BFP Management Blog

Archive: September 2009

Trends that are Happening in the Apartment Industry

I’m taking a month off from commenting on the economy other than to say THE RECESSION IS OVER (Michael Hartnett, the chief global-equity strategist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch – LA Times – July 15, 2009)!!! Sadly my celebratory cake was juxtaposed over the California state budget and the fresh reports on unemployment.

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Your apartment economist celebrating the wonderful report from B of A Merrill Lynch.

As a fellow owner of income properties and also of a large property management company, I am a data hound and am always trying to get ahead of the curve so that my properties are more marketable and more profitable. The following are ideas that are happening now and will be getting bigger:

Social Networking – Sites such as:

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 will get you on the next big wave today. Advertising rentals on Craigslist was a new concept as recently as 5 years ago but today it is commonplace in the industry. Since 87% of renters are searching online for their apartments, it is important to link into sites that are most relevant. These sites will allow you to correspond with existing residents and advertise to new ones. Also, monitor your property’s online reviews, since that may be causing you problems right now.

Internet advertising should be considered for all areas – In a survey in 2004, less than 10% of residents whose first language was not English, in “C” areas of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, had computers with internet access. Today that number has risen to approximately 50% (data collected by Beach Front Property Management).

Community Garden – Do you have an area on your property that is not being utilized? Perhaps on the side of the building, in a back area, or even in an area in the courtyard? As the economy has worsened, people are looking for cheaper hobbies, and a vegetable garden fits that description. The residents who want to garden and grow their own food can do so. Benefits to the apartment owner: 1. Resident retention: They will be less likely to move when they have a tie to the property and harvesting to do. 2. The property might be able to charge for defined plots and wouldn’t have to maintain the landscaping in that area of the property.

Wireless Cameras – If you have a computer with a high speed internet connection at your property, then you can install wireless cameras that can be viewed over web. It allows you to monitor your property 24/7/365 from anywhere in the world, and you can allow access to your residents as well, which will provide them with a sense of security. The signs posted will be a deterrent to would-be criminals.

Pet Friendly – According to the Humane Society, 49.4% of renters have pets. Not allowing pets at your community means you are turning away half of your traffic. Given that building occupancies are down and many new renters are coming from houses, having a pet policy that allows certain types and breeds of animals should be considered. Benefits to the apartment owner: Increased potential renters, higher occupancy and possibly additional income from “pet rent.”

Recycling/Going Green – Start and manage a recycling program. Currently approximately 60% of multifamily dwellings do not have ways for their residents to recycle. Being green is in vogue, and each generation coming along will be more conscious of where their trash goes. Benefits to the apartment owner: 1. Attracts and retains earth-conscious residents. 2. Potentially lowered trash bill, since fewer trash bins/pickups may be required.

In the next issue we’ll be coming back to the economy.

Kyle Kazan

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