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Supersize Me: Scaling Multifamily Like McDonald's

Supersize Me: Scaling Multifamily Like McDonald's
Lessons from McDonald's What’s McDonald's Secret? Consistency & Repeatability McDonald's is a master at scaling their operations. The key is consistency. This is their process: Create the recipe Perfect a process that is consistent and repeatable Scale! All across the world... Think about this: the chefs who create these recipes have trained in their craft for years, sometimes decades -- but the crew that prepares the fries will be trained within three days! Now, that’s mastery of scale.     How Consistent Are Your Operations? When you think about scaling your own operations, are you able to identify areas which would benefit from this idea of consistency? For example, do you nurture your leads consistently? Do your prospects always receive a follow up? (From our surveys, we know 45.8% of 3rd party manager prospects do not receive any follow up.) Do your prospects receive nurturing emails that inform them about the neighborhood, the amenities or the features of your community? (From our surveys, we know only 12.5% of the 3rd party manager prospects receive nurturing emails.) Do your prospects receive a reminder on the night before the tour? (From our surveys, we know only 12.5% of the 3rd party managers sent a reminder.) As another example, is your resident renewal program consistent? Do your residents receive an offer to renew when their lease is up? Do your residents receive a friendly notice reminder? Do your residents receive a helpful move-out checklist, if they don’t choose to renew?   How to Scale Multi......
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The Positive Impact of ORM on Apartment Operations

The Positive Impact of ORM on Apartment Operations
If you were asked to provide an example of just how much the multifamily industry has changed over the years, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more powerful one than the emergence of online review sites like Yelp and Google. As apartment communities across the country have learned, reviews posted by residents and prospects – and the online responses of operators – can make the difference between sinking and swimming. Consider this: according to a Kingsley Associates study conducted on behalf of RentPath, 91.4 percent of apartment shoppers rely on reviews and ratings at least to some extent when looking for their next home. These days, effective online reputation management (ORM) is absolutely vital to a community's success. But it's also important that operators and their onsite staffs not become intimidated by ORM or view it as a form of drudgery, simply yet another item to be checked off the daily to-do list.  Instead, apartment companies should embrace ORM enthusiastically and look at it not only as a necessary endeavor in today's marketplace but as a great opportunity to improve their operations. Free Market ResearchForward-thinking operators know that a robust ORM program can produce more than a slew of five-star ratings. They have realized that the honest online feedback can serve as invaluable – and free – market research into how to improve operations at their communities.  That's because when they're motivated to leave an online review, residents are inclined to provide the kind of raw and honest assessments they might not pro......
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Insights into the Future of Property Maintenance

FPM1Technology has greatly impacted the sales and leasing side of property management. The industry has seen how companies like Zillow and Airbnb change how we market and sell online.  Facilgo wanted to understand if the operations and maintenance side had been similarly impacted.  Specifically, we wanted to understand how changes in technology or other external forces would cause fundamental shifts in how people were planning to allocate their workforce in the future.   External to the survey, our conversations with various property management companies revealed that changes in the labor market made it difficult to hire and retain maintenance personnel.  Specifically, they stated that Millennials often left maintenance jobs for jobs in other industries due to the heavy usage of paper processes and lack of mobile apps being available to complete their jobs efficiently.   Our survey touched upon how new strategies were being used to deal with changes in the labor market and whether technology was having an impact on their organizations now or in the future.   Facilgo surveyed 54 companies to better understand their visions for the future of property maintenance.  We were able to see several patterns in the industry as a whole, and although our sample sizes were small for certain sub-segments, we were able to gain some insight into them as well.   In general, we found that as of yet, technology had not substantially changed how companies structured their maintenance operations.  Larger properties continued to staff properties with dedicated maintenance personnel, while smaller properties had......
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Balancing the Needs of Multifamily Owners and Residents

