Posts Tagged ‘Apartment Marketing’

Create Nearly Instantaneous Connections with Residents and Prospects Using Instagram and Just a Few Keystrokes

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

by Elaine Simpson | Occupancy Solutions, LLC

Forget about putting up signs or relying on word-of-mouth; social media is the modern way to make hundreds of people aware of, and learn about your products and services.  Up to 60% of apartment dwellers report that they found their rental through website listings and social media. 

Implementing the Marketing Plan; Adding Action to the Product, Price, People, Promotion Analysis

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Marketing Plan

Monthly, quarterly, weekly, or at least annually organizations expect updates of Property Marketing Plans.  Dutifully, plans are submitted to the appropriate source for review.  Task complete…Thirty, sixty’ ninety days later, update plan.  Task complete, check the item off the TO DO list.

How is the plan integrated in to the property operations?  Without specific action items, the plan is a report providing little value. What a waste.  A thorough marketing plan has taken a considerable amount of time to prepare, why is there failure to follow through with the action items adding structure to the marketing efforts of the property?

We’re too busy!”

The marketing plan has potential answers to any occupancy or renewal challenge.  Using the marketing plan hand in hand with the weekly or monthly community calendar can provide amazing results. As well as structure for the marketing functions of the property.

– Outreach goes on the calendar.  Waiting to try and fit it in at the end of the day, will ultimately result in no outreach.  Outreach Relationships bring results, but handing someone a flyer every month or two doesn’t create a relationship.

Updating ads with ISP providers, Craigs List and the management company web page can spread the word about a current promotion.  Is this on the calendar?  Weekly?  Daily?

imagePlanning for community events can generate local media attention (Free Advertising!) and resident retention.  But if everyone is too busy to look at the calendar, throwing together a Mother’s Day event the Friday before Mothers Day has little chance of  generating results.  Looking at a calendar for the upcoming four to six weeks, can identify focus points for outreach events and resident appreciation moments, Like celebrating the day Tootsie Rolls were introduced (Feb 23,1896) by handing them out to everyone that comes to the office, attaching them to maintenance notices.  Planning is essential.

imageTaking the time at the beginning of the week or month to add marketing activities to team responsibilities will reinforce the importance of marketing. Effective marketing is not an afterthought. It is organized and planned based on the future needs of the apartment community. Evaluating potential move out exposure based on lease renewals, and actual move out notices will identify the timing to increase advertising, in advance of apartment vacancy.

An outline of businesses for outreach will provide structure for this task, and insure follow up visits are scheduled.

The marketing plan is the road map tracking the variety of advertising efforts. Realizing an internet ad was not updated or the newspaper deadline was missed will probably affect the number of calls or visits, delaying the hoped for increase in occupancy.

As the marketing plan is updated for the next submission, add dates and items to the calendar. Keep a copy with the team schedule for the week. Its a valuable resource, put it to work!


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.

Multicultural Resident Retention

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

by Vera Dordick

diversity

Every property manager knows that spending time and effort to retain residents is more cost effective than working to attract new ones: Each resident turnover is estimated to cost a property around $3,000. While much has been written about strategies for enticing residents to renew, little is said about the different challenges involved in working with residents from other cultures.

California has more foreign-born residents than any other state, putting its property managers in a unique position: Odds are quite good that they will be working with renters from other cultures. New York, Texas and Florida are the other states with high immigrant populations. According to the Public Policy Institute of California:

  • One out of four immigrants to the United States resides in California. (That’s more people than the entire population of Michigan!)
  • Of this population, more than half are Hispanic and 37 percent are Asian.
  • Asia has surpassed Latin America as the major source of immigrants to California.

Across the board, retention experts have identified good communication as a critical factor in keeping residents. The big challenge with multicultural renters comes when your communications style is not necessarily the same as theirs. Culturally based behaviors and styles affect communication and can impact every step of the property rental and management process, from leasing to maintenance.

