Heavy Metals

The 17 rare earth element (REE) metals comprise the building blocks of much of the technology we depend on daily. These elements, which aren’t actually rare but are sparsely concentrated in minerals, include the exotically named dysprosium, neodymium, lanthanum, praseodymium and terbium. Encompassing properties that make devices lighter, faster and smarter, REEs “let smartphones glow and ring and buzz, make fridges cold, lightbulbs bright and TVs vibrant,” in the words of Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune reporter Nicole Pollack. They’re also present in the screens on smart phones, computers and flat panel TVs, the motors of computer drives, defense systems, hybrid and electric car batteries, new-generation light bulbs and much more. With greater investments in clean energy, demand for REEs could increase six-fold by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. An electric car, for example, needs six times the mineral inputs of a conventional vehicle and a wind plant requires nine times more minerals than a gas-fired plant.  A major problem with these elements is that mining, separating and refining them both requires and produces large amounts of toxic materials. Up to 95% of this work is done in China, by some estimates. Harvard International Review reports that for every ton of REEs produced, the mining process yields more than 28 pounds of dust, up to 423,000 cubic feet of waste gas, 2,649 cubic feet of wastewater and 1 ton of radioactive residue. Recycling, partnerships could ease supply strains The environmental implications of REE harvesting have prompted experts to seek alternate ways to meet ever-growing demand. Recycling REEs from discarded electronics rather than mining is one option, using new processes that enable extraction with minimal use or creation of pollutants. Harvard researchers are working on extracting REEs using bacteria rather than toxic chemicals, while...

Benefits of Integrated Software  

The last two-plus years have changed the senior living industry, presenting unforeseen challenges for providers. Mainly, they’re tasked with finding effective systems and strategies to meet the needs of residents, families and staff as the industry navigates a new normal. So which solutions are important, now more than ever? For providers and other healthcare leaders, implementing a software solution may have the greatest impact. According to research like this piece from Ziegler, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of tech-enabled solutions across the healthcare industry like never before. Implementing the right software solution is key in streamlining operations, increasing resident satisfaction, delivering quality care and the list goes on. But not just any software solution is beneficial. To meet the needs of their communities, providers need a full suite of integrated tools that are mobile, intuitive and efficient. Benefits of integrated software When selecting senior living software, it’s important to know the difference between disparate and integrated systems. With disparate tools, you’re operating communities from several platforms that don’t necessarily speak to each other. That leads to time wasted navigating multiple systems, challenges in bringing staff up to speed, the risk of pulling inaccurate data and more. Ziegler’s white paper notes the importance of choosing a single connected solution to stay ahead of the curve. With an integrated system, every facet of your business is united in one place. That offers ease of use for staff, reduced costs and time savings — all leading to streamlined operations and enhanced care. That’s where the Yardi Senior Living Suite comes in. As an integrated system that eliminates the gap between senior living property management and clinical services, the Senior Living Suite gives providers everything they need to manage their communities. The key differentiator? The union of property management, finance, marketing, business intelligence and resident care on a single platform. At a glance, here are five ways the Yardi Senior Living Suite sets your communities apart: Combine property management, finance and business oversight for improved efficiency, reduced costs and responsive resident services with a comprehensive management tool, Yardi Voyager Senior HousingKeep residents and families connected through a secure online portal, RentCafe Senior LivingMake smarter, faster decisions with actionable information for your entire portfolio through Yardi Senior IQ, a business intelligence solution for senior livingKeep health records error free, limit liability and empower staff to deliver the best resident care with Yardi EHR, a full-service electronic health record solution  Attract new residents, nurture your leads and increase resident retention with RentCafe Senior CRM, a mobile-friendly sales and marketing solution Learn more about Yardi software for senior living There’s no denying the importance of software solutions for businesses — especially those that provide interconnected tools. This holds true for the senior living industry, both through the pandemic and beyond. Still curious about how a single connected solution can transform your business and care services? Explore the Yardi Senior Living Suite and reach out to book a demo with our...

Introducing CRM IQ

RentCafe CRM IQ is the latest innovation from Yardi in customer relationship management solutions for multifamily. It puts your customer at the center of the relationship to seamlessly manage prospects, applicants and residents for the entire leasing and resident journey. CRM IQ also provides a platform for centralized leasing offices and enhances the capabilities of other centralized property operations. Built into Yardi Voyager and the RentCafe product suite, CRM IQ has enhanced features that benefit site teams, owners, managers and their customers. Keep reading to explore what customer-centric innovation from Yardi can do for your business. What makes CRM IQ unique? Your customer is more than a renter, and your CRM system should reflect that. CRM IQ doesn’t stop prioritizing your prospects once they convert. Instead, CRM IQ manages your customer interactions through every stage of the leasing and resident journey. With robust features designed to support the full customer lifecycle, CRM IQ is built to guide your prospects into applicants, and your applicants into satisfied residents, ready to renew. The result is a better customer experience made possible by customer-centric software. What’s new with CRM IQ? With features that automate communication and improve visibility across prospects and residents, CRM IQ is a one-of-a-kind solution in the multifamily industry. Here are more details that make it even more unique: Enable centralized leasing office (CLO) processes with customer-centric views and site clustering. CRM IQ has intuitive features that aggregates properties within a central view and shares activities across regional attributes. Save staff hours by helping prioritize the most valuable tasks and utilize remote and clustered staffing offices.Prioritize higher-quality leads and automate lead nurturing with event-based AI. More leads don’t always mean more conversions — this is why CRM IQ prioritizes prospects at every stage of...

