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Investing in Yourself as Property Managers

Investing in Yourself as Property Managers

Benjamin Franklin said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, and for property managers who have a wealth of opportunity to grow with the multifamily housing industry, this quote has quite a bit of substance. While there are plenty of driven students who can’t find enough opportunities for learning, many people need some guidance and motivation to get back into the classroom after they have finished their primary education. There are plenty of different driving factors that make a person want to learn more about their craft, but it can sometimes to be difficult to find accessible options.

Depending on your level of interest, here are 3 fantastic opportunities to increase your multifamily credentials:

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Will Your Education Affect Your Pool?

b2ap3_thumbnail_MFI-image-1.pngIn 2015, we created a study that documented the availability and quality of many apartment attributes, including amenities (e.g., gym, pool, etc), and how those amenities correlated to the residents’ education level.  While the value of a college degree seems difficult to understand at times (especially during those first few years after school), there’s no doubt education has a high correlation to expected earnings.  And as it turns out, neighborhood education levels are a pretty good predictor of amenity availability and quality in the immediate apartment complexes as well. Some background: we pulled data from over 1400 apartment properties across 244 zip codes and analyzed the properties’ amenities availability and quality against the level of education attainment for young adults (25-34) in each area.  In doing so, established a correlation between the likelihood of a given amenity’s availability and quality given the immediate zip code’s education level. In other words, some properties don’t have a pool, while others have a very simple pool that’s heated six months of the year. Others have infinity pools and waterfall features. We scored this on our visit and analyzed each aspect in this study. Some background info for our friends that may have slept through statistics class: correlation does not mean causation, but it does show that variables are linked.  Correlation ranges from -1 to 1 and 0 means no correlation. A more negative correlation means the two variables are inversely related (think sunglasses sales on rainy days) and the more positive correlation, the stronger the variables......
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Believe It, Live It, Share It

I was recently in the market for a pair of eyeglasses.  I was actually pretty excited to shop for them because it was an opportunity for a new look. But I needed them quickly, because my new puppy ate my old pair.  This limited me a bit. Like apartment communities, shopping for a pair of glasses is pretty customer experience driven.  You think about how each will make you look and feel, but also ask yourself if it is practical. And you depend on the sales person for feedback and information. When you wear something on your face the emotional factors weigh a little heavier, so the first store I selected definitely had the “cool” factor. They’re trendy, their branding is fantastic, they share a great story about the company and their employees, they’re affordable, and they give back to those in need. Sounds like a perfect storm, right? Wrong. The in-store experience was awful. The store design continued their brand, and they hired really hip and attractive people to work there.  But that is where it all ended.  Those hip and attractive people were shells. They didn’t make an effort to have conversations about what I needed or desired.  There wasn’t even a sincere welcome, or an effort to help me find the right frames. After 5 or 10 minutes of frustration, I walked out empty handed without so much as a good bye from the employees.  The point of this story is to remind all of us that having an amazing ......
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Remember What Makes You Unique

Remember What Makes You Unique
There’s nothing quite like returning from a conference.  Most of us are full of ideas, reengaged with our strategies, and of course, completely exhausted.  It is almost absurd how much learning and networking (i.e. partying) is squeezed into a short period of time.Because a lot of us just got back from NAA, I thought it would be a good time to think about how we can be better.  We spend so much time thinking about our competitors and observing their behavior that it can be really easy to sort of lose sight of what makes us unique.  Without realizing it, we start mimicking others, or we even get caught up in only doing the status quo. Don’t do that. You, your property, and your company all have a personal story that makes you unique.  A story that has nothing to do with price or amenities.  Learn from others, especially their mistakes, but stay true to who you are.  Take all of this information you have gathered during sessions, while reading reviews, and during your daily internet stalking, and ask yourself how you can be better. Always remember that you have the power and the information to grow and improve. Look for opportunities and develop a strategic edge.  It’s up to you to own it and put in the effort. 3 final tips: Own your niche, whatever it may be. Share your story. Prospects and residents don’t figure this out on their own. You and your entire team have to be able to deliver your story i......
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We’re Living in a Digital World and I Am a Digital Girl