Culture is a loaded word that means different things to different people.  It is based on your family history, your religion, your reality and your perceptions. For example, if you have never tried an ethnic cuisine, its ingredients, flavors and textures may seem strange.  Similarly, if you don’t understand why people from a different culture behave the way they do, their actions may also seem strange, unfamiliar, or even wrong.

They aren’t “wrong.” They’re just different. This is the key concept that will be most helpful in working with people from other countries.  In a world of cultures, there is no right or wrong culture, no one culture that is “better” than another. Approaching education in cultural sensitivity with an open mind, devoid of stereotypes can help you achieve the “cultural mind shift” that your perception may not be their reality.  This will help you work efficiently and effectively with any multicultural renter.

All residents of a community want to be valued and understood, and feel comfortable living in a community. By understanding the reasons that drive their behaviors – the “why” – you will be better prepared to handle various communication styles and achieve your goals without offending. Some countries have a fluid time culture that does not place significant value on punctuality. Others do not have a history of fixed-term or fixed-price leases. Cultural differences can also impact gender relations and issues of hierarchy on both sides of your business dealings, particularly during the initial leasing process. By taking into account these differences from your very fist meeting, you will set the stage for an open and welcoming atmosphere.

Helpful tactics

Accommodating cultural differences does not have to consume a great deal of time or money as long as you are prepared. Before showing units to any potential renters, it’s a good idea (and prudent legal practice) to ask if renters have any special needs or requirements. By asking everyone, you will not stumble into issues of stereotyping or run afoul of the Fair Housing Act.

Additional challenges may arise after renters join your community. Cultural differences can create concerns over safety and maintenance, which in turn can affect your entire property.

  • Some residents may not wear shoes in the home and pile them outside, creating a fire and safety hazard.
  • Renters from some cultures may remove closet doors and burn incense or candles inside.
  • Cooking smells can be distinctive and pervasive.
  • Maintenance in some areas of the unit may become a concern, such as grease build-up in the kitchen or water damage in the bathrooms.
  • Appliances may be damaged because of unintentional misuse.

In all of these cases, cultural differences are the root cause of the challenge.  Depending upon the culture of the renter, there are various ways that issues can be addressed to solve the problem without offending the client. Often, problems can be avoided by providing renters a list of leasing etiquette points that must be followed.  Essentially, it’s a list of do’s and don’ts, which can be useful for any renter.

Reminding renters that maintenance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can be critical.  In some countries, maintenance service – particularly without an extra charge – does not exist. Familiarizing residents with the availability of the service can save a bundle on repair costs when the situation is one that requires immediate attention.

Sometimes, communicating with non-native English speakers can be challenging. Be mindful of the language you use in speaking with multicultural renters. Speak slowly and avoid compound words and idioms, which can be difficult for them to understand. Don’t be afraid to say you are having trouble understanding and ask someone to repeat themselves.

Interacting with multicultural residents can be an exciting and personally rewarding experience. Their traditions, stories and perspectives can enrich the lives of the entire community.  Moreover, from a business perspective, they cannot be ignored. Most all ethnic communities have an informal network that newcomers use to find sources of goods and services.  It could be damaging to a property if it were to develop a reputation as being unwelcoming to foreign-born renters.

Progressively minded property management companies will seize the opportunity to attract and retain this sizeable market segment.  Educating and training staff members to effectively communicate with multicultural renters will have an immediate and tangible effect on a rental community’s bottom line.


TangibleDevLogo Vera Dordick | Company Website  |  LinkedIn Connect

Tangible Development helps companies thrive in a world of flux through cultural awareness training and improved global communication skills. It offers customized consulting with special industry expertise in property management, hospitality, higher education, science and technology, health care and financial services.

Amenities That Attract Student Renters

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Student RentersYou’ve likely already considered options like renting by the room with separate contractual leases as a method of attracting student renters. So as a property owner, how do you make changes to your property itself that will attract even more of these surefire renters? Here are a few amenities that draw in higher education students.

