Lessons from Single Family: Self-Guided Tours Are Here to Stay


December 21, 2020

In the era of COVID-19, self-guided tours have moved from forward-looking innovation to necessity, with the early adopting single-family market offering a roadmap for multifamily professionals. 

By Samantha Chalmers

Before COVID-19, self-guided tours were a cautiously adopted solution throughout the multifamily housing industry.

But as panelists discussed in the session, “Lessons from Single Family” at APTvirtual, single-family housing was an early adopter that experienced significant success with this touring model. The path of that experience provides an effective roadmap for multifamily operators as COVID-19 accelerates adoption of self-guided tours throughout the industry.

The effectiveness of that roadmap is found in the data from single-family self-guided tours that indicates that residents frequently utilize self-touring, which also shortens the lead to lease conversion timeline. 

“Customers want to be able to find information about an apartment community in any way that they want,” explained Todd Katler, CEO and founder of Anyone Home. “Operators who allow prospects to trade in their own currency will see the benefits of providing multiple platforms in the form of increased conversion and accelerated leasing velocity.”

According to an analysis of the 2018 leasing activity of Anyone Home’s single-family clients, 61.3% of prospects who booked a tour chose only a self-guided one, while 30.1% chose only a tour with an associate and 8.6% booked both tour types. Those who used self-guided tours converted to a lease at nearly twice the rate—9.3 % vs. 5%—than those who didn’t.

Single-family prospects who completed a self-guided tour at any point in the leasing process had a 54% higher conversion rate compared with those who only took an agent-led tour. One out of every four prospects who participated in a self-guided tour leased. Sixty-seven percent of prospects who leased after touring completed a self-guided tour as their first tour. Thirty-three percent of prospects who leased after touring completed a self-guided tour as a subsequent tour.

The data, however, wasn’t the driving force for single-family operators like Invitation Homes. It was an operational necessity born from the challenges of leasing homes dispersed across an entire metro area rather than in a single multifamily community. That innovation necessity, fortunately, produced significantly positive results for the company and prospects.

“It’s a win-win,” said Phil Rogers, Director of Operational Planning and Analytics for Invitation Homes, which owns and leases single-family homes. “It allows scalability, it allows efficiency on the leasing side, but it’s also extremely attractive to the consumer. Even if when we offer a 50/50 model, it’s the first choice of a growing number of prospects.”

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many multifamily operators find themselves in a similar situation Invitation Homes was in when it first started offering self-guided tours. It’s more of a necessity than a forward-looking innovation.

“Covid really changed the way we looked at this technology. We no longer had the luxury of determining what we want, but instead we had to figure out what we need in order to maintain operations,” said Kari Warren, Executive Vice President at Kairoi Residential.  “Once we realized that we needed to quickly shift the way we tour, all of the features we wanted on a self-guided tour option became secondary to our need to provide prospects with a quick and easy way to tour that still felt safe.”

So much for cautious adoption.

Samantha Chalmers is an Account Director for LinnellTaylor Marketing.

Explaining the Breakdown of One Dollar of Rent


January 4, 2021

There exists a misconception that rental housing owners enjoy large margins and can continue operating in the absence of rent payments, and with so much discussion around rents during COVID-19, the National Apartment Association (NAA) has released resources that help explain the breakdown of $1 of rent.

Because education is an effective way to counter harmful public policy and negative industry stereotypes, NAA offers this explanatory video and companion infographic breaking down a dollar of rent into its component parts.

The apartment industry must help society understand the benefits of rent payments for all Americans, whether or not they reside in rental housing.

From supporting 17.5 million jobs to the dollars reinvested into apartment communities to ensure quality living for more than 40 million residents, and through paying property taxes that finance schools, emergency services and other local needs to investor returns that include public pensions and 401(k)s, a rent payment is much more important than one might otherwise realize.

TAAEF’s “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge is back with a twist!


By Becca Ramati, TAAEF Vice President
Dec. 8, 2020

Synopsis

As part of the Room to Grow campaign, the Texas Apartment Association Education Foundation is again launching the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge—this time for maintenance professionals only!


