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

Multifamily Blogs

This is some blog description about this site

Welcome to the Age of the Customer: The Information Age is Over

Source: Forrester Research, Inc.By Dan Hobin, CEO, G5 I’ll never forget when I was in college, I saw Guns N’ Roses open for The Rolling Stones.  A few songs before falling off the stage, Axel Rose whipped out, “You’re crazy—hey hey, you know you’re crazy—you’re f***ing crazy”.  Remember those lyrics? That was a good tune, and probably what someone would say to you today if you told them the Information Age is over. According to a report published last summer by Josh Bernoff of Forrester, the Information Age is evolving into a whole new age. With commoditization and the continuous disruption of technology, the Age of Information has given way to the Age of the Customer – an era where only “customer-obsessed companies will survive”. When we moved from the Industrial Age to the Distribution Age to the Information Age, competitive barriers like manufacturing strength and distribution power lost their value of differentiation as they became commoditized. Similarly, the commoditization of information has now opened the door for a new type of differentiation. In the Age of the Customer, dominance will come from those companies who engage best with empowered customers. Customers are digital, they are mobile, and they now have more power than ever before. The balance of power has shifted. With online reviews, social media, and smart phones, your customers know more about your products, services, competitors and pricing than you do—and they share their opinions with their friends. So is the Information Age actually over?  Consider that when we moved from the Agriculture Age to the Industrial Age, agriculture did not......
Continue reading
1664 Hits
0 Comments

If It Ain't Broke . . .

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Well, hello there and happy 2012 to you all. It has been a little bit of time since we have had a chance to chat. I will beg your forgiveness for being pre-occupied with year end duties, and a jury trial in Visalia, California that preoccupied my time and has prevented me from indulging in the blogging world. Now that I am able to focus, I want to talk to you about every one's favorite topic – repairs – from everyone's favorite perspective – a lawyer. But before I do, I'll share with you how I spent my New Year's Eve. It's a story that pretty much exemplifies why it is important to have a good handyman at your disposal. And why it is important that you not rely on your father to do repairs at your home or your leased property. As is the case with a lot of you, my parents came to see their grandchildren for Christmas. They did not come to see me or my lovely wife. They wanted to see my kids while they are still cute, and say and do precious things. I recognize this and accept it. My little brother will soon benefit from this phenomenon. For the first time, my parents will actually go to see him in the cesspool (I mean lovely city) that is Los Angeles*. As payback for this parental neglect, I frequently use the visits as the opportunity to......
Continue reading
1187 Hits
0 Comments

What You Need to Know About Facebook Timeline

A few months ago, Facebook announced the release of Timeline, a new interface made to boost engagement and user connectivity for all pages, especially for brands and businesses. Come March 30th, all Facebook Pages will have made the transition to the Timeline format. Today, let’s focus on the aspects in Timeline that are different from your current Business Page. Mashable did a great job explaining the major changes, and we’ve added our insights to relate this to your community. 1. Updated Look and Feel: The format of Timeline for brands is quite similar to Timeline for personal profiles. A cover photo lives at the top of the Page, and the Page is separated into two main columns with a dividing line representing the passage of time. This format provides you with new options for story telling: You can outline your history with milestones (such as grand openings, resident events, etc.) to construct a narrative for your audience. 2. Reduced Tab/App Visibility: The new Timeline format does not have the left-side panel of links, which could include hundreds of different tabs. While applications still exist, they’ll display differently, in rectangular panels underneath the cover photo. The width of the Timeline and the space allocated for native apps like Photos means that only four tab panels are viewable at any given time. To see more, users must expand the tab panel by clicking a drop-down box. You have the ability to assign which tabs you want to display in the top four panels. 3. Pins: One major new feature that you as a property manager......
Continue reading
1866 Hits
2 Comments

