Meet July’s ResMan Rockstars

We’re excited to celebrate another month of ResMan Rockstars! Read below to learn more about each of their experiences as ResMan teammates.

​Lei, Technology

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Suzhou, the so called the ‘Venice of China’. I came to the US to get a degree in Houston, and finally settled down in Dallas.

How did you come to work at ResMan?  Someone sent me a link for the ResMan Star Wars Quiz. Then I spent a weekend-night playing it. I liked the quiz a lot, so I decided to apply and work here.

What’s your favorite ResMan product? Why? A new product that I’m working on. Besides having two kids at home, this product is my third kid. Everyday you can feel it’s growing stronger and stronger.

What do you love about your job? Nice people and good communication.

What’s your favorite summertime activity?  Eating home-made ice-cream with kids.

 

Alexis, Websites

Where did you grow up? Miami born and raised

How did you come to work at ResMan? I was lucky enough to come through Razz Interactive 😊

What’s your favorite ResMan product? Why? I have to say our websites product. I’ve been working on it with the team for a while and it’s unreal to see it coming to life. As we continue to work and improve it, it’s getting closer and closer to our vision!

What do you love about your job? Definitely my team. They are like my second family. We have an amazing support system and truly take winning together to the next level! ❤️

What’s your favorite summertime activity?  Pool parties with friends and family! The smell of food grilling, summer music blasting, and drinks all around! Painfully missing that this summer 😭

JP, Sales

Where did you grow up? Miami, FL in Cutler Bay

What’s your favorite thing that you do that impacts our customers?  Showing all the customers the key value props of having ResMan Marketing products running in unison to deliver industry best customer experiences.

Since starting at ResMan, what is your favorite memory?  Almost beating Paul at go karts and taking 2ndplace ( I guess I folded under pressure)

What’s your favorite ResMan value statement?  #WINTOGETHER Because teamwork makes the dreamwork.

What’s something you’ve been able to do in quarantine that you wouldn’t otherwise have done?  Build out a Work from home office and start playing disc golf

Calverlina, Customer Support

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Denton, TX by way of Oklahoma City, OK (moved to Texas when I was 14)

How did you come to work at ResMan?  I’d left the Apartment Industry. I was working in the Hospitality Industry for Hilton when I interviewed at ResMan. Anyone who has tried to leave the Apartment Industry knows there is no leaving. I attempted to leave it twice and even though I’m not on what I consider the Vendor side of things, here I am.

What’s your favorite ResMan product? Why?  The Essentials (CORE) is my favorite product. If I remember correctly, it was the only product ResMan had when I started my journey here and where I learned so much about the ins and outs of an apartment management software solution.

What do you love about your job?  I love interacting with our ResMan users, being able to assist them and empower them while they learn a thing or two that they thought wasn’t possible. The occasional reconnecting with a previous co-worker from my time in the Apartment Industry is pretty cool too.

What’s your favorite summertime activity?  Eating snow cones and cold Kool-Aid pickles

“I love interacting with our ResMan users, being able to assist them and empower them while they learn a thing or two that they thought wasn’t possible.”
Calverlina Richardson
Technical Account Manager

Garrett, Marketing

Where did you grow up?  The Woodlands, Texas

How did you come to work at ResMan? Well I was told about ResMan by a recruiting company. I previously sold reputation management software and found that I had a knack for connecting with property management companies. I thought ResMan would be a great opportunity to focus and learn about the property management industry, and so far, I have loved it!

What’s your favorite ResMan product? Why? ResMan Marketing, because we truly have the best website product on the market!

What do you love about your job? That the work I put in can directly affect how quickly our business grows.

What’s your favorite summertime activity? My favorite summer activity is to explore Dallas and find new places to eat! I’m kind of a foodie! Also spending time with my nephew!

Casey, Business Services

Where did you grow up? San Antonio, Houston & the Austin area

How did you come to work at ResMan? Looking for a change of pace from my previous job.