Affordable Housing Tech

Editor’s note: The following interview was originally published on The Breezeway, the official blog of Yardi Breeze. Chris Voss is currently a vice president at Yardi, but he’s been working in affordable housing for over 20 years. In that time, he’s worked on the investor side of the business, putting together tax credit deals to help developers get their properties built. He later shifted gears and spent a number of years working directly with operators. He’s experienced in helping property management companies optimize and modernize with the help of affordable housing and compliance software. Chris is the perfect person to discuss the future of affordable housing. Keep reading to see how he’s helping Yardi revolutionize affordable housing and simplify compliance. What’s the goal of Breeze Premier?We’re looking to bring everyone on our legacy systems over to Yardi Breeze Premier. This will help us better support our clients with newer software and get upgrades out faster. It also provides a portal for applicants and residents to apply online, make payments and enter work orders. Are there any features that tend to convince people to switch or migrate?One of the bigger points of interest for our residential clients is the ability to launch branded corporate and property websites with RentCafe. This is our marketing and leasing solution built into Breeze and Breeze Premier to support online leasing. It also includes options for integrated screening and renters insurance. Historically, rent collection and work order management have been done manually, so to have an integrated system is really compelling. The most-used feature of RentCafe is probably the resident portal, which automates rent collection and centralizes online maintenance requests. And residents love the RentCafe Resident app. Looking back, what made the previous generations of Yardi software relevant in their time?Years ago, Yardi Genesis and Yardi Genesis2 were some of the most powerful property management systems around. This was especially true for small to mid-sized companies. They didn’t need everything a system like Yardi Voyager had to offer. However, a lot of that functionality was built in to help clients with activities in the back office such as bookkeeping, financial reporting and resident tracking. The reality is that a lot of employees at smaller affordable companies wear multiple hats. They do more than back-office activities. That’s where Breeze Premier come in. What’s making Breeze Premier relevant in our time?In addition to accounting, operations and reporting, our latest property management software includes built-in marketing and leasing tools plus a host of optional add-on solutions to do even more. We’ve implemented text messaging to better communicate with residents and introduced a CRM queue to track customer communications and initiate follow-ups. We leverage artificial intelligence to communicate with potential residents using our RentCafe Chat IQ chatbot. We provide the option for clients to outsource their utility billing and utility invoice processing, among other features. Not to mention, we just rolled out maintenance call center services to Breeze Premier clients with RentCafe Connect. If you were to reimagine affordable housing, what might it look like?Reimagining the future of affordable housing is really about finding ways to reduce the costs and complexities of operations. It starts by reducing the friction that is involved with finding and applying for an affordable home today. RentCafe.com is an internet listing service available for our residential clients. Even a person who wants to move to a different state can now easily apply online. They can also complete the entire certification process without ever having to walk into that out-of-state property. We’re also trying to eliminate fair housing complaints from even arising. With RentCafe Affordable Housing, the certification and application process are done online, so the manager never has influence over the application process. So even if that household ends up being denied, they can’t point back and say the property manager was discriminating against them. Put it this way: In every respect, the future...

Get Clinical Data

When making decisions to benefit senior living residents, providers need clinical data that is easy to find, interpret and share. With Yardi Senior IQ, an integrated business intelligence solution, intuitive clinical data is available at the click of a button. Ready to see how it works? Simply put, clinical data is drawn directly from Yardi EHR and presented via attractive dashboards. Our latest infographic showcases the details — including five ways Senior IQ simplifies your clinical workflow. Five ways Senior IQ simplifies your clinical workflow Senior IQ is built to streamline your clinical workflow from start to finish. With this single connected solution, you’re equipped to: Analyze resident falls: Capture metrics such as falls categorized by time of day and falls resulting in injury — uncovering what is jeopardizing resident safety — then develop action plans to prevent future incidents.Streamline reporting: Tap into insightful data that is automatically updated from the previous day. Each dashboard’s data points were carefully selected by Yardi’s clinical and compliance team to help you track quality measures and performance metrics.Track vaccinations: Track exactly how many residents have accepted, received or declined important vaccinations. Use vaccination rates to make critical decisions regarding health and safety protocols.Monitor antipsychotic usage: Check which residents are receiving antipsychotic medications, then verify that each resident has a proper diagnosis to ensure no antipsychotics are being administered without cause.Unite clinical and financial data: Access census information, financials and clinical data in one place. Use these comprehensive insights to make informed decisions for your entire business. We can’t forget to mention the clinical snapshot feature, an all-in-one dashboard that organizes your most needed measures like new orders, recent falls, past due assessments and more. Improve care, boost productivity and reduce costs With clinical data readily available, Senior...

Self Storage Insights...

