The Unexpected Connection Between Reputation and Key Control

Finger leaving review on smartphoneWe all know that reputation management is important for your multifamily community. As much as 98 percent of prospective residents look at reviews before leasing an apartment. If you were looking for a new place to call home, would you think twice about a specific community if you read the following 1-star reviews?

OUR IDENTITY WAS STOLEN. Great job for not safeguarding tenant credit information.
My apartment was entered at least 3 different times when I was not home and my front door left unlocked.
Key fob access inoperable during power outage on stairwell and possibly all building fob access doors (except individual units) (Service request took 6 months).

You have to admit that these reviews don’t make each property sound inviting. There’s an underlying lesson here: Reputation management starts offline — and a critical part of that has to do with having an effective key and access control policy. If you don’t take the right steps to control access to residents’ homes, you’re leaving them vulnerable to potential thefts and violent crimes and your property vulnerable to legal and reputation risks.
Here are three steps you can take to protect your residents and your reputation.
1.    Keep Accurate Access Logs
Whenever someone accesses a resident’s home, you need to have an accurate, verifiable record of it. This rule applies regardless of if your community uses traditional metal keys or smart locks — no exceptions.
If your key and access records are inaccurate or incomplete, it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, ……

How Crowdsourcing is Helping Apartment Operators

When people picture crowdsourcing in action, the apartment industry doesn’t typically come to mind.We’re more inclined to think of big consumer brands getting ideas from their customers and the general public. Like the popular LEGO Ideas platform, through which users can submit their suggestions for new LEGO sets.  Or Waze, which has allowed many of us to avoid traffic and find the best routes by sharing information instantaneously with one another. Another great crowdsourcing platform we use without thinking about it much is Wikipedia, which far outstripped Encyclopedia Britannica with wealth of information and data. These are but a few examples of platforms that used crowdsourcing to offer better, faster, more relevant data and information that we rely on daily basis. But the truth is, more and more apartment communities are embracing crowdsourcing in a very effective way: They’re using it to make their market surveys more efficient and more accurate than ever before.Old School Isn’t Cutting ItUndoubtedly, you are familiar with the old-school, traditional way apartment communities have gone about conducting market surveys of their competitive set. It’s unwieldy, time-consuming and, too often, results in inaccurate data.Onsite associates who are too busy to begin with have to spend hours making phone calls to competitive properties to collect data about asking rents, occupancy rates and concessions. Frequently, the person at the other property they need to talk to isn’t immediately available, necessitating rounds of phone tag. Many times, the overextended person at the other community never calls back.Adding to the difficulties is the fact……

Successfully Recruiting In The Current Job Market


The main challenges for recruiters and hiring managers are residing in answering these two questions:

How do I build a strong pipeline of qualified candidates?
What should I do to beat the competition and secure a great candidate?

Building a Great Candidate Pipeline
There are multiple ways to advertise your openings in this day and age. Indeed and networking referrals proved to bear the most fruits for me.

Job posting tip: a creative ad would attract more candidates than the cookie cutter type that mimics the job description.

Stay away from the overused buzz words when describing the qualities you are looking for in a candidate. My favorite one is “dynamic”. Reading Indeed ads, I get the feeling that I would get kicked towards the unemployment line unless I describe myself as being, well, dynamic.

Refresh your ads often. I recommend every 3 days if possible, but at least once a week. If the candidates are searching by the date posted, an old ad has way less chances to be seen than a newer one. I get most of my leads within the first 48-72 hours after placing the ad.

Another source of great candidates comes from employee or network referrals. Some of my best hires came from referrals.

Securing the Best Candidates
Most recruiter and hiring managers are discouraged by the numbers of job interview no shows.
Here are a few things to consider to help you improve your success rate.
……

20 Ways for Apartments to Compete In Today’s Markets

Apartment Marketing

Looking for quick, easy-to-understand ways to get and keep a competitive edge— in leasing, marketing and in property management.

