Access, Equity

If you see the picture on the right and think “wheelchair ramps,” you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. It’s also a stroller ramp, an aid for people with chronic joint pain, a ramp for tiny kids with tiny legs, and a blessing for CrossFitters on leg day. In short, all sorts of people appreciate a gradual transition between spaces. Toronto-based StopGap helps businesses and organizations make such transitions possible at low or no cost while broadening the conversations on access and equity. 1 or 1,000 Steps, Same Problem  Although Luke Anderson is an engineer, he had never paid much attention to the multitudinous businesses, places of worship, and public structures that used stairs to transition between spaces. Once Anderson began using a wheelchair daily, he noticed just how many buildings failed to offer barrier-free access to visitors and occupants. While such access is essential for wheelchair users, others would benefit from barrier-free entry as well. The “curb cut affect” defines that when something is made easier for one population, it often helps members of other populations. Ramps for wheelchair users would also benefit delivery persons, the elderly, and others who are hindered by stairs. Anderson, along with his friend and coworker Michael Hopkins, began to plan a way to bridge the gap between accessibility and the costs needed to improve accessibility. Addressing the Gap  Anderson is now the executive director and co-founder of StopGap, which aims to break down barriers one step at a time. StopGap Foundation works to create a world where every person can access every space. As a result, the non-profit is creating a world where everyone can live a life of independence, spontaneity, and ultimate fulfillment. But the organization didn’t begin with such grandiose plans. “I thought it...

Developing Leaders

For most kids, growing up is riddled with lessons in how to be a good follower. Follow the rules at home. Follow directions at school. Follow the norms of the community in which we live. Youth leadership, however, is widely accepted as a means of instilling responsibility, positive self-image and motivation in kids. Youth Empowering Parents reverses the mentorship dynamic to help kids uncover the leader within. Yardi caught up with Agazi Afewerki, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit, to learn more about its successful and innovative programs. Millennial Style Agazi co-founded Youth Empowering Parents with his friend in classic . They saw two needs in their Regent Park, Toronto community: adults without access to professional development resources and kids without access to meaningful leadership opportunities. They looked around for support, but they didn’t find what they needed. They then proceeded to spearhead  the nonprofit themselves. Learning along the way would be part of the business plan. “It’s how I and a lot of other kids grew up,” says Agazi. “We helped our parents learn. It’s a natural dynamic. So we figured why not put that in a classroom setting? It’s a leadership opportunity for young people and a high quality education for adults and seniors.” With only 11 days of business development behind them, they launched their first class. Its success surprised (almost) everyone. Solving Multiple Problems with One Program On the surface, Youth Empowering Parents fills the gap between adults and the skills needed to thrive in a new world. Many adult participants are first generation immigrants that struggle to transfer their existing knowledge into a country with a new language and rapidly changing technologies. But that’s only one layer of the problems that the nonprofit addresses. Youth Empowering Parents provides personal...

Changemaker Series Aug30

Changemaker Series

Welcome to the fourth segment of the Changemakers, a Senior Housing News (SHN) series of interviews that spotlight leaders who are shaping the future of senior living through innovation. Yardi is sponsoring the series, and for this installment, we are excited to share that the featured company is a longtime Yardi client. Meet David Eskenazy, president of Merrill Gardens based out of Seattle. Merrill Gardens has over 30 communities across the U.S., and they’ve even begun expanding into China – a move that Eskenazy helped lead and that few other providers have yet taken. Eskenazy joined Merrill Gardens back in 2015, and since then has pushed the organization forward with a focus on efficiency, technology and the data insights it brings. During his interview with SHN, Eskenazy spoke at length about his passion for pulling, analyzing and leveraging data. “I’m kind of a data nut,” he shared. Eskenazy believes that clear reporting – and an understanding of what the numbers really mean – are essential, not just for himself but for the managers in Merrill Gardens’ communities. “And so we built,” Eskenazy said. “To the point where I believe now we probably have the most sophisticated business analytics tools in the industry.” The results are impressive. He and his team can quickly dial in on sales, marketing or care and see what’s working and what’s not throughout the organization. But what did Eskenazy change at Merrill Gardens for his team to attain that level of instant insight? You don’t need to wonder. He explains more in this excerpt from the SHN interview: How did you get the tools you needed to achieve this [business analytics function]? Fundamentally, you have to see where your information is. For example, when I went to Aegis, we had...

