Multifamily Housing Trends for 2014

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

What’s in store for multifamily in 2014? That’s the billion-dollar question. To come to some sort of understanding about what the future holds, ironically, we need to take a look back at 2013.

New Construction

  • The demand for multifamily rentals in 2013 was unprecedented and housing providers had a hard time keeping up. The first and second quarters of 2013 saw a growth in new construction. And as these projects got underway they added new jobs in the construction segment at a rate of around 1,110 jobs for every 1,000 apartment units built.
  • By the third quarter of 2013, 90% of U.S. cities have reported a boost in real estate prices across the board, outpacing previous national averages.
  • One of the elements fueling growth is the recent boost in job growth, with the overall unemployment rate falling to 7% as of November. This means less people living with their parents or in other emergency housing and more qualified renters in the market for an apartment.

2014 AND BEYOND

Back to our original question—what’s in store for multifamily in 2014? Using the data from 2013, we’ve put together a list of trends to help keep you ahead of the curve.

Renting will become even more appealing. Housing prices and mortgage rates are going up, causing fewer people to buy. On the other hand, the increase in multifamily construction will add to the supply of apartments in 2014. With many of these being located in fast-growing cities, these apartments will likely be favored over single-family homes for many young adults.

People love their pets. Between now and 2018, the number of pet owners is estimated to increase by around 12% from 82.5 million to 92 million. Instead of banning pet ownership, you can tap into this growing trend and welcome pet owners to your community.

Tablets and smartphone sales are increasing. According to Forbes, 87% of electronic device sales will be tablets and smartphones. Remarkably, these mobile devices are slated to outsell desktop and laptop computers in 2014. Accommodate mobile prospects and applicants with On-Site’s mobile optimized online leasing tools.

Sharing quality content increases loyalty. More and more people are going mobile. Mobile devices and cellular data networks are going to keep getting faster to meet demand. Take advantage of the technology by posting high-resolution images and videos. Doing so can help generate a more active following and a higher ROI for your marketing efforts. By the way, On-Site can help. Our websites feature HD professionally hosted video tours.

Use the right tools and stay ahead of the competition. With the continuing construction projects, industry experts project that some of the largest metro areas will see big profits from rent growth. Seattle takes the cake, with many reporting it will see the biggest percent change in rentals as the city continues to grow. The San Francisco and San Jose Bay Area is on track to increase rent pricing by around 4.7% next year as the unemployment rate in the area dropped from 6.9% to 6.1%. Around the country, we’ll see an average 3% increase in rent pricing in 2014 as well (normally double the rate of inflation).

The bottom line is that the rental market is going to get very competitive in 2014. Stay ahead of the competition by putting tools in place that make it easy for renters to do business with you. On-Site’s full-featured leasing platform allows renters to shop for an apartment, apply, qualify and e-sign their lease in one continuous, online checkout process, optimized to run on the smart phones and tablets favored by millennial renters.


onsitelogoAbout On-Site.comFounded in 1999 in Silicon Valley, On-Site set out to use the Internet to revolutionize the business of apartment management.

On-Site has grown to become the gold standard in the apartment business. We are self-funded and profitable, with growth fueled by award-winning marketing, leasing and mobile tools. We allow apartment operators to maximize occupancy, enhance quality control, maintain compliance and ensure consistent success at all levels of property operations.

Solving The Occupancy Equation, Affecting Vacancy With Leasing Prospects And Closing Ratios

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Leasing apartments is a skill for property management professionals. To forecast the results, there are two measurable factors: the number of leasing opportunities who make appointments or arrive at the property; and the number (percent) that commit to lease.

Explaining the financial impact of vacant apartments and the recovery period will assist in creating a sense of urgency for the staff to secure leases and move ins.

With average rents of $600, every day an apartment remains vacant, the property loses $20. This doesn’t seem to be an amount of lost revenue to cause concern. The same twenty dollars increases to $140 each week. With ten vacant apartments, the loss is $200 each day, totaling $6000 per month. The property quickly has accumulated 3000 days of vacancy loss.

imageFacing this inventory of vacant apartments and several pending move outs; employing an occupancy matrix can forecast the timing to restore the desired occupancy. Part of this analysis includes the historical trend of prospective leasing visits received each week or month, and the number of sales/leases secured. A property supporting 20 leasing opportunities and securing 4 leases, has a closing ratio of 20%. With no changes or adjustments; to overcome ten vacant apartments would take more than 2 months, resulting in more than $10,000 of vacancy loss.

