We're constantly scouring the Internet for the most relevant, informative multifamily industry articles and tips we can find to share with our readers. In addition, we're home to exclusive essays and helpful hints from our own Leasing Cafe baristas.
Got an article you think we should post or a topic you think we should cover? We'd love to hear from you! Just click the "CONTACT" link at the top right corner of the page and send us your ideas. And don't forget the Coffee Talk Forum -- post your thoughts and get the discussion flowing with other apartment professionals!
U.S. developers broke ground on new homes at a faster pace in July. But the rise was all due to apartment construction, which is typically volatile. By contrast, builders began work on fewer single-family homes - the bulk of the market - and sought fewer permits to build them.
Friday's report from the Commerce Department suggests that home building is maintaining its recovery but might be starting to feel the effects of higher mortgage rates. Click HERE to read article.
Are your leasing professionals drowning potential residents with facts, figures, and product information? So much so that your customers feel like they need to carry a can of “leasing professional repellent”? Then you want to learn these five keys to unlock effective leasing conversations.
Pretty much anyone can memorize sales techniques and strategies, and if you focus on doing only that, then you’ll quickly get lost in the crowd. There are a lot of leasing professionals out there doing the same thing—dancing together to the same music: “check off the list and close the sale”...READ FULL ARTICLE
When a company is fortunate enough to add a super star leasing consultant to their team, they need to make sure they keep that stellar employee for many years to come! With new communities popping up all over town and a plethora of management companies they can choose to work for, you need to make sure that YOUR company stands out in order to retain the best leasing staff.
One of the largest unknown costs to a company is employee turnover. The Center for American Progress estimated in 2012 that it costs on average $4,500 – $10,000 to replace an employee once recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, and reduced productivity were all considered.
So how does a company go about retaining their Super Star leasing consultants?
Here are 5 ways to keep your 5-star leasing consultant...READ MORE
When a customer visits your apartment, reviews your community online, or recommends you to a friend, these occasions all call for a remarkable thank you. No one wants to send that boring follow-up email that is so bland it could potentially discredit the sincere gratitude you intended.
And if you don’t want to send it, I promise you the recipient doesn’t want to read it. Don’t spoil your customer’s “You’ve Got Mail” moment with a snoozefest of a message...toRead More, CLICK HERE
By Kevin Smith
Facebook announced today that you'll be allowed to embed posts — like status updates, posts with hashtags, and videos— to other sites on the Internet.
AllThingsD's Mike Issac offers this interesting perspective explaining the purpose behind Facebook's new embedded posts:
The point is this: Having the world’s largest “private” social network is certainly a powerful thing. But Facebook wants to edge in on the real-time nature of Twitter’s network, pushing Facebook content out to other sites and thereby increasing distribution and the reach of a global conversation...READ ARTICLE
By Bernard Marr
Success comes in all shapes and colours. You can be successful in your job and career but you can equally be successful in your marriage, at sports or a hobby. Whatever success you are after there is one thing all radically successful people have in common: Their ferocious drive and hunger for success makes them never give up.
Successful people (or the people talking or writing about them) often paint a picture of the perfect ascent to success. In fact, some of the most successful people in business, entertainment and sport have failed. Many have failed numerous times but they have never given up. Successful people are able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and carry on trying...to Read more, CLICK HERE
Welcome to our Second Quarter 2013 Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Benchmark. In January 2014, Ellis will celebrate our 30th year as a feedback company and multifamily partner. We pride ourselves in providing the most current tools to help you monitor and evaluate on-site sales and marketing effectiveness, as well as to be able to compare your team’s performance against others in the industry. The buying decision of today’s renter – in fact, any customer – is impacted significantly by the customer experience. The value of the customer’s perception of their experience is something we cannot ignore as we continue to help our customers better understand and manage the lead conversion and resident retention processes...To Read Full Report, CLICK HERE!
