Avenue5 Moves Ahead Jun20

Avenue5 Moves Ahead

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the new normal of social distancing has created a big challenge for many businesses — and real estate firms are no exception. Fortunately for many multifamily operators, opportunities to streamline common business processes using online software solutions are helping to surmount challenges, while delivering unexpected benefits. That’s what Avenue5 Residential has discovered. The Seattle-based firm, which focuses on third-party multifamily property management, oversees more than 375 properties and 70,000 units in 13 states, with offices in Denver, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Spokane and greater Washington, D.C. Recognized as one of NMHC’s Top 50 Managers, Avenue5 is employing digital solutions from Yardi to protect their associates and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, all without sacrificing service or missing revenue opportunities. In order to continue serving clients and residents, collecting rents, completing work orders and maintaining site operations while following CDC and regional health recommendations, Avenue5 relies on the Yardi Voyager and RENTCafé online platforms. With COVID-19 concerns requiring the company to close its property leasing offices to foot traffic, Avenue5 further deepened their focus on promoting online options to residents at the onset of the outbreak; it subsequently saw a jump in resident online payment adoption from 50% to 70% as a result. April and May rent collections were strong, and executives are optimistic about collections in the months to come. “We expect to see a long-term benefit as customers acclimate to the ease of paying online, and as our associates reduce the amount of time spent on manual processes,” said Pål Ottesen, chief financial officer at Avenue5. Ottesen also noted that moving rent payments online had reduced numerous risks associated with accepting paper checks. In order to support residents directly impacted by COVID-19, and...

Rents Drop, Prompting Concern Jun18

Rents Drop, Prompting Concern

When you think about a 0.3 percent drop in anything it hardly seems like a big deal. It’s just 3 pennies on every 10 dollars. If you are an apartment operator and that reflects the national average on rents for May compared to April, some would figure it’s something not too difficult to make up. But what if it isn’t? The three-tenths of a percent is the drop for one month, and 12x that comes to 3.6 percent annually. Quickly, that could become serious. During what would typically be the middle of prime leasing season, rents declined nationally by 0.3% on a month-over-month basis, reports Jeff Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix. He describes that drop in rents as startling. “Is it a harbinger of things to come? A warning sign?” Adler says. “When rents being offered to new residents drop like that month-over-month, year-over-year you have to ask yourself.” Adler says current national multifamily occupancy rates are mostly steady (a good thing). And there’s no deterioration in demand as measured by apartment search activity, which is also positive. “But this is peak leasing season,” he adds. “Falling like this would be at a rather significant clip. If we see it again next month, then demand will not have stabilized. And data show this is happening to high-end apartment communities.” The steepest declines in rents on a MoM basis were seen in major gateway markets that were among the first to impose strict lockdowns. Smaller markets are not immune and have seen substantial MoM rent declines as well. For this “general rolldown” in rents, Yardi Matrix has observed year-over-year rent decreases of -0.6 percent to -1 percent in major metropolitan areas across the country, including San Jose, Houston, Orlando, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Unprecedented Swiftness Many long-standing observers and employees of the multifamily industry can point to real estate’s cycles, and to the Great Depression, back around 2008-09, when rent declines were similar. “But the swiftness of what we’re seeing now is unprecedented,” Adler says. “Back then, job formations were slowing and you could almost read between the lines to know something bad was coming up. There were signals. This time, it’s sudden. This time it’s being caused by a health issue. We are counting on a vaccine or treatment to COVID-19 to turn the tide.” Job creation, of course, is helpful. Job losses, however, equate to income losses and ability to pay the rent, and inability for owners to stabilize (if not raise) rents. “For the sake of the industry, let’s hope that six months down the road things are different,” Adler says. “Wouldn’t it be great to go back to how it was in February, or even in 2019?” Some can speculate that the “busy season” for leasing could move to fall this year. Look at These Numbers Yardi Matrix also reports that national average rents decreased $5 to $1,460. Kansas City (0.4 percent), San Antonio and Baltimore (both 0.1 percent) were the only markets to show increases from April to May; 23 markets remain negative on a month-over-month basis. the last two months overall, rents have declined by $13. “If rents continue this rapid downward trend, we could be looking at alarming numbers by the end of the summer,” Adler says. The markets with the most severe MoM declines include Houston and San Jose (both -0.9 percent) and Nashville, Orange County and Seattle (all -0.8 percent). Houston tends to be among the most volatile markets in a normal month, and given the rapid decline in oil prices the road to recovery in Houston could be extended. San Jose, Orange County and Seattle were among the first markets to impose stringent lockdowns. Seattle only entered Phase 1 of reopening on June 5. Social Unrest Could Affect Urban Rents Apartment operators also must consider the social unrest that is going on in many urban centers....

