Retain Top Talent Apr21

Retain Top Talent

A resourceful administrative assistant is worth their weight in gold (or palladium for that matter). Admins are the backbone of the company: from facilitating events to communicating between departments and clients, they keep day-to-day affairs running smoothly. April 21 is Administrative Professionals Day, but the celebration doesn’t have to end today. In fact, it’s important that the celebration continues if you aim to retain your top talent. Below are a few practical tips to help you get started. Schedule ways to show that you care. One of the best ways to celebrate administrative professionals is to extend the celebration beyond one day. Sure, flowers and a certificate of appreciation are nice. But when you want to improve employee satisfaction and promote company loyalty, the day-to-day actions are what matter most. Consider putting a reminder on your calendar at least once per quarter. Schedule a simple way to let your admin know that you appreciate their efforts. It could be a grand gesture like a spa retreat, of course, but smaller gestures are also valuable. Consider a collectible item that you know they like or an extended lunch break. The key is to consistently show that you appreciate them. Ask. Listen. Respond. Find time outside of their performance review to check in. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking “How are you?” if you don’t already do so. You can begin with a check-in template. You may also consider asking any of the following questions, personalizing them as you see fit: What would make your work here more rewarding? What could we do to support you and your work? What do I do as a manager that’s currently a roadblock? If the last question felt like a punch to the stomach, don’t be afraid. Craig Cincotta,...

Aegis Living

While the past year has been challenging for senior living providers, they haven’t lost sight of what’s important — keeping residents, families and staff safe and healthy. And for Aegis Living, their dedication and genuine efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Not only has the company prioritized resident care in the face of COVID-19, they’ve also worked to protect the well-being of their employees. That’s why they’ve been certified as a great workplace by independent research firm Great Place to Work US. “With nearly 2,000 team members surveyed across 32 locations, Aegis Living received a 75% trust index score after being evaluated on more than 60 criteria of team members’ experience on the job, including community impact and feeling that their work has special meaning,” shared Aegis Living on LinkedIn. “We’re so proud of our teams and our purpose-driven organization.” Building a stronger culture Meeting the criteria for a Great Place to Work certification is no easy feat. Leaders must constantly strive to build a better environment for their employees — laying the groundwork for an inclusive culture, high levels of trust and a true passion for the work being done. Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of Aegis Living and Senior Housing News/Yardi Changemaker, has built just that. With extensive experience in senior living, Clark has focused on listening to employees, incorporating their ideas and helping them pave a successful career path. And since starting Aegis 20 years ago, company culture has remained a top priority — including during the pandemic. Clark attributes a large part of the company’s success to his team. In this light, Aegis Living’s admirable culture is a combination of excellent leadership and dedicated employees. Becoming an award-winning provider Aegis Living’s recognition doesn’t stop there. In addition to the Great Place to...

Success Starts at Home Apr19

Success Starts at Home

The framework for learning starts before a student ever sits down at a desk. Stability in the family, a safe home and nutritious meals are the building blocks for learning. In Irving, Texas children battle the odds and graduate without all of the blocks. Irving Schools Foundation is helping them to succeed. Speaking for children who can’t speak up for themselves Crystal Scanio, the president and CEO of Irving Schools Foundation, has wanted to be a child advocate since she was a kid. Scanio grew up in Indonesia as an expat. She recalls neighborhoods of children who did not attend school because they could not afford uniforms. “I vividly remember driving through the village in our nice comfy school bus on our way to learn,” she reflects. “We’d see all the children sitting outside of their modest houses looking at us with such envy in their eyes.” “Even as a small child, I knew that this was not fair and education should be something that everyone has access to if they have the desire to learn,” she says. She later witnessed a woman holding her baby whose arms and legs were severely mangled. “My teacher told me that the mother did that to the baby because she knew that she could garner more money for her children from people driving by if she was standing on the side of the road with a baby that had broken limbs.” Scanio’s heart sank. “From that moment I knew that I wanted to serve in a capacity where I could be an advocate for children that couldn’t speak up for themselves.” After graduating college, Scanio intended to move to a developing nation and help children there. As she learned that American children also faced dire situations, she’d opted to stay Stateside. A circuitous path led her to Irving Schools Foundation where she has advocated for children since 2012. Bridging the gap In most school districts, there is a broad gap between what the District provide from tax dollars and what schools need. Many Districts have formed foundations to bridge that gap. The Irving Schools Foundation is one of the oldest in the US. It was established in 1985 when the demographics were quite different: back then, only 12% of students required free or reduced lunch. Today, it’s 100% of students. Serving a low-income, high-risk population comes with its fair share of challenges, but there are also uplifting surprises. “If you were to simply look at the demographics of our children or hear some of the stories that they share about their home lives– abuse, sex trafficking, drugs–one would assume that these kids would not excel at school,” observes Scanio. “However, our test scores are above state averages and our graduation rates are over 95%. It’s due to the fact that these children know that education is the key for them to get out of their situation,” she says. When Irving Schools Foundation began, its goal was to support teachers with additional training and supplies. The mission has grew to include college scholarships, but some kids never claimed them. They needed to stay home and care for younger siblings, or work to support their families. The program expanded again to include food security, housing, social and emotional health programs. “The results have been incredible to watch,” says Scanio. “Our students have flourished and our claim rate on our scholarships is now over 90%!” Adapting to changing needs during the pandemic The pandemic has had a major impact on the students of Irving District.  Many of them come from homes with an average income less than $25,000 per year. Many students already had jobs to help support their families, but during the pandemic others began searching for work. Still, students faced with food insecurity and homelessness on a regular basis. Many kids relied on the District for food during the week. When schools closed,...

