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How Real Estate Can Be Socially Responsible


Partners Joe Killinger and George Pino were recently guests of the "Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing with Rod Khleif" podcast. We've broken up the podcast into segments for convenience.

First topic of conversation is how #realestate brokerage can also be socially responsible.

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Showing Tenants Some Love - The Rise of Tenant Rewards & Perks Programs

Showing Tenants Some Love - The Rise of Tenant Rewards & Perks Programs
In recognition of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we thought it would be fitting to discuss a clever new way for landlords and property managers to show their tenants some love.   A relatively new trend in the rental industry is the introduction of tenant reward and perk programs, whereby accommodation providers offer discounts, incentives, and prizes to their tenants.   Tenant satisfaction and retention are two central aspects of maintaining a successful rental housing business, which makes these reward programs an excellent way to help keep tenants happy. Tenant retention is a particularly tricky issue in student housing, as the average turnover rate is about 50% per year, according to Centurion Apartments.So what are some examples of these tenant reward programs?   While there are certainly no shortages of tenant reward programs that have popped up over the last few years, the following are a few of our favorites.  Killam Perks – Killam Properties operates several student housing locations across Canada which offer a program known as Killam Perks. Tenants receive a perks card which grants them access to discounts and special deals from a huge list of retailers.Our favorite offer at the moment? Save the tax at a fast-growing fresh food chain, Freshii.  MoolaPerks – One way or another, tenants have to pay rent; so why not get rewarded for doing it? RentMoola’s MoolaPerks program does just that. This third-party rent payment company allows their users the ability to be rewarded with a slew of discounts, freebies and perks from a plethora of retailers.Our favorite offer at the moment? A free $3......
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Help Residents Build a Community They Won't Leave

Help Residents Build a Community They Won't Leave
Community organizing isn’t just about getting out the vote—it can also mean engaging your multifamily residents so they become long-term renters who care about fellow residents. Building an apartment community action group doesn’t have to be about any one specific effort, but it can certainly grow from an event coordinated by management as a sort of ice-breaker for community residents who might want to meet their neighbors and build a great little neighborhood. It Starts With the First Event So many multifamily events require free food, and it’s a great way to get people to show up. (Get some tips on planning a great community event to make sure it’s well-managed and reflects the competence of your staff.) Introduce residents to your staff members by having the staff prepare food and serve it. Waffle bars or Sunday Sundaes are popular events, and give your staff plenty of opportunity to interact with residents, build relationships, and start asking for suggestions for future events. Those residents who have suggestions might be willing to help organize, so ask for their help. They’re going to be the backbone of your future residents’ association. Use Surveys to Highlight Causes or Concerns Distribute a survey (and provide an online link option) to find out what your residents are passionate about, or to highlight areas of concern. In the survey, as for volunteers to address the issues. While concerns about safety and cleanliness should set off an alarm bell for management and send you into remediation mode, a desire to pro......
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10 Ways to Get the Lease Renewal

10 Ways to Get the Lease Renewal
The lease renewal is a coveted thing to a property owner or manager. Securing it with a loyal tenant is something we strive for, and rightfully so. After all, the price of attracting and retaining new tenants is exponentially more expensive than efforts needed to retain new ones. For instance, recruiting new tenants requires extra spend on marketing the unit, the loss of rent for any period of time the unit stays vacant, and the any expenses needed to maintain the unit in the period between occupancies. Keeping current tenants happy and then rewarding their loyalty by providing incentives for lease renewal, on the other hand, doesn’t have to be so pricey…or time consuming.  In fact, it can be downright easy. You can utilize survey results like those released by Rent Roll to determine what tenants really want in an apartment lease. Then, you can make offerings accordingly, based on your own budget and practicality of the offer. Here are 10 suggestions based on the results: Discount—Everyone loves money; and a discount off rent for a month, 6-months, or a 12-month lease term is going to go along way with tenants. That’s why 52% of respondents prefer this incentive. Security deposit rebate—If you’re trying to keep a tenant that poses a lower risk for default and/or property damage, you can always consider another form of monetary incentive in a partial or full deposit rebate. Gift Card—You can always go old fashioned and give a gift card to a local retailer or restaurant. Wh......
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Concierge For 1 Please!

Concierge For 1 Please!
There are plenty of ways to differentiate your apartment complex from the ones neighboring your area, but have you ever considered adding on services? There are a couple of highly needed services that your tenants will be willing to pay for and it will cause your complex to seem even more attractive! Supplying some much needed services to your tenants will create the illusion of a hotel rather than your tenants feeling as if they were in an apartment! Here are a few services I would recommend: Dog Walking: Every tenant living in your complex has a job and usually tenants have pets (unless your complex is not pet friendly), and it can become a hassle or time consuming to walk and feed a pet.  You can offer a dog walking service where you obtain permission to enter your tenant’s unit and you walk their dog twice a day every day. Of course, this will be an extra cost to the tenants, however the benefit would surpass the cost if you charge a cheap cost (i.e. 20 dollars a week). You could hire a dog walker for your complex or pay your on-site manager for the dog walking service. Cleaning Service: Did someone call for room service? The most appealing feature of hotels is the fact that you don’t need to clean up after yourself! Partner up with a cleaning service and offer this feature to your tenants. Offer weekly or monthly deals. This service will benefit you more than the ten......
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SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN... AND HE'S BRINGING A TOOL BOX?

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN... AND HE'S BRINGING A TOOL BOX?
Is Quality Maintenance The Secret To Pro Longing Tenant Retention? There are a few ways that an owner can improve their tenant retention. One way is improving your building maintenance routine. In 2012, a research group published an EBook, Getting Inside The Head Of The Online Renter, which stated “Maintenance services and customer service delivery by the office staff have the most dramatic impact on the renewal decision.” Other crucial factors that affect tenant retention are safety, proximity to their job, and space. Fix Problems Before They Happen The First step to bettering your maintenance in your building is establishing common maintenance requests. Establishing common maintenance requests prevents a tenant’s need to generate them. If you are aware that plumbing becomes an issue during the winter season, send maintenance to inspect the units before the season begins, and detect issues that will become a major problem in the coming future. Help Tenants Help Themselves You should also supply your tenants a list of simple fixes. A few problems can be easily fixed without the need of maintenance. Usually the case revolves around the tenants lacking the knowledge of simple repairs. This can be solved by giving your tenants a list of simple fixes and instructions when they move in. The simple fixes should include the following items:   Relighting a stove pilot Snaking a drain Changing a light bulb Changing the batteries in a smoke alarm Resetting a circuit breaker Resetting garbage disposal   Now this isn’t to say that supplying your te......
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Summer's a great time for tenant appreciation gesture

Summer's a great time for tenant appreciation gesture
Everyone likes to know they’re appreciated, and tenants are no exception. Sure, it’s technically enough to provide them with a safe, well maintained place in which to live, in exchange for their prompt rental payments each month and their respect and care for the property. But sometimes it’s nice to go above and beyond to show exceptional tenants just how thankful you are for their business and their trust. Summer is the perfect time for an organized Tenant Appreciation Week or special event. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your tenants a thank-you gesture. It can be as easy as firing up the grill in the courtyard and offering hot dogs and hamburgers one evening, or a similar event designed to get tenants mingling. Do an ice cream social where everyone is asked to bring their own bowl. For liability purposes (not to mention cost), it’s best to avoid anything involving alcohol, but you can spend a little money to make a big impact on your tenants. If an event isn’t something you want to do, or you just have a single tenant, a simple gift for the house is the way to go. Perhaps a nice flowering plant for their porch, or a new coat of paint on their door … something that brightens up the place and gives them a lasting reminder that you appreciate them as tenants. It’s a simple thing to do that can go a long way toward fostering a more positive relati......
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Love Your Tenants? Let's Talk Tenant Retention

Love Your Tenants? Let's Talk Tenant Retention
Finding and replacing tenants can be a costly task for landlords.  When property managers come across great tenants, it’s in their best interest to try to retain them for as long as possible.    Here are some proven strategies that landlords can use to find good tenants and keep them:   1) Choose Tenants Carefully: It is beneficial to take some extra time to prescreen tenants thoroughly, rather than rush the process and accept applicants immediately.  Many landlords check references, request guarantors and/or perform credit checks.   2) Be Responsive: Being quick to respond to any type of inquiry is incredibly important. Landlords should never ignore a phone call or email from a tenant.  It is best to respond promptly, as it shows that they are concerned about the condition of the property, as well as the tenant’s comfort and safety.  3) Treat Every Maintenance Request as Important:  While a tenant’s maintenance request may seem insignificant or small to a landlord, the tenant might regard it as urgent and important. If the problem can’t be fixed immediately, inform the tenant and provide a reasonable timeframe in which they can expect to have their problem resolved.  4) Ask for Feedback:  By asking tenants what they like and dislike about the rental, landlords can gain valuable input on how to improve the property. Some suggestions may not be feasible to implement, while others might be simple and cost effective to consider.   5) Respect Their Space:Unless it’s an emergency, landlords should never enter a rental property without providing adequate notice to......
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Why Tenants Are Moving in 2014

Why Tenants Are Moving in 2014
Tenants on the move. It’s what every apartment owner or manager dreads and wants to prevent. For this reason, we often find ourselves actively seeking to understand what drives tenant decisions and influences them most, primarily through surveys, studies, and trends. Thanks to a recent survey conducted by Apartments.com and reported by AOL Real Estate, we know at least one highly influential factor when it comes to why tenants will make the decision to change apartments in 2014: money. According to the survey, approximately 24.6 percent of tenant respondents cited financial motivation as the #1 reason for deciding to move in the coming year. The bottom line? A cheaper apartment. To drive this point home, the survey also revealed that 47.3 percent of respondents say their reason for staying in their current apartment is simply an inability to afford a move. A breakdown of those moving versus those who are not wasn’t provided in the survey results; but Apartments.com did give some insight into those tenants who cannot afford to move. Following are the circumstances those respondents cited that would be necessary in order to force a move, given their financial situation: Winning the lottery (51.5 percent) Receiving a promotion or loss of job (45.6 percent) Moving in with a significant other or moving out (20.7 percent) Dealing with disruptive neighbors (19.5 percent) Finding affordable options (13 percent)  What the list should say if we’re paying attention is that finances are driving both the reasons to move and those forcing them to s......
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In Search of Excellence in the Multifamily Property Industry

In Search of Excellence in the Multifamily Property Industry
Have you ever read a book by the name of In Search of Excellence? It was written in 1982 by an author by the name of Tom Peters, and it very quickly became the go-to resource for managers seeking ways to create excellence in business. And, even with its age, it is still a reputable source for stellar tips on creating businesses that last. Here is an excerpt: “Consider research done by the Forum Corp. Fifteen percent of those who switched to a competitor did so because they ‘found a better product… Another 15 percent changed because they found a ‘cheaper product’… Twenty percent high-tailed it because of the ‘lack of contact and individual attention’… and 49 percent left because ‘contact from the old supplier's personnel was poor in quality.' It seems fair to combine the last two categories, after which we could say 70 percent defected because they didn't like the human side of doing business with the previous product or service provider.” As a property owner, this quote should speak to you about the importance of building relationships with your tenants. Exploring the human side to business means going beyond the rental transaction to let tenants know you appreciate their decision to make your property their home. It’s the effort made to provide them with options when it comes to communicating with you (email, text, online, phone). It’s reacting to their needs within a very reasonable time of them being expressed (24 hours or less on service requests). And, in order to give that hum......
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