How to Produce Eye-Catching Photography in Multifamily that Attracts Renters

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By Tim Blackwell

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. But when it comes to photography in multifamily, a shot featuring the property shouldn’t be that verbose. The right picture with the right angle, the right composition and the right lighting should send the very concise message to prospective renters that this is the place to be.

Tips for Dealing With Difficult Renters

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By Elizabeth Millar of AppFolio, Inc.

A great tenant is gold. You know that they’ll respect your property, keep you informed as ears on the ground, and most importantly, pay rent…on time! As great as it would be to have all renters be just like this, it doesn’t always happen. Have you ever signed a new tenant thinking everything is going to be great, but shortly after you hand over the keys you realize that it’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows?

Delaware Statutory Trust DST 1031 Exchange Advantages

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By Kay Properties and Investments, LLC

Delaware statutory trusts offer a number of potential advantages to investors. Used correctly, they can be an effective tool for building and preserving wealth. This article discusses a handful of the potential advantages that are available to investors using DSTs for their 1031 exchange. Please remember that Delaware Statutory Trusts also have a number of disadvantages that investors should consider as well.

Better (and Cheaper) Ways to Boost Senior Living Occupancy

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by Guy Lyman, RealPage, Inc.

Solid occupancy numbers often blind senior living property managers to a glaring problem: the cost of keeping those units full.

Add up what you’re spending on third-party lead sources along with internal resources devoted to working leads and you’d probably be shocked at your cost per lease. The good news is that forward-thinking senior property managers are slashing this cost dramatically by simply taking full advantage of marketing tools that have been around for a while now.

Why California Has the Nation’s Worst Poverty Rate

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By Ryan McMaken, Mises Institute

The LA Times recently reminded its readers that California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. 

Specifically, when using the Census Bureau’s most recent “Supplemental Poverty Measure” (SPM), California clocks in with a poverty rate of 20 percent, which places it as worst in the nation.

To be sure, California is running quite closely with Florida and Louisiana, but we can certainly say that California is a top contender when it comes to poverty.

This continues to be something of a black eye for California politicians who imagine themselves to be the enlightened elite of North America. The fact that one in five Californians is below this poverty line doesn’t exactly lend itself to crowing about the state’s success in its various wars on poverty. 

Many conservative sites have seized on the information to say “I told you so” and claim this shows that “blue-state” policies fail. One should be careful with this, of course, since there are plenty of red states in the top ten as well.

4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing a Vacation Rental Home for Income

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By Rob Stephens

Interested in renting out your yurt, tiny house or couch? Now there are several options homeowners have to make extra income. For those looking to purchase a second home, often called a vacation rental home, renting out to vacationers is a great way to afford purchasing an additional property. Not to mention, for a growing number of travelers, renting a private home is the only way to go and typically offers more choices, comfort and privacy than hotels, and often cost less as well.

There’s no question that the vacation rental business is booming. In the United States alone, revenue in this market is approaching $18 million, with a projected annual growth rate of 6.6 percent. That makes operating a short-term vacation rental an extremely attractive option for generating extra income.

While there are plenty of opportunities in the vacation rental business, there also are plenty of questions about how to succeed. If you’re thinking about investing in a vacation rental property (or renting out property you already own), here are the top four questions to ask before you purchase:

Apartment Construction Begins to Slow but Demand Remains High

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By Karina Estrella | Trepp

With homeownership rates sagging over the last 11 years thanks to shifts in demographic trends, apartments have become one of the most in-demand property types. As we wrote in our previous multifamily snapshot, apartment demand rose to its highest level in 25 years in 2017, which is a generational peak. However, some of the sector’s underlying financials are beginning to decelerate – at least when it comes to loans in CMBS. According to Trepp data, the average occupancy for multifamily CMBS loans has been trending downward over the past two years. Average occupancy was measured at a recent low of 93.1% in March, which is 60 basis points lower year over year.


Per Multifamily Biz, construction starts for seven of the 10 largest US multifamily markets dropped in 2017 when compared to 2016. The overall volume of multifamily construction starts was $194.7 billion last year, which is 7% lower year over year. However, it seems that the elevated levels from previous years continue to weigh on occupancy levels.

On the Hunt: How Today’s Renters Search for Apartments

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apartment search

A recent report published by J Turner Research highlights the top 10 emerging trends in the apartment rental process, based off responses from over 25,000 residents in more than 500 properties nationwide. Three themes rose to the surface that all property managers should take note of and adjust their marketing efforts to address.

Online Reviews Top the List of Rental Trends

One big theme stood out in the research study: the importance of online reviews. Over half the respondents (52% of rental prospects) said they check online ratings and reviews when they start their apartment search; and 78% of residents use those reviews to find more specific information about places they are interested in., Yelp, and Google stood out as the three top sites for ratings and reviews. When it comes to social media, the rental prospects surveyed agreed that social media doesn’t play a major role in their apartment search and only 13% of residents mentioned using Facebook or Twitter to research their current apartment.