Big Data is a Big Deal Aug26

Big Data is a Big Deal...

Not long ago, most real estate companies made business decisions based on guesswork and backward-looking data aggregated into spreadsheets. Today, new technology automates data collection with advanced analytics to provide a complete picture of a portfolio’s opportunities and future risks. That’s big data. When it comes to leveraging big data for big results, Diana Norbury knows her stuff. Norbury is senior vice president of multifamily operations for Seattle-based Pillar Properties. Her experience includes over a decade of managing mixed-retail multifamily communities throughout the U.S. Pillar Properties is an award-winning developer, owner and manager of luxury apartment residences in the Puget Sound area and a developer of senior living communities through sister company Merrill Gardens. Since joining Pillar, Norbury has focused on refining revenue management and business intelligence practices, talent management and education, operational systems implementation, and lease-up and marketing strategies for the company’s growing portfolio. Yardi recently sat down with Norbury to learn more about the benefits of big data. How do you use big data to drive performance? Norbury: I use big data in a variety of ways. Big data is a huge resource when we’re having team calls. For example, I can go to the data when we’re talking about vacancies and pricing. With Asset Intelligence, we finally have a tool that incorporates all our property and leasing data with historical traffic and pricing data. The system marries all that information together. I can find information fast without having to dig around. It also helps us format and present our data, which we can export into Excel or PDF — I think that’s really cool. How do you use predictive analytics? Norbury: I use Asset Intelligence and predictive analytics specifically for upcoming exposure and vacancies. In the past, we’d use a variety of...

Race for a Cause

Providing opportunities for children without homes and supporting those in need is important to Yardi employees around the globe. On July 18th, Yardi’s UK office participated in PropKart, a go-karting event hosted by PropSki with all proceeds benefitting LandAid and Maggie’s Centres. These two heart-warming charities prioritize emotional support and health support. Read on to learn about the exciting race and the special organizations benefitting from the event. PropKart A team of five Yardi employees proudly represented Yardi at PropKart, The Property Industry Karting Championships, at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit – the biggest professional go-karting track in Europe. In their first time participating in a PropSki event, “the team were raring to go! Enthusiasm got the better of one employee who spun out on the track, but all team members were excited by the event,” says Hannah Holmes, a Yardi marketing associate in Great Britain. Among the 23 property industry attendees were Vectos, Greenaway Architecture, and Buckler Environmental – the first, second, and third place winners. Yardi came in further on in the pack, but was most excited to help raise £5,000 for LandAid and Maggie’s Centres, two important and selfless organizations. LandAid LandAid brings businesses and individuals from across the property industry to change lives by working to end youth homelessness in the UK. According to LandAid,  around 86,000 people in the UK will be homeless. Through the nonprofit’s inspiring efforts, countless small-medium sized charities across the UK have received investments totaling over £2 million each year, which enables the construction of new buildings and renovation properties. In its work to end youth homelessness, LandAid follows up its funding with strategic advice and property expertise to each project. Last year, LandAid provided 472 homes for vulnerable young people, reaching their three-year target of...