Proximity to Campus

So this isn’t so much an amenity as it is a “feature” of the property, but the key to really luring in student renters is being close to the campus. Keep in mind, college students tend to play hard, party hard, and likely work hard in addition to all that studying, so being close to the college campus is ideal for those that punch snooze several time before getting out of bed. Being within two miles of campus is the target distance for most students, so if you’re considering buying a rental property designed for students, get as close to the campus as possible.

Lease Timing

Consider adjusting your lease lengths to accommodate the periods that students are in school. Most students put in about 9 months each year, although a few will stay on for summer session. However, by giving students the option for a lease that encompasses the traditional two semester year, you will likely attract even more students. Word gets around fast on campus about that cool property owner that isn’t forcing them to pay for three months of rent they won’t even use.

Add an Exercise Area

Staying in peak physical shape is high on many students’ priority list, and if you have an empty room anywhere on the property, go ahead and consider the inclusion of a weight and fitness room. The equipment doesn’t’ have to be fancy or even brand new, but the addition of an exercise room will certainly attract student renters that don’t want to commit to a gym membership.

Consider a Clubhouse or Other Central Common Area

Again, college students seem to like options for partying, and the addition of a clubhouse or common area to your property can meet that need. You certainly can consider charging additional funds beyond rent for utilizing the clubhouse for a party or gathering, which can increase your bottom line on rentals. If there’s a room and nothing happening in it, consider transitioning it into a money maker that will attract both college students and other renters.

As a property owner, do keep in mind that college students also appreciate additions such as extra storage, bike racks, and privacy. However, making a slight change in your amenities can help your property become one of the most recommended on campus!

Interested in learning more about student housing trends and what you can do to capitalize on this growing market? Check out this free webinar.


appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

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.

 

Are You Doing Enough To Protect Your Residents’ Privacy?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

File-security1Protecting residents’ personal information and privacy aren’t new concerns for property managers. After two decades of widespread Internet use, and improved technology, guarding personal data online still presents challenges.

Marketing, Personalization and Privacy

Studies show that brand marketing and personalization strategies deliver to a business’s bottom line. Translated into property management terms, that means happier residents, lower vacancy averages and higher retention rates.

Mobile users in North America are predicted to reach 287 million by 2017, according to Mashable projections. Apartment managers wisely engage in marketing strategies that include advanced information collection techniques and mobile campaigns to cement relationships and build new ones.

The residential rental market clearly benefits from integrating advanced data collection and personalization strategies. The National Multifamily Housing Council cautions that these benefits come with increased risk for data breach. Though risks exists, managing collected information and employee training mitigate those risks for property owners.

Internal Strategies

  • To make sure you are doing all you can to protect tenant privacy, create strong internal policies.
  • Establish company policies that limit employees’ access to sensitive electronic and paper information to designated personnel.
  • Change passwords and pin numbers every thirty to sixty days, and anytime a key employee transfers, retires or is otherwise terminated.
  • Protect digital data with computer locks and passwords.
  • Secure printed documents and digital storage devices in locked file cabinets.
  • Invest in a commercial shredder or contract with a document shredding company to dispose of outdated documents annually.
  • Evaluate bring-your-own device rules and current policies for social media engagement on company-owned digital devices.

Training for Resident Privacy

Employee training is an essential component of developing a strong internal plan to protect personal information. Before you implement a new training policy, ask yourself these questions. Do your employees know how to respond to a request for information from residents? From law enforcement? In emergencies?

Protecting personal information requires advanced planning and coordination efforts. Creating an information sharing protocol for your employees ensures they are ready to respond, especially in emotional and emergency situations.

Beyond Digital Information

As new technologies and devices emerge in the future, expect data mining and storage issues to follow, but don’t ignore the role face-to-face communication has in managing privacy.

Every leasing office needs a designated area for discreet discussions with residents and potential renters. Employees must protect sensitive information gathered and discussed during the application and lease renewal processes from others nearby. If there isn’t a separate office available, train employees to write information down or point to segments of the contract rather than stating phone numbers, social security numbers and other personal information out loud.