Presented by Heather Blume
July 10, 2013
2:00 PM (EST)
It's time to reinvent the resident event! In this webinar, Behind the Leasing Desk's Heather Blume will share some of the most innovative resident events she's seen in the last year, as well as a few untested ideas. Going beyond just a list of good ideas, Heather will then take you through the steps to write an execution plan and timeline for your event to help produce a resident gathering that will be interesting, interactive, and draw your community in, while creating an excellent marketing and retention opportunity for your property!
(To Register, click the image.)
**This webinar is eligible for Continuing Education Credits!
Free Live Webcast, sponsored by NWP Services Corporation
July 9, 2013, 2:00 PM (EST)
What you need to know and how it can impact your bottom line
Legislation on the federal, state, municipal or utility levels has the capacity to significantly disrupt utility billing and expense management programs of multifamily owners and managers. These disruptions or modifications, in turn, can significantly affect the bottom line of owners and managers. This webinar will detail distinct pieces of legislation in the utility and energy management sectors, as well as larger legislative and regulatory trends which may be coming soon to your jurisdiction.
To Register, CLICK HERE!*
There are many different opinions about the value of social media in multi-family housing. Readers of this blog should be pretty aware of mine. But the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that ratings sites are important. There's a lot of debate about what to do with ratings sites, but everyone seems to agree there's some "there" there. READ ARTICLE
By Annlee Ellingson
With 76 million members, generation Y is “the most talked-about, researched, marketed-to generation ever,” according to Melissa Lavigne-Delville, vice president of strategic insights and culture education at NBCUniversal.
That’s a mouthful of a title; what it means is Lavigne-Delville analyzes demographic data to help the media conglomerate’s sales executives sell commercials and ad space throughout its portfolio. Among the division’s projects is “Y Now,” a comprehensive report/film on millennials and how to reach them.
What Lavigne-Delville and her team found might surprise you: To read more, CLICK MORE
Consider hiring a veteran - disciplined, loyal, resilient, to name just a few traits. The National Apartment Association will be holding a Military Career Fair in conjunction with the NAA Education Conference in San Diego this month. The career fair will be held at the San Diego Convention Center on Wednesday, June 19, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Is your company registered?
For more information about hiring U.S. Veterans, CLICK HERE!
By C. J. HUGHES
In a move that may enrage those who enjoy a cigarette on their couch after work, but delight air-freshener-wielding neighbors, a major landlord has banned smoking in all of its apartments across the country.
As of this month, the Related Companies has decided that tenants can no longer light up in the 40,000 rental units it owns or manages. The edict, which builds on an effort that began for Related with a handful of its New York buildings in 2009, is meant to create healthier living conditions, company officials said. READ FULL ARTICLE
By: Maria Lawson
The 3 O's of Shopping Your Competition...
I still remember my first day as a leasing consultant as if it were yesterday. My new boss greeted me at the clubhouse entry with the Apartment Guide and a yellow notepad. She said, “Go shop your competition!” I was nervous and excited.
I have shopped thousands of apartment communities since then, and I have learned there are three distinct levels of shopping your competition and that the best results come from using all of them. READ FULL ARTICLE
Joe Griffin, co-founder & CEO at iAcquire
Re-launching a website is a massive, multi-layered task for any business.
You have to make decisions not only about design and branding — a re-launch requires a seemingly endless checklist of tasks: benchmarking, content strategy, audience research, SEO, back-end hosting … the list goes on. Plus, as a business every decision is hinged on ROI: What impact will the remodeled website have on your business’ traffic, engagement, and conversion?...
These tips can serve as a blueprint, checklist, and guide for your enterprise’s future website remodeling plans. FULL ARTICLE
NAA/NMHC today unveiled a new integrated public relations campaign titled "Apartments. We Live Here." This first-ever pro-apartment PR campaign reflects 18 months of work and is designed tell policymakers the story about how in communities across the country, apartments work-helping people live in a home that's right for them. READ ARTICLE
Highest Property Scores for Priority Annual Resident Satisfaction Survey Questions Recognized
SatisFacts is thrilled to announce the inaugural recognition of properties who achieved Benchmark Status on priority satisfaction topics on their Annual Resident Satisfaction Surveys. To be eligible for Benchmark Status, the community had to meet the following criteria: CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE
The flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and people in general are happier. Yes, it is spring – a time of growth, renewal, and rebirth. We thought it would be the perfect time to change the look and approach of the Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark – so we did. Each change we make supports our vision and commitment to the growing needs of our customers. We hope that you will find our new report fresh, inviting, and full of valuable content.
