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Our Pet Policies Are Missing Something

Our Pet Policies Are Missing Something
Call it the hidden variable of an apartment community’s pet population—visiting pets. While community teams have steadily gravitated toward crafting pet policies more reflective of the modern resident, these policies oftentimes omit this crucial component. Whether a resident is pet sitting, pet fostering or simply entertaining guests who bring along pets, the visiting pet is often unaccounted for. But these pets are no different than those that live at the community in that they stay in an apartment home, can leave pet waste around the community and present the same risk for liability.  Additionally, these visiting pets are not accounted for when property managers charge pet rent, and they make it nearly impossible for teams to maintain an accurate pet record for the sake of emergency preparedness.  And according to recent research, visiting pets aren’t merely a rare occurrence. According to the Pet Policies and Amenities survey from PetScreening and J Turner Research, 25% of pet-owning residents said that they or someone they know has provided pet sitting services at their apartment community. And 23% said that they have hosted a guest who doesn’t live at the community and who has brought along a pet. While the numbers are slightly higher among pet-free residents who plan to get a pet, and lower for non-pet owners who don’t plan to get one, the primary takeaway is that approximately one-in-four residents are closely associated with pet sitting or visiting pets.  As such, onsite teams should factor this into their pet policies to avoid the prosp......
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Turning the Tide on Bad Resident Reviews

Turning the Tide on Bad Resident Reviews

When a community’s ratings and reputation is struggling, it can be incredibly challenging to pull those ratings back from the brink, all while not having the team get discouraged along the way. And for those communities that are already doing well on that front, how are they proactive about getting resident feedback before that feedback turns into negative reviews?

These are two of my favorite parts of my interview with Danielle Johnson, Vice President of Marketing and Training at Bridge Property Management. She dives into how they impact Google reviews, measure the results, and how they implemented touchpoints for feedback after tours, move-ins, work orders, move-outs, and other key points along the resident and prospect journey. Plus, she shares the most common reasons for bad reviews, and how her partnership with Opiniion helped gauge impact in her efforts!

By the way, if you like this type of content where we talk with different property management pros, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the bell icon!

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Property Management, Starbucks Style - "Good Enough" is OK

Property Management “Starbucks Style”Starbucks Coffee ain’t the VERY best…but it is way above average!   I’m a frequent, VERY frequent, Starbucks visitor.  This company’s coffee, friendly baristas, and pleasant environment is predictable and typically well above average.  Yet, I do like checking out other coffee venues.  I travel a lot and drink coffee even more so I get a chance to visit many top notch independent coffee houses.  Several that are a lot better than Starbucks.     More often, these “other” coffee shops have some unique and memorable differences that stand out, but they can’t put together the whole package…like Starbucks does.  Even though I have found a few GREAT coffee houses, I am always concerned about stopping at a new coffee place because they usually fall short.  I choose Starbucks who consistently does coffee in an “above average” style.     Good to Great?  How ‘bout  “Good to Good Enough.”  Here’s the deal.  You are most likely NOT the best apartment community in your market and will never be the “best”…whatever that means!  But you can be above average, maybe even, “well above average”, and do just fine for your supervisor and property owner.  Your management goal is NOT the be the best apartment community in your market, city, or even company portfolio.  That is a crazy goal that you can’t afford to pursue.  Rather, you strive to be the best rental option for your residents…the people who choose to call your community “home”.     What makes Starbucks my long term choice for java is not that they are......
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How Can Landlords Mitigate Their Losses Now That the Eviction Moratorium Has Ended, or Will Be Ending Soon.

