You are here

The Top 8 Operations Insights Tips from 2014

As onsite staff in multifamily housing, we know you're asked to wear multiple hats, often at the same time. Because of this, Operations Insights has strived to bring you new information and helpful hints relevant to all of the hats you wear.

In case you missed it the first time around, here are eight of the most interesting insights into multifamily operations of the year: 

1. When repositioning a community, it’s imperative to get the local police onboard. 

“Because the property stigmatizes with the tenant base and the surrounding community, it also stigmatizes with the Police Department. When you go in and pick up such a property, your first thought really has to be the police. They need to know who you are. Often, they’re a bit fatigued dealing with the property…We ask them to help us. They need to know that if they call us because there is a problem that we’re going to act on it. We’re not going to sweep it under the rug or let it go.”

Read more about how Kathy Dennison Adrianse, owner of Lighthouse Property Management in Wyoming, Mich. transformed a previously crime-ridden apartment community into safe, thriving and family oriented housing. 

2. Reduce invoice processing to boost your bottom line. 

Processing of supplier invoices for both approval and payment is one of the most overlooked areas where hidden costs lie. Research has shown that it costs anywhere from $45 to $75 to process one invoice. Processing (soft) costs include employees’ time, usually multiple employees, postage and paper costs. Find more cost cutting measures in 3 Hidden Bottom-Line Boosters

3. Use the screening process to help you say, “You’re Hired” with confidence. 

“The screening process is definitely where you need to ask the right questions. Some of the most important ones are situational questions—how did they react in certain situations. I also think that circling back and asking the same question, just in a different way, to see if there is a slightly different variation is useful.”

For more tips on successful hiring strategies, read on

4. You can improve a unit and get returns without doing a full renovation. 

Gables Residentials’ Cris Sullivan, Executive Vice President, explained the Gables “Super-Punch.”

“The way we describe a Super-Punch is if there are some additional things we can do when we turn a unit that would really allow for  some additional rent growth above the current market rent growth. The easiest way to explain is a full renovation is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000 a unit or more. Our average Super-Punch unit is probably more around $2,500 a unit. We come in and we identify just a few key things that we can do without going into a full renovation. It could be a new backsplash or changing the knobs on the kitchen cabinets. We’ve gotten big returns on minimal dollars.”

Read more about renovations, and find out which decorative trend has made a huge impact on units from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. 

5. In an emergency, candor is essential for successful crisis communications. 

Why? Because effective crisis communications is straight and to the point. Don’t try to hide facts or paint a picture differently from reality. Stick to the facts and to your messaging. Read more about staying calm and collected in a crisis. 

6. Listen closely to automated calls—or you could find yourself in violation of the Fair Housing Act. 

It may sound like a robo-call but a deaf prospective or current resident may be trying to reach you! Deaf persons use telecommunications relay services to place and receive telephone calls Several forms of relay services are available for use by a deaf person, and onsite staff should be trained to recognize the different technologies available. Learn more about requests from deaf residents and applicants

7. If you’d like to start using benchmarking as a tool, start by asking yourself who your competitors are. 

“Take the time to prepare and identify your comps. How do you know how you are performing if you don’t compare or analyze your performance against a budget or market? You could be leaving money on the table, and nobody wants that.” Read more about benchmarking basics. 

8. List, then fix, for a smooth make-ready. 

According to Paul Rhodes, National Maintenance and Safety Instructor for the National Apartment Association Education Institute,  you should use that first trip around the apartment to focus on what needs to be done instead of doing it. Make a complete list of parts and tasks that are needed to get the apartment ready. This will cut down on the amount of trips to the shop for parts. See his other tips for a smooth make-ready. 

Did we miss anything this year that you wish we'd cover? Send us an email and tell us how we're doing.  We'll be back in January ready to deliver the information you need to take the New Year by storm!




Operations Insights