Great point, Brent! That's also where AFPOE can be helpful. Responses which come off like "because...
Wendy Dorchester
Hire for culture, train for skill! Love this. Jared, you have always emulated great culture in every...
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Posted by on in Property Management

This is one of my all time favorite videos.  It is a few years old, but I'm sure there are some of you out there that haven't seen it before. ...

Posted by on in Property Management
The Senior VP of the company I work for is always pushing her area and regional managers to think at a 10,000-foot level. Some of the newer, non-seasoned managers now overseeing two or more properties may find it hard to shift between details and bigger picture thinking. While I am certainly not a CEO, I’ve had the privilege to learn a little bit about them, their styles, and how they think. In the next few paragraphs I’ll share with you what I’ve learned. What you’ll find is bigger picture—10,000-foot—level thinking is not rocket science. 1. Hire people smarter than you. In grad school I had the opportunity to hear the legendary CEO Jack Welch speak about his career. One of the things he said that will forever stick with me is that he always hired the very best—admittedly, people smarter than him. He argued that hiring the brightest made his job easier. Smart people have better problem solving skills, communication skills, and are better critical thinkers. Companies like Google and Apple purposefully recruit from top colleges like Stanford and UCLA—they hire the brightest for their ideas and creativity. So, why would you not want to hire someone brighter than you? Do you fear they might try and take your job? If this is so, then you have a self-esteem issue. Ultimately, the “leader” that thinks he or she knows it all is toxic to an organization. In the IREM white paper series, Alfred Ojejinmi explains that when you “acknowledge what you...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Insta-Marketing. As in, marketing you can implement instantly. Who doesn’t love (and need more of) that?   Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social networks of today’s highly digital era and it’s actually a fairly easy platform to learn, even for today’s most social media challenged individuals (no shame here - everyone has to learn sometime, right?).   So when it comes to multifamily marketing, what can you actually do to improve your marketing on Instagram and why should you be doing it? Well, a group of savvy marketers recently learned exactly this at the Multifamily Social Media Summit 2017. We heard from Sue B. Zimmerman (also known as THE Instagram Expert). You can find and follow her on Instagram by searching for her handle, which is: suebzimmerman     Here’s what she taught us...   The Why: Instagram has more than 600 million active users Instagram has “less noise” than other social platforms (more simplistic approach with photos) You can use photos to “tell” your story (and your customers will most likely help you tell your story too, through their posts) It’s quick. Posts require little more than uploading a photo and incorporating some hashtags It’s easy to toggle between Instagram accounts (for example, if you have a personal account and a property account) Instagram is focused on mobile (helloooo that’s where our customers are) Instagram is visual (which is exactly what we want to be in this business) You can get qualified leads through this platform...

Posted by on in Apartment Maintenance
Like most things in life, pipes don’t last forever. To accurately estimate the useful life of the piping systems at your property, as well as plan for maintenance costs and large capital improvement projects, it’s critical to understand how the environment, geography and other factors impact the resilience of those systems. When it comes to different pipe types (i.e., polybutylene, copper, galvanized steel pipe), each has an overall expected usable life based on their material. But when you look beyond the manufacturers’ data and national averages, location is key. With over 25 years of industry experience, we know that in certain areas of the United States, piping systems are failing at a faster rate.  While nationally the average life of polybutylene (“poly”) pipes is 26 years, in states like North Carolina and Virginia, poly pipes are failing up to ten years earlier.  Likewise, for galvanized steel pipes, the average life nationwide is 50 years, but in states like California, we are seeing galvanized pipes fail in as few as 18 years.   We have seen some copper pipes in perfectly good shape at 75 years old, while others have sprouted pinhole leaks at only 10 years of age due to the quality of the copper and the corrosiveness of the water. Cast iron pipe is expected to have a usable life of 50 years or more based on manufacturers claims, but there are reports of newly made Chinese Cast Iron that are failing at a much faster rate. For reasons “why”...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
The apartment industry has a very consistent career path:  Leasing Consultants get promoted to assistant property managers, who then get promoted to property managers and beyond.  Essentially, we take someone with strong sales skill sets and then push them into a role that is highly administrative.  And then we take that administrative employee and give them a management and leadership role.  But does that really make sense?  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to sit down with Lauren Curley of Bonaventure Realty Group, which has 26 properties across 3 states, and she shared some interesting things they are testing at four communities, with plans to expand to the rest of their portfolio in the coming months.    Leasing Consultants Are Promoted Along a Leasing Track In the end, we often promote leasing consultants because they are good at what they do, but that pushes them into positions that may not match their skill sets.  So Bonaventure has transitioned to a system where leasing positions have their own track.  So leasing consultants are promoted to higher level leasing positions that receive better leasing commissions, without necessarily forcing them into an administrative or management role if it doesn't fit.  Bonaventure keeps the best leasing consultants actually leasing apartments, the function that they thrive in.   Goodbye "Jack of all Trades", and Hello Focused Skill Sets Our industry has long been proud that its onsite team members are a "jack of all trades", but there are significant drawbacks.  Our team members often feel...