A Bright View Aug16

A Bright View

Since opening its first community 20 years ago, Brightview Senior Living has established itself as a leading developer and operator of independent and assisted living and dementia care facilities across eight Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. The company, based in Baltimore, will open its 40th community by the end of 2019 and intends to continue opening three to five new communities annually. Marilynn Duker, CEO of Brightview, has spent much of her 27 years in the real estate business focused on the firm’s success. After completing a presidential internship for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, she joined forces with a lawyer-turned-developer and began developing affordable, market- rate and mixed-income communities. The partnership soon added a property management arm that at one time oversaw some 22,000 units for clients. Eventually, the business expanded into senior housing and gradually disposed of the property management operation and apartments. Tell us how Brightview began and why senior living appeals to you. Duker: Senior living is really an operating business that happens to have real estate as a platform, so it’s much different than other real estate asset classes. Arnie Richman, who had built and ran a large nursing home company, joined us in the 1990s and brought the operating experience, and we had the development platform. While we have grown significantly over the last 20 years, getting to scale wasn’t a big goal. Instead, it has always been about providing a high-quality experience to our residents. We have a lot of control over our destiny, too. The four business partners have owned 10 percent of every equity fund we’ve raised, and we have had tremendous repeat investment. (Brightview’s first fundraising effort in the 1990s attracted about $6 million.) Its most recent fund in 2017 topped out...

Staff Training

Could the most important component of technology be the instructions? It’s arguable that a complex piece of software cannot live up to its potential without well-trained users, no matter how well it is designed. Fortunately, Yardi has taken user training beyond a manual with Yardi eLearning, a dedicated learning management system just for Yardi users. Property management companies such as Viridian Management have found Yardi eLearning indispensable considering the benefits it offers vs. traditional training methods. Getting Started with Yardi eLearning Yardi eLearning arrived just in time for Viridian. Late in 2018, their leadership team was developing a training curriculum for staff to use Yardi Voyager, the property management, accounting and affordable housing compliance software used by Viridian. They soon found it was very difficult to craft training content for their users, even with all of the support documentation available for Yardi software. “We were in a bottleneck because there is so much to cover. As we inventoried the skills we wanted our staff to master, we found it would take hours and hours of training to get users where we wanted them to be. When we saw the courses included with Yardi eLearning, we discovered that about 70% of everything we wanted to teach was already available and ready to use,” says Patrick Patterson, president of Viridian. Training on Affordable Housing Viridian manages 120 properties with more than 4,000 affordable units spread throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho. They specialize in developing and managing tax credit properties, and have experience with USDA Rural Development, HOME, HUD Multifamily Housing, as well as state and local sources of funds. Training for each of those housing programs is facilitated by specific learning tracks in Yardi eLearning. Viridian can simply assign staff to those learning tracks based on...

Housing, Affordable Aug07

Housing, Affordable

Since 1937, the benchmark for cost-effective housing has remained the same. Occupants can be expected to allot about 30 percent of their income on housing. Yet in the Triangle region of North Carolina, many low-income families cannot find housing at 30 percent of their income. The struggle is exacerbated when disability and other medical issues consume a significant portion of household incomes. CASA of Raleigh aims “to provide access to stable, affordable housing for people who are homeless or at risk by developing and managing rental communities.” The nonprofit acknowledges that homelessness is a complex problem. Yet CASA has simplified its approach: the solution to homelessness is housing. CASA in Action CASA has supported the Triangle region since 1992. The organization owns, manages, and rents homes to individuals and families in need. To date, CASA communities are divided with 70 percent serving as supportive units and 30 percent as workforce units. Populations served include those living with disabilities, veterans, families and individuals that have previously experienced homelessness or are at risk. Last year, CASA welcomed 137 new families into new homes and renewed leases with 300 households. Of those homes, 78 percent have one disabled member and 23 percent include a veteran. CASA’s programming relies on community support and donations. Contributions both large and small can make a significant difference in the lives of those in need. Yardi + CASA Yardi’s Raleigh office recently volunteered to construct gift baskets for current and incoming tenants of CASA communities. The baskets vary, some containing kitchen essentials while others were geared towards family time and activities. The latter included picnic-style baskets, meal kits, snack and activity kits. The staff at CASA will distribute the baskets to tenants based on their need. New tenants receive baskets that have...

