True. Dealing with the difficult situations allow us to grow and learn as managers, etc. The hardest...
Thank you Jason. The point I was trying to make regarding the resident event is that the vendor open...
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Posted by on in Property Management
I'm a huge fan of charitable works. I’d love to have been Mother Teresa if I could…except for the whole being a nun thing. I really like my husband and son and would have hated missing out on that! (And let’s not even go into my whole shoe and purse obsession, neither of those I’m sure would help with my nunley duties.) Three years ago, my company’s Core Values were a huge part of why I decided to work for Steadfast. Proceed with Integrity (I like where they’re going with this) Value People (Excellent I’m a person and I LOVE being valued) Embrace Opportunities (Tell me more…) Pursue Excellence (Totally in my wheelhouse) Do Good as We Do Well (YESSSSS) Are you kidding me? Each of these on their own as a company’s core value is pretty great, but all together? I’m in! This last one though, Do Good as We Do Well, is what I want to talk about today. At our annual holiday party, our company unveiled our new VTO opportunity. Volunteer Time Off. Not content to just put Do Good as We Do Well on our business cards, stationery and website, they put their money where their mouth is. Starting January, 2017, in addition to our holidays and our regular PTO, every employee is being given two days of VTO a year to do volunteer work. EVERY. EMPLOYEE. Anyone who wants gets two days to go out and do good. Obviously, there are some rules. You can’t use a day of the...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
bwki71ap-y8-tim-gouw.jpgPhone calls, emails, leasing tours, resident interactions...these are just a few of the things taking place in a leasing office on any given day. Leasing teams are the definition of walking, talking multitaskers —creating inefficiencies on the best days and organized chaos on the worst. With leasing quotas to reach and individual prospects/residents to manage, there’s often misalignment when it comes to big picture goals. Leasing can create a high-pressure environment, and there’s always room for more structure, organization, and team collaboration. Of all the many challenges arising in a leasing office environment, one of the most common questions we hear from multifamily portfolio managers is: “How can I empower my sales team to meet or exceed their goals on a regular basis?” With the rental market showing some signs of softening in recent months, it's more important than ever to maintain a leasing sales force that's motivated to crush their goals regularly. Here are some ideas on how to empower your leasing professionals in 2017 — and beyond.     1. Educate to Motivate   Knowledge is power. Power your leasing teams with meaningful insight into your leasing team’s goals on a day-to-day basis — not just the dollars and cents of them, but the how and why behind them, too. For example: How do their daily or weekly goals impact the community's long-term goals Why focusing on leasing two-bedrooms, rather than one-bedrooms, will make a more immediate impact this week In other words, what do these specific leasing goals mean - for the health...

Posted by on in Property Management
With a new year on the horizon, many professionals turn an eye toward the books as they gather materials for annual reports and year-over-year comparisons. While goals might change for the next 12 months, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t want to make more money next year. While no one action item will leave your properties bulletproof or provides the golden ticket to success, implementing these three practices can give you a good chance of making the most when the market is sour and maximizing your profitability when times are good. 1. Use Software to Bolster Occupancy Rates When you buy an airline ticket, the price will vary depending on the supply and demand of passenger seats for your desired itinerary. A round-trip flight to Paris will cost more if you purchase it during high season or closer to the departure date. Similarly, the property management industry now has tools that can optimize rental pricing to achieve the highest yield, or the combination of rent and occupancy, for a given property. How do these tools work? The U.S. has 55 million rental units, half of which are in bigger complexes. Yieldstar® (RealPage, Inc.) and Yardi® (Yardi Systems, Inc.), which dominate the high end of the market, are tools that use analytics to mine its clients’ data. Yieldstar and Yardi each have 11 million units in their property management systems. With so much data, they have near-real-time information on rents in each area, and can thus determine what people...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
a1sx2_Cupcake marketing_Kate-Good-Marketing-Slide---Cupcakes.jpgKate Good presented her 2017 Marketing Playbook yesterday, and there were loads of great ideas shared.  One of my absolute favorites was a mix of resident appreciation, social media awareness, and outreach marketing, all in one program!  Kate's team sent out cupcakes to residents at their place of work as a way to show the residents how much they were appreciated, as well as hopefully gain some great social media mentions!  Sure enough, Sandra took a picture of herself with the cupcakes and posted the picture back to Vargos' fan page!  Mission 1 and Mission 2 accomplished! What Kate said next really struck me: See how we popped in tri-fold brochures in there too - that's also great for outreach, because you know Sandra isn't going to eat all 12 of these cupcakes.  She's going to share them with her coworkers, and we want them to know where the cupcakes came from. Mission 3 accomplished!  How great is that - resident appreciation, social media awareness, AND outreach marketing all in one program!      If you liked that tip, you can still catch Kate's full webinar with loads more ideas by going here:  Kate Good's 2017 Marketing Playbook  ...

Posted by on in Property Management
On Sunday, December 11th, the Steadfast Giving Tree, in association with our Steadfast Santa Fun Run team, held our 2nd annual 5K for charity. Over 350 people registered and attended this super fun and worthy event.   The morning dawned cool and overcast, perfect for a run (or a walk—depending on your mood). Everywhere you looked you saw Santa hats, Fun Run red shirts, children, dogs and smiling faces. Everyone knew they weren’t just there for a quick run, but were there to support a great cause. Kids, anticipating the arrival of Santa, spent their time jumping in the bounce house, working at the craft table or having their faces painted until it was time. Christmas music and our emcee, Carrie Polonsky, kept everyone in the spirit. After the kick-off blessing by our founder, Rod Emery, it was time to head to the start line.   Then what to our wondering eyes should appear, but Santa Claus in his running gear. We took our marks, we got set and we WENT! Some were serious about their run taking off quickly at the start line, others took a more leisurely pace with their children, dogs and just socialized.   Once the 5K was done, it was time to take pictures with Santa and present the awards to the first, second and third place finishers. Hotdogs, popcorn and cotton candy were provided to the tired and sweaty runners. We’re proud to announce from donations and registrations, we raised…wait for it…   Over $74,000!! All of the...

