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Move In - Move Out Checklist (Part 1)

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA A vital part of reducing cost when managing a rental property is limiting the expenses associated with tenant turnover. Tenant turnover usually requires the rental property to be professionally cleaned, painted or touched up, and carpets cleaned or replaced. In order for you to know what expenses to absorb and what expenses to charge back to the tenant, you should always know the current condition of the property as well as the condition in which the property was given to the tenant. To accomplish this, each tenant should be provided with a written “Move-In/Move-Out” checklist. The “Move-In/Move-Out” checklist allows both parties to identify in writing the initial “Move-In” condition and the final “Move-out” condition of the property. These checklists will eliminate any misunderstandings regarding which party will pay for non-normal wear and tear repairs throughout the tenancy and upon move out. Prior to giving the keys to the tenant the owner should completely inspect the property and document the existing condition on the “Move-In” side of the checklist. It is necessary to document the condition of the appliances, windows, screens, blinds, doors, walls, lighting, flooring, a/c, heating, toilets, faucets, ceiling fans, and any other necessary interior and exterior areas. During the initial walk-through with the tenants, it is important to review the findings with the tenant and have the tenant sign and date the document. The use of a digital camera or video camera is also recommended upon both “Move-in”......
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Creating Soul and Personality for Your Business (Part 2)

StarbucksBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Let’s continue from my last blog.  If it’s all about the client experience, and it is (just ask your clients), then how do you create a memorable and enjoyable client experience? Remember that it has to be a “real” experience because clients can spot fakes and phoneys from a mile away. Therefore your team must internalise your business personality – it must become the natural way that they interact with clients and teammates as well as how they represent your brand and your service. Step one in creating a happy client experience; inject soul into your business by finding your personality. Don’t be another ‘Me too’ business – find out what type of personality you want to portray to your clients. It doesn’t have to be fun and zany, although fun and zany may very well suit your company. Consider personality styles like classy, funky, professional, happy, colourful…the list is endless. However, you can’t fake a personality. It has to be real, genuine, and sincere. Your company has to be you. Brainstorm with your team. What is your personality? Only then can you know it, live it and be it. Once you know what your business personality is, you have the foundation to design your business premises, uniforms, marketing and in fact anything that represents your company right down to the font you choose to use to reflect this personality. By doing this your team will by way of nature automatically begin to in......
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Creating Soul and Personality for Your Business (Part 1)

DisneyBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia How do we know what service experience we want our clients to feel if we don’t know what that experience is ourselves? We don’t, so it’s no wonder our industry is mostly confused when it comes to delivering the best client experience. Have you ever experienced that feeling when you walk into a particular business and feel a culture, energy, or vibe that makes you feel good – appreciated and respected – yet you just can’t put your finger on why you feel that way? I have on many occasions. It’s what I refer to as business with soul and personality – there businesses seem to know who they are and what they are there for. It’s all about business by design. Knowing what your purpose is and what experience you want to create for your clients. Disney® knows that their purpose is to create happiness and they create a magical experience for their guests. It doesn’t matter whether their guests are visiting the parks, staying at one of their resorts, or attending a Disney® movie. If it has the name Disney® attached to it, you are assured of a magical experience. And then there is Virgin. The Virgin Group, no matter which branch of the company you are dealing with, are all about fun and laughter and crazy pranks. Every client knows that whether they are flying with Virgin, subscribing to their telephone service, or using any one of their multitudes of products and ser......
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Resident Retention: Like a Good Neighbor

In every resident satisfaction survey conducted, we ask the question, “How likely are you to renew your lease?” The options are: Very Likely, Somewhat Likely, Not Likely, or I Don’t Know. If the resident does not select “Very Likely,” we follow up with the question, “Why?”  Based on the 2010 SatisFacts Index, the #2 answer (right behind “Rent Increase”) was “Neighbors.” Nearly 13% of residents indicated they have a significant issue with their neighbors! The nature of apartment living is that we all have to learn to be good neighbors. Some are more conscientious than others, this is true. Some are not aware of an inconvenience or disturbance they may be causing through their actions. Others are just plain indifferent about whether or not they are bothering anyone. While the community team can not be responsible for every action or lack of action of each and every resident or resolve every grievance, there are some steps that can be taken to demonstrate to the residents what is expected of each person in the community and the consequences of not adhering to those expectations. 1.       Clear Community Rules and Regulations What may be “common sense” to one person may never occur to another person. As an organization, take the time and careful thought to clearly define community rules. To be effective, there is no need to define 100 rules. Identify the critical areas that have the most significant impact on quality of living. In addition, clearly define the consequences of violating the......
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Property Management - Let's Talk Bare Necessities

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA In my last entry, we discussed how it was possible in this great country of ours that a burglar could sue a property owner for injuries he sustained while robbing that same property owner.  In my next entry, we will discuss why it is in the fine state of California that a tenant can sue his landlord for injuries sustained on the property which are inflicted by criminals.  But in this entry, I will get a little more practical:  we will discuss just what your responsibility is to your tenants regarding the liveability of the unit. Just what do you – the property owner – have to provide to your residential tenant to remain in compliance with the law?  Well most of this is just common sense.  If people are going to live in the premises, if you do not provide the following, not only are you not being nice, but you are breaking the law: A weatherproof environment.  The unit has to have a roof and walls as well as doors and windows that are unbroken (more on this next entry!) Electricity.  It may come as a surprise to you that most will not want to rent your unit if they cannot plug in a TV and refridgerator.  Or it may not. Plumbing.  It may also come as a surprise to you that not only would most tenants enjoy a good shower and functioning toilet, but the law generally requires it. Gas and heating.  People don’t like to be col......
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Community from the tenants' point of view