Corey Rothgeb is the senior staff accountant for Self Storage Plus, an independent business that generates $3.6 million in annual revenue. We talked with him about what it takes to succeed in the storage industry, how he addresses industry challenges and the ways Yardi Voyager saves Self Storage Plus enormous amounts of time and energy. Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background, and how long have you been in property management?I’ve been with Self Storage Plus since August of 2020. Prior to that I lived in San Diego, California. I studied at the University of California San Diego and received my bachelor’s in economics in 2019. I got my foot in the door in property management with a publicly traded REIT in San Diego. That’s where I practiced on property management software. I worked there for about nine months as an accounts payable clerk and financial administrator working on budgets. Then I made the move to the East Coast in August of 2020 and started as a staff accountant at Self Storage Plus. I’ve since progressed from staff accountant to senior staff accountant and currently hope to progress to controller. There have been opportunities to grow tremendously in property management, and I love the whole real estate industry in general. What challenges does property management software solve for your business?Voyager helps with reporting on our end. I think the biggest challenge we faced when the company switched to Voyager in 2020 was just having processes in place, and Yardi really helped provide structure for those. The invoicing and reporting automation in general provided a kickstart to getting all of our processes in place. What features in Voyager are helping you solve those challenges?The ability to run and automate specific reports. In fact,...

Home Work

Many companies are returning workers to their offices and sending them to conferences and other gatherings. Is remote work, done by more than 70 percent of workers who can work remotely according to Pew Research Center, passing or permanent in the work environment? Just a decade ago, working from home was the exception, usually allowed only in select cases. It took time for teleconferencing technology to advance to the point where occasionally working from home became more acceptable and normal. “Ten years ago, remote employment basically meant a telemarketing or customer service position at below minimum wage,” said Samantha Lambert, director of human resources for New York City website design company Blue Fountain Media. “It rarely was connected with a full-time career.” Then came the pandemic. The outbreak prompted many employers to shift to a predominantly remote work model to limit spread of the coronavirus and comply with distancing mandates. Along with supporting public health, companies saw an opportunity to save money by cutting down on expensive office space while allowing workers the freedom to create their own schedules and work from wherever they please. Eighty-three percent of employees responding to a workplace survey in 2021 reported that a hybrid model combining remote with time in the office that accommodates both business needs and employee desires is optimal. Tech options Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other systems gained new prominence during the pandemic and cemented remote work into the American economy. “Now, technology affords us the ability to get the same job done, no matter where in the world we are. [It has] enabled us to be in contact with co-workers or clients at any time,” Lambert says. “This technology has advanced so quickly that many companies have even done away with traditional offices and instead...

Technology Is Community

Senior living operators build community, and community is increasingly defined by its technology — the tech used by residents, staff and family. These integrated systems are a community’s lifeblood, enhancing key aspects of the day-to-day experience for both residents and staff. They help staff communicate, empower residents and ease concerns for family members. Ultimately, these systems keep senior living communities in sync. That’s the focus of a brand new Yardi-sponsored white paper, Technology is community: How to bring residents, family and staff together. Published by Senior Housing News (SHN), the resource offers an inside look at how providers are using tech to connect their communities in creative ways.   See below for a snapshot of what the white paper entails. Using tech to connect residents, families and staff While the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions changed communication in every industry, the pandemic’s risks to seniors made communication in senior living even more important, and more challenging. Today, operators need ways to connect families with their loved ones in communities, and ways to help staff deliver quality care no matter the circumstance. That’s why it is crucial for operators to implement technology tools that streamline communication. Drawing insight from operators Validus Senior Living and Maplewood Senior Living, the white paper shares how solutions like RentCafe Senior Living — a secure online portal — help staff members communicate with each other, with residents and with resident family members. Additionally, how this integrated solution helps users make online payments, review health and wellness information, sign forms electronically and submit maintenance requests. From Validus, you’ll learn how RentCafe Senior Living works to improve communication, streamline billing and even enhance medical care. Through the Maplewood spotlight, you’ll see exactly how this Connecticut-based company is using RentCafe Senior Living to enrich residents’ quality of life in four key areas. That includes socialization, entertainment, safety, exercise and health tracking. Top benefits of improved communication systems New technologies have improved senior living for residents, giving them enhanced experiences in their finances, health, socialization and more. Leading communication tools have also improved the experiences of staff and family. With RentCafe Senior Living, three of the industry’s major stakeholders — residents, staff, families — share a communication tool that is easy-to-use and wide-ranging in impact. Areas of impact include: Resident surveysEasy community communicationPaperless paymentsActivities and wellness calendarsHealth updates for familiesElectronic signatures and document management Explore the white paper for a detailed look at each of these areas. Read more As the pandemic has largely affected senior living communities, it’s imperative for operators to implement technology that enables communication anytime, from anywhere. Read the white paper in full to learn how tech solutions like RentCafe Senior Living make the...

