Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Proper Leasing Terminology

During my day in the Life of Property Management, I continue to hear the wrong terminology when referring to one of the words in the list below.

I just hate it when someone mentions that I work at a Complex and I show Units to prospects! NO! I work at an Apartment community and I show prospects their new apartment home.

Tenants               -   -   -   -          Residents, Customers, Guest
Project or Complex  -   -   -   -    Community, Property
Unit            -   -   -   -   -   -   -       Home or Apartment Home
Landlor    -   -  -   -   -   -   -   -      Owner, Manager
Lease         -   -   -   -   -   -           Rental Agreement
Signature    -   -   -   -   -   -          Written Approval
Rules & Regulation   -   -   -   -    Community Policies
Work Order      -    -   -   -   -       Service Request

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can I Get Fries With That?

Another GREAT post by Jeremy Lawson!!  Responding to email leads is a hot button of mine. 

Can I Get Fries With That?

Responding to a lead- 5 things to mention in your e-mail response
Jeremy Lawson, NALP
Did you know appointments are FOUR TIMES more likely to lease than your regular walk-in traffic? Each time you get a lead via fax or e-mail is another great opportunity for you to get a lease and make more money!!! Make sure the first impression your prospects get of your community is the best one. Here are a few helpful tips to help supersize your closing ratio.
 Use the word “appointment”

Setting an appointment is our ultimate goal of a telephone call! If they are looking for a future time frame or they are out of state, you can still offer to make a telephone appointment. Just like on your quarterly shops, it is very important for you to try and set a “specific appointment” with your leads.
 Do they have any preferences?

Asking this question will help to create dialogue and you will be more likely to get a response. It is also a great way to learn about their wants and needs. After obtaining this information you can better sell the features and benefits of the apartment you are talking to them about.
 Mention unique amenities/features about the apartment-

Every apartment has wall and floor, so tell them what makes this one different than the rest! Maybe it is a floor plan you only have a few of. Do you know the measurements of the windows? “This apartment has 3, amazing 42” x 60” windows!” Get creative and think of a different way to talk about what your community has to offer them.
 Be sure to ask them to visit your website!

We all know how great our websites are, so don’t forget to share them with your prospect. This is an effective way you can really get all of their attention. Pull them away from a website that gives them access to all your competitors so they can concentrate solely on what your community has to offer.
 Never send an attachment in your first e-mail

Although you may think you are being helpful sending all the information you have about your community to them all at once, you don’t want to overload them with information. By providing them with the general information about your community and your website, for an initial e-mail this will be adequate. Let them ask you for this information.

Looking to brush up on your e-mail response skills? “Leasing for a Living Series: 3 - Responding to Email Inquiries Module,” is a great 30 minute course offered by Grace Hill.

***Fair Housing 101 Tip- Respond to all leads you receive within 72 hours.***
Sample Lead Response-

Thank you for your interest in ______(Community name here)__________! I am positive that I will be able to assist you in your search for a new home. It looks like you are looking to move-in later this month! (Time sure does fly by!) I have an apartment that I you are going to love!!! It's a two bedroom two bath and is 1017 sq ft. Did you have any preferences? It will include a private entrance, full-size washer and dryer along with an enclosed patio, a TON of storage and plenty of oversized windows! We are currently running a great special on our two bedroom apartments also. Right now, they are starting at just $850/mo!!!

Will you be in the area anytime soon? I would be glad to show you around our community. Please let me know if you have any questions I would love to help you. Visit our awesome website to see floor plans, community, directions, apartment photos and you can also take a virtual tour! www.TheserveOp.com .

Call me or e-mail me soon as I would love to schedule an appointment for you to visit us!


*GraceHill.com also has a template if you would like to personalize theirs.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Please Don’t Pass the Mashed Potatoes

On November 7, 2010 Jeremy A. Lawson, NALP wrote the following article on Fair Housing.  Please enjoy!

Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and fresh rolls, I think we would agree that these delicious items are consistent with what most of us will be enjoying at the upcoming holiday. So, what does this have to do with fair housing? Well, if you were to forget the “mashed potatoes” during one of your leasing presentation, you may just end up in “deep gravy,” with a fair housing lawsuit.   

Fair housing laws are agreeably one of the scariest yet most important things we must all keep in mind each day when we arrive at our communities. It seem as though, every week we hear about someone
else we know going through a fair housing lawsuit. Scary as they are, if we simply follow the golden rule of fair housing, “be consistent and treat everyone the same,” we can all breath a little easier.

Did you know in a fair housing law suit both your company and you personally can be sued? Better yet, how can you completely avoid being baked to a crisp, like a burnt turkey, in one of these lawsuits? Well, if you ever feel a decision that may need to be made could possibly break one of these laws, don’t make it. After all, most fair housing law suits are filed because someone felt they were being discriminated against. Instead, bring it to the attention of your supervisor and let them make the call. With their experience they may see the situation totally differently and offer a solution that makes everyone happy. If they come up with the same resolution, maybe it is the right one. Document, document and document some more. In these instances and any others that end in disagreement a pen may just be your best friend. Hopefully it will just take up space on that conversation log, like a hot pad protecting your dinner table. But, you never know when that documentation is going to keep you from getting burned.

Because so many of these lawsuits are made based how you made someone feel it is also imperative to be aware of what you say and how you say it. You may be familiar with the sentence, “I didn’t say it was your fault.” That just reminds you how one word can have two different meanings. Take the time in these sticky situations and ensure all parties understand why a certain decision was made. After all, it’s only fair. And, the next you are giving a leasing presentation take a second and ask yourself, did I forget the “mashed potatoes”?

To learn more about and to become more comfortable with fair housing laws visit www.naahq.org, www.gracehill.com or www.callsource.com they are great resources and offer many informative courses. It is also important to attend fair housing classes offered by your local apartment associations as often as possible.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tips on Writing an Ad for Your Apartment Community.

The end result you want when writing an ad is to motivate the reader to visit, call, text, email or search your community on the internet. A really good ad has the prospect interested positively in your community before that contact is made

What makes an ad good? . . This good? There must be something there that he/she wants or needs. The ad should stir the emotional side of the prospect. It is up to you to figure out what that is.

When writing your ad, you must know who your target market is. Take time to think about all the benefits this particular prospect is interested in. I suggest you write several features / benefits down as you brainstorm. This list will help you to design the ad and attract your target prospect.

Start the ad with one benefit in particular. List a benefit that will grab their attention. Remember keep your target prospect in mind. For instance are they young or older? Are they students or work in the area? Will they walk, drive or commute to school or work? I could go on, but I hope you have the idea. What thing in particular would this person really love or want to have?

Make the ad full of action. This will help them picture themselves doing things at their new community. For instance, “walking on the treadmill in the fitness room” or “swimming and sunbathing on the large pool deck”. A bullet list of your amenities holds little value in building a desire to be there.

The ad should have a call to action. Stress urgency that they should “call now” or “stop by to reserve their new apartment home today”. Other suggestions are, “limited time only” or “Just available”.

The name and phone number of your community should be bold and easy to read. Some community logos are not easy to read when put onto print copy. Also list your name with the phone number and more action, “Call today and ask for Linda”. Telling the reader your name will help with the first step of building a rapport and increase the likelihood the prospect will make contact with YOU!

A couple more suggestions are adding a boarder. Boarders give a sense of comfort. Also don’t choose a fancy font. If the ad you’re writing is for a Senior Community, use very basis and easy to read font. Any font that resembles cursive is not suggested. The equal housing logo should be on all community collateral.

I hope these basic suggestions help you in your future ad writing adventure.

Linda Hansen

Monday, November 15, 2010


Could we possibly write another article or blog on customer service?
I don’t think there can be too many customer service blogs for apartment leasing. Not possible to overdo it on stressing the need or the must for customer service in regards to your apartment residents.

