Perspective on Proptech Mar18

Perspective on Proptech...

Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in Vastgoedmarkt, a Netherlands-based real estate magazine. It is reprinted here with permission. Mapping the future of living, working and recreation, will require being responsive to the needs of millennials.  For this, proptech is essential, according to Richard Gerritsen of Yardi. Most of the technology is already available, but the drive to actually apply it to some sectors of the global real estate industry is still missing. Richard Gerritsen has been working for Yardi since 2005, and currently serves as regional director Europe. The American real estate automation supplier is doing well, the regional director says. ‘We started with offices in London and Amsterdam, but Yardi is now also in Germany and Romania, and will soon also be present in France. Our goal was to double our turnover every five years. We succeeded in that and recently, we have been even growing faster than that. Yardi saw its European turnover grow by 44 percent in the year 2019 alone. Now that Yardi is an established party in Europe and in the Netherlands, Gerritsen also sees it as his mission to stimulate more enthusiasm for proptech in the real estate industry. Unlimited possibilities ‘I want to make the industry aware of the great importance of proptech.  When I started at Yardi in 2005, I learned that I shouldn’t use the word software in my conversations with real estate professionals. The software department meant the lads at the end of the corridor where it was always dark. But now, technology and proptech play a much bigger role in (office) life.  Yet technology is still not a popular subject in the boardrooms. This is related to conservatism within the real estate industry, but it is also because those aged over...

Employee Spotlight Mar18

Employee Spotlight

It all started with a baby.  In 1995, Catriona Orosco welcomed a handsome baby boy into the world. She was quickly dissatisfied, however, by the drab and impractical clothing on the market for nursing moms. “I thought I could do better,” she says. She had no idea that her career with Yardi was in the making. Nursing Mamas and Internet Marketing A few years later, while pregnant with her second son, Orosco created Nursing Mamas, a clothing line for breastfeeding mothers. She teamed up with a friend and began making trips to the Los Angeles Garment District. After each trip, they returned to Santa Barbara with cozy, natural fabrics that they’d take to a local pattern maker and producer. Once a few good products were in development, Cat turned her attention to marketing. “I started a website because I really just wanted to sell the clothes online and work from home,” she says. “It was an incredible learning experience.” Orosco witnessed the birth of Google, and quickly saw the marketing opportunities with AdWords. “I used AdWords very early on and figured out how to optimize my website back in the days when there really were only 10 blue links,” Orosco laughs. “I learned a lot about marketing, and it was exciting to participate in everything that was happening online.” At that time, the average jane did not build her own website. There weren’t handy drag-and-drop features or convenient widgets. There certainly weren’t many resources on increasing organic rankings with search engines. Cat explored the terrain of website building and online marketing, talking to as many people as she could find and testing on her own. When she exhausted her available resources, she got the help of a SCORE consultant. “While they were impressed with...

Multifamily and COVID-19 Mar17

Multifamily and COVID-19

It seems no industry is immune from the impact of the COVID-19 virus, and that includes multifamily real estate. The global spread of the COVID-19 virus has brought a technical end to the 11-year bull market in equities, forced a European travel ban and sent Treasury rates to historic lows. According to the latest multifamily report from Yardi Matrix, the industry may feel the effects of COVID-19 as it spreads across the nation, although the rental housing industry remains well capitalized and strong enough to weather a modest slowdown. “Owners and operators may face short-term rent collection issues if there is a tightening in the employment market, and value-add projects will likely slow,” states the special report from Yardi Matrix. “However, most real estate investors are poised to sustain their operations and may see an investment opportunity as the market shocks continue.” Travel, hotel, restaurant and trade industries will likely be hurt the worst, as business and leisure travel draw nearly to a halt. “It seems inevitable that the U.S. economy will experience a technical recession,” states the report. “Business travel has all but stopped and personal travel has slowed considerably, leading the airline industry to be one of the hardest-hit sectors. Restaurants and tourism will also feel significant pain as trips are canceled and social distancing increases.” While the data has yet to reflect the impacts of COVID-19 (February employment growth was very strong, jobless claims did not increase, and rent growth continued its steady increase), the coming weeks and months are likely to show employment cuts and a slowdown in trade with widespread impacts. Learn more by downloading the full Yardi Matrix special multifamily report at yardimatrix.com Yardi Matrix offers the industry’s most comprehensive market intelligence tool for investment professionals, equity investors, lenders and property managers who underwrite and manage investments in commercial real...

