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Keys To An Effective Team Meeting

Team meeting  Do you have a team meeting to start your week? Share the leasing goals for the week. Report results from the prior week. Ask for input on supplies to be ordered. Knowledge Creates Ownership Including your team in these discussions creates the opportunity for ownership in your property and its operations. All too often, the team meeting is used to talk AT, or LECTURE  your staff, not have a productive discussion that encourages new ideas or observations. I’m often reminded of the Chicken Soup for the Soul story, where a member of the janitorial staff at NASA was asked about their job.  The response, “I help put people into space, and we’ve put a man on the moon.”  The goal/objective and successes of the team were the immediate response. Explaining Property Performance Does your team know the monthly or annual Gross Rent Potential for the property? Is the current focus to increase rents?  Reduce vacancy?  How much rent was given away for the  “I’m  sorry”  concessions in the last month? Consider these talking points: Having an apartment ready for move in on Friday instead of the next Monday, the extra three days of rent revenue generates how much additional income if this happened for every move in? Team Recognition Exceptional maintenance on service requests, sparkling clean common areas could strongly influence an individuals decision to renew their lease or move.  How much is your average turnover expense?  Decreasing turnover, could save thousands of dollars per year. What is the cost per indiv......
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"Does your company require technicians to do HVAC work outside once it is dark out?"

Below is a video of some of my thoughts on "Does your company require technicians to do HVAC work outside once it is dark out?"

What is expected where you work?  

 

 

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7 Low-Maintenance Ways to Boost Your Property’s Curb Appeal

  on 7 Low-Maintenance Ways to Boost Your Property’s Curb Appeal These days, most renters find their new home through online listings, not by driving around the neighborhood. However, that doesn’t mean property managers can afford to overlook curb appeal. If your properties fail to impress when a prospective tenant drives up, it won’t matter how good the online photos look. Even property managers in highly competitive rental markets should pay attention to curb appeal. A great-looking exterior doesn’t just get tenants in the door; it also attracts high-quality tenants who are more likely to treat your property with care and respect. Of course, if you’re managing a lot of properties or a single high-density property, you don’t have a lot of time to spend manicuring lawns and flower beds. So how can you create great curb appeal without spending a lot of time? These seven tips show you how. 1. Paint the Front Door Don’t underestimate the impact a fresh coat of paint on the front door can have. A cheery front door can make an otherwise unremarkable home stand out and leave passersby wondering what’s on the other side. A Blissful Nest recommends 10 hues that are perfect for front doors. In a multi-unit property, try painting each door a different, but complementary color to set the units apart. 2. Replace House Numbers Is that newly painted front door flanked by dated, faded, or missing house numbers? Make each unit easy to find by replacing house numbers with a new set that’s easy to read from the str......
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Three Cheers For Maintenance!

Save   The maintenance team at a property is often the secret ingredient to a property’s success.  A perfect move in, free of any repair items creates a great first impression for a new resident.The appearance of the grounds, hallways, and any common areas can determine whether a prospect drives in to tour the property or just drives by. The timeliness, accuracy and customer service attitude presented when responding to a service request, may be the only contact a resident has with your staff during their occupancy.  The tone and responsiveness of maintenance may influence the renewal decision more than the new rental rate. With these important contributions to the property success, how often do we give the maintenance team an opportunity to take any credit for their efforts? Here are a few suggestions to give your team an opportunity to take credit for their work product. Assign service order callbacks to the maintenance team.  Making calls at the beginning of the day or the end of the day isn’t going to disrupt the work schedule.  Maintenance has the opportunity to ask if their work was satisfactory, explain the repair if there are questions, and most important, accept the compliments and thanks for a job well done. Have maintenance accompany a new resident for their move in inspection.  This will give maintenance an opportunity to point out the details, showing off the workmanship.  For occasions, when it’s not practical for maintenance to participate in the move in inspection, use a welcome letter or card; s......
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If Maintenance Can’t Find The Problem, Service isn’t Complete

service calls  “Couldn’t find the problem, everything is ok.” Trust me if maintenance cannot resolve a problem in a residents apartment. Everything is not ok.  The resident is looking for service and we are failing to provide it. The Inconvenience of Service Requests Here’s a life changing truth. Residents do not call the leasing  office to have maintenance come to their apartment home without a reason. This is not PUNK’D. We may not be able to find the problem as described by the resident.  But there definitely is a concern that supported a reason to report a problem.  The resident has straightened up their home in anticipation of maintenance in the apartment. The service request has been called or emailed to the office. After a long day at work the resident returns home to a find the service order documentation, noting, we couldn’t find your problem, everything is okay. Can you feel their frustration growing? Now the problem unresolved, the resident will have to contact the office again.  Attempt to explain the problem and schedule another repair appointment. They will have another day of uncertainty with maintenance entering their home again. Frustration For A Repeat Service Call For the maintenance crew, this is equally frustrating. The time for the first visit appears to be wasted time. Now a second visit is being scheduled, to an apartment where the “whatever it is” works fine. This is a communication disaster. The resident may be giving us specific information for the repair, instead of describing the problem. Our sta......
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The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding

The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding
  Setting standards on products, services, approval processes, and GL codes not only makes your process more efficient, but also saves you money and makes costs (and budgets) more predictable.  When paired with software to elevate visibility and enforce controls, your organization can more easily get the right things done, and eliminate time spent wondering what to do and/or what happened.   Product and service standards, approvals and GL coding all have common attributes.  They are necessary in order to operate profitably and to provide your residents with high quality service, and yet there are too many choices.   What are Product and Service Standards? Defining what products and services to use for a given class of property or region is what I mean by product and service standards.  For example, there may be a certain carpet spec and color used in your class A properties, and specific appliances used in your class B properties.  You may have regional differences in what you decide to specify, for example you may want to use an eggshell paint in more humid areas, and flat paint in temperate areas.   Some of the categories in which companies often enforce standards include:   Floor Covering Carpet Cleaning Appliances HVAC Water Heaters Paint Paint Services Landscape Services Plumbing Fixtures Lighting Fixtures Fire and Security Equipment Window Coverings   If you don’t provide guidance on standards, your staff may have too many choices of what to buy, who to buy from, and what to pay.  As you c......
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Making the Most of Your Service Request

As we kick off this new 2018 year, now is a great time to freshen up on best practices for employees! Maintenance plays a large part in a residents living experience, but before the maintenance staff can service the renter, it starts with the office staff receiving the service request in person or over the phone. No matter how the service request is placed, one key to successful service requests is making sure the service request is clear and detailed.  Without detailed information maintenance can only guess on what needs repair. This situation creates frustration for the maintenance; possibly having them to return to the renters home several times, and the resident begins to feel they are not able to trust the team to fix their concerns the first time. Some questions to ask your residents when entering in a service request ·         Verify name, unit and email address ·         Location of issue (choose from the drop down menu in your PMS) ·         What exactly is not working with “dishwasher, washing machine etc” ·         What is broken with “dishwasher etc” ·         Have you tried to rectify the issue yourself?  Ex: Poured drano down the sink or toilet? ·         Leave any and all specific info/description of the maintenance request Stay away from yes or no questions as those don’t allow you to receive detailed questions. Ask open ended questions, which allow the renter to share detailed information about the service request. A recommendation to make sure maintenance is well equipped with the information they need is to schedule a meeting with yo......
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Why Property Management Firms Are Increasingly Adopting Software Systems For Maintenance Tracking

Why Property Management Firms Are Increasingly Adopting Software Systems For Maintenance Tracking
Let’s be honest. The word “maintenance”, more often than not, carries a negative connotation because it’s mostly considered a liability. Every real estate agent wants to build an extensive portfolio and grow as much as possible without the added expenses that come with maintenance. However, and rather ironically, maintenance is actually an essential component of real estate management. As a matter of fact, it’s arguably as important and tenant prospecting and acquisition. Apart from the fact that it’s one of the most direct routes to tenant satisfaction, maintenance is critical in preventing building decrepitude. Although it’s largely beneficial, it could also be your firm’s Achilles’ heel if managed ineffectively. That’s why the most established firms are relying on streamlined maintenance processes, built on cloud real estate management systems. But, is it actually that serious? Why would you pay extra for a system, yet you could comfortably track orders from your ledgers? When did real estate management get so complicated? Well, technically, real estate management is getting simpler by the day, thanks to comprehensive management systems. And yes, computerized maintenance management is the way to go if you intend to improve efficiency, grow your portfolio, and challenge some of the most established firms. Using a reliable system to track maintenance orders will benefit your firm in the following ways: Provides Real Time Data Access Property management, as you’ve probably recognized by now, is not a 9 to 5 job. It’s more like a full time engagement, since maintenance requests come through even in the middle of the ni......
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I Miss Apartment Living: 5 Things Would Be Homeowners Need to Know

I Miss Apartment Living: 5 Things Would Be Homeowners Need to Know
This month marks my second year as a home owner and I truly miss apartment living.  Buyer’s remorse? More like the apartment blues.  Don't get me wrong, I love my home but I jumped into things with all of the wide eyed exuberance of a first time buyer.  I had big plans for my new home; remodeling, painting, hardwood floors – the works.  Now that all of the work has been done and the newness is wearing off, the reality of what it means to own a home is overwhelming at times. Articles abound describing the pros and cons of renting versus buying and while arguments can be made on both sides, highlighting the cons of home ownership could sway residents into staying a bit longer at your community.  Beyond the move-out calculator, here are 5 things to impart upon residents who are considering the switch. 1. Maintenance – kind of a no brainer.  Maintenance is usually our go to defense when residents talk about home buying.  But let’s go a bit further.  Do residents have a full understanding of what entails a professional service call?  Plumbers, electricians and the like incorporate additional fees such as trip charges and diagnostic testing on top of labor and material costs.  Some companies often do not have the proper licenses and insurance coverage – things apartment residents may not know to ask. ACTION ITEM: Create an itemized list of costs associated with common household repairs.  2. Neighbors – where to begin.  If there is one sticking po......
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Winter is Coming - Why you and your maintenance team should chat

b2ap3_thumbnail_5345634279_3052f2ee79_b.jpg  "Winter is coming!" No, not THAT winter. Actual winter, which involves actual snow (not John Snow), and more cold-weather related service requests.  When you consider service requests, there's an interesting void that exists in our industry. While these requests are a daily occurrence, they are one of the least likely aspects of the job a leasing agent will receive training on. Typically, one learns how to take a service request by listening to other team members take a service request. The result is often a vague work order that will ultimately require more than one trip to the unit and the maintenance shop. This reduces the number of service requests that are resolved in one day. Which increases both resident and maintenance team frustration.  The answer? 1. As a team, use your work order system to identify the 10 most common service requests received in the fall/winter months.  2. Maintenance team members, walk the office team members through any potential trouble shooting tips they can share with residents for those top 10. If the office team can provide an easy self-help solution, that's one less trip for a maintenance tech! For example, if a garbage disposal is not working, walk the resident through the process of hitting the reset button. 3. For each of the top 10 service requests, ask the maintenance team to identify 5 critical questions they would like the office team to ask when that service request is reported. Using the garbage disposal example, one question m......
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