Changemaker Series Jul30

Changemaker Series

Welcome to our third segment of the Senior Housing News (SHN) series, The Changemakers, sponsored by Yardi. These interviews demonstrate how adaptability and innovation pave the way for success. Shamim Wu, COO of Eclipse Senior Living, has been trailblazing for decades. With an emphasis on creating diverse, tech-driven workplaces, she has built a company that operates 100 senior living properties—and growing. While many companies scramble to appeal to Millennials, Wu has managed to assemble “a team made up of men and women across four generations, across almost every ethnicity and race that you can think of.” The diversity of her team and the wealth of ideas and experiences that it brings are her greatest accomplishments, she says. Eclipse has also placed work-life balance as a pinnacle of company culture. Employees receive unlimited time off to accommodate what life throws at them, whether it’s time with a sick loved one, welcoming a new addition to the family, or simply spending much needed time in nature. “We don’t just encourage people to have a life outside of work, we almost demand it,” said Wu. Tech integration is also woven into the culture. Eclipse has invested heavily in enterprise technology systems that increase efficiencies, collaboration, and visibility. Without mind-numbing administrative tasks to pour over, team members are free to focus on what matters: proactively adjusting to the demands of the industry with agility, accuracy, and customer focus. Wu talked to SHN about the Eclipse approach to the changing industry: Eclipse is on the leading edge of another change in the industry, which is the multi-brand strategy. How is that working? Wu: We’ve seen best practices in brand stratification in other areas, like hospitality. You’ve got Hilton Hotels, which has a certain cachet because of the Hilton brand....

The data advantage Jul19

The data advantage

Editor’s note: reprinted with permission from Firestarters – Provada Edition. How to handle and collect available data is becoming a key competitive advantage in real estate, says Richard Gerritsen, regional director for Yardi in Europe. The quality of said data is essential.  The real estate industry currently faces a watershed moment. “We are in the middle of an explosion of the volume of available data. Tenant apps and all other proptech solutions are worth nothing without the data. The upside is that it is easy to get the data, but at the same time collecting it is also the most difficult – and boring – part,” Gerritsen recently told me. As the real estate industry becomes increasingly digitalised, the quality of data will become ever more important, says Gerritsen. “You could argue that data is the most crucial part of the business. We are living in the data era and it is such a big part of the real estate industry. Any proptech solution tries to add value based on the data already available. Without good-quality data, the value of a proptech solution is limited in a best-case scenario. If you can’t guarantee that the data is good, you can lay dozens of apps over it, but it won’t be a sustainable solution. Those who say it is too much of an effort to bring it together will not succeed.” Gerritsen provides the following example to illustrate the importance of getting the details right. “If I log into a tenant app and discover that the lease information is not correct, that I have logged into unit 24 instead of 23, or that the app doesn’t know me at all, that is really bad. In the past 20 years, those types of errors were commonplace,...

Yardi Client Profile Jul17

Yardi Client Profile

Established in 2015, Shannon Commercial Properties (SCP) is a subsidiary of Shannon Group plc and provides commercial property solutions to commercial, industrial and aviation markets. The company owns and manages seven business and technology parks and has over 1.8 million square feet of office and industrial space, as well as approximately 1,600 acres of development land in over 40 locations across counties Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Kerry and Offaly in Ireland. “We are focused on expanding our property portfolio in the Mid West region with the provision of further third generation office and industrial facilities, primarily located in Shannon Free Zone West, beside Shannon Airport,” said Jennifer Kearns, finance manager for Shannon Commercial Properties. SCP adopted Yardi Voyager to improve business processes and to gain better control and visibility of operations in one system. The move from disparate systems enabled SCP to handle all aspects of portfolio management including lease management, reporting, budgeting, maintenance, and financials from a single database. Prior to adopting Yardi solutions, SCP was operating across six different management systems. Initially, a new structure was proposed which detailed a four-system approach: property management, financial management, debt management and document management. However, after further examination and detailed discussions with Yardi about the company’s key needs, it became apparent that SCP could streamline onto just one system, Yardi Voyager. “Streamlining onto a single system has allowed us operate with a more reliable set of data. Multiple systems had resulted in unreliable data, which had increased the potential for inaccurate reporting. Combined with the powerful reporting functionality with Voyager, SCP is far better positioned to make strategic decisions than previously,” said David Neylon, capital sales executive for SCP. Gaining control over workflows was a key driver in SCP’s move to Yardi Voyager. Voyager enables SCP...

