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Responsible Pet Owners Month: Encourage Your Residents to Make a Positive Impact in February

Responsible Pet Owners Month: Encourage Your Residents to Make a Positive Impact in February
Being a responsible pet owner is undoubtedly a yearlong objective. But that doesn’t mean pet owners can’t occasionally take inventory of just how well they’re doing on the accountability scale. February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, which creates a prime opportunity for community managers to encourage their residents to take part. Odds are your community is largely full of responsible pet owners, but even the most stellar of the bunch sometimes aren’t 100% compliant with your pet policies. One idea for property managers during Responsible Pet Owners Month is to pass along a quick checklist for residents that outlines and refreshes the necessary steps to be an ideal pet owner. Items on the list can include: Vaccinations  Sometimes animals are so healthy and vibrant that it’s easy to forget that their vaccinations are overdue. Many indoor cat owners opt not to vaccinate their cats because the rationale is, after all, they’re indoor cats. However, many states require core vaccines by law—such as rabies and distemper for dogs and calicivirus for cats—and all pet owners should be acutely aware when they are due. While regular veterinarians will offer reminders, it’s possible that many of your residents are transplants from a different part of the country and haven’t yet acquired a local vet. A simple vaccination reminder could make the difference in meeting the deadline and lead to healthier and safer pets. Proper registration Many communities have recently added a platform for residents to register their pets at the property. This ensures that all pets at the com......
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Self-Guided Tours: Why Do Prospects Use Them?

Self-Guided Tours: Why Do Prospects Use Them?
Many apartment owners and operators may be leery of offering self-guided tours, but the data indicates prospects want and use them.  Intuitively, this makes sense. Self-service has become more and more a part of the consumer experience. Go into a fast-food restaurant and you can order and pay for your meal at a kiosk, and an employee will bring your food to you in a matter of minutes. You can order something on Amazon and it’s on your doorstep the next day. Increasingly, prospects want to experience an apartment community on their terms. Properties that don’t give prospects the option to self-tour risk alienating prospective renters and may find it difficult to convert leads into new residents. So, what’s the specific appeal of self-guided tours? Statistics point to a number of possibilities. Digging into the Numbers First off, data convincingly demonstrates the popularity of self-guided tours. According to an Anyone Home analysis of the 2018 leasing activity of all of its single-family-rental clients, 24.4 percent of all prospects booked a tour. Of those that booked a tour, 61.3 percent chose only a self-guided one, while 30.1 percent chose only a tour with an associate. The other 8.6 percent of prospects booked both tour types. Secondly, the numbers also show that prospects like to take self-guided tours during normal business hours. Another Anyone Home study of its single-family-rental clients shows that, during the latter portion of 2018, only 21.2 percent of prospects requested a self-guided tour outside of office hours, while the other......
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How Will a Rise in Interest Rates Affect the Commercial Real Estate Market?

In the past couple years, overall interest rates have risen several times in the United States. According to many experts, they are likely to finally stabilize in 2020. However, they have already risen sufficiently enough in 2018 and 2019, and we cannot be sure that the same won’t happen by the end of 2020, or especially the year after. With that in mind, the commercial real estate market needs to start preparing for a possible rise that can have significant effects.  But what are those effects? How does a rising interest rate affect the commercial real estate market? If you want to know the answers, you've come to the right place, as this article aims to give you all the information you need. Let's take a look. How Interest Rates Affect Real Estate Values For those who are unaware, interest rates, like the ones on Treasury bills and interbank exchanges, have a massive effect on the value of commercial real estate and all property, for that matter.  That’s because they influence the ability of people to buy property by increasing or decreasing mortgage capital costs. However, that’s only one part. Interest rates also affect capital flows, supply and demand, and much more. When all of that is considered, we can conclude that interest rates have a profound effect on the commercial real estate market in a wide variety of ways.  However, we are only interested in the higher interest rates and how they affect the commercial real estate market. And that is a ......
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Top 5 Turn Issues and How to Solve Them

Top 5 Turn Issues and How to Solve Them
What a Summer!! Turns are behind us and now, it’s time to assess what we did, how we did it, and how we can improve the process and resident experience for next time.  We experienced a lot with property managers over these last few months and wanted to share some of that knowledge.  We’ll share the insight to various methods customers used to solve such issues as: Sharing inspection information to drive turn activities Sending orders to your suppliers easily and accurately Ensuring turn expenses are on track and within budget Coordinating work amongst suppliers and staff Capturing resident charges for damages While these issues are much more difficult to solve within the student housing market, all property managers experience some degree of frustration with their turn process.   Sharing inspection information to drive turn activities When you find a problem during an inspection, it usually leads to some sort of action. Perhaps your staff can fix the issue.  Possibly, there are services and supplies required from a supplier and maybe you need to charge the resident for damages.  Each of these resulting activities require your staff to take action based upon the inspection results.  We’ve seen property staff execute inspections then separately regenerate the data to send to suppliers or service vendors.  The efficient ones use solutions that allow them to reuse captured inspection data to either purchase an item or task a service supplier.  Turn season is very hectic, but fortunately there are different approaches to support the process; each ......
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Let's Help, Not Direct and Delegate: Developing Onsite Talent for Future Leadership Roles

Let’s Help, Not Direct and Delegate. Developing Onsite Talent for Future Leadership Roles    Developing onsite managers to move into upper management. Finding talent in the multifamily and student housing industry is always a challenge because let’s face it……this job and industry is not for everyone or the thin skinned.  When you find those diamonds in the rough you want to develop, train and hold onto them for dear life because we cannot operate or do our jobs without the life support from the on-site managers. I came into student housing as a Leasing Manager after transitioning from the hotel and hospitality industry. My passion has always been customer service and providing exceptional experiences for people.  While many skills overlapped from hospitality, there were tools I needed to feel comfortable and grow in my position within student housing. I have strong mentors and support from my leadership at two student management companies over the last nine years. As of 2013 I have been a Regional Leasing Specialist that reported directly to the VP of Leasing and Marketing (and veteran in student housing), Barrie Nichols. I am now one of those team members in the leadership role that is supporting the onsite teams, recruiting talent from different industries and spending a lot of time with the managers. I am lucky to say that several people are now veterans in the industry and have even obtained prestigious awards for themselves and their properties across the United States. Below are three tips I have used to......
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What is computer vision and how does it help with handling packages?

As the increase in package volume, weight, and size along with an increase in carrier deliveries continues to rise at apartment communities, new methods are needed to solve the problem. These new methods need to be more advanced, smarter, less expensive, and much faster with higher utilization of the precious physical space available to handle packages.   The world is now turning to computer vision to solve many of its problems — traffic, autonomous driving, manufacturing, law enforcement, military applications, helping people with disabilities/differences, organizing photos, customer service, etc.     Work on computer vision began in the late 1960s in universities that were developing artificial intelligence (AI). The goal was to mimic the human visual system. The last 50-plus years have brought about many advancements in computer vision, due in part to the increasing power of microprocessors, database storage/retrieval, and advanced software development.   Computer vision is an interdisciplinary field that deals with how computers can be made to gain a high-level understanding from digital images or videos. As a scientific discipline, computer vision is concerned with the theory behind artificial systems that extract information from images.   Why do you care and how can computer vision help with packages/carriers coming to your communities?   The keys to solving the package problem are speed and density. Computer vision systems can authenticate carriers 24/7/365 at your outside gate, inside gate, and at the package room door. This makes sure that you have a higher level of security on your property and t......
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Creating Community: Appealing to Gen-Z in a Mobile World

  Meet Generation Z: the first generation of tech-savvy individuals that grew up with technology and instant convenience in arm’s reach. This group started entering adulthood in 2014, and with this transition came businesses trying to figure out how to best tap into this brand new market. Unlike previous generations like Baby Boomers and Millennials, attracting the business and loyalty of Gen Z presents unprecedented challenges that are only just now being understood and adequately attended to. The Gen Z tribe will likely become part of your residential community, either now or in the very near future. If you want to appeal to this up-and-coming age group, you’ll need to do more than offer them a place to lay their heads. This tech-savvy group is all about convenience and modern amenities, and here’s how you can meet their expectations: Mobile is King! Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is the calm, cool, and connected generation of our time. They grew up around many of the modern conveniences we have today, including the increasingly mobile lifestyle. One study found that 95% of Gen Z members have a smartphone, with a whopping 25% of those admitting they got their first cell phone before age 10. In other words, constant connectivity and mobility are their norm.  For them, it’s not just a new-and-improved solution for modern problems, but rather the way of life as they know it. The majority of Gen Z-ers are on their phones for five hours or more every day. That’s significantly higher compared to the av......
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Your Insider's Look: The Laundry RFP

Greetings Gentle Readers! Typically when a property owner or manager needs a laundry proposal for their multifamily asset they contact a laundry company and ask for a “proposal” without giving the operator specific, if any,  guidelines in which they are interested.   And, usually when asked by the laundry vendor what the property wants to see in a proposal, the response is all too often a vague and less than strategic response: “Just give me your best deal”.    That response, unfortunately, is a nonstarter for a laundry vendor and leaves way too many options for the laundry vendor who sadly doesn’t have any idea what the property’s “best deal” looks like.   Too often neither does the property and it can result in multiple proposals, revisions, lost time and energy and missed opportunities for both counter parties. Let me give you an analogy that might help make the point.   1.      If I were to go looking for a roofing contractor, I would know at least 3 things, conceivably more, that are critical to my decision process.  In no particular order those might be: reputation, timeline for job and price.  I might also know that I prefer composite to tile and that I want 8 nails not just 6...all those are preferences that begin to outline my request. And it provides the contractors bidding the job a solid understanding of what I want.   2.      What I’m saying is the property owner/manager who knows at least three things, hopefully more, is in a better position......
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An inside look at laundry revenue (commissions)

Greetings Gentle Readers! Today's topic is one that is of some concern to multifamily apartment owners currently in a laundry lease or thinking about signing a laundry lease. "Commissions" is a colloquial term used by laundry vendors and property owners alike but in reality "commissions" are legally "RENT" for the space the machines occupy. Typically the property will receive a percentage of the gross revenue (collections) that the machines generate from usage by the residents on the property and in some cases off property usage. How that percentage is computed can be confusing.  There are 3 very broad categories of RENT payments that are computed and made typically monthly. First let's look at what some variables the laundry vendor will input to calculate any type of RENT payment. Capital investment (buying the machines and providing technology payment systems if suitable)  Operating expenses (installing, servicing, collection, processing, insurance, vent cleaning, etc., etc) Term of the lease (Typically, 5, 7 or 10 years) Contingency Risk (Occupancy, market risks, competition from in unit hook up) Revenue (collections) from historical performance over the past 12 - 18 months Condition of the property (new construction or existing) Class of Property (A, B, C, D) In unit connections Vend prices Competing laundromats in the area # of Machines Vandalism risks Type of Machines (front load or top load) Quality of Machines (Factory New or from Inventory)   Once those variables are collected and input the commission or RENT payments can be determined by the laundry vendor's software program. ​And, as I......
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Important Paragraphs to Look For in a Laundry Room Lease

Greetings Gentle Readers!  Important Disclosure: I am not a real estate attorney and I only offer my anecdotal and work experience in the informational blogs I write.  Should any legal question arise from your readings please consult with your in house counsel or locate an attorney for a legal opinion.  I'm happy to give my opinion/response which is business based and not grounded in real estate law.  Here's a quick "laundry list" of lease paragraphs...this is not all inclusive as each lease may be modified and negotiated by both counter parties....but it should suffice to kick start a discussion.... Firstly, Keep in mind that the laundry vendors have written the leases they prefer to use and generally it's written to their benefit but if you read the leases carefully you'll find there are areas that are negotiable and non negotiable.   Not all laundry vendors use the same format, language and clauses so don't assume one lease is like another.   Preamble -  identifies Lessor (property) and Lessee (laundry vendor) - includes date of execution & lessor description and address,     A typical lease will include number of apt. units and identifies number of units with connections (if applicable)  - keep in mind that if you have in-unit connections for washes and dryers you present competition for the laundry room resulting in possibly reduced usage and reduced revenue.  Laundry vendors will want to know how many in unit connections are in play at lease execution.  That is a known risk.   Furthermore there will be......
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