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Subtle Changes to Make to Your Website CTAs (Resident Perspective)

Your call-to-action (CTA) buttons are arguably one of the most important parts of your website, so they need to be eye-catching. It's something most marketers (including myself) take the time to craft because the end goal has to do with wanting a prospect to take action...right? Well, I noticed something the other day... Given I'm a current resident (and marketer, if that wasn't implied yet), my lease is up in a few months. So, I've been doing what millennials do best, and I turned to Google for some apartment searching. I've been combing through different community's websites, and I thought to myself... How would I level up some of these CTA's? That's the marketer in me coming out, but I thought it might be a fun little assignment for myself. Here's how and why I'd change these CTAs (which are all subtle fixes). Current: Welcome Home to [Community] --> Suggestion: Welcome to Your New Home at [Community] I'm suggesting a subtle change to this current CTA/headline. Why? The current one speaks all about the property versus in the lens of a prospect. Add "your" in to make it personal to the reader! Current: What We Have to Offer --> Suggestion: What's In It for You  This is another one of those CTA's where "you" and "your" will resonate more with a reader. Put your community in the readers' shoes as much as possible! Current: Book Your Tour --> Suggestion: Book Your Tour, Your Way  If I was sincerely interested in the property and wanted......
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Cloud Architecture Matters: Are You Future Proof Ready?

The cloud technology and real estate management (REM) software landscapes are changing more rapidly than ever before and it’s hard to keep up with what’s coming next. Many CIOs are finally breathing easier now that the cloud has taken hold as a standard in the real estate industry after years of concern over security, platform reliability, integrations, disaster recovery, and access to data 24/7. Surprisingly, there are still technology laggards out there operating their critical enterprise resource planning (ERP) and REM applications on custom-built legacy and on-premise systems that have no future. They are only now looking to go to the cloud two decades after Salesforce introduced the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model back in 1999 (1). Other industries were early adopters of the cloud, but it took our industry over a decade after the launch of Salesforce to finally start embracing the cloud – mainly because many ERP REM software vendors were built on old technology platforms that weren’t easily adaptable to the cloud. The only way for these vendors to get to the cloud was to rewrite/recode their applications or acquire the technology to get there. So, if you are already on the cloud or looking to go to the cloud you must consider these questions: What happens when the next wave of cloud technology comes? Will I be ready? Am I already behind? How can I tell if I’m using the right cloud architecture? CLOUD ARCHITECTURE MATTERS Cloud architecture matters because not all clouds are created equal and knowing the differenc......
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Not Your Mama’s Budget: Finishing Your 2022 Budget Following a Not-So-Average Year

This year was certainly abnormal for budget planning due to the pandemic. It’s not prudent to base 2022’s budget based on 2021 actuals. It’s important to recognize areas that have become more critical, like turnover, raising rents and reducing loss to lease.  Despite the not-so-average year, we're only two months away from 2022, which means your 2022 property budgets should be nearly finished by now. Are they? If not, there are things you can do to get your budgets moving forward and on track for the new year. Here are six steps to get you back on track: Start with reviewing how you assigned responsibilities regarding the budget last year and ask yourself if those assignments worked well. Whose input was valuable? Who got it right? A good rule of thumb is to include the property manager, regional manager, human resources and accounting. After each group has added their own input, a final review should be conducted by either the controller or CFO. Then create a timeline of who will handle what tasks; for instance, the marketing manager will review the marketing budget and the regional manager will recheck occupancy and complete the final review. Review your data from this year to combine with data from prior years. While it's not a complete look at this year, the contracts, expenses and revenue should still give you a strong grasp on the trends for the end of the year going into the next fiscal year. These trends are vital in preparing a budget that takes......
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Irresponsible Pet Owner Behavior is Unpopular Among All Residents… And Pets