Do you focus enough on your brand’s online reputation? Do you know what is being said about you on review sites and social media platforms? It’s important to pay attention to this, as people’s comments can change someone’s opinion instantly. For tips on online reputation management, check out this blog post: Hug Your Haters: How to Turn Bad Reviews into Your Competitive Advantage.

Searching for a New Place – Where Do People Look?

According to the report, ILSs rule as the top source for apartment searches, and the top three sources haven’t changed since 2012: ILSs ( and top the list), Drive By and Word of Mouth. However in 2015, generic search more than doubled in the past three years from 10 percent in 2012 to 23 percent in 2015.

When it comes to property listings, you can save time and reach more prospective renters with software that posts not only to your website but also to hundreds of popular property listing sites simultaneously. For more information, check out 10 Best Practices for Listing Your Properties.

Mobile vs. Desktop

Another trend that the J Turner Research study highlights is that while mobile optimization is extremely important with the prevalence of smartphones, 62% of residents surveyed still prefer the desktop to search for an apartment, followed by 20 percent opting for smartphones. What does this mean? Your website needs to work on all major devices to provide the optimal experience for every apartment hunter. Also, when it comes to websites, prospects are most interested in useful information over flashy design. Unit Price, Floor Plan and Location are the top three facts expected from a property management listing. An interesting tidbit from the study: Word choice is important. While the Boomers want words like “quiet,” Millennials care more about rent price. In describing your property to prospects, take care to cater to the type of residents who would best fit your property. This extra attention on language can drastically improve resident retention rates in the long run.

Having a professional looking website paired with relevant content is critical to a property manager’s success. Check out these tips on how to optimize your property management website.

The post On the Hunt: How Today’s Renters Search for Apartments appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

10 Best Practices for Listing Your Properties

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There are so many details to take note of when listing a property online! It is key to remember that most listing pages are overloaded with properties, therefore it’s important to make sure your listings stand out from all the others. Imagine you could get a unit rented that much faster because you changed one or two things to set you apart. A few facts about what renters want:

  • Renting is the new buying and for most Americans, they’re looking for flexibility and amenities.
  • Many Americans are jumping quickly when they find a space they want to rent. It’s important that your online presence is up to date and informative for renters.
  • Renters are looking for online applications; in fact, it may soon become common practice that listing sites include search filters so renters can search for properties accepting online applications.
  • In today’s renting world, most applicants say they would prefer online application over any other method. Most people are not comfortable sending their information via .pdf or e-mail. An online option makes many renters feel more comfortable.

Now, how exactly do you optimize your listings? Here are some best practices to follow so you can have an outstanding property listing every time and fill your vacancies faster.

10 Ways to Optimize Your Property Listings

#1: Photography combines both quantity and quality. Be sure to include at least 10 photos and make sure the photos show a good representation of the property interior and exterior. Renters agree they will not consider a property without photos and listings without any images can get de-prioritized.  Images should be professional looking images; hire a photographer or use your own camera as long as the pictures are high enough quality.
#2: The description of your property needs to include things that are not known by your photos. People will skip listings that do not have descriptions. Avoid things like all caps, poor grammar, and spelling mistakes that could hurt your credibility.
#3: Amenities are incredibly important to renters. If renters like your photos, the amenities are what will sell them on your property. It’s the icing on the cake!
#4: Be sure to advertise your availability date and at least 45-60 days out. This crucial piece of information gives you a greater pool of applicants to choose from. You’ll spend less time answering the questions about availability that are sure to come in if this info is missing.
#5: The most asked question from renters is ‘do you allow pets?’ Make your rental space pet policy clearly known upfront. 65% of households have pets and 42% have more than one pet (Source: 2015 All Property Management Research Report).  
#6: Online applications are simple and easy to use. Most renters want to use online applications for multiple reasons including ease of use and mobility. No one has time for a lengthy rental process anymore.
#7: A defined process that is easy to follow and in place ahead of time will help you move quickly through your applicants.
#8: Communicate with your applicants in the best way for them to reach you. Don’t forget to keep up with modern advances in communication software such as text messaging.
#9: Make sure the websites you list on are the best they can possibly be for advertising your rental listings. (See the top 5 places to list your properties in 2016)
#10: Social media can be a powerful tool to get your listing noticed. However, don’t overload things like Facebook or Twitter with too many posts.

Your ultimate goal is to find quality renters, the right renters for your properties, and fill your vacancies quickly and efficiently. By incorporating some of these tips, it’ll be easier for both your renters and you as the property manager to move people in fast.

We held a webinar with Greg Fischer from Move, Inc. (operator of and where he discusses these 10 key practices in more depth. Greg uses his own experiences to show why certain practices work and others don’t when renting a space online. He walks you through each step with a detailed explanation that will help you not only better understand but also how to implement these 10 steps.

View the Slides:


Watch the Recording:


During the webinar, there were a ton of great questions posed. As promised, here are all the answers from Greg Fischer:

1. We manage a lot of properties that are BRAND NEW, so they are empty and perfect and beautiful when they are completed. How important do you really believe staging is?