To increase move ins, the property needs more leases. This can be achieved by either increasing the number of leasing opportunities coming to visit the property or increasing the number of individuals who make the decision to lease.

Doubling the volume of visits to the property to 40 individuals will result in 8 leases. With this increased traffic, adding some closing tools; complimentary carport for a month, discounted security deposit, a structured follow up effort, the closing ratio could grow to 30%. This results in 12 leases. Occupancy can be back on track within thirty days instead of sixty, recovering a potential $6,000 into the revenue stream.

image

Without an adjustment to the number of visits or the leases secured, the number of vacant apartments lingers on resulting in a financial drain on the property. Setting goals for prospective leasing visits, securing commitments to lease and completing the move ins, will put the property on road to occupancy recovery.


Lori_Hammond Lori Hammond | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Lori has 30+ years’ experience in the Property Management Industry, working with both market rate and affordable housing.  Lori has been privileged to work with some tremendous industry leaders during employment tenures with Oxford Management, NHP Management, AIMCO, Alliance Residential, Boston Capital, The Sterling Group, P.K. Housing and currently Management Resources Development.

End-of-Year Lease Check-Up

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Lease_RenewalAs the year comes to a close and a new one is set to begin, it’s a good idea to make sure your tenant leases are in order.

Simple oversights or non-compliance can lead to headaches, lawsuits, and if you’re not careful, thousands of dollars of losses.

Here are a few items you need to review:

1. Security Deposit Terms
Security deposits are perhaps the biggest bone of contention for both landlords and tenants.

One of biggest issues that often comes up is the actual amount of the deposit. Make sure that you are not overcharging tenants for their security deposit, or you could end up in hot water.Each state has very specific laws that regulate security deposits. It is worth a quick check to make sure your state has not changed their laws over the last year, and double check that you are compliant with any limitations written into the law.

Another hot button is when the security deposit needs to be returned. Make sure your policy is in line with state law.

If you allow pets, be sure to clearly stipulate whether a separate pet deposit is required, what the deposit covers, and when it will be returned upon acceptable surrender of the unit.

Be careful to check that your security deposit is clearly delineated from other fees that you may be charging, especially the non-refundable fees.

2. Who is Actually Living in Your Unit?
It is extremely common for tenants to flow in and out of a unit, without the landlord’s knowledge. One tenant moves on, and another one takes their place…but nobody notifies you.

In order for you to be able to enforce the provisions of your lease, every adult tenant in the unit needs to be listed on the lease.

So, it probably can’t hurt to send a friendly end-of-year notice to your tenants, confirming who is supposed to be living in the unit, based upon the names on the lease.

If you suddenly learn that the tenants have changed, you should run a tenant check on the new tenants and amend your lease to reflect the changes (assuming the results of the tenant background check are acceptable).

3. The Potential for Crime
Make sure your lease is compliant with the laws of your state in regard to criminal behavior.

Many cities and states are enacting ordinances that make landlords responsible for tenant crimes and other actions. It is not uncommon for these laws to require landlords to take legal action against a tenant in order to avoid hefty fines on the landlord.

In light of this reality, it is especially important to confirm that the tenants who signed the lease originally (those who passed a criminal background check) are still the same tenants that occupy the unit.

If not (and if they have unacceptable criminal backgrounds), you could find yourself in a heap of trouble if they commit a crime in your unit.


logo_aaoa

About the American Apartment Owners Association

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

The Future is Here: Property Management Goes Mobile

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Jason Randall | VP Product Management AppFolio

It wasn’t long ago when “mobile devices” and “property management” wouldn’t have been used in the same sentence. But as tablets and smartphones have grown both in power and capability, they’ve transformed the field of property management.

If a renter is searching for their next rental home, they’ll likely open up their smartphone, tablet or laptop and start investigating properties. Renters have the power to search by neighborhood, read online reviews, look into crime reports and view 3D previews of available units – all on their mobile devices.