Irresponsible Pet Owner Behavior is Unpopular Among All Residents… And Pets
It isn’t only non-pet owners who can be put off by irresponsible pet owner behavior. According to a multifamily survey conducted by PetScreening and J. Turner Research of nearly 23,000 apartment residents, more than half of respondents support the idea that irresponsible pet owners should be charged more in pet-related fees. Pet owners are liable for any damage or harm caused by their pets. And while there are multiple offenses that can land an irresponsible pet owner in hot water, a few commonly prevalent misdeeds -- including excessive barking, off-leash pets and pet waste -- are generally easier to pinpoint and penalize the culprit for.  But how do you keep track of these irresponsible owners and what types of fees or penalties can be assessed for the bad behavior that can be off-putting to fellow residents? While onsite teams should not go around accusing pet owners of irresponsible behavior and imposing random penalties, they can certainly keep an eye out for signs of bad pet owner behavior, such as increased complaints of barking or pet waste that hasn’t been picked up. Including specific rules in the rental agreement is a good place to start when trying to curb irresponsible owner behavior. It’s best to include a comprehensive pet agreement within the lease that clearly discloses the rules and penalties clearly, ensuring that you’re covered all around. When a pet-owning resident is signing the lease agreement, highlight the appropriate sections referring to pet policies and the owner’s responsibilities, along with the protocol to be fol......
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Misconceptions Underlay Breed Restrictions

Misconceptions Underlay Breed Restrictions
  It's a conversation that I can't help but look back on and wince. When my daughter was about to give birth to her first child, I urged her to give her pit bull away. Like so many of us, I had been conditioned to think of the breed as dangerous, and the thought of such a dog around a small child made me – to say the least – quite nervous. Now, 11 years and four grandchildren later, my daughter's pit bull has proven to be the most gentle girl imaginable and is a treasured member of our family. She lets kids pull and push on her, dress her up, ride her and otherwise do their best to harass her. She remains unflappable and good-natured throughout it all. According to the Best Friends Animal Society, "scientific studies have proven that pit bull terriers are just as safe and gentle as any other dog. In fact, they have ranked better than golden retrievers or border collies on temperament tests, according to the American Temperament Test Society." I think of my story and the research on pit bulls when I think about breed restrictions in multifamily. The fact is, there is no data to support that any one breed is more dangerous than another, and by banning certain breeds, apartment owners and operators are unnecessarily closing their doors to good renters and good pets. Many owners and operators cite their property insurance requirements when explaining their breed restrictions. But an article on the......
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Fair Housing and the Supreme Court Ruling for the LGBTQ+Community

Fair Housing and the Supreme Court Ruling for the LGBTQ+Community
In line with the Supreme Court’s decision regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, President Biden signed an executive order earlier this year mandating that all federal agencies review the ruling and make needed adjustments. So what can property management companies expect? Should we wait on updated guidelines from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) or should we make changes now to avoid any appearance of housing discrimination against LGBTQ+ prospects?   A Quick Legal Recap President Biden signed an Executive Order on January 25, 2021, requiring protections of LGBTQ+ people in housing, health care, and education. The Executive Order cites the recent Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, that held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in the Equal Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Executive Order requires the applicable federal agencies, including HUD, to promulgate actions consistent with Bostock and the various civil rights laws. This Executive Order will result in new HUD regulations explaining the protections of LGBTQ+ persons under the Fair Housing Act.     A New Protected Category? There is always confusion with any change. With this new ruling questions have been raised as to whether or not this ruling meant a new protected category. To clarify, we do not have a new protected category, rather we now have an expanded protected category of sex. Under this expansion, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation or the gender they are p......
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The Biden’s Administration’s Plans to Combat Workforce and Low-Income Housing

The Biden’s Administration’s Plans to Combat Workforce and Low-Income Housing
The Biden-Harris administration released a statement of September 1st, 2021, announcing immediate steps that would increase the affordable housing supply. The administration has recognized that major investors have stepped up to purchase real estate, such as urban and suburban single-family homes, and convert them into rental properties. However, the government has also recognized that this may have led to a shortage of affordable housing. In a White House statement, it was revealed that “One out of every six homes purchased in the second quarter of 2021 was acquired by investors.” This has created a limited supply, which drives up pricing.    However, the administration recognizes there is more to the dilemma than investors buying up most of the supply. The increase in material costs, labor shortage, the global pandemic, and prohibitive zoning laws all add to the problem. Therefore, more can be done to increase the affordable housing supply.  They announced steps that “create, preserve, and sell to homeowners and non-profits nearly 100,000 additional affordable homes for homeowners and renters over the next three years, with an emphasis on the lower and middle segments of the market.”   These steps include giving federal agencies the resources and authority to:  Relaunch partnership between the Department of Treasury’s (Treasury) Federal Financing Bank and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Risk Sharing Program Expand financing through Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae’s and the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Leverage existing federal funds Explore federal levers to reduce exclusionary zoning Launch learning and listening sessions with local le......
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Pets: Love, Marketing and Lifetime Value