Posted by on in Affordable Housing

The President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), Diane Yentel, released a statement last week in response to the Trump administration’s budget proposal, specifically regarding the previously mentioned cuts to (and of) key housing assistance programs at HUD. The official position of the NLIHC is “[the budget proposal] is the wrong approach. Mr. Trump and Congress should be increasing investments in affordable homes-not dramatically cutting resources”. Yentel and the NLIHC further implored Congress to reject the proposed cuts, should they remain a part of the final budget proposal, citing them as “unacceptable”. The statement put out by Yentel and the NLIHC also highlights Secretary Carson’s previous commitment to maintain existing HUD programs, and to refrain from any drastic cuts until an alternative program is created in its place.

Posted by on in Property Management
I sat at the dinner table quietly seething with rage. The first time my husband and I were able to eat together in a week, and there he sat, the chicken getting cold and the white wine getting warm, mid anecdote, as he answered a “quick” work email on his iPhone. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. “Can’t this wait until after dinner? Plus, it’s after hours! You can answer it later! Don’t you think you’re being…” Buzzzzzzz. It was my own phone ringing, indicating I had a message. “Go on, answer the email,” my husband laughed. I tried to resist. I was, after all, in the middle of proving a very important point. But my eyes were already drifting to the screen. I couldn’t stop myself. I had to answer that email. Read the entire blog....

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
You’re probably reading this because you’re as addicted to click-bait quizzes as most people on social media. In real estate, however, all those investor personality quizzes won’t do you much good. Spoiler alert: there are two investor personality types, and you can be both at any given moment. Personality A: The Wealth-Builder Property investors who play it smart earn 12-30 percent ROI, depending on risks and market timing. That’s a sizable advantage over stock market investment returns, which average about 3-9 percent annually. Real estate investing builds wealth, and more risky strategies like flipping can build it more quickly. Investors who are risk-averse, however, might stay more in the second personality type most of the time. Personality B: The Retirement Plan Long-term investors are those who are focused on building wealth for the long-term, specifically, for retirement. Creating a portfolio that will make ends meet after going on a fixed income is a naturally risk-averse venture—no one wants to bet their future on something that might result in a loss. Retirement Planners opt more often to buy and hold safer investments, staying out of the property trading arena as much as possible. How To Be Both A and B Different seasons and goals may require diversification of an investment portfolio. Just like when investing in the stock market, it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your goals, portfolio growth, and income potential and take a multi-faceted approach to real estate investing. As long as you stick with the tenets of smart...

Posted by on in Property Management
Ok, let’s admit it. Sometimes, even with your best efforts, things may fail to work out between a tenant and you. Being a good and honest landlord, unfortunately, doesn’t shield you from bad tenants who fail to honor their rent payments, damage property, or disrupt other tenants. Of course we all wish tenant screening was completely foolproof. But, unfortunately, even tenants with the highest qualification scores and best intentions may struggle to pay rent from time to time. While this is heartbreaking, especially if you have a good relationship with a tenant, you simply can’t put them up free of charge. It may seem harsh, but it’s just business, and just like any other, your main priority is protecting it. While evicting some tenants is just as simple as asking them to leave, the bulk of them may resist, forcing you to go through a formal eviction process. To manage this appropriately, you have to follow the right legal channels, otherwise you risk locking yourself in a civil suit, and probably damaging your reputation as a property manager or landlord. Here’s a brief, but comprehensive guide to assist you: Don’t Take Matters into Your Own Hands According to the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA of 1972), and the corresponding state tenancy laws, it’s illegal in every state to take matters into your own hands, regardless of the tenant’s actions. Even if your tenant is physically damaging your property, causing extreme nuisance, or threatening to kill you, hiring a couple of Hulk...

Posted by on in Property Management
Even Google understands how frustrating parking can be in urban markets. By now, nearly everyone has utilized the Google Maps features that shows how congested the highways and side streets are on a particular route, and offers the most expedient routes given the real-time traffic. Now Google Maps is taking it a step further with a similar feature for parking. According to a recent article in TechCrunch, Google is using historical parking data to calculate a parking difficulty score, which will be presented in the app’s direction card as “Limited,” “Medium,” or “Easy.” This feature was first spotted in January when users of Google Maps’ beta on Android had access to the addition. The benefits to commuters are clear, as now they can mentally prepare themselves not only for the forthcoming drive, but also the parking situation when they arrive. For apartment communities in those urban cores that possess a fair amount of extra parking space, the ancillary revenue opportunities are tremendous. Apartment communities in those congested markets can transform their empty spaces into cheaper and more efficient parking options for the local businesses and their employees and visitors. To be clear, the Google Maps parking feature is still a work in progress. It relies on historical data (such as: this area is usually popular in November) rather than the real-time data, but its anticipated that the feature will quickly gain traction and improve as time passes. For now, Google is launching the feature in the top 25 metros of the...