Monthly Archives: May 2013 - Page 2

Building Rapport

by Tony Jeary

In the world of presentations, all of these can apply. In our context, rapport is an important connection made between the presenter and the participants based upon some level of real or perceived commonality.

Here are nine specific suggestions on how to use your audience knowledge in a positive way to build the rapport that you need:

1. Meet and greet beforehand, and turn these people into Audience Champions who can provide support during the session.

2. Make contact. Shake hands, and when appropriate, demonstrate warmth by placing a hand on their shoulder or even by giving a hug.

3. Use a Host Introduction. This provides trust transference and establishes initial credibility.

4. Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. Communicate the research you’ve done and the knowledge you have about the participants’ situation.

5. Understand that like attracts like. When people are similar to each other they tend to like each other. Language and attire are the first tip-offs – if you’re presenting to a corporate board, suit up and use the big words. If you’re meeting on the plant floor, lose the tie and adjust your vocabulary accordingly.

6. Adjust your body language, tonality, volume, pitch, and speaking speed to suit the audience. Especially in one-on-ones, sales situations and small groups, try to match the voice tonality and physiology of the other person.

7. Eye contact is very important as well, both before and during the presentation. This demonstrates that you care about them personally and can make them feel special. In large room settings where you can’t see well past the stage lights, pick target faces in the audience and hold your direction for about 7–10 seconds.

8. Demonstrate Caring and Generosity. Give away things of value, make yourself accessible, and incorporate a personal touch. Learn people’s names and use them.

9. Prove you respect their time – begin and end on time.

Fair Housing Changes

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor –

New York—Are you up to date on the Fair Housing requirements? In a recent webinar cohosted by Grace Hill and AppFolio Property Manager called “Fair Housing: What’s New for 2012,” speaker Nadeen Green, senior counsel, For Rent Media Solutions, provided an overview on some of the new Fair Housing requirements that property managers should be aware of.

One of the newest changes involves the LGBT community. “There are now some very specific housing rules for those in the LGBT community that are in place for those tied to HUD properties,” Green said.

For example, now people cannot be discriminated against or denied housing because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Additionally, owners cannot ask about sexual orientation.

Currently, the rules regarding sexual orientation only apply to HUD housing; however, Green cautioned that this is likely to move to other property types in the near future.

But, said Green, this should be a “non issue” when it comes to finding residents. What should be an issue? Green said there are only three important questions to ask when finding a qualified resident for a community: Is the person’s income appropriate for the housing? Will the person be able to take care of the apartment? And, will the person abide by your community rules? (Green noted that this last question does not necessarily apply to persons with disabilities—PWDs—who do not have to take care of the apartment themselves and can instead arrange for others to do so.)

Another new issue in Fair Housing is domestic violence. Because, statistically speaking, domestic violence victims are usually women, there could be a gender bias when, for example, victims of domestic violence need to be evicted.

According to the new legislation, property managers now have to allow victims of domestic violence to change the locks, allow them to terminate their lease and allow them to remain in the apartment despite a domestic violence incident that would have otherwise been a lease violation.

There have also been Fair Housing updates concerning service animals. According to Green, the ADA passed a ruling that specified guide dogs would only be permitted; however, this ruling only refers to public spaces. When it comes to residential areas, many other service animals are permitted. Some examples include miniature horses, which could help guide the blind; iguanas, which could assist with depression; and monkeys, which could assist those with physical disabilities.

“The good news is that the residents have to pick up the waste,” Green said.

One surprising change to Fair Housing is the evolving view of the criminal background check on lease agreements. Though typically standard in the multifamily industry to include this on all applications, Green said this might be changing because of disparate impact. Green explained that disparate impact is the adverse effect of a practice that is non-discriminatory in intention, but that disproportionately affects individuals in a group protected by law.

“[The criminal background question] disproportionally affects Hispanics and African Americans, so we as an industry might not be able to do criminal background checks,” Green said.

Emails to potential residents could also lead to unfair practices.

“Some believe we are using emails and the names attached [to the email addresses] to discriminate,” Green said. She suggested responding to all emails promptly and keeping the messages to everyone professional.