Aspire Expands Jun18

Aspire Expands

Yardi Aspire, a dynamic on-demand learning management platform is now available to Yardi clients in the Middle East. Yardi Aspire, formerly known as Yardi eLearning, offers online courses and live webinars in areas ranging from software skills and compliance to company policies and custom career development. By hosting all of an organization’s training-related course content and documents in a centralized platform, Aspire reduces the time needed to create, maintain and administer courses. Automated reporting functionality tracks learning progress and organizational trends. Recognizing the critical need for virtual training and the unique challenges faced by learners who are practicing social distancing, the Yardi Middle East support team and the Yardi Aspire team have worked to deliver creative learning options developed specifically for our clients in the Middle East. We’ve packaged the training style and product expertise of Yardi’s Middle East software support team into interactive, mobile-friendly courses in the Yardi Aspire Learning Management Solution. We are excited to announce the release of a new Middle East collection of online learning courses that ready to be delivered directly to you and your employees. We’ve taken the liberty of bundling our courses into role-specific learning plans that deliver effective training to the right individuals. “Aspire offers property managers a budget-friendly way to establish an immersive, intuitive training program very quickly and easily,” according to Neal Gemassmer, vice president of international for Yardi. “The platform’s role-based learning plans put the right topics in the right hands. The convenience and efficiency of Aspire advance employee career development and therefore organizational success.” This new partnership was conceived with one specific goal in mind- to assist clients like you with essential software training during a time when live classroom training is simply not an option. This is just one of many...

Aspiring to New Heights...

This is an exciting time for the team behind Yardi’s learning management software platform. Formerly known as Yardi eLearning, the product is now called Yardi Aspire, a name which showcases the software’s potentially exceptional benefits for users. At the same time, the features of Yardi Aspire have increased in demand as clients find creative uses for the software to solve 2020’s unique challenges At the helm of the Yardi Aspire team is Patty Evans, director of Yardi Aspire content and support and Yardi corporate training, as well as Yves Hajjar, director of Yardi Aspire product development. Read on to learn more about Evans’ outlook on the recent product changes. Q: Tell us about the change to Yardi Aspire? Evans: Yardi Aspire has evolved over the past several years. It was time for the product’s name to truly reflect the scope of the solution, including all the forward-thinking features designed specifically for the property management industry’s leading learning and content management system. Q: Describe the recent developments that led to the rebrand? Evans: The Yardi Aspire catalog inspires a higher level of engagement than simple “training” videos. We feel that videos can be helpful in quickly transferring information to a student who is already familiar with a concept or for basic topics. I think many would agree when I say that video-based training is a learning style that may not work for everyone. Additionally, the Yardi Aspire catalog contains much more than Yardi software product training content. Approximately 25% of the 1,200+ course library is not about Yardi software at all. We offer nearly 400 courses on compliance, human resources, professional development, safety, leadership, leasing, personal development topics and more. Q: What other features may be important for new users? Evans: We’ve spent time carefully...

Rollouts That Rock

For senior living communities, rolling out a new system interface is no simple feat, especially for a service as crucial as electronic medication management. And when you consider that pharmacy partners must be involved too, it’s not hard to see why implementations are often tricky. But that doesn’t mean they can’t go smoothly. Our Yardi eMAR team has years of hands-on experience in software implementation and building close relationships with both community and pharmacy staff. Where other software vendors may cut the pharmacy out of the process, we prefer to show caregivers how things work with a representative from the pharmacy right there with us. Implementation collaboration We’ve found that bringing everyone on site for the initial implementation helps the communities and pharmacies understand the workflow better. Since they can walk through the processes together, they get a clearer view of how the other side handles a medication order. Of course, if issues crop up down the road, we’re always happy to help out. “Yardi is always extremely responsive. I get answers very quickly and action very quickly,” said Taylor Smalling, manager of account support and enterprise projects at Guardian Pharmacy Services. “That enhances the quality of the relationship and helps build trust.” Guardian, the nation’s third-largest long-term care pharmacy, is part of the Yardi Pharmacy Network. We’ve integrated their pharmacy software with Yardi eMAR for real-time medication information sharing and automated prescription fulfillment. So when it comes time to implement the interface at a new community, the setup is much simpler. “With Yardi, we are usually in touch with one or two people. We can work with them directly to get all of the interface components set up,” said Taylor. “It’s a really efficient process, and I think it pulls in the right...

Change for Good Jun16

Change for Good

Editor’s note: the following article featuring Yardi’s Richard Gerritsen was originally published in the Dutch real estate publication Vastgoedmarkt. Reprinted here with permission. The coronavirus outbreak is a powerful reason to take the digitisation of many work processes to a new level. “There is both a need and a desire for online residential leasing in a socially distanced world,” states Richard Gerritsen, regional director of European sales at Yardi. The technical tools to do so are already available. According to Gerritsen, the property world rarely views technological transformation in strategic terms. “Clients want operational solutions. Vendors respond by making apps available for very specific purposes. The use of tools like these undoubtedly has added value, but it doesn’t change the way we work. Whether you are a property manager, asset manager or fund manager: I firmly believe the use of technology should form part of your business strategy. A more fundamental consideration of the potential of proptech is often lacking, but today we have an urgent incentive to change that.” Old habits die hard Gerritsen is referring to ways of doing business that have been in place for decades. They may be comfortable and familiar, but they’re not best practices. “Technology is changing the way we live in big ways. The coronavirus has resulted in us getting used to different ways of communicating with one another. But in the property world, things still go on much as they always have. We need to make strategic decisions now to be prepared for the future.” Yet, Gerritsen believes the technology to revolutionise the management of residential and other types of property is already available. He points to the United States, where it’s possible to arrange a property viewing at any time of the day without an...

Flexspace Perspectives Jun15

Flexspace Perspectives

Yardi is excited to present a series of bitesize insight videos in partnership with Property Week, ahead of Workspace 2020. This series of interviews gathers perspectives from all corners of the flexible workspace industry, reflecting on the uncertain times that we have found ourselves in during recent months. Justin Harley, regional director at Yardi, captured insights from design company Area, flexspace operator Uncommon and data analytics company The Instant Group. In the last of the series, Harley also summarised Yardi’s technology outlook. How will physical space differ in the future post-covid-19? First to take the Zoom stage, was Kathryn O’Callaghan-Mills, Design Director at Area. Harley jumps straight in with the burning question, “how will physical space differ in the future post-Covid-19?” “The beauty of workspace is that it is so flexible, and the key point of our industry is to give the user a flexible experience,” comments O’Callaghan-Mills. “Operators need to consider two main elements; people and space.” O’Callaghan-Mills explains how operators can make an impact by considering these two pertinent points, including enabling social distancing with space management and rotating people within those spaces. Staying true to the bitesize theme, O’Callaghan-Mills promotes a digestible way of thinking with a ‘the now, the next, and the future’ mindset. With ‘the now’ comprising of immediate measures you can take; ‘the next’ acts as a hybrid of the immediate measures and new normal measures; and ‘the future’ which leverages on the innovation and technology investments you make today. How will the landscape of Flexspace change? Harley also spoke to Chris Davies, Director of Uncommon. Davies expressed that “the traditional faceless office is dead.” And how “the real estate industry needs to support the needs, amenities and service demands of flexspace clients.” “Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the landscape – it’s sped up pre-existing trends such as looking after staff. Staff are the most important part of any business and make up 60-80% of most businesses and flexible office space is the corporate enabler.” Davies explained that office users want a healthier workspace and activity-based working – something that the flexspace market has a hold on over traditional office. Davies expressed how corporate companies will continue to absorb the majority of flexspace market. In 2019 40% of occupiers were corporations – Davies only sees this expanding. Companies signing 5-10-year lease agreements will be a thing of the past in Davies’ opinion. “why wouldn’t a business use a better environment for their staff?” How will the demand for flexible workspace differ post-Covid-19? James Rankin, Head of Research for The Instant Group, gave some insightful perspectives on how the demand for flexspace might differ post-Covid-19. Rankin broke his summary down into three main points explaining that demand for corporates will increase, diversification of location of the office portfolio will be prevalent, and the entrepreneurial sector will flourish. Rankin shared insights from a recent research project conducted by Gartner; “Flexspace operators are moving away from the reactionary thought process that Covid-19 has seen them take, and are now moving to make more strategic decisions about the future of flexible workspace. They are looking to reduce costs, make efficiencies and increase the flexibility of their portfolios as a whole.” Diversification of the office portfolio will be ever more important Rankin explained, “we’ve seen a large number of companies look at how they can expand out of large metropolitan, central hubs.” Rankin explained that the supply isn’t there yet in suburban markets. “We’ve seen a spike in interest for flexible workspace. 5 out of our top 13 global coworking markets are now showing interest levels higher than pre-Covid-19. The bounce back is starting to speed up.” Technology Insights & Predictions Last but not least, Harley closed the Bitesize series with a summary of his predictions and insights that Yardi has taken from clients in the industry. “The future of flexible workspace is healthy and positive,” Harley states. Harley...

