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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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Unique Idea For Outdoor Space

Unique Idea For Outdoor Space

I ran across this picture that was titled, "My girlfriend wanted a birdhouse, so I made her one to match her house", and I think it would be a really neat idea at an apartment community!  It's not a huge feature, by any means, but it adds a little conversation piece for both residents and prospects on tour.  As a side note, if the community building layout worked for this purpose, it would be really fun to label the doors with actual apartment numbers so residents could see if a bird was staying in their mini apartment.

Think this would be a fun addition to a community's outdoor space?  Like and share below!

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Laundry Room Deals: Bonus or Cash Flow?

As usual the answer is: “Depends”...    First off, “bonus” money in a laundry room lease is the most commonly used phrase and generally the most misunderstood.  The word “Bonus” implies “Free” but bonus money in a laundry lease is far from free. “Well, where does it come from?”  The upfront money a manager or owner takes out of a laundry deal comes from their share of the cash flow, pure and simple.   The laundry company, once it gets a “bogey” or target amount that is requested from the property, simply carves that out of the share of revenue the property would get otherwise.  Then, using a “Net Present Value” factor the laundry company can convert that cash flow to a one-time payment up front.  And, from an insider’s POV, the discount is deep.  Laundry companies are not in the lending business. One example: Let’s say your property has 40 machines in total installed in 4 laundry rooms and they are generating about $4,000 a month in gross collections from coin, credit/debit or Add Value Station.  And let’s further say your property is a solid B and the owner is not looking to flip the property over the next 7 years and furthermore there is no need for renovations…If that were the case, the focus should be on increasing cash flow by not taking any “bonus”.  Depending on the capital investment and labor considerations, including risk and contingency issues, your laundry company may offer you a 50% deal with $XX dollars versus a 58% deal with no money up fron......
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Real Estate Contracts and Purchase Agreements Terms Explained

Real estate contracts or purchase agreements contain legal terms like any other business agreement. As they are complicated, get them adequately explained to you.  If you’re new to the business or need to know what these terms mean because you’re buying a property, read on as this article will explain them thoroughly. What are Real Estate Contracts or Purchase Agreements? These contracts or agreements are valid, legal contracts that act as safeguards for everything related to the purchase to work in a way both parties (a seller and a buyer) have agreed. They serve as legal safeguards because, as is always the case, buying real estate involves a lot of money, and everyone, especially the buyer, needs to have assurances that everything will go according to plan and nothing will go wrong. Once a contract or agreement is signed, both parties have assured legal rights and individual responsibilities they need to follow and fulfill. However, the difficulty with these contracts is that they are often very complex and something that only a lawyer can understand. As it’s quite easy to sign a piece of paper, but it’s next to impossible to break a contract without serious repercussions, so it’s crucial for you to understand what you’re signing. That’s why you must ask about anything in the agreement that you don’t comprehend. Ask as many questions as you need until you discern the entire deal. Only then should you sign. Requirements for Validity For a real estate contract or purchase agreement to be valid, some ......
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Are you being paid better or worse than your peers? View the Apartment Salaries Research Report to find out.

Are you being paid better or worse than your peers? View the Apartment Salaries Research Report to find out.

We just released our 2019 Apartment Salaries Research Report, where we surveyed 894 multifamily professionals from leasing consultants to upper level executives to identify salary trends in the multifamily industry.  We do offer this research report for free to the community; HOWEVER, we have one request:  Before you download, please click to share this post, as this will help us tackle more research projects in the future.

Link to download:  https://www.multifamilyinsiders.com/apartment-forms/file/368-2019-multifamily-salaries-research-report

If you would like access to more multifamily research studies and industry conversations, please follow us on LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/multifamily-insiders/

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“How can I prevent double-booking tours?”

Double booking has been a hot topic as of late (Think: United Airlines ). While double booking tours for multifamily isn’t quite that dramatic, it’s still an issue. We have mapped out the three levels of maturity for handling tour scheduling (separate calendars, shared calendar, and a universal calendar). Let’s take a closer look these scenarios.   Level 1: Separate Calendars When you have separate calendars for booking tours, it is easy to book two different prospects for the same time slot. Call centers and on-site agents can’t easily see what has been booked by the other. Not only does this create an awkward situation, it gives the impression your PMC is disorganized and that your customers are not a priority. Not exactly the first impression you are aiming for. You don’t want to leave your prospects waiting because of your mistakes.     As the workflow above shows, a property at Level 1 has a disjointed scheduling system. Plus, prospects can’t schedule tours directly. They have to call or visit the property during office hours to book a tour.     Level 2: Shared Calendar   At Level 2, a property has advanced to sharing a calendar between call centers and agents. By sharing a calendar, you have fixed the double booking issue. This sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t put the customer first. Every customer still needs to call or visit to schedule a tour. Granted, this isn’t the worst thing, but a lot of prospects don’t like to make phone cal......
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Four Common Misunderstandings about Centralized Revenue Management