SF_CrimeWatch

San Francisco Area Map Search with Crime Filter

Once they find a potential home, they can use their mobile devices to fill out applications, scan drivers’ licenses and send it off to the property management company – all without ever setting foot on the property. And after they’re moved in, they’re just as likely to use a mobile device to make rent payments, enter maintenance requests and communicate with property managers.

Property managers have also benefited greatly from the convenience and flexibility that mobile devices offer. Mobile apps and management portals let property managers screen prospective residents and access client accounts without even visiting their offices, resulting in expedited background checks and quick resolution to billing questions. And since long-distance residents can now apply for rentals remotely, property managers have a larger pool of potential renters. Property managers can use mobile payment apps for both accepting and processing payments, freeing them up to pursue other business.

If you’re new to mobile apps, all of this might sound like behavior that’s limited to just a few tech-friendly firms and residents. But mobile apps have really gone mainstream. At AppFolio, we’ve seen firsthand the increase in mobile usage and demand with the thousands of companies who use our Web-based property management software every day. We’re tracking the rapid growth of mobile across our customer base as well as with their residents and have gathered some interesting statistics:

  • The number of residents who submitted rental applications from a mobile device rose by 22.37 percent in 2013
  • Residents using online “Resident Portals” from a mobile device to submit maintenance requests or payments rose from 22.61 to 27.88 percent in one year
  • Residents paying their rent from a mobile device rose from 16.96% in 2012 to about 25% in 2013 – a whopping increase of 45.34 percent
  • Property owners are going mobile too, with a 29 percent increase in visits from mobile devices to owner portals to receive monthly statements

At this point, there’s no doubt that smartphones and tablets are becoming embedded in every facet of property management. As the world goes increasingly digital, modern residents will expect – and even prioritize – mobile convenience when choosing between properties. Luckily, it’s a convenience that benefits property owners and managers too.


jrandallJason Randall is the VP Product Management with AppFolio, providers of Web-based property management software . He is responsible for setting the product and market entry strategy for all AppFolio products.

Essex seeks to buy BRE in $4.48 billion apartment deal that points to economy’s strength

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By George Avalos | Oakland Tribune

NONTECHBIZ.REM

In the Bay Area, Essex Property Trust owns complexes such as San Jose’s Esplanade, seen in this 2005 file photo (RICK E. MARTIN/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS)

In what would be a $4.48 billion deal that is a reminder of the strength of the Bay Area economy, Essex Property Trust said Monday it has made a formal offer to buy a rival apartment realty investment firm, BRE Properties.

Palo Alto-based Essex Property and San Francisco-based BRE would coalesce into an apartment property giant with its apartments concentrated in the gateway markets of the West Coast, primarily the Bay Area, at a time when rental rates are rising strongly in the nine-county region amid a job surge.

“Essex Property Trust has made a nonbinding proposal to acquire BRE Properties in a negotiated strategic business combination,” Essex said Monday. BRE said it was continuing an ongoing process to explore strategic alternatives, and confirmed it had received a “nonbinding proposal” for a sale to Essex. On Monday, shares of Essex rose 0.2 percent to finish at $154.26, while BRE fell 2.3 percent to finish at $57.99.

According to a public filing in November, Essex owned more than 34,000 apartments and had about 46 percent of those in Southern California markets, including Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego.

At the end of September, BRE owned or had stakes in more than 21,000 apartments, and about 28 percent of the company’s operating income was derived from apartments in the Bay Area.

The deal would give Essex a much bigger footprint in the Bay Area than it now has. Industry experts said this is a clear indication of investor desire for investment property in this region. The area’s economy underpins all of this.

“There is a lot of job growth, you have a lot of hiring in tech, biotech, software and social media,” said Mark Feldman, a senior vice president with Colliers International, a commercial realty firm. “Then you have the apartment market. The Bay Area is supply constrained, there is a high cost of housing, apartment rents are rising.”

BRE's The Landing at Jack London Square in Oakland. (BRE Properties photo)

BRE’s The Landing at Jack London Square in Oakland. (BRE Properties photo)

The relative newness of the BRE apartment portfolio could be an attraction for Essex, said Ryan Wagner, a vice president with Colliers.

“Essex would be able to own a lot of BRE properties for a lot less risk and less money than it would cost to build brand-new units in those markets,” Wagner said. “Essex has been aggressive in buying apartments and they still hunger for more to buy.”