How Can Landlords Mitigate Their Losses Now That the Eviction Moratorium Has Ended, or Will Be Ending Soon.
The nationwide eviction moratorium had prevented families from being removed from their homes, helping families face pandemic-related financial hardships while mitigating the risks of further spreading the virus when people were forced to move out. People who took advantage of the measure will still have to pay their landlords the total amount accrued during the moratorium. Since the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was introduced on March 27, 2020, the eviction moratorium deadline has been extended multiple times. The extension from June 30, 2021, to July 31, 2021, was the third time it was extended. On August. 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a moratorium on evictions ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) targeting areas with high transmission rates. In a 6-3 vote by the Supreme Court, the moratorium will no longer be extended. With the moratorium ended and the pandemic still ongoing, landlords worry that their tenants may still not keep up with their contractual obligations. Tens of billions of dollars of rental relief were made available to struggling tenants; however, as of August 2021, only $3 billion of the allocated $46 billion rental relief fund has made it out. Each state has its own process for disbursing the relief funds. Helping Tenants Apply for Rental Relief Unfortunately, gaps remain in the program as many citizens either don’t know how to apply for it or don’t know if they are eligible. One of the main challenges, particularly low-income tenants with no internet acc......
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How To Build A Top Notch Seller Reputation In Multifamily


Sellers, you want to develop a reputation with every buyer in the marketplace that buying from you is first class. You want them to talk about you in a good way at dinner that night with their spouse. There are a number of things that go into developing an awesome reputation as a seller. A very simple one that’s easy to do and goes a long way is how you care for your property during the marketing and contract period. Are you the seller that spends as little money as humanly possible during this time because you feel like you’re throwing money away at something you won’t own in 90 days or are you the seller that understands the power of going above and beyond to care for an asset because the reputational benefits will spread throughout the multifamily world and handsomely reward you long term? Remember, buyers of your assets will be sellers of other assets in the future. If they remember you to be the seller that cut corners and did just enough, they will be far less likely to select you as a winning bidder on their next sale. And the brokers involved in your transactions will be less likely to recommend you as a buyer. There are some easy things I’ve recognized sellers can do to build a killer reputation during the marketing and contract period. The cost of making repairs, replacements, and beautification during this time is so minimal as a percentage of the deal but the pay......
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My POV as a Renter: The Dilemma of Looking in an Active Market

As a renter who falls into the category of looking over 6 months out, I can confidently say that it’s the properties that stay in touch with me that end up being the ones I tour at. Here’s my story as a renter and I hope you’ll take the time to read it.   Surprising data collected by PERQ shows an interesting and growing trend in renter behavior: 20% of rental prospects are much like me and looking to move 6+ months out from when they begin their search for their next apartment. From the perspective of the leasing agent, that’s a lot of people who might be considered what many call “looky lous”, or casual online shoppers.  But, they are actually high intent shoppers that are qualified leads. These shoppers are more organized with their search process and have a better understanding of what they want and what they don’t want. These renters will be the perfect lead in just a few months. There are several reasons why we are looking now instead of closer to their move-in date. First is increased rental volume. With COVID-19 causing us to spend more time in our homes and living spaces, we felt the shortcomings of the spaces we were living in and a desperate need to start fresh in a new space caused a shift in rental activity. In fact, data collected by USPS shows that 27% of temporary movers moved in the first six months of the pandemic. That’s a lot of rental activ......
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Fair Housing and Internal Employee Communication

Fair Housing and Internal Employee Communication
Internal employee communication is essential to keep an office running smoothly and fair housing compliant. Without proper internal communication, staff can find themselves struggling to know what to do. Consider the following scenarios. Maintenance Work Request We all know that fair housing best practice is to complete maintenance requests in the order they were received except in the case of emergencies. But did you know that what can be considered an emergency can significantly vary from property to property? As a result, a new hire can quickly become confused as to how to properly handle maintenance work requests if the property’s policy isn’t clearly communicated. This could result in work orders being handled out of order and open the property up to a discrimination or fair housing complaint.   Internal communication of policies and procedures is an absolute must, especially when it comes to new hires. Supervision is also a key component; making sure that if a staff member has a question, there is someone there to help. Along with this, every staff member should have access to adequate documentation as well as regular training. Keeping these lines of internal communication available, aids in workplace compliance.  Callback Policies Callback policies are another place where fair housing compliance can become an issue if there isn’t proper internal communication. Today’s properties face the challenge of sorting through multiple contact points, and phone, email, text, and web-based communication are all part of most properties’ daily communications.    Just as with maintenance requests, fair housing best prac......
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Five Big Take-Aways From A Welcome Return to AIM

