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The True Value of a Property Management Company

Rental agreement and a houseA guest post by Andrew Payne, Louisville Property Management, Louisville, KY Before doing business with a property management service, a property owner must feel that the company’s 8-10% management fee is valid and deserved. When you take a call from a prospective client, you must sell yourself based on what you truly offer. This article covers some key areas to explain when discussing your company’s role in the business. Responsive service. If a manager doesn’t handle all incoming rental leads quickly, you can believe that they’ll move on to the next listing. In a market where the competition for renters is stiff, you need to jump on every opportunity. Also, responding quickly to maintenance or payment issues is of utmost importance. Ability to deal with all types of tenants. Being a landlord sometimes requires less-than comfortable interactions with tenants. Your role is to serve as their liason in all dealings no matter what. At the same time, understanding and compassion is a key trait. Your company must react to each situation in a way that best reflects the interests of the property owner. Experience in marketing and applicant screening (judging the good from the bad). One bad tenant can turn a profitable venture into a money pit. Owners benefit from an established procedure that a property manager uses. Appropriate market analysis, tenant screening, and statement accounting will ensure that the property is well-managed. In most states, a property manager must be a licensed real estate agent, which means we understand the laws and duti......
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It's Hard to Say No to New Property Management Accounts

Dilapidated apartment buildingBy Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA Property management is all the buzz these days, as it is becoming the saving grace of the real estate industry. Across the country, real estate agents and realtors who are unable to maintain consistent listings and sales have turned to property management as a steady income stream until the market “picks up” again. This increase in competition for property management accounts by quasi real estate agents/managers has lead many who want to build their property management portfolio to take on any and all assets. Many new to the industry agree to manage dilapidated properties from slumlords at management rates sometimes as low as three or four percent, and welcome the unrealistic rental rate demands from new investors trying to cash flow on properties that never will. However, by far the most common mistake made by these new entries into the business is taking on accounts that are located just too far away from their own area of operation or expertise. We have all seen the marketing signs before – “Countywide,” “Citywide,” or “We service all areas.” Now, please understand that many well-structured property management companies large and small can accurately market this way, as they have the means, systems, and staff available to handle distant accounts across larger serviceable areas, and do so in a professional manner. That’s not always the case for single parties handling a few accounts here and there. Saying “no” to a potential account, or offering to ......
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Don't Forget The "In-Betweens"

I once knew a resident named Mrs. Marshall*.  She was the type of resident we all should be so lucky to have.  Mrs. Marshall acknowledged every birthday of everyone working in the office, attended all of our resident events, and was simply a joy to have in the community.  Not to mention, she also made us the most amazing rum-soaked walnuts at Christmastime.   I also remember Mrs. Kensington*.  She was the one who always sent letters to our corporate office criticizing our performance, deliberately took up two parking spaces for her car and failed to pick up after her precious Shih Tzu.  In addition, she rarely paid her rent on time and always expected and demanded that her late fees be waived.   Why is it that we always remember the extremes?  You know…either the really pleasant or the really not so pleasant residents?  Ask any property management professional to recall their most favorite and most difficult residents and they will answer without hesitation.  Harder to recall in most instances, are those that are only seen at move-in and move out.  They are the residents who usually put their rent checks in the drop box or pay online.  They also request service in a one minute phone call or a short and sweet email.  These are the residents I like to refer to as the “In-Betweens”.   The In-Betweens make up the bulk of our resident base, yet are seldom seen as the value-added commodities they are.  These residents, if......
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MISSING: Residents! REWARD: $$, Higher Occupancy, Better Word of Mouth!