7 Quick Tips Mar17

7 Quick Tips

Make this your best leasing season yet! A bit of early preparation can help you convert leads faster, improve efficiencies around the office, and ensure you’re maxing-out your revenue. We’ve created a seven-point checklist to get the busy leasing season off to a great start. Maximize revenues with data-driven rental pricing. What are you using to determine the pricing of your units? If you’re not using a revenue management system, you can be missing out on6% net rental income growth. When you use localized market data to determine your unit pricing, you drive revenue and improve occupancy. Position yourself to beat competitors by at least 2%. Explore ways to make the leasing workflow more efficient. Start with the basics: go paperless. Wherever you see paper, that means manual (and likely repetitive) data entry must take place. Online applications expedite the process. All document submissions and resident screening protocols are completed online. Prospects are easily converted to residents without duplicate files and redundant data entry. Bonus: you can get rid of unsightly, space-consuming file cabinets. Secondly, automate as many tasks as possible. Scheduling tours and most marketing strategies benefit from automation. When you automate tasks, leasing staff can save time. Their time can be redirected towards resident satisfaction initiatives and building relationships with prospects. Speaking of building relationships, ensure that your leasing workflow includes conscious strategies for nurturing leads. Learn how to nurture leads to improve conversions. Without these steps, you will experience more dropped leads and waste your marketing spend. Ensure that your team is proficient with all software that is in use. Software can make workflows effortless—if you know how to use it! Continuing education courses on your customized e-learning software will promote proficiency and efficiency. Leasing agents can review materials at their...

Multifamily Trends Mar16

Multifamily Trends

Multifamily housing performance has been strong across the U.S. during the current economic cycle, but there are notable regional differences in market health, investor demand and economic growth, says the latest Yardi Matrix regional multifamily report. The report analyzes rent growth, occupancy, supply growth and transaction volume in 130 metros between 2016 and 2019. The strongest performances were delivered by metros in the Southeast, Southwest and Western U.S., while the Northeast and Midwest were slightly behind. Key takeaways from the report: The Southeast, Southwest and Southeast have outperformed in rent growth, employment and transaction volume The West and Southwest have led in rent growth for most of the economic cycle Led by the Northeast, occupancy rates at the end of 2019 were nearly 95 percent in every region except the Southwest The Northeast ($2,066) and West ($1,824) have the highest rents in the nation New investment is highest in the Southeast and West, which accounted for 60 percent of multifamily transaction activity last year “Robust demand to add multi-family properties to portfolios pushed deal flow to an all-time high of $119.5 billion in 2019,” notes the report. Nearly 300,000 multifamily units were delivered last year nationwide. Find all the regional performance insights and learn what’s happening in your region in the Yardi Matrix regional multifamily report.  ...

Spring Marketing Mar16

Spring Marketing

As the snow thaws and daylight lingers through the evening, your residents will be itching for fun ways to get outdoors and spend time with loved ones. Catch their attention with your community events! This guide will offer quick and simple steps for launching your events towards success. Before the Event After you’ve planned the event, you’ve got to get the word out. Use Yardi RENTCafé to create a blog post about the event. In the post, provide helpful details such as: Date, time and location Admission costs, include an early bird discount to create urgency and motivate the sale Number of non-resident guests that may accompany residents Relevant age restrictions Parking provisions Recommend attire or dress code Details about any items that guests should bring Don’t forget to give the event plenty of personality! Do this through the tone of your text and the Featured Image that you select on the blog post. Once the blog post is complete, use RENTCafé to connect Facebook and promote your event. You may choose to pin the post to the top of your newsfeed so that all new and returning visitors will see it. Next, create at least one new visual per week that you can use to promote the event on social media (in addition to your blog post). Fresh visuals are important because they may capture the attention of residents who did not respond to the Featured Image on the blog post. The visuals can be videos, illustrations, or pictures with text. In the latter, limit the text to 20-30 percent of the total image surface area. If an image is too wordy, it will be ignored. Distribute these images on your preferred social media platform(s) each week to spread the word of your...

