ApartmentHacker Podcast Weekly Recap Episodes 46-50

Episode 46 | ApartmentHacker | Mindset

Episode 47 | ApartmentHacker | Lost Productivity

Episode 48 | ApartmentHacker | The Space Between

Episode 49 | ApartmentHacker | Dirty Socks and Apple Pie

Episode 50 | ApartmentHacker | Playing Below the Line

Staging the Unexpected

I read about the idea of staging the unexpected some time ago. It rung a bell with me – at the time – and I recall starting down the path of thinking about what we could do to blow people away. And then I got distracted so I am just now circling back to the idea.

The story I read involved Macaroni Grill. The unexpected in their case:  giving meals away to patrons who were otherwise expecting to pay. They did so on random nights every month of the year. So, instead of receiving a check for their meal, patrons received a letter that suggested that it seemed awkward to charge a guest for a meal. How cool is that?

Blowing People Away In the past, I wrote about a plumbing company that actually took the time to wash a sink full of dirty dishes after completing a routine garbage disposal repair. Boom! Now that has impact.

Not such a far-fetched idea for our industry. Start tomorrow. Consider taking the time to randomly clean someone’s kitchen after a routine leaky faucet repair. Do it with great care and supreme detail. Leave a nice hand-written note suggesting how your service tech felt compelled to ease a small burden in the resident’s day. And – stop now with all the things that are going through your mind: what if we break something, what if we miss this or don’t do that. Who cares! Don’t miss the point with your negative self-talk. Just act. And then come back here and tell us about your experience.

Your loving the idea of staging the unexpected Multifamily Maniac,


Apartment Motivation

I will never forget the day (thumb and first finger held millimeters away from each other) that I was that close to my supervisor having to make a tough call.

Listening to Michael Tolcher tonight and thinking hard about a the lead stanza of his song – Sooner or Later. Under the premise of motivation – give this a read/listen:

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
Try not to say anything weird

Save your questions without answers
‘Til your old enough to know that things ain’t as they appeared

Before you go out in the sun
Cover your skin and don’t get burned
Beware the cancer, it might kill you when you’re old

Be first in line, raise your hand
Remember everything you hear
And playing in the rain is worth catching cold

mbrewer, mike brewer, butting heads in property management

Apartment Maniacs – The Point Is

The apartment management world is plenty full of people who will tell you what to do. And it is plenty full of people who will sit back and take it. Are you one of the sit back and wait for what people have to say kind? Are you one that learns the hard way. Or are you one of the try like hell, never sit still, over the top, drive everyone around you crazy to the point that they finally believe in the flavor of the punch you are drinking types?

The multifamily space is no different from any other business in the world. And odds are pretty good that the person tasked with leading you is no more sure of him or herself than you are. They just have a higher level of responsibility. But lead they will not if they don’t know what they are doing. It the best parts of those who think they are leading with no one following are only taking a walk kind of stuff.

I will never forget the day (thumb and first finger held millimeters away from each other) that I was that close to my supervisor having to make a tough call. A call that would have put me on the downside of my career. Why? He and I did not view the world the same way.It was the proverbial butting of heads. In his mind it was a defining moment. In mine – (youthful arrogance included) it was a wild waste of time.

Did I shift? No way on gods green earth. I knew in my heart of hearts what I was after. No deviation. No compromise. And no chance did I run down a road that I didn’t believe in.

What happened? We took 750+ units to 98.8% occupancy and less than 2 percent left to lease. And rent bumps of $100+ in some cases. Some would posit that the economy took over and I would posit back that someone had to lead the team.

Now I am under no illusion that I did that myself. But what I’m aware of is that I was relentless in drawing that team together under a premise that was larger than all of us combined. And they believed it. What I smile about to this day is that the other guy didn’t.

That Guy

He was that guy in Michael’s song that worried about me saying something weird or not putting my sunblock on before I went outside.

My lead for him and for you – playing in the rain is worth getting wet! Do it often Do it tomorrow.

Make this year your #gameon year – exclamation points included (for those that rest on the proper use of such endings – a life based on emotion and expressing is it liberating)!

Your encouraging and granting you permission to speak freely multifamily maniac,


Property Manager: You Really Taught Me a Lesson

You need to prove a point to Mr. Moore from Apt 23; he is really getting on your last nerve.

Mike brewer from mbrewergroup.com describes common senseHow many of you can identify with this one? You stand your ground over the $4.37 Mr. Moore from apartment 23 owes on his account. You make calls, you send letters escalating in tone with each stamp you stick. And you blow up his email all in the name of getting him off your delinquency. You need to prove a point to Mr. Moore from Apt 23; he is really getting on your last nerve.

You are Really Teaching Him

You think you are doing a good thing by teaching him a lesson. You are the big bad property manager sheriff in these here parts. And people are going to comply or get out.

Well guess what – Mr. Moore is not going to learn that lesson. No – instead he is going to teach you a lesson. One that comes in a stealth package. One that sneaks up on you like that older bully brother of yours did when you were kids. He is going to pounce in the name of a notice to vacate (NTV).

Oh – he will pay the $4.37.

My question – was it worth it?

Your have some common sense Multifamily Maniac,


Writing Tip for Apartment Bloggers

Are your spelling and grammar skills on the downside of good?

Mike Brewer at mbrewergroup.com talks about Apartment Blogging

Are your spelling and grammar skills on the downside of good? Do you struggle with the use of its, it’s, affect, effect and other words?

Guess what Apartment Bloggers

Your not alone.

