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We're Moving? Tips on the Transition

Whew! We’re now coming through another heavy leasing season for those of us in the multifamily industry, anyway. We’ve grabbed and garnered leases left and right. We’ve been able to hold onto a lot of current residents. We’ve gotten leasing bonuses and everyone is finishing up vacation time, even though we are secretly trying to harbor a couple of days to use at Thanksgiving for Black Friday or the holidays.   For me, I have noticed that the hardest “sells” have been those families with school age children. Honestly, it brought me back to the time when my husband was rapidly moving up the corporate ladder, which necessitated many different moves all across the country. I remembered that apparently my husband’s preferred method of informing his family that we were moving was to take us to a restaurant and make the announcement. It seemed his favorite restaurant to do this in was Pizza Hut. Probably because the kids loved the pizza there (and he did, too.) However, after the fourth time it happened, it kind of ruined the idea of going to Pizza Hut for me and the kids.   It has occurred to me that the actual moving experience does not have to be horrendous. It’s the fact that, if you are not the decision-maker, it can be very stressful. After all, if you’re the child, you really get very little input in the decision. Most of the time, your parents make the announcement and start discussing all kinds of......
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A Healthy Property Management Style

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL If you like to read great business books and gobble up terms that help managers get the job done, there is one I want you to never forget, MBWA! Not only is it effective and powerful, but it is also good for your health! Here are variations on its commonly known names: The Acronym: MBWA Management by Walking Around Management by Wandering Around Management by Walking About Manage by Walking Around My own version and personal favorite is - Property Management by Walking Around (PMBWA). It is not easy because you have to push yourself away from the desk. Get out and just start walking around. Do nothing but walk. That is all you have to do. Start at the top, the bottom, the outside, the inside, or any part you would like. If you push yourself away from the office you will be out there in the thick of things. Walk around the parking lots, mechanical rooms, corridors, vacant spaces, other departments of the company, but just walk. Or as a former, very successful boss of mine said, "Get out there in look ‘em in the eye!" While you are walking ask questions, talk to people, make inquiries, and introduce yourself to strangers. Ask technicians what they are working on and ask contractors what project or task they are performing for the property? Do not have a plan or carry anything with you but your smartphone. If you must take a note, just......
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How To Handle An Abandoned Property

By Carla Toebe, New Century Realty, Kennewick, WA They say that abandonment is a landlord’s or property manager's worst nightmare when dealing with a tenant. How do you know it is really abandonment? Sometimes it’s obvious when everything is gone, the place seems perfectly empty, and the tenant's keys are lying on the counter. But what if the place is full of furniture, the food is still in the cupboard, and you can't get a hold of them? They haven't paid their rent, they haven't returned your phone calls, no one has seen them, and you can't get a hold of anyone on the emergency contact form you had them complete when they moved in. Surely this means they must have abandoned the place. So you change the locks, and uh-oh! There they are coming back claiming you have now burglarized their place. Oh no! This can't be, they clearly abandoned the place and you took all the steps you had to take that were required by law. Maybe it isn't that clear cut. Maybe a tenant still has some rights. Now you are facing penalties, a criminal investigation, and a whole slew of troubles you never knew you had. Let's back up and figure out how to determine that this is really abandonment and you have the right to take possession of your unit. You spelled out what abandonment was with your tenant and you had it written in the lease, right? Good, well at least you tried to get......
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Rent Roll Buying and Selling – More Than Meets the Eye

By Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Recently, I have been involved in the sale and purchase of a rent roll. I had the rare opportunity of consulting for both the buyer and purchaser. Let me say, this was the smoothest and least stressful rent roll transfer I have ever witnessed! Now some might say there is a conflict of interest by consulting to both the seller and the purchaser, and yes, I would agree! I definitely had my reservations about consulting and advising to both of them, but I discussed my dilemma with both parties. They both agreed they would retain me as the consultant and adviser through the negotiation, transfer, settlement, transition and retention period. In fact, I even conducted the inspection and overview on the selling rent-roll, and prepared the due diligence report. This was a tremendous lesson for all concerned (including me)! The offer and settlement process lasted for several months. The buying agency is now in the midst of the four-month retention period. The selling agency must continue to cooperate to ensure all clients (both property owners and tenants) are happy with the new managing agent. Both agencies must not become complacent or lulled into a false sense of security until they are clear of this retention period. For all intents and purposes the first goal of the buying agent is retention! The second goal is to build on the managements that they have invested in to encourage the investor to buy more property and recommend......
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The Comeback of the Transferee Tenant

Young couple looking over moving documents with property managerBy Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL One area that really took a hit during the economic downturn over the past few years was the ability to lease property to employees being hired and transferred. Nobody was hiring, and it seemed that very few companies were taking on the expense of transferring their employees to other markets. Although the job market continues to stagnate, overall it does appear that in many markets companies are beginning to add staff, and once again we are seeing an influx of transferring employees and executives. Renting a property to an incoming transferee presents a few issues that need to be considered that don’t necessarily apply to local tenants. 1. Timeframes are much more rigid. When an employee needs to transfer, they need to move. They typically have a start date for work set already. They have received instructions from their HR department to secure housing and are under pressure to get things coordinated as soon as possible. These tenants have a matter of days or weeks to completely relocate their lives. They don’t have the ability to move back a move-in due to utility problems or issues with a previous tenant move-out. When dealing with a transferee, it is important make sure that everyone commits to specific dates and that the property is 100% ready for occupancy on the lease start date. 2. You may not be able to assess creditworthiness. For international transferees, it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to retrieve a cre......
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How to Navigate a Short Sale as a Tenant

Moving boxesBy Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA You don’t have to be a homeowner to have heard the term “short sale”. It’s one of the most widely used terms in the real estate industry these days, and unfortunately, it’s also a term that many renters are starting to hear more of as well. The prolonged economic downturn that engulfed the real estate industry, starting with the subprime loan debacle, which rapidly resulted in mass foreclosures of adjustable rate home loans, has now inevitably morphed into the “short sale” frenzy of the 20% down conventional homeowner. Unfortunately, many of the affected properties are the homes of renters who abruptly find themselves caught in between the bank and the landlord’s hardships. The typical scenario is as follows: An owner/landlord carrying an upside-down mortgage on a rental property finds himself under financial distress due to the economy. The landlord tries to hold onto the property for as long as he can only to realize that it’s either too far underwater or the loan modification offered by the bank isn’t going to reduce the monthly mortgage payment enough to help him through his current financial situation. At this point, it’s either foreclosure or short sale, and currently, most banks are starting to favor short sales. Either way, the unaware tenant is typically left with minimal notice to relocate. So, what can you do if you find yourself in this situation? Tenants do have rights, and even though you may not be ab......
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Establishing Transfer Policies for Multi-unit Properties

By Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL Transfer policies are often a detail overlooked by landlords and property owners who own/manage multi-unit properties. A tenant requesting a move from one unit to another presents challenges and can add unnecessary and unexpected costs for property owners. Ignoring these requests or not addressing them properly can open landlords up to potential resentment from tenants and even legal liabilities if not properly documented. There are a lot of reasons why a tenant might request a transfer to another unit within the same property and there are positive and negative impacts resulting from this type of request. The most common reasons for these requests in my experience are: - Problems or issues with current neighbors - Maintenance issues within their current unit which they feel were not or will not be addressed - Lack of upgrades due to extended tenancy (newly remodeled units are obviously more desirable) - Preference regarding location within the property (different floor, closer to parking, amenities) - Moving from 1 unit type to another such as moving from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 2 bedroom Regardless of the tenant’s reason for the transfer request, there are both positive and negatives that you should consider. The positive: - Your tenant obviously likes the property enough to want to stay - You have a history with this tenant so you know what to expect regarding care for the property and rental payments. No surprises. That is always a positive. ......
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Resident Retention: Have We Met? You Look Awfully Familar...