Rock-Solid Learning

The value of learning management systems as a catalyst for organizational improvement was the topic of a recent webinar hosted by Patty Evans, industry principal for Yardi Aspire, and featuring employees of the Boulder (Colo.) Housing Authority. Learning management systems can promote stability among an increasingly restive employee population. Evans noted that more than 47 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs last year. A recent study of U.S. workers by Cengage Group showed that 64% of survey respondents identified training as integral to their role, while 78% of employees who quit in the preceding six months took an online course to prepare for their next job. An Amazon-Gallup study found that 47% of employees are “extremely interested” in training that upgrades their skills and advances their careers. “It’s clear that if employers do not provide adequate training, employees will find ways to develop the needed skills and that may mean getting a job elsewhere.,” Evans said. “Employers need to have a new mantra: If we want to retain our staff, we have to focus on skills development.” These factors have prompted BHA and other agencies to adopt Aspire, an online learning management system that automates the delivery of personalized learning experiences to half a million users worldwide. Along with live event management, Aspire includes about 1,300 courses on Yardi software, HR topics, compliance and safety, professional skills development and more. Its content is routinely upgraded to reflect changes to Yardi software, industry standards, and federal and state legislation. Learners seeking to refine specific skills can use the site-wide search tool or interactive catalog to locate and sign up for training on more than 200 industry skills and review recommended training options for their current or desired role. Boon to virtual onboarding Along with offering workers immediate skills practice and real-world applications, Aspire also benefits BHA and other organizations as a virtual onboarding tool that automatically assigns relevant training and resources for success to new employees as they begin new roles. The system also automatically recalibrates training assignments as employees transfer to new roles or locations throughout their career. “We can customize the Aspire content with unique company messages such as BHA’s values and mission. This helps make a great first impression of the organization with new employees,” said Carrie Murphy, BHA’s learning management system manager. “You’ll be surprised how much you can do with Aspire’s proprietary authoring and communication tools to make your staff feel not just welcome but connected to your organization. With a little imagination, your employees can dive in and immediately interact with your organization through Aspire,” Evans added. Benefits of automation and personalized learning The webinar revealed that employee engagement and efficiency offered by Aspire holds increasing relevance in today’s work environment. “Since the start of the pandemic online learning has seen a massive increase in participation and continues to grow. Companies benefit when employees feel confident and employees thrive when they’re given opportunities to learn new skills, receive feedback on their training performance and participate in a learning community,” Evans said. Aspire helps BHA’s training administrators by automating time-consuming, repetitive processes, from training announcements, registration management and training and skills assessments to feedback collection and recommended next steps. It also delivers new organizational efficiency and direct cost savings with self-paced content that is automatically developed and maintained by Yardi and industry experts. Trainers can spend less time developing and delivering introductory information and beginning skills and focus more time training advanced topics and imparting institutional knowledge. “Automated training management saves us a lot of time,” Murphy said. Rosemary Mendenhall, a community manager for BHA, offered the user’s perspective. “I love that I can personalize my learning with Aspire. I can pick the classes that I want, with my managers assigning me additional classes that tie in with my job and experience,” she said, noting that the variety of training methods – including highly interactive content,...

Power Panel Ebook

From staffing to compliance to technology, there’s no shortage of pressing topics circling the senior living industry. And the latest McKnight’s Power Panel — Pandemic Year III: Keys to Success — gathered experts to discuss it all. The online roundtable prompted panelists to debate today’s issues and offer solutions for the year ahead. And to help a larger audience access the insights, McKnight’s put together a fresh ebook that presents the biggest takeaways from their conversations. That ebook is available now. Whether you attended the roundtable or not, the ebook is worth a read. See below for a quick highlight of what you’ll find: New Mcknight’s Power Panel ebook With panelists from different verticals in long-term care, the McKnight’s Power Panel was full of varying perspectives. How will operating conditions continue to shift with the pandemic? How is the “new normal” changing again for providers? These types of questions received a range of answers throughout the roundtable, and lucky for you, they’re recapped in the ebook. Featuring insights from Yardi expert David Bellew, read the ebook to learn: Technology’s role in the industry todayPredictions for a post-pandemic landscapeStrategies for the futureAnd more About panelist David Bellew David Bellew is an accomplished leader in the healthcare industry. Currently serving as the Director of Client Services here on the Yardi senior living team, David has over 20 years of experience implementing enterprise software systems. Through years of dedication, he has become highly skilled in requirements analysis, as well as managing implementations for ERP and clinical systems. If you have questions for team Yardi about our solutions in senior living, we encourage you to reach out to us. Download the resource Yardi is pleased to sponsor events like the McKnight’s Power Panel that spark insightful conversations in...

Yardi Canada R&D...