The pace of rental rate increases has slowed but remains sturdy. In 2010 and 2011, rates for apartments were rising by about 10 percent to 12 percent a year in the Bay Area. The rate of increase is expected to be 3.5 percent to 5 percent in 2013, Feldman estimated.

Average rents are now around $3,000 for a one- or two-bedroom unit in San Francisco, according to Colliers, while they are around $2,700 for one- or two-bedroom units in San Jose.

“Essex and BRE are going to be in the markets where jobs are being created,” Feldman said. “The Bay Area is one of the economic epicenters in the United States.”

Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow him at Twitter.com/georgeavalos.

Resident Retention Trends | How to Hold on to Your Best Tenants

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Stand-out-from-the-rest

The best renters, those with high credit scores and low maintenance needs, are highly sought after in the new rental market. Renters report that they don’t mind paying a premium for a home where they feel safe and comfortable, but keeping those tenants will take more than amenities. Adding bells and whistles is just as much a dead end game as lowering the rent and no property owner will survive long without a strategy to attract and hold onto the best tenants.

Great tenants are getting harder to find and the competition is heating up to find them, even if they are not in the market for a new apartment currently. Big data and aggressive marketing techniques are the hallmarks of the emerging rental market. At the recent Apartment Rental Management conference in Miami, Kelly Maguire, an executive director at SAS, clearly laid out the future of the rental market, where owners “need to be more strategically oriented, consumer focused and be more technologically advanced.”

The new renter is older and ready to settle down a bit, according to 2012 statistics from National Multi Housing Council . For those under 30, just over half, 57 percent, are renters. That percentage increases with age. From 30-44, almost two thirds are renting at 63 percent.  Those numbers jump up to 78 percent for baby boomers aged 45-64 and the really surprising number is 84 percent of seniors are now in the rental market. We can expect those to stay high or increase as the population bubble ages. The new renters are older, wiser and accustomed to being treated with respect. Here are three suggestions for making the ideal tenants feel at home for the long haul.

1. Make it personal

The rental market has moved from one of price sensitivity to value sensitivity. Renters say they want reasonable rents, but they are more concerned about how they are treated. They could easily get lower rent or more amenities elsewhere, but most stay for  the way they are treated by the staff.

The wise owners will retain these renters by personalizing the interactions, with things like thank you notes, flowers in the apartment when new tenants move in or an online presence that covers relevant activities in the neighborhood. Remember that the new renter cares about local, mobile and social information.

2. Be an early responder

The world outside is unpredictable enough. The new renter finds uncertainty about issues in their home extremely stressful. Respond quickly when they contact you and clearly communicate a policy about call back times.

Remember that tenants will be focused on results instead of explanations. Even if you only want to assure tenants that the circumstances that led to the problem won’t be repeated, don’t. Explanations tend to sound like excuses to the renter. All they really want to know is when it will be fixed.

3. Start now

Consider your lease renewals as new sales rather than administrative burdens. Good tenants are those who plan ahead, and they may well be planning for a new apartment six months before the end of their lease. Ask how they like living there and what would make their lives easier to begin discussions about renewal.

Remember that how you ask matters as much as what you say. Alex Jackiw, managing director of residential client services at McKinley, pointed out that 67 percent of clients in a recent survey chose email as their preferred method of contact from leasing offices.

Today’s advanced databases for rental management are able to handle a great deal of information about tenant preferences and interactions. Use the tools at your command to learn who your best tenants are and what they need to feel at home.


JustinAlanis Justin Alanis | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Justin Alanis is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rentlytics Inc.  Rentlytics is based in San Francisco, CA providing deep analytics for apartment property owners and managers. View and analyze property operational and financial metrics more effectively and identify issues.

Find the “Cup Holders” and Find More Sales

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Apartment_Amenities

You probably know someone who has recently purchased a new vehicle; it’s all about the touch screen features, navigation, adjustable cup holders and maybe the average miles per gallon. No one has to tell you it has a motor, four wheels, or even a transmission.

If you apply this descriptive process to our apartments; how often are we focusing on the cup holders?