Not to long ago I had a conversation with someone about this apartment blog.

They told me that they read nearly every post. I thanked them and asked why they did not chime in with a comment from time to time as I admired their contributions in the property managment field.

Well you see I am not real good with words. I retorted – are you kidding me – have you really read my stuff? It’s ripe with bad editing. Missed grammar, spelling and inane mistakes born out of a rush to deliver.

Back in the day – I really fretted over it. Today I file it under the remark in the pic above.

Every article that I post is as much about my desire to be a better writer, thinker and doer as it is about displacing some value on the industry I love.

Want to be a Better Apartment Blogger?

Get busy writing, publishing, commenting, correcting and doing it all over again the next day.

Your getting sharper every day that I take the time to write Multifamily Maniac,



What are you waiting on? What is it that will move your multifamily project forward? What will make you decide?

What are you waiting on? What is it that will move your multifamily project forward?

Question: More time?

Answer: Decide

Question: More resource?

Answer: Adapt

Question: More support?

Answer: Go it alone

Question: More knowledge

Answer: Fail forward



My guess – if you are looking to differentiate yourself from the pack; the skill of focus will be your linchpin.

Mike Brewer Apartment Management Distractions

There are distractions all around us. How easy is it to get lost in a status or tweet stream review? How easy is it to get caught up in a conversation that is not really moving your business forward? How easy is it to get into the busy and forget about the important stuff?

What do you spend your time on? 

What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? If you are like most you grab the phone sitting beside your bed. Or you scramble to find it buried between the sheets because you fell asleep reading something.

Focus is fast becoming the number on asset of excellent knowledge age worker. Property management professionals everywhere – it’s time to raise the stakes. It’s time to lay the phone down and get some serious quality work done.

Now before you start defending your opinion on the subject – let me say this. I’m not suggesting you put the phone in the drawer and ignore for the full day. I am suggesting you set blocks of time whereby you ignore the incoming text messages, emails and phone calls. Ignore the status updates and the urge to kill the next round of angry birds or fill in your word for a friend.

Raise the stakes and make some good work happen.

My guess – if you are looking to differentiate yourself from the pack; the skill of focus will be your linchpin.

Your always raising the stakes multifamily maniac,



Choosing Not To Do

mike brewer says no to apartment marketing“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” – Michael Porter

You may want to read and reread that last line a couple of times. [It’s okay – I’ll wait…..]

I think for many of us, me included, it’s usually more along the lines of what do we do next? What is the next thing to tweet? What is the next platform to try? What is the next marketing idea stone that needs to be turned over? How do we differentiate? How do we compete?

All good questions and likely good stimulates for conversation. But, what we leave out is equally if not more advantageous in forming an effective strategy.

What are you choosing not to do this year?

Related material: Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning

Pic Props: TSLBO

Apartment Loss to Lease – How do you book it?

In the spirit of the upcoming 2012 budget season; I wanted to recycle this post. This is a subject of much debate in our office and I am interested in what the industry thinks.

Loss to Lease

There is a question floating around our office along the lines of, “What do you book in loss to lease line of your budget?” Also, “On a percentage basis, where do you like to see that number trend?” With that question comes a number of schools of thought but no real definitive answer. And, that being said, I am not sure there is a right way or a wrong way to look at it. In the end, it all shakes out in the Rental Income line. That said, there is value in tracking the discount from new vs. renewals and even budgeted rental increases that drive the loss to lease margins.

Our current practice is to book both discounts from new sales and renewals to a single loss to lease line. And, we try keep the loss to lease number at two to three percent of the the gross potential or top line – if you will.

Here are a couple of schools of thought to throw out there:

What gets booked in loss to lease?

1. The only thing that gets booked in the loss to lease line is discounts from market on new leases only. Renewals that maintain any discount from the top line should be booked as a concession.

2. Any discount from market gets booked as an upfront or recurring concession – be it a new lease or a renewal that transacts at a rate lower than the top line.

Where should loss to lease trend as it relates to the top line?

1. The number should be maintain between two to three percent of your top line

2. The number will trend at nearly ten percent of your top line

Is there real value in tracking loss to lease as a line item?

If it all shakes out in the rental income number – is there any real value [up market or down market] to tracking this number?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. I am really curious to hear from those of you that are utilizing LRO as I think you have done away with the concept of loss to lease – correct?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

#apartmentmarketing: Persistence


“There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there.” – Darren Rowse, Founder Problogger

A ton of rhetoric has been penned about social media as it relates to apartment marketing, resident retention and the such. Some of it is really good and some of it is just fluff and fill. Some has merit and some has not the sense god gave a billy goat.

Apartment management brass tacks

Toss it all aside and get back to the brass tacks of good old fashion property management – what do you have? Boring, mundane, uncompelling and anti-dramatic and melodic methods of madness. Anyone who has been in the business for a very long bit of time would agree that property management is not rocket science. Just a couple days ago I was sitting diagonal from a finance quant who thought he hit the nail on the head when he made that very statement.


At the end of the day – it’s the culmination of personalities laced with wit, wisdom, humor, elevated emotion and a purpose larger than life itself that bring about the want to persist with the quest of managing property. And, those who do it well would admit that it’s what gives them life.

It’s the time that they love to spend.

It’s the energy that they love to exude.

It’s the determination of pursuing a worthy goal that keeps them coming back for more.

Admit it – There’s something about this business!

What is it for you? What keeps you coming back for more? I dare you to tell me in the comment section below! Double dog…