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Property Manager-The Jack of All Trades

As Property Managers, we are indeed the "Jack of All Trades". One day we are financial analysts, the next day we are marketers, the following day we may be scrubbing a toilet or planning the next resident event. It's a great industry for someone who doesn't like the monotony of a day-to-day desk job, but it can certainly be exhausting switching hats all day long. Some days I feel that I am more of a counselor to hurting residents, and some days I feel like more of a quality inspector. Starting the day with an open mind and an attitude ready to serve is really the most effective way to succeed in this industry. Daily plans and tasks seem to change by the minute as emergencies arise and there is a new fire to put out (whether literally or figuratively). Competition can be fierce, so the industry isn't for the weak or lazy. In fact, a successful property manager must be left brained enough to be thorough and analytical, but right brained enough to be creative and think outside the proverbial box. Providing high quality customer service in the midst of the chaos of the day can certainly be challenging. The best solution is to be surrounded with a team of loyal employees to help with the big picture. It does take "big picture thinking" to be able to function effectively while taking into consideration all the aspects of property management. I once had a resident tell me that I ran......
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Is Cost Segregation Analysis Worth It?

It has long been a question that has puzzled many commercial property owners. Many accountants suggest it, but it's worth is still rarely clear. Many owners barely even understand how it operates and is thus unable to determine its worth. As that’s the case, we’ll thoroughly explain what it is and what’s it for, but more importantly, whether or not it is worth it in the overall picture. What Is Cost Segregation? First of all, cost segregation is used by commercial real estate owners to reallocate property into personal property, to achieve accelerated depreciation methods and a shorter depreciable tax life. It is a practice that involves determining the exact assets an owner has and their costs, then classifying them for federal taxes. By using cost segregation analysis, you get the chance to determine which of your building’s costs that were classified with a 39 years depreciable life could now count as personal property or land improvement, subject to a 5, 7, 15, or 27.5 (for residential and multi-family buildings) years depreciation rate. All of your assets that get a new classification will enable you to defer taxes and reduce your tax burdens. The benefits of cost segregation are thus: Deferral of taxes Ability to reclaim depreciation deductions from past years Lower tax liability Subsequent higher revenues Looking at the benefits it provides, cost segregation is worth it. However, we still need to take a look at what’s involved and how much it costs to determine with absolute certainty its actual worth to ......
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From Filth to Feature, The Hidden Value of an Air Filter

  The act of changing a furnace/air filter is probably as unglamorous and unrecognized as any task that our team faces on a daily basis.  Have you ever received a comment card that stated, “Tom changed my air filter today?  He’s my hero!” Yet, this simple service,  installing a filter.  A filter that may cost a low as a few dollars, can be the key to longevity and higher efficiency with one of the most costly repairs that occurs in an apartment community.  With something so simple, how can it be so easily overlooked? Too often, the resident is busy.  Maybe they didn’t get the notice for service.  The filter doesn’t get changed for one rotation, maybe two.  Then, SURPRISE!  The call comes in to emergency maintenance.   The HVAC system isn’t working. With limited resources on our teams we make the hard choice to call our contractor.  It’s heating, or it’s air.  Our residents can’t go without this important utility.  Then we experience the most embarrassing moment.  The contractor comes to the office with the ugliest, filthiest air filter you have ever seen.  We realize through lack of close management on our part, this air filter hasn’t been changed.  A filter; that at the very worst, might cost $30 or $40 but in most cases less than $5) has now resulted in a $100 service charge for us to pay a contractor for the simplest of repairs. Professionals Agree Every HVAC professional will confirm the key to long life and efficient performanc......
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3 Digital Marketing Trends for Apartment Marketers in 2019

