ApartmentHacker Podcast Weekly Recap 16-20

ApartmentHacker Episodes 16-20. I discuss everything from

Episode 16 – The power of the Handwritten Note

Episode 17 – The importance of creating a Pipeline

Episode 18 – Hire Right

Episode 19 – Management by Aspiration

Episode 20 – The Perfect Email Signature

Facebook Go-Live: Good and Bad for Multifamily

I can see Facebook Go-Live used as a way to advocate and annihilate your property management brand.

Facebook Go-Live is the next belle of the ball in multifamily. In essence, the functionality gives you the ability to live stream your experiences in the moment. While the idea of live streaming on mobile is not new , it is new for the masses on Facebook.  And I can see so many uses and misuses as it relates to multifamily. Some awesome and some no so awesome.

Facebook Go-Live 2Leasing/Sales – I can see live streaming community tours answering questions, personalizing and customizing along the way.

Residents – I can see John and Stacy broadcasting their watch party or pool party attendance.

Vendor Management – I can see live streaming various issues, problems or successes. Catch the landscaper going the extra mile; edify him or her by broadcasting your praise for a select audience that cares.

Advocates – I can see residents that love their apartment living experience – live streaming something nice and positive about their community.

And, Resident Critic – this is the one that peaks my interest the most. I can see resident live streaming that leaky faucet, leaky ceiling or flooded basement or a bad customer service interaction live and in person. It gives a whole new meaning to the lead in; “Coming to you live from…”

Item of note: The function is only live on my personal page. It’s not yet live on my Apartment Hacker page and I can’t find anything that tells me when it might be.

Nevertheless, it adds a whole new level to reputation monitoring/management.

Your looking forward to watching some Facebook go-live entertainment multifamily maniac,



Starbucks: Beginning of the End

Is it the beggining of the end for Starbucks?

Starbucks Front DoorIt’s been awhile since I’ve written a post. I could tell you all the reasons why but none are really relevant to today’s thought.


I am sitting at Starbucks this early evening busting out email and reading material I can never seem to get to at the office. As many of you know Starbucks is my absolute favorite brand/place in the world. And believe it or not, it’s not just about the coffee to me. It’s equally if not more about the place/space it offers me to be, think and produce. But today – I’m disappointed.

When I walked in I noticed months and months of debris built up along the curb lines in the parking lot. I also noticed the landscape is in need of pruning. I noticed the dust on the windows and doors is thick and peppered with bird poop. I noticed the address is sun-baked and wasting away and the number of decals and signage is overwhelming. The VP in me wanted to grab the Regional and Property Manager for an immediate property walk. I felt myself literally getting angry in the how-could-you-let-it-get-this-bad sort of way. It screams – I don’t care in a harsh way. Worse yet, it screams – you’re-going-to-buy-coffee-here-even-if-we-don’t-focus-on-the-small-stuff.

It doesn’t stop at the door. When I look up I see dropped decorative ceiling tiles and light fixtures that are full of dust. The window coverings are frayed on the sides and bottoms and the ledges are dusty. And to top it off, there is a bug hanging out on the window seal.

This is not the Starbucks I have come to love over the years. In fact, I feel sad. Sad to think that I give time, money and loyalty to this organization in exchange for a remarkable experience.

Is this the beginning of the end for Starbucks? I hope not.

Striking Realization

It strikes me that I am the exact customer that Starbucks needs, wants and desires. I’m a semi-over-the-top advocate for the brand. I once gave major grief to one of  my Area Managers for bringing a Dunkin Donuts cup of coffee to our weekly 1:1 meeting. I have posted hundreds of personal pics that include a siren mug in the foreground on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and the like. I take Starbucks on vacation when I know I’ll be a good distance from a store. I only buy Starbucks coffee to brew at home. And the list goes on.

It also strikes me that I am exact customer that Starbucks doesn’t want to set adrift. This post is evidence of that.

All that in mind – Starbucks take this a my fair plea. Please get back to the level of quality every customer would demand and expect from the best place in the world. Please.

Your Details Matter Apartment Hacker,


Related Post – Open the Store

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,


My Take on Reputation Management

Can we get on to more compelling stuff in the multifamily space?

Reputation Management = All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten:

Mike Brewer, Property Management, Reputation Management“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten) – Robert Fulghum (not an affiliate link)

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”

Boom Done

This seems like price of entry sort of stuff to me.

Can we get on to more compelling stuff in the multifamily space?

Your I’m sorry, please, thank you, excuse me, can I help you with that Multifamily Maniac,


Site Visit


One of the key truisms in property management, business and life in general is inspect what you expect. And you can’t do that without a good plan.

Visiting your sites is part of that plan. It is likely ‘the’ key to insuring that your standards and expectations are met over a long bit of time. You can never compromise on this point.

The minute you do is the minute you lose touch. And losing touch can be the kiss of death to a property.

Know Your Plan

To the point of today’s post – have your roadmap written out before you step onto the property. I’ve seen it happen too many times. If you don’t keep to an agenda – the conversation wanes. At best it picks up loose and random points that fail to move the business forward.

A written plan keeps you on track and insists that you hit the key points that drive results. Write it out the day before. Keep it in front of all parties during the meeting. Take notes on it. And use it as a way to track action items for the next meeting.

Your always have a roadmap Multifamily Maniac,


A Simple Property Management Question

No need to elaborate – just a simple number followed by a % in the comment section below.

I have a very simple property management question for today’s post.

What percentage of your time would you say qualifies as “marketing”?

No need to elaborate – just a simple number followed by a % in the comment section below.