Get Current Mar13

Get Current

The U.S. Energy Information Administration distributes information on energy-related trends and milestones. Here’s a sampling of recent postings from the EIA’s Today in Energy news and information resource. Renewables on the rise The EIA projects that electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind and solar will surpass nuclear and coal by 2021 and natural gas in 2045. Most of the growth in renewable electricity generation comes from wind and solar, which account for about half of renewable generation today. These technologies will account for nearly 80% of the renewable total in 2050. New wind capacity is expected to continue at much lower levels after production tax credits expire in the early 2020s. Growth in solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity will continue for both utility-scale and small-scale applications through 2050 because of declining PV costs. In April 2019, U.S. monthly electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time. Wind blows by hydro In 2019, annual wind generation exceeded hydroelectric generation as the top renewable source of energy generation in the U.S. for the first time. Wind generation totaled 300 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2019, exceeding hydroelectric generation by 26 million MWh. Energy consumption heats up World energy consumption will grow nearly 50% by 2050, with the growth focused in regions where strong economic growth is driving demand, particularly Asia. The industrial sector, including refining, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and construction, will account for more than half of end-use energy consumption through 2050, by which time global industrial energy consumption will reach about 315 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). Transportation energy consumption is slated to increase nearly 40% by 2050 and is largely driven by developing countries with non-market economies. Energy consumed in the buildings sector, which includes residential and commercial structures, is...

Health and Wellness: Afya Mar12

Health and Wellness: Afya

Imagine that you are a skilled physician. You’ve taken a month off work to volunteer at a clinic in Tanzania. Upon arrival to the clinic, you immediately encounter families in need of medical care: inflections, malaria, injuries and deadly viruses. You expect that the clinic staff will point you towards the supplies that you need to begin working, but there are no supplies. The shelves are empty. Nothing. You have the skills to help but without supplies, you feel powerless. Danielle Butin encountered one such physician on her trip several years ago. She found the physician crying in a tent, frustrated at the situation and sad for the suffering that she could not alleviate. Butin sat with the physician, one arm draped across the crying woman’s shoulders. Skilled practitioners need supplies to do their best work. The concept for Afya began to brew Butin’s mind. From New York to the Serengeti At the time, Butin was an executive with a Fortune 500 company. When her work with the health care corporation was complete, she found herself at the threshold of a new frontier. The physician’s story proved unshakeable, and Butin began researching ways that she could help. She knew there was a regulation-driven surplus of medical supplies in hospital basements and storage rooms. It was standard practice for unused medical supplies to end up in landfills. How could so much waste continue when there is such need for supplies all over the world? Butin planned how she could intercept those unused supplies before they made it to the dump. She could then divert the resources to places like Tanzania. Butin cold called hospitals to learn about their discarded materials. Bewildered hospital staff guided her through storage areas to see possible donations. Butin readily accepted whatever was available, though she had no way of storing the materials or transporting them to their ultimate destinations at the time. At one point, a semi-trailer of supplies sat in front of her home for weeks. In 2007, Afya (which means “health” or “wellness” in Swahili) took shape. Butin secured storage for donated goods and coordinated logistics. She established relationships with medical centers in New York where she could receive a more consistent source of discarded supplies. The work continues to grow and change lives around the world. Saving seniors in Puerto Rico  Afya currently operates in 83 countries. The nonprofit has diverted $36 million-worth of supplies from the greater New York waste streams into the hands of clinicians and volunteers who use the resources to save lives. Though no longer in the for-profit sector, Butin has transferred several of her corporate values into her work. “I’ve learned to be accountable and hold others accountable. In nonprofits, there tends to be a much looser structure. Accountability is, in many cases, not a clearly defined construct. As the leader for a nonprofit, our accountability is vitally important,” says Butin. She adds, “My previous work also taught me the importance of truth-telling. A vital piece is being honest about experiences, being honest with partners and donors. They appreciate transparency, even when it’s not the best news.” Unlike a large, for-profit corporation, the non-profit sector has afforded Butin a considerable amount of agility. Her organization has been able to quickly respond to disasters without weaving through red tape and extensive protocols. That agility enabled Afya to work extensively in Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria and the first earthquake to hit the island in January 2020. “After Hurricane Maria in 2017, we did an enormous amount of relief work in Puerto Rico,” says Butin. “We partnered with Acción Social. We love them. So when the earth started shaking there this year, we went back to figure out how we can be helpful. We began our work with seniors.” The Afya team arrived to Puerto Rico to find seniors sleeping in the streets and under bushes. Though the...