We’re Living in a Digital World and I Am a Digital Girl
So Madonna might not have been quite so tech-minded in her actual song lyrics, but I think my revision of her 1984 pop hit, “Material Girl," reflects what many multi-housing companies are aiming to accomplish in more ways than ever before as digital communications and technology continue to evolve. And yet at the same time, our apartment communities still love the traditional pen and paper, walls of file cabinets, and xeroxing (again, in the spirit of the 80s). And when it comes to training materials, we see a lot of people who strongly gravitate toward traditional workbooks and printed pamphlets. As much as we like to imagine on-site managers diligently reading and referencing our instructional guidebooks in whatever circumstance they may encounter, it's actually not a likely scenario for property managers to keep a copy on-hand at all times. Metaphorically, their hands are already full juggling prospects, team members, corporate reporting/requirements, and residents. And unfortunately because site staff have such a demanding workload, training is expected to happen quickly... on the go... whenever they have time. Like you'll find in a myriad of educational settings from elementary to collegiate, most industries involving any form of technology have opted for digital training methods rather than paper training packets. Instead of requiring site staff to memorize a slew of information straight out of the gate, offering on-demand training materials enable success by allowing team members to help themselves to training resources when they need it and delve deeper into the materials when they have the freedom to dedicate a block of time to it. As educators will tell you, memorizing rote information does little good in d......
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How Do You Receive Criticism in Reviews?

Let’s face it.  Apartments are kind of a dime a dozen.  Unless you are in a super niche submarket, there is a good chance your competitor has very similar units and amenities.  That means your physical product is not what makes you special.  It’s also not what is going to lease your units.  The customer experience and the sense of community at your property are what make you special.  Both of which are often lead by your site teams.  Your site teams are your partners. If you do a lousy job selecting and educating your partners, everyone fails.  Take advantage of every learning and training moment that comes your way.  Don’t wait until there is a classroom situation or a formal review.  Grab that moment when it happens. Naturally, ratings and reviews are one of my favorite ways to have those education moments.  I think that by now we all understand the importance of reviews.  We don’t have to sell it anymore. But, now we need to take a step back and make sure we are really processing the feedback.  How open are you and your team to criticism?  I know…its not one of those questions we really like to answer.  And, it can be difficult to be honest.  Receiving criticism isn’t something that is always easy, but it can be learned.  I know because it is something I have learned.  It is a humbling process that will not only make your teams self-aware but also more confident.  It could actually be the key ......
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Back To School, A Lifetime Commitment to Learning

imageAs children head back to school, this is a good time to outline training/learning expectations for our on-site teams. First as leaders, managers should set the example, attending training classes, participating in webinar a and sharing ideas obtained from industry publications. Including training objectives in the weekly calendar can prevent the last minute cancellations, “we were too busy trying to finish a turnover for a move in, so we couldn’t participate excuse.” Recognize individuals that pursue training on their own. Give individuals an opportunity to share a new idea or process with the team, during weekly meetings. A mind set that once a job is learned, no additional training is needed, might be challenged with an observation of professional athletes. Homerun hitters talk about batting practice, baseball pitchers work with as pitching coach to perfect or strengthen a new pitch. Football teams watch film to see what plays were executed correctly and why other plays were not. Practice makes perfect. Individuals who are committed to self improvement are open and excited for opportunities to learn. Inquiries about learning something new might provide some interesting insights during the interview process. Establishing monthly objectives for team members to complete with recognition, competency testing and achievement levels will support an education initiative. Requiring completion of course work, online, video or “read this, and sign this acknowledgement form” will result in minimal learning value without follow up to apply the material. Simply requiring completion of specific courses by a due date often results in a marathon ......
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How to Keep Your Rockstar Employees

 You’ve just hired a rockstar employee, now you start to wonder, how long I will keep her.  Wage and benefits are not enough to promise that your best and brightest rockstars will remain engaged. I bet you will find that when you interview your employees about what they value most at work, that none or few say salary. Instead, employees are most likely to say something like even-keeled bosses who made time for me, who helped me riddle through work issues by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who are attentive in employees’ lives and careers. Tangibles like salary and benefits are not enough to guarantee that your best and brightest rockstars will remain engaged. Take new hire rockstar Jill, for example an outstanding, experienced Property Manager whom Property Management Company X recently drafted at considerable expense from one of its main competitors. Despite her outward success and the success of her newly acquired property, she’s unsure how she’s performing, where she stands in the company, and how she fits into the overall goals of the agency. Her pay is great, she loves the autonomy of not being micro managed, but over time, she finds herself feeling dispirited by the lack of communication, and checks out. The loss of rockstar performers like Jill doesn’t just leave a talent vacuum to seal; it also leaves a wide hole in the bottom line. So how can your company keep its rockstars engaged? It comes down to creating a culture of communication — one......
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