How much does costumer service cost? I feel it is free. I enjoy giving good customer service to my apartment’s residents. I don’t mind assisting and accommodating the Residents needs or wants. This may explain my lack of understanding when I do not received good customer service elsewhere.

While shopping this week end for some boots (everyone I know has some great looking boots! I just had to have some!!). Since it was the week end, and I hate doing my hair. Yes, I really hate doing my hair, so I stuffed it under a ball cap, put on a sweatshirt, jeans and off I went. I was surprised by the lack of customer service I received while looking . . . . less fancy pancy.

OK, I’m not going to go into this any further. Just remember to always give good customer service to your apartment community Residents. THEY DESERVE IT!! Yes, I was yelling at you. Felt good.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Customer Service

I want to share this Apartment Leasing piece on Customer Service & Resident Retention I received from an associate at work; The Yarco Companies. He has used this to set guidelines for his Apartment on site managers.  Tell me what you think of it.


While some Apartment Property Management Companies discuss Lease Renewal programs such as free rent or installing ceiling fans, we believe focusing on customer service every day will result in satisfied apartment customers and residents deciding to stay when their lease rolls over.

Accordingly, let’s apply the following:

1. 24 Hour Work Order Completion: All work orders will be completed with in 24 hours. If not completed due to a need for replacement parts or calling a contractor, the resident will be notified. Prompt maintenance in the apartment homes is our mission.

2. Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal: We want our residents to feel proud when their friends or family visit their apartment homes. And when our residents arrive home themselves, our goal is for them to see a spotless property. Swept curbs, clean dumpster areas, clean hallways, and a property free of trash.

3. A Warm and Friendly Greeting: Everyone coming into the office, resident or guest, should be greeted in a warm and friendly manner. That includes a smile and a general feeling of appreciation from us. That includes individuals coming to view an apartment without an appointment. The message we want to send is that we are glad you are here. And, for individuals looking for an apartment, we want their visit to University Commons to be the friendliest of their day. Even though they may not choose us as their home for whatever reason, they will still believe we were the nicest.

Thanks for sharing this Bruce!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hide & Go Seek BINGO for Apartments!

Found another great idea from Toni.
Hide & Go Seek Bingo

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I am very excited about Brainstorming.  This year Tami will have the addition of the OptSum.  This is GREAT since Social Media Marketing has become my Passion.

If you have not attended Brainstorming before, I strongly suggest you do.  It is jam packed with new tricks, ideas and motivation.  The group is fun and helpful. 

I am a facilitator again this year, which adds to my experience.  I hope to see you there.  Click on this link for the details.  It may not be to late to join us!!


Friday, September 3, 2010

People still discriminate??

Grace Hill found this article, I just had to share.  The new owners of an apartment community asked any Resident with children to move out.  Really??  What do you think?

OH MY GOODNESS! Click here to a link about a Discrimination Lawsuit

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Three Steps – Explaining the Tax Credit Application Process

Communities that fall under LIHTC may have a rental consultant that struggles to explain the application process to a prospect. First advise the prospect that your community has income guidelines, based on the number of individuals in the household, that must be followed for initial residency. Ask how many persons are in the household and tell them the maximum allowable yearly income, then ask if a) they feel they would qualify, or b) they are over or under this income limit – whichever method of questioning the rental consultant is most comfortable with.
After the prospect has completed the application, let them know there will not be an immediate response on acceptance. Income verification is needed to prove the information provided on the application is accurate, and that there are no hidden bank accounts, home ownerships, or other assets of this type.
Explanation to the prospective resident of the three-step application approval process is critical. First, credit and criminal reports are run to be certain that the prospect meets the resident selection criteria as defined for that particular apartment community. Secondly, if step one passes, the income verification process will begin. Let the prospect know that we are at the mercy of their employer, bank, and anyone else they listed, to prove the information collected when the application was filled out is true and accurate. In some cases, the need for the prospect’s assistance in obtaining the required documentation may be necessary. The third and final step is the approval process. At Yarco Companies a “second pair of eyes” is enlisted to review the file and guarantee that all items have been properly verified and nothing has been missed. When the applicant’s file has been successfully approved, the prospect can move in. This entire process could easily take more than a week to be completed, depending on the speed with which all verifications and approvals can be completed.
Explanation of this process from the first initial contact with a prospective resident may stop some of the phone calls asking if the application has been approved. When a phone inquiry is made asking about approval, let the prospect know which step of the process their application is in. With the information that has been given the applicant regarding the three steps necessary for approval, they should know what stage the verification is in and how much longer they may have to wait for a final decision and move-in date, hopefully reducing daily phone calls from the anxious applicant.