Digital Conversations Mar11

Digital Conversations

Imagine never picking up the phone to answer prospects’ questions yet still receiving stellar reviews for customer service. Can you see a future where residents only visit the leasing office for friendly conversation? All their questions, concerns, and feedback are addressed without consuming staff time. Chatbots are bringing these seemingly unrealistic expectations to reality—and it’s time for multifamily to reap the benefits. What’s a chatbot and why should I care? A chatbot is an interactive application that relies on artificial intelligence to assist humans. Quality chatbots mimic human communication by using personable language when engaging with users via websites, apps, and text messages. Multifamily housing providers use chatbots to reduce operational costs while improving responsiveness to clients’ needs. Advanced chatbot auto-response systems promptly assist clients without human intervention. Chatbots can guide prospects through the leasing process, assist residents with online bill pay, submit maintenance requests, and issue lease renewals without consuming a second of a leasing agent’s time. As a result, chatbot users can experience improved resident satisfaction and retention. Your competition is likely benefiting from this technology At the end of 2018, about 66.4 million chatbots were in use in the US. That’s a 40 percent boost over 2017’s data. The implementation rates continue to climb. A Spiceworks survey revealed that 40 percent of companies employing more than 500 people implemented one or more chatbots over corporate mobile devices this year. About 80 percent of marketers will implement a chatbot by 2020, estimates Oracle. The popularity of chatbots stems from their effectiveness. They are responsive, patient, and impartial. According to NICE inContact’s 2018 CX Transformation Benchmark, 33 percent of consumers report that chatbots made issue resolution faster. Users also appreciate the responsiveness, convenience, and reliability of chatbots. AI communication is more efficient than email yet still maintains a written record of the conversation that can be emailed to users. Chatbots are more convenient than phone calls because they offer assistance 24/7. This combination of features has helped to establish trust between users and AI. Trust matters. Millennials favor chatbots though adults of all ages are increasingly comfortable with chatbot interaction, even for expensive purchases like an apartment. A Drift survey suggests that 13 percent of adults purchased at least one expensive item using a chatbot and 27 percent have purchased daily necessities. A new-ish technology is already improving Technically, the first chatbot was created in 1966. It felt very much like talking to a robot that had the conversational and comprehension skills of a toddler. But that noble program paved the way for the powerhouses of today. Modern chatbots are equipped with machine learning which makes them more sophisticated than their predecessors—and their technology is improving by the second. When artificial intelligence is paired with machine learning, a chatbot gathers data from each interaction with users and analyzes that data to improve future experiences. Chatbots learn, in a sense, to be more helpful and more natural in their engagement with humans. For example, a chatbot can answer most questions about a property or unit such as square footage, layout, rent rates, pet policies, and amenities. When they encounter questions that they cannot answer, they send a report to operators and improve their services in the future. Each interaction improves future interactions. Additionally, chatbots deliver information promptly and as frequently as prospects request it. Unlike humans, chatbots can repeat information and receive a multitude of questions without a change in temperament or feeling pressed for time. As a result, customer service scores will not be affected by a representative’s mood or tone. What does the future look like? Business Insider reports that 80 percent of enterprises will use chatbots by 2020.  Organizations benefit from improved communication between companies and consumers without increasing the manpower needed to handle rote tasks. AIs ability to communicate and handle tasks will become more sophisticated. Natural language processing enhances the usage of chatbots in...

3 Questions to Ask Mar10

3 Questions to Ask

There are several factors that can influence a change in a property’s performance. The economy and market conditions are often the largest influences that are beyond your control. Smaller and more controllable factors, like vendor selection, may influence your success as well. If you haven’t evaluated your vendors’ performance since striking the contracts, now is the time. Complacency with vendors is bad business It’s common to find reputable vendors and stick with them until a major event prompts you to reconsider. The result is that the quality of vendor services may slowly and subtly change without your awareness. As the quality of services degrade, it negatively affects your property’s performance. Have resident complaints or dissatisfaction risen? Have you noticed units are harder to lease out? The overall maintenance of your site could be a contributing factor. Any work completed by vendors—landscaping, pool and site maintenance, turning and staging units, for example—are part of the prospects’ and residents’ experience. If vendor performance is underwhelming, your property suffers. Ask the three simple question below to determine if your vendors are truly an asset to your business. Are your vendors organized? Disorganized vendors rarely delivery top-notch services. A few common signs of disorganization include: arriving late to appointments delayed invoicing unclear and unspecific invoicing inconsistent performance or products and poor communication If your vendor demonstrates more than one of these signs, it may be worthwhile to take a closer look at their performance and business practices. Also, ensure that all licensing and insurance is updated each year. A lack of coverage is a risk to you and your customers. Besides, if they’re falling behind on essential documentation, what else are they overlooking? Learn how VendorCafe empowers your business to reduce risk, gain efficiency, and enhance compliance. Are...