Foldable Phones

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was first introduced in London last year during the company’s Unpacked event as being one of Samsung’s most innovative designs in years. Since then, the company has released a newer folding phone called Galaxy Z Flip and reviews say that it tops the previews Fold version. The $1,380 device has a plus compared to the Galaxy Fold: it can fit into your pocket when closed, which wasn’t the case with last year’s released. The Z Flip opens vertically and revels a 6.7-inch screen with a layer of ultra-thin glass. Galaxy Z Flip Design This phone design brings us back to the memory lane when the old flip phones where stylish and everybody wanted one, except this is a way more modern and technology-advanced version of the old one. Samsung says the phone can flip open to up to 200,000 times, which makes it a pretty durable device. Another thing that the company has learned from its mistakes made with Galaxy Fold is that for this device they designed a thin layer of fabric that makes sure that dust particles don’t go between the gap that exist between screen and hinge, which was a problem for the original Galaxy Fold. On the phone’s exterior there is a 1.1-inch SUPER AMOLED screen that show you incoming calls, texts and alarms. It also displays the date and time, so you don’t have to flip it every time you need to see what time it is. Additionally, there is a mini-view finder with which you can take selfies the Z Flip is closed. To do that, you just need to press the power button twice to summon up the viewfinder and then hit one of the volume buttons to take the picture. This is a...

Interface Excellence

Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to daily drivers like an eMAR. Habits are formed. Workarounds are found. And business as usual continues, even when new solutions offer better ways to get the job done. Take it from Ed Mason, director of technology and general operations for Mercury Pharmacy. “People don’t like change a whole lot. They just want to get through their lives and not have to worry about extra stuff. And that’s the hardest thing you fight. You have to have the mindset that this change is good.” With over a decade of experience in rolling out eMAR interfaces, Ed has seen their progression from products that required special equipment to services that only need a web browser. Ed was also an early adopter of ALMSA, the care technology that Yardi eMAR is built on. “Back then, ALMSA was the first of everything. It was the first real time, the first online, the first automatic update. It was really cool. I was just sticking ALMSA in every community.” Having set up eMAR systems so many times, he now knows the best way to approach change. When an implementation is underway, he tries to make time to get out to the site. He’s involved from the start to act as a resource and help the community get trained. This productive collaboration extends to his partnership with Yardi. At Mercury Pharmacy, which serves over 6,000 active residents in Washington state, Ed works closely with our implementation team to roll out Yardi eMAR. “What I like about the Yardi implementations is that you actually have trainers go on site to do it. With other eMAR vendors, most of it is done over the web,” Ed said. “Yardi spends a little more time training people,...

Heroes for Parents Jun11

Heroes for Parents

In cities across the nation, school ends as summer arrives. While parents who have adapted to homeschooling release a collective sigh of relief, we know a second challenge looms: bored kids in a period of social distancing. Parents are grateful to see our kids enjoy even a few electronic-device-free hours. You, dear property manager, can help us achieve it. As a property manager, you can win big points on loyalty and resident satisfaction by hosting kid-friendly events. Need a few ideas? We’ve got three below to help you get started. These ideas are intended for locations where shelter-in-place practices are lifting, but families want to maintain activities that are appropriate for social distancing. Toddler I Spy Searching games can take on a variety of styles. One of the most casual options is to ask residents to tape paper shapes, colors and animals to their windows. As kids stroll the community with their families, they can point out the shapes, colors and animals that they discover in neighbors’ windows. Youngster Treasure Hunt This is a fun and fully customizable game for slightly older kids. Staff members can curate items and place them throughout the community: a massive stuffed bear in the leasing office window, a new bird feeder or windchime in a prominent tree, and similar items that are easy to see or hear but not easy to touch. Create a printable document that families can take with them during a stroll. Kids can check off the items that they locate and where. Incentivize the game with a fun raffle. (Allow families to electronically submit their completed forms, of course.) Teen Archery I know what you’re thinking. Give bored youth projectiles? But outdoor archery classes can successfully promote multiple benefits while keeping kids safe. Primarily,...

