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Top 6 Tips When Staging Your Property

A cost many landlords don’t take into account is their loss on lease or vacancy.  Think of the effect on your net income.  The loss of one month revenue can equate to over 8.0% of the annual rent.  What can you do to lease your property sooner, and avoid the loss of revenue?  Many landlords now are staging their properties.  Studies have shown when you bring an available property to the lease market, take the time to stage it (even minimally), it will lease quicker than a property which is not staged.  Most attribute this to the fact a staged property gives the potential renter some vision as to what their furniture will look like in this space.   Here are some helpful tips to consider when staging. 1)      Use neutral colors as they don’t create such a distraction from the home. 2)      Don’t over furnish the home or use pieces which are too big for the space or room. You don’t want it to look crowded. 3)      Place artwork in a few places only ie: above the couch in the living room, at the end of a long hallway (with lighting), the dining room and master bedroom should be plenty. 4)      Good, bright lighting is a must. 5)      Have a focus on the entryway, as this the first thing seen. Make the area welcoming and bright. 6)      Once they are in the property, you want them to see a staged dining room, living room, kitchen, patio/porch and master bedroom at a minimum......
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Apartment Marketing 2.0 - Top 5 "Must Have" Marketing Strategies

Apartment Marketing 2.0 - Top 5 "Must Have" Marketing Strategies
“What do you mean I can’t just post an ad on Craigslist and lease my entire building?” In this day and age, I never expect to hear that, but to my surprise, I still hear those words from developers and managers. The problem is, long gone are those days of posting free Craigslist ads and watching the leads roll in. These days, it takes a lot more than simple ads to get a building leased and stay competitive. Even communities or portfolios who have moved beyond that, have resigned themselves to the status quo of marketing. You know the ones, they throw an ad on Apartments.com and post "how to spruce up your kitchen" posts on Facebook and still wonder why they have vacancy issues. You have to be creative, involved and spend the time and money to ensure your property is at the forefront when renters are searching for an apartment.  Here is what should be the most vital parts of any communities marketing plan: SEO | SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION This might be the most important of all the recommendations. Having a comprehensive SEO strategy is paramount to your community being found online. It also can provide a HUGE boost to reduced cost lead generation as well as a competitive edge in your market. PPC | ADWORDS A fundamental of leasing these days, AdWords advertising can produce excellent results if you know how to optimize it. The keys to a successful AdWords campaign is testing, good copyrighting and keyword selection. Remem......
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A Brief Overview of NAA Assembly of Delegates Meeting -November 2017

Just a week ago, we journeyed to the land of big hair, BBQ and cowboys to attend the National Apartment Association’s Assembly of Delegates meeting in Fort Worth, TX. If you aren’t familiar with the NAA Assembly of Delegates meeting, it is essentially a large business meeting and gathering of all NAA and NAAEI boards, committees and task forces. In order to attend you must be an NAA member, but that’s it! We decided to attend to take part in the conversation of how we can work together to further improve the multifamily industry. And we did just that. We attended as many committee meetings as we could fit in our schedule, soaking up all of the information we could listen in on. We especially liked the technology committee meeting and wanted to share with you some of the topics that were discussed there.   Digitizing Leases There is a big focus on digitizing the lease process and forms across all NAA member apartments. There are over 2,100 forms in leasing across the apartment industry so the task at hand is an enormous undertaking. In order to change over all of these forms, the leaders of this task force are asking property management software companies specifically to integrate with Blue Moon Software using their API so the process is quick and succinct. The goal is save properties time, money and increase ROI with the click and lease program. More info: https://www.bluemoonforms.com   Multifamily Information & Technology Standard (MITS) MITS is a multi......
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Understanding the Impact of Late Rent