Increase Investor Confidence...

The investment world historically has been an industry filled with spreadsheet reports and snail mail paper checks. Errors can arise when entering data in multiple spreadsheets and relying on disparate systems is inefficient , especially when sharing information between investment, investor and accounting system. Thankfully, technology is transforming investment management for real estate. Investors now expect on-demand service and self-service access to key metrics, capital transactions, important documents and reports. Having the right technology creates better value for investors, which leads to increased investor confidence. Investment management technology can improve communication, increase visibility and provide easy access to performance metrics. Top systems are mobile-friendly and available wherever, whenever access is required. Improve communication Managing the relationships with existing and prospective investors is a key part of growing any investment business and raising capital. Yardi Investment Manager provides a platform that makes communicating with investors more efficient, easier and error-free. Cohen Asset Management’s investor relations staff can log into Yardi Investment Manager and see the online tools their investors are using, deals they are involved in, contact information, returns, distributions and other information. Scott McGinness, principal and chief financial officer, shared: “By being able to deliver information when it’s needed, we don’t have to follow up with the investor later, which is easier on both parties, “ Organizations benefit from a single connected tool that helps: Centralize communications with existing and prospective investors Manage capital call and distribution notices with investors Easily send out correspondence, track activities and follow up tasks quickly Enable better collaboration with new investment opportunities Increase transparency and accuracy Yardi Investment Manager is a single source of the truth for investor and investment information. Provide access to portfolio and property metrics directly to investors. Automate the subscription agreement process for new...

Hong Kong real estate Apr15

Hong Kong real estate

Is Hong Kong is poised for a real estate resurgence? Two years ago, Hong Kong was the world’s third largest real estate market, trailing only New York and London. The twin challenges of protests and a pandemic have taken their toll. So last week, Yardi called in the experts for their take on Hong Kong’s future. David Green-Morgan, managing director at Real Capital Analytics in Asia Pacific, Tommy Wu, lead economist for Oxford Economics in Asia, and Yardi regional director, Bernie Devine gathered for the first instalment of Yardi’s 2021 Executive Briefing Series. Here’s why they think Hong Kong real estate is ready to bounce back. The macro indicators are positive Political unrest had already damaged Hong Kong’s economy prior to Covid-19, and a 6% contraction followed in 2020, Wu told Yardi’s engaged audience. But Oxford Economics is forecasting a strong recovery, with 4% growth in 2021, and then 2.5% annually out to 2025. All the macro indicators bode well, Devine added, pointing to the vaccine rollout, slowly improving retail performance and unemployment rate, as well as the city’s strong financial governance framework, which remains a source of competitive advantage. Office’s bumpy ride is over Political protests had a greater impact on Hong Kong’s commercial office sector than the global pandemic, Wu highlighted. Office prices fell during the protests, but the market is “bottoming out” and demand is returning. Green-Morgan agreed, pointing to recent deals struck at the 73-storey skyscraper at 99 Queens Road, The Center, which were “more or less on par” with 2018 prices. “Quite a few multinationals have been shifting business functions to other key cities in Asia – like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur – but they are still keeping their offices in Hong Kong,” Wu added. Oxford Economics expects the financial sector “to continue to thrive” and the tech sector, while small, will be a powerful engine for growth. Hong Kong remains “the gateway in and out of China”. Residential remains resilient While Covid-19 hurt the labour market, and unemployment currently sits at 7%, this has not affected housing demand, Wu said. Why is this? Most participants in the housing market are in the financial and other high-paying sectors, and these weren’t hit hardest by Covid. “The real impact on Hong Kong was the protests. In fact, Covid has had hardly any impact on property prices, when you take a high-level view,” Devine observed. Will migration, especially from those who hold British National Overseas passports, affect the housing market? Wu pointed out that the bulk of these migrants are young and footloose, but not asset-rich and were unlikely to be in the market for housing. Meanwhile land supply will remain “tight – at least over the next few years,” Wu added. Risk and rewards in restructured retail Retail could take some time to recover, and Oxford Economics does not expect to see a repeat performance of the bounce back in 2003, following SARS. This marked a golden decade for retail and China’s emergence as a “major force” in tourism. “This won’t happen again,” Wu warned. More than 80% of inbound tourists hail from China, but the falling price of luxury goods in China has eroded Hong Kong’s appeal as a shopping destination. Tourism is now at a “crossroads,” Wu added. Recovery in tourist arrivals will lag other nearby cities, and this will lead to “structural change” in retail. While Hong Kong has some of the highest rents in the world, and while yields have been “incredibly low” in recent years, some investors are beginning to take a punt on the return of Chinese tourism. “This is the big unknown,” but prices are now low enough “that people are willing to take a bet,” Green-Morgan added. Hong Kong stays strong “The last two years have been a real challenge for Hong Kong, but overall investor sentiment towards the city is becoming more positive,” Green-Morgan said. Despite...

Multifamily Outlook Apr15

Multifamily Outlook

The economy is recovering quicky after severe impacts from pandemic shutdowns over the last year. That was the top line good news from Thursday’s webinar on the multifamily industry, presented by Jeff Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix. The recovery timeline is expected to be around 18 months. “The economy is heating up as the job market strengthens,” said Adler. “A recovery in gross domestic product is clearly under way. I would liken this to a shot out of a cannon.” Inflation is a short-term concern, however. Hear the full analysis and insight in the webinar recording. Rents are on the rise across the country, and that’s a positive indicator for the industry and the economy at large. Multifamily rents increased by 0.6% on a year-over-year basis in March, with the national average rising by $6 to $1,407. Out of 134 markets surveyed, 114 had flat or positive YoY rent growth. Impacts vary, however, across states and cities. Gateway markets like Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. appear to have now hit bottom in rents and are positioned for gradual recovery. Leading the way in March’s rent increases were affordable cities and suburbs in the West, with the Inland Empire (8.3%), Sacramento (7.3%) and Phoenix (6.9%) leading national tallies in year-over-year rent growth. “It will take several years for gateway markets to recover, under the best of circumstances,” said Adler. “There has been just as much movement within metro areas at about a 30-40 mile radius. People are moving out of the urban core and into surrounding suburban areas. That’s a meaningful amount that will make coming back to the office problematic, but they aren’t detached from the metro area entirely.” Single family rentals and the build-to-rent sector have also...

Promoting Health Sharing

Electronic health records, or EHRs, have evolved into a necessity over the past few years in the senior living industry. In fact, a LeadingAge study in 2019 found that nearly 76% of the nation’s 200 largest nonprofit, multi-site senior living organizations use EHRs, as do the majority of single-campus senior living communities. EHRs enable care staff to chart and document residents’ medications and transitions between care settings in real time. Along with this efficiency, notes PharMerica, a pharmacy services provider for the senior living industry, senior community operators “are finding that EHR can help do things like boost occupancy and profitability. And vendors are finding easier to promote EHR benefits around greater resident engagement, streamlined workflow and reduced staff turnover.” Additional benefits of EHRs include facilitating Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and ensuring compliance. Interoperability is crucial There’s yet another dimension to EHRs. Senior Housing News reports that some providers adopting EHRs “are actually going a step further to connect those EHRs to larger networks in the interest of electronically sharing information with doctors, hospitals or other clinicians.” Making such exchanges securely across multiple systems requires connection to a service provider for health information exchanges, or HIEs. “It’s only a matter of time before mounting state and federal pressure to connect EHRs to HIEs becomes too difficult for senior living providers to ignore,” the news source reports. Some in the industry are still playing catch-up. Clinical information is still often shared via fax, phone or printouts, opening the door to mistakes and omissions. And patients often receive paper medical records when they are discharged, creating additional opportunities for documentation errors and impeded care coordination. “The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the importance of interoperability and the ease in which clinical information needs to be available to an entire healthcare community,” says Jon Elwell, CEO of Scottsdale, Ariz. interoperability provider Kno2. “We cannot rely on paper fax for this important task.” Creating seamless transitions Going forward, the need for interoperability among acute care, private practice, skilled nursing and other healthcare partners will spur the development additional for care transition and coordination. That means “seamless care transitions and sharing of critical patient information between the senior living community and the providers participating in their care, improving coordination and reducing administrative burden from a historically manual process,” Elwell says. Once implemented, this interoperability will spur “increased efficiency and quality outcomes, improved ability to avoid adverse events and timely access to information from your patients’ other providers,” according to the Minnesota Department of Health. “Creating shared care plans and following up on the execution of those plans to optimize outcomes, reduce length of stay, or eliminate unnecessary hospital admissions via HIE will be key,” adds Majd Alwan, senior vice president of technology and executive director of the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies, an advocate for technologies that improve the aging experience. Yardi’s contribution to EHR interoperability includes a partnership with Kno2®, whose Interoperability as a Service™ drives connectivity for health data networks. Interoperability as a Service’s integration with Yardi EHR lets Yardi clients electronically send and receive health data, ensuring safer clinical care transitions. Look to The Balance Sheet for more updates on the continuing evolution of EHR capabilities, which PharMerica says have the potential to “revolutionize the way seniors are treated and cared for in the years to come.” For more on Yardi’s electronic health record solution for senior living, visit the Yardi EHR product...