A Career on the Go Mar09

A Career on the Go

As of March 2020, Carlos Perez will have spent two decades in the data management industry. Three common themes run throughout his career and personal life: technology, Yardi software and change. Carlos has a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree with a concentration in Business Analytics from the University of Phoenix. He enjoys collecting music on vinyl, DJ’ing, reading self-motivational books and playing scrabble with his wife and kids. His current position is senior technical analyst for Yardi, specializing in support of public housing agencies and cloud-based technology. The story of how he got here is a bit complicated, to say the least. Carlos was born in Los Angeles, where he spent his first five years before moving to Ensenada, Mexico. Later, he’d move back to Los Angeles, and then back to Ensenada, then San Diego, Tijuana, and ultimately to Santa Barbara. Throughout his moves, Carlos built the foundation of his professional skills on technology and data. He began his career in the PHA industry in 1999, working for the Los Angeles County Development Authority (formerly known as Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles). “We were using VisualHOMES software, but were in the process of switching to Yardi. Our VisualHOMES team was understandably disappointed that we were leaving. But then, not long after, Yardi acquired VisualHOMES, and somewhat ironically, we were once again working with our VisualHOMES team to implement Yardi Voyager PHA,” says Carlos. In 2007, Carlos got married, moved to San Diego and began working as a crime data analyst for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. In that role, he made a professional connection with a Yardi executive who was doing some work with the San Diego Housing Commission. That connection eventually led to another job change...

Middle East Expansion Mar07

Middle East Expansion

Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in Gulf Property Executive and is reprinted here with permission. Yardi is now the most used real estate solution for residential units in the Middle East. The company’s game-changing, cloud-based technology helps property and asset managers reduce the costs of managing properties, improves operational efficiency and allows real estate professionals to focus on adding value, a senior official said. “We have already implemented our real estate solutions with some of the largest developers and asset managers in Middle East to manage their units with our property management system, and we expect our business to continue growing at a fast pace,” Aditya Shah, director of Middle East operations for Yardi, told Gulf Property in an exclusive interview. “We help them to reduce costs and drive efficiencies in the way they execute many processes across the real estate lifecycle; the management of service charges being a prime example.” Shah comments that some of the largest UAE-based developers and asset managers use Yardi’s flagship product, Yardi Voyager, to centralise operational, financial, leasing and maintenance management for their entire portfolio in a single database. Yardi is a global real estate solutions provider that manages more than 12 million residential units worldwide through its cloud-based software platforms including Voyager, the RENTCafé Suite and a range of other solutions that support the entire real estate lifecycle from procurement and maintenance to business intelligence and reporting. Established in 1984, the 35-year-old company employs more than 6,500 professionals in 40 offices across the world. The UAE’s facilities management market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8 percent and expected to generate $23.88 billion revenue by 2024. The growth is driven by the higher number of new residential supplies that is also putting pressure on rent and property prices. According to industry reports, more than 60,000 new homes will be delivered in Dubai in 2019 and 2020 as the emirate prepares for the World Expo 2020. “The supply glut is considerable. In 2018, about 43,000 units were added to Dubai’s total residential stock (which stood at around 491,000 units at end of 2017) and about 8,000 to the Abu Dhabi market (251,000 units at end of 2017),” Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a global real estate advisory, said in a report. According to a recent report by global property management advisory Knight Frank, rental rates across Dubai fell on average by 7.7 percent from January to November 2018 with apartment rents falling by 8.4 percent and villa/townhouse rents by 8.3 percent over the same time period. Gross yields in Dubai currently stand at 6.27 percent as at November 2018, down from 6.45 percent a year earlier. This is as a result of rents declining at a faster pace than sales prices over this time period, the report said. Shah estimates rents to decline at around 7-8 percent this year, matching that of Knight Frank. Despite that, he says, Yardi’s business will continue to grow. “The new supplies will expand the property management market and these new units will require efficient property management. With falling rents and property prices, property managers will have to find ways to reduce costs while efficiently managing the buildings and servicing the residents. This is where the deployment of Voyager and other solutions becomes crucial for property managers as it helps lower costs and ensures better property management,” Aditya Shah explains. “Although the real estate market is bottoming out in the UAE, our business is growing at a double-digit growth rate, due to the cost savings and operational efficiency that our system provides.” The major drivers for the market are the increasing investments in the construction sector and the continued growth of the tourism industry. What’s become paramount is the need for the real estate sector to ensure the continuous functionality of these built structures. This applies equally to residential buildings, transport infrastructure like...

