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Tenant Referral Programs -- Are They Worth It?

Let’s face it – keeping vacancy rates as low as possible is any property manager’s first priority. With the economy in its current state, this is truer than ever before.  We’ve written several articles in the past on combating a lousy rental market with strategies like lease renewal incentives and cross-promoting with local businesses. This week we are offering just another tool aimed at keeping vacancy rates low – a tenant referral program. Tenant Referral Incentives – How Much is Enough? By far the most common type of tenant referral program involves offering current tenants a monetary incentive to refer a new friend, family member, or colleague to their community – the current tenant is then paid for their referral when the referred tenant signs a lease.  Although monetary incentives can come in all sizes, one of the most commonly used programs offers $100 per tenant successfully referred. It’s important to note that if you go the monetary route, incentives should match your tenant demographic – we recommend starting with an incentive that is about 20% of one month’s rent. That being said, some of the most successful referral programs actually occur in more high-end properties. A wealthy person in a high-end property may be more motivated to refer a friend for a $1000 incentive than a less well-off person would be for a $100 incentive. Get Creative with Your Program You know your property better than anybody else. In order to achieve the highest adoption of your tenant referral program,......
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Mobile app tip: "Help a friend out: How geo-location apps will build new rental referrals"

Our methods of advertising are quickly becoming more and more user content focused. With geo-location apps such as Foursquare and Facebook Places businesses are finding it much easier to push a message through mobile and digital space right when a person gets into purchasing range. We see great case-studies with Starbucks and how they employ geo-location apps to drive loyalty marketing programs. 

So, since we are in the multi-family industry, we must better understand how we can adopt similar tactics and maximize the return from the use of this ever-growing method of communicating. One of the primary ways a multifamily housing company can employ geo-location apps is through a push notification referral program. How this works is simple. A multifamily company's mobile app is designed to integrate with a person's geo-location on their phone (how geo-location apps works). When the person nears this app, a notification gets sent to them via the app itself to notify them of the current offering at community X. When they receive the notification the person then gets the opportunity to share the offering to their friends. Talk about viral, this is simply one way of many to allow others to engage and spread the word for you about your communities.

If you have questions on geo-location apps and how to integrate such a program to your company's portfolio, please notify me direct at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Happy socializing.

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Fetch Plus: Mobile and Social Media Application Blog for Multifamily Housing

The apartment industry is getting very savvy towards employing social media and mobile marketing into their media/marcomm mix and why shouldn't they? The industry has a structured revolving door of customers coupled with the fact that they sell lifestyle, a perfect marriage when it comes to running positive returns from social media and mobile marketing efforts. 

In this Blog, you will find weekly (and spur of the moment) updates on mobile and social media tools that are becoming available (i.e. anyone here of augmented reality tools and how this plays into mapping and community tours?) as well as research on usage and redemption rates.

This blog will not discuss why you should be social, how to be social or other points addressed in other blogs regarding social media team level techniques as we specialize in mobile and social media applications.

Final note, we are builders of social media and mobile applications for the multifamily industry as well as the hospitality, membership, retail and real estate (residential and commercial) industries. We build both proprietary and commercial use apps for these industries.

To learn more about our company you can visit us at www.FetchPlus.com. To visit our company blog, please go to www.FetchPlus.posterous.com.

To contact me direct please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone at 312-985-7668.

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The Frat Hazing Guide To Resident Retention

(Before you get upset by the concept, please see the disclaimer at the end!) Hazing in college is an interesting thing:  Not only does it weed out those who are not fully committed to the idea of the frat or sorority, it creates an unbelievable sense of loyalty after that initial period.  But why is that?  It sounds counterintuitive that the organization puts the person through hell, and yet the members are somehow more connected to the organization after the fact!  The reality is that however horrible it might be, surviving hazing ends up being an accomplishment, earning the ability to gain seniority within the group.  They have “paid their dues”, and if they left the group, the significant cost of hazing would be lost.  In this sense, their experience in the group gets better over time, first after surviving hazing, and later by rising in seniority.  But our service tends to take the exact opposite approach.  We give the best deals to our new residents, give them the “freshest” apartment, and end up spending much more time on them in the process.  So not only do we not provide extra benefits for them to stay many years, the system creates incentives for them to leave to the next concession!  I believe it is time to reverse this process But is it even possible to reverse the payout system?  I think it is not only possible, but I think an educated customer would find this to be a very compelling differentiator. ......
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Keep-Up Your Space to Get Their Space