What do you love about your job? The commitment and leadership of management in these crazy times. I only had 1 week of face time in the office before the shelter in place order came through, and yet I feel like I’m a valued member of the team.

What’s your favorite summertime activity? Catching up on my reading in our hammock

Sebastian, Product

Where did you grow up? Miami, FL

How did you come to work at ResMan? I co-founded Razz Interactive, an award-winning web design & software development company. In 2019, we launched Zeki, a marketing platform and website CMS that helps property management companies launch smart web experiences. We gained significant traction in the marketplace which eventually led to the acquisition of our company this past December. With that said, I joined the ResMan family along with my co-founder, Elizabeth Colina, and the entire Razz Interactive team. 🎉

What’s your favorite ResMan product? Why? I may be a bit bias, but my favorite product (suite) is what we call the Resident Lifecycle (RLC). That covers everything from websites, online application & portals and a suite of ancillary products and services. We are obsessed with providing the ultimate resident experience starting from when a prospect first interacts with a property online, engages in an interactive leasing experience, and stays connected with the property staff via our resident portal. Staying focused on residents helps our customers stay ahead of the curve while allowing them to grow their business.

What do you love about your job? I love being able to solve real problems and being empowered to innovate. I also have the privilege to work with a team of smart and creative individuals on a daily basis.

What’s your favorite summertime activity? Boating and riding jet ski’s of course!

Summer, Onboarding

Where did you grow up?  South Florida – all within one county: Broward

How did you come to work at ResMan?  Connections, an old friends mentor was the Support Manager and needed agents and I needed a change. Working with him was a wonderful experience and set me on my career path and working with so many other inspiring people.

What’s your favorite ResMan product? Why?  Essentials – how all our other products use all the basic info from it to bring everything together and save time (and sanity) Enter once and the info goes to many places.

What do you love about your job?  Being able to help others do their job.  Being a part of someone finding and getting into a place to live. In this day and age, being a person who makes the process of finding a place to live and/or working there a less stressful/safer experience.

What’s your favorite summertime activity? OCR’s (obstacle course races)– I get to move and run and during the summer time they tend to involve refreshing water.  Yes that’s me in purple.  I am really missing it, a virtual race is not the same.

4 Website Necessities for Converting Prospects to Residents

We recently discussed 5 must-haves for a virtual leasing office. Today we want to start taking a deeper dive into each of those must-haves, beginning with your website, where the typical leasing experience kicks off.

If you want to increase your pipeline, drive brand awareness and communicate effectively with your residents, then your #1 focus should be on having high-converting apartment website design. This is especially true with COVID concerns still high.

What is a High-Converting Website for Property Management Companies?

Websites that convert simply means they work; they turn prospects into residents. They do this with appealing, well-formatted and optimized content that streamlines a path from a prospect’s first visit to the next step and the next, until finally they become residents. It takes the guesswork out of the process for visitors. It provides the information they need and guides them along intuitively. 

To be high converting, your website will need to be:

1. Easily Found

For your website to show up in someone’s search results, your site will have to be optimized with the terms people are using in their searches, called keywords. There are many tools that can help you discover the best ones for your property, but it can be complicated. 

The competition for keyword ranking is fierce because 93% of searchers only look at the first page of results (Source). That’s why most organizations today hire a marketer with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experience or contract with an agency to manage this for them…it’s that important. 

Do some mystery shopping on your own online real estate…have someone search for it on an outside computer without using the property name (for example, best apartments in Charlotte or Deep Ellum, Dallas). Where do you land on their search results? If you’re not on page 1 for your keywords, it’s time to enlist some experienced SEO assistance.

2. Appealing, Current & Informative 

Once a visitor lands on your site, what do they see? Your apartment website design should be attractive, clean and simple. But how it looks isn’t all that matters. When they click through, do they find up to date listings? Do your images showcase your property as an experience prospects immediately imagine themselves in? 

Can they take a virtual tour? Can they see themselves living in and loving your place? If your listings offer the barest of details without providing some color, they probably can’t. 