The Treasure Hunt: Understanding the Customer Experience Journey through Their Eyes
The 1849 California Gold Rush was sparked by the discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley area. This was arguably one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century. Flash forward 165 years, and we have a new kind of ‘gold rush’...For full article, CLICK HERE
By Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
Population growth in markets “clobbered” by the housing crisis – like Phoenix, Orlando, and Las Vegas – is speeding up but is well below the hypergrowth of the bubble years
Multiple investment variables weighed for best price point inside revenue management software.
By Laurie McMoran
Director of Revenue Management
RentPush.com div of Spherexx.com
The housing market is roaring back, and the multifamily sector, which was at the head of the pack last year, is expected to lead the charge again in the years ahead. But, even with 299,000 new multifamily residences forecasted for 2013, it is estimated that 350,000 apartment units are required to keep supply and demand in balance.*
Throughout much of 2011 and 2012, lenders, still licking their wounds from the real estate bust, were slow to commit to funding new multifamily development. Consequently, many projects are still in the development pipeline, and demand is likely to outpace supply until this new product hits the market in 2014 and 2015.
Existing properties that have long been the Class A darlings of their markets will have to up their amenity game to compete with this influx of new product. The right upgrades will absolutely attract and retain residents, but can quickly result in a drop in operating profit, and subsequently a drop in property value, if costs overrun returns. Correctly calculating the potential payoff is critical to the success of your upgrade initiative. READ ARTICLE
Achieving a waiting list for your apartment community is the Holy Grail of apartment marketing. It is not easy and very few have achieved it. Even though our current market is a hot bed for rentals right now it should not mean that we slack our hands in any way.
With more apartments coming on line, it's time to plan your interior selections upgrades. We all know that renters want to live in apartments that have a modern, updated look. Upgrading your vacant units so they have what renters want will help decrease vacancy loss. If you're not sure what's in demand in your area, tour new home communities, read decorating magazines and watch Home Improvement Shows to get ideas. Following are some quick tips to help you implement what you learn without breaking the bank.
Just because you are offering affordable housing doesn't mean you have to look cheap. Yes, even things like granite countertops and black appliances are possible. In this episode, Cathy Macaione brings in guest experts to show you how to do cost effective upgrades, how your upgrades help you compete in tight markets, and how to keep your budget in line during the process. You'll also learn who the best and most cost-effective suppliers are so you can stretch your dollars even further.
Join Cathy Macaione on February 27th at 2pm Eastern Standard Time for only $29.99!
When new entrepreneurs ask me for advice, I sometimes tell them to NYFO - Network Your Face Off. Nearly everything I've accomplished in the past two years, from speaking on CNN to watching my company cross 1.7 million users in less than a year, can be directly traced back to connections I've made and help I've received from a network that is vast, diverse, and active.
The best networking suggestion I can offer? Always say yes to invitations, even if it's not clear what you'll get out of the meeting. I'm not arguing for long, pointless, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet. But many of my most fruitful relationships have resulted from a meeting or call in which I was not entirely sure what would or would not come of the conversation.
You could call it making your own luck, by increasing the odds of making the right connection. Because you can't assume that you know much about someone you don't know very well. You may know their occupation, industry, and job title - but you don't know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don't know who they know.
Of course you can't possibly take every meeting. But regularly connecting without a reason or purpose - with people who seem to be doing interesting things - can have unexpected benefits. Two of the people who were instrumental in recommending me for Forbes 30-under-30 were serendipitous connections. Some of the best partnerships we've secured for The Muse (the company I founded) came through casual acquaintances who saw me and made a mental connection - even when I didn't.
