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Blog Posts Now Notify Our Twitter Account

Small announcement here:  We have added a new feature on Multifamily Insiders that automatically posts blog post titles and links onto our Twitter account, @mfinsiders!  So if you are on Twitter and want to keep track of what is going on with the site, then feel free to follow us!

 
(We are also working to bring more personal Twitter functionality to the site, but that's still a ways off.  We'll keep you updated!)

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A Quick Mention on Retention - Jan 2009

Well, we've made it into the post holiday slump.  You know, that time of year when the excitement of Christmas & New Year's have passed & we have to just survive until Spring Break & Memorial Day?  Because of our constant gray skies out here, this can be one of the most difficult times of the year to keep our residents engaged with us & to keep our team spirits up.   To quell your apprehension, we offer timely ideas for retention!   Let's start with next week's festivities involving the Superbowl.  If you have a property with a media or theatre room, this one is a no-brainer!  Break out the chips & chili cheese dip, or, if you're limited for funding after your winter gathering, make it a potluck event!  Even better would be to hold a "Kick-off Cook-off," having your residents enter the best thing that they make to fill a "Soup-er Bowl."  Someone on your site team must have a secret recipe for chili or chicken & noodles that they've been holding back.  What a great opportunity to find hidden talents in your team members & residents!  If you wanted to kick this idea up one more notch, why not open up the competition for the surrounding community?  It's a great way to increase some traffic numbers &  make more outside connections, both professional & personal.  Everyone loves a chance to be a shining star! Secondly,we are about three weeks out from one of the greatest resident recognition opportunity days......
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Eight Simple Ways to Increase Your Online Ad Conversion

1. List prices in your online ads. Properties that list their pricing get 192% more traffic than properties that do not. You will also end up pretty much dead last in the search results.2. Put your floor plans in your online ads. Showing your floor plans can increase your traffic results by as much as 68%. And if you haven't bothered to get your floor plans digitized and colorized, there's no time like the present.3. Interior photos are one of the most requested items on internet listing service  (ILS) sites. Check to make sure you're not heavy on amenities and exteriors and neglecting your interior photos. And hey, spend some money on a good photographer too. It can make a huge difference in your photo quality.4. Make sure you are using every available feature on the ILS sites. Can you bold your ad? Do it. Do they allow unlimited photos? Then get as many on there as you can. Call your ILS reps and ask them what you can do that you aren't currently doing with your ad. They are happy to help you.5. Make sure you check ALL amenities that apply to you. Don't take it for granted that people know you have air conditiong or an outdoor pool. If people knew exactly what you had, they would probably skip the online search and just come straight to your leasing office.6. Make sure you're not using your brochure copy for your ads. These ads are all crawled by the search......
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Reminder For Blog Submissions For Newsletter

Reminder:  As you may know, we showcase 4 or 5 blogs per newsletter, with any interesting, well-written blog post having the potential of getting on the newsletter.  If you would like us to to consider your blog post for the newsletter, you must have entered it into Multifamily Insiders by 6pm this Monday.

 
If you haven't blogged before, make sure to read the "Do's and Don'ts" post about blog writing!

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Low Cost Resident Retention Ideas

Following Marcy's lead, I've decided to add a list of resident retention ideas, many of which will help with leasing new apartments, as well!  OVERALL NOTES: Some of these community event ideas won't work for every apartment community, so find the ones that fit your community best. Some of events need to be started up, but then name one of the residents as the leader going forward. For example, you wouldn't want to have to administer Bridge games every week, so once you have initiated the process a few times, put a resident in charge, which helps them to take "emotional ownership" of the community! Some of these events are stand-alone events while others are mini-activities and should be incorporated into a larger event. Some events need more care than others. For example, kid-friendly events need an adult's watchful eye. Paintball and similar events may need a waiver signed. Plan accordingly! If you have a diverse demographic at your community, then offer diverse events!  Even if a weekly quilting group is the most uninteresting idea to you personally, it might fit your elderly residents perfectly! Lastly, some of these events are meant to be open to the public to help with apartment marketing! If they don't require a large cash outlay, then encourage your residents to invite friends! Free (Or Minimal Cost) For Both The Community and ResidentsBilliards Tournament - If you have a pool table in your community, this works perfectly. Otherwise, work with a local bar to promote the event, which......
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Pot luck anyone?