Meet Melise Balastrieri

How do you get more renters to your websites? Just ask Melise Balastrieri, vice president of marketing for MG Properties Group. Using the RENTCafé Suite, Melise and her team manage the marketing for more than 20,000 apartment homes across five states. First, Melise uses RENTCafé to create engaging property marketing websites. Then she drives more prospects to those websites using the expert SEO services of  RENTCafé Reach. Once leads become prospects or residents, she relies on RENTCafé CRM to keep them engaged. Keep reading to see how Melise makes it all work together. What is MG Properties Group’s mission? Melise: Our mission is enriching lives through better communities. And we believe that we do that with every single interaction that we have, whether it’s with a team member, our residents or our investors. What is one of your business objective in your role as vice president of marketing? Melise: A business objective that’s important to me is maximizing our use of technology in a way that affects our bottom line. That includes using it to get more leads that turn into leases. Because it’s not important just to have a lot of leads; you have to have leads that convert. How do you make SEO work for you? Melise: We use RENTCafé Reach services to manage our SEO. We establish our goals based on the type of community we have, and our SEO specialist optimizes to make sure we’re attracting the leads most likely to convert. After all, we don’t just want a high quantity of leads; we’re more interested in high quality leads. RENTCafé Reach provides clear and consistent SEO reporting. We can see things like website sessions, views and bounce rates to determine if we want to make adjustments. It’s been working really nicely for us. After three years of strong consecutive growth, our organic sessions were up another 21% last year. How do you improve lead capture? Melise: To capture online renters that visit our property marketing websites, we use some features in RENTCafé that I think are very impactful. For instance, we encourage prospects to text us and schedule their own tours. We also use nudge marketing. These tools help us get in front of leads and give them options to contact us in ways that work for them. Our most recent data shows that, overall, our leads convert at 11%. But our self-scheduled appointment leads convert at 14% and our nudge marketing leads convert at 27%. These features are proving quite effective. How do you follow up with leads? Melise: At MG Properties Group, we automate follow-ups as much as we possibly can. Leasing teams are so busy onsite that follow-ups can get forgotten. Using follow-up tools in RENTCafé CRM, we know our prospects are being contacted. We’ll use automated appointment reminders and drip emails to make sure we’re staying in touch with prospects. We invite them to call, tour and ask questions. We also use automated emails to stay in touch with our residents and secure renewals. We check in throughout their lease. As the end of their lease term nears, we express appreciation for their residency and remind them that we would love it if they continued living with us. Why do you use Yardi? Melise: What I really like about having Yardi as our property management technology provider is that most of the services we need are available in one solution. So we can deal with one company. That helps us simplify things as an organization. What marketing trends are you most excited about? Melise: I’m most excited about artificial intelligence. I think it’s super exciting and am anxious to see what it’s going to do for our industry. For example, Alexa and other digital assistants, what are they going to do for us? Will they be able to host tours, collect rent and submit service requests for our renters? (Editor’s...