3 Digital Marketing Trends for Apartment Marketers in 2019
Marketing is one of those things that is always evolving. Much like technology, marketing teams need to be consistently looking at future marketing trends, considering what might be applicable to their industry and budgeting for effective testing each and every year. In the world of marketing, there are a lot of platforms and technologies that marketing experts have identified to be major players in 2019. This is a great article about impactful marketing trends to watch this year. As far as multifamily goes, there are a few I think will prove to be impactful in our industry:     Chatbots As referenced in a couple of online articles, chatbots are going to play a major role in the process of nurturing a lead through the marketing funnel. We know our residents want information immediately, and they often do research on apartments at home, after work, late at night or even secretly in their cubicle. At any rate, a phone call or email is just too slow of a communication platform to give them the information they need when they are looking. Chatbots have the ability to answer quick and easy questions, free up the time of the leasing associates and put information in the hands of our prospective renters quickly and without little effort.   Content is Still King There was a time when content really only served the purpose of an increase in SEO value. But times have changed. Content not only carries the SEO benefits of past but can......
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The Ultimate Luxury Apartment Marketing Guide

Luxury Apartment MarketingThe national apartment market is predicted to grow by over 450,000 units in 2019. According to Fannie Mae's Director of Economics & Multifamily Research, this will be one of the largest supply increases in the past decade. Most of this growth will be concentrated in ten metros, and as many of you have might guessed, most of this new supply will be for luxury Class A units. (Multifamily Executive) The industry trend towards new luxury development has been going on for years. In 2012, only half of all new apartment builds were considered high-end. In 2017, 79% of all new multifamily construction were luxury builds (Yardi Matrix).  A recent Bloomberg article aptly described the situation, “Tenants are gaining the upper hand in urban centers across the U.S. as new amenity-rich apartment buildings, constructed in response to big rent gains in previous years, are forced to fight for customers.”  Luxury communities are competing against more properties than ever for a small, high end portion of the rental market. If you're in charge of marketing a luxury community, you might be feeling the affects of this increase in supply. Now more than ever, luxury communities need to take a strategic approach to their marketing efforts. In this guide I share some of the strategies, observations, and advice I picked up working at a multifamily marketing agency with a track record of helping luxury communities sustain and grow occupancy rates in competitive markets. Understanding Your Place in the Luxury Apartment Market Understanding the market surrounding your......
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“I don’t have time to be strategic about my follow-up”

Introduction Time is a funny thing. People are living longer than ever before due to medical advances, yet somehow we have less time in the day to get everything done. We are running around left and right without being able to stop and think about where we really want to be running to. Having the time to be strategic about your actions is becoming an elusive idea. Just think about eating dinner on a weeknight. If you are anything like us, it is not a well-planned, homemade meal. It’s a smorgasbord of things from your fridge dumped in an instant pot, or a fresh from the microwave courtesy of Marie Callender’s. Now, we understand cooking a full meal is simply not in the cards for most people; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t be more strategic about what you eat. Services like Postmates solve this dilemma. Now, you can get real food delivered to your doorstep exactly when you want it. With Postmates, each family member gets the meal they want, when they need it and you can spend more time enjoying your family rather than throwing together a meal. So how does this relate to multifamily?   Prospect Prioritization Most property management companies (PMC’s) have agents manually sort their leads every day. Agents would need to set aside 30 minutes to 2 hours to thoroughly sort through their leads every day depending on the side of your property. This means most agents are forced to either follow up with a lot of pr......
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How to Deal with Automatic Renewals in Laundry Leases...

Greetings Gentle Readers,  Disclosure:  I am not an attorney and any advice given here is purely from an anecdotal and  personal experience basis and should not be construed as legal advice.  Before taking any action against a laundry company, including recommendations included herein, please consult with your counsel.    Today's post deals with a recurring problem with which many property managers and owners suffer...the sudden realization that your property has a lease with an "Automatic Renewal" clause that may have been overlooked or forgotten.   If you are in the late hours of a laundry lease and the non renewal notice period has expired there is not much one can do.  However, this suggested practice is, IMHO, good advice for any property manager at any given time...find and review your laundry lease. 1st Step:  Review your lease and focus on finding out if it contains an "automatic renewal" clause - if it does then ensure you understand the "non-renewal" notification requirements.  For example, one lease may stipulate the "non-renewal" notice can only be sent no sooner than 180 days prior to expiration and no later than 90 days prior to expiration...another lease may stipulate that the "non-renewal" notice can only be sent during the first month of the final year (which is not January BTW it's the first month of the anniversary of the expiration...i.e. June 18, 2021 expiration = July 2020 notice requirement). 2nd Step:  Once you determine the "non-renewal" notice send a registered, return receipt letter to the laundry company's......
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Should You Invest in an Opportunity Zone?