If we get some good feedback, I will give you the punch line in a future post.

Your thanking you in advance multifamily maniac,


My Apartment Leasing Experience

If this had been your experience, would you have rented?

My current lease ends at the end of September, so I spent the last month doing the usual research: searching Craigslist, calling apartment management companies to inquire about their current availability and driving through the area where I want to live looking for For Rent signs.

The main issue with my search is that my criteria were very narrow: I was looking for a 2nd floor in a specific area with a small price range to work with. Because of this, there weren’t too many options, ultimately leading me to Red Brick Management, the management company that owns/manages a large chunk of the real estate in my neighborhood.

Being that I work in the apartment management industry and have rented more than a few apartments in my day, I have certain expectations about how I think the leasing process should run.

1. Friendly and Welcoming:

It’s not that they weren’t, it’s just the first time I can remember not being walked through an apartment with a member from the office, which I find to be somewhat unfriendly and impersonal. Given the choice, I’d prefer to be given a tour, not just an address and a set of keys.

2. Professional and courteous:

Instead of a tour through their available apartments, I got a set of keys, signed a waiver stating I would not damage anything in the apartment, that I would be responsible for locking the door behind me and that I would be back before they close. Shouldn’t I be getting the paycheck…I mean didn’t I do all the work?

3. Timely

I will say they were timely with my application process. In fact, they were very timely, running my application and approving me before I ever even submitted my income verification. On the other hand, on my “tour”, there were 3 or 4 maintenance repairs not yet completed with little post-it notes next to them that read: “This will be completed.” Since I already paid all my move-in fees, all I can do is hope that the maintenance will be as timely as the application process.

4. Smooth and Easy

From the first phone call or e-mail to the lease signing, the process should be 100% easy for the prospect. I think it is easy to fall short on this, as there are many steps to the leasing process and prospects have lives outside of leasing and have to fit within “normal office hours” when getting things done (unless the whole process can be done online). Red Brick is open on Saturday, which is convenient. They also allow credit card payments for application fees and deposits and their application is very simple, only taking a couple minutes. Overall, the application process went pretty smoothly and was very easy for me.

Now I’m not through the whole leasing process yet, and they did mention to me that they only allow lease signings a couple days a week (neither of which is Saturday), and that is not convenient.

I think the takeaway here is ultimately quality customer service. In my case, there weren’t a lot of options, but we all know that’s not usually the case. How the prospects feel treated and how easy we make the process for them is usually what makes or breaks a lease.

If this had been your experience, would you have rented?

Rented an Apartment Lately?

If you work with me at Mills and you are reading this post – I will pay the deposit and the app fee in exchange for the lessons you learn.

When was the last time you went out and secured a lease on a new apartment?

How Do They Feel?

I think it should be standard issue that every single person that works for your company goes out and leases an apartment,  soup to nuts – President to Porter. Not a secret shop – call is a secret rent an apartment experience or what you will. This is real-time. Lease one from your very own portfolio and lease one from your closest comp. I am talking the whole nine yards. Go through the process of searching online, pick up a magazine, drive by or ask a friend. Choose a community or two to visit, walk in and go through the process. Have your checkbook or money order in hand and lay down a deposit. That is if you like how you feel.

Who is They?

So to answer the question above – they is the people who are walking through your door every day of the week. And, understanding how they feel should be top of mind, tip of tongue and everything you think about, dream about and are about. And what better time to get that feeling than now. The only way you can truly serve the people who serve you (monthly rent checks) is to really get in their shoes. Really understand the process they go through. Really understand how they feel. Now that sounds like a challenge.

First One is on Me

If you work with me at Mills and you are reading this post – I will pay the deposit and the app fee for your first secret rent an apartment experience in exchange for the lessons you learn. That is to imply that you have to come back and do a guest post for me detailing what you liked, disliked and what you will change about your business as a result of the experience.

Hit me with a comment below and we will make the arrangements.

Your looking forward to how you make them feel multifamily maniac,


Multifamily Monday: SBWA

How many of you get lazy and don’t walk your apartment properties as often as you should?

SBWA Supervising By Walking AroundWhat are we talking about on this Multifamily Monday? SBWA. What is SBWA. Supervising By Walking Around.

How many of you get lazy and don’t walk your apartment properties as often as you should? How many of you get lazy and do not walk your market ready product? How many of you get lazy and do not inspect what you expect of your teams.

Don’t be shy.

If it helps, I will admit that I am as guilty of this as much as the next guy/gal. At times, it is simply out of a haste to get on to the next thing that is calling my attention. Other times, it is simply just being lazy.

I admit it not for the reason of calling you or myself out but simply as a matter of getting it imbued in your mind. You, we must do it. It is fundamental to our business. It is what keeps us all true to our standards. If you are not looking at what you expect those standards fall pretty fast. I think we would agree.

Supervising By Walking Around

I wrote a piece on this concept back in the Spring of 2011. At the time my posit was that you could not know your people and or your business if you did not spend any time wondering around in it. Not my novel concept but one made famous in the world of leadership and management by Tom Peters (side note: you could consider me a super-fan of Mr. Peters).

To the Point

Since the purpose of the Multifamily Monday series is to be short and to the point – here it is.

Get our of your office today and walk around your community. Walk alone. Walk with the people in your office. Walk with your service team. Walk with someone that might be moving in soon. Walk with the cable guy. Walk with the landscaper. Walk with someone that currently lives in your community. Walk with a police officer. Walk with a Mom. Walk with a Dad.

GET Up – Walk NOW

Your SBWA multifamily manic,