Last fall, Zach Scott, vice president of programming for Yardi Canada, provided our readers with an illuminative look at the role of his engineering team on Yardi’s most cutting edge product offerings. In the research & development realm, progress moves fast, so recently we brought Scott back for an update on project progress and current initiatives. Let’s kick it off with machine learning, which is now being practically applied to multiple Yardi products, with more to come in the near future. Zach, tell us about machine learning’s role in the Yardi Full Service PayScan experience? Scott: On this machine learning test, we have almost 200 clients live. So far this year, we have processed 1.3 million invoices. We went from 290,000 invoices per month in January, to 390,000 in February, to 450,000 in March. We’re anticipating growth to 600 clients by mid-year. This has been a huge success. What machine learning does is automatically extract a half dozen key fields from the invoice image, such as invoice number, date, property details, vendor info, phone number, email address, and more. It pulls all of that directly off the invoice. The overall accuracy is typically around 75 to 80 per cent. How about the use of machine learning in the Yardi Marketplace on-boarding process? Scott: When new vendors are onboarded into Yardi Marketplace, it often means uploading massive spreadsheets that contain more than 20,000 product barcodes (SKU). Before machine learning was applied, this was a manual process that meant personnel were sorting through every SKU to place them into three categories. That means 60,000 category assignments had to be manually selected. This used to take weeks to complete. Thanks to machine learning, we can now categorize 20,000 SKUs in about 15 minutes. After that initial sorting,...

Connected Debt Management

Wondering how to simplify and increase accuracy for debt management? You’ve probably been hearing about the benefits of a single connected platform. Whether you’re a borrower or lender, there are multiple aspects of debt to manage. Key processes include calculating amortization schedules for simple and complex loans, tracking collateral and managing critical dates and covenants. Borrowers need to track debt against real estate collateral and account for loans by paying lenders through invoices or journalizing transactions. When done manually, these processes are time-consuming and prone to error. It’s also inefficient and risky to access information from multiple systems and databases. Read on for best practices to streamline debt management using a single connected solution. Eliminate spreadsheets and disparate systems Whether your interests are in managing loan information or debt investments, it’s critical to gain transparency from the investor to the borrower. You need to closely track debt from the borrower along with key deliverables and covenants with lenders. Going paperless and using a system that centralizes all loan data and provides accurate information is the first step for creating greater efficiency. By moving away from manual processes, you gain transparency, mitigate risk and increase efficiency through automation. By centralizing tracking of all loan terms in a single connected system, you can reduce manual errors and ensure data accuracy. Gain visibility into critical dates A key component for clients with debt investments is visibility into critical dates regarding when things are due to be received by the borrower and meeting compliance for key financial covenants. This capability mitigates risk by ensuring deliverables are sent to lenders on time, and tracks collateral and critical dates with notifications. With a single platform that centralizes all debt information, you can provide access to internal stakeholders for the entire loan investment portfolio. You also get deep insight into key metrics and can monitor the status of compliance with all covenants. Automate accounting and reporting For debt investments, you need complete insight and the ability to automate transactions from the borrower through the investment structures to investors. A connected software platform can deliver that for you, as well as enable you to track, account for and accurately calculate all types of investment loans and structures: interest-only, principal and interest, draw loans, revolvers, letters of credit, inter-company, syndicated loans and more. You can also streamline financial consolidations, partner transfers, fund rebalancing, allocations and other processes. For lenders with debt funds, syndications or other debt investments, whether servicing themselves or using a third party servicer, an integrated solution will provide full insight into the performance of this asset class and can automate accounting through the investments to investors. For those lender clients servicing their own loans, you can facilitate collections and secure automation of receipts. A single connected platform enables you to deliver timely and accurate reporting for all ownership structures. You can easily manage the complexities associated with numerous entities and levels between investors, investments and assets. Automate payments With a connected debt management platform, borrowers can automate payments to lenders and gain full visibility and audit trails into payment history. You can easily review historical and outstanding charges and the principal balance of every loan with drilldown into transaction details. Integration with accounting at every level of the ownership hierarchy provides utmost efficiency. Debt investors can automate transactions from the borrower through the investment structures to the investors. In addition to calculating principal and interested, a connected platform will also track funded and unfunded reserves and amortization of fees as well as payment of necessary taxes and insurance at the collateral level in certain regions. Automate billing For client lenders servicing their own loans, a connected platform can automate borrower billing and increase visibility for internal stakeholders by tracking collateral and critical dates. If you have debt as an investment, you can more easily manage and service your debt including billing borrowers and managing capital...

Step Up Security

Perhaps you’ve noticed it in your email inbox or text messages: there is a recent uptick in the number of attempts to gain private information that compromises your personal and financial security, as well as that of organizations and corporations. According to a recent report from Proofpoint, email-based phishing attempts became increasingly successful in 2021, as did ransomware attacks. As many as 83 percent of organizations said they experienced a successful email-based phishing attack in 2021, compared to 57 percent in 2020. These upticks appear to be continuing in 2022. Across a variety of industries, phishing attacks are becoming more prolific and targeting employees from entry-level to executives. That means it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your business by exercising vigilant technology safety protocols and learning best prevention practices. The U.S. Cyberinfrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) offers the following tips that can help you and your organization avoid these attacks. Understand the threat. Phishing is a form of a social engineering attack, which means that common social norms are used to gain and compromise information about a company and its technology systems. Messages claim to be legitimate communications from vendors, banks, employees and other business contacts, but are really fraudulent attempts to obtain confidential information from recipients. The imposter may even offer information that claims to support their identity. Be skeptical, even when a message appears to be from a trusted source. An attacker may send email seemingly from a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem. They could also pose as a vendor who needs account information changed or even an internal employee who claims to need verification of information. When users respond with the requested details, hackers can...

