish Strong In a previous blog; Train like an Athlete, we talked about training to be Leasing Superstars with repeating great fundamentals to instill great leasing habits.   That got me to thinking about other ways leasing is like sports….and the infamous words “finish strong!” Being in softball and soccer as a kid, I always heard my coaches yelling out “Finish strong!”  Which meant, keep playing hard until the very end of the game.  Even now, as I watch my son during his baseball practice and games, I often hear his coach yelling the same words to him and his team, “Finish strong boys!  Finish strong!”  But what exactly does “Finish Strong” mean when it comes to leasing? Our company does secret shops for many property management companies.  Our shop evaluation form is like most companies.  It’s broken down into 4 basic categories and contains many questions for evaluating each stage of the leasing process; Phone Call, Greeting & Qualifying, Demonstration, and Closing.  Closing would be the ‘finish strong’ portion. All too often on shop reports, we see good, even great scores on agents phone, greeting/qualifying and demonstration sections, but then scores plummet on the final section – closing - they fail to close.  They don’t finish strong.  Even when our shoppers go on and on about how nice the agent was, and they were “really friendly”, the ultimate question is – did they attempt to close the deal?  Did they solicit an application, a deposit?  Did the......
Recent Comments
Charles Fiori
Can't you imagine yourself living here? The great community, convenience to shopping, schools, and transportation (Didn't you say ... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 02:02
Laura Bruyere
Great closing lines Charles! To include the surrounding community and how it will be of value to them as your new resident is the... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 20:55
Charles Fiori
Many thanks for the compliment, Laura! WRH Realty was similarly very kind when I posted my comments on FB as they had 'shared' you... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 23:24
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What's love got to do with it?

"Ohhhh…what’s love got to do, got to do with it?" You’re probably singing that iconic Tina Turner song in your head right now, aren’t you?  I am!  I just love that song!  And what exactly does love “got to do, got to do, with it”?  If you’re talking about great apartment leasing…just about everything, ’bout everything, to do with it! As a professional leasing agent, we do so much more than ‘just’ leasing.  Resident services, market surveys, marketing, walking apartments, traffic reports, and so much more.  But it’s all related to leasing – and you either love it or leave it.  I’ve had the pleasure working with, hiring and training many leasing agents over the years.  And there’s one basic fundamental that the agents that stay and succeed in the industry all have in common – they love leasing!  Yes, I said love.  Love the craziness, the variety of tasks; love the residents, prospects, the weird and wonderful stories; the whole kit and caboodle of leasing.  If you don’t love it, it shows.  Eventually it shows in your performance, in your closing ratio, the property occupancy and may lead to an alternate career path - even if not your choice. Like a great love affair, there are ups and downs, better days than others, but at the heart and soul of it, there is love.   Is it work to keep the love alive?  Absolutely.  Empower yourself to stay fresh and enthused with your leasing.  Do simple things like driving to the property......
Recent Comments
Brent Williams
Laura, I think half of the pros in our industry either never realized, never appreciated, or have forgotten what an amazing impact... Read More
Friday, 20 April 2012 07:27
Talisa Lavarry
Laura, I couldn't agree more with this one. Love and passion play a major part in my choosing this industry. Thanks for sharing.
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 10:56
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Open The Window of Opportunity with Owner-Financing

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Today more than ever, many people do not have traditional sources of employment income. With the job market shrinking, many of us are working for ourselves and are creating jobs by starting businesses and new ventures. With that being said, how does a self-employed individual purchase a residential or commercial location with the stringent financing requirements currently in place? Simple! Look at properties with owner-financing. What is owner-financing? Owner-financing is when the seller of a property is in a position to act in the capacity of a lender. The seller accepts a down-payment and an agreement for repayment. The advantages are tremendous and can be a win-win for both parties. Advantages include: More favorable rates and terms. Easier qualification process. Able to sell a property in a depressed market. Seller can get a much higher return than other vehicles such as a CD. Seller can receive a substantial down payment. Tenant can now become an owner. Less closing costs. Now like anything, there are many pros and cons depending on each seller and buyer's tax consequences and personal financial situation, including whether or not the property is held free and clear. Owner-financing should definitely be a serious avenue to consider when selling a property and when evaluating your lease vs. purchase decision on residential or commercial property. An attorney is needed to assist in the process and as a buyer, you should still do your homework, via a due diligence period. Whether buying or......
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Do Mystery Shops Need to Just Go Away? (part 1 in a 2 part series)