Changemakers Jul09

Changemakers

Welcome to our second segment of the Senior Housing News (SHN) magazine series, The Changemakers. Yardi is the presenting sponsor of this insightful set of interviews. SHN sat down with nine industry leaders who demonstrate how adaptability and innovation pave the way for success. In this installment, meet Patricia Will, Belmont Village founder and CEO. Will is accustomed to making waves. During her 20-year career, she has boldly challenged and improved upon traditional senior housing models. Will combined multiple levels of care into one building, collaborated with universities for care support, and developed an early-stage dementia intervention program. The future of Belmont Village looks bright. The organization recently entered a partnership with Baptist Health System of south Texas. Together, they will co-develop wellness-centered senior communities. What are some changemaking efforts you’re most proud of, within Belmont Village or the industry as a whole? Will: The first is a simple one, which is including independent living, assisted living, and memory care under one roof, in one building that’s fully licensed. We did that in an effort to accommodate couples, and in an effort to fight ageism. There’s a notion that people would object, in independent living, to seeing walkers or wheelchairs, and we decided to say that we have capable people who have different needs, and we don’t want to segregate them. That’s something that we did for the very first time on our first building in California, in San Diego, and we’ve now replicated in many parts of the country, although it’s still not done enough. We’ve integrated dining rooms, integrated gyms, integrated social areas and even integrated floors. Can you take me back to that moment when that was still a new idea, to integrate in that way? Will: Everyone in the industry...

Accounting Efficiency Jul08

Accounting Efficiency...

About a year ago, Carmin Tomassi, vice president, controller at Silverado, walked through the doors of the Irvine, Calif., headquarters for the first time. He was promptly introduced to all 12 systems used by the AP department. From day one, he knew that greater efficiency would take the organization to the next level. He enlisted Yardi to help make that vision a reality. Identifying inefficiencies Silverado’s presence spans the west coast and midwestern United States. Its 59 properties specialize in senior care with an emphasis on assisted living and memory care, as well as hospice and home services. Each location offers a broad range of services for aging seniors. The sites require specialized equipment and steady maintenance. Each day, the accounts payable team received stacks of invoices in various stages of completion and accuracy. Approvals and reconciliation with the general ledger took days longer than Tomassi preferred. To create efficiency, he embarked on a campaign with two major goals. The first was to simplify the department’s software use. “We had maybe a dozen systems that affect accounting. They were all different which was just crazy to me. Even keeping track of your logins was ridiculous,” said Tomassi. “With accounting, things need to talk to each other, and it needs to be seamless. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble.” The second goal was to expedite approvals by streamlining the filing process. “AP would arrive in the morning and there would be stacks of invoices in their little baskets: no signatures, no allocations, no coding, no nothing, right? They just kind of dealt with it for a while but I said, ‘No. We’ve got to figure out a way to make this more efficient.’ We also needed metrics so we can track the workflow and make changes.”...

Houston Outlook Jul06

Houston Outlook

Houston’s multifamily sector has certainly faced its share of challenges over the past few years. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey rendered between 7 and 11 percent of the metro’s units uninhabitable. Further, significant fluctuations in oil prices have also affected the city’s real estate market. Year-over-year rent growth, as of March, came in at a tepid 0.6 percent, while occupancy rates declined to 92.4 percent, according to a recent Yardi Matrix national multifamily report. But many investors are finding innovative ways to ensure returns on their investments. Some 14,000 units are under construction across the metro, the vast majority as part of luxury developments. Significant capital deployment is also underway in the realm of value-add acquisitions. Yardi client Sanmore Investments, a multifamily developer and redeveloper based in Houston, has been involved in the market’s value-add arena for more than five years, acquiring and rehabilitating several properties in the metro. Owner Boris Sanchez discusses recent trends in Houston’s multifamily sector and how investors can make their value-add acquisitions shine. How would you describe the overall appetite for redeveloped multifamily properties in the Houston metro? Sanchez: At Sanmore, we have personally seen the demand for our turnkey properties increase to an all-time high. However, in the last six months, that demand has been met and exceeded by the demand for value-add properties. As other areas of the country tighten, Houston’s higher cap rates and landlord-friendly laws have become more and more attractive to investors. In addition, we have seen a record number of residential investors turn to commercial for more opportunities, stronger economies of scale and less hands-on management. This is all coupled with Houston’s strong economic growth and growing population, creating a red-hot multifamily arena in Houston. Considering the metro’s slow overall rent growth this year, how can...