Having been on MFI for two years now, I feel that there is a need for another perspective that most Insiders do not see.  Most everyone here has been on the leasing end so long that the feelings and needs of the tenants is more theoretical as opposed to someone who has lived in apartments most of their life.The word COMMUNITY is misused frequently here as it is not meant to be a grouping of people with a common thread (they all live at the same complex), but community to me is human interaction and exchange of ideas amongst residents of a community they call home.Ask yourself, "What have we done to promote COMMUNITY and distinguish our property from the rest?"  If the answer is a great pool, playground, fitness center or clubhouse, you are missing the meaning of community.  A better question may be, "What have we done to build relationships with our tenants and improve their social interactions?"  WHile a small percentage of people want to be shut-ins and not talk with anyone, I have found that most people want to meet others that they have something in common with.  Where they live is a great first thing to have in common.Interactions with tenants should not start off, "Yes?" or "Can I help you?" but should be, "Hi!  How are you doing today? Dis you see the new shrubbery we put along the fencing last week?"  Create a friendly environment for them to talk freely and work WITH you......
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You Have An Angry Resident – What Do You Do?

I get asked all the time about how to get involved in social media for apartment communities.  I ALWAYS say the first thing you need to do is set up some sort of reputation management system.  This means you are “listening” to what your residents (or past residents) are saying about you online, and you know how to effectively respond to it.  Sometimes this could be a scathing review on ApartmentRatings.com, or sometimes it is a comment on your own social media posting.  For example, this was the only response to this event listing, which was sent out to over 400 people:

Those two words sent a pretty strong message, didn’t they?  How would you respond in this situation?

Want to connect with me?  Add me as a friend on my profile and friend me on Facebook!

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Strategies for Collecting Missed Rent Payments

Rent CollectionBy Peter Lamandre, Better by Design Realty, Scranton, PA What to do when a tenant doesn’t pay or skips? I don’t mean hop-scotch I mean what do you do when the tenant leaves the rental prior to the termination of their lease? The process can vary and depends upon the terms of the lease (if there is one). This post will provide some pointers on how to handle this less than ideal situation. I’ve always tried to be human with my tenants and recognize that sometimes good people fall on hard times. The most important thing to remember is not to make this too personal – it is business and whereas you can empathize with the situation you can’t allow that empathy to blind you to the fact that the non-payment hurts your business. Have a specific policy set for dealing with the delinquent accounts. Here is an example action plan for collection, which based on location and local laws may need to be modified (but I think you will get the idea). 20th of the month – statements go out for next month1st of the month – rent is due5th of the month – late fees begin7th of the month – collection calls/letters begin10th of the month – eviction notices are posted13th of the month – eviction filing begins The big picture here is you need to have a plan and follow it. But what do you do if the tenant wants to make payments? Again it is all about having a ......
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Why don't we answer the phone?

Answer the phone pleaseOver the last 10 years we've seen some crazy technological shifts haven't we? Mobile phones can do it all, Internet Listing Services drive more leads than ever before, and our own websites (and the technology behind it) have become far more advanced than we could have ever dreamed. At the fundamental level all of these cool new things are just new ways to get the phone to ring, right? That's your job as marketers. So why then are the very things you're trying to get to ring, not being answered?  Stick the leasing phone in the janitor's closet. So wait...let me get this straight; we monitor our cost per leases/leads, watch our spend, and analyze our website analyticals but the phones often ring their 4 rings before "I'm sorry, we're unable to come to the phone" begins? We can roll out an incredible social media strategy with a website that accentuates our branding, maintain a direct relationship with an ILS, post Craigslist ads diligently, and drive leads through street corner belly dancers but yet as an industry our average community misses between 30-50% of their calls! How have we allowed this to happen? I'm going to get all anecdotal in here. I want to try to make a case for why you should answer the phone every time and to show you that it's possible. First I'll start by giving you a tiny bit of my history; trust me..it's relevant to the conversation. WAAYYY back in the stone age (1996-1999) before......
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Decrease Vacancies with Creative Leasing Strategies

Leasing StrategiesBy Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL As the weather warms up and the rental leasing season gets into full swing it is easy to get caught up in the rush of showing requests, rental applications, lease signings, and new tenant walk through appointments that usually fill these months for leasing agents and management companies. From what we are seeing in our area and what I have heard from managers and agents in other markets this is one of the more active springs in recent history for tenant moves and new leasing activity. We have seen our average vacancy time decrease from 30 days to less than 20 days over the last few months and some properties are renting as soon as they hit the open market. This is a far cry from just a few months ago when we were in the middle of one of the least active leasing winters that we can remember in the Midwest. While this is all great news for those of us who earn a living filling and managing these vacant units, we have noticed one area where things have not picked up all that much. The “tough to rent” properties are still hard to move. The nice unit in the dirty building, the overpriced 1 BR apartment, the house with the crazy wallpaper, the home next to the hoarding neighbor, and other general nightmare rentals still continue to be issues. While the market seems to be increasingly active, I see the activity ......
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