Creating an atmosphere of community for your property often improves renter satisfaction. Long-term relationships depend on integrity, honesty and trust. Don’t breach that trust. Discourage employees from engaging in gossip or inappropriate conversations about other tenant’s financial matters, relationships or employment issues without express permission. Never release phone numbers or unit numbers to other tenants. You can decide when your staff should offer to contact the tenant for permission to share  information or state the privacy policy prevents sharing.

Protecting tenants’ personal information and privacy aren’t new concerns for property managers, but how you respond to emerging trends and technology defines your property and your brand.


appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

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.

5 Ways Property Managers Can Leverage 2014 Market Predictions

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Industry experts published annual predictions for property managers and real estate professionals a few weeks ago. Based on market research and consumer trend indicators, 2014 has potential to be a year of growth and change. Developing response strategies designed to capitalize on research and indicators is one way to get ahead of the competition in 2014.

Adjusting Marketing Strategies

One prediction suggests that apartment seekers will fall into two predominant categories this year – the haves and the have-nots. To zero in on these two different demographic groups, property managers may need to adjust their marketing efforts. Rather than advertising with a blanket approach hoping to capture interest based solely on square footage or number of bedrooms, ad dollars may be better spent targeting those two groups directly.

By advertising in venues that appeal to down-sizing baby boomers or high-end property seekers, managers create opportunities to highlight property amenities specifically for them. Likewise, advertisements targeting recent graduates and newlyweds struggling to establish themselves might consider youth-oriented online publications and social media hangouts.

AppFolio’s property management software tools allow you to monitor and track advertising results. This allows users to pinpoint which ads are producing strong results and areas that underperform based on completed visits and applications completed.

Responding to Environmental Engagement

The gap is shrinking between what people want and what they will pay for some items. For example, sales for electric vehicles are rising steadily, even though fueling stations are still not available in all areas. The number of total electric cars on the road is projected to reach 2 million in the next ten years – hybrids during the same window will soar to 7.6 million, according to TMC News.

The availability of apartment homes with recharging stations is limited. Small communities can take advantage of the limited availability by installing shared “quick charge” stations with key card access.  Private, per-unit stations come with an investment cap of around $2000. Managers should realize a positive return on investment within the first year or two, depending on rent recovery plans.

Building Digital Relationships

Along with environmental responsibility, tenants want more digital access and higher levels of engagement from landlords. Simon Mainwaring, a recognized branding consultant, advises business owners to remember that positive encounters between any brand and its consumers produce measurable results. The result is that businesses strive to provide better service and customers show their appreciation – often by sharing their experience with people in their social networks.

Initiating positive encounters for property managers includes giving tenants digital options for making payments, requesting repairs and maintenance online and access to the Internet in common areas. Converting manual dispatching to web-based maintenance request processing serves the tenants’ digital needs and streamlines the workflow process, creating positive experiences on both ends.

Feeding the Social Circles

Along with built-in iPad docking stations and Cat 5 wiring for lightning speed access, tenants today want to be connected 24/7 to everyone – friends, family, colleagues, and property managers. They tweet, post and text the superlative and the mundane.

Integrated property management systems close the communication gaps that plague many non-digital systems. The fastest, most efficient way to spread the news about the new electric car recharging station is via electronic newsletters, tweets and Facebook status updates. Digital communication also creates a complete history of correspondence between owners, tenants and managers with a single click.

Upgrading for Efficiency

Digital technology isn’t the only thing tenants look for today. Upgrades must address efficiency. There are still state and federal incentives for property owners gearing up to replace aging windows and doors with high-efficiency products. Look for panes designed to block UV rays that damage furniture and draperies, high insulation ratings and eco-friendly composite frames.

Modern property management strategies to attract and retain tenants should include relationship building mechanisms, energy-efficient and eco-friendly features and social engagement tools that meet the needs of 21st century consumers. One of the most valuable tools to achieve success is a web-based property management system that ties all three together.


appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

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.