Meet Dennis McCarthy Jun20

Meet Dennis McCarthy

You may have a bit in common with Dennis McCarthy, chief information officer at SRI Management of Tallahassee, Florida. Like Dennis, maybe you were signed by the Detroit Tigers back in the ‘70s. No? Maybe your organization is facing growth? That’s more like it. McCarthy’s senior living management company is expected to double in size in the next two years. He and his team searched the globe to find software that would ease growing pains. SRI Management found success using Yardi EHR and Yardi eMAR. We sat down with McCarthy to learn how EHR and eMAR have made it easier to do business while quickly growing. Q: How did Yardi’s technology help you accomplish growth? A: Yardi’s technology has been phenomenal. It’s an integrated piece of software that anybody can see anywhere. As we’ve spread out, as SRI management has spread from one location to another, as we’ve had to add people to help us run all of these properties, it’s easy for people to see everything that’s going on because they can log in anywhere and see it anywhere. So, the standardization that we get from the software helps us grow easily and confidently. Q: How has technology impacted your world? A: Interestingly, our world is not a technology world. SRI is a management company that runs properties for owners, so we don’t really focus on the technology as much as we focus on the people. What the technology does is make it much easier for us to focus on taking care of people. It just makes SRI Management a much more efficient company because we have the background of the technology behind us to do our jobs as easily as possible. Q: What is the value that Yardi provides to you, your...

Changemakers Jun19

Changemakers

Yardi is a proud sponsor of the new Senior Housing News magazine series, Changemakers. This series of interviews highlights industry leaders that are impacting the future of senior living. The field of senior housing and services is changing rapidly. The ability to adapt to market changes has proven to be a differentiator for senior housing professionals. Those who forecast changes and adapt to consumer trends are leading the industry in exciting new directions. The Changemakers series focuses on individuals who are leaning into the winds of change. They are bold, innovative, and proactive. Senior Housing News, sponsored by Yardi, has identified nine Changemakers. During these in-depth interviews, you can learn what motivates these industry leaders and explore how they are shaping the future of the industry. Meet William Bullock William Bullock, president of Latitude Margaritaville, Minto Communities USA, is one of the first featured Changemakers. He had an idea that was so simple and so spot-on that many wondered why it hadn’t been done before. Bullock partnered with Margaritaville to create sprawling developments that offers residents a “Jimmy Buffett-inspired lifestyle.” What does that look like? Primarily, Latitude scrapped the traditional active senior housing model. The company based its new brand on feedback from its target demographic. It nixed words like “senior” and “retirement” and reimagined communities where wellness and fun were top priorities. Check out this excerpt from the SHN interview. SHN: What convinced you [to pursue Latitude Margaritaville]? Bullock: What’s great about the Margaritaville brand is, it’s synonymous with food, fun, music, escapism. It naturally fit what we were discovering from folks wanting to get away from golf and get into more active sports and wellness and nutrition, the fun. What we were seeing down in Naples with this transition out of Mediterranean...

Small Box, Big Impact...