Safe Spring Fun Apr14

Safe Spring Fun

Spring has sprung! Your residents are itching to enjoy the warmer, longer days together. They will likely begin to invite more family and friends. The tips below can help you create warm weather fun that prioritizes total wellbeing. Check local health mandates before creating your event. Each state has different rules regarding group gatherings, social distancing and mask requirements. Check coronavirus restrictions and mask mandates for your state as well as local governments. Practice vaccination safety. As vaccine availability increases, many residents may have questions about vaccines and their implications for group gatherings. The CDC offers guidelines on what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccination. Per the CDC, it takes approximately two weeks for the body to build protection after both single and double-dose vaccines. Your team may take this into consideration when hosting in-person events. Consider these easy gathering hacks. For most properties, outdoor events may be the easiest way to encourage safe practices during gatherings. You can enjoy the indoors together as well. Below are a few considerations. Films on the Green – outdoor movie viewings are an easy way to promote community while practicing social distancing. Consider asking residents to bring their own drinks and snacks. Pool Party – The pool is always a warm weather favorite. Fortunately, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can survive in chlorinated pools, hot tubs and spas. While those water features may be safe zones, the entertainment spaces around them will require regular care. Explore reopening strategies for multifamily amenities. Gaming Parties – Find the kids and teens in their natural habitats—parked in front of their gaming consoles! By organizing gaming parties, you can help young, new residents meet other kids while practicing social distancing. Continue to guide residents towards helpful resources. Last but certainly...

Shine On

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have honored ENERGY STAR® partners from 39 states for outstanding leadership in reducing energy bills and tackling climate change. This year, Yardi has received the highest honor — the 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award. For the third consecutive year, Yardi has excelled as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in its ongoing commitment to help educate and support its clients through energy management software with a built-in dashboard for ENERGY STAR scores and benchmarking using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. Ongoing Excellence “ENERGY STAR award-winning partners are showing the world that delivering real climate solutions makes good business sense and promotes job growth,” said Michael S. Regan, EPA administrator. “Many of them have been doing it for years, inspiring all of us who are committed to tackling the climate crisis and leading the way to a clean energy economy.” The 2021 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award acknowledges Yardi’s technology solutions and ongoing philanthropic efforts across a variety of real estate sectors including: Helping more than 140 clients benchmark energy in over 3,500 buildings Benchmarking water in over 3,000 buildings Promoting the importance of ENERGY STAR scores to clients through education, training and visibility Including ENERGY STAR in Yardi’s energy management software dashboard Publishing more than 32 articles on the benefits of benchmarking, energy management and other conservation topics Providing digital courses for over 36,000 attendees from more than 58 countries during its virtual user conferences Again earning ENERGY STAR certification for its Southern California corporate headquarters Akshai Rao, vice president at Yardi, sees the award as a reflection of the company’s clients and their impressive achievements in energy management and conservation. “We’re proud of our clients’ achievements using ENERGY STAR resources to meet their business and sustainability goals. Our benchmarking increased by more than 50% over last year. This is due in part to rapid adoption of ENERGY STAR benchmarking to better understand remote work environment impacts on building energy use during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to helping our clients and the industry gain even more ENERGY STAR benefits moving forward,” said Rao. Your Turn to Shine For a complete list of 2021 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit energystar.gov/awardwinners. To learn more about getting support for your company’s energy management and sustainability goals, join a free energy management...