Are your residents vanishing from your community at a rate that makes you consider putting up "missing" posters? If so, did you know that their disappearance was probably preventable? Before you contact the milk carton company, let me explain… We do an awful lot of training and spend so much money on advertising our communities to get them in the door…  but once they’re in, it’s like we change our focus to who’s next. To me, that’s utterly absurd and honestly… it’s quite expensive. ·         According to research data provided by Satisfacts, the average cost to “lose” a resident is around $4,000. Now, this can of course vary… but the least I’ve EVER seen is around $2,000… still a pretty good chunk of change and too much, in my opinion (and I'd wager that it's too much for any owner as well). What can we do differently? Well… how about providing the same level of service to current residents as we do to prospective ones? We wouldn’t dream of not following up after someone toured with us (called us, emailed us, etc…) so why are we so bad at following up after the move-in? Doing that allows us to temperature check (something I am very passionate about when I train sales) the now current resident; with regard to the move-in process, condition of the apartment, etc… setting us up, right off the bat, for a successful residency. BUT, it doesn’t stop there… inevitably; there will be a maintenance issue. How ......
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Your Landlord's Duty to Prevent Criminal Acts

Buildium property management softwareBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Over the last few posts, we’ve discussed premises liability, landlord duties, and obvious dangers, among other things. Today we’ll discuss an issue in California that gets people excited - a landlord’s duty to prevent criminal acts. Nothing gets people more excited than the idea that a landlord might have an affirmative duty to prevent or intervene in the actions of a third party to prevent a person on his or her property from becoming the victim of a crime. On the face of it, this duty feels like it falls outside the scope of a landlord’s duties. Isn’t that the job of the police? A property owner can’t be a substitute for the police and common sense, the argument goes. That may be true, but if we rely on common negligence principles – and California courts do – then liability can attach in certain circumstances for failure to take steps to mitigate against such third party criminal conduct. The owner/lessor/occupier/person who controls the property has a “general duty [which] includes not only the duty to inspect the premises in order to uncover dangerous conditions, but, as well, the duty to take affirmative action to control the wrongful acts of third persons which threaten [persons on the property] where [he] has reasonable cause to anticipate such acts and the probability of injury resulting therefrom.”* The key to attaching liability is the part about having “reasonable cause to anticipate” the criminal activity and the li......
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How did your residents find you? Tips on properly attributing your leads

Do you know where your residents are coming from? Knowing the source of your leads – especially the ones that convert to leases – is critical in terms of determining where to spend your advertising dollars. Here are five friendly suggestions on how to keep track of your various lead sources: 1) Just ask – It may seem obvious, but providing a quick and simple survey as part of your leasing process will go a long way in determining where your residents are coming from. Keep your survey short, but specific. For example, knowing that someone found your property online isn’t quite as helpful as knowing if they found you on and ILS like Apartments.com or Craigslist. Keep in mind after visiting several apartment search websites, your residents could be confused about which ones they used. Try giving them a visual representation of websites that you advertise on to help jog their memory. 2) Stay organized – If you use multiple Internet Listing Services, be sure you are keeping track of how many leads you receive from each one. Note the date, prospect’s name, lead source and if you have followed up. This will make it easy to cross reference information to make sure it’s accurate. 3) Be thorough – Prospective renters may tell you that they found your property by just driving by, but, these days, there’s a good chance that they also researched your property online. Whether it’s a TV, a car or a new apartment, many purchases that......
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Fun Halloween Ideas for Your Apartment Community

Can you believe it’s October already?  The leaves are changing, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back and Halloween costume stores are popping up around the country.  Like other holidays, this is a great time for you to have some fun around your apartment community!  Here are some ideas to get your residents together for a spooky, good time:   1.       Lobby candy – If you have a large apartment community, it can be difficult or even impossible for trick-or-treaters to ring your residents’ doorbells.  Instead of disappointing all those little Ghosts, Sarah Palins and Hippies ask your residents to donate a bag of candy for the lobby.  Have your security guard or leasing agents greet the trick-or-treaters and hand out candy on behalf of the entire building.   2.       Scary movies – A lot of people love watching scary movies around Halloween or, if you’re like me, you prefer flicks like Hocus Pocus.  Visit a local used DVD store and stock up on classic Halloween and scary movies for both adults and children.  For the month of October, offer these DVDs for rent from your leasing office.  You can either charge a dollar for the night or ask that your residents bring a canned good to donate in exchange for the rental.  This is a great way to encourage people to have a fun night in at your apartment community.   3.       Used costume swap – Most people don’t want to spend money on a Halloween costume, so try hosting a used......
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The Trust Factor

Do you trust your residents

Do you trust your residents?