Cycling Without Age Jun10

Cycling Without Age

No one would have been surprised if it had all gone downhill. As shelter-in-place and social distancing measures hit California, a nonprofit focused on social interaction and time outdoors for seniors was unlikely to emerge unscathed. But where there is a will, there is a way. John Seigel-Boettner found a way. Leaning in to change Cycling Without Age is a Denmark-based organization that uses cycling as a cure for feelings of loneliness, alienation and depression amongst the elderly. Bikers, known as pilots, take seniors on two-hour rides through local neighborhoods. It’s an opportunity for the passengers to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends even when they’re nonverbal. As the new year began, the Santa Barbara chapter of Cycling Without Age experienced a surge in support and resources. Founder Seigel-Boettner built a relationship with eight senior centers that he and his pilots visited twice a week. He had just received two new tri-shaws–custom rickshaws with bucket seats and an electric motor —and trained 25 new pilots. With these resources, Cycling Without Age was prepared to make an even greater impact among Santa Barbara’s 17,000 senior citizens. “But the day that the bikes showed up is the day that we got locked down,” recalls Seigel-Boettner. Protocols set in place by Governor Newsom aimed to protect vulnerable populations from exposure to COVID-19. The unfortunate side effect was the increased loneliness, alienation and depression amongst seniors. “We were scratching our heads. We can’t pilot because we can’t get in the doors. Families can’t even get in the doors,” says Seigel-Boettner. Cycling Without Age came to a grinding halt. Seigel-Boettner and his team paused to take in the news, and them immediately sought new ways to serve the elderly. Getting creative, providing hope Seigel-Boettner began to brainstorm...

Yardi Proptech Insights Jun08

Yardi Proptech Insights

In the latest edition of Yardi Proptech Insights, Yardi regional director Richard Gerritsen speaks with Bart de Sitter and Jay Lelie of Delin Property about the company’s efforts to design innovative warehouse spaces that are efficient and functional as well as attractive for workers. With the growing need to attract and retain ecommerce employees for order fulfillment, warehouse spaces with natural light and employee-friendly amenities like lunch and break spaces are more important than ever. Interconnected spaces for warehouse activities and offices for managers and admin staff are also a priority. “We are hearing from our clients that retention of personnel is becoming more and more difficult, and we want to help our clients make a difference for their workforce, and help their employees be proud when they arrive at work,” said de Sitter, the company’s development director. That means moving away from boring, box-like industrial development norms. “In our designs we put the labor force first, creating a warehouse that provides a better workplace,” said Lelie, asset and leasing manager. Design schemes show massive windows, creative office integrations, and terrace-like areas for worker breaks. The company invests and develops industrial space in the Netherlands, UK, and Spain. Use of forward-thinking PropTech is also important to Delin Property, which continues to adapt and improve its technology management platform using Yardi products. Improving communication with tenants, on site safety and automating business processes have been two PropTech priorities for the company, shared de Sitter and Lelie. Watch the video below for more PropTech insights from this valued Yardi client. Learn more at...

Making Dreams Possible...

Many of us have done it. In conversation with a small child, we casually ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But how often do we make sure that child has what they need to succeed? When Samuel J. Ashe II looked around his community, he saw a deficit in educational resources specifically in the areas of math, fine arts and the sciences. As an active mentor, he wanted to support the big dreams of the neighborhood kids, but he couldn’t do it alone. Fortunately, his family and the community stepped in to help. Bringing people to the forefront of business After graduating with his MBA, Ashe joined Yardi as a marketing specialist with the RENTCafe Reach Team. “I have clients all over the country. I manage their digital marketing needs including but not limited to SEO, PPC, and social media management,” he says. Ashe joined Yardi because its corporate culture didn’t feel corporate at all. “Yardi is very people-focused and collaborative,” he says. “We have so many departments, yet I still feel like one big team as we all collaborate to provide superior customer services.” “From day one, I noticed this was a nurturing environment,” adds Ashe. “There was a great deal of energy put into the development of employees, as many of my first days were spent training online in Aspire. That was a breath of fresh air compared to a past of ‘figure it out’ job trainings. Over time, there have been more opportunities to improve upon my already solidified strengths and certifications coursework.” The Ashe Arts & STEM Academy: Representation matters Yardi’s focus on employee development resonated with Ashe, who is the Executive Director of The Ashe Arts & STEM Academy. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit supports the...

Changemakers Series Jun05

Changemakers Series

Nowadays, keeping an entire senior living community healthy requires stringent protocols, adequate PPE and, crucially, a dedicated team willing to take every step necessary. As part of their Changemakers series, Senior Housing News has been interviewing influential leaders in senior living, discussing innovation and asking for their insights on the industry’s challenges — including COVID-19. It’s a showcase of thought leaders, risk-takers and trend-setters, sponsored by Yardi. But, as our newest honoree makes clear, success in preventing an outbreak doesn’t rest solely on a leader’s shoulders. The second member of the Changemakers 2020 class is Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of Aegis Living. Clark has over three decades’ experience in senior living. He rose through the ranks at Leisure Care and Sunrise Senior Living before starting Aegis 20 years ago in Seattle, looking to offer a combination of novel designs, disruptive operational concepts and exceptional care. Since then, Aegis has become a nationally known, award-winning provider. Despite his own accomplishments, Clark attributes a large part of Aegis’s success to his team and culture. “From the very beginning, we stood apart to be a very different kind of company, starting with the kind of people we hire. I think over 90% of our people come from the hospitality industry,” he said. “The bridge to get to your customers is your staff, especially your line staff. You’ve got to make those people delighted in their job every day. That is the whole point, and this [distinction] has been incredibly important to us.” And that commitment hasn’t wavered during the coronavirus outbreak. In this excerpt from the SHN interview, Clark expands on Aegis’s COVID-19 response, sharing how they’ve supported staff so residents continue to receive great care. How have you been able to attract that talent? What...