I've had clients asking me  this very question for years. Are shops really valuable to a company? Is there a better way? Let me give you some reasons why  mystery shops just might not be the answer you're looking for at your company. For the sake of this discussion, we're limiting this to phone and in-person shops. 1. Shoppers have bad days. Just like Leasing Professionals, shoppers have 'off' days, too. And this is reflected in the shopping report  that describes the Leasing Professionals' behavior. I once worked for a company who so strongly believed in this that they made sure their employees were shopped TWICE on the same day. That way, if one shop was horrible and one was good, they could throw the bad shop out (chalking it up to a bad day for the shopper).  2. Shoppers have to remember how you behaved on the tour. Having been shopped numerous times in my career, I can tell you that sometimes shoppers get their facts confused. I have had shopping reports that accused me of failing to show all of the amenities on the property to the shopper - and they listed the ones I left out. The  problem? The property didn't HAVE the amenities I supposedly overlooked.  3. Perception is skewed. How I view something can be completely different than how you view the very same thing. While I may think a Leasing Professional is fabulous, you might think that person needs some work. The same holds true......
Recent Comments
I have a love hate relationship with shops. I love having the feedback (recorded phone calls and tours) but hate when the shops ar... Read More
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 08:24
Lisa Trosien
Great points, Michelle! I can see the love/hate relationship points. I actually LOVED being shopped when I worked on site because ... Read More
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 08:29
Guest — John Modlin
I have used video shops in the past that have helped to avoid some of these challenges. I believe that written reports always nee... Read More
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 11:07
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In order to sell your community, YOU must be sold!

Earlier this week a new employee, who we’ll call Jack, started in the office. I was under the assumption that Jack was familiar with the sales process as he started at a sister community several months ago so I asked him to follow up on a few guest cards.  The calls were more than horrific.  He began raising objections after I offered some advice on follow up techniques. His objections indicated to me that he definitely needed additional training. I began a conversation to essentially overcome his objections. He cut me off in mid sentence with “why are you trying to sell me?”. Through the shock and awe on my face, I managed to get out “In order to sell your community, YOU must be sold!” When I was first hired on, I was asked to create a feature benefit analysis. During this process, I sold MYSELF on our community. Kudos to my manager, she knows who she is :)  Do you have your employees do a feature benefit analysis on the first day? If not, I suggest you implement this before any of them are allowed back on the phone. Something so simple may be the difference between a dead guest card and a new lease. Now this particular situation was based on follow up, but any person involved in the initial prospect interaction MUST be sold on your community to effectively sell your community. Have you ever asked a simple question and been told “you will need to speak with so ......
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Guest — Mechelle
Angela... you are so right on with this post.
Sunday, 24 July 2011 13:29
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It's the Age of Technology... Use Your Email Effectively!

Recently, I developed a Virtual Leasing Webinar that was all about the ever so neglected email leads that we receive on-site, daily. After secretly shopping several communities (both within my company and external companies) I found that the response "rule" is to send a generic template email that tells me essentially everything I just found on the website I was just on. Can we say, redundant? So here I am, shopping for a new apartment home... I found a few I like and now, I need to find out more information (you know, stuff the website doesn't tell me... most of them anyway; there are a couple really great ones out there which are totally virtual... I'm talking to YOU Archstone, high-five!). But let's say I'm on a "normal" website that doesn't tell me which apartment home I'm renting and doesn't have an interactive map showing me my location. These are things I want to know. I'm picky and I need to find out if you have a 2 bedroom on the top floor with a view of the trees or something and NOT staring right into another apartment home. So how do I find this information out? I don't like to call... so instead I'll click the "want more information" button and start crafting my email. It would look something like this: Hi, I'm looking for a 2 bedroom and I have a couple of questions. 1. Do you have any 2 bedrooms available on a top floor? I don't......
Recent Comments
Brent Williams
How am I the first person replying to this blog? It was fantastic! Kudos!
Sunday, 10 July 2011 23:54
Tara Furiani
Thanks Brent! I'm passionate about all things multifamily... but email/technology, really gets me going! I hope you like the lates... Read More
Monday, 11 July 2011 02:31
Guest — Carla Bonifas
I love this blog Tara! I never know what to say without sounding redundant so this is a great template to go by to personalize th... Read More
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 01:05
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Decrease Vacancies with Creative Leasing Strategies