NAA Digital Studio

Do you want to emerge from 2021 with a more efficient, agile and profitable organization? Discover insights to help you reach your goals during the National Apartment Association (NAA) Digital Studio Series! Stronger NOI in 2021 The April NAA Digital Studio, presented by Yardi, is a half-day event including deep dive and interactive sessions, industry panels, networking and more. This month’s theme is “Stronger NOI in 2021: Where do we grow from here?” Experts from leading multifamily companies across the country will discuss the many ways in which COVID-19 has impacted the real estate industry and, more specifically, apartment management. Each session features unique programming that tackles common industry challenges. Through the sessions, you can: Explore market changes and projected financial impacts to help you plan smarter in 2021 and beyond. Gain insights from multifamily leaders who will share new performance metrics they’re using to change the way they do business. Discover ways to improve net operating income beyond rent increases. Featured speakers include guests from Luma Residential, Bell Partners, BH Management Services, Cirrus and more. Industry professionals focused on operations, marketing, technology and related roles will walk away with practical, actionable items to strengthen your organization. Work + play The event kicks off with keynote speaker Jeff Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix, offering an engaging look at the latest multifamily data. Examine changes in rent growth, occupancy, retention and renter preferences over the last 12 months. Learn how new demographic patterns have affected top and bottom markets. Attendees will also see rent and occupancy forecasts for a variety of property groups. Then, stick around for additional sessions that connect the market update to real-life experiences and plans to protect NOI going forward. End the day with a relaxing musical interlude. Leslie and...

Leaders’ Vision Apr11

Leaders’ Vision

Senior Housing News polled several industry leaders for their thoughts on what’s ahead for their organizations and the industry in 2021. Excerpts follow. Solera’s Kaplan: Vaccination tops the list Adam Kaplan, CEO of Solera Senior Living, ranks successful vaccine planning and implementation as the Denver-area community owner and operator’s No. 1 priority. “I’m excited for a day in which close to 100% of our residents, family members and team members have been vaccinated, and thus the risk of a [COVID] outbreak is reduced to the degree in which almost all of the restrictions are lifted and thus the focus/energy can be re-weighted to other priorities,” Kaplan says. Developing talent and implementing innovative technologies and services round out Kaplan’s list of immediate priorities. Aegis Living’s Clark: Boom time for demand “I think there’s this backlog of people that’s going to pump up occupancies,” says Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of Bellevue, Wash.-based Aegis Living, a leading provider of assisted living and memory care. “So, you’re going to see this dip where demand keeps going up, but product is not available. That’s really going to impact demand in the short-term and probably the mid-term,” which, looking ahead several years, is “very good news for the industry.” Clark also foresees a new emphasis on nurses and doctors on the front lines of assisted living facilities as part of a “more wellness-oriented” trend that encompasses “everything from the way [care providers] design air filtration systems to foods.” In fact, he reports, Aegis Living is “looking at foods that help pump up the immune systems of residents and have hired our own registered dietitian.” Sequoia Living’s McVey: Going forward, not back Current events constitute nothing less than “history … being made in our industry,” and Sequoia Living President and...

Assisted Evolution

Assisted living facilities, which fill a need for seniors who don’t need nursing homes but can’t live independently, are a mainstay of senior care. The American Health Care Assn./National Center for Assisted Living counts nearly 1 million licensed beds in about 28,900 communities in the U.S. But even as assisted living holds stature as the fastest growing residential housing for older Americans, it may surprise some to learn that this model didn’t assume its present-day form until the 1980s. The roots of assisted living in America can be traced at least as far back as 1713 with the founding of an organization designed to care for seniors in Philadelphia. Foster homes and group homes became the norm later in the century when family members couldn’t care for a senior loved one. By the mid-1800s, religious and fraternal groups opened nonprofit homes for seniors, the genesis of the modern care system. Hundreds of nonprofit old-age homes were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with many adding hospitals, staff homes and other structures as their populations grew. Urbanization and tuberculosis epidemics helped spur state and local governments to develop institutions that provided chronic care. Nursing care in homes also became popular, with the number of visiting nurse agencies more than doubling from 1909 to 1924. By the middle of the 20th century, advances in medicines such as penicillin, the expansion of various assistance payments, and the exodus of men and women from the home during World War II were among the factors that prompted the further development of care facilities, including boarding homes for seniors. The private nursing home industry debuted in 1950, serving 270,000 people by 1954. That year, Congress provided funds to nonprofit organizations for the construction of skilled nursing facilities that met certain...