A Healthy Property Management Style

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL If you like to read great business books and gobble up terms that help managers get the job done, there is one I want you to never forget, MBWA! Not only is it effective and powerful, but it is also good for your health! Here are variations on its commonly known names: The Acronym: MBWA Management by Walking Around Management by Wandering Around Management by Walking About Manage by Walking Around My own version and personal favorite is - Property Management by Walking Around (PMBWA). It is not easy because you have to push yourself away from the desk. Get out and just start walking around. Do nothing but walk. That is all you have to do. Start at the top, the bottom, the outside, the inside, or any part you would like. If you push yourself away from the office you will be out there in the thick of things. Walk around the parking lots, mechanical rooms, corridors, vacant spaces, other departments of the company, but just walk. Or as a former, very successful boss of mine said, "Get out there in look ‘em in the eye!" While you are walking ask questions, talk to people, make inquiries, and introduce yourself to strangers. Ask technicians what they are working on and ask contractors what project or task they are performing for the property? Do not have a plan or carry anything with you but your smartphone. If you must take a note, just......
Continue reading
2624 Hits
3 Comments

New ACH Rule Makes Electronic Payments More “Personal”

A day in the life of a property manager is never boring. Between answering phone calls, showing units, following up on emails, managing service requests, and dealing with move-outs and renewals, there is never a dull moment. Smart property managers are always on the lookout for new ways to improve efficiency and free up time for important tasks. Converting paper checks to electronic ACH payments is a great way to boost productivity by eliminating daily trips to the bank. Over the last decade, more and more property management companies have recognized this opportunity and deployed electronic payment solutions at their sites. By scanning paper checks to process as electronic ACH debits, on-site staff finds more time to serve residents, fill vacant units, and increase revenue. Perhaps the only drawback to check conversion has been the requirement that residents deposit their checks in a drop box, rather than simply delivering them personally to property staff. ACH transactions are governed by NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association. One of NACHA’s requirements for these Accounts Receivable (ARC) transactions was that only checks delivered securely – such as through the mail or at a drop box location — may be scanned and converted to electronic ACH payments. So, when residents brought checks into the leasing office, the staff had been required to direct them to a drop box. This extra step can interrupt the flow of customer service and depersonalize interactions with residents. Thankfully, a recent revision to NACHA rules eliminates this requirement and expands ......
Continue reading
3921 Hits
2 Comments

The Secret is Out: Your Apartment Property Maintenance Team is a Valuable Marketing Tool

Plumber Working on a Bathroom SinkLast month in the article “The Top Secret Apartment Marketing Weapon: Your Maintenance Team,” I shared my positive experience with a hotel housekeeper and how it made me wonder about the effect a maintenance staff can have on marketing an apartment property. Curious to learn what others thought, I posted some questions in a couple of multifamily LinkedIn groups and Multifamily Insiders: Does your maintenance staff greet your residents? If so, is it in a warm and friendly manner? Does the maintenance staff take the time to learn names of residents, family, and pets? Does your maintenance staff ask residents if they are experiencing any problems? Is your maintenance staff empowered to create a service request or, better yet, fix the problem on the spot if time allows? Based on responses, the bottom line is that property owners and managers view their maintenance teams as important and effective marketers. According to those who responded, maintenance employees can offer a “warm fuzzy” to residents (in some cases they can be considered like family) and “can make or break your asset’s performance.” One even suggested offering tours of the maintenance facility when showing around potential residents. Consider this hypothetical example from one online respondent: Let’s say an apartment property averages six service requests per unit each year. If we assume that the average apartment property has 200 units, a maintenance staff could potentially interact with residents at least 100 percent more than the leasing staff. Think about that. With that amount of ......
Continue reading
5068 Hits
3 Comments

Telling Tall Tales; The Apartment Developer's Dilemma

When recently asked about which skill I felt was the most important for a real estate developer to possess, I was stumped for about thirty seconds (which is an eternity when someone is staring at you and waiting). My mind raced. How could I not just rattle-off something well thought out and brilliant? Shouldn’t this be a question that every developer must be able to answer without flinching? Well- I flinched. But at the end of that short eternity, my answer was ‘They must be great storytellers.’    I say this for one simple reason: At his most basic level, the developer is a master salesman. We sell our visions and dreams to our investment committees, the communities in which we work, municipalities, equity partners and debt providers, and eventually to the end user.   So what makes someone a great storyteller?   1.       VALUES. More specifically, understanding what your audience values. Unlike a Dr. Seuss fairytale, the developers’ story is intended to illicit a response. It is designed to excite and sway the audience to allow us to build, help the designers understand our vision, invest in our project, lease or purchase from us, etc.  Our story will only connect with the listener if it appeals to what they value. For instance, telling a County Commissioner about how much money you stand to make will not excite them…hearing that same story, your equity partner will be quite pleased. 2.       FOCUS. A good storyteller understands that they are only providing a framework......
Continue reading
3776 Hits
3 Comments

Lessons Your Community Can Learn from Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but once again the occasion raised the question; is it a day full of love and romance, or simply an over-glamorized “Hallmark” holiday? During the week of the fourteenth, the topic of Valentine’s took over social media platforms everywhere, as an inundation of tweets and posts told the tale of two hearts, one positive and one negative. As “#HappyValentine’sDay” was a trending topic on Twitter, “#Happytobesingle” followed close behind from those who were not as enthused. Whether the array of red and pink decor, flower bouquets and chocolate heart boxes leave you feeling tickled pink or filled with anxiety and despair, Valentine’s Day still provides some informative takeaways for your business.   1. Don’t limit your gestures to special occasions, spread the love year-round.Although holidays are an appropriate opportunity to show someone you care, provide gifts to family and friends and maybe partake in the annual mingling with relatives, these kind gestures ought to become habit all year long—and your marketing efforts should follow suit. Building relationships and engaging with residents must be an ongoing occurrence, especially in your social media interactions. Share the love each day by setting aside time to interact with residents through social media.   2. Spice things up.Monotony and routine have no place on Valentine’s Day, nor should they appear in your marketing. Keep residents involved and engaged by using different communications outlets and messages. Explore new ways to attract residents while also adding value for current renters. Have you ......
Continue reading
1219 Hits
0 Comments

Resident Retention: The Importance of a Culture of Responsiveness

Even as we’re able to start pushing rents in the market, it is still “Mission Critical” to increase or, at least, maintain net operating income (NOI) and asset value – which happens when we increase resident retention.  However, it isn’t the resident functions or monthly drawings that will help residents feel better about rent increases and renew their leases.  In surveys conducted by SatisFacts Research, “office staff responsiveness to calls and emails” still has the greatest impact on the decision to renew.  By creating a culture of responsiveness, a property management team can not only increase resident satisfaction, but can even increase retention despite rent increases! Here are some examples of resident quotes taken from completed resident satisfaction surveys:  “The biggest problem to me is to get a response from the person who was my leasing agent. I have tried to set up a meeting with the manager about my concerns but have had no luck.” “The expectation is for me to be a model resident, respect the property, pay rent on time, etc. That’s fine. In turn, my expectation is to have my concerns addressed in a timely manner. Not being informed of the status of things disturbs me and conveys a lack of respect.” “The attention and service from the leasing and office staff is great before you move in; and after you move in, it all stops.” So what can the average property management company (with limited time, resources and staff) do to nurture a culture of responsiveness,......
Continue reading
5692 Hits
7 Comments

Can Your Rental Property Become a Day Care?

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA In a recent notice received by our legal counsel addressing this very issue, apparently if you own rental property in California the scary answer is yes! The great state of California is widely known as a pro-tenant state when it comes to tenant-landlord related issues. Many cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles are saddled with pockets of rent controlled areas making investment opportunities less attractive. They also have unfavorable statewide eviction laws that allow deadbeat tenants to continue residing in properties months after defaulting on rental payments. So this should come as no surprise that according to state law if the tenant is licensed by the California State Department of Social Services (DSS) it only takes a thirty day written notice of their intent to legally start and operate a day care center without the permission of the landlord if the total number of children under care, including the children of the tenant, is limited to six. In fact, permission from the landlord is only necessary if the tenant chooses to increase the total number of children under care to eight. The licensed provider does need to have adequate insurance or be bonded. They must simply provide each parent, in writing, a notice that states the landlord’s insurance will not cover any issues should they arise – how reassuring. In fact, the landlord’s only recourse is that they can require the tenant to increase the security deposit to......
Continue reading
1971 Hits
1 Comment