A hot topic in the industry that isn’t part of Fair Housing—yet—is hoarding. “This isn’t a Fair Housing issue, but it’s an issue,” Green said. If a property manager finds that a resident is a hoarder, the property manager should attempt to reasonably accommodate the resident and give specific timelines and instructions.

What’s the easiest way for property managers to make sure they’re not in violation of Fair Housing policies and that they don’t discriminate against protected groups? Don’t even think about it.

“We just need to look at people as human beings as they walk through that door,” Green said.

6 Ways to Celebrate Neighborday at Your Community

Jessica Fiur, News

In multifamily, neighbors are a fact of life. And that’s a good thing. Who else could accept a package for you or call the cops if they haven’t seen you in a few weeks and there’s a weird smell coming from the apartment? However, it’s likely that your residents don’t really know each other, beyond a brief nod at the mailboxes.

Well, it’s time to change that. If your residents get to know each other there will be a greater sense of community (and they’ll be less likely to leave). Luckily, this Saturday is Neighborday. Perfect time for some bonding experiences with all your residents. Yardi offers some ways to celebrate Neighborday in one of their recent blog posts. Here are some additional suggestions—and don’t forget to take lots of pictures to use in your future marketing or advertising (just be sure to get your residents’ permission first—in writing—before you take their photo).

Challenge another community to a kickball/softball game. Nothing causes greater camaraderie than bonding over a shared enemy. So why don’t you challenge a nearby apartment community to some sort of sports game at a local park (you could even have a cheering section for those residents who don’t want to play, like the type of person who would refer to it as a “sports game”). The winning team gets bragging rights (and, hopefully, pizza).

Throw a pizza party. Speaking of pizza, this is the one type of party that almost everyone enjoys. (Seriously, I don’t get why at meetings they have different sandwiches for everyone. There’s always something gross on them. And, yes, I’m a lot of fun at parties.) Free dinner and a chance to mingle? What could be better?

Organize a community-wide scavenger hunt. Divide interested residents into teams with lists of things around the community they need to get or take pictures of, and first team to check everything off the list wins. (And, clearly, for a neighbor-bonding scavenger hunt, one of the items must be a cup of sugar.)

Have a block party/carnival. Bouncy castles. Cotton candy. Beer (or soda, depending on your crowd). Games. Music. Deep-fried everything. There is literallynothing better.

Organize a community service project. Your residents could have a can drive, or all go clean up a local playground together. (Or they could all help clean up the mess left over from last week’s crazy block party.) That way your residents could all bond while also doing good for the community.

Have a town hall meeting. OK, this isn’t as sexy as the other choices. But you might get a big turnout. Organize a meeting where your staff and the residents gather and people could bring up issues they’re having or explain procedures. That way everyone gets all the vital information, and is able to start putting faces to names. And make sure to serve some snacks as well. (Just not sandwiches. Seriously, gross.)

What are some other ways to celebrate Neighborday at your community? Happy Neighborday, everyone!

Pain and Gain: The Net Result of Great Property Management Leadership

By:  –

Property Management Leaders Persevere through the Pain

In the quest to be an amazing-over-the-top multifamily business leader you must find the pain and go there. Not just arrive at the point but stare the pain right in the face and power through it. If your occupancy is struggling, go through the pain of looking in the mirror and asking yourself if you are the right person to lead the recovery. If your delinquency is in the tank, go through the pain of asking yourself if you have backbone. If you shy away from moments of truth and courageous conversations, ask yourself why. If Frank is struggling, ask yourself if he has the right leader guiding him. Are your actions screaming louder than the words you are using in attempts to move him?

We are conditioned to avoid pain. No property manager or maintenance supervisor on the planet likes to be on the downside of knowledge when it comes to a regional manager reviewing their business. They don’t like to feel the pain of piercing questions. They don’t like to feel naked while they walk past that broken window, dirty sign, or curb with peeling paint.

So what do they do when faced with that kind of pain? They lie: “All that stuff happened this morning;” “You would not believe it but a tornado of epic proportion raced through the community last night giving cause for 20 people to move out and not pay their rent. And on top of that, it peeled the paint right off those curbs. We seriously painted them last week.”

We avoid pain instead of feeling it and taking action.