Renters’ Changing Preferences Apr08

Renters’ Changing Preferences

More than a year has passed since we first issued a survey to understand renters’ responses to the pandemic. A new survey reveals surprising ways that renters’ preferences have changed, and which preferences remain the same. What renters wanted The March 2020 renter survey issued by RENTCafe.com gave analysts an understanding of renters’ expectations and concerns at the beginning quarantine in the U.S. About 45% of respondents had no concerns in particular. About 18% of renters were concerned if it was safe to move during that time, and 13% were concerned that they would not be able to pay rent in the near future. Concerns aside, 56% of renters were intent to move as scheduled. (About 18% had a lease that expired, and they needed to move.) Only 8% were postponing their move because of the pandemic and putting the selection process on hold. Of renters who were actively searching, 28% sought a unit that was cheaper than their current home. About 5% wanted a floorplan that facilitated roommates so that they could save money. What renters want now More than 10,600 people participated in the March 2021 survey. Survey questions aimed to reveal: how renters’ preferences had changed after a year of shelter-in-place practices their biggest concerns regarding their upcoming move how the pandemic impacted their rental selection More than 50% of renters listed the pandemic as a trigger in their decision to move.  Many renters relocated to create a better financial outlook: the top reason for relocation was to save money. Nearly 30% of participants who are in the process of moving sought a better deal. A quarter of participants needed a change of scenery after several months in quarantine, but they didn’t seek a massive change. About 48% of renters preferred to remain in the same city. A noteworthy 90% of respondents sought long-term rentals, which could mean that even those seeking a change in scenery wanted a sense of stability. Others may simply want to lock in a lower rate for longer. Lifestyle improvements ranked third and fourth on renters’ lists. More than 20% of renters searched for open-air amenities and 20% desired more space. Safety less of a priority across the board, yet solo living is on the rise? Have renters relinquished their safety concerns? Concerns still linger, though they’re nearly half as prevalent as before. In 2020, 18% of renters were concerned about whether it was safe to move during a pandemic. Exactly 9% are currently concerned about safety. Last year, about 15% of renters were concerned about the hygiene standards of their community. This year, only about 9% listed hygiene as a concern. Interestingly, 4% of respondents were so concerned for health and safety that they sought to live alone in 2020. Fast-forward one year and that number has risen to 8%. So while trends suggest that health and safety are not as important to renters as they were last year, the amount of renters seeking solitude for safety has increased. Does the pandemic still influence renter relocation? Recent survey participants stated that the pandemic had little influence on whether they move now or later. About 67% of renters currently seeking an apartment are committed to relocating now. As before, necessity motivates most moves today. For 32% of respondents, one of their biggest concerns was if they would be able to pay their rent. Even more renters (34%) are seeking a cheaper unit now that their previous lease has ended. In short, more renters are relocating due to the effects of the virus rather than the virus itself. In 2020, a considerable amount of people relocated to avoid exposure. The 2021 survey suggests that an even larger chunk of people relocated due to lease expirations and the desire for greater financial savings during uncertain times. Learn more about what renters want on the RENTCafe.com...

GREEN on the Go

GREEN Real Estate is in the process of building a best in class organization that supports the entrepreneurship, growth and development of the company. One of the pillars of such an organization is continuous insight in data availability of business information. In this context creating more seamless leasing processes was a goal for GREEN Real Estate, a real estate investor and developer with numerous projects in urban areas of the Netherlands. Being able to access current transaction activity, company communication and approval workflows from an electrical car outside the property? Well, that’s just a cool bonus. We recently caught up with Steven van Ginkel, Manager of Finance and Control for GREEN Real Estate, who says that use of mobile-friendly Yardi solutions for the company has been a game changer. The GREEN team works continuously to improve the combination of living, working, mobility and shopping in the Netherlands. They have used the Yardi platform since April 2015. Yardi was selected to improve data accuracy and transparency, simplify workflows, provide executive oversight and access to information from any online device. Earning and approving new deals Yardi Deal Manager, the most dynamic leasing solution on the market, enables asset managers and their internal and external brokers to reduce unit turnover, improve communication, work with prospects and provide managers and executives with all the real-time insight they need. It also makes it very easy to submit available lease options to potential new tenants. “Proposals to prospective tenants are literally one mouse click. This creates time to improve quality to the offer and communication between leads and the asset managers,” van Ginkel said. Changes are also faster when made within the system. We save between 30 to 60 minutes each time we make any contractual change when using Deal...

More than Fashion Apr06

More than Fashion

Do you have an article of clothing that helps you feel good? Maybe it’s a pair of power pumps that sound just right on a marble floor. Maybe it’s the hoodie from your dad’s alma mater that feels like a warm hug when you wear. Clothing has transformative power. For better or for worse, clothing can influence our confidence and our success. Dress for Success Boston taps into the power of fashion. The nonprofit organization uses clothing as a stepping stone to improved self-confidence, success and financial independence for women. Meet Kim Todd, a woman empowering women Kim Todd is the executive director of Dress for Success Boston. She has served with the organization for 15 years because of its simple yet transformative mission: strive for a world where all women are financially independent, are treated with dignity and respect and are directly impacting their lives and those of their families. “We aspire to a world that fully harnesses the power of women and recognizes their role in economic sustainability,” quotes Todd. “The mission is so easy to relate to, and although it seems to be a simple idea, the results of this work are life-changing. I feel very strongly that women should support each other. Everyone needs help at some time in their lives.” She continues, “We are there for women at a time when they need support to take that next step. It breaks my heart that many women do not have any support system, and they are navigating tremendously difficult situations alone.  No woman should be alone, especially if she is struggling to make ends meet to support her family. Dress for Success Boston provides a network of support for women so that they are not alone.” Fashion can help break the poverty cycle? Todd believes that fashion,...