Senior Living Safety Mar06

Senior Living Safety

The novel coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, is spreading globally, and senior living communities are especially at risk due to the age of their residents. We’ve collected these industry resources and recommendations to help senior living providers keep everyone healthy and thriving. Coronavirus Intro Video – WHO This quick video from the World Health organization covers the essentials of what the disease is, where it came from and what symptoms to watch out for. COVID-19 Webinar Recording – AHCA/NCAL This resource is free and open to AHCA/NCAL members as well as the public. The webinar recording discusses how to prevent the spread of the disease, and there are additional videos on how to recognize and manage an outbreak. AHCA/NCAL are also maintaining an emergency preparedness page for COVID-19. Coronavirus Toolkit – Argentum Argentum will continually update this comprehensive site with new information. Currently, they recommend senior living providers take five critical actions: Handwash: Remind residents and staff about handwashing best practices. Clean: Periodically sanitize major touch points (doorknobs, handrails, phones, etc.) and use effective cleaning products. Monitor health: Practice self-care by getting rest, eating nutritious meals and staying away from others with flu-like symptoms. Encourage staff to report any symptoms they or residents have. Follow plans: Review your emergency plans and retrain staff as needed. Communicate: Find out what to communicate, who to communicate with and how to keep channels open. This includes your local health department and other regulatory agencies as well as your suppliers, vendors and maintenance. Advice for Calm Preparedness – LeadingAge Given the understandable confusion and worry that COVID-19 has created, LeadingAge have put together answers to common questions from senior living providers about the disease. There are plenty of best practices for preparing residents and staff. “Attention Visitors” Sign –...

Resident Health and Safety Mar05

Resident Health and Safety

From stomach bugs to the flu, viral outbreaks are a regular occurrence anywhere where community exists. When it comes to a new risk, such as COVID-19, property managers may feel that you are facing unknown terrain. Fortunately, a new release from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) sheds light on how to best care for your community. Coronavirus identification and transmission COVID-19, commonly called the coronavirus, is a respiratory disease. In late February, the US reported its first cases of COVID-19 in California, Oregon, and Washington. The first potential outbreak in a long-term care facility occurred in Washington. Multifamily and senior housing providers are advised take measures to promote resident health. Coronavirus is most often spread by human-to-human contact, likely when the respiratory droplets produced by an infected person are inhaled by others. It is possible that the virus may spread when the respiratory droplets remain on a surface that is later touched by others. Coronavirus is “spreading easily and sustainably” within communities, reports the CDC. Within the first two weeks of exposure, fever, cough, and shortness of breath may present. Learn what to do if you believe you are infected. Current data suggests that most cases of COVID-19 are mild, and only 16% of cases result in serious illness or death. Vulnerable populations, such as seniors and those with existing conditions of the heart or respiratory system, are at greater risk of serious illness. Preventing coronavirus spread in the leasing office There is a lot about the spread of COVID-19 that is still unknown. The following guidelines have been issued by the CDC based upon what is known about similar coronaviruses. The list below may help minimize exposure to respiratory illnesses in general. Protect staff If your employees feel sick or are symptomatic, encourage them to stay home. Your sick leave policy should support their wellness and quarantining illness. If employees report an ill member of their household, implement or maintain flexible policies that allow them to stay home and care for them. Hygiene and cleanliness Facilitate good hygiene on the premises. Provide disinfectant cleaning materials, disinfectant hand gels, tissues and touch-free disposal bins. Also promote good hygiene with coughing and sneezing. Remind staff members to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue away, and then wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. In the absence of soap and water, a disinfectant gel of at least 60% alcohol should be used. Frequently disinfect public surfaces such as door handles, bank transaction keypads, touchscreens, desks and other workspaces. Communicate If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should notify fellow staff members of their possible exposure as well. Maintain the confidentiality of the infected coworker as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure. Maintain communication with your public health department. Check for updates that can help to prevent an outbreak, mitigate risk, and control the spread of infection in cases of an outbreak. Preventing coronavirus spread throughout the community Distribute ways to prevent the spread of viruses at home via multiple platforms such as your community portal, emails, and newsletters. It may also be beneficial to post information in public spaces. The National Apartment Association (NAA) has issued best practice guidelines for dealing with coronavirus in communities. The organization is also hosting a free webinar in conjunction with IREM on Tuesday, March 10. You can sign up for that here. The developing story COVID-19 outbreak is continually under investigation. The CDC is updating its site as the situation develops. Click here to check the CDC website for updates. Get the full list of ways to prevent the spread of viruses in your...