What ways have you found to help you explain the process to prospects?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Icing on the cake Customer Service

I found this on Multifamily Insiders and really liked it.  Had to share it. . . .

"Icing on the cake Customer Service Multifamily Insiders - Apartment Marketing Property Management Resident Retention Apartment Investment Apartment Jobs"
Aug 03
2010 Icing on the cake Customer Service
Posted by: Ginger Long on Aug 3, 2010 07:16

I am one of those people that are constantly critiquing customer service wherever I go. I think because I know how important it is in our industry and I am always curious how people outside our industry handle certain situations. I have to admit that for the longest time when I encountered a young Gen "Y" employee and received "undesirable" customer service, I chalked it up to that generation. But just last week, I was pleasantly surprised at the "over and beyond" service I received. I was on a mad search for some ant cupcake toppers that I had seen at one of the grocery stores here. I could not remember which one so I started at the one I most shop at. The young girl working the bakery counter looked at me as though I had two heads as she told me "no, we’ve never had any of those".

I drove to the same chain of the first grocery store that is located by the post office, since I stop there quite often thinking I might have seen them there. Again, behind the bakery counter was a young guy, who could not have been older than seventeen. My immediate thought was that this was a total waste of my time. I told him what I was looking for and he knew immediately what I was talking about. He explained that they recently had run a promotion of a cake in the shape of a watermelon and the ant toppers were spread all over the cake. Unfortunately, they did not have any left. He began to call the other stores to check on their ant availability - no luck. I thanked him for his time and was about to leave when he offered to order me some from their cake supplier. I agreed and gave him my follow up information and left the store. The next day, I received a call from the bakery dude telling me that he stopped off at one of the stores located in Bargersville on his way home the day before, and not only did they have my ant cake toppers, but he brought them back with him and I could pick them up at any time! WOW! He went "over and beyond" for me and I was floored! I made sure to speak with his manager and brag on him for his gracious behavior!

My ant cake toppers are great and besides the excellent customer service experience, they were FREE because the promotion was over!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reply to the internet Apartment Leasing Hot Leads

Answering your internet Apartment Leasing Hot Leads is a hot button of mine. I love this article, and it really teaches the Apartment Rental Consultant a lot on the subject. Click on this link,  Read it, Love it, Live it!!

Don't Let Another Lease Walk Away

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Things Everyone Should Know About a Leasing Career

 Jeremy Lawson, NALP, Kansas City, Mo.

I am sharing this article from a friend within the Kansas City Apartment Association. It's GREAT!! enjoy.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Apartment Leasing Tips - Qualifying Step 3 of the Apartment Leasing Process

Qualifying is the evaluation of the Prospect to determine their suitability for The Apartment Community Criteria. Your apartment community should have a written Resident Selection Criteria signed by the Prospect. This Resident Selection Criteria will be the measurement standard before their apartment rental application will be approved.

With that being said, keep in mind this is not an interrogation. Treat the Prospect with respect, and do not throw out demanding questions to them. Have a well planned and developed guest card that will ask the questions you need. Advise them you want to find them just the right apartment home and you need to ask a few questions.

To qualify the Prospect you will need to know the when, why, what, who and how.

1. When do they need to move into their apartment home? Will you have the size of their choice available?

2. Why are they moving? You may be able to use this information to help point out the reasons to help you during the closing process.

3. What things in particular are they looking for in their apartment home? How can you possibly help them find the right home for them without asking this question?