Let’s start by defining what an opportunity zone is -   Opportunity Zones are census tracts generally composed of economically distressed communities that qualify for the Opportunity Zone program, according to criteria outlined in 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.    These zones were designed to promote economic development by providing tax benefits for investors. Up to 25% of low-income neighborhoods that meet the income qualifications of the program (and up to 5% of non-low income tracts that meet other income and geographic requirements) in each state, district, or territory can be designated as Opportunity Zones. In states, territories, and districts with fewer than 100 census tracts, up to 25 census tracts can be designated as Opportunity Zones. Areas certified as Opportunity Zones retain their designation for ten years. Essentially, an Opportunity Zone works as follows:  A provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allows investors to enjoy preferential tax treatment when investing in economically-distressed communities. The opportunity zone program allows individuals and businesses to liquidate a wide variety of appreciated capital assets and to reinvest all or a portion of the gain into qualified opportunity funds within 180 days of triggering the gain. “The gain can then be deferred up until Dec. 31, 2026.” This investment will also allow for deferring capital gains tax during the investment period as well as excluding some of the deferred gain depending on how long the investment is held.  Essentially, there is a 10% exclusion of the deferred gain if the Qualifi......
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Best Way To Attract Dog Owners To Your Property

A little over 70% of the rental market now comes with dogs in tow. This trend is not letting up anytime soon.  If you want to be competitive in the marketplace, you might consider making adjustments to your properties’ common areas. It might also, be a smart move to update some of your units amenities. Open yourself up to opportunities by installing and/or offering dog friendly units.  It’ll offer you a competitive edge in attracting new renters, instead of limiting your potential lessees. Here are some ideas to help you become a dog friendly rental location.  1)           If your property has a laundry room, you can consider putting in a washbasin on the floor where your residents can wash their dogs.  There are companies out there now which make specific pet-friendly wash basins which are easy to maintain. They are designed to capture any loose pet hair before it goes in down the drain. 2)            When you are turning your units, consider flooring which would be most suitable for a dog.  Hard surface flooring is especially favorable. 3)            Think about your open areas, and converting them into dog runs. You could fence in the area, and create a nice place for dogs to play and exercise. Manufactures have developed artificial grass specifically for this purpose. Be sure to have water always available for tired pooches on hand afterwards. 4)            Consider creating a partnership with a Dog Daycare facility. This could include, but not limited to drop off and pick up at res......
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Automation Is Only As Effective As The People Behind It.

  All the technology and automation in the world is fruitless if there isn’t someone there to back it up.  Before Christmas I went on-line and attempted to purchase a gift certificate from a well known home delivery meal service.  I wanted to spend more than what it seemed I could through their website, so when the little chat window opened with “can I help you”, I said sure and went on to explain what I wanted.  After a little back and forth conversation, all of a sudden there was no response from the other end.  Leaving the window open, I got up, walked ten feet to the kitchen to grab a water and came back to a note that read because I hadn’t responded, the chat had ended.  Well crap, that was a waste of time!  A couple days later I attempted it again.  I got the automated greeting and then this time absolutely nothing after the auto intro.  At this point, I gave up and went elsewhere.  A couple days after that I got a survey e-mail asking me about my customer service experience on their site.  I nicely and concisely laid out my experience, submitted it and still have had no response from the company even though they obviously have my contact information.  So not only didn’t they get my sale that time, they never will in the future - on top of the fact that if their name ever comes up in conversation with my friends, I will prob......
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