Whether it is gas prices, unemployment, or other general economic concerns, we are all chosing to spend our money differently.  Americans are rethinking their spending habits and most people are cutting out all unnecessary spending.  Dining out has been a luxury in many households.  Has it for your residents?In an effort to continue to build resident satisfaction and a sense of community, why not host a pot luck function at your property?  How nice to provide a "night out" for your residents without the high cost to the resident or the property?  The property can provide an entree and have the residents bring the side dishes, drinks, and dessert.Another idea might be to host a movie night - either for adults or for kids.  The property can provide a movie appropriate for the audience and the popcorn.  The residents will enjoy a night out and get to know their neighbors.  Instead of hosting a breakfast on the go, why not do a networking breakfast for the community?  With unemployment increasing, it would be great to be able to help people within your community meet other professionals who might be able to assist them in their search for new employment.  If budget constraints are present, you might want to reach out to your community for event sponsors.  Businesses are struggling in all sectors and are looking for ways to increase their customer base.  Improving your resident's sense of community and letting them know that you understand their circumstances and challenges will help your property reduce their turnover rates.  Plus, what is the best form of advertising out there?  A......
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The State of Affordable Housing, more particularly the LIHTC

For those of us in the affordable housing industry, particularly those of us who are familiar with the affordable housing tax credit program, we know the state of the industry.  Not good.  Over the past several months, we have seen the turmoil in the financial system essentially destroy, or make unrecognizable, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and cause great havoc among many public and private financial institutions.  We can not overstate the impact the economy has had on affordable housing and its related industries.  With tax credit prices down substantially, if they can be sold at all, the affordable housing industry is in a state of uncertainty.  In steps our new President and congress.  To whom much is given, much is expected.  Unfortunately, as of this writing the affordable housing industry is being given the cold shoulder.  The industry had high hopes of the new administration and congress with respect to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (the economic recovery/stimulus bill).  However, the initial draft of the Bill released by the House contains little or no provisions to assist the affordable housing industry.  Industry leaders such as the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition and various other non-profit and for-profit groups, are aggressively lobbying to obtain better language in the Senate version which should come out this week.  Recommendations by people within the affordable housing industry include:Gap Financing ($5 Billion) should be provided to the States to assist with 2007-2009 LIHTC projects in the pipeline that are unable to......
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Resident Retention: Low Cost / No Cost Strategies

Watching the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States today, I was struck with the message of hope now-President Obama shared with us.  It wasn’t just philosophy and feel-good jargon. It was a reminder that we’ve been through tough times before, and we have worked through those times with a sense of hope, with hard work, and tenacity. With that in mind, the purpose of this blog is to provide our hard-working property management professionals with practical tools and strategies that will enable you to hold on to those residents you do have, and even increase your net operating income despite these rough economic times.   So let’s begin.  It’s a different world than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Technology continues to evolve by the day, hour, and minute.  The question is not, “What technology do we need?” The question is, “What technology do we have?” EMAIL.  I would venture to say it’s nearly impossible to find a leasing office that does not have at least one email address. But, do you use it to its full potential? I was speaking at an apartment association lunch club last week, and a leasing professional approached me afterward to give me her card and request a copy of the presentation I had given. She was laughing because she had to write her company email address on her card. That information was not standard issue for her property management company’s business cards.  What?????? In 2006, SatisFacts research was com......
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Benefits of Setting Up An Apartment Community Blog

I had written this blog post a while back and was about to post it on Multifamily Insiders, but then Mike Whaling posted this great blog listing 30 Topics To Write About In Your Community's Blog and I wasn't sure if mine was relevant anymore.  But the more I thought about it, I think it helps with the "why" aspect of apartment community blogging.  But you can decide for yourself:More and more companies are beginning to understand the value of blogging, such as improving search engine ranking, establishing a dialogue with customers and associates, and creating a more personality-driven approach to reaching prospects. Since a blog is a less formal means of communication relative to traditional marketing, it allows communities to connect to prospects and residents in a more direct way, appealing to the emotional drivers of renting a home. For example, prospects generally have several standard questions about their new home that revolve around safety and comfort, such as:Is this a safe community to live in?Is the office staff friendly and will they take care of my needs?Is the community in a nice area of town?What are my neighbors like?With a blog, you can address each one of these and showcase a fun and dynamic place to live! It takes a little creativity, but there are countless types of content you can blog about that will positively impact both a prospect's view of your community as well as your residents. Here are a few examples:   1. Video Testimonials - Through......
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Be professional

Image is everything and whether you like it or not you are judged by your appearance and how you conduct yourself in the workplace.In today's competitive work force, we are all looking for an advantage over the next guy.  Whether you are interviewing for a new position, being considered for a promotion within your current organization, or trying to survive the next round of layoffs, your image will be a factor.  Your image tells a potential or current employer a lot about how you do your job and how serious you take your current position.  What is your image?First, let's talk about your appearance.  Whether your company has a uniform or dress program in place or not, you should dress in a manner appropriate for your position within the company.  Your clothes should:be neatly pressed and wrinkle free;fit and not be too tight or too loose; and be appropriate for work in style and material.Also, your shoes should be appropriate for your position and for your work environment.  For example, I don't think flip-flops or stilettos are ever appropriate footwear for the workplace.  Well, stilettos would be appropriate for some workplaces - just not within the multifamily industry!Other things to consider when evaluating your appearance would be the following:your hair - is it well-groomed?your nails - are they neat and polished?  the appropriate length?  your makeup - is it tastefully applied?your jewelry - is it minimal and appropriate for work?Secondly, I want to talk about how you communicate.  Whether it is verbal, written, or......
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