Are you selling the extra shelf in the refrigerator, the energy star appliances or the hundred lineal feet closet storage?  Or are you giving them the “four wheels” – Here is the kitchen, There is the closet…

Finding the “cup holders” will make you stand out from your competition.

  • How many shelves are in your cabinets?
  • How many racks in the oven?
  • Calculate the cubic feet of storage space in the cabinets, linen closet or pantry.  Know the potential savings from the Energy Star appliances.  ([1]Energy Star)

Focusing on the cup holders for yours sales presentation creates an individualized memory for your prospect. They will leave your property remembering the special details you have described: 1200 lineal feet of closet storage, not another vanilla square with four walls and kitchen appliances.

Find a cup holder!  You’ll be surprised how many you’ll find once you start looking!


Lori_Hammond Lori Hammond | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Lori has 30+ years’ experience in the Property Management Industry, working with both market rate and affordable housing.  Lori has been privileged to work with some tremendous industry leaders during employment tenures with Oxford Management, NHP Management, AIMCO, Alliance Residential, Boston Capital, The Sterling Group, P.K. Housing and currently Management Resources Development.

 

The Value of Public Relations in the Multifamily Industry

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

PR_microphone

Contrary to popular belief, public relations (PR) means more than just press coverage and media interviews. There are several aspects of PR, from press releases, to internal communications, to reputation management, and many things in between. PR builds your brand’s visibility and fosters a positive perception. In the multifamily industry, there are a variety of reasons why PR is relevant to you. Here are a few instances where PR is valuable:

Market Launch. If you are in the process of building a new apartment community, having a focus on PR is extremely valuable for the development of your brand. You’ll need to put a launch strategy in place that includes communication efforts internally as well as externally. Pitch information about your new community to local newspapers and lifestyle magazines, and consider participating in events within your neighborhood to spread the word about your new apartment community. It’s always best to begin planning a PR strategy as soon as possible, in order to build anticipation and interest before you actually begin the lease-up.

Brand Awareness. Whether your community is newly constructed or well established, you want people to know about it! It’s critical to stay at the top of people’s minds in order to build your community’s visibility in your local area. From participating in local events, to branded materials, to media coverage – it all plays a role in reinforcing the power of your presence. Scope out events or media opportunities where you’ll be able to showcase your community and draw the attention of potential renters. Occasionally, you may find that your community has important or exciting news that is worthy of writing and sending a press release to the media. MultifamilyBiz and PitchEngine both offer free press release distribution services.

Reputation Management. Managing your reputation is arguably the most important aspect of PR – regardless of whether the buzz about your community is positive or negative! You should have a social listening platform in place in order to accurately track what renters and prospects are saying about your community. If you’re receiving positive feedback, that’s great. But don’t stop there – let the positive reviewers know that you appreciate them sharing kind words about your community. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way! If you have any negative feedback, be sure to address the concerns of the reviewers and do what you can to correct the situation. You would be surprised at how easily you can turn a negative into a positive by showing that you truly care about the situation and are willing to work hard to fix it! Take a look at this Reputation Management eBook for more tips on how to build and maintain a positive brand reputation.

Utilize PR as a vehicle for growing your company. Every press release you send, every consumer interaction you are a part of, and every event you participate in contributes to the establishment of your brand. Always seek ways to put your community’s name out there – often, you can find PR opportunities that are no cost or very inexpensive. Try your hand at blogging, create social media pages for your community and engage with fans and followers, or cross-promote with other brands to expand awareness for your community – all are great, inexpensive forms of PR for your community!


BrittanyWorrellBoyce_ForRent
Brittany Worrell Boyce | Company Website | LinkedIn | 
Brittany is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at For Rent Media Solutions. She specializes in creating internal and external communications for the brand, including press releases, industry articles, sales collateral, and email marketing. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech.

Why You Need a Digital Detox!

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Digital Detox

When I managed an apartment community I frequently had the urge to check my email at nights and on weekends. I told myself that I was trying to reduce the shock on Monday morning of having 100 email messages waiting for me. So I’d steal myself away from my personal life for a few minutes and “log in.” Do you do this, too?

I thought I was helping myself-but in looking back I’m sure I was actually hurting things. Let me explain more…

A few months ago, I recently attended a men’s retreat in the moutains of Northern California. One of the basic principles of the retreat was the importance of unplugging from the outside world for a few days; so we were discouraged from using technology like cell phones, computers, and tablets and our rooms did not have a television or telephone.