Gather feedback from your mystery shopper and get your most creative copywriter to punch up the content on your site with every feature detail you can imagine, individualized to showcase a sunrise view or the quiet atmosphere and shaded parking of particular units. Take a page from the playbook of successful brands: Showcase smiling people enjoying staged apartments and sparkling amenities.

3. Easy to Navigate & Mobile-Friendly

Do you know the impression your website is leaving with prospects? Even if it’s beautiful, it can still be structured poorly. Visitors should be able to locate at a glance the specific information they’re seeking, even if they’re browsing on their phone.

Make sure that your apartment website hosting includes mobile responsiveness. This is important because 70% of web traffic happens on a mobile device (Source) and 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. (Source). And your site is unlikely to show up in top Google ratings if it isn’t mobile-friendly.

4. Equipped with Convenient Online Leasing Tools

If a prospect finds on your website a place they want to call home, it should be just an obvious click from there to locate and complete an online application, screening, leasing agreement and make a payment. It should include an intuitive resident portal that allows residents to manage everything online, even from a mobile device.

Glitchy tools that don’t work on their phones or a partially virtual process that still requires a few manual steps just won’t cut it.

ResMan leasing software for apartments makes it easy to bring your virtual leasing office completely online for prospects. We also provide the essentials your staff needs to improve and populate your web content:

  • Property management system agnostic to easily integrate your application process
  • Templates and automation capabilities
  • A “What you see is what you get” visual editor
  • 3D floor plans and interactive site maps
  • And more

Remember, visitors equate your website with your properties. They’re looking for convenience. As they interact with your website and virtual leasing office, many believe that however enjoyable or frustrating the process is, it’s a sign of what future dealings will be like with your staff and portal for maintenance requests, monthly payments and more, if they decide to lease from you. 

ResMan lease management software can help you create an efficient virtual leasing office to grow your occupancy and make life easier for your staff…and your future residents.

Check out the Features that Make Up ResMan’s Virtual Leasing Office

Discover for yourself how ResMan can help you continue to adapt and innovate.

Request a Free Demo

Resources to Help You Stay Ahead

Committed to Service and Support Through COVID-19

Read More

ResMan Debuts Commercial Property Management Solution

Read More

The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

Read More

Using Texting to Safely Communicate During Covid-19

Read More

Florida Multifamily Power Hour June Meeting Recap

What’s Keeping Local Property Managers Up at Night?

If you missed the June Florida Multifamily Power Hour, led by Katie Wrenn, President of the Florida Apartment Association, and Elizabeth Francisco, President and founder of ResMan, you can catch up here with Elizabeth’s recap of the interactive webinar.

Participants voted on discussion topics before the webinar, focusing on their current concerns, then broke into groups to touch base with their peers and learn about new strategies.

Join us for July’s Florida Power Hour

June Topics: 

  • Navigating Aged Receivables
  • Common Area Considerations
  • I Missed My Numbers…Now What?

NAVIGATING AGED RECEIVABLES

Delinquencies: The majority of the group members are seeing collections close to prior year.  However, there are concerns about the rising number of residents with compounding delinquent balances that could result in skips or evictions once the eviction bans are lifted. 

Collections varied across region and asset class. One participant reported that Class A resident delinquency is at 8-10%, while another participant stated that their Class C properties are struggling the most with 18-20% delinquency. The participants overwhelmingly shared concerns that once the CARES Act unemployment stimulus expires on July 31, they could experience a significant drop in revenue needed to maintain their assets. 

Communication: Consistent and ongoing communication with residents has contributed greatly to collection efforts, allowing owners to work with renters through this crisis. With that said, there was also consensus and concern that a number of residents delinquent on rent are not communicating back. Participants reported that they are getting push-back from residents who are saying “sorry, we can’t pay you, but we know you can’t evict us.” These residents do not understand that the eviction moratorium is not a release of financial obligation but rather a delay in consequences. 