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.

 

Millennial Renters: Marketing to the Generation of Choice

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Brittany Worrell Boyce, Marketing & Communications Coordinator – For Rent Media Solutions

The Millennial Generation, otherwise known as Generation Y, is made up of those between the ages of 25-34. This group is known for having strong preferences and opinions, plenty of ambition, and a ‘sky’s the limit’ mentality when it comes to their abilities. They are very tech-savvy, impatient at times, and are always ‘connected’ via their smartphones or tablets.

These days, millennials are more flexible than ever, seeking out careers across the country or even internationally. Partially due to the sluggish (but improving) economy, young people feel the need to take any good professional opportunity they can, even if it means packing up and moving away from their families. Because of this, millennials are choosing to rent apartments more than ever. It’s important that this group is able to pack up and move at a moment’s notice, so renting is more practical for this stage in their lives.

Making Your Community Millennial-Friendly

As a property manager, it is great news for you to know that there’s an entire generation that is actively seeking out a place to rent. Millennials are a unique group, though, so there are a few things you should know in order to appeal to them. They are dubbed the “Generation of Choice” because of their unrelenting demand for choice in all aspects of their lives. Here are the Four “C’s” that explain this Generation of Choice:

(Ad) Choice – You should advertise your community where this generation spends a lot of their time – on their smartphones and on social media. Social and mobile are both ideal resources for showcasing your community’s advertisement and what it has to offer Millennials. It’s to your advantage to seek out ways to target this highly visual demographic, rather than wait for them to look for you. Luckily, with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to advertise your community directly to this demographic across the mediums that they prefer. Print is also a great resource to add to your advertising strategy – it provides this choice generation yet another search tool for finding their ideal apartment.

Charming Ads – Similar to this generation’s preference for specific ad types, they are also looking for ads that capture their attention with aesthetically pleasing graphics and engaging features. Seek out ways to make your ads more interactive – perhaps incorporate augmented reality using an app like Layar, so users will be able to scan the ad with their smartphone or tablet to learn more about your community.

Connection – Millennials like to stay connected. In fact, they want more dialogue – 76% are looking for a two-way conversation with brands (American Millennials: The Choice Generation, DRAFTFCB). Engage with them and be responsive to their wants and needs, which will forge a positive relationship between you both. Keep in touch with this group through mediums they prefer, such as mobile. Consider communicating with millennial renters using a text message program, which allows you to send news, promotions, and other community messages directly to their smartphones. This group also relies heavily on word-of-mouth, and over 75% of the next generation of renters base their decisions on ratings and reviews. Ensure that your community has a reputation management program in place, which will allow you to listen to what people are saying about your community. This is a great way to learn more about renters’ perceptions of your community and gain knowledge that will help you further appeal to them.

Consumer Control – Millennials are a savvy group. They know what they want, and they expect brands to take that into consideration. Brands are not really calling the shots; it’s the millennials who have dictated how things should work. For example, as an apartment community, this could mean that you offer an online rent payment option because your residents demand convenience. It is widely accepted that consumers dictate the terms of a relationship, and brands are taking consumer preferences seriously in order to appeal to them. Crowdsourcing is a popular trend that many brands are utilizing to incorporate the ideas and influence of consumers into the development of products and solutions that will meet their needs.

Working with millennials may be a change of pace for you as a property manager, but it’s more important than ever to stay in tune with the preferences of this next generation of renters. By tuning in to their preferences and desires, you will learn a great deal about this generation of choice and find ways to incorporate new ideas into all aspects of your community – from marketing and advertising to resident engagement and retention. Millennials are out there looking for their ideal apartment, so there’s an opportunity for you to reach out and appeal to them.


BrittanyWorrellBoyce_ForRentBrittany 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.

Brittany Worrell Boyce | ForRent.com | (e) Brittany.Worrell@ForRent.com

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