Key takeaways

  • The “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” initiative is an internal video challenge for industry employees in maintenance positions to tell us their stories and to be an Ambassador for the industry.
  • Submissions will be accepted beginning on January 4 and the process is easy—simply record a short video of yourself telling us who you are, what you do and what you love about your job.
  • Encourage your friends and maintenance staff to submit a video, too—one of you just might be our next ambassador!

By popular demand, the Texas Apartment Association Education Foundation is excited to bring back the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge, part of the Room to Grow campaign.

This year the campaign is focusing on maintenance professionals, the often-unsung heroes of the multifamily industry who keep properties in working order and safe. Not only do they keep things running smoothly, they also help our residents feel at home.

Maintenance is the #1 need when it comes to recruiting and staffing for multifamily properties. TAAEF hopes this focus on maintenance provides more stories to share that resonate with Texans looking for not just a job but a career.

To participate in this year’s “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge, submit your video between January 4 and before midnight on January 26.

How the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge works

Click to sign up!
  1. Watch TAA and TAAEF social media and your email for more information later this month.
  2. Record a short video highlighting your work as a maintenance professional.
  3. Submit your video starting January 4. The deadline for submissions is January 26, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Central. (You’ll submit your video by uploading it here.)
  4. A committee of industry leaders will select three-to-five finalists.
  5. Each finalist will be notified. Finalist are encouraged to share information with family, friends and colleagues who can cast votes in the finalist round.
  6. The public is invited to vote for their favorite finalist video between February 3-11, 2021.
  7. The winner of the public voting is selected as the next Room to Grow Ambassador. The winner will be announced February 15.

The winner of the challenge will be featured in a professionally produced video and receive high-quality photographs. This video will debut at the TAA ONE Conference & Expo and the winner will receive a free registration and hotel stay during the conference. The new Ambassador will also be featured in Texas Apartments magazine, TAA Viewpoints newsletter and throughout TAAEF and TAA’s social media channels.

Please share this article and opportunity with any colleagues you think would be a good fit and encourage them to participate—we’d love to hear their story.

It is TAAEF’s hope that “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” empowers you to share your story to help raise awareness about the diverse, quality career opportunities in the Texas apartment industry.

For any questions, please reach out to TAAEF staff at taaef@taa.org.

Submit your video!

Amenities Reevaluated for Post-Pandemic Times


The pandemic will continue to shape amenity priorities well into the future.

By Doug Pike

When the Covid-19 pandemic first arrived, amenity closures were among the first direct actions taken by apartment communities. The months-long process of reopening those common areas has exposed the evolving needs of residents and the lasting imprint the pandemic will undoubtedly have on multifamily.

NAA’s APTvirtual session, “Amenities Reevaluated in Post-pandemic Times,” led by moderator Syd McDonald, Senior VP of Sales for Valet Living, assessed the impact that the pandemic has had on amenities and how it is shaping amenity priorities moving forward.

“As an industry, our first priority was how to keep our employees and our residents safe,” said Sheri Druckman, VP of SRG Residential. “Right out of the gate, we implemented really strict sanitation guidelines and, if you hadn’t already, you immediately implemented online leasing, online rent paying and virtual tours.”

Druckman said that once amenities began to reopen in phases, most properties introduced precautions such as digital reservation systems, capacity restrictions, repurposed common areas with staggered seating, mandated social distancing and virtual event alternatives. The struggle has been finding ways to retain a sense of community with so many ongoing efforts to keep residents safe and separated.

“We really wanted to keep that resident connection alive, so all of the events that we typically would have done in person, we had to restructure and do virtually,” Druckman said. “You saw a lot of virtual fitness classes, movie screenings, virtual happy hours and even cooking demonstrations.”

Adapting to New Resident Needs

While communities adapted to reinstate amenity use following initial closures, they also had to accommodate a wave of new resident demands. Druckman said renters have placed a priority on high-speed internet, home office space, private outdoor spaces, valet trash and recycling services, touchless systems, soundproof walls, in-unit laundry, delivery and food services, and package storage capacity.