Five Big Take-Aways From A Welcome Return to AIM
This week marked an important step in the rehabilitation of the multifamily industry’s annual conference circuit. The Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference (AIM) is one of the joys of the conference schedule.  Marketers and operators normally flock to Orange County, CA in May for this event. A COVID-related reschedule pushed this year’s show to October, but a normal-sized crowd and a full complement of speakers made AIM 2021 feel like things are back to normal. On Tuesday, I got to attend a fascinating session entitled “Seven Executive Marketing Lessons from Seven Great Brands,” which featured two industry marketing leaders: Sheri Killingsworth, the VP of Marketing at Lincoln Properties and Justina Omokhua, the newly-minted Chief Marketing Officer of smart building technology provider, Latch. AIM has always prided itself on driving the conversation about technology and innovation. In this session, the seasoned multifamily marketer mined the blue-chip experience of the industry newcomer to look for lessons that we can learn from the marketing departments of companies like Apple, Pepsi, Verizon, and Nokia. Unsurprisingly, the insights came thick and fast - some of the main take-aways may be summarized as follows: 1. How Followers Become Rabid Fans A recurring theme of this session was how marketing is about establishing a meaningful relationship with our customers that is reinforced at every touchpoint.  Pepsi provided a rich source of examples here, as Justina explained the prominence of entertainment in building the brand platform as repeated sponsorship of the Super Bowl and partnerships with major music acts helped the mega-brand as they sou......
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Community-Wide Connectivity Powering Post-Modern Tech Stacks

Community-Wide Connectivity Powering Post-Modern Tech Stacks
A new era of apartment leasing and living is upon us. From self-service leasing and smart home technology to the industry-wide adoption of PropTech, technology is empowering residents, onsite teams and operators alike while creating operational efficiencies.  While these technology features and solutions can really take apartment communities to the next level, a lot of these tools need a robust internet foundation to run smoothly. Apartment communities probably have WiFi, but it’s typically isolated to certain parts of the building, whether it’s the leasing office or designated common area spaces. Unfortunately, a lot of smart home technology isn’t confined to these spaces and is present throughout the community. Here are some technologies that could be optimized with community-wide WiFi to run smoothly and the benefits for operators: PropTechThe majority of apartment tours used to be standard agent-led tours. The emergence of nontraditional tours, such as self-guided, virtual and video tours, has changed the technology needs for apartment communities. The industry has made it clear these various tour options are here to stay. Self-guided tours also integrate other types of proptech into the overall experience, like wayfinding technology, interactive maps, virtual viewing, access control, ID verification and chat functionality with leasing agents. Self-guided tour and access control technologies have become a foundational component of running agentless tours. Seamless connectivity can help power proptech and self-guided tours to work in all areas of the community. Otherwise the prospect will find themselves offline and in need of assistance. This causes issues for both the prosp......
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Taking Care of Your Investors

Taking Care of Your Investors
A top-notch investor relations program is critical when foraying into multifamily investments. And when doing so, one might want to prioritize customer service as well as sound investment opportunities. Unfortunately, it's not completely unheard of for some multifamily firms to treat their investors as if they are fortunate to simply be along for the ride. They will provide investors with the required reporting, but not much else. When I think about what investor relations should look like, I think back to the pizza shop my father owned and ran while I was growing up. He never took a customer for granted. He realized they always had a choice in where to spend their money and so he made it a point to offer more than just a meal. He provided a warm, engaging customer service experience that left his patrons knowing they had been listened to and appreciated. This created a steady stream of return customers and positive word of mouth.  Obviously, today's investors want strong risk-adjusted returns. But they are after more than that, too. They want consistent and clear information from you. They want to know they can talk with someone at the company on short notice and that their voice will be heard. With that in mind, here are some general recommendations for good investor relations. Communicate clearly and often. Investors want and deserve more than the required reporting. Provide regular updates on the performance of the assets they're invested in. At Ashcroft Capital, for example, our investors receive......
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