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“You Want Me To Do WHAT?” Controlling the Narrative With Your Competition

Years ago, I wrote about the idea of being proactive about addressing your competition on your own website.  In other words, actually list out local comps somewhere on your site.  I’ll admit I got a lot of incredulous looks, questioning why I would ever suggest that an apartment community would list a competitor on their own website – Why would we ever give them free publicity?  The prospect is on our website, do we really want them to see our competition? Years later, I still think it’s a great idea. Let me break it down:  Your prospects are already aware of your competition, or they will be within a few clicks.  They are loaded with more information than ever, so the idea that we are giving them free exposure just doesn’t hold water.  What we are doing is controlling the story.  If someone is searching for properties, their view of the market is often dictated by the ILS’s or Google itself, so a property has very little control about how they are positioned relative to its comps.  However, if a community is able to get prospects to its website, now that community controls the story.  They can position themselves in any way they want relative to their competition.  Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating being dishonest in how one portrays the competition, but there are loads of ways to showcase competition honestly and ethically, while still gaining a competitive advantage.  One way is being selective in what to feature.  For example, le......
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Two Minute Comps. Show your competitors how it’s done.

Introduction Nobody likes doing comp surveys. Fact. Property comp surveys are annoying and time-consuming tasks agents just need to deal with. Debatable. Every property should complete property survey comps regularly. Most PMC’s require agents to complete comp survey’s every week. Not only do these surveys keep your on-site teams up to date on their competition’s habits, but it gives your pricing strategists the insight they need! We are on board, but can we circle back to the ‘Comps don’t need to be annoying’ conversation?   There are three steps needed to complete your comps: Fill out the survey for your property Collect surveys from your competitors Organize the data collected   Altogether, this typically takes 1-3 hours a week. A lot of PMC’s aren’t aware they can automate these steps to take 2 minutes of your agent’s time. We have identified three ways your agents can complete your property comps. We like to think of this as a maturity curve. Each new method adds an extra layer of sophistication and decreases the time your agents need to spend on comps. Let’s explore the three levels of maturity for sharing survey comps.     Level 1: Manual Survey Estimated Completion Time: 1-3 hours Most PMC’s complete surveys use the manual method. To begin exchanging comps, agents need to determine which properties are their direct competition (similar location, price range, and offerings). Then, they need to reach out and see if their peers are open to sharing data. Finally, they can start the process. This require......
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Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?
An excerpt from a recent IREM White Paper regarding 10 Trends in Multifamily Property Management states “finding the right property management associate is difficult because the industry requires a unique combination of management skills, marketing savviness, emotional intelligence and financial acumen in order to be successful.”  Management companies can ramp up recruiting efforts in order to seek out these unique candidates but there is a fundamental flaw in the efforts.  Waldo begets Waldo.  Meaning, the hiring manager must possess the qualities being sought in the candidates.  Otherwise, how will one recognize what they seek?  Take notice on the listing of property management associate qualities, not one mention of multifamily or residential experience.  No lease up, disposition, acquisition, renovation, development experience required.  It was encouraging to read a majority of NMHC Property Management Companies (surveyed for the white paper) have recognized experience in the industry is low on the priority list of qualifications for best in class candidates.  Core values, which is what I label the combination of skills in the first paragraph, are most important and the hardest to teach.  If someone in the professional labor market lacks sufficient emotional intelligence for example, the learning curve will be immense and the damage which could be done in the interim, impactful.  The fundamentals of multifamily property management can be taught by those with experience.  The basics of the industry are not overly complicated and it is the basics that sustain performance throughout real estate cycles.  Take it from a seasoned property management exe......
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7 Ways To Create An Advantage In a Highly Competitive Student Housing Market