Three Tips for Owning the Pain of Business Leadership

The only path to multifamily leadership greatness is littered with craziness and truckloads of pain. And not the kind of pain you can work through with your Google therapist. But know that pain is only temporary—so for the short term, own it! Pain is but a physical manifestation of the downside of greatness. Don’t listen to that proverbial devil standing on your shoulder telling you all the outs for avoiding pain. If you listen and give in, you will never move past it.

If you’re struggling with owning the pain of great business leadership, here are three tips that can help:

1. Give Your Pain a Name

Call it Chucky. Call it Freddy, Jason, or Guy with a Scream Mask. By naming it, you can interface with it. It doesn’t make it go away but now you can bring some personality to the process of moving through it. You can slay your fictional character and be the hero of your own occupancy gains and delinquency declines. And you can truly move people.

2. Do the Hard Stuff First

Know the multifamily market you operate in like the back of your hand. Know the comps. Know what sets you apart. Make the collection calls. Walk your property from curb to commode. Be the subject matter expert and thought leader. Which leads to my last point…

3. Set High Standards for Yourself

Your individual and business leadership greatness comes in direct proportion to the standards you set for yourself. That takes planning. Wait till the last minute to prepare for a site visit and you get the scene described above. Take the time early on to define standards for yourself and preparing for a site visit is a thing of the past. You’re just ready.

Come joy or pain, don’t Google it – you own it!

The Top 10 Property Managers of 2012

By Lindsay Machak –
There wasn’t much of a shake-up when it came to the Top 50 managers of 2012.
Greystar Real Estate Partners claimed the top position for the third year in a row by gaining more ground in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Western regions in 2012. The Charleston, S.C.–based company saw a 3 percent increase in managed properties last year and hopes to expand overseas in 2013.
Greystar’s dominance will likely be extended into next year, as well, given the $1.5 billion deal it struck with Equity Residential in January to acquire upward of 8,000 units.
Falling in line behind Greystar were five companies that all stayed in the same ranks as the prior year, including Pinnacle, which held its ground at No. 4. The Addison, Texas–based company held its place without gaining or leaving any markets in 2012. However, the firm welcomed a 10,000-unit addition to its portfolio in Texas, president and CEO Rick Graf notes.
“We’ve added some really key people in certain markets,” he says. “We’ve revamped our corporate infrastructure and the resources we’ve put into that. We’re rockin’ and rollin’ on all four cylinders.”
Graf believes companies choose to work with Pinnacle because of its personal touch, a tone from the top that prioritizes soft skills. Graf ensures the company has a good attitude toward everyone involved in the business, from the residents to the office managers to those who are hired to work at the corporate level.
While changes were being made in all aspects of the company, Graf says he didn’t want to lose the fundamental values of excellent customer service. Something as simple as being nice to people and saying “please and thank you” are what makes Pinnacle one of the top managers of 2012.
And while Pinnacle broke even as far as growth from 2011 to this year, with more than 138,000 managed units, there were other companies that saw their numbers fall from one year to the next.
Although Equity Residential saw a 5 percent decline in the number of units managed in 2012, the Chicago-based company held tight at the No. 5 spot, managing more than 115,000 units across the nation.
As part of the historic multibillion-dollar Archstone deal last year, the company expects to see a boost in numbers this year as those units are integrated into its portfolio. The deal adds 21,000 units throughout Equity’s core markets.
Lincoln Property Co. expanded its portfolio significantly in January with the acquisition of Grand Student Living, which added 2,900 units to the company’s portfolio. Lincoln plans to grow that part of the company in the upcoming year to boost its strength in the student housing marketplace.
Despite the acquisition, the Dallas-based company broke even in terms of how many units it managed in 2012 versus 2011, and that didn’t budge the firm from the No. 3 position on the Top 50 Managers list.
Rank Company Units Managed in 2012
1. Greystar Real Estate Partners 198,534
2. Riverstone Residential Group 174,838
3. Lincoln Properties 144,542
4. Pinnacle 138,638
5. Equity Residential 115,370
6. WinnCompanies 92,988
7. Bell Partners 69,112
8. AIMCO 66,076
9. Camden Property Trust 65,775
10. Alliance Residential Co. 65,116