Tenant Experience Apr05

Tenant Experience

“Buildings are the next computing platform.” That’s how Chase Garbarino, CEO of HqO, describes the importance of software and building intelligence as companies seek a safe return to the workplace. Just as books shifted to tablets, music switched from CDs to Pandora and Spotify and taxi service switched to Uber, buildings have transformed from manual and analog to newly digital ecosystems. Without a doubt, the pandemic has accelerated the investment into digital infrastructure for companies of all sizes. On a recent CREtech webinar, “State of Tenant Experience: 2021,” host Michael Beckerman, CEO of CREtech, cited an Ernst & Young report that found businesses could save 11% on per-employee costs by switching to a hybrid work model. This is important for the flexible workspace industry, which has been ravaged by the effects of COVID-19 on workers entering offices. As Garbarino stated, coworking put downward pressure on lease length for years, so the traditional office industry had to focus on customer experience and happiness, partly to counter the growth of coworking. That shift to the value of tenant experience now becomes even more noticeable, as there need to be tangible benefits to returning to an office when a vast majority of employees have not lost productivity working at home. On a recent Realcomm webinar, the panel discussed tech advancements to help workers feel more confident returning to the office. Touchless elevators, apps showing office occupancy and desk availability, as well as air quality sensors that can remove pathogens, are just some of the new ways in which employers are trying to safely welcome employees back. But these advances, as reliable and effective as they are, don’t overcome the fact that only 1% of workers are renting a space outside of their homes while working remotely. Based...

EHR Interfaces

Yardi has a long history of providing interface solutions that enable its clients to exchange information with third-party vendors of solutions for applicant screening, online billing payments, renters insurance, service requests and many other business requests. That interoperability extends to senior housing community operators who wish to connect with ancillary operations solution providers. Interfaces allow third-party partners and Yardi EHR users to exchange information seamlessly and securely. Operators can utilize standard interfaces to connect senior living integration partners. Also, operators can optimize care transitions and enable the secure flow of information to and from EHR. Among Yardi’s interface partners for senior living is eMenuCHOICE, a St. Paul, Minn.-based dining management and point of sale application for senior living communities. Other providers that Yardi has welcomed as senior living interface collaborators include abxtracker, which specializes in antibiotic and infection tracking control solutions; Healthconnex, a leading provider of software used for infection prevention and control; and Kno2, which creates centralized accounts that enable efficient and HIPAA-compliant exchanges of resident documents. The list of Yardi senior living interfaces continues to grow. Created in some cases as a result of client requests, the added partnerships will enhance interoperability in such operations as vital signs and weight monitoring, nurse calls and...

Future-proofing Flex Spaces Apr01

Future-proofing Flex Spaces...

Better to act than take on the risks of inaction. This was the theme of a recent GWA webinar, in which panelists discussed ways to minimize risk and future-proof a coworking or flexible workspace operation. “The biggest risk is the risk of not doing anything, of not reacting to the market,” said Dan Zakai, co-founder and CEO of Mindspace, a coworking space with locations in Europe and the U.S. By now, we see that the office experience as we knew it is being reimagined. Landlords need to pivot to a hospitality experience in order to safely and effectively welcome tenants and workers back. They need to provide amenities that workers don’t have at home, or offices will see low occupancy given that productivity levels did not drop from the couch, kitchen table or home office. According to Zakai, landlords will raise occupancy levels with coworking faster than with traditional long-term leases. One of the biggest challenges is whether to spend the initial cost on coworking, whether that is building out a new coworking space or transitioning a vacancy. Since landlords typically won’t operate the space, it makes choosing the right partner critical. Giovanni Palavicini, principal at Avison Young, believes one of the keys to success for operators is finding a niche. Much like hotels have seen the growth of boutique offerings, the coworking industry should head in the same direction. This was already a growing trend prior to the pandemic and could accelerate now. Picking the wrong operator with a business model unsuited for your location, or a poor deal structure could create significant risk. “I don’t like RFPs because an RFP allows anyone in the door,” Palavicini said. “Because at the end of the day, we want to figure out who we want...