Because they realize the residents were qualified and good renters before the pandemic, participants prefer to talk with and work with their residents through this time. One participant was hopeful that 3-day notices would be a wake-up call for non-responsive residents. 

Evictions and Eviction Bans: While rent collections have been stable for some properties, property managers are concerned about what will happen when eviction bans are lifted on August 1. Concerns stem from the 2,672 evictions that are already pending in Florida, which will cause delays in processing for months. One participant shared her frustration around losing the ability to evict renters who are causing harm to the community or are a threat to other renters. Furthermore, renters who cannot pay and who cannot be evicted will cause financial strain on the apartment community, which has a budget built on occupancy and rent revenue to pay their mortgages, common area utilities and maintenance of the physical asset. 

The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act that extends the eviction moratorium for federally backed mortgages (FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, VA, HUD, USDA) for another year just passed in the Senate, but hasn’t yet passed in the House. Should the legislation pass without a stimulus extension for citizens impacted by COVID, there would be an extensive financial strain on the property owners, some of whom may fall into foreclosure. 

All agreed that because it costs more to evict than to work with current residents, if residents are communicating and have legitimate reasons they cannot pay, managers will work with them via payment plans, lease extensions, or rolling up balances to a lease renewal.

Rent Reductions, Concessions and Payment Plans: At this point, a relatively low percentage of residents are requesting payment plans. Some properties are requiring residents to sign an addendum as part of payment plans and allowing them to apply a portion of the security deposit towards rental charges. However, some participants report that renters are hesitant to sign any contract extensions, including lease extensions and payment plan addendums. 

One note of caution: From my experience, if property managers are authorizing payment plans on an asset that could be part of a transaction later in the year or into 2021, they should make sure to have solid reporting around those plans, as they will inflate your net operating income (NOI) until they are all paid off.  

Filling vacancies: Managers are concerned about the backlog of vacant units that will occur if evictions are allowed. They voiced concern about challenges renters may have with regards to their credit and rental history post COVID-19. One stated that as a result of the last recession, property management companies across the country have re-evaluated the approval criteria, resulting in risk-based scoring versus straight-up FICO scores. 

Recommended Resource: Katie Wrenn, Director of Training and Development for WRH Realty Services and the current FAA President stated, “We have had to be more creative than ever before with helping residents get assistance from local/state agencies in addition to the government stimulus.”  

Several of the participants have gone the extra step to connect renters in need with local and state programs as well as working with Apartment Life, a nonprofit that connects residents with local charities and social services. The following two resources were provided: 

COMMON AREA CONSIDERATIONS (RE: COVID-19)

The majority of property managers reported that their common areas are open with restrictions, protocols and PPE, as recommended by the CDC. Renters for the most part seem to understand the need for precautions and are willing to comply. Everyone agreed that Class A renters have been more challenging and have been demanding unrestricted use of the common area amenities. 

Opening Leasing Offices: 75% of webinar attendees responded to a poll that their amenities are reopened with restrictions. Those offices that are not open yet are working phased, property-by-property reopening plans per each state’s protocols.

CDC Compliance Protocols Group Members are Following:

  • PPE for leasing staff
  • Signage
  • Sneeze guards at leasing agents’ desks
  • Limiting the number of people allowed in the office at one time 
  • Enforcing social distancing
  • Adjusting hours
  • Realigning the offices, leasing practices and maintenance practices
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols for amenities, common areas and high touch points.

Challenges of Implementing COVID-19 Protocols:

  • New policies and procedures regarding opening the leasing office and common areas must not only account for CDC guidelines but also for both the state level and local municipalities. 
  • Additional expenses of purchasing new signage, PPE and cleaning supplies on top of revenues impacted by COVID-19.
  • Getting associates in the habit of wearing masks. 

A cautionary tale was shared: A staff birthday party with no masks and a team member with COVID resulted in having to shut down a leasing office. 

Recommended Resource:  An app called Amenity Boss allows residents to schedule use of an amenity and keeps gyms at 50% occupancy without monitoring. Amenity Boss was created as a response to COVID-19 but will be useful after, too. The app works well and is easy to set up.  Contracts are month to month.  