4. Who will be occupying the apartment home? You may need to let them know where the school bus picks up in the apartment community. Or other necessary pieces of knowledge they’ll need to know to show that this is the right apartment home and the right apartment community.

5. How did they hear about your apartment community? You spend many dollars to make the phone ring or create a traffic visit, so you need to know if the advertising dollars are working for you.

While reviewing the guest card with them, and asking the qualifying questions, this is the time to build rapport. Ask where they work or if they will be bringing a pet with them, making it conversational. People will rent from you because they like YOU so building rapport with the prospect is very important.

A lways
B e

C losing

Section 42 or LIHTC communities have income restrictions. Here is my recommendation on explaining the income restrictions:

Blank Community was built or renovated under a housing program that does put guidelines on the annual income in order to qualify initially. Those guidelines are determined by the total number of people in the household. How many people will be living in your apartment home? A household that size has income guidelines of________. Do you think you will qualify?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tiny Apartment Transforms into 24 Rooms

There may be some Apartment Communities out there that suffer the constant objection of the apartment being to small. Take a look at this video and fine out how an award-winning Hong Kong architect transforms this tiny 330 square foot apartment in Hong Kong, into 24 different rooms!


See More Amazing Green Homes: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/videos/worlds-green-homes/

Friday, July 2, 2010


While digging around in some of my file cabinets, I came across this poem like reading. I love it. The author is unknown, but who ever wrote it did a great job!

Many many years ago when I was a Resident Manager I read this for the first time and I felt it to be quite true!!


Leaps tall buildings in a single bound

Is more powerful than a locomotive

Is faster than a speeding bullet

Walks on water

Gives policy to God


Leaps short buildings in a single bound

Is more powerful than a switch engine

Is just as fast as a speeding bullet

Walks on water if the sea is calm

Talks with God


Leaps short building with a running start, and favorable winds

Is almost as powerful as a switch engine

Is faster than a speeding bb

Walks on water in a swimming pool

Talks with God if a special request is approved


Clears a Quonset hut

Losses race with a locomotive

Can fire a speeding bullet

Swims well

Is occasionally addressed by God


Runs into small buildings

Recognizes locomotives two out of three times

Wets him/herself with a water pistol

Dog paddles

Mumbles to animals


Lifts buildings to walk under

Kicks locomotives off the tracks

Catches speeding bullets with his/her teeth

Freezes water with a single glance


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Social Media Success for Apartment Communities

You must check out the article by Tami Siewruk. I found this on her Multifamilypro site. She really does some GREAT stuff. . . . . .Enjoy!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Apartment Leasing Tips: Greeting - Step 2 of the Leasing Process

If a potentially new rental prospect has driven to and through your apartment community, and feels like this could be their new Apartment Home, they will come to your Rental office. They probably will lease their new apartment from you unless you do something that will convince them to keep looking or that the Apartment Community they just came from was better presented. Let’s not let that happen.

You already understand the importance of the Curb Appeal, the appearance of the Apartment Leasing Office and of you. So don’t turn the prospect off before you have even had a chance to show and tell them all the wonderful things about your apartment community. I feel that the Greeting and the Closing are the two most important aspects of the Apartment Leasing Process.

The Greeting can and will establish the “mood” for the prospect for the entire visit. If the prospect enters your office and is ignored, gets the feeling that he/she is interrupting you or has to wander around until he/she finds you, will be disastrous to the possibility of them choosing your apartment community over your competitor.

STAND UP AND SMILE TO GREET THE APARTMENT RENTAL PROSPECT! Walk around your desk (shows respect) and greet them, smiling. Let them see by your body language that you are glad they are there. Even before you have said a word they have begun to like you and more likely to chose to live at your apartment community.


If you had an appointment to show an apartment scheduled at this time, you should greet them by saying, “Hi, you must be ----“. If they confirm begin building rapport with them, and through the entire leasing process.

Ask them to sit and you will begin to fill out the guest card. This is where we enter the qualifying stage of the Leasing Process. Continue building rapport.