Dubai Asset Management Jun04

Dubai Asset Management

More than 100,000 Dubai residents rely on 10 housing communities, ranging from studio apartments to luxury villas, owned by Dubai Asset Management (a subsidiary of Dubai Holding). The subsidiary of Dubai Holding developed its portfolio of 20 million square feet of leasable assets by providing the best customer experience in terms of product, pricing and location, and resident services. Maintaining outstanding customer service as communities, headcount and staffing grow larger isn’t easy. Company leaders realized that retaining stature as Dubai’s premier provider of residential property required better technology and increased staff efficiency in the form of real-time property availability, online leasing, rent payments and resident self services, along with 24/7 online and mobile access to account data. Achieving this goal required a technology platform capable of managing the entire residential lifecycle. In 2015 Dubai Asset Management adopted Yardi Voyager as its property management and accounting platform. Yardi Voyager centralised Dubai Asset Management’s operational, financial, maintenance management and compliance data on a single connected solution. With information easily available online and via remote devices, Dubai Asset Management can show prospective residents real-time apartment unit inventory, including floor plans, which helps the company close leases faster and achieve occupancy targets. The easy access to information also helps the company make and implement better-informed decisions. The full integration of Yardi Voyager with RENTCafé and Yardi Maintenance further enhances Dubai Asset Management’s resident service and staff efficiency. Units available for lease are displayed online as soon as they become available, enabling faster unit turnover. Residents have the convenience of making rent payments online, and the company’s maintenance staff can manage work orders in the field without returning to the office. Leasing agents can close deals as easily in the field as in the office. The portfolio-wide data transparency enabled by Yardi Voyager also enhanced reporting efficiency by reducing the time staff members spend manually compiling data. “Yardi Voyager reduces the friction of moving in, moving out, contacting maintenance and paying rent. These benefits make our communities more convenient and satisfying for our residents and solidifies our reputation as a leading residential services provider in Dubai,” said Mohamed Roushdy, head of technology for Dubai Asset Management. Learn more about Dubai Asset Management at dubaiam.ae/. Learn how Yardi serves property management companies across the Middle East at...

Stepping Up Jun01

Stepping Up

(Part three of a three-part series highlighting the efforts of food banks during COVID-19. Read about food bank efforts in Santa Barbara and Raleigh.) Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. (Read previous blogs on the Santa Barbara County and Raleigh food banks.) An example of one outreach was a grant to the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). “I know what a big difference this will make in so many lives locally,” says Don Rogers, general manager for Yardi Atlanta. Ben Burgess, ACFB corporate relations manager, received the donation from Yardi. “I’m speechless. This is the kind of overwhelming generosity that makes me love what I do and working with companies like yours,” Burgess said. From bad to better beyond expectations In early March, ACFB relocated to a new office. When COVID-19 business closures hit, the organization was still trying to acclimate to its new environment. “Most of us were still figuring out where all the light switches were and which printers were ours when this hit,” says Burgess. “We immediately lost our biggest fundraiser, the annual Hunger Walk/Run 5K and our annual Golf Tournament.” As consumers stocked up on supplies to shelter in place, retail stores became overwhelmed. Empty shelves left little to donate to the food bank. “Retail store donations represent round 1/3 of our food inventory which was just .. gone. We were bracing for the worst,” says Burgess. But in the midst of that anxiety came unexpected support for ACFB from the local community. “People stepped up to support us from all over the place. Businesses, non-profits, individuals, everyone. We know for certain that at least 30 people have donated the entirety of their stimulus check to help those who need it right now,” Burgess said. Volunteers, a crucial component of most food banks’ operations, couldn’t come in due to social distancing requirements. But an alternative source of help stepped in. “We typically host over 125,000 volunteer hours per year – but the state gave us 50 National Guard service members to help fill that role five days a week. It’s been an overwhelming thing to see,” Burgess said. We are in this together As a result of the community outpouring, ACFB has been able to meet the demand for emergency aid in the community. The organization has distributed over 7 million pounds of food in the last 30 days, including 4.1 million in the last two weeks. Every donation is needed. “In demand, we estimate an increase of more than 30% in the last 30 days which puts us at more than 1 million people who are food insecure in the metro Atlanta area right now,” reports Burgess. “We are humbled. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your support!” says Burgess. Learn more about emergency relief efforts at ACFB: Join Yardi in donating to the Atlanta Community Food Bank....