Elevate Revenue

Yardi has launched Elevate Revenue, a CRE solution stack that streamlines the entire deal lifecycle from lead to lease. Specifically intended for owners, asset managers and leasing teams, the all-in-one solution was designed in collaboration with commercial experts and industry leaders. The end-to-end portfolio management suite, supported by decades of real estate research and software development knowledge, optimizes the deal workflow through powerful automation, enhanced team collaboration and extensive insights. Providing unmatched portfolio visibility, Elevate Revenue seamlessly integrates marketing, leasing system and commission management tools into one centralized platform. With Edge Marketing, real estate professionals can effortlessly market listings and generate verified leads through Yardi’s rapidly growing CommercialEdge Listing Network. From there, Deal Manager further streamlines leasing operations by enabling users to smoothly manage prospects and oversee each stage of the deal flow, while automatically comparing deal economics to approved budgets and prior leases. Additionally, to simplify the legal process and easily track legal documents, the Elevate suite includes Deal Manager Legal Module, an intuitive tool that allows users to automatically generate standard lease agreements directly in the application. And it doesn’t stop there. CommissionTrac, Yardi’s commission management tool, efficiently rounds out the leasing process by automatically tracking and paying the commissions of both in-house and third-party brokers. Elevate Revenue is fully integrated with Yardi Voyager thanks to Yardi’s built-in CRM — this smooth connection ensures maximum portfolio and deal pipeline oversight in real-time. Voyager clients can sync properties, spaces and availability across their portfolio. Listings are automatically published based on lease expiration dates or automatically unpublished once a tenant is activated for a specific space in Voyager. In October, Macerich — an owner, operator and developer of retail and mixed-use destinations throughout the U.S. — leveraged Deal Manager and Edge Marketing solutions to...

Multifamily Experts Agree

Demand for rental apartments through the first three quarters of 2021 was 28% higher than the U.S. single-year high in the same time frame in 2018. Asking rents were up 11.4% nationally year-over-year through September, with the occupancy rate of stabilized properties reaching 95.9% in August. Stats like these inspire observers to use words like “robust,” “red-hot” and “overheated” in discussing the state of the multifamily industry. Is this strong market built to last? Or is it too good to be true? What key trends will chart the industry’s direction in 2022 and beyond? A group of experts offered insight in a recent conversation with Richard Malpica, vice president and Eastern region general manager for Yardi. Online tech’s scope expands Social distancing mandates fueled expectations for increased online service and flexibilityamong renters and property teams. The desire for a frictionless digital experience extended to all aspects of property management, including marketing and leasing, electronic money orders, vendor payments, invoice processing, self-guided tours and more. Cincinnati-based Towne Properties and BH Management Services of Des Moines, Iowa, whose representatives joined the discussion with Malpica, are among the property management companies that have accelerated their technology adoption for these and other operations. Joanna Zabriskie, BH’s president and CEO, reported that nearly all residents at the company’s properties who were previously paying rent by check converted to electronic payments after the onset of COVID-19. Among other forward-thinking initiatives, BH is also rolling out leak detection technology that prevents costly water damage and enables instant maintenance services, she added. Fraud, staff shortages spur adoption With fraudulent digital transaction attempts against businesses on the rise, risk mitigation is another principal concern for property managers. The discussion participants predicted that artificial intelligence facial recognition technology will be increasingly incorporated into self-guided tours, online leasing, vendor access, income verification and other operations. The group noted a trend toward adopting virtual assistants that respond to all prospect and resident communications, including chatbots that can generate high-quality leads. Smart home tech for locks, thermostats, leak detection and other elements of multifamily housing is also moving up as a priority for residents and managers alike. On another front, the so-called “great resignation” across the economy has impacted the multifamily industry, making it harder for property managers to find and retain qualified staff. Some have responded by centralizing leasing, renewals, collections, maintenance and other operations, automating processes or instituting a combination of centralization and automation. “Centralizing some of our leasing and maintenance has helped us meet our prospects’ and residents’ demands while mitigating staffing shortages,” said Chad Munitz, vice president at Towne Properties. “We were able to move to a hybrid work environment. I think flexibility to work from home has become an essential perk in today’s tough labor market,” added Zabriskie, who noted that 13% of BH’s onsite positions have been open for several months. “It’s harder than ever to hire and retain valued employees,” prompting the BH recruitment team to place more emphasis on positive corporate culture  elements such as days off for mental health, bonuses and added benefits. Boston-based Berkshire Residential Investments also sharpened its focus on company culture issues, instituting monthly town hall meetings to address remote work challenges and other issues, according to Josh Glastein, its chief information and technology officer. ESG’s importance grows With 15% of emissions coming from real estate, sustainability continues to grow as a priority. Institutional clients are increasingly asking for sustainability to be included in property budgets, and ESG is growing in importance for residents as well, according to the discussion participants. Local and federal requirements to comply with ENERGY STAR® standards and other energy initiatives have spurred an interest in energy software capable of gathering and reporting consumption data to property owners and managers. The way forward The participants agreed that, as multifamily property managers and owners adapt to new expectations in the post-pandemic era, carefully chosen and properly utilized...

