Enter your email address for weekly access to top multifamily blogs!

Multifamily Blogs

This is some blog description about this site

The Circle of (A Property’s) Life

By Linda Day Harrison, Manager Labs, Chicago, IL There are business models in all shapes and sizes. There are retail stores, medical and legal practices, cleaning companies, general contractors, grocery stores, etc. So when you think about a business, how many business models do you know of where the business owner outsources the entire business to another party? For instance, if you visit your local grocery store, is it managed by a grocery management company? How about a retail store management company? So what makes the residential real estate investment business any different? Why are there so many property management companies and outsourced service providers to the property industry? According to a colleague of mine, the answer is quite simple, “It is not easy, there is so much at stake, and there are many moving parts.” Also, when you think about properties as investments, there are often multiple partners and joint venture groups who own the assets. In those cases, the managing partner realizes they do not have enough time or expertise to do all of the functions required of them to maximize the value of the asset. That is what outsourcing offers. As a property manager outsourced by these partnerships, the responsibility of managing that asset is crucial in so many ways. First of all you have been selected by the partner on the management of the asset. All of the actions you take as the manager or management company directly reflect onto the reputation of that partner or company......
Continue reading
1411 Hits
0 Comments

Do Short-Term Rentals Make Sense for Property Managers?

Short-term rentalsA guest post by Ashley Halligan, Analyst, Property Management Software Guide Short-term rentals, of all natures, have become a hot commodity – and a controversial one at that. Short-term rentals can include vacation rentals and temporary housing, often sought by vacationers, business travelers, or people who have recently relocated while seeking long-term living arrangements. Either way, it’s become an ongoing topic of debate and an attractive investment opportunity for property owners and managers. In comparison to traditional rentals, short-term rentals can charge significantly higher rates given their nightly and weekly availabilities. Some property owners have earned as much as 25% of their mortgage in a single night. And during special events or peak rental periods in a given area, potential rental rates can be very attractive to property owners. Because of the income short-term rentals can procure, the opportunity for profit potential may be exponential – but there are several considerations that should be kept in mind. First and foremost, it’s essential to keep the added costs of maintaining a short-term rental in mind. These rentals can be subject to Hotel Occupancy Taxes in certain cities, while other cities require specific licensures and inspections not required of traditional, long-term rentals. Penalties for not abiding by short-term rental laws in your city may result in hefty fines. There can also be increased insurance costs. Additionally, the cost of regular upkeep and maintenance, including utilities, should be calculated. In order to continually attract tenants, your property must be kept in prime condition, both functionally and cosmetically. F......
Continue reading
4994 Hits
0 Comments

Always Good Decisions To Be Made; The Apartment Developer's Dilemma

Not long ago, I toured an apartment complex with two friends; one was the architect who designed it and the other, the developer who built and owns it. The exterior was gorgeous and appropriate. The amenities were unique and clever. The units appeared to be attractive and reasonable for the market…that is until we entered the kitchen. This room was comprised of dark hardwood floors, rich wood cabinetry, stainless appliances and a builder-grade white laminate counter (that stuck out like a sore thumb). I winced. I looked to my architect friend- who gave me the ‘this isn’t the time’ slight head shake. We continued the tour.  Later, I took the architect aside and asked ‘What the [email protected]*k was that?’ He explained that there were originally granite counters spec’ed, but that they were lost in the V.E. process. To me, this was yet another example of the bad results of not training our young developers to know the difference between a good and a bad decision. It’s the problem of not teaching them that development happens in the real world- not on a spreadsheet. Which brings me to our theme; ‘Whenever there is a decision, there is always a good decision to be made.’ Now I’m not saying that every decision has an option which is ideal, just that there are always better and worse choices. When, as developers, we accept the opportunity to reshape the world around us, we also take on the responsibility to understand the ramifications of the decisions......
Continue reading
3287 Hits
4 Comments