Get More Tours May30

Get More Tours

Recent world events surrounding COVID-19 have led us all to adopt new consumer behaviors, and it’s likely that many of these behaviors will stick. With that in mind, it might be time for us to revisit our approach to apartment tours. Did you know that 80% of renters seriously considered just four or fewer properties during their last apartment search, according to the  2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report? And 38% of renters only toured one or two communities before making their rental decision. That number is likely to grow now that we’ve all grown accustomed to doing more online. So how do you get your property on renters’ short list — especially now that they’re more likely to be influenced by online content than in-person experiences — and secure more tours? Keep reading for three data-driven tips for getting more property tours, whether virtual, self-guided or led by an agent. Then, watch a video from our “Moments of Genius with Drew Davis” series to learn how you can create a better virtual experience to attract renters who are actively searching for apartments. Provide unit-level photos & details Renters in the same survey were asked, “What would you need to see online to rent an apartment without seeing it in person?” The top three answers were: 83% said unit photos 64% said community/amenity photos 64% said unit location within the community That’s right. Just like other online purchases, your prospects want to see exactly what they’re getting for their money. To get them to tour (or lease online, sight unseen), you need to make sure that your property website is attractive, user friendly and full of pictures, including an accurate property map. Unit-level photos and video tours create an experience that not only shows the unit but also builds a foundation of trust for your brand and leasing associates. Additionally, property maps with unit-specific locations help prospects envision life in their new home on your property. Are they close to the pool? Do they have a sunset view? The more supporting material you can provide, the quicker prospects will be able to mentally move-in. “Did you know that roughly 60% of searches are mobile? That means a lot of web visitors are viewing your site on their phones,” said Catriona Orosco, director for RENTCafé Reach. “Be sure to include vertical photos as well as horizontal ones to give them a better viewing experience.” Add online appointment scheduling & tour options 80% of renters said they would use online appointment scheduling in their next apartment search. Online appointment scheduling accommodates busy renters who don’t have time or simply don’t want to call during office hours. After all, consumers are used to booking everything from restaurant reservations to DMV appointments online. Data shows that self-scheduled appointments convert at a high rate. In fact, QuadReal, a RENTCafé client, found that 33% of its self-made appointments converted to leases. Additionally, another 59% of surveyed renters said they wanted self-navigated virtual tours, and 26% wanted real-time video tours done through FaceTime or a similar service. Adding these options to your website or as part of your leasing agent follow-ups will help you meet the needs of a greater range of renters. Offer self-guided tours Of the 370,000 survey participants in the NMHC study, 16% of renters said they would prefer a self-guided tour, while another 15% indicated no preference between self-guided or community-staffed tours. That’s almost 115,000 prospects who would happily tour your property unguided, expanding your tour offerings and giving your staff more time to assist guests and residents with urgent needs. And that study happened pre-pandemic. A more recent survey of 4,974 apartment shoppers on RENTCafe.com revealed that 70% would take a self-guided tour now. Why do some prospects prefer self-guided tours? Their responses were almost equally divided between these four reasons: It’s more convenient for their schedule (to book tours outside...