Commercial Space Management Mar31

Commercial Space Management...

The first annual CoreNet Corporate Real Estate Week was a success! The virtual international conference aims to “commemorate, educate, inform, and connect the world to all that our often under-recognized profession does to advance the economy.” More than 40 sessions offered insights and networking to commercial professionals globally. Three sessions educated attendees on the benefits of flexible workspaces and the tools available to manage them. The benefits of hybrid workspaces The “Hybrid Working and the Ubiquity of Space” session offered attendants the opportunity to explore best practices in hybrid work models. Panelists presented practical ways that landlords and employers can optimize hybrid work models by adopting flexible workplaces and customized software. Switzerland-based IWG CEO Fatima Koning and Gareth Haver, CEO for the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Northern, Central and Eastern Europe regions shared what’s working for them: “The office is not in one place any longer—it is everywhere,” said Koning. She observed that flexibility and mobility rank high on tenant demands. Traditional office space is not obsolete, but employees want (and often need) the ability to work from different settings. This includes but is not limited to their homes. “Traditional models will no longer accommodate the workplace and workers of the future. The new standard of hybrid work promotes efficiency and connectivity, and technology is a big part of that. More advanced and empowered technology can enhance not only occupancy planning but also the overall work experience,” said Koning. While the pandemic expedited the adoption of remote work policies for many commercial companies, the trend towards remote work has been on the rise for years. Employees gain a better work-life balance, shorter commutes, and designated time for collaboration. Haver adds that employees aren’t the only ones to benefit from hybrid models. Employers gain: lower costs...

Stepping Up in Greater Chicago Mar30

Stepping Up in Greater Chicago

Sometimes the worst of times bring out the best in our efforts to help each other. That’s been the case at Connections for the Homeless, a non-profit organization in Evanston, Ill. that has delivered tremendous results over the last perilous year. “The three ribbons on our logo represent the three parts of our community that we partner with to do this work: our staff, our participants and our community supporters,” said Betty Bogg, Executive Director of Connections since 2015. “We see ourselves as the scaffolding by which community intentions for improvement can be constructed. We are there to help the community solve this problem.” Prior to the pandemic, Connections operated a tightly packed space in an Evanston church basement that sheltered a maximum of 18 male-identifying clients, on any given night. The agency also offered drop-in services to help engage community members experiencing homelessness ­­via – sack lunches, showers, a clothing closet, and nursing care – in an effort  to gradually build trust and rapport with participants who might ultimately be ready for housing assistance. “Even before lockdowns started, we were already discussing how we might respond (to the pandemic),” recalled Bogg, who is the sister of Yardi’s Nancy Bogg. “We knew we needed many more shelter beds. When Illinois’ shelter in place order went into effect, we didn’t know how we would do it or pay for it, but we decided we were going to put people with no place to go, into hotels for shelter.” Funding and finding, a path forward What happened next is a classic “if you build it, they will come” tale. In January 2020, Connections expected that its operating budget would be around $5.5 million, and it would again serve around 1,400 people with the help of 1,200 volunteers as they did in 2019. As for so many industries and non-profits worldwide, the pandemic changed everything. “We began our plan to place people in hotels, still not knowing how we were going to pay for it,” recalled Bogg. “We had about 100 people that we’d gotten off the street and into hotel rooms. And then we experienced a second wave of people in need of support who had been completely off our radar. People began coming to us who had previously been very precariously housed.” They included relatives of nursing home residents, who had been able to bed down on a relative’s couch or cot while helping to provide care. Another group was families who had been packed into shared small apartments with other families and found themselves pushed out due to COVID concerns. And there were those unusual but unforgettable stories like one cancer patient, who spent her entire life between chemo treatments on Chicago-area transit systems. “Her nurse told us that they could not believe the difference they saw in her health, as soon as she began getting three meals a day and sleeping in a bed every night,” recalled Bogg. She saw the experiences of those Connections helped firsthand, as for five months, she chose to live during the week at the same hotel where Connections provided 200 rooms of comprehensive emergency housing. They also provided three meals a day, which were purchased from local restaurants, pushing money back out into the local economy at a time when it was badly needed. Funding for hotel operations was made possible by support from private companies and individuals, including Yardi, who stepped up to help. Additional staffing was also a must, and Connections added 30 people to its team. Ultimately, the non-profit’s 2020 operating budget ended up being $12 million, more than doubling expectations. “Yardi had supported us with small donations in the past, but we were really surprised when suddenly that support increased substaintially right when we didn’t know how we were going to fund all that we were trying to do. The community response was incredibly inspiring,” Bogg said. Private...