Daily Archives: March 6, 2013

Increase NOI by Setting Up Home Services for Residents

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor – Multi-HousingNews.com

New York—In a recent webinar called “Ancillary Income: Enjoy Increased NOI By Helping Residents Set Up Home Services,” hosted by MHN and sponsored by NWP, presenters Chris Finetto of NWP and Jason Scutt of CSI and MyServicesNow demonstrated the benefits of bundling technology packages for residents. According to the presenters, by doing so, it makes it easier on the residents and provides ancillary income for the property managers.

“Moving is a daunting process—even for the folks operating the property,” Finetto said. “It’s a logistical ballet.”

According to Finetto, the challenge for property managers is creating an amenity or a perk for the residents without increasing expenses. However, he warned to do so with caution.

“Selling ancillary services can be a distraction from the leasing process,” Finetto said.

Scutt agreed that selling these services during move-in might be a little daunting. However he felt it was in the best interest of the property manager.

“[When they move in,] residents tend not to have the services they could and end up doing it on their own because it’s not in the lease,” Scutt said. “That’s a missed opportunity for revenue.”

In order to take advantage of the best deals, Scutt recommended studying up on the various companies offered at individual properties, since not all communities in a portfolio would offer the same services.

“Audit your revenue share opportunities,” Scutt said. “Use the audit information to create a baseline for your success at each property.” Another key to success with ancillary services is to make it as simple as possible on the residents. “It has to be easy, or no one is going to want to do it,” Finetto said.

Some of Finetto’s suggestions for offering these services to residents included introducing a concierge-based amenity, issuing a unique toll-free number for each site (which would also make sales tracking easier) and offering online access. Ultimately, these services should be an asset to both the staff and the residents at a property. According to the presenters, there are several benefits of offering bundled technology packages: it’s preferred by residents, it allows for revenue growth at the property, it’s a source of new income potential and it’s liked by the leasing associates.

“Moving is never going to be a fun experience,” Scutt said. “But we can make it a better experience.”

Bankers Financial Launches RentersAmerica, the Next Generation of Security Deposit Alternatives for Multifamily Property Owners and Managers

Brought to us by Multi-HousingNews.com

St. Petersburg, Fla.—Bankers Financial Corporation has introduced RentersAmerica, a new security deposit alternative program designed to help multifamily property owners and managers reduce their bad debt, generate ancillary revenue and lease more units. The company, which pioneered the security deposit industry in 1995, developed RentersAmerica as a resident membership association that also benefits residents by dramatically lowering their move-in cash requirements while affording them opportunities to save on a wide variety of products and services through a rewards loyalty program.

For property owners and managers, RentersAmerica:

  • Reduces bad debt through funds generated from all its residents/members
  • Increases occupancy and improves resident retention because they can market their communities more aggressively to prospective residents by offering the option to lower their move-in cash requirement
  • Increases ancillary revenue through marketing fees and excess funds not used to pay move-out debt that remains in their disbursement account
  • Limits costs associated with the administration of traditional security deposits and collections
  • Provides exceptional reporting inclusive of detailed or summary information from the community level to the executive level at a moment’s notice
  • Provides the program without cost to the property or community

For the resident, RentersAmerica:

  • Reduces the move-in cash requirements as residents pay a nonrefundable membership fee which is much less than the traditional security deposit
  • Frees up cash which allows residents to use that extra money for other expenses when they need it most
  • Provides a meaningful rewards program which offers discounts, coupons and special members pricing for goods and services at over 300,000 national and local providers. Used just once or twice a week, earning $1.00-$2.00 in savings at a time can easily offset or exceed the cost of membership.

How to Encourage Recycling at Multifamily Communities

By Shelley Davenport, Move For Free, for Multi-HousingNews.com

Incorporating economically and environmentally friendly practices into multifamily living is a great way to avoid unnecessary waste and improve the community. So when an apartment community actually provides a recycling option, why is it being ignored? Information and motivation are keys on the road to greener living. Here are a few great ways that management can encourage their residents to take advantage of these eco-friendly options.

1. Get the Word Out Some renters may not even realize recycling is an option at their apartment community. Management can reach out with information on recycling, pick-up dates and the acceptable recyclables via email, mail or door to door. For an easy reminder of when to recycle, distribute refrigerator magnets with the regular and holiday pick-up times. Showing how the apartment community has been going green (for example, LED light bulbs, high-efficiency air filters, Energy Star products, etc.) shows that you are dedicated to this cause. You can motivate residents into action with eye-catching informative door hangers. For effective visuals, try using an interesting statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency like:

  • Did you know that recycling 10 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power a laptop for nearly 52 hours?
  • Enough plastic water bottles are thrown away each year to circle the earth four times!
  • Recycling 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a 60W equivalent light bulb for nearly 100 hours.

2. Provide Pick-up Whether it is the morning of pick-up or the day before, you can make recycling even more convenient for your renters by offering door-front or building-front collection. By eliminating the long treks to the recycling station in the rain, cold or heat, residents will be more likely to take advantage of recycling services. Why is fast food popular? Because it’s cheap, quick and easy. Taking that same approach with the recycling process can produce greater results in your community. Many apartment communities already offer “valet trash” services. Implementing a valet recycling option not only encourages renters to reduce their waste production but looks great for potential residents, as well.

3. Provide a Bin If you include the price of a $5 bin in community fees or not, your residents will still need a proper receptacle for their recyclables. A small recycling bin in each apartment will serve as a reminder to keep glass, aluminum and other recyclables out of the trash. This will also cut down on the amount of plastic trash bags that head to the landfills each week. In the same way that people don’t like to buy clothes they won’t wear, they won’t want to clutter their apartment with something they don’t intend to use. Simply having a proper recycling bin available will motivate them to use it.

4. Offer Rewards Apartment communities who partner with businesses such as RecycleBank have a little more to offer their residents. When your residents participate in RecycleBank, they’re earning points and educating themselves with every reusable item they keep out of the trash. More than 1,000 local and national vendors accept these points, coupons and discounts from RecycleBank. Renters can easily earn $20 in savings from eco-friendly stores and brands such as Whole Foods and Kashi. Meanwhile, RecyclePal in Omaha, Neb., took its partnership to the next level by offering doorstep service, with an included 30-gallon recycle bag, for apartments, condominiums and small businesses alike. You can also offer rewards for recycling like discounts on utility bills, rent or even free events hosted by the apartment.

Whether the majority of your residents are students, young professionals, new families or seasoned professionals, they are all strapped for time. Make recycling a fast, simple and pain-free experience for renters and they’re sure to get in the recycling spirit.

Shelley Davenport is a copywriter for Move For Free, an apartment-locating service in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. She’s a big fan of apartment decorating and DIY projects. Read more »