Working Together, Separately May29

Working Together, Separately

An organization’s ability to remain focused and cohesive during social distancing is essential for its success. To do so, Newcastle Limited chose to harness the power of software that fills gaps created by social distancing, offering tools for collaboration, communication, and productivity.  Pre-pandemic business as usual Newcastle Limited is a Chicago-based real estate investment firm specializing in commercial and residential properties. Its localized portfolio consists of 42 residential properties totaling 2,875 units and 55 retail properties with 140 tenants. To support those clients, Newcastle Limited employs 150 staff members, 54 of which operate from the corporate office. Mike Haney, Newcastle Limited CEO, consistently prioritizes the professional development of his team. Prior to the pandemic, the organization implemented Newcastle University via Yardi eLearning for onboarding, training, continuing education and professional development. Once restructured as Yardi Aspire, the additional features within the software  gave new life to Haney’s initiative. Newcastle Limited implemented Aspire at the end of February, and timing couldn’t have been better. The organization had the opportunity to familiarize itself with the revised University before the pandemic encouraged social distancing nationwide. Through Aspire, Newcastle Limited has been able to maintain its focus on professional development in the face of unprecedented change. Aspire: working together, separately In response to social distancing, Newcastle Limited shifted most of its workforce to a remote environment. The real estate investment firm relied on Yardi Aspire to keep the team connected and in sync. Its online learning environment includes communication tools, collaboration opportunities and training event management. Aspire has proven to be a single solution for Newcastle’s remote work needs. Get 6 Pro Tips for Stellar Remote Work Aspire is the only training solution on the market that enables clients to automatically distribute role-based learning plans that cover multiple competency areas including property management software skills, mandatory compliance, company policies, safety, leasing and procedures. At Newcastle Limited, Aspire has helped management better understand the needs, strengths, and opportunities of its employees as they work and learn outside of the office. “We are using the platform for compliance-related initiatives such as policy and procedure updates. This way, we can track who has taken and acknowledged policies,” says Jennifer Smetana, director of learning and development at Newcastle Limited. Scoring measures within the software also provide managers with insights into areas that may need review and further clarification. Additional features have improved the way that Newcastle Limited stays organized and connected with remote employees. “The learning plans and our dynamic ownership for grouping and reporting purposes have had a major impact,” says Smetana. “We also started using the resource containers to house quick guides, article of the week, and the additional links to pages we use often. Everything is quickly accessible in one place so that we stay efficient and organized.” Teamwork, virtual watercoolers and camaraderie During social distancing, the communication and collaboration tools within Aspire demonstrated their value to Newcastle Limited. “We have taken an employee engagement approach to the platform,” she says.  “We launched engagement events such as virtual coffee breaks, contests, games and Wednesdays by the Watercooler to keep our team members connected.” Wednesdays by the Watercooler is a casual event where employees are encouraged to log on together and share in a virtual break. “We connect, tell jokes and do silly activities to stay united,” smiles Smetana. “I feel that Aspire has helped our organization move forward and continue growing. The platform is the foundation for staying connected and has aided in keeping our team members working while being remote,” says Smetana. Join a webinar to discover how Aspire, formerly eLearning, can support your organization during social distancing and beyond....

Durable Employment May28

Durable Employment

Each week’s news seems to bring a new wave of devastation for the U.S. employment market, as unemployment claims continue to climb due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The national unemployment toll was 36.5 million jobs lost when this was written – by the time you read it, that figure will likely be higher. Yardi Matrix® dove into the unemployment data to find out which sectors and geographic regions are hardest hit, which will hold up and where the unemployed may want to look for their next opportunity. Unlike past recessions, job losses have not been spread across the economy. Layoffs and furloughs have been concentrated in segments most affected by shelter-in-place orders: retail, leisure, travel and entertainment, and jobs in which social distancing is difficult. Between February and April, leisure and hospitality jobs contracted by a jaw-dropping 48.1%, or 8.1 million workers. Other hard-hit segments include other services (-21.9%), a category that includes personal services and repairs, retail trade (-13.7%) and construction (-12.7%). The number of lost jobs has been higher among hourly, service-based workers than for career workers who more easily can work from home. On a proportional basis, job categories that shed the fewest jobs over the last three months are financial activities (-2.8%), government (-4.3%) and wholesale trade (-6.2%). Another segment that lost relatively few jobs was professional and technical services (-5.3%), which includes computer systems design services (-3.8%). “This report provides in-depth insight to the most durable employment sectors, both professionally and geographically,” said Jeff Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix.  Find the full Durable Employment Sectors report from Yardi...

Accelerated Sales May28

Accelerated Sales

Occupancy in senior living may be trending low, but some providers are up to the challenge. Case in point, Stage Management. With a little help from Yardi Senior CRM, this senior housing owner and operator has accelerated its sales cycle and boosted its occupancy rate. “With Yardi Senior CRM, we can see where we are in our sales cycle and what activities we need to complete to help move more people in the door,” said Troy McClymonds, partner at Stage Management. “Our numbers prove that over and over again.” Meet Stage Management Based out of Centennial, Colorado, Stage Management is committed to care. “Our mission for staff is care comes first. We’re not a real estate business — we’re a care company,” said McClymonds. This focus on quality care is clear at Stage Management’s full-service retirement community, Golden Pond, which offers 115 units of independent living, assisted living and memory care in Golden, Colorado. The staff encourage residents to follow their interests while providing comforts to make everyone feel at home. Paperwork presents challenges When new prospects used to walk in the door at Golden Pond, front-desk staff would capture their information on paper cards, making handwritten notes on the back. The hand-off to sales took extra time as a result. When prospects did decide to move in, they were asked to share similar information repeatedly. “There was a lot of duplicate work,” said McClymonds. So Stage Management turned to Senior CRM. The senior living sales and marketing solution ties the resident record together from lead to lease, so staff at Golden Pond no longer need to re-enter details or search through paper files. Measurable, profitable results Thanks to Senior CRM, the paper trail is now just a memory for Stage Management. The mobile,...