iStock-944574186There’s an interesting debate we’ve seen start to percolate in pricing and revenue management (PRM) these days—whether to have pricing authority centralized or whether to decentralize it. From the examples we’ve seen with clients and prospects, there seem to be three approaches:  With centralized pricing, there is a team of PRM experts in the headquarters (or home office) generally regarded as having pricing authority. They may (should) collaborate heavily with the field, but in the end, they control the process and the data flow.  With decentralized pricing, pricing authority is delegated to the field. This can reside solely with operators/sales teams or it can be structured such that a divisional or regional VP has her own pricing person collaborating with her team.  A third option we’ve seen involved establishing a centralized PRM team but leaving pricing authority clearly in the hands of field operations/sales. In this scenario, the central PRM team acts more like a set of advisors or internal consultants as opposed to controlling the process the way a “pure” centralized approach would.   The case for decentralization   Often, the preference for either of the latter two comes from a desire to “empower” the field to control their own fate. They get bonused on business results, so the logic goes, “Why not give them full authority where they have responsibility and get rewarded (or punished) accordingly?”  There are some compelling elements to that thought process. It makes sense, for example for pricing to “live” closer to where the customer is. Pricing can have a more intuitive understanding of local market conditions and make decisions more quickly when pricing associates ar......
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EQ Meets Reputation Management

There’s only one thing worse than getting berated by a resident on site – getting berated on a review site.  When words are put on paper, they’re much more powerful than when they’re said to us in the heat of the moment. That’s because we can say something we don’t mean much more easily than we can write. When we write it, we probably mean it.  That’s what makes multifamily reputation management so hard for anybody who works for an organization they love and believe in. The moment you read a negative review from an angry resident, you feel it to your core, whether you were involved in the situation or not. You might feel angry, annoyed, hurt, sad, confused or any other negative emotion for that matter.  But that emotion won’t serve you well when you sit down to write a response to that review. That’s why we recommend hiring a third-party to respond to reviews. However, if you are tasked with writing the response yourself, you’ll need some strategies to manage your emotions. Here are a few I’ve seen work: Give it a few hours. Don’t just jump into your response right away. Let yourself work through the emotions before hitting the keyboard. It often takes time to work through the initial emotion and start viewing the situation rationally. Those first feelings are often irrational because expressing them to the resident won’t fix the problem. They will only escalate the negativity. Vent to a trusted coworker. You’re going to want to do this in privat......
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More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand

More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand
I’m often asked for tips and tricks on how to improve a community’s online reputation.  Over the last year or so these requests have become more frequent, as companies are realizing a positive online presence can directly impact leasing and renewal decisions.  I think it’s great we have an expanded awareness throughout our industry and I’m happy to offer any insight and support as needed.  “Reputation Management” is now a commonplace term within our industry, so much so that it is in jeopardy of becoming “white noise”; falling into the same lane as topics such as Fair Housing.  While teams know it’s important, they also feel as though they’ve learned all there is to know.  One Community Manager once told me “Unless something ground breaking happens, or it’s mandatory, I really don’t want to go to another reputation management class.”   Wow, harsh words, but I get it – I live and breathe this stuff daily so I’m not surprised that once standing room only crowds have dwindled to half-empty rooms.  Such was the case a few months ago when I presented at a conference. My first question to the audience was “Okay, let’s be honest…how many of you drew the short stick?” While many chuckled, many more nodded.  For our industry, reputation management tends to center around percentages and ratings.  Fixation over scores is a slippery slope because in reality, scores are low on the totem pole for renters.  We surveyed visitors to ApartmentRatings, hoping to determine which components of a community’s page was most valuable.&nbs......
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Raising Rents While Getting Resident Buy-In: Key Takeaways from Netflix

What are you binging these days on Netflix?

I ask because I totally know you're watching something. The streaming service currently has 118 million subscribers globally. Odds are, you're one of them. Oh, also, I'm always on the lookout for more shows to watch. Currently I'm watching You (and really considering changing the passwords on all my devices), as well as giving Tidying Up with Marie Kondo a shot (while getting anxiety sweats over whether an old 5K t-shirt is really sparking joy or not) and throwing in some Parks and Recreation for good measure (Chris Pratt).

So, assuming you're a subscriber, what did you think about the news that Netflix is going to be raising prices—its largest increase since launching the streaming service? Annoying, but you're going to keep using the platform, right? 

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