Get off the Grid

At first I found myself in technology withdrawal! I wanted to keep checking my phone. It’s amazing just how addicted I have become to my smartphone. I mean, just the other day I realized that I was checking my phone while waiting in a line at McDonalds. (What was my wait, 15 seconds??)

On day two I decided to leave my phone in my room. As the day progressed I realized that the need to check my phone went away! I used the time I might have spent “on the grid” hiking, relaxing and just savoring the peace and tranquility of the moment.

At night I would head over to the campfire, looking to connect with the men I had met and/or to make some new friends. Even though I was physically tired at the end of the night, I found myself completely energized from meeting and having incredible conversations with men from all around the country. It was a great experience.

The Benefit

When I came back home I was pretty reluctant to plug back in, to be honest. It felt really freeing not to be checking my phone every five minutes. Unplugging meant I had time to think, reflect, refresh, renew, restore and connect with people and myself; which made me better equipped to handle all of the realities of daily life.

How Can You Unplug? 

When you get the urge to call the community or pull up your work email for the millionth (and not necessary) time:

  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk/hike
  • Spend more time with family
  • Have a conversation with a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile
  • Pray
  • Enjoy relaxing and being “still”

I know how time consuming your career can be…but it’s amazing how just a little time away from the grid can make such a big difference. Your community, your department, and/or your company, will be just fine if you don’t routinely check emails or consistently call to see “how things are going” over the weekend and you may feel just a little bit better come Monday morning.

Oh-and your people may appreciate not having your checking in during their times when they’re free from you. (You know it’s true.)


Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information please visit www.RelationshipDifference.com.

The Power & Importance of Likeability

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

People do business with people they like

It seems obvious doesn’t it? Don’t you automatically gravitate towards people who you like? Don’t you just find yourself attracted to people that you perceive to be friendly and nice?

Think about it…if you walked into a store and one associate smiled while the other had a snarky smirk, who would you ask for help?

So I ask you…why do so many apartment communities still insist on hiring people who aren’t all that likeable? I bet right now you have an image of someone in your mind who you worked with, or worked for or managed that just decided s/he didn’t need to be nice to anyone-except maybe for the cute residents in the community.

Less Than Half

According to an Apartments.com white paper (Preferences of Today’s Renter) less than half of prospects who visited a community left with a favorable impression. Is it just me or is that just unacceptable? Why do we tolerate this?

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a client’s community to begin a video project. I went up (wasn’t greeted) to the leasing consultant, introduced myself and let her know the reason I was in the community. She did not introduce herself and just gave me the vibe that she wasn’t all that interested in helping me. There was really nothing about her that gave off the impression of warmth or friendliness.

Later in the day we had to film in the office, so we were around this leasing consultant quite a bit for about a half-hour. I don’t remember her smiling at all, incidentally. Once when I tried to make conversation with her, she pretty much ignored what I had to say. In fairness, I will say that she wasn’t overtly rude to clients or residents. She just wasn’t friendly, and I couldn’t wait to get out of the office and the negative vibe around that associate.

That’s What Friends Are For

The following week I was working in another community managed by the same company and what a difference! The assistant manager called me the day before to offer her help. When we arrived both the assistant and the leasing consultant were friendly, welcoming, engaging and went out of their way to help. They were also a lot of fun to be around!

I noticed that residents and clients seemed to genuinely enjoy being around them as well. (As a former community manager I always eavesdrop on what the onsite teams are doing and saying!) There was such a different feel and vibe to this office as compared to the other one; and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a prospect visiting both communities would feel the difference too. According to the Apartments.com white paper I quoted from earlier, only 47% of prospects rated their overall experience as excellent or very good. I know we can do better…and it starts with better people.

The next time you have to bring on a new associate, or if you’re currently evaluating whether to retain an associate remember these things:

  • You can train sales skills.
  • You can train closing techniques.
  • You can train how to answer the phone in the most effective way.
  • You can’t train “nice.”
  • You can’t train “friendly.”

Multifamily housing is such a people-driven business … doesn’t it make sense to have associates who are good around people?


Rommel Anacan | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Rommel is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm.  He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.