Answering the Call Mar04

Answering the Call

Yardi client CommonBond Communities entered 2020 with good news. The St. Paul-based developer reported that four transactions will create 267 affordable homes and renovate of 101 units. These additions brought the 2019 total to a record-breaking 925 housing units at an average cost of $191,000. The cost will include renovation and new construction. With the ink dry on the transactions, work on the new projects is in full swing. Bridging the gap CommonBond is the largest nonprofit developer and manager of affordable housing in Minnesota. The organization also offers self-sufficiency development programs for residents. Though the construction is monumental for the region, CommonBond CEO Diedre Schmidt admits that there is much more to be done. “We are tens of thousands of units behind in Minnesota,” Schmidt said in an interview with Star Tribune. “The support we are starting to get from employers is really critical.” CommonBond is currently collaborating with employers and for-profit developers to close the gap between the supply and demand on affordable housing in the state. New affordable housing construction in Minnesota To achieve its 925 goal, CommonBond has embarked on a series of renovations and new construction. Scott County will be the site of The Willows in Shakopee. The 60-unit community will serve people with incomes that are 50% or less than the area median income. The site addresses the dire need for affordable housing in the area which has experienced a boom in economic development: the county welcomed employers such as Amazon, FedEx, and Shutterfly but struggles to offer housing that accommodates new workers. Employees are forced to seek housing outside of the county and commute to work. About 50% of the jobs in Scott County are filled by people who live outside of the county. In Hennepin County, a...

My Furniture Bank Canada Mar03

My Furniture Bank Canada...

S.W. was happy to move her family into a new Ontario apartment. Within a few nights, however, she noticed red sores on her children followed by sickness. “The new building had bed bugs,” she sighed. “We all got sick. The landlord fumigated, but we had to throw out all of our furniture. It took me years to collect all that furniture and it was gone in one shot.” Fortunately,  My Furniture Bank had beds available. My Furniture Bank, formerly known as Mississauga Furniture Bank, provides emergency and transitional relief furniture for families. The nonprofit recycles new and gently used home furnishes and distributes them to people in need. Recipients include those transitioning from homelessness, emancipated youth, refugees, impoverished families, seniors, individuals escaping domestic violence, the medically disabled, as well as people who have lost their possessions due to natural disaster and personal tragedy. “Because of My Furniture Bank, I was lucky to get beds for my family quickly!” S.W. says. Family, furniture + history This year marks the 10th anniversary of My Furniture Bank. Kathryn Palangio, executive director, has been with the nonprofit for nine of its ten-year history. She is excited to guide the organization into a future of expanded services for happier, healthier communities. She says, “I was personally inspired by my Dad who has spent the better part of his life repairing and refurbishing home furniture for those who could not.  He would never let a good piece of furniture be sent to the landfill if it could be revitalized.  Once he had it looking great, he would then find it a home working through the St. Vincent de Paul Society and his church.” Palangio continues, “Years ago, when I was looking for a volunteer opportunity, I found myself drawn to...

Movers and Shakers Mar02

Movers and Shakers

Movers & Shakers hosted another impactful Build to Rent Forum on Thursday, Feb. 27, where eager build to rent professionals gathered to debate a range of topics impacting this ever-growing market. Movers & Shakers Chairman David Jennings opened the day with an inspiring video of Greystar’s 2,000-home Greenford Quay development, showcasing a great example of the high standard of homes the industry has to offer.  Adam Challis, Executive Director, EMEA Living Research & Strategy at JLL, reaffirmed the previously controversial notion that home ownership isn’t all that matters. As an industry, real estate should be focused on product quality and geographical diversity. Challis tapped into the importance of sustainability and thought provokingly asked which company in the market would be the first to achieve zero carbon emissions whilst being able to offer affordable rental prices. Later in the day, Rebecca Taylor of Long Harbour agreed with the sentiment and stated that as well as operating buildings more efficiently, sustainability must also be entrenched in construction and waste management. News from the Frontline The passion and enthusiasm to see more collaboration in the market was apparent, especially when it comes to data sharing. Michela Hancock, Managing Director, Development & Construction, Greystar Europe, shared some interesting demographic data from Greystar’s Salemakers development. Hancock explained how Salemakers is occupied by 50% students, a figure much higher than expected, that the average age of build to rent residents is 29, and that 48% of residents are male. Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods, Get Living, delved into behavioural data sharing that 20% of the East Village population transfer internally when relocating because they know the Get Living brand. Gibbs also stated that 50% of people who have lived in a tall, residential tower building, are more likely to rent...