Nancy Goldsmith, Managing Director of Bozzuto Management Company, said the changes on the site level since the start of the pandemic have been significant enough to force developers to rethink their amenity and property designs moving forward.

“We think a lot about the design of our communities, and we know that our communities look a lot different than they did eight months ago,” said Goldsmith, who noted that a survey of Bozzuto’s resident advisory panel found that 78% of residents plan to continue to work remotely after the pandemic. “Working from home is here to stay. That puts a lot of pressure on how we design our apartments. We’re thinking about the natural light. We’re thinking about our working parents and how they have to multitask. Internet is very important and we’re now offering internet as one of our incentives.”

Druckman said that in March the average gigabyte usage at SRG properties increased by 42%.

After working and schooling from home, the other major shift the industry has seen is in the number of goods residents are purchasing online and having delivered to their communities. In April and May, SRG’s mail and package volume rose to 7% higher than the 2019 holiday season, Druckman said.

Goldsmith said 86% of Bozzuto residents now rely on online shopping and deliveries for at least some things, according to survey data. Of those surveyed, 51% said they are purchasing groceries online, which also increases the demand for cold storage in package rooms.

Tami Fossum, Executive Director of GEM Management, said that affordable and senior housing communities are seeing subtle variations on amenities as a result of the pandemic.

“We’re not usually going for sexy, like you will see in your Class A properties. We’re going for functionality,” Fossum said, noting that properties have to cater to their state’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) in order to earn enough points to qualify for tax credits.

Fossom said affordable properties are now looking at security camera systems, community rooms, outside relationships offering supportive services, playgrounds, laundry rooms, fitness and wellness programs, and sometimes pools, depending on state QAP specifications. Senior housing communities are focused on fitness centers, recreation and community spaces, libraries, computer stations, outdoor conversation areas, controlled access technology and elevators.

The experts agreed that many of the changes and technologies brought about by the pandemic—including high standards of cleanliness, air purification systems, touchless proptech, connections to the outdoors, larger floor plans with flexible spaces, multipurpose convertible furniture, antimicrobial finishes, optimized technology, and a focus on health and wellbeing—are here to stay.

Doug Pike is a Content Manager for LinnellTaylor Marketing.

TAA urges state to prioritize vaccine for apartment personnel


The Texas Apartment Association is asking the state to consider prioritizing apartment workers for the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Key takeaways

  • Texas Apartment Association Executive Vice President Chris Newton sent a written request asking the state to consider prioritizing apartment personnel for the state’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • TAA notes that many apartment leasing staff and maintenance professionals must provide services but may not be able to remain physically distant while doing so.
  • Learn more about the state’s vaccination efforts. 

The Texas Apartment Association has formally requested that the state prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for apartment personnel.

In a letter dated January 5, TAA’s Executive Vice President Chris Newton wrote Dr. John Hellerstedt, who heads the Texas Department of State Health Services. Dr. Hellerstedt has been charged by Gov. Greg Abbott with determining how the state’s allocation of vaccines will be distributed based upon the input and recommendations of a 17-member Expert Vaccine Advisory Panel. More information about Texas’ vaccination efforts can be found here.

While the first two phases of vaccine allocations have been dedicated to front-line health care personnel, residents of long-term care facilities, the elderly and others with chronic health issues, it is hoped that the next round of allocations will go to workers in essential services, including onsite multifamily staff, who come into close contact with the public.

In particular, the letter cited the need to help protect leasing office staff and maintenance personnel who must provide services but may not be in a position to socially distance.

Read Newton’s letter to Dr. Hellerstedt.

Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador: Maintenance Edition


Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador: Maintenance Edition

 
What a great way to kick off the New Year!  I’m excited to announce that the “Be the Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge is back. This year we are highlighting our maintenance professionals and we need your help in encouraging submissions.
 