How is a property affected by late rent? Unpaid rent obviously affects a property’s financial performance. It’s lost or at least delayed revenue. Expense related to unpaid rent are filing fees, court costs and attorneys.  The impact on the property exceeds these financial costs. Legal Expense From Late Rent The cost of late rent collection is not limited to the legal system and filing fees. The amount of time dedicated each month by the onsite team to collect late rent is a huge drain on a limited resource. Time. Proactive efforts to remind residents to pay rent and avoid late fees require time, whether it’s email, phone calls or posting notices. Follow up calls securing commitments for unpaid rent, again absorb time. Knocking on doors, posting notices, sending emails, or leaving voice mail messages for outstanding rent balances require hours of time each week. Adding Up The Time For everything household that fails to pay rent by the due date, the leasing team will dedicate a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes per household encouraging, reminding and counseling residents on the importance of submitting their required rental payment. On a property with 200 apartment homes, if 80% of the residents pay on or before the first of the month. That leaves 20% for follow up…40 household..Preparing, and executing those calls..with a 10 minute expectation; that’s 400 minutes, over 6 hours. The extended collection process for slow, and unpaid rent that lingers past the late fee deadline requires repeated calls, notices eventually copying documents ......
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Resident Retention Tips For Property Manager & Landlords

Resident retention in the real estate industry is a critical part to an investor’s success.  Several factors go into the cost of acquiring residents, marketing, and make ready costs. There is also lost revenue from vacant units, making it a key part of your ROI. We put some tips together to help you retain your residents. A key factor in a resident staying is they feel they belong to a community. Their apartment should be more than a place to sleep and eat. Create a social media presence for your community. Try to get your resident to utilize your page to talk about the events you hold on the property. Talk about your staff and the community. Look to create experiences within the community. The day a new resident moves in, you should have a nice welcome gift waiting for them. Something they can use in their new place. Also, a popular idea is a gift certificate to a local restaurant for takeout or pizza. After a long day of moving, it’s nice to order some food and relax. Creating events for your property can give your residents a sense of community, and allow them to get to know each other as well. Fun events like cook-offs, BBQs or events for their children are usually big winners. An added benefit is once your residents get to know one another, they become more vested in the community, looking to better it, and taking a pride of ownership mentality. Training your staff in t......
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Screening in a Soft Market

After a historically good run, the multifamily sector has shown some recent signs of softening. The national occupancy rate declined for five straight months before rising slightly in February to end the month at 94.5 percent. But that number is still less than February 2016's mark of 94.7 percent. Additionally, the national effective rent grew by 2.3 percent on an annual basis in February. One year earlier, the growth was 4.1 percent. Of course, context is key: the apartment industry is still very healthy. But softening fundamentals should prompt operators to consider how they may relax their screening standards for new residents to keep occupancies up in a sluggish market. One thing is certain, though. Regardless of how an operator reduces its thresholds for factors like credit scores, employment history and income, it needs to incorporate rental payment history in its lease-application evaluations and to share the payment history of its residents with other apartment managers.  Put simply, doing these things is critical to determining just how risky a prospect is and to recovering bad debt should a resident skip out on a lease. Expanding on the Credit Score Picture Loosening your screening standards is often a necessary tactic for navigating a downturn in the market. But if you do so, you should have a crystal-clear view of the risk an applicant poses.  Generally speaking, credit scores are highly predictive of likelihood to default on rental payments. However, in certain cases, a high credit score doesn’t equate with a likelihood to p......
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12 Ways to Reduce Liability on a Multifamily Property

shutterstock_215430139The risks of lawsuit are great on a multifamily property.  There are a lot of ways that you can be held liable for other people’s mistakes.  It’s time to protect yourself.  There are a lot of easy ways to significantly reduce your liability when owning and managing an investment property.  Here are just some suggestions below: 1. Don’t Allow Pets on the Premises For some landlords, allowing pets on the premises is a risk worth taking to have happy tenants.  That said, injury and death has been known to occur due to pets being on the premises.  Although the pet is under the responsibility of the tenant, the landlord’s decision to allow the pets on the premises is considered part of the fault for the injury or death that occurs from an attack on another resident. 2. Require Renters Insurance of Tenants If a tenant’s guest injures themselves in the tenant’s unit, the tenant is held liable, but only as long as they are able to pay.  Let’s say that you have a tenant that can barely afford rent as it is, let alone a lawsuit.  Then somebody else is going to have to take up part of that bill.  That sometimes can be the landlord’s insurance.  If you require that your tenants have renters insurance, then they will be more likely to afford any accidental damages that happen to their guest. 3. Require that Vendors Have Insurance too There is high potential that a vendor working on your property may injure themselv......
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7 Super Reasons to Be On Top of Preventive Maintenance!