Leasing StrategiesBy Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL As the weather warms up and the rental leasing season gets into full swing it is easy to get caught up in the rush of showing requests, rental applications, lease signings, and new tenant walk through appointments that usually fill these months for leasing agents and management companies. From what we are seeing in our area and what I have heard from managers and agents in other markets this is one of the more active springs in recent history for tenant moves and new leasing activity. We have seen our average vacancy time decrease from 30 days to less than 20 days over the last few months and some properties are renting as soon as they hit the open market. This is a far cry from just a few months ago when we were in the middle of one of the least active leasing winters that we can remember in the Midwest. While this is all great news for those of us who earn a living filling and managing these vacant units, we have noticed one area where things have not picked up all that much. The “tough to rent” properties are still hard to move. The nice unit in the dirty building, the overpriced 1 BR apartment, the house with the crazy wallpaper, the home next to the hoarding neighbor, and other general nightmare rentals still continue to be issues. While the market seems to be increasingly active, I see the activity ......
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Your Guide to Online Reputation Management

Online reputation managementBy Peter Lamandre, Better By Design Real Estate, Scranton, PA “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” - Benjamin Franklin We all work hard to build our reputations. I was speaking with a potential property management client yesterday, when I asked him if he had any questions about my firm. His reply was simple; “Yes, are you honest?” I chuckled and reminded him that he was a referral from one of our oldest clients. The fact of the matter is that people like to do business with those they know, like, and TRUST. In property management the TRUST part is a big piece — after all the owner of the property is basically saying here is my single biggest asset, you’re in charge; please make me lots of money. In the old days you would go to a chamber of commerce meeting, or an apartment association meeting, or a similar in-person event (we still do these things). In today’s internet-driven world, clients often first find you online then send you an email or fill out an online prospect form. The consumer will then conduct research online to find out all they can about you and your firm. The hard part is knowing what is said about you online — have you ever given thought to how many websites are out there? Here are some quick stats from pingdom.com: Websites 255 million – The number of websites as of December 2010 21.4 million – The number ......
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Setting Your Rental Rates

Rental ratesBy Geoff Roberts, Buildium, Boston, MA When determining rental rates, you want to strike just the right balance between maximizing your profit and remaining competitive in your local rental market. Following are some tips for finding that magic number. Look at rates of competitors As a property manager, you want to create business strategies that work for you and serve your best interests. However, you still need to be aware of competitors and the marketplace around you. When formulating rent rates, make sure you know what you’re up against. And the quickest way to do this is analyzing competitive prices. RentometerRentometer is a great web-based program that will allow you to see how you rank in your neighborhood. Just enter your address, rental rate, and number of bedrooms to gain access to a computerized graphic showing where your rates fall in comparison to other rental rates in your immediate area. Other Rental Listing SitesWhile Rentometer is great for a quick overview, remember that it doesn’t take specifics such as square footage, upgrades, and amenities into account. To make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, also look at competitive rental listings on sites likeCraigslist, Zillow, Rentals.com, Apartments.com, and local classifieds (both online and off). Look for places of a similar size, with the same amenities and upgrades and make sure that your rates are in the same ballpark. If your rental rates are higher than those of competitors, make sure this is justified (for example, your units have more square footage or were recently renovated). When a......
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Brent Williams
Managers may also want to check out an industry-specific source for comps, such as ALN.
Sunday, 29 May 2011 10:28
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