Our maintenance professionals are often the unsung heroes of the multifamily industry keeping our properties in working order, especially in times of crisis like we’ve had this past year. This is a great opportunity to recognize them and let them know what they mean to the success of their properties and your company. Please reach out to your teams to encourage your maintenance professionals at all levels to consider submitting their stories as part of the video challenge.
 

Download this flyer to share with your team

 
The submission process is short and simple – just visit this website for more information and to submit videos. Submissions will be accepted
through January 26th so don’t delay!

A committee of industry leaders will select 3-5 finalists. Then, each finalist will be notified and announced for a public vote (share this widely with your own network as friends, family, colleagues and more can all vote) and a winner will be announced as the next Room to Grow Ambassador. The winner will receive a professional video of their story, professional photos, entry and expenses paid for the 2021 TAA ONE Conference & Expo, statewide recognition on social and print media and much more. 
 
The “Be The Next Room to Grow Ambassador” video challenge, part of the Room to Grow campaign, is an internal video challenge for industry employees in maintenance positions to tell us their stories and to be an Ambassador for the industry. Please help us as we work to raise awareness about our industry, especially during a time when so many could benefit from considering our career paths but have yet to find us.
 
For any questions, please reach out to TAAEF staff at taaef@taa.org. We can’t wait to hear stories from our maintenance professionals and to see who will Be the Next Ambassador!

Mike Clark, HCCP
TAA Education Foundation President
 

Executive Summary: COVID Relief Bill Includes Top NMHC and NAA Priorities


On December 21, Congress finally passed a much-needed $900 billion COVID relief package. The bill, which was combined with a $1.4 trillion spending bill to fund the government through next September, included several priorities for the apartment industry. Most importantly, the package will provide $25 billion for rental assistance, which NAA and NMHC have advocated tirelessly in support of for nearly 10 months.

In addition to the general financial support the measure provides to Americans through additional stimulus checks and an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, the measure also includes important tax victories for apartment firms and $284 billion for a new round of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The primary multifamily-specific provisions are detailed below. (NAA/NMHC also summarized the tax provisions in the bill and the multifamily-related provisions in the government funding bill.)

Rental Assistance

The measure allocates $25 billion to the Treasury Department to create a new Emergency Rental Assistance program. NAA and NMHC’s top priority in 2020 has been securing dedicated funding for rental assistance. We are pleased that Congress elected to fund this program through the Treasury Department as we believe that will be the fastest and most efficient way to get funds to renters. Many states and localities have already established their own rental assistance programs using prior CARES Act funding, and this model will replenish those programs (with some modifications) instead of trying to create a new federal program from scratch.

Under the terms of the legislation, the Treasury Department will distribute the funds to the states, with no state receiving less than $200 million. Cities with populations over 200,000 can request to receive their allocation directly.

Jurisdictions are required to use no less than 90 percent of the funds for rental payments and are encouraged to prioritize rental and utility arrears. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if necessary, to ensure housing stability. Assistance can only be allowed in three-month increments, after which point an eligible household must re-apply for funds.

Funds are to be paid directly to the property owner on behalf of the renter and also allow for a property owner to apply for rental assistance on behalf of the resident. If a property owner does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the renter for subsequent payment to the property.

Jurisdictions are directed to prioritize households that are currently unemployed and have been unemployed for 90 days as well as households earning 50 percent of area median income (AMI) and below. Importantly, the measure bases qualifying income on the income the household is receiving at the time of application for assistance and not their prior income. Despite this preference, jurisdictions do have some flexibility to serve those with incomes up to 80 percent of AMI and can establish additional criteria.

Beyond these guardrails set by Congress, states and localities will have flexibility in how the funds are ultimately distributed. NMHC and other stakeholders have encouraged jurisdictions to look toward successful models that get the funding to the property level quickly, such as the Mississippi State RA program.

Congress also extended the ability of states to use previously allocated CARES Act resources to fund rental relief programs. Without that action, states faced a December 31 deadline to fully allocate their funding, and many states found themselves with meaningful surpluses of funds that have yet to be distributed, in part because of the overly narrow targeting of those programs

NMHC will track successful programs, but given the scope of the numerous state and local programs, members are encouraged to reach out to their state and local housing officials to learn the details of the programs where they operate.

Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Funding Extension

Extends for one year (until December 21, 2021) the availability of funds provided to states and localities by the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act. The CRF through the CARES Act provided $150 billion for states to use for a variety of needs and provided jurisdictions flexibility to use a portion of allocated funds to set up rental assistance programs. Without this action, the authorization to commit those funds was set to expire on December 31, 2020. NAA and NMHC urged Congress to extend the current-year end deadline for state and local governments to use CRF funding.

Additional Financial Assistance for Renters

While a dedicated rental assistance program was NAA and NMHC’s top priority, we recognize that all sources of financial support for unemployed citizens will help renters cover their household budgets. To that end, we advocated for additional direct assistance and were pleased to see that the legislation included the following:

  • $300 federal unemployment assistance through March 14, 2021.
  • An extension of the federal unemployment program that supports gig workers through April 5, 2021.
  • Direct payments (stimulus checks) of $600 for individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and married couples earning up to $150,000 per year. Each child dependent is additionally eligible for $600

Eviction Moratorium Extended

The legislation extends the current CDC eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021. The mechanics of the moratorium remain unchanged and continue to require that residents submit a signed declaration of COVID-related hardship to qualify for the protection. NAA has provided guidance on the moratorium.

We continue to educate policymakers that eviction moratoriums do nothing to address renters’ financial issues and actually exacerbate them.

Paycheck Protection Program & Small Business Support

The relief bill provides $284.5 billion in additional funding to allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive either an initial or a second forgivable PPP loan of up to $2 million. Businesses eligible for a second-draw loan must have 300 or fewer employees and have sustained a 25 percent revenue loss in any quarter of 2020. In addition, forgivable expenses are expanded to include supplier costs and investments in facility modifications and personal protective equipment to operate safely.

For firms that have previously received PPP loans, the bill clarifies that business expenses paid for with the proceeds of forgiven PPP loans are tax deductible, consistent with Congressional intent. The loan forgiveness process is simplified for borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less.

Liability Protections

NAA and NMHC have called for targeted and limited liability protections related to COVID as apartment firms have raised concerns that despite doing their best to follow applicable guidelines, they could be forced to defend against an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits which will drive up operating costs at a time of great financial stress in the multifamily industry. Unfortunately, despite concessions from both sides, lawmakers could not reach agreement on providing COVID-19 liability protections for businesses that follow public health guidance in operations.

Congressional Leaders have agreed to debate this and other contentious COVID relief efforts, like additional state and local government financial assistance, in early 2021.

NAA and NMHC will continue to advocate in 2021 for additional relief for renters and housing providers given the tremendous backlog of unpaid rent and the ongoing economic crisis.

The 7 phrases you should never say to anyone.

 

When it comes to both relationships and communication, I never would have imagined that the most valuable book I’d ever read would be written by a cop.

But the late George J. Thompson — aka “Doc Rhino” — wasn’t just any cop. The man was seriously accomplished and the true definition of a “Warrior Poet.”

Prior to joining the force, the talented martial artist — holding a Black Belt in both Judo and Taekwando — taught English at both the high-school and university level before receiving his post-doctorate from Princeton in rhetoric and persuasion.

Due to his love of education, martial arts, persuasion, and law enforcement, George created the only true Tactical Communication Course in the world which would later go on to form the work he is most known for — his book “Verbal Judo.

Although originally intended to better arm police officers with more effective words to de-escalate potentially violent situations instead of resorting to force, George’s teachings can also help us to properly navigate stressful situations both at home and in the workplace.

Throughout his work, George gives plenty of advice regarding what to say to simmer down hot situations.

Of equal importance — and recommendations you can begin to implement immediately to improve your relationships — he also shares his wisdom of which phrases should be avoided at all costs.

If there was ever a time to take the hard steps to make difficult conversations easier on both parties, this would be it.


