Posts Tagged ‘Lori Hammond’

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.

Could A Thank You Every Day, Keep The Move Outs Away?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

How often are residents thanked for the choice to live at a property?

Most choices for housing involve long term commitments, buying a house or a condo, mortgage etc. Individuals who rent can make a change in an instant, granted breaking a lease has financial consequences, but an unsatisfied resident has the ability to mmake a change right now.

Thumbs Up

Taking the time to acknowledge the length of time a resident has lived at a property, thanking them for their continued loyalty, asking if any service or assistance is needed, can reinforce that commitment.

Over the top efforts demonstrating customer service secure publicity and industry comparisons, but simple acts of appreciation, offered with sincerity hold more value than crazy promotions.

Generally speaking, the staff at a property doesn’t have much contact with a resident after the move in..lease renewal, late rent notices and requests for maintenance. Taking the time to insure every contact ends on a positive note will build a stronger relationship with a resident.

Offering the comment, “Thank you for choosing our property for your home,” can go a long way in building this relationship.

Staff at property often has anecdotal stories about demanding residents, or individuals that inflict substantial damage discovered at the time of move out. For most locations, the 80/20 rule typifies our residents, 20% of the residents use 80% of the staff resources. The remaining 80%, the individuals who pay their rent on time, renew without negotiating, take great care of their apartment home, and generally abide by the community policy and procedures; are largely ignored for their compliance.

Offering appreciation when the opportunity presents itself, or creating resident appreciation events can build a customer service atmosphere at a property.

Just as many receipts or monthly statements, include the phrase, we appreciate your business, how could this be incorporated into daily business practice?

Include this phrase:
-on rent receipts
-service request notification
-train staff to acknowledge resident tenancy during conversations, and communicaitons, such as lease renewals.

Residents often believe they are nothing more than an apartment number, or an account on a ledger. Insuring residents the staff is aware of the individual choice and ongoing commitment will have an influence on renewal decisions, or building the attitude where a resident wants to encourage friends and family to consider your property when looking for an apartment home.


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.

Supply and Demand, Lease Your Apartment Today!

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Our apartments are vacant now!  We need move ins now!  Leases signed now!  Commitments now!

First consider, is the leasing team able to challenge the move in date? Ask the question of “When do you plan to move?” “Are your plans flexible?”

imageThis is similar to hotel and airline reservations. Plan to travel on Thursday, but the deal is better if reservations are booked to fly on Wednesday. Or apply a retail application, the best selection is available by shopping early. Waiting for sales, will offer lower prices, but the selection of sizes and color options becomes limited.

If an applicant has a “MUST HAVE” list, the ability to meet the “demands” is lessened as the supply of vacant apartments decreases with other leases. Use this criteria to create a sense of urgency. Popularity of apartments on the top floor, ground floor walk outs, or end units will limit their availability.

How effective is the staff in creating a sense of urgency? “I can see how excited you are about this apartment, waiting might mean this apartment won’t be available, is your move in date flexible?”

imageDepending on the volume of vacant apartments, there may be a variety of possible closing tools. Every day that passes between the visit date, and the pre-lease or move in date allows the opportunity for an individual to choose another location. Getting a lease signed closes that door, it may involve a few days of free rent, but in return is the commitment of a year lease.

If the property has a large volume of vacants, it may be difficult to embrace the sense of urgency. Using a hot list, where the leasing staff only “sees” the units available to be leased that week, not an entire inventory of vacant apartment homes, can limit the information to prevent leasing units not ready or future availability. On the hot list, the supply will reflect two or three apartments of each unit type. This information allows the leasing staff to be absolutely focused on a limited supply, “This is the only apartment available with a ground floor walk out.”

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Without challenging the anticipated move in date, the prospect walks out the door to continue their search for a home.

  • The move in special ends Friday
  • The limited supply of the apartment that meets expectations
  • Desired building or location on the property

Use these criteria to narrow down the supply of apartments, the economics of supply and demand can assist in creating a sense of urgency to close a lease commitment.


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.