Staging is important, but in regards to rentals, I am really referring to occupied houses. And staging could simply mean that you go around the house making it look presentable vs. hiring a professional (though it wouldn’t hurt if it’s in your budget). I think vacant rental homes are perfectly ok to market (less so when for sale).

2. When you say include at least 10 pictures, are you talking about multiple angles for some rooms like kitchen or living room?

Ten photos is a guideline. A professional real estate photographer I know took 25 photos of a vacant lot so I think it can definitely be done for an entire home!

3. When do you communicate the expectations of the process? And how is the best way to communicate that process; email, text, other?

Anytime is a good time. But upon first contact is the most important if you didn’t explain it in your advertisement. Email, text or phone are all great ways to do this.

4. What advice would you give for listing senior communities? One of our properties is an over 55 community, and we don’t offer an online application or communicate via mobile, etc. We feel like marketing to that particular demographic is a little different. Any recommendations?

This is a great article: Move has a site called that is popular and I would also recommend checking out a site called A Place For Mom. Your sense is probably right, if you feel that your target demographic is more likely to communicate through other means then it makes sense to do it that way.

5. What are the software programs where we can use a different phone number to text/call tenants and prospective tenants?

Better Voice, Google Voice, Twilio all have solutions for the phone solutions I mentioned.

6. Is available in Chicago?

Yes, is available nationwide and is continuing to build local experiences in specific areas as the year goes on.

7. Will MLS list Commercial Rentals?

It depends on your MLS. Check locally.

8. For listings, what do you think about a bunch of bullet points describing the properties as opposed to well written paragraphs?

Bullet points are ok too. The most important thing is to highlight important features, items that aren’t clear through the photographs and giving insight into your process and communications expectations.

9. How would results differ for searches on and since is powered by

What I was referring to here is that the websites appeal to different demographics in different ways. Doorsteps has seen amazing performance in urban markets with a younger demographic and does really well in suburban single family home markets.

With AppFolio you can post your listing to hundreds of sites with a click of a button. To learn more, visit

The post 10 Best Practices for Listing Your Properties appeared first on The Official AppFolio Blog.

Three Essential Steps for Turning Around a Problem Property

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Uncategorized

DienstenOur property is in really bad shape. Can you turn it around?

How would you respond to a prospective client who posed the above challenge?

Naturally, you’d probably have to ask a few questions to clarify exactly what the prospect meant by “bad shape” before you could provide detailed solutions. Whether you are struggling to turn around a property you currently own or manage or you’d like to be prepared if you’re ever faced with a difficult situation, here are a few challenges and possible solutions.

Vacancy Rates Are Higher Than Occupancy Numbers

This is a serious challenge, one that probably needs multiple solutions. The first step should be to explore what has your property upside down.

  • Are you constantly heading to court to start another eviction process?
  • Do a large percentage of your tenants pay late or skip out on the rent?
  • Is the property in a state of decline or disrepair?
  • Have you checked your reputation lately?
  • What is the number one complaint you hear from current (or former) tenants?

Screen for Better Occupancy Rates

Let’s start with eviction rates. A TransUnion SmartMove analysis showed resident evictions hit a five-year low in 2014, dropping slightly to 3.41 million. Industry experts suggest the drop indicates tenants today have better control over their finances than they did a few years ago. There are qualified residents out there. If your property struggles with slow-pay or no-pay residents, you may benefit from modifying your resident screening process.

The average cost of an eviction is about $1700. That can really curb your profit margin if you’re filing multiple cases every year. But, don’t make the mistake of thinking one eviction automatically disqualifies an applicant. Two thirds of the 66 million Americans who live from paycheck to paycheck are considered middle class, reporting an estimated net worth of more than $40,000. For these 25.5 million people, any unexpected life event like an accident, job loss or divorce can put their finances in a downward spiral overnight. Utilize your screening tools to help you make informed decisions based on job history, income, and past performance. Look for patterns more than single events.

Check Your Reputation

Managing your property reputation is critical today. One disgruntled customer can instantly spread their discontent around the digital landscape in seconds. Google your address, company name and the names of key personnel to find out what the Internet is telling people about your community. You should respond to any negative information online and if the complainer has a valid point, admit your mistakes and take immediate action to make sure your property doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

Banish the Bugs

It should go without saying, but here it goes. If you have a pest infestation, deal with it today. Seriously, right after you read this article, make a plan. Multifamily housing environments report more bed bug infestations and than other sector, including hotels, motels and other hospitality locations, according to a survey conducted by Orkin. Six percent of the survey respondents faced legal challenges stemming from the infestation. Pest control is an integral job for property managers. Not only do pest damage structures and landscaping, some pose health and safety risks for residents and staff.

Part of your job as a property manager is to talk to owners honestly and openly about issues preventing them from capturing the highest return on investment possible. Perhaps, it’s time to have a conversation about finances and property goals. Before you make that call schedule the meeting, make sure you know the challenges ahead and have solutions.

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AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money. Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.