7 Super Reasons to Be On Top of Preventive Maintenance!

There are probably a million good reasons to stay on top of your property’s preventive maintenance program, but here are a quick few:

1.Reduces day to day maintenance calls AND after hours emergency maintenance calls!

2.Prevents safety concerns, like fires, by verifying equipment like smoke detectors are operational.

3.Let’s you be proactive and manage your time and do the work on your schedule rather than reactively have maintenance needs manage you.

4.Keeps the asset in more consistently good shape, keeping costs down and owners happier.

5.Allows you to anticipate problems or resident issues by getting the inside view on a regular basis.

6.Sometimes lets you catch extra occupants, even the furry ones!

7.A big bonus reason is that generally residents will stay longer if they are satisfied with the maintenance of their apartment homes! So fewer apartments to turn!

No matter how busy you get, you would be busier still if you fell behind on your preventive maintenance, so stay on top of it!

These are my Super 7! Now yours?

Mary Gwyn, CPM

Making the World a Better Place One Lease at a Time!

 

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The Effect of Homelessness on Children

There is no shortage of reasons to fight homelessness. And as we come up on National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week (Nov. 11-19th), it is important to showcase just how homelessness impacts our world – the communities in which we work and live. Among the most important: its often-devastating impact on children and teenagers. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) annual Point-in-Time count, more than one-fifth of the nearly 550,000 people experiencing homelessness on an evening in January 2016 were children (under the age of 18). Over the course of a year, more than 2 million U.S. kids will experience at least one period of homelessness, the non-profit organization Covenant House Institute says. Living on the street can lead to serious consequences for our youth, whether they are homeless with a family or on their own. Some of the effects include: Being prone to hunger When homeless, access to food can be extremely difficult to come by. According to a study by Covenant House, 57 percent of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food. Inadequate nutrition in turn can have negative impacts on brain development and a child's physical growth. Poor mental health Being homeless puts children at significant risk for a whole host of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, says a report by the National Network for Youth. Exacerbating the impact of these conditions is the fact that so few homeless youth will be able to ac......
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Building Tomorrow's Leaders Today: How to Cultivate the Next Generation of Your Company’s Leaders

Building Tomorrow's Leaders Today: How to Cultivate the Next Generation of Your Company’s Leaders
Developing the next generation of your company’s leaders is an absolutely crucial task. Granted, with all the day-to-day tasks that multifamily leaders have on their plates, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in the present that you neglect your company's future.  But the most successful and stable multifamily firms are the ones that always have their eyes on the future by cultivating their leaders of tomorrow. Here are some different ways your company can start developing its next generation of leadership: Identify and expand responsibilityAre there young and hungry team members always willing to go above and beyond what’s expected? Who will go out of their way to access additional education and training opportunities? Are there team members who are flat out awesome at what they do and always contribute creative, cutting-edge ideas and have natural charisma and leadership abilities? These are the types of team members who have potential as future leaders. Once you've identified them, give them more and more responsibility and allow them to make decisions on important projects and tasks. It's important to always push employees who show leadership potential and get them out of their comfort zones. Maybe that means leading a small task group, where they are forced to work with people with a broad range of personalities and skill sets. Regardless of what specific tactics you use, you should make it a point to continually challenge those who show leadership potential.  Set up mentorship opportunitiesOne of the best ways young leaders-in-training can......
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