Reverse Apartment Reviews

We’ll be posting our Reverse Apartment Reviews [on our website].

Suffice it to say reviews are a two-way street. The Internet and Social Media enables the critic in all of us. We give ratings and reviews to food, coffee, authors along with goods and services across all industry. Nothing is immune. That is except the customer. That is until now.

Australian based Art Series Hotel Group is reviewing guests. Yes! You read it clearly. From their website:

We’ll be posting our Reverse Reviews [on our website] and finally revealing what goes on behind closed doors.


Can you see it? Recall that recent move out. You know the one where the carpet has a perfect circle cut out in the living room area that served as fire pit. The ceiling that accommodated knives, forks, spoons and oil dip sticks. Yes – shoved in for decoration. Or, the one with the living room walls painted with life-sized psychedelic Alice in Wonderland landscape and characters – a true work of art. Or, the one with 20 years worth of collected newspapers stacked neatly from floor to ceiling covering nearly every square inch of the apartment to include the bathtub and kitchen sink.

How about posting these masterpieces for all to see – names included?

Playing the Game

Art Series Hotel’s Reverse Reviews is a game.

A promotion to fill hotel rooms.

A very cool promotion if you ask me.

Your sometimes wishing we could post reverse reviews Multifamily Maniac,


Curb to Contract

Compelling apartment living experiences start with curb to contract thinking.

I hate the word contract. But I needed a C word to fit my attempt at a new Axiom.

Curb to Contract

It’s a revision to my Curb to Commode axiom. Over the years I’ve preached and promoted a very high standard of excellence as it relates to everything from the curb to the commode. Everything from freshly swept and painted curbs to a very fresh bead of caulk around the base of the toilet.

Just the other day it dawned on me that it doesn’t stop there. It extends to the transaction side of our business. It extends to paperwork, it extends to personal presentation, it extends to website experience design, it extends to mobile experience design and so on and so forth.


Everything is Marketing. Everything backs up your Brand. Everything from Curb to Contract and beyond.

Your curb to contract multifamily maniac,



Let me start by saying this arctic blast is for the polar bears. As a runner; I cringe every morning when my 5a alarm goes off. Just the thought of putting on three layers of running pants – two layers of long-sleeved shirts, two types of running jackets along with gloves a ski-mask and a wool cap – makes me tired. Makes me want to do some real-time communication (RTC) with the winter-master himself.

How do you like that for a transition?

RTC is not a new technology by any stretch and in the same respect I don’t consider it a mainstream business tool in the multifamily space. At least not as a sales tool. But that all may change soon.

Skip over here for a more precise definition. In the meantime – trust me, there are some extremely cool implications related to this technology.

It’s finally catching up with the visionaries.

Virtual Tour 3.14159265359 

My imagination tells me that we will soon lead guided on-line demonstrations. Demonstrations that will include activities like swiping the screen to open doors to your clubhouse/leasing office, the front door of a model apartment, closet doors, appliance doors, cabinet doors, storage doors and the like. All the while a leasing/sales person engages the customer in a real-time conversation.

RTC will give both the apartment shopper and the leasing person the ability to control each others device. At least as it relates to the tour/demonstration. Want to hear jazz in the background as we walk – no worries. It automatically cues based on the persons listening preferences as shared by their iTunes, Spotify or other platform. Care to look at the pool, fitness room, etc – will do as directed by the shopper. A sort of pick-your-story-ending type tour.

Want to complete an application? Already pre-populated with Chrome like instincts and signed with any of a number of on-line signature apps.


Mark Juleen so aptly points out that11025998_10153651271118747_2296569117393536336_n (1) the ILS is dying. He is right but not for long. RTC is part of the answer and the ILS’s will beat everyone to this point. Why? Dollars and Cents.

They just have to look at it from a different angle. Certainly not the Jeff Goldblum angle (although – he is cool). And not from the bickering like small children (see flier – funny but really?) angle (my click is bigger than yours).

Your looking forward to what will come of RTC Multifamily Maniac,


They’re Here

They’re here and will be the Center of your Universe for the next 25 years.

They’re here.

“We are the Aussies & Kiwis & Americans & Canadians. We are the Western Europeans & Japanese. We are the fastest-growing, th biggest, the wealthiest, the boldest, the most (yes) ambitious, the most experimental & exploratory, the most (self-) indulgent, the most difficult & demanding, the most service – & experience-obsessed, the most vigorous, the most health-conscious, the most female, the most profoundly important commercial market in the history of the world-and we will be the Center of your Universe for the next 25 years. We have arrived.” – Tom Peters

Sounds like a demographic that the Multifamily business is ready to serve!

Active adult or millennial? Who do you think of when you read the statement above? Don’t Google it. Just read it and think about it. Okay – and then Google it.

They’re here and they are ready for exceptional service. And those that serve them in the highest and best way will be handsomely rewarded. 

What is your property management team doing to serve them?

How is your business going to change to capture your share of attention from this group?

Your thinking through the next 25 years Multifamily Maniac,


Human Behavior

For the savvy apartment marketer

At the deepest levels we multifamily types are forever students of behavior.

For you bottom-liners; we are in the business to lease more apartments.

But, for you that understand that the multifamily business is in place to serve the people who serve it; the study of behavior and the power it yields is where it’s at.

Strip it down to the brass tacks and you have – the study of people and their actions.

For the analytic among us – a problem is a set of numbers.

For the servants among us – a problem is human and compelled by care, compassion and empathy.

For the savvy apartment marketer – creativity can change the way people think, feel and ultimately act/behave.

Human behavior is a very compelling body of knowledge and well worth the time and effort to study and understand.

Understand behavior and you get at the core of a persons needs.

Powerful stuff when you think about it in the context of one of the most fundamental needs of all – shelter (read: apartments).

Your thinking deeply about human behavior Multifamily Maniac,



We are Still in the Apartment Business

sheridan keynoteToday’s piece comes from our over-the-top amazing Marketing Director at Mills Properties – Melissa DeCicco She rocks! 

Lately we have been told we are in the media business or is it the relationship business? Both from wonderful, brilliant people who know a lot more about the apartment business than I. While they are both correct, I think it is just unnecessarily muddying the water. Make no mistake about it, we are still in the apartment business. Think about it. We, as consumers, are all doing our best to avoid all types of media (at least of the marketing variety) these days.  And, when was the last time you wanted an actual relationship with a service provider? Really? The apartment piece makes us different. It is something that we can be proud of and something that we can become experts in. We are in the apartment business. Our goal is to help people find apartments.

So what should we be doing in the apartment business to continually earn and retain customers?

Do you remember the last time you thought that your salesperson actually had your well-being in mind instead of the commission you represented? I can’t think of a single instance. How refreshing would it be if people looked back at this point in marketing history as the age of ‘doing the right thing.’ When marketers/salespeople really just focused on helping the consumer to find the best possible fit for them, knowing that their product might not be the answer. It’s what good customer service is all about but it is never executed the right way or for the right reasons.

I recently attended the Social Media Marketing World Conference put on by Social Media Examiner. It was incredible. One thing hit me particularly hard. The closing keynote was from Marcus Sheridan who owns an in-ground pool company and happens to be an incredible marketer. His business was literally drowning and he brought it back to life. How? He made it about people and being useful.

The headline in the New York Times magazine article about his efforts was “A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answer Customers’ Questions.”

Revolutionary, huh?

We are all people and desire real interactions that are not drowning in sale-speak. The answer? Write about your business online to teach and get the word out but never directly sell. Then become helpful/useful to the point of exhaustion. Customers ask a question, we answer. Sheridan aka “The Sales Lion,” suggests that we break down our marketing/sales tasks to this small list.

1. Listening

2. Communicating

3. Teaching

4. Helping

All day, every day. This is the future of business. Not media. Not fake relationships. People helping people in a genuine way.

Your tirelessly working on being helpful marketing maniac,

Melissa DeCicco


Photo courtesy of The Sales Lion Closing keynote – SMMW2014

Bad Grammar No Hire

Property Managers that have bad grammar skills need not apply.