To get you started, below are 7 of the phrases George recommends not saying.



1. “Come here!”

Imagine you’re sitting at your desk and your boss steps out from their office and says “Come here!” to you in front of your co-workers.

If you’re anything like me, no matter how high you were holding your head prior to hearing these words you’d feel pretty small.

Ordering someone to come over to you may make you feel like you have authority. But when it comes to having people respect you phrases like “Come here,” have the opposite effect as even kids don’t want to be spoken to like they’re a child.

When most people hear the words “Come here,” their first instinct is to turn around and run as it’s a massive signpost they’re in trouble.

Remember this the next time you have the urge to say, “Come here!” to anyone. Remind yourself that if you don’t like to hear these words the odds increase tremendously that you are not the only person who feels this way.

Saying in a calm voice, “Would you mind if we chatted for a moment?” or simply “May I talk to you?” is much more effective as it gives people the freedom to make their own decisions.

And if people want anything, it’s the choice to act on their own free will.


2. “Because those are the rules.”

In George’s work, he outlines 5 truths that apply to all people no matter their age, culture, or race.

  1. All people want to be treated with dignity and respect.
  2. All people want to be asked, rather than told to do something.
  3. All people want to be informed as to why they are being asked or ordered to do something.
  4. All people want to be given choices rather than threats.
  5. All people want a second chance when they make a mistake.

The words, “Because those are the rules,” don’t directly hit all of these 5 truths. But they do touch upon most of them. They show a lack of respect. They do not give people a choice. They are not informative.

A good rule of thumb is if you’re about to say something and it goes against any of “George’s 5 Truths” — let alone three — it’s best not to say them.

According to George, the words “Because those are the rules!” — or the super annoying: “Because I said so” — makes you sound weak and it shows you do not have the knowledge to support your order with logical reasoning.

On the flip-side, by explaining why something is the way it is you offer people a neutral piece of ground for them to stand on while opening the door for them to save face if they do end up complying with your explanation.

In short, if you are going to give people anything, let it be your “Why.” And if you don’t know the answer — find out.


3. “Calm down!”

If I’ve learned anything in my life it’s that rarely is my first response the best response.

That being said, no matter how many times I remind myself of this and try to remove the words “Calm down” from my vocabulary, I still let these words slip from time to time. This is especially true when either of my kids turns into a Gremlin.

Regardless of it being a difficult phrase to swallow, it’s in your best interest to work to break the habit. According to George, instead of helping us to reach the desired outcome of getting someone to slow their roll, the words “Calm down” makes people feel like you are criticizing their behavior and suggests their reasons for being upset aren’t valid.

Not only that but like many of the phrases on George’s list, it makes people feel like they have to defend their actions.

The next time you feel the urge to say “Calm down,” to either your kids or anyone else for that matter, try this instead: “It’s going to be alright. Talk to me. What’s the matter?” Or simply, “What’s the matter?”

These phrases are not only much softer. But they serve as a signal that you want to better understand what the person you are speaking with is going through and are open to talking things out.


4. “I’m not going to say this again.”

Besides making people feel threatened, according to George, this phrase is especially useless because it’s almost always a lie as most people say it over and over again in their arguments.

When it comes to communication during tense situations, repetition shows weakness.

Depending on the situation, sometimes we will have to stress our words and take a firm stance. Instead of saying, “I’m not going to say this again,” try saying in a calm voice — “Listen, it’s important that you get this point, so pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you.” It too may sound strong but it’s not threatening.

Or another technique is to list out what you want the person to do and encourage them to be willing to think it over.

The words, “Is there anything I could say that would get you to do A, B and C? I’d like to think so?” can be extremely persuasive as they imply that the person you are speaking with is indeed someone who is willing to calm down and have a civil conversation.


5. “What do you want me to do about it?”

Take a moment right now and say the words, “What do you want me to do about it?” in a variety of tones.

No matter how you say it you sound sarcastic, right?

If there was ever an opposite of a “problem solving” response, “What do you want me to do about it?” would be it.