Structural Integrity; The Apartment Developer's Dilemma

Many of the topics that we discuss in this blog are related to three basic themes;   1.       The Industry is broken and in need of a major overhaul. 2.       As our product becomes increasingly complex, the skill set of the developer has diminished. 3.       It is within our power to reclaim the glory of our profession.   For those of us dedicated to the betterment of the profession, one of the major challenges that we face is that our firm’s lack integrity. Now by that I don’t mean that they are liars. Nor do I mean that they are out polluting our rivers and streams, etc. I use ‘integrity’ in a broader and more exact sense. Integrity is achieved when each of our members is working in concert with the whole. In other words, when our highest ideas and values can be witnessed in even the simplest of our work and projects, there is integrity.   Let’s begin with the following principles; Each of us is made up of three primary components; the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual. We, as individuals, operate more happily and effectively when those three aspects act in unison. Put another way, when our actions operate in concert with our values, we achieve harmony. There are also three primary aspects of our lives; work effort, personal effort and sleep. If we live in accordance with our values in only two of the three, then our quality of life and greatness of achievement will be lessened.......
Continue reading
1741 Hits
0 Comments

Multifamily Mommy: Apartments, Diapers and Work… OH MY!

I’m 30. There, I said it, I got it out there. I’m 30 and my husband and I just had our very first baby, 3 weeks ago. Up until now, we both favored college and then careers over family. We wanted to be established, be able to provide for a child before we committed to having one. For the last few years, thankfully, we’re at a point where we can provide the way we want to and so the “having a baby” journey, began. So why am I telling you this? Well… at 30, I’m established in my career and my husband and I are accustomed to having fun and traveling… and with a baby, well, a LOT of things will have to change… or will it? If you read any “mommy” books or blogs, many describe motherhood and caring for a child as the single hardest thing they’ve ever done… clearly they’ve never worked during budget season for a multifamily company, but I digress… Admittedly, I am no expert on the subject of being a working mom just yet, but I’ve learned a lot in the past 3 weeks. Many of you might assume that I am on maternity leave… and while I am, sort of, I’m still working about 25-30 hours a week (from home). So I’ve sort of gotten a crash course in this whole dual role thing and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Maybe I’m lucky and I have a good baby… ......
Continue reading
1565 Hits
4 Comments

Fourth Annual Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates List

Today, I’m excited to announce the release of our annual Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Grads list with Hartford-New Haven claiming the #1 spot!    Faced with a sluggish economy, many college graduates who collected their diplomas in the spring are still looking for jobs and a place to live as summer comes to a close.  As competition for jobs soars, along with the cost of rent, there is hope for many of these newly minted graduates who know which cities afford them the best opportunity to jump-start their professional lives.  To help give these post grads a leg up, Apartments.com and CareerRookie.com—the collegiate job website from CareerBuilder.com—have revealed their 4th annual best cities list to paint a realistic landscape of the current job market and cost of living in the most popular cities for young adults.   The Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates list was based on the ranking of top U.S. cities with the highest concentration of young adults, inventory of jobs requiring less than one year of experience along with the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment.    Read the press release now.   The Apartments.com and CareerRookie.com 4th Annual Top 10 Best Cities for New Grads list. Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates Average Rent for a One Bedroom Apartment 1.     Hartford-New Haven $1,047 2.     Cleveland $695 3.     Boston $1,625 4.     Denver $994 5.     Minneapolis $941 6.     San Francisco $1,560 7.     Washington D.C. $1,679 8.     Philadelphia $1,068 9.    ......
Continue reading
1974 Hits
0 Comments

Confessions of a Virtual Employee

I’m not new to the virtual workplace but I’m new to working for my current company, virtually and I have a confession to make… I’m WAY more productive at my home office than at our corporate office. Shocked? In disbelief? Think I’m not exactly being truthful? Well, then do let me explain and I’ll make you a believer! When I’m working from my home office, I’m doing just that… working from a HOME OFFICE. I’m not in bed; I’m not watching TV… I’m at my desk just like a “real” employee. What I don’t have is:  A commute (not that I have much of one normally, I live a staggering 3 miles from our corporate office). Morning “hello’s” and sharing with my work friends (come on… we ALL do it). The office gossip stopping by… even though you try to politely indicate that you don’t want to hear it (again, we ALL have one… maybe it’s you, ha!) they always outstay their welcome. General distractions… the mail cart coming by, people dropping in to converse some more, etc… Now, I’ll be totally honest here… I do miss the camaraderie that comes with working in an office setting. I work with some GREAT people whom I consider friends as much as colleagues and working at home has been an adjustment and a bit, well, lonely (shhhh don’t tell my husband). But all of the “what I don’t haves”, mentioned above, translates to one GIANT thing I do have: UNINTERUPTED TIME TO WORK…......
Continue reading
1245 Hits
0 Comments

The Frustrations of a Trainer… and What WE Can Do Better!

I hadn't been in Multifamily housing in a few years... instead I left and worked with the Dale Carnegie Training Organization, honing my craft and providing training solutions and direction to businesses across the globe. I was, however, eager to get back to my first love... the Apartment Industry!  Things hadn't really changed much... on one hand, I was glad, because I could get right back into the swing of the "business" without missing a beat on the other hand, I couldn't believe that evolution hadn't really happened. It was "the same old"...  Upon joining the Sterling family, I developed our all new Intro to Leasing course in my first month of joining the organization (and 17 other courses since then). The company had lacked any real training prior to my joining the company and it was so welcomed, that I felt a little overwhelmed at its reception (in a good way, of course).  In our Intro to Leasing class, I set out to start the evolution (at least at my company)... covering some pretty advanced stuff and I’d say it's safe to say that most people haven’t experienced the kind of training I provide, before. Now, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here; however, I’ve discovered that our industry “trainers” are usually people who’ve climbed up the property management ladder and who’d been successful onsite. That’s great… that’s how I started! But, I left our industry for some time and was trained on how to train. Something I......
Continue reading
2796 Hits
2 Comments

Computer Illiterate? Seek Help!

Let’s face it… the internet is NOT a fad (sorry Al Gore) and the role both the internet and computers play in our business is vast and ever growing. Let’s take a look at what parts of our business are computer and/or internet based:    Communication (with Colleagues & Prospects)- Email, usually Outlook is used in our business Learning Management Systems- Does your company offer online learning? Property Management Software- On our computers and generally on the internet Social Media  Rent Payments- A good portion of us allow residents to pay online Advertising- Our biggest source of traffic, in a lot of instances is apartments.com Weekly/Monthly Reports- Excel and Word play a big role in how we relay information Performance Appraisals- Many are integrated into our HRIS systems, which are internet based Payroll Time Tracking- Does anyone use a manual system anymore? New Colleague Orientation- Unless your company is 100% local, the internet is often used Accounting- Most accounting departments use our property management software in conjunction with computer and/or internet based financial software Payroll- The majority of us rely on Direct Deposit, which uses a computer to transmit. I could go on and on… I think the writing on the wall is pretty clear, to be successful in our business you MUST have some sort of computer know-how. I’m not talking learning HTML here… I’m talking the VERY BASICS of computer understanding! Frankly, I’m blown away, nearly on a daily basis; at the lack of computer knowledge so many ......
Continue reading
2493 Hits
0 Comments

Your Guide to Online Reputation Management

Online reputation managementBy Peter Lamandre, Better By Design Real Estate, Scranton, PA “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” - Benjamin Franklin We all work hard to build our reputations. I was speaking with a potential property management client yesterday, when I asked him if he had any questions about my firm. His reply was simple; “Yes, are you honest?” I chuckled and reminded him that he was a referral from one of our oldest clients. The fact of the matter is that people like to do business with those they know, like, and TRUST. In property management the TRUST part is a big piece — after all the owner of the property is basically saying here is my single biggest asset, you’re in charge; please make me lots of money. In the old days you would go to a chamber of commerce meeting, or an apartment association meeting, or a similar in-person event (we still do these things). In today’s internet-driven world, clients often first find you online then send you an email or fill out an online prospect form. The consumer will then conduct research online to find out all they can about you and your firm. The hard part is knowing what is said about you online — have you ever given thought to how many websites are out there? Here are some quick stats from pingdom.com: Websites 255 million – The number of websites as of December 2010 21.4 million – The number ......
Continue reading
4240 Hits
0 Comments