The United Way of Greater Atlanta Shoebox Project is a creative way to provide more than 30,000 homeless people in greater metro Atlanta with daily necessities. Each year, Yardi Atlanta lends its creativity, time, and resources to help United Way fulfill its mission. This year was another success! The Shoebox Project United Way of Greater Atlanta is a nonprofit organization serving 13 counties in Georgia. These counties are home to nearly half a million children who live in communities with low or very low child well-being scores. Many of these children and their families may struggle with homelessness. In 2006, United Way of Greater Atlanta launched the Shoebox Project as a campaign to collect essential items for homeless populations. The organization reached out to individuals, families, and businesses to fill shoeboxes with toiletries for men, women and children. More than 13 years later, the Shoebox Project has been adopted by United Ways throughout the nation. Shoebox items include toiletries as well as first aid and enrichment items. Last year, the organization collected more than 35,200 shoeboxes with a value of more than $704,080.  Yardi + United Way Yardi’s preparation for the Shoebox Project is a year-round endeavor. Employees donate supplies such as undergarments, toiletries, hygiene products, first aid kits, and portable activities for children. Employees are encouraged to explore cost effective options by donating time or free items, such as complimentary goods from businesses. Near the end of spring, Yardi volunteers sort items, allocate them to shoeboxes, and then cover the boxes in gift wrap. This year, Yardi packed and wrapped over 75 boxes! The United Way collects its donations from volunteers throughout the metro Atlanta area. It then distributes the shoeboxes to local nonprofit agencies that serve homeless and low-income men, women and children....

Richard Gerritsen Jun05

Richard Gerritsen

Our latest Yardi leadership series profile comes from Amsterdam, which is home for Richard Gerritsen, Yardi’s regional director for Europe. He gave us an update on Yardi’s presence and progress in the region. Q: Richard, what is Yardi’s presence in Europe? A: We started with offices in London and Amsterdam in 2002 and now serve clients on the European continent who hold properties in 26 countries—from Norway to Spain, and as far east as Poland and Romania. We subsequently added offices in Mainz, Germany, and Cluj, Romania. Q: What are some key characteristics of the European real estate market? A: Property management has a distinct international component here: A portfolio might be owned in one country, operate in another country and report to investors in yet another one, or more. Each party most likely has its own currency and tax requirements. Even many locally focused property managers are increasingly serving clients from the U.S. and Asia. They all need a sophisticated software platform to provide a high level of efficiency, transparency and compliance for their clients, which is why Yardi Investment Management accounts for a sizeable portion of our sales on the continent. Being able to report on multinational holdings from one platform is a huge advantage. Q: So investment management is the primary focus? A: Yardi is heavily focused on asset and fund management in Europe because so many holdings are multinational. Our property management client base is smaller than Yardi’s share in the U.S., but we are well established among European commercial property managers and we anticipate some of our strongest growth to come from the residential market. Q: What has been key to Yardi’s growth and prominence in the market? A: We provide technology and support to meet the international requirements...

The Excelsior Group Jun04

The Excelsior Group

How do you create a better online experience for prospects and residents? Just ask the dynamic marketing duo at The Excelsior Group (TEG). Meet Brenda Studt, vice president of marketing, and Shelly Steitz, marketing manager. Together with their team and tools from the RENTCafé Suite, they’re transforming the online renter experience to better match the expectations of today’s digitally savvy consumers. When Brenda and Shelly visited the Yardi studio recently to film their Real Estate Questions Answered videos, we chatted about marketing, websites and themselves. Keep reading to find out what you can do to make your sites more appealing to people who are searching for a place to call home. Q: How does marketing work at TEG? Brenda: TEG is a group of real estate related businesses operating on a unified platform. Shelly and I work for TEG’s Creative Studio. We’re an in-house, full-service creative and marketing agency offering a variety of creative solutions specifically designed for real estate related clients. We focus our marketing strategy around client goals and consider owner goals and expectations for specific assets. Our largest client is TEG’s multifamily business. Shelly manages all marketing activity for this client and works with their property management and development teams daily to develop and execute annual plans for each property across the portfolio. Q: How do you make sure your property marketing websites engage and convert prospects? Shelly: We create engaging websites through strong visual storytelling. We take a “show, don’t tell” approach and that includes 360 tours, high quality amenity photos and vibrant gallery pages. And then we give the prospect as many ways to engage with that content as possible. Brenda: Using RENTCafé has been great for our clients. We’re able to understand user patterns and user experience better...