I typically see two camps when it comes to bad grammar. The call-you-out-on-twitter-in-front-of-the-world-grammar-masters-of-the-mike brewer grammar and property managementuniverse. And the people-who-couldn’t-care-less-on-Tuesday-after-5p-masters-of-fluidity. Count me in that group for the most part. It’s just not something that rings my bell. It doesn’t make me think more or less of you if you can use the word circumlocutory property in a sentence. Or if you misuse its where an it’s should be. I don’t judge your ability to be exact or precise based on your ability to put to words together in a sentence. But some people do.

I ran across a post over at Harvard Business Review titled I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why. and it took my head spinning in a thousand directions. No offense to the author but I did hurl some insults. Not attacking him personally but rather self-remarking on his premise. A premise which is very sound by the way. At least as it relates to the line of work he hires people for. But the article is not the truly interesting part. The sum 3000+ comments  the article has loaded up is fascinating to me. They are all over the board grounded in both awesomeness and masterfully inane anti-brilliance. I really urge you to click over and read a few hundred of them if you have the time.

What Would You Do

I’m not the first to admit that grammar is important. More well put, it would likely rank very low on my list of qualifying attributes for deciding to hire someone. Call me crazy but some of the hardest (smartest) property management people I have ever worked with or for are grammatically challenged. That is up and down the chain of command if you believe in such a structure. And I would not deduce it to lack of attention to detail. They just have a challenge with the written word.

How about you? Would you take the hard-line approach that the author of the article takes:

On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right?

Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write.

Or do you take a more relaxed all-encompassing approach in your hiring decisions?

Your really curious about the grammar conversation multifamily maniac,


Who are You Trying to Please?

Marketing apartments involves every touchpoint from curb to commode.

Apartment marketing types – who is it that you are trying to please? The target? The customer? Your owner? Your boss? The apartment marketing award of the year panel?

Marketing apartments is an all on, all in and all the time business. It involves every touch point from curb to commode. Additionally, it involves every key player from the porter to the president. And everybody must understand who they are trying to please. Make the point crystal clear.

Who is it?

Your leaving it up to you to define Multifamily Manic,


Mokriya Craigslist

Mokriya Craiglist is an uber-cool app that you should check out. It really beautifies the Craigslist experience on your mobile device.

Mokriya Craiglist is an uber-cool app that you should check out. It really beautifies the Craigslist experience on your mobile device.

Putting all the legal mumbo-jumbo aside – Mokriya went about developing this the right way.

And the user experience is very fluid.

The good news for users is that the app is free and mimics Craigslist search conventions and categories in every way — while still debuting an intuitive design that makes sense on a small smart phone screen. The app also offers a map view (in addition to list and thumbnail views), calling or emailing a seller with one tap (goodbye, copy/paste) and ability to jump between categories and regions.

Here are a couple of screen shots I took from my iPhone:

Mike Brewer mbrewergroup craigslist Mokriya











This next one shows off a quick search I did to find housing in St. Louis:


Mokriya Craigslist marketing mike brewer











And here is a listing from one of our Mills Properties in downtown St. Louis – The Laurel:

Mike Brewer Mokriya Craigslist











I could see this app catching on – what about you?

Your really liking what I am seeing from this app Multifamily Maniac,



What it’s all About

Property Management is about the people, people, people.

One of my absolute favorite things to do in the multifamily business is visit site teams. In my head, it’s what it’s all about. You’ve read it here a million times. Organizations are put in place to serve the people who serve it. And getting out to see the teams is front and center in that proposition.

Cherry Hills 

There is an old axiom in real estate – location, location, location. I would posit a new axiom – people, people, people. For some it’s the tough stuff. The touchy feely soft side of business that you can’t capture on a spreadsheet. It is the part of the business that I love.

We manage a property in Edwardsville, Illinois called Cherry Hills. It’s made up of five unique properties ranging in size from 32 units up to 100 units. The market has been hit by overbuilding and lagging unemployment. It’s been really tough to say the least. But this team is all over it. They are getting their lemonade out of the lemons so to speak.

And, here is what I mean by that – love the simple stuff…


Apartment marketing leasing goals

Apartment leasing, Apartment goals, multifamily marketing

Apartment marketing, apartment leasing, leasing and marketing apartments