How the Amenities Multifamily Properties Offer are Evolving with Technology
by Michelle N. on 6/6/2018 1:37:00 PM
Technology that make new connections to equipment that residents already use may be among the next offerings multifamily residents expect.
By Bendix Anderson
Technology companies are rolling out new products that carry a promise of making a real difference for multifamily residents.
“We are probably on the cusp,” says Rick Haughey, vice president for industry and technology initiatives for the National Multifamily Housing Council.
For years, apartments experts have looked forward to new Internet-enabled smart technologies that would enable residents to control aspects of their residences remotely. But aside from a few smart thermostats, some property managers have struggled to find secure Internet of Things hardware that residents would find useful.
That may be changing as companies roll out technology that make new connections to equipment that residents already use—like a telephone or the intercom panel by their property’s front entrance.
Technology opens the door
For example, new technology can allow residents to let guests or delivery people into their apartment community by adding new connectivity to the existing intercom system.
Not every building has a doorman or a leasing office that can receive packages or allow guests onto the property. These apartment communities face a constant challenge as package deliveries arrive. UPS or FedEx drivers often leave with packages undelivered.
Technologies like Doorport can get the delivery person securely through the front door. The technology places a touchscreen panel by the front door of the apartment property, replacing the old panel of doorbell buttons for the existing intercom system. Using the touchscreen, delivery people or guests can follow the prompts on to identify themselves and what apartment they are visiting. A camera records a short video of the visitor and immediately sends a notification to the smartphone of the apartment resident, who can respond to let the visitor into the property. “Your smartphone becomes your building intercom,” says Ben Taylor, founder of Doorport.
Doorport is currently being beta tested at two buildings in New York City with a total of 100 apartments. The company is currently in negotiations with several large landlords in New York and New Jersey to apply the technology to thousands of midrise apartments and garden apartment communities.
Doorport plans to create more complicated solutions in the future that will open individual apartment door. But for now, Doorport’s strength is in it simplicity. Doorport’s fits neatly into the buildings existing system – and shouldn’t even require any new wiring to work.
Technology gets to work orders
Another technology allows residents to place work orders with a phone call to a voice-recognition technology similar to Amazon’s “Alexa” service. Technology company TRