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8 Free Marketing Property Tools

8 Free Marketing Property Tools
At one time in the not-so-distant past, managers everywhere and in every industry felt that marketing was the dispensable line item when things got tough. If budgets needed to be cut, marketing was typically the first to go. Now, however, we realize just how valuable marketing is in adding to the bottom-line, and by cutting back, we tend to cut back on potential earnings as well. There is no difference in multifamily. Marketing is crucial and should be an integral part of your business plan. Yet, the wonderful thing about how far we’ve come with technology is how far we’ve been able to drive down the cost of effective marketing tactics, with many of the most productive methods available for no cost at all. Here are the 8 we consider to be the most valuable: Wordpress. These days, there’s no need to pay thousands of dollars for a nice looking website. You can easily set up a Wordpress site using one of the free themes inherent to the platform. Just add some photos and text, as well as your contact information, and you’re good to go. (Of course, our suggestion is to spend some money here – your website is your brand, so hiring a pro from guru.com to build you a quick WordPress site is probably best. But if you know CMS, this is a money saver.) Twitter. In our opinion, there’s no better way to reach your target market than to do so in 140 characters or less, using strategic......
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Coping with Becoming an Accidental Landlord

Coping with Becoming an Accidental Landlord
While the likelihood of a multifamily property falling into your lap may not have as high a probability as a single family rental doing so, there’s always a chance. This could happen for a number of reasons, but it happens most frequently in cases of inheritance. The result is an accidental landlord. If you happen to find yourself in such a situation, the following steps will help you get where you need to be, both mentally and physically, to handle such a challenge.   1.       Never settle for status quo. It doesn’t matter if the best and brightest mind you know handed this property down to you in a will. You should always perform full due diligence to ensure the business is structured correctly and maximizing revenue opportunities. Never take something like a multifamily property on its appearances. 2.       Get emotions in check. When faced with such a situation, it’s easy to feel as though you “owe” something to the previous owner. But, as is the case with any business, you should never allow emotions to cloud your judgment. Are you able to assume such an asset? Do you want to own a multifamily property? These are questions that need to be asked and answered honestly. And, if it comes down to it, there is no shame in hiring a realtor to find the right investor. 3.       Consider a property management firm. If you find that you are ready to take on this opportunity, the next major and highly critical decision you ......
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4 Tips for Managing a Property’s Brand

4 Tips for Managing a Property’s Brand
Brand management is a huge thing that you likely hear about on a regular basis, in one form or another. If you’re not into marketing, then it’s also likely you feel “brand management” is a current buzz word or fad that will change with the times. The truth, however, is that it’s anything but a new concept, and has been a ‘thing’ for as long as there have been brands. The Management Study Guide defines brand management to include “developing a promise, making that promise and maintaining it… defining the brand, positioning the brand, and delivering the brand.” In other words, the management of a brand is the act of keeping it true to its intentions. And, of course, the reason we hear so much more about it these days than even a decade ago is because the Internet makes doing so that much more of a challenge. Just imagine a time without the web. No online review sites. No ability for consumers to get all the information they need to make informed decisions before they ever try out your product…or step foot on your property. The Internet opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to building brand recognition, but it also means having many, many more spaces and places where that brand has the potential to be tarnished. And, rental properties are no exception.  Your property is a brand just like any other product or service, and it must be managed as such. This means having a clear understanding of th......
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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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The Real Cost of Losing a Tenant

The Real Cost of Losing a Tenant
If you’re in business, you’ve likely heard more than once that it’s more expensive to lose an employee and face the need to find a new one than it is to actively focus on retention efforts. It makes sense. You have a significant outlay to advertise the position, recruit, go through the vetting process, relocate the right applicant, train him or her, and invest in both salary and benefits. If you lose that individual, you lose not only all of that investment, but the time and productivity losses associated with a vacancy, as well as another round of the same initial investments to fill the position yet again. For this reason, wise companies make significant investments in their ongoing retention efforts. Multifamily apartment properties are no different. Think about it. To get a tenant in the door, you must advertise the vacancy, then you must vet and screen the applicants, which takes significant resources in including time, effort, and money. You then must have the unit move-in ready, which always requires at least a small investment. And the list goes on. Once that tenant is in place, if anything goes awry and he or she is no longer satisfied enough to stay the term of the lease or renew, you are now faced with all the related expenses of losing that tenant and replacing him or her, and according to research conducted by the National Apartment Association (NAA), those expenses can add up to a whopping $4,000 for each move-out. The mora......
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It’s 10:00am. Have You Seen Your Property Manager Today?

It’s 10:00am. Have You Seen Your Property Manager Today?
What do prospective tenants see when they look at your property? Do they see the amenities? Is it the fresh coat of paint? The Cat5 wireless networking? The swimming pool?  Most of them absolutely do see all of these factors, but there is another factor you can absolutely be sure every prospective tenant is taking note of: your property manager. Every owner must consider the property manager as the face of the property. And, as such, must take careful consideration in choosing that person in order to ensure the property is represented in the most desirable manner. A good way of looking at it is as though the property is a brand and the property manager is the brand manager. Here are some tips to ensuring prospective tenants get the very best impression of your brand. Customer Service. How focused is your property manager on providing customer service? One of the worst things you can have happen to your brand is a bad customer experience due to an unhappy employee. Managers should be friendly and pleasant. Talk to him or her about the importance of smiling, learning and remembering tenant names, and creating friendly conversation with tenants as a daily habit. Tenants will take notice. Knowledge. Bringing a property manager onto a property that he or she is not familiar with may be one of the worst things that can happen to the property as far as tenants are concerned. The property manager should know the city, the area, and the......
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How SEO Will Work for Your Multifamily Property Marketing

How SEO Will Work for Your Multifamily Property Marketing
What tactics are you using to market your multifamily property? If you’re like most, you probably have an ad on Craigslist, some signs around in the yards, a newspaper ad here and there, and a few subscriptions to services like Apartments.com, where your property is featured among others in the same zip code. Seems like you’ve covered everything, right? Wrong. If your property doesn’t have an online presence with marketing to promote it, you’re potentially missing out on some very savvy tenants. That’s because the majority of apartment hunters are going online these days to research their options before they ever get into a car and go driving around to see them in person. They want pictures and they want as much information as they can get to compare your property with their other top choices so they can make the most informed decision. And, search engine optimization (SEO) can help. Here’s how: Get a website. If you do not already have a site for your property, now’s the time. Get a site up that has a few interior and exterior images (the best you can get, even if you have to sink a little money into them), information on floor plans, information on pricing, and information on amenities. Then include address, contact information, and any specials you’re running for that month. Don’t worry – this doesn’t have to be a big site; even a one-pager will do the trick. Optimize it. If you’re not sure what this means, hire a professional from Cowtown......
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