 

Show Me The Money, Effective Rent Collection

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

pay-rentContacting residents regarding unpaid rent can be difficult for some individuals.  Inspite of best efforts to incentivize timely rental payments.  Rental properties will continue to have individuals that do not pay their rent on time.

Tasking a team member with the responsibity to follow up on the individuals on the list for unpaid rent generally has the following results;

-A notice or door hanger was placed on their door.

-Left a voicemail message.

-Sent an email.

For too many staff individuals, the chance of a face-to-face conversation about unpaid rent creates anxiety.  Its viewed as a potential confrontation, a conflict to be avoided if possible.

imageA resident should understand how the property handles unpaid rent. During the leasing presentation, the process of rent collection should be explained, as well as the steps to collect unpaid rent. Signing a lease is a commitment to pay rent, and provide the payments timely. If a resident does not meet their responsibility, it creates the need for action on the part of the management team.

Management staff must be understand the importance of this function as an administrative responsibility. During the hiring process; a future employee should role play a scenario involving rent collection.  Can they maintain eye contact and ask for the rent?

Additional training will provide guidance and policy but if the individual doesn’t have personal confidence, they may not be the best candidate for the position.

Personal contact will bring results in rent collection. No one wants to be reminded that their rent is unpaid. There are a number of proactive initiatives to assist in rent payments and collection.

-Utilitizing automated payments.

-Posting notices reminding residents of the rent due date.

-Making phone calls or emails suggesting how much residents will save by paying timely.

Efforts to collect unpaid rent are time consuming and costly. Thousands of dollars are paid to attornies and court systems to execute evictions. Can a property establish a goal to reduce the time invested in rent collection as well as the expense. If the amount of time producing late notices, copying files for the legal process and knockng on doors could be reduced by 25%, what could be accomplished with this three to four hours per week?

Improving rent collection provides funding for property expenses, reduces legal expenses and saves time for the team members that prepare the late notices and court proceedings.


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.

Show And Tell, Making An Apartment Tour Memorable

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

image

Many apartment communities do not have the budget or the decorating pizzazz to stage a furnished model.

A hodge podge of abandoned furniture will not improve the marketing presence of the apartment, (with evergrowing concerns about bedbugs…this could create a whole new range of problems.)

The lack of a model often sets a negative tone, when a prospect asks to see an apartment.  The first experience the prospect has is negative..”we don’t have a model.”

“I can show you a vacant apartment”..Just the language has an unappealing tone….vacant..vacated….consider including the term “vacant” with words that don’t belong in a marketing conversation.  ”Lets take a look at our two bedroom.?”  Or instead of jumping in, with a “we don’t have a model, but I could show you a vacant”…could we respond with an offer to show an unfurnished model home?

A cost effective alternative to the undertaking of furnishing four or five rooms with accessories from Pottery Barn or Pier One. A mini-model can fit any budget.

imageMini models can be structured with budgets ranging from $25 to $100.  The presence of kitchen, bath, closet or laundry accessories can soften the impact of an unfurnished apartment home.  Mugs, hot chocolate, and a basket of star shaped marshmellows offers a focal point in the apartment, a unique objectt for a prospect to remember. A sink full of yellow rubber ducks or a themed shower curtain are quick easy options.

If its apartment touring day, a propsective resident will tour a half dozen apartment homes, double that for weekends.  Mini model accessories can be the item that helps an apartment stand out in a prospects memory.

The mini model accessories can become the move in gift for the new resident. This small addition to the featured apartment gives both the leasing staff and the prospect a focus point. The prospect leaves the property remembering the apartment with the spaghetti basket or the frog shower curtain.

Randomly placing “Resident Delights” can add a fun element to tours creates spontaneity. Opening a freezer to find a sign with treats, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” Taking the time for a quick snack allows more conversation with the prospect.

Keeping leasing tours fresh with a variety of quick mini models adds some excitement for the leasing team. A property doesn’t have to support an extensive marketing budget to make an impression with available apartment homes.


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.

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.

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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.

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.

 

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