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It's All Right In Front Of You

Keeping residents and attracting new traffic is no easy feat these days.  Everyone tells you to “add value”, but there is no money to add much of anything right now.  It’s time to get creative.  Take a look around your environment.  Look at what is right in front of you – how can you add value using what you’ve got?Step into that big empty room nobody ever uses.  According to Entrepreneur, Do It Yourself weddings are back.  Between food prices and the recession, if you’re getting married, or planning a reunion or even a baby shower, renting a venue is a big expense you might not have money for.   If you have a clubhouse, you have room for a party.  Think about adding value by making an area available for parties.  If you already do this, reinforce the offer in your newsletter.  If you don’t have the ability, or don’t have a clubhouse, what do you have?  My homeowner’s association picked eight Saturday nights during the summer and offered the pool area up for private parties (for a small fee) after 8pm.  The response was fabulous.  How can you take your common areas and add value to them?If you have a guest suite offer a free night’s stay as part of a renewal or leasing incentive.  Make sure residents understand the value offered by attaching “a $$$ value” to your presentation or collateral piece.  Invite your coworkers to a challenge to answer the phone each and every time it rings.  Value......
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Don't Forget the Little Things

In my travels, I am finding that many communities are experiencing a substantial and unanticipated drop in traffic.  That, coupled with increased move outs due to job loss, etc. has resulted in less than desirable vacancy rates. In addition to increased marketing efforts, it’s important and timely to keep in mind that the little things do count.  Rather than gazing out the window and wondering where all the traffic went, and speculating on when it might come back, take action and clean up your act.  A few suggestions:•    How many times have you pulled into a business thinking you might buy something, and pulled right back out because the place just didn’t look kept up?  Empty the ashtray out front.  Clean the windows on your front door.  Wash the coffeepot. Clean the golf cart.  Examine your entry mats.  Don’t forget the restrooms.•    Visit your competition.  Have breakfast with a competitor.  Find out, (as Marvin Gaye so eloquently sang), what’s going on.•    Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…your fireplace-is it on?•    When was the last time your community’s clubhouse and exterior windows were cleaned?  The difference will be clear, no pun intended.•    Pay close attention to the your appearance and the appearance of your team.  Do you all convey a positive, professional image?Above all, persevere.  Weather the storm.  Make every contact with clients and residents count.  Look at your community, your team, your competition and decide what you need to do become a community of choice. ......
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Time to Renovate?

I'm not on the construction/building side of the multifamily industry, so I may be a little out of my area of expertise on this one, but I have one question to pose: Is now a great time to renovate? Assuming you can get financing, which right now is a pretty big "if", raw materials might be extremely inexpensive. I admit I don't know this firsthand, but it seems like a good bet that with the extreme slowdown on the housing market, excess inventory is probably readily available. A good buyer should be able to get strong discounts for all sorts of materials, from lumber to fixtures. Of course, this assumes that you aren't fighting for your life in the current economic condition, so everything is relative, I suppose.

Just something to think about...

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