Posted by on in Property Management
In the classic show I Love Lucy, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo couldn't swing a Vitameatavegamin in their swanky Manhattan apartment without hitting their best friends—and landlords—Fred and Ethel Mertz. Wackiness and hilarity ensued, of course, mainly because this was a scripted TV show and nowhere near what reality is like (see also: twin beds in the bedroom and the ability to play the conga drums non-stop without the neighbors complaining). If you're a property manager or landlord in real life and you're best friends with your residents, then you have some 'splaining to do. Read on for the whole blog....

Posted by on in Student Housing
When it comes to student housing or even rental accommodations, investment properties are typically regarded as a relatively one-dimensional profit generator in which rental payments serve as the only revenue. However, there are a few lease clauses that could potentially be netting landlords additional income or saving them more money.Landlords are advised to review their local tenancy laws to ensure that these lease clauses or addendums are both applicable and legal in their jurisdictions.  1. Utility Cap Clause (For All-Inclusive Rentals)A popular option amongst student renters is all-inclusive accommodations. While this option is a great selling feature for student rentals, it can result in some large variable utility costs for landlords. To help minimize the variable costs, a utility cap can set specific quotas for what constitutes as “all-inclusive.” To set the utility cap, there are many resources online (typically through utility provider websites) which will show the average energy consumption for various household sizes. To read more about utility caps, check out this blog.   While this lease tactic isn’t necessarily going to generate more revenue, it will certainly encourage tenants to be more energy conscious so they avoid paying utility overages. Utility caps will often lead to lower utility bills when tenants are more cautious of their use.  2. Pet Rent or Pet FeeWith nearly 76% of millennials reporting they own pets, this lease clause is one that will apply to the bulk of student tenants. Instead of trying to enforce a no-pets policy which will end up turning away a sizable portion of...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
How to get your money's worth when using your vendors   As a maintenance person who has been on a property for a long period of time, it can sometimes hurt our pride to have to call out a vendor to repair something. It happens to all of us, right? Just last week when I was working on a heating unit inside an air handler, I could only get one of the four coils to work. I replaced what I thought was a bad sequencer but to no avail, so I reluctantly called my HVAC guy. About 5 minutes after he showed up I felt like a fool. It only took him that long to show me the one wire I missed that was connected to the sequencer in the wrong location. While we were in the apartment, he discovered that the system was wired to only run two of the four coils. Natural assumption would be if there is four in the system then four should be working right? Wrong. Long story short, my vendor showed me how and why the unit was wired this way. I took the time, as we all should, to learn from him and not just call him out to correct a problem for us. The tricky part can be to find a vendor that is willing to help educate you whereas most vendors aren’t willing to do that. They think, “The more you know the less you need me”, which is often not the...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
When you advertise an available apartment to rent, you hope to find a good fit — a qualified renter who appreciates the apartment, has a good job and would be a welcome addition to the rental community. When you have the good fortune of finding more than one qualified renter for a single apartment, how do you choose among them to select the right renter? Narrow Down Candidates With References and a Checklist No one likes to be turned down, especially for emotional situations like renting an apartment. Yet as landlord or property manager, you can only choose one lucky renter. Review the criteria you established to reduce the applicant pool. Do all applicants have the required minimum credit score? Does every applicant earn enough to pay the rent, using the general consideration that rent should take no more than one-third of a renter's income? Can everyone provide personal, employment or housing references? It's critical that you require all applicants to provide the same information; otherwise, you could be accused of housing discrimination. To protect yourself, write down the criteria used to screen applicants. As long as no question could be construed as violating the Fair Housing Act, you are in the clear. If one or two applicants do not provide the information you request, remove them from consideration. To whittle down the list further, call all references for a given renter, not just his or her last landlord or boss. Ask previous landlords if the applicant paid the rent on time. While an occasional late...

Posted by on in Property Management
Now that it's December, it means that the holidays are only a few weeks away. To make the holidays festive and fun for residents, there are a number of things you can do at your communities. Below we count just a few of the ways you can bring holiday cheer to residents with very little money or prep time involved. 1) Decorate the leasing office. Trees are relatively inexpensive to get and many vendors will deliver the tree to the office for you. You can have white paper snowflakes available and residents can list their family tradition and add it to the tree. If you prefer something lower maintenance, invest in an artificial tree you can set up and store each year.  You can also set up a Hanukkah menorah and a Kwanzaa candelabra to represent all holidays your residents may be celebrating. 2) Stock a hot cocoa station. During certain hours of the week, perhaps on Saturday mornings, set up a hot cocoa station in the leasing office. You can put it beside any coffee or tea you normally provide. Hot cocoa packets are very inexpensive, so all residents need are cups, water, a microwave, and the packets. You can also add marshmallows or candy canes for a fun twist. Make sure to provide thicker cups and lids in case residents need to take the cocoa on the run! 3) Have a photo station and props for residents. Everyone loves ‘selfies’. This idea can easily be paired with the hot...