7 Ways To Create An Advantage In a Highly Competitive Student Housing Market
The competitive landscape in student housing has evolved. Rental markets which once faced student housing shortages are now inching their way to surpluses. This trend has lead landlords and property managers to get creative with their rental offerings, in order to establish a competitive advantage in their respective markets.   While there is no surefire formula for success, when it comes to establishing a competitive advantage, there are several tactics that can be implemented to have an edge on the competition.  1. Make the property pet-friendly: A recent study found that more than 76% of millennials own a cat or dog. If a property has a no-pets policy, this could potentially mean that only about ¼ of the millennial renter market would be interested in the property. Needless to say, by refusing to accept pets, a landlord is drastically shrinking their potential tenant pool in the student housing industry.  2. Offer highly sought after amenities at no additional charge:J Turner Research identified that two of the top amenities that student renters seek are in-unit washer/dryer and extended cable/Wi-Fi. In many cases though, landlords charge extra for these features. For example, most properties which offer laundry facilities charge a few dollars per load through coin-operated appliances. Instead, landlords should consider offering this service at no additional charge; while factoring the cost into the monthly rent. This strategy can also be applied to parking, as it was the fourth most important amenity desired by student tenants.    3. Offer referral bonuses:Referral bonuses are a great ......
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New Updates to Facebook Pages

New Updates to Facebook Pages
This week, Facebook announced they are revamping “Pages” -- which, if you’re new to Facebook, are essentially timelines for anything besides an everyday individual like you or me. Think businesses, organizations, brands, products and bands. Refreshed Design Facebook Pages will now have a new, cleaner design similar to the layout you’ve probably noticed on your own personal timeline. The new design will feature a two column layout, much like the current version. However, instead of posts appearing on both columns, the left side of the page will feature general information about your business (like your website, phone number, business hours and photos), while the right side will be home to all of your posts. A rail on the far side will provide a summary of any ads you’re currently running on Facebook, as well as additional notifications that may need your attention. The jury’s out on where additional custom tabs (such as contest entries and additional media) will appear, but my guess is that they will live under the “more” tab. Facebook shared this image in their announcement as an example of what the redesigned Pages will look like. An Eye on the Competition Facebook is also adding a new feature called “Pages to Watch,” which, as the name suggests, will allow Facebook admins to make a list of similar Pages they’d like to keep an eye on. Facebook admins will be able to access basic analytics for the Pages they watch to get an idea of how they’re performing. For property managers, this feature could be a......
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Knowing Your Competition

Knowing Your Competition
No matter which industry you’re in, there will always be competition – and as multifamily professionals, it’s a good idea to stay in tune with what other communities are doing. After all, you may be vying for the same prospects, so you’ll want to know how to differentiate your community in the eyes of renters. Here are a few ways you can keep a pulse on the industry:   Google Alerts. It’s one of the best ways to monitor competitors – all you need to do is list all keywords relevant to the industry, such as ‘multifamily’, ‘apartments’, ‘housing’, ‘property management’, ‘rentals’, and also the names of apartment communities in your area. By saving these keywords to Google Alerts, you have the option to receive news, web articles, press releases, and more for all results or top results for each word. Additionally, you can choose how frequently you’d like to receive notifications via email. Learn more about Google Alerts.   Social Channels. With so many brands using social media, it’s a no-brainer to scope out other communities on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. See what they’re saying, check out what types of content are receiving high levels of engagement, and make a note of the campaigns they are conducting. Utilize a reputation management tool to listen in to what renters are saying and understand your share of the voice among your competitors online. It’s also valuable to tune in to the professional side of a community, so browse LinkedIn to check out company pages, groups, and even profiles of employees. You can learn a ......
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Top 5 LinkedIn Tips for Multifamily Professionals

Top 5 LinkedIn Tips for Multifamily Professionals
With over 259 million members and counting, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet.  If you’re not already using the site, it’s never too late to get started! Having a professional online profile is beneficial not only to you as an individual, but also to the reputation of your company. LinkedIn offers many features that can enhance your professional life, in and out of the office. Here are a few tips to get you started:   1. Complete Your Profile. Before you can even consider creating a company page for your business, you must create an account as an individual. LinkedIn provides great tips and tools for completing your profile, from adding a short biography to your work history and educational background, and many things in between. You also have the option to add a profile image, but be sure it’s a professional one! One of the newest features of LinkedIn is the ability to add rich media to your profile – this is a great tool for adding reports, presentations, articles, videos, and other projects you’ve worked on. Not only does this offer you the ability to showcase your individual talents, but it extends the life of branded content that you’ve created for your company.   2. Connect. Now that you’ve established a presence on LinkedIn, it’s time to connect with colleagues and peers. This is a great way to network and build relationships with others in the industry, and can even open up doors for employee recruitment, leasing opportunities, public relations/news generation, events and other opportuniti......
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