Not only does it do absolutely nothing to positively advance a conversation. But according to George by saying this phrase you now have two problems: the one you began with and the one you just started by appearing to duck responsibility.

So instead of saying the words, “What do you want me to do about it?” take the hard steps of thinking creatively to help the person solve the problem they are facing. Or point the person in the direction of someone who can better help if the problem they are facing isn’t in your wheelhouse.

If neither of these options is available to you, offer an apology. An “I’m sorry, I really do not know what to recommend, but I wish I did, I’d like to help you,” goes a long way in establishing trust while taking some of the heat out of a stressful conversation.


6. “What’s your problem?”

Have you ever had a productive, civilized conversation after someone says the words, “What’s your problem?” or it’s dirty cousin “What’s up your *ss?”

Again, if you don’t like to be on the receiving end of other phrases don’t say them to other people.

The glaring problem with phrases like “What’s your problem?” is they put the problem immediately back onto the person who is in need of assistance.

Not only that but according to George, it signals this is a “you-versus-me” battle rather than an “us” discussion which can only escalate the temperature of an already hot situation.

No one likes to admit we have a problem or we are a problem. It makes us feel helpless and that we are a failure. So instead of going straight at someone like they are doing something wrong, choose to pad your language.

This is where the question, “What’s the matter?” can come in handy again. Or simply, “How can I help?”


7. “Why don’t you be reasonable?”

Have you ever suddenly become more reasonable when someone tells you to act more reasonably? If you’re anything like me, your answer is a resounding “NO.”

Much like the words, “Calm down,” the question “Why don’t you be reasonable?” implies someone is acting out of line and has more potential to only add fuel to an already hot fire.

Instead of having your words put people immediately on the defensive, George suggests first choosing words of reassurance then paraphrasing what the perceived problem is of the person in front of you.

According to George, the words, “Let me see if I understand your position…” or “You are feeling X because of Y, is that correct?” are worth their weight in gold.

This switch not only lets the person know you are working to better listen and understand them. But it also gives them the opportunity to clarify their stance so you can get to the true heart of their concerns.


Tying it all together

The theme that runs consistently throughout George’s recommendations is that empathy is the key to all successful human interactions.

According to George, empathy absorbs tension and if you take the time to not only listen to people but work hard to see them in the way they see themselves you can turn any negative situation into a positive outcome.

Our words hold power, both good and bad.

If you want to want to improve your relationships few exercises are more valuable than keeping track of the words that lift people up while working to do away with the words that bring people down.

This article first appeared on Entrepreneur.

Michael Thompson is a career coach who works with business professionals to open more doors and receive greater satisfaction from their work. His career and communication advice can be found in places like Business Insider and Fast Company. He writes to meet people so feel free to say hi here.

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot November 2020

December 29, 2020

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot November 2020

In this edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, job openings in the multifamily sector comprise nearly 44 percent of positions available in the real estate industry.

10,847 rental housing jobs were available during November, representing over 39 percent of the broader real estate sector. Virginia Beach, Kansas City, Seattle, Dallas and Houston ranked top 5 markets for apartment job demand. Kansas City ranked top 5 for the ninth month in 2020, where time to fill available positions was 42.9 days. November’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot highlights the Assistant Property Manager. In addition to requiring property management skills, employers are looking for talent with customer service, Yardi Software, budgeting and accounting skills.



NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot October 2020

November 18, 2020

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot October 2020

In this edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, job openings in the multifamily sector comprise nearly 44 percent of positions available in the real estate industry.

In October’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, over 13,300 apartment jobs were available, accounting for 40.4 percent of the broader real estate sector. Dallas, San Antonio, Kansas City, Portland, OR and Seattle had the highest share of apartment job openings. This month’s edition highlights property managers/community managers, with median market salaries reaching $38,529. The demand for experienced property managers was highest in Durham, Austin, Charlotte, Raleigh and Seattle. In addition to requiring typical property management skills, employers are seeking talent with budgeting, Yardi Software, communication, Microsoft Office, and organizational skills.