1. Change your leasing strategies and incentives weekly. Many markets are fast-moving, and if we keep doing the same thing over and over, we’ll get the same results over and over.
2. Add an Uber drop off and pick up location in your community. A sign works as a new amenity. These suggested locations are meant to make pickups easier and faster for riders and drivers. Make this area comfortable by adding a seating area. When selecting the location consider if possible protection from snow and rain, easy to charge a phone and easy to access without going past the security gates.
3. Has your resident profile changed over the past 4 years? With all the new construction odds are likely that community profiles have changed. Has this information been reviewed? Has your website and models altered to reflect this new profile?
4. Create “star” apartments every week. If you have sure apartment floorplans that are harder to lease, offer an additional incentive for renting those apartments.

5. Create urgency among leasing staff. In some companies, regional managers make random, surprise calls to properties to give them unique, short-term incentives. For example, they might say, “Just for today, every lease signed, the leasing consultant will receive an additional $50.”

6. Change your prices every day. Break every occupancy and leasing report down by floorplan, and set prices and concessions according to floorplan availability.

7. Upgrade all associates’ computer skills. Everyone at every property should be able to use not only the property management software but also basic laptops slow down the amount of work that can be accomplished. Daily, I hear leasing teams complaining about the age of their technology tools.

8. Learn how to tell the truth effectively. Don’t over inflate your community or its amenities in your marketing campaigns—it will come back to bite you. Instead, focus on what really is unique about your apartments and community.

9. Offer multiple methods of paying rent. Give residents as many options as you possibly can—direct deposit, e-pay, credit cards, cell phone apps, etc. This will increase the likelihood of their paying on time.

10. Offer telephone incentives. Increase telephone-to-appointment conversion by allowing leasing professionals to dangle a carrot: “If you are able to come in today, I’ll take $50 off the application fee.”

11. Treat EVERY employee like a professional by providing personalized business cards. Giving service team members those standardized business cards that require them to write in their name sends a wrong message: You aren’t significant enough (or won’t be here long enough) to warrant your own personalized cards. Instead of doing this, why not be confident in your new hires—and express that confidence by printing up customized business cards.

12. If you have happy residents, by all means, put them on display. Create a book of testimonials and put it on display in your leasing center; highlight them on a “wall of fame;” use them in your advertising, etc.

13. Practice the Internet “Golden Hour” rule. Do your best to reply to Internet leads within one hour of receiving them. Remember that people use the Internet, in part, to get information quickly. The text is an essential part of the leasing process today. Does your team have a cell phone to send and receive texts? Don’t forget to place all call on Call forward to the main line.

14. Incorporate instant rewards into your mystery shopping program. Identify 6 to 8 items on which shoppers should critique onsite people—and have the shopper give the staff member an instant reward if he or she successfully covers those 6-8 things. This is a great morale booster!

15. Mechanize every process. Keep the property running smoothly and make sure nothing is overlooked by creating a book of checklists, by position, for every procedure.

16. Support pet projects. Allow staff members to pursue aspects of property management that interest them. Give them new responsibilities or even create new positions for them. It is not only empowering for the employee but also beneficial for the property.

17. Rethink your renewal strategies. Does it make sense to offer better deals to new residents than to existing ones? Or to provide leasing professionals higher incentives for new leases than for renewals? Now more than ever, it’s critical that we close the back door by treating our existing residents like the valuable assets they are.

18. Set realistic goals. Goals that are too big to be realistically achieved are demotivating. Break huge “wishful thinking” goals into smaller benchmarks that can actually be reached over time.

19. Get rid of “survival language.” Stop talking about “hanging on by the skin of your teeth” or “making it through the year.” Put the past in the past, focus on what you’ve done right, and move forward.

20. Embrace diversity in all its forms. Learn to make the most of the different life experiences, skills, and interests every employee brings to the workplace.