Pets: Love, Marketing and Lifetime Value
The time has come for apartment operators to rethink pet policies such as traditional breed and weight restrictions. That was one of the primary points made by expert panelists during the Pets: Love, Marketing and Lifetime Value session at the 2021 Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference (AIM). The panelists noted that by removing or reducing breed and weight restrictions, apartment operators can attract and retain more residents and boost revenue.  The need to become more pet-friendly stems from the fact that so many renters have pets and consider them indispensable members of their families, panelists noted. There are now more pets in the U.S. than children, according to the American Pet Products Association. In fact, 67% of U.S. households own a pet, and Americans spent approximately $99 billion on pets last year. Furthermore, over the course of the pandemic, an increased number of residents acquired pets.But multifamily pet policies don’t seem to be keeping up with the times, the panelists argued. “With the pandemic, the industry has taken some small steps to change, but we really have an opportunity to step back and figure out some of the paradigms holding us back from being truly pet friendly,” said Melanie Flaherty, senior vice president of marketing for Carmel Partners. “If we rethink pets and how we strategically plan policies, that will impact the bottom line.”  According to the 2021 Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative (PIHI) report from Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, 76% of operators say they’re pet-friendly yet 72% of ......
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Selecting Rental Comps & Rent In Multifamily Real Estate


Determining rental comps to use when valuating multifamily real estate is highly important. Especially when you're looking to add value to the asset after a renovation. Part of the process involves some sort of online membership-based software that can query all the assets in a market. Some of it is a gut feeling about whether a comp matches and some of it is an investor's knowledge of the market. This is how I select rental comps and post renovation rents when underwriting multifamily real estate assets. As a broker listing multifamily real estate assets for sale, it is imperative to select the right rent comps to prove achievable rents to the buyers. Buyers aren't stupid. They are going to recognize if a broker is choosing assets way better than the subject in order to sell the idea of higher rents. I use Costar to narrow down the initial field of assets based on the unit count, age, unit mix, and location in the market. Any similar program to Costar can do the same trick. After looking at the initial list of assets from the above search on Costar, I then use my market knowledge and gut feel to eliminate any remaining assets I know are not a close match. For the remaining comps, I typically put them in an excel spreadsheet and rank each one as 1, 2, and 3 with 1 being the closest matched asset to the subject. I place more weight on the 1s and the least weight on......
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6 Infrequently Asked Questions About Multifamily PPC

What is multifamily PPC (pay per click)? How does it work? What is a conversion? Multifamily PPC is a very complex and often misunderstood component of a successful apartment marketing strategy. But let’s skip past all the humdrum, and answer the questions you really want to ask, but rarely do.   I’ve heard it’s cheap. Is that true? The nature of multifamily PPC is that you can spend as much as you want. So if you’re looking to go low-budget, that’s technically possible. The real question is one of ROI (return on investment). Maybe you can spend 10 cents to make $10, or you can spend $1,000 to make $100,000. Which would you prefer?   I’ve heard it’s expensive. Is that true? See above. Your budget drives your cost, up or down.   I just got this card in the mail for free AdWords. Can’t I just do it myself? Absolutely! It is definitely possible to do Google AdWords on your own. However, working with a digital marketing agency brings the benefit of experience. An agency can integrate AdWords into a broader apartment marketing strategy which may include other media. That leaves you to do what you’re skilled and experienced in: running your business!   What’s the biggest mistake I can make in multifamily PPC? The biggest pitfall in multifamily PPC is throwing money blindly at bids with no consideration of landing pages. In all online advertising campaigns, landing pages play an obvious role in the magic alchemy that changes traffic into profit, but ma......
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