How Online Learning

If you are still conducting live training courses, you are missing out on the opportunity to save time, save money and customize the learning experience for your employees. e-Learning can work on its own or in tandem with live trainings to expedite corporate education. Why e-learning?  The market size of e-learning is growing at exciting speeds. The market value surpassed $250 billion in 2020, and it is anticipated to grow more than 21% before 2027.This industry-wide shift away from classroom education reflects the perceived and calculated costs of live training courses. Yardi Aspire is a training solution that transitions clients to online learning using role-based plans. The customizable program offers savings in four key areas: Personnel This category includes the cost of all people involved in producing the training such as content designers, IT professionals, reviewers and approvers. Aspire software significantly reduces administrative costs through the introduction of technology. The software also allows users to eliminate travel and lodging expenses.Technology The cost of the e-learning solutions, computers, web conference system, and any other technology involved in conducting the training are included in this category. These costs are the primary reason many companies choose to invest in e-learning.Content This category includes the cost of content production and the cost of acquiring content from a vendor. By recording an instructor once and delivering the recorded course online, organizations can maximize the use of content and decrease costs associated with instructors.Administrative Significant time is spent recording training activities, setting up training opportunities, and communicating with trainees and instructors before and after the event. Decreasing administrative costs offers benefits throughout the organization. Cost savings, line-by-line  What do these savings look like in a real world, real estate example? Let’s take a sample client who is in the middle...

Maintenance Made Mobile

Why does your maintenance team need to be mobile ready? Mobile maintenance software gives techs the tools that they need to work more efficiently, act promptly and easily document their progress. But the benefits don’t stop there. Read on to learn how your staff can take maintenance to the next level with a mobile-accessible solution. The paper trail is holding back your maintenance team Paper maintenance requests, paper work orders, paper task logs, paper order forms and paper approvals: paper is a problem. Paper can only be in one place at one time, meaning that you need copies (read: redundancy and waste) to keep multiple team members on track. If information is updated on one sheet, you’ve got to update all other sheets, redistribute and store as needed. If you have not already, it’s beyond time to transition into a paperless maintenance system. Online property maintenance software such as Yardi Maintenance IQ makes it easy for leasing staff and maintenance team members to stay on track and up-to-date with tasks. First, renters submit their requests online. It is then easily dispatched to maintenance leadership and their technicians. Technicians can progress through work orders from the field without multiple trips to the office. They can issue status updates, include photos and notes, and request supplies from a single mobile device. All information is automatically updated in Yardi Voyager. In addition to improving efficiency, mobile tools help improve retention by providing great service to residents. Today’s residents are accustomed to doing so much online, from ordering food to paying bills. Residents seek an easy way to submit requests, get quick responses and frequent updates—all of which you can deliver with an advanced maintenance system. The benefits of Maintenance IQ do not end there. Here are the top ten benefits for everyone from on-site staff to stakeholders: Save time. Staff spend more time doing their jobs and less time filling out paperwork, making calls, placing orders and traipsing between units and the office.Reduce paper. No more paper forms or printing, thanks to online work orders and digital signatures. This cuts costs and also meets green initiatives.Prioritize better. Know instantly what the high priorities are every minute of every day, with access to photos from the site and work order entry notes.Get real-time updates. Supervisors, staff and techs can view current updates on a centralized online calendar.Drive less. No need to drive to the office to pick up or drop off maintenance paperwork, and no unnecessary site trips when requests are rescheduled or cancelled. Online directions with mapping, along with resident contact info, help ensure no time is wasted.Track everything... Receive up-to-the-minute status reports and audit trails on assigned and unassigned work orders and employee whereabouts, including emergency responses, and follow them to completion.…that includes tracking costs. Track turn costs and days on the unit turn dashboard and see upcoming units.Get accurate reports. Time-sensitive reporting provides business intelligence and better oversight.Improve productivity. When you’re mobile, you’re not tethered to a desk. Get out it in the field and get more done with your mobile device while interacting with your staff, residents and tenants.Save money. Failing to respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner can result in much more expensive repairs later as well as an increase in costly move-outs. Now you know ten of the most compelling reasons to take your maintenance mobile — and why using a solution that works seamlessly with your property management and accounting system will yield the multiple benefits. Read more about how Maintenance IQ can help expedite rental turns and elevate rental...

Online Payments

Online payments offer benefits for renters and site staff such as convenience and lower costs. But before you can reap the benefits, you’ve got to get residents to enroll. We’ve got a few quick tips to make the process easier. Online payments add value for residents Per the National Apartment Association, about 78% of residents prefer to pay their bills online. Renters value the convenience of 24/7/365 access to their accounts. And they can submit payments at any time, rather than working within the confines of leasing office hours. Additionally, each online method reduces the risks and data entry associated with cash as well as the hassle of ordering, writing and waiting on paper checks to process. Online payments offer a variety of payment methods to fit your residents’ preferences. Bank account, credit or debit card ACH transactions may occur on single and reoccurring basis. TextPay and voice payments via Resident Services: Alexa Skill are added conveniences. All payment options are easily accessible through your RENTCafe resident portal, which adds value for your renters. More than 92% of respondents consider online rent payment an important resident portal feature. Optimize staff hours with online payments What can your staff accomplish in a workweek without opening mail, scanning checks, trips to the bank, or data entry? Much more. They can nurture new leads and promote retention by building rapport with residents. Both skills bolster your bottom line far more than tedious and redundant tasks like data entry. When you increase adaptation to online payment processing, everyone wins! But first, you’ve got to get renters to enroll. Check out these five tips to boost online payment enrollment. Create an awareness campaign including emails, social media posts, and print posters at the leasing office (especially near the rent...