Hand in hand with this philosophy comes another, highly complementary strategy: When you want something, broadcast that to everyone you meet. When talking about your desires for your business, be honest. A little candor, a little vulnerability, goes a long way in turning a conversation from trite to meaningful. For a period in January, I desperately wanted to land a partnership with Yahoo. For an entire month, I answered every "How are things going?" question with some variation of: "Great! I just started YCombinator, which has been an adventure. Now I'm trying to put together a partnership with Yahoo. How are things with you?"
Student Housing Business recently interviewed Alexandra Jackiw, Vice President and Managing Director of Residential Client Services, for Ann Arbor, Michigan-based McKinley. Active for many years in the multifamily and student housing industries, Jackiw is known by many because of her passion for education.
She teaches designation courses for the National Apartment Association (NAA) throughout the United States and has also been an adjunct faculty member in the Residential Property Management programs at both Virginia Tech and Ball State University. A mentor to many in the industry, she is tireless in her efforts to publicize multifamily - and student housing - operations as a positive career choice. Jackiw recently took over the reigns as chairman of the board of NAA for 2013; a role she plans to use to highlight the strong position of the multifamily industry in commercial real estate.
SHB: You've had a long career in multifamily, but you've only been involved with student housing for a little less than a decade. How did you get into the student housing sector?
Jackiw: The company I was working for at the time - Buckingham - had a client who owned a number of multifamily assets that we were managing. He had carved out one asset from his portfolio - a large, 770-bed student housing deal - that he didn't feel comfortable turning over to us because we had never had any experience in purpose-built student housing. After a period of time, this owner grew increasingly confident in our management and marketing abilities. He gave us the management assignment and with his guidance, we quickly learned the nuances of the student housing product type. We ended up being much more helpful to him once we were able to put our own systems and practices into place. That was probably eight years ago.
SHB: That led to Buckingham building quite a portfolio in the student housing space.
Jackiw: Buckingham started developing student housing projects in a couple of Midwest markets. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a couple of special servicers on distressed student housing assets during the economic downturn. Those allowed us to highlight our abilities to manage and turnaround troubled assets.
SHB: How did your career progress? Did you start in multifamily?
Jackiw: I did start in multifamily. My experience started with managing public housing projects in Terre Haute, Ind., in the 1970s. I moved into the private sector with a large development company called Oxford, then worked for NHP and AIMCO. I was at Buckingham Companies for the last 12 years, before moving to McKinley in 2012.
SHB: What has inspired you throughout your career to stay with the multifamily product type? What do you like so much about multifamily?
So when Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind, ran across statistics showing that one in nine Americans worked in sales in 2000 and that the same proportion of people worked in the profession last year, it piqued his curiosity.
"You would have thought that the Internet would have disintermediated sales," said Pink. "Doesn't the widespread availability of broadband Internet and the introduction of gadgets like tablets and smartphones remove the need to have salespeople? Why would consumers need someone to pitch or answer questions about a product or service when they can research and even buy it via a few clicks on a website?
"Go back just 20 years, and if you went to a Chevy dealer, that dealer would know more than you ever would about, say, a Chevy Malibu," Pink, author of a new book titled, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others "Today, you could arguably know more about cars, or even Chevys, than the dealer. You could be in a Chevy Malibu club that has a website with critiques and more information than the dealer would ever care to know."
But sales people continue to exist-and persist, despite the fact that they often get a bad rap from consumers. "There is a stigma to being called a salesperson," said Pink. "People in sales are viewed as bothersome."
Pink recalled looking at a word cloud compiled from a survey of adjectives that respondents associated with the term "sales." Among the top 25 was "pushy," followed by such interjections as "yuck" and "ugh." In fact, 20 of the 25 words were negative, and even the positive words, like "challenging" and "necessary," were much milder than the criticisms.
Pink commissioned another survey to find out why people might have these negative associations with sales. That survey included 7,000 adult full-time workers. If one in nine American workers are in sales, "I wanted to know what the other 89 people out of 100 thought they were doing," he noted. "They were not in sales to make cash registers ring, but I could see they might be in sales of a sort, too."
The number of improving housing markets expanded for a sixth consecutive month to a total of 259 metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). This total is up from 242 markets listed as improving in January.
Notably, the IMI list now contains markets from all 50 states, suggesting that the housing recovery has substantial momentum.
The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 20 new metros were added to the list and three were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis.
Just over 70 percent of the 361 metros covered by the IMI are listed as improving in February. That marks a significant improvement from when the index was initiated with just 12 improving metros in September of 2011.
2012 Mystery Shopper Report Now Available
As members of the multi-family industry become more sophisticated and competitive marketers, leasing activities must keep close pace with advancing Internet technology. The vacancy factor alone can make the difference between a red or black bottom line for an apartment community and its owners/investors.
Management companies advertise on websites and Internet listing services, along with search engine optimization, banner ads, video, and countless forms of print media. The cost for one Internet listing service averages $475 per month, with no frills; the average cost per lead from such a service is $19. Many companies use multiple Internet listing services.
ILoveLeasing.com's 2012 Annual Report analyzes well over a half million Internet and telephone leads that are routed from multiple advertising sources into ILoveLeasing.com's interactive dashboard. Although Internet listing services provide the greatest number of leads, the largest number of leases is consistently generated from the community websites, averaging over 40% of total Internet traffic year after year.
Highlights of the Pew Internet Project’s research related to mobile technology.
(Note: This page will be updated whenever new data is available.)
As of January 2013:
For more information on e-readers, tablets, and libraries in the digital age, please visit the new section of our website: libraries.pewinternet.org.
As of December 2012:
A new, keyboard-wielding mafia wants discounts, free stuff and preferential treatment in exchange for good reviews. Some businesses are giving in to their threats.
My theory about the reviewers on sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon, Zagat (disclaimer: I'm a Zagat reviewer), and the like is this: people tend to complain more about an experience they disliked than praise an experience they liked, so I tend to think that those sites are skewed on the negative side. When I see a business like a restaurant or a salon that has many, many positive reviews and few negative ones, I think it must be a superior business and I'm more likely to try it out.
I read something today that blows my theory right out of the water. There are people out there who use the threat of a poor online review to get better service, discounted prices and preferential treatment. If they get what they want, they promise a positive review.
I suppose this shouldn't surprise me, but it does. The Los Angeles Times has a piece on the ReviewerCard, a card that can be purchased for $100 if you're deemed an influential enough reviewer. The owner of the black plastic card can whip it out at a business before receiving any service to let it be known, as it says on the card, "I write reviews."
Click here to read the full article!
Long gone are the days where you could just ignore what's being said about your property online. Reading up on what others are saying about a prospective new home has become the norm for apartment hunters these days. This webinar will help you take a proactive approach to your online reputation and learn how to turn even negative comments into a positive marketing strategy.
Join James Watters and the Webinar Wednesday Team on January 30th at 2pm Eastern Standard Time to make reviews work for you!
CLICK HERE to register!
The road to Customer Loyalty can take many twists and turns. In a recent blog, I wrote about the importance of resident complaints. One of the key points I tried to convey was the importance of listening to the customer. Hearing and listening are two very different things-hearing just happens, listening leads to learning.
I do consider myself an above average listener, but early on in my property management career I found myself surrounded by people I listened to but did not understand. It was as if we were speaking a different language! It turns out that we were-I was speaking Generation X, while they were speaking Traditionalist and Baby Boomer. How did I respond? I became a generational researcher. If you want to understand French, you purchase a French language book, if you want to understand the different generations, you purchase the book GENERATIONS, written by William Strauss and Neil Howe.
CLICK HERE to read the full article from Ellis Partners.
NeighborhoodScout's research reveals the 100 most dangerous cities in America with 25,000 or more people, based on the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Data used in this research includes 1) the number of violent crimes reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and 2) the population of each city.
CLICK HERE to see the entire list.
The next 10 years may bring five to six million new renter households. Or at least that's what a recent infographic by the Bipartisan Policy Center is saying. So in the midst of a recovering housing market, why the shift toward a rise in rentals?
CLICK HERE to read the full article.
A bad tenant who left a sledgehammer stuck in the wall of his rented house was sentenced Thursday, Dec. 20, to three months in jail after a pre-eviction party ended with $50,000 in property damage.
CLICK HERE to read the full story.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summery (JOLTS), reported on Tuesday that the number of job openings in October-one reflection of the health of the economy-was 3.7 million, basically the same as in September. But the total is considerably higher than it was at the technical end of the recession in June 2009, when it was 2.4 million. Year-over-year, job openings increased for construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, other services, and state and local government, but fell in wholesale trade.
NAA Names Leadership Scholarship, Honors Outgoing Chairman Alexandra Jackiw
The National Apartment Association (NAA) has created a scholarship program for apartment industry minority employees as its way of honoring McKinley managing director of residential client services Alex Jackiw, CAPS, CPM, who is a leader in apartment industry education and career promotion. For More Information Click ALEXANDRA JACKIW SCHOLARSHIP.
Mystery Shopping: The Great Debate By Lisa Iannucci, Contributing Editor Multi-Housing News
Mystery shoppers are paid to visit a property and act like a potential resident. After the shoppers are done, they complete a questionnaire about how they were treated. The multifamily industry has been using mystery shoppers for quite a few years to make certain their employees were doing a good job, but lately the debate over whether or not the program actually works has heated up. READ ARTICLE
By Jessica Fiur, News Editor
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, many are still in shock and want to do anything in our power to help out. In your apartment community, there are several different ways for you and your residents to help the victims of this tragedy and others, to show support, or to help other people in need...For the full article, CLICK HERE
By Jessica Fiur, News Editor
New York—Are you up to date on the Fair Housing requirements? In a recent webinar cohosted by Grace Hill and AppFolio Property Manager called “Fair Housing: What’s New for 2012,” speaker Nadeen Green, senior counsel, For Rent Media Solutions, provided an overview on some of the new Fair Housing requirements that property managers should be aware of.
One of the newest changes involves the LGBT community...To Read more, CLICK HERE
This story has all of the right components for an instant hit: The hungry entrepreneur and his vision for the ultimate product, his painstaking attention to design, using only the best materials, and his exploitation of a loophole left open by the excesses of giant brands. And, from design to packaging, the product is manufactured right here in the USA.
An All-American Marketing Story
Great ideas are contagious. And Bayard Winthrop, owner of San Francisco-based apparel start-up American Giant, was going to take it upon himself to spread the virus. For the full article, CLICK HERE
By Donna Kimura
The appeal of renting versus owning a home is changing across the country, according to a new study commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation. FULL ARTICLE
We think we want to know how someone feels about our products, services, and people because we have pride in our organization and staff – but are we really in tune with our customers, their needs and wants, and the customer experience we are providing?
If your kneejerk reaction to an email or verbal exchange with a customer is denial or defensiveness, then the likely answer to that question is ‘No’. In fact, we need channels for customers to truly express to us what they are thinking and feeling, because their perception of their customer experience with us today is shaping our relationship not only with them but with a multitude of other potential customers tomorrow. FULL ARTICLE
By: Patrick Nelson
Algorithms can slice and dice hundreds of variables to come up with the optimal price for renting a particular apartment unit. Revenue management software is constantly churning to refresh pricing on a daily -- sometimes hourly -- basis. That doesn't mean rents are always high, either. Price fluctuations go both ways, so consumers can benefit too. READ ARTICLE
For many years, our shopping customers asked, "How do my on-site leasing professionals compare to those in similar companies?" In the First Quarter 2000, we created the EPMS Shopping Report Performance Comparison to answer that question.
Known as the "Benchmark", our quarterly report allows you to compare your company's leasing performance to other national and regional operators. By measuring the affirmative answers to ten leading and universal performance questions common to all telephone/on-site mystery shopping reports, we rank participating companies on a weighted and equal basis.
Because things are as we perceive them, we can choose to see time as a manageable commodity and live our lives according to that assumption. This is one of the secrets of successful people - they work at shaping those things which others think are uncontrollable.
Start 2013 off right with time management reminders.
CLICK HERE to read the full article!