Balancing the Needs of Multifamily Owners and Residents
When you're a third-party manager of an apartment community, you have two groups of customers: the owner of the property and the residents. At first glance, it may seem as though balancing the needs of these two groups would be difficult.  After all, their objectives are quite different: the owner wants to see consistent revenue growth, reduced expenses and year-over-year NOI growth, while the residents want a place that fits their lifestyle needs and truly feels like a home. They couldn't care less about the property’s NOI. On top of that, they're not crazy about rent increases, which owners want to see. But in the end, a third-party manager should see that the interests of these two groups really are aligned. They both want a well-run, customer-service-centric apartment community. Such a property will attract prospects and make current residents happy, compelling them to renew their leases; in turn, that will lead to strong financial performance that delivers rent growth and the returns ownership is seeking. Along the same lines, keeping both ownership and residents happy involves similar tactics. Below are some of those tactics: • Open and frequent communication. This is a big one. Residents need to be kept firmly in the loop about what's going on at their community. For instance, if the water supply to a building is going to be shut off for a period of time, they need to know as far in advance as possible. If work to the front gate is going to impact their dri......
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Sex, Drugs & Property Management

Sex, Drugs & Property Management

Property managers often have to get involved in...delicate...situations involving resident complaints. It can be awkward enough fielding and handling complaints about pets constantly barking. But what do you do about the, um, complaints of a more intimate matter? You need to address these, but they can be a little embarrassing for all parties involved, including you. (By the way, I'm not going to go into specific details about these particular complaints, because this is a professional blog, and also, my mom reads all of my stuff. Hi, mom!) Here are some strategies to maintain order—and your dignity—at your community. Having a strong lease agreement is your best defense, so make sure that is in order, and feel free to point residents in that direction if they're violating anything on it. And, of course, the goal should never be to embarrass or shame the offender, but to come to a solution that makes everyone comfortable.

Anyway, here are some of the more personal issues you might have to face as a property manager, and some suggestions of how to deal with them.

Read the entire blog: Sex, Drugs & Property Management

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Give Me a Choice! Why Residents Will Thank You for Mobile Optimization

b2ap3_thumbnail_why-residents-will-thank-you-for-mobile-optimization.jpg  While making a hotel reservation the other day, (online, at the hotel website, of course), I was informed that a new feature was available: the self-serve kiosk! This latest advancement in hospitality technology would allow me to check in by simply scanning the QR code on my confirmation email (which would be on my smartphone) and then unlock my room using the code provided. When checking out, I would log in, confirm the charges, and have a PDF of the receipt emailed to me. No fuss, no keys, and no pesky human involved!   So why am I not thrilled? No standing in line, no patiently listening to a desk clerk reciting the scripted welcome message without ever looking me in the eye, no key to misplace or demagnetize – I must be in hotel heaven, right? No, not exactly – I still like pesky humans. Sometimes. And I like playing the game called “where can I put my key so it’s still there and it still works when I get back to my room at night?”. Sometimes.  At least give me a choice, because sometimes I just want to get into my room as quickly and easily as possible, and sometimes I want to interact with another human.  It’s kinda like shopping at the local Lowes. I can go through the checkout line with a cashier, where a cashier rings up and bags my merchandise, hands me a receipt and thanks me for shopping at Lowes. Or, I can go to the self......
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It's all about the Services Program!

It's all about the Services Program!
I've recently been traveling all over the nation with my position.  I've been from Atlanta to Charlotte to Dallas to LA trying to understand what different markets are doing, new trends on properties and what is being offered to the current resident base.  Every city that I go to has something different that stands out, but one underlying commonality among many different properties across the nation, is the shift toward Service Programs. Our Industry has adopted a shift toward offering a Lifestyle package at our properties.  We have seen that residents love the interaction on social, they come out and enjoy themselves when we host great parties, they have become interested in what the community can offer them.  Well, a natural progression was for us to start offering Services, and I have seen many being offered at all property types.  Many of the people that reside in our communities are looking for convenience.  Our residents work long hours, frequently travel, have kids that they need to cater to, are downsizing so that they can enjoy life; they are looking for events, services, and conveniences that will make their daily lives easier.  What I've liked most is a property that knows their true "Niche"- say they are LEED certified and aggressively try to make the community and area a better/greener place to be.  It's very cool to see Services that this type of community can provide that evolve from the Green lifestyle.  Some ideas: Recycling Services; Green Irene Services; Light Bulb changing; Organic......
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