Tech Trends + Innovations

Technology has permanently changed how consumers search for, tour, rent, buy and sell real estate. Check out which established proptech tools get a fresh twist this year, and which innovations bring greater conveniences to the industry. Multiple tour options are no longer optional Today’s prospects expect multiple ways to view a property. Technology plays a huge role in the ability to offer multiple convenient tour options. For most renters, the search begins online. A survey reveals that “renters are becoming so comfortable with renting digitally, that 72% say they would rent an apartment without ever seeing the property in person if a 3D virtual tour was offered.” In stead of stagnant photos, 3D self-guided tours use special software to give online viewers a 360 tour of every space in the property. While the majority of renters may sign a lease at this point, for many, this option acts as a filter. It helps prospects identify which units they want to further investigate. Live virtual tours allow prospects to remotely attend a walk-through lead by an agent. This gives prospects an opportunity to ask clarifying questions about the unit, property and neighborhood. The engagement gives the agent a chance to build a relationship with the prospect. Not all prospects want the guidance of an agent. For self-guided tours, prospects use online scheduling software like RentCafe Self-Guided Tours to book a tour. After a quick yet secure verification process on their mobile phones, prospects access the unit. They complete the tour at their own pace, unassisted by an agent. Multiple tour options give forward-thinking property managers an advantage over less tech-savvy competition. Digital twins have joined the chat Want to get ahead of the tech curve and offer your prospects something truly unique? Digital twins have a growing presence in real estate. A digital twin is software that uses real world data to create simulations that predict how a unit or building could perform.   The technology empowers prospects with a better understanding of a property: its environmental efficiency, typical cost of utility bills, and the scope of resilience against natural disasters to name a few. Properties that offer special structural features now have a way to demonstrate those advantages. Bitcoin establishes itself among flexible payment options Online payment options have included ACH and debit / credit cards. More recently, text and voice command payments entered the real estate scene. Now, real estate professionals are also integrating cryptocurrency and blockchain-supported contracts. Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, began disrupting real estate transactions en masse in 2013. Since then, its popularity and legitimacy has steadily grown. Blockchain, the supporting database, offers secure, anonymous and accurate transactions from start to finish. Real estate firms interested in optimal efficiency and seamless international transactions may consider cryptocurrency with blockchain-supported transactions. Chatbots with machine learning improve responsiveness Responsiveness will make or break a relationship with consumers. Chatbots can answer inquiries 24/7/365 without inconveniencing human agents. Chatbots with machine learning, like RentCafe Chat IQ, will offer a noticeable difference in customer service. These AI-supported bots “learn” with experience, adapting to the nuances of human vernacular to improve future interactions. With chatbots, property managers can offer stellar customer service at any time of day. Staff leans into automated ads Software can automatically transform ILS listing into detail-specific ads. If needed, staff can adjust parameters to hone in on key audiences. For each automated ad campaign, staff receives data on views, clicks and demographics, allowing tweaks throughout the process. Automated ads reduce manual labor while improving ad spend control and ROI. Tech for the win Tech is a powerful ally for any growing real estate business. Technology improves staff efficiency and reduces menial task loads. The same products serve as differentiators that offer sought-after conveniences to consumers.  Seeking a tech partner to help your business grow? Join a webinar to discover a suite of multifamily tech tools to support your...

Multifamily CRM

Are you setting fresh, ambitious goals for your multifamily business? Quality customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you reach them. We’ve got top insights in what to look for when choosing a multifamily CRM solution. What is multifamily CRM? You’ve likely heard of CRM and even dabbled in some of its features. Such software is increasingly critical for the optimal efficiency and functionality of your multifamily business. CRM gives you a 360-degree view of your relationship with each contact, from prospect to former resident. It offers a centralized location for managing client info, tracking correspondences and compiling data on client behaviors. With such insights, you can market for more conversions, sign more leases, improve retention and revenue. A good CRM tool will also help office workloads feel lighter, resulting in more energized and focused staff with less turnover. If that sounds good to you, read on! What to look for in multifamily CRM… There are lots of CRM options on the market. To select the one that is appropriate for your business, consider the following. Scalability Different tools at different price points will offer options that are suitable for your business. Select an option that meets your current needs and can grow with you in coming years. Automation We will spend a lot of time here. Your staff will need automation to streamline workflows and reduce manual, redundant and often time-consuming tasks. Consider follow-ups: quick responses (under five minutes) are 21 times more likely to lead to a sale. This is because 88% of consumers expect a business to respond to their inquiry within 60 minutes. More than 30% expect a response in 15 minutes or fewer, per the 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report. With automated text messaging and emails, your CRM...