Recommended De-escalation Protocols: Due to the serious and stressful issues impacting families, including social, health and economic concerns, participants discussed the need for site-level de-escalation protocols for engaging with confrontational residents as a layer of COVID-19 reopening plans  As tempers flare across the country, frontline staff could be caught in the middle.  

Katie Wrenn reported good news: “My team has been amazing, taking care of residents and the properties. They’ve been true heroes with their willingness to be on the front lines and their positive attitudes.” 

I MISSED MY NUMBERS…NOW WHAT?

This is not the first recession most group members have experienced. They expressed concern about how the current drop in revenue impacts forecasting for the back half of the year. 

Operational Responses and Observations 

  • Some non revenue-generating support staff have been furloughed, while some properties have been able to avoid layoffs and continue hiring. 
  • Investors are taking more of a hands-on approach than they have previously, placing additional demands on the management team time.  
  • As residents re-evaluate the percentage of spend on rent, effective rents are expected to drop throughout the back half of the year and into 2021, causing investors to question the need for and cost of revenue management software. 
  • Participants indicated that they are seeing a spike in the number of renters giving notice to take advantage of low interest rates for home purchases.  
  • Participants shared that effective gross income per unit is down $75-100. Almost all are currently waiving ancillary fees, including late fees and month-to-month fees. 
  • Occupancy rates are holding strong; however, more and more renters are going month-to-month rather than make a long term commitment due to uncertainty about their future employment status.
  • Many participants are going through an expense management exercise to look for additional savings:
    • Evaluating existing contracts for ROI value
    • Bringing maintenance in-house
    • Watching staff overtime
    • Creating new schedules to control payroll
    • Adopting security deposit programs (surety bond to guarantee lease obligations)
  • All participants are evaluating their online presence and overall digital experience for prospects and renters. Participants indicated interest in brainstorming with industry peers as they look at marketing strategy and spend for the rest of the year and their 2021 budgets. The July Florida Power Hour will be addressing this topic later this month.  
  • Companies are reevaluating their leadership to portfolio staffing models to reduce oversight expenses across the board

Things to Think About

  • This is the time to be cautiously optimistic. Understanding risk throughout the rest of the year is key.   

I recommend a modeling exercise I utilized during the last recession: As financial impacts started to surface in our assets, we needed to understand the overall risk for the assets, with the intent to take action today to protect the assets in the future. As part of the exercise, we modeled out three scenarios for expiring leases that reflected renewal captures of 25%, 35% and 45% and lower net new leasing volume that included concessions. 

We implemented the 35% model immediately with specific milestones that would be indicators that we needed to drop down to the 25% or start to ramp up to the 45% model. I wasn’t looking to cut our way to profitably as it has a long term impact on rental income and the quality of the asset.

  • Participants are looking to take a more aggressive approach to preleasing to get out in front of the skip and eviction curve. Buying occupancy today will stabilize the asset; however, being too aggressive could constrict revenue in the future when it is needed to re-invest in growth strategies.    

Join us for July’s Florida Power Hour

For July’s Power Hour, survey participants submitted the following topics to discuss: 

1) Adjusting your marketing strategy – With greater dependence on generating website traffic, should we be rethinking our marketing strategy and spend?  

2) Evolution of leasing – As a result of shelter in place orders, many property managers have moved the bulk of their operation into an online environment, including most, if not all, leasing functions.   

3) Employee engagement – Today’s frontline is facing resident engagement issues we have never seen. What steps can property managers take to protect staff? 

Check out the Features that Make Up ResMan’s Virtual Leasing Office

Discover for yourself how ResMan can help you continue to adapt and innovate.

Request a Free Demo

Resources to Help You Stay Ahead

Committed to Service and Support Through COVID-19

Read More

ResMan Debuts Commercial Property Management Solution

Read More

The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

Read More

Using Texting to Safely Communicate During Covid-19

Read More