Talking Technology

Before smart buildings and smart cities can become a reality, the real estate sector must focus on smart processes – and that means automating property management services still tracked on paper. Technology has the potential to enhance transparency and trust between property owners, tenants and vendors, but many property companies are “still figuring out how to take a simple service request on a clipboard and track its progress,” says Bernie Devine, regional director of Asia Pacific for Yardi. Devine has worked at the intersection of property and technology for three decades, and for the last six years with Yardi. “When I first started in real estate, most people operated from spreadsheets or, worse, paper. Today, I’m still talking to clients who manage their workflows on pieces of paper and others who turn to the Yellow Pages for procurement,” he says. This isn’t just inefficient. “Without automated processes we don’t have data. And that’s the bottom line – because without data we can’t make informed decisions.” Yardi’s VendorCafe, for instance, centralises product and service vendor information into a single system of record, reducing paper, speeding up invoicing, automating the onboarding process for vendors and, ultimately, cutting costs. “An automated system means tenants can report a problem in a few clicks, have the request reviewed and resources allocated from a list of pre-qualified vendors,” Devine explains. “Our system addresses the entire lifecycle of procurement, from vendor selection and onboarding through to compliance and tracking warrantees. You don’t need an army of procurement people – you just need a portal that is easy for everyone to use. “The customer knows what’s going on each step of the way, and that gives them comfort, even when there are delays.” Vendors gain real-time visibility of purchase orders and work orders...

Websites that Wow Feb28

Websites that Wow

The first tour a prospect takes is not at your community. It’s on your website. Nearly 90% of senior living prospects will visit a community’s website before they ever reach out. For senior living marketers, that means the community’s online presence needs to be as impressive as its physical campus is. We’re talking clean, modern designs. Engaging content. Interactive floorplans. These elements are essential for educating and converting visitors to prospects. But building out these features is easier said than done. Not many senior living providers have staff with web expertise or the resources on hand to run such a crucial project. That’s where Yardi can help. Our RENTCafé team doesn’t just work on online portals for residents and family members. They also have a team of creative professionals who design and develop senior living websites for providers. That includes community-specific websites as well as brand-level corporate sites, all of which can be managed by the senior living marketer from a single solution. Senior living website themes galore To make things simple, we’ve already built out over 70 website designs for senior living providers to choose from. There’s a wide range of styles to fit any market, and the themes are configurable too. Unlimited pages are included with any RENTCafé website, allowing marketers to promote their values, activities or anything else about their communities. If the senior living community wants something uniquely theirs, our RENTCafé creative team can design a full theme to represent the brand’s vision. The team works together directly with the senior living provider to determine goals, feature requirements, content needs and, of course, the look and feel. Mobile optimized for modern devices Websites used to have an entirely separate site dedicated for viewing on mobile. But as Google has updated...

9 Easy Tips Feb27

9 Easy Tips

Pet-friendly policies can help a community thrive. Pet messes and odors, however, can increase your “make ready” costs and cause resident complaints. We’ve identified a few pet-friendly tips that will help residents enjoy their furry roommates while keeping your costs low and renter satisfaction high. Poor pet maintenance will cost you Tenant turnover costs vary due to several factors. Many sources place the costs between $1,000 to $5,000. Apartments that housed pets are often on the higher end of the spectrum. Such “make ready” costs can unnecessarily increase your operating costs. Replacing carpets and deep cleaning solid flooring is to be expected. Replacing chewed baseboards and door molding, fumigating odors, and replacing cat-clawed screen doors, however, can cost more than the security deposit covers. Then there are is pets’ impact on resident satisfaction. The dog upstairs that constantly barks or the odors wafting through the ventilation system may make neighboring residents reconsider their lease renewal. You can empower residents with tips to keep their pets on their best behavior. If they adapt just one new skill, it can save you hundreds of dollars or more. Tips to pass on to residents Tone is everything. Use your neighborhood portal and email list to distribute the tips below to your residents. Keep the tone lighthearted and informal. But most importantly, let residents know how these tips will benefits them. Got indoor odors? Pick up after your pets outside and encourage your neighbor to do the same. Spending time outdoors with your pet is great for the both of you! But people who do not pick up after their pets outside are part of the reason why apartments don’t smell fresh inside. Think of this: your dog and your neighbor’s dog relieve themselves in the grass. Neither of...