Do you trust your residents

Do they trust you? 

Trust is something that you have to constantly work on and prove worthy of. Trust is also something that can be broken in an instant.

Trust is important and vital to relationship building and nurturing.  How to do that? Show up when you say you will. Provide the level of service that you promised at lease signing. Speak with respect and empathy in every situation.  Acknowledge your residents daily and without fail. 

Residents matter to your bottom line and their opinions matter too. Social media is beginning to become what we used to call word of mouth.  Now, whatever you do or say could be posted on YouTube in a matter of seconds with someone who has a smart phone.

Never underestimate the power of your “word”. You have seen it on film, where the actor states, “I give you my word”. It’s timeless, and timely, and has never gone out of style, giving your word, evokes trust especially if you keep your word.

Never settle, give your word, keep your word, create high trust, and watch your success skyrocket.

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Great Websites for Your Clients - Useful Information, Moving Assistance, Etc.!

With all the day to day stresses, time constraints and hectic schedules, we hardly have time to "stop and smell the roses."  The minutes and hours slip by and before you know it, the day is almost over.  To assist my Residents and Prospective Residents alleviate some tension,  I have put together a list of some very useful websites that I personally have found to be particularly helpful.  These sites can reduce some of the moving and relocation headaches that many of us experience.

www.moving.com

* Find Licensed and Insured Movers

* Rent a Moving Truck

* Find Local Storage Facilities and Compare Rates

* Print Valuable Moving Coupons

* FREE Change of Address Service

* Helpful Moving Tips and Reminders

 www.neighborhoodplace.com

* Review Statics for Your State and County

* Stats Include Information on Schools, Population, Cost of Living, Average Home Prices and More

 www.InsWeb.com

* Compare Insurance Quotes and Find the Best Rates and Policies to Meet Your Needs

 www.healthgrades.com

* Review Ratings for Local Doctors, Hospitals and Nursing Homes

* Note: There is a fee associated with some search inquiries

 www.schoolmatch.com

* Review School Ratings and Statistics

SPECIAL PROJECT! - Create a flyer that has these websites, as well as any others you may feel useful to your specific Community and location, and present it to your Prospective Resident during their tour, or when your new Resident is signing their lease.  These small gestures will mean the world to your Community visitors and Residents.   

Don't forget, this is also an amazing marketing tool and resource for your On-Site Team to utilize and share with local businesses, storage companies, movers and more!

I hope this information is as useful and beneficial to you as it has been for me!  Feel free to share with the Multifamily Insiders Community which websites you have found to be advantageous and why!  Thank you!

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Are You on Autopilot?

Today, I purchased my lunch at Noodles , one of my favorite fast-but-good food restaurants. And I love how the one by my house is so 'green'. I get  preferred parking, right by the front door, because I drive a hybrid vehicle. And when I pay, they always ask me if I need a receipt. If I don't want one, they don't print one. I know it's small, but I like that they ask me. Today, as my order was 'to go', my server asked if I needed plastic silverware and a napkin. I didn't and I made a very specific point to tell them how much I appreciated them asking me. I abhor waste of any kind, and oftentimes,  take out orders get a lot of 'extras' that really aren't needed.  Shortly afterwards, my name was called, I gathered my bag and left. Upon my arrival at home, I was dismayed to find  - you guessed it - silverware and a napkin in my bag. I checked the instructions written on the bag label and it was clearly marked "Silverware - Yes".   It got me thinking. The server was obviously used to adding silverware to almost every takeout order. And while she asked me if I wanted any , she never really listened to my answer. She was on remote control - my answer was irrelevant. She was going to proceed as she had dozens of time before. How many of us are on autopilot? There are literally hundreds of......
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