Please remember it is important to give the Prospect your respect. It is how they FEEL about YOU and the Apartment Community that will assure the rental.

Do you find it challenging to get your Apartment Leasing team to STAND UP, for the rental prospect??

Friday, June 25, 2010

"I HAVE NO TRAFFIC!" Apartment Leasing Tips: Be Prepared - Step 1 of The Leasing Process

I HAVE NO TRAFFIC! I hear this a lot, and before anyone goes into the apartment marketing and training, let’s look at the “Basics” – Curb Appeal.
We were taught early on (or should have been) that before a prospect takes a foot inside your office certain things must be done. I feel that we have heard this so much that we have become numb to it. But REALLY you must look at your curb appeal. What is the prospect seeing as they drive through your community? You may see things so often that they have become the “norm” for you. In that case ask an associate or a friend to drive through you community and make note of the areas that need attention. You are an experience property manager so you know what to look for, Right? If not here is a basic checklist:

1. Are the grounds - TOTALLY free of trash? As small as cigarette butts and as large as the couch the left behind by the guy who moved out?
2. No dead trees, shrubs or plants? If your budget will not allow fresh new mulch, then just turn the soil around any plants in your flower or shrub beds.
3. Inoperable cars some with flats, or on jacks.
4. Patio and balconies / decks are not used as a storage area or a place for the trash?
5. Dumpster areas, do they need swept? Are the dumpsters in need of repair?
6. Windows throughout the community. Is there a standard of uniformity? Are their windows with broken blinds or aluminum foil?
7. Parking lot, is it in need of repair? Depending up on your budget can you cold patch the bad areas to make improvements?
8. Are your signs straight and clean? Are they paintable? Throw on a fresh coat of paint, it would do wonders.

Do these items first. Then go the Marketing your community and training your sales team.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big Company Event Is Coming Near

Next month the Company where I'm employed is have their annual Manager's meeting event. This is one is going to ROCK!! I am excited about my involvement.
Toni Blake is going to be there - WOW!! Don't you wish you work for my company??!!http://www.totallytoni.com/home.asp

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Social Media for Multifamily Executives

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Social Media Optimization is the New SEO with Brian Solis

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Social Media

Social Media is here and I am going to learn, join, participate. Yes, I am talking about Facebook, Twitter and Blog. Do you have any idea how many Social Media sites there are out there? It can be mind blowing. I suggest you join one too. Facebook is a good start. It is easy and there are probably lots of people you know already on Facebook. Others are MySpace and OrKut – check them out. Google these names to get to their sites
There are Social Sites for particular interests. For instance there is
http://www.lovemypets.com/ for pet lovers. Make sure you type “pets” with an s, because the other site you may get is pet supplies. If movies are your interest there is http://www.flixster.com/ you may enjoy this one. Another social site is http://www.blippr.com/ and those who like books, games, movies and music may like this site. Also, this one as well as http://www.flickr.com/ will connect with Facebook. Flickr will hold your photos and helps make it easy to save and down load your photos. I am very new to flickr so I'm learning.

Here is a site I have in my googlereader and it has lots of great learning articles. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ This is FUN!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jackie Ramstedt has a web site!

Just in . . . . . . Jackie Ramstedt now has a web site. All you Apartment Marketing persons will enjoy this and I invite you to join her in some "chats".



Oh, by the way, it is another beautiful day in Kansas City!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can I move my desk outside??

OH MY GOODNESS!! I love my job, but I wish my desk was on the front porch, patio, top deck, courtyard, driveway or YARD!!! Love this weather. 80 is Kansas City today!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finally Feels like Spring!

Oh My Goodness!! I must decide what I'm going to do outside. I can't decide if I want to sit on the back deck and read or go take a walk. . . . . either way I'll be outside. This has felt like a long winter!! Let's Enjoy!!

Are You Ready for 2020?!

 3 Habits of Highly Memorable Leasing Professional When your customer walks out of your leasing office, they will often remember the small...