The leasing agent smiles warmly at the nice-looking woman dressed in jeans, a tee shirt with her hair pulled back in a pony tail. She could swear she's seen this person before."Yes! Yes!" The woman wants to scream. "I was the one you called every other day for the past 2 weeks so I would sign a lease. I finally said yes! So here I am. Moving van outside. Am I in the twilight zone?"According to the current SatisFacts Move-In Index, 5% of all new move-ins say their keys or lease agreement is not ready when they arrive on Move-In Day. What a missed opportunity! Our leasing and sales teams spend a lot of time and energy getting prospects excited about the idea of moving in to this community. Once that prospect agrees to move-in, the excitement needs to continue. There is nothing worse than showing up to your new home, expecting the welcoming committee to be waiting for you, only to discover that not only were they not prepared for your arrival, they don't seem to even recognize you. How disappointing! The lease renewal decision begins in the first weeks, days, even hours of moving in. If the stage is not fully set for a new resident's arrival, there is a significant chance that new resident may begin regretting their rental choice almost immediately. You don't want their first thoughts at move-in to be those of moving out!Before close of business each day, ensure everything is prepared for any move-ins expected the......
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Marketing Internet Websites For Apartment Vacancy Postings!

We are all looking to save time when it comes to advertising our listings online. I am often asked what the best sites are that generate client leads. 

Here is a list of the websites I have used and received the best results:

i. Postlets.com

ii. Backpage.com

iii. Enormo

iv. Hot Pads

v. Local.com

vi. Lycos

vii. Oodle

viii. Lycos

ix. Oodle

x. Trulia

xi. Vast

xii. Zillow

xiii. Craigslist.com

I hope this helps!

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Scent, Sound and Taste?! How These Three Senses Will Increase Closings!

Through my years as a marketing major, our classes often focused on how small variables can completely alter the a course we set for ourselves and others. Engaging our senses has proven to be a highly effective closing tool and one that numerous industries use on a daily basis we may not be that aware of.

Through the senses of scent, sound and taste we can explore other options on how to make our closings a more pleasant and rewarding one.


Certain scents can be utilized as a major marketing tool to help guide you and your client to a successful closing or purchase. Grocery stores have been known to bake fresh breads during busier times of the day, allowing the smells to linger through the store and entice hungry shoppers to buy more.

Apple pie smells have been proven to close sales more quickly. Jasmine and vanilla (not together, but separate) help the buyer feel more relaxed and calm. Cinnamon can also be used to help close a deal more quickly.

Take into consideration that many people find cinnamon, including myself, to be a very overpowering and lingering smell. Not everyone will respond the same to specific smells, so make sure you use candles, burners, bakery items, etc. in moderation to avoid your buyer from running out the door!

A pleasing scent can create a warm and welcoming environment to what would normally be a hectic and stressful life decision. Model homes, designated closing tables, greeting rooms, etc. are all great places to place scents to help ease some of the stress and worry from your clients.


Tasteful music will also add to the sales environment your client has entered into. Music can provide a pleasant and welcome sound to the background.

Music should not overpower the sales presentation or become a major focal point. Appealing sounds such as soft music, nature tracks, classical or easy listening are often used as a "safe" selection.

Sounds obviously dictate a tremendous amount of how we feel or react to situations. Loud, heavy and ear-piercing music causes a lot of irritation and at times anger, to a lot of people. No one wants to be involved in a stressful situation such as signing a contract or reading the fine print of a listing agreement when 70's punk metal rock playing.


Appealing to your clients sense of taste can also enhance the sales experience. While we are not in the food and beverage industry, having small snacks and drinks is never a bad option.

Offering refreshments has become very common in the sales environment. Clients who are more "actively involved" in the sales experience by stimulating all of their senses often leave with a positive outlook. The more positive your client is, the more likely they are to buy from you.

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