First impressions can either take you a long way or stop you before you’ve even passed go. And when it comes to clients (both potential business associates and potential tenants), their first impression of you may very well involve your office. While it’s not necessary to spend a ton of money creating a luxurious office setting, it is important that everything is functional and presentable. Following are some low-maintenance tips that will help you and your office put a professional first foot forward. 1. Clear signage.Your client’s first impression of your office may well begin before he even sets foot through your front door. Make sure that your office space is clearly marked from the exterior so that customers can easily identify it and start things off on the right note. 2. Showcase yourself.Your office is a great place to do some self-promotion. Lining your walls with professional looking photographs of some of your most appealing properties and any awards or certificates you have sends great visual cues to potential clients. 3. Make space.Even if your office is a small space that is occupied only by you, be sure that you have some sort of seating option for clients. This can be as simple as a single, comfortable chair on the opposite side of your desk. But it is important that there is a place—whether it be just a chair or a conference table—where your client can sit down and make herself comfortable. 4. Points for hospitality.Putting potential clients at ease and making them as comfortable as ......
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ASKING FOR IT. "Bring it." Nuggets are out there.

Litmus Test - Ric Campo, CEO of Camden, national REIT based in Houston, BELIEVES in litmus tests. Camden is awaiting waves and raves. Multifamily Executives are asking for it. They're sticking their toes into the water...they just want Reviews and Communication through Social Media done RIGHT. They are seeking new ways to bridge the Consumer & Community Gap. Check out these recent Tweets; A national Apartment Management Company sent out this St. Paddy's Tweet..."My Lucky Day! I just turned my first negative Resident Tweet into a Positive!" And this one during March 19th's weekly Friday afternoon Twitter #AptChat. "Rented on of our apts recently? If so, let other renters know how you like it by rating it at http:..." In an ironic twist and despite the ever-growing frustration with various apartment ratings sites, several Multifamily executives are not only willing to put their properties up for review, but they are actually asking for it. “Regarding apartment reviews, it’s not that somebody has to do it, it’s that somebody has to do it right,” said Mark Juleen, VP of marketing for the JC Hart Company based in Carmel, Indiana. “Ratings and reviews have been out there for a long time in the form of ApartmentRatings.com and now Yelp.com. The problem is, these companies aren’t fostering open communication between the renting community and the apartment community.”  Companies eager to engage in the two-way dialogue taking action today include Camden, Mission Residential, Mills Properties, Gables Residential, Urbane Apartments, and the JC Hart Company.“We believe in......
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Have You Considered Specialization?

City ApartmentParticularly if you own a property in an urban area or near a university or center of business, many specialized tenant markets are just waiting to be captured. Specialized property management may be just the solution you’ve been looking for to decrease vacancies and guarantee steady rental income. When considering just a few of your options below, be sure that you take your property, location, property management style, and goals into consideration. Section 8 and low-income housingEssentially, the Section 8 program provides low-income individuals with government-assisted rent. Generally, tenants pay approximately 30 percent of a unit’s rent and the government pays the remaining balance directly to the tenant’s landlord. In such a scenario, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) will determine the unit’s fair market rate (FMR) and the landlord is not allowed to charge the tenant anything over this amount.  While it is up to you to choose whether or not to participate in Section 8, keep the following points in mind: You will be subject to property inspection to ensure you meet HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.You will not be able to charge a Section 8 tenant more than FMR.Regardless of your state’s laws, you cannot evict a Section 8 tenant without judicial action for eviction. While there may be some similarities, low-income housing is not the same as Section 8. Rather than receiving rental income from the government, property owners who run low-income properties are eligible for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). But it’s important to......
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Talent Retention T-day - What could Google's 20% do for your business?

  Google Reader. Google Docs.  Gmail.  If you're on the web much, I'll bet you've used at least one of these products, if not more.  And not a single one of them was in Google's business plan to begin with.That's right.  Everyone of these products came out of a division of Google called GOOGLE LABS. One of the most drooled over Google perks, at least in my group of friends, is their 20% policy.  It's not about bonuses, or productivity rankings, and it has nothing to do with occupancy.  Google's 20% perk states that an employee is allowed to dedicate 20% of their week,that's a whole day, to a project of their choice.  It doesn't have to be affiliated with their department or even with their direct job at Google, ie- if you're in the department that handles marketing Gmail, but you have an idea for a new service unrelated to Gmail, you get one day a week to work on it. Through this program, Google has gained a huge market share in innovations.  In fact, it is often rumored that every non search related tool, software or program that Google has came out of the 20% lot. I'll be honest; I'm what is known as a "high-maintenance" employee.  I usually think I'm right, I defy authority as often as I can, and the minute I get an idea in my head I want to execute it.  (This is why I work for myself.  Defying my own authority gives me a......
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Mobile Marketing to the Hispanic Community

Mobile Marketing to HispanicsThis past March we posted an article titled ‘Marketing to Hispanics‘ where we briefly mentioned mobile marketing. This month we would like to expand on that topic as we take a look at mobile Web sites, text messaging and mobile applications to reach the Hispanic community. According to comScore m:metrics, 71% of Hispanics consume content on cell phones compared to the market average of 48%. Nielsen’s recent ‘Mobile Advertising Report’ highlighted that Hispanic data users are more likely to recall seeing ads on mobile phones (41% compared with 30% of non-Hispanics) and more likely to have responded (22% vs. 13%). Therefore, mobile marketing to the Hispanic demographic is an opportunity to experience growth in this slowing economy. Having mobile capabilities like text messaging is ideal for these consumers to find you.  Especially since many Hispanics will first experience the Internet via their cell phones because of limitations of Internet on a home computer. In addition to having your Web site available on mobile devices is the need to offer a Spanish translated site. Many Hispanic consumers are bilingual, but there is a sizeable market that still communicates primarily in Spanish. To effectively target these consumers, mobile initiatives should include Spanish language media as a key component of the mobile marketing mix. According to Jose Villa, author of MediaPost’s blog, ‘10 Things You Should Know About U.S. Hispanics‘, “Hispanics are still a part of the honeymoon phase.”  Meaning, they are not burned out and therefore, are more likely to respond to advertisements from companies on thei......
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Just Being "Pet Friendly" Is Not Being Niche

puppyI met my brother for lunch today, along with his academic advisor (he just got his PhD), who couldn't stop talking about this little bed and breakfast that he had recommended to her. Actually, it wasn't a "B&B", it was a "BB&B" - a Bed, Breakfast, and Biscuits, with the biscuits for the dogs. The bed and breakfast was entirely targeted to dog owners, with every aspect with puppies in mind. They talked about homemade, Texas-shaped dog biscuits, couch covers to allow pets on the furniture, and even something as small as the design of the walkway, which allowed for good drainage when rinsing mud off their dogs! I had heard of "pet friendly", but this was amazing - and I'm not even a dog owner!  What was most impressive was how both my brother and his advisor didn't just say how nice it was, they RAVED about their respective stays. She was practically shaking with excitement when she pulled out her phone to show me pictures of her dog at the creek. Was she insane? Maybe a little :) but how many pet owners have you heard talking incessantly about how their little bundle of joy did the funniest thing the other day, or how cute they are when they do (fill in the blank). Now is this BB&B going to appeal to everyone? Of course not! Are non-pet lovers likely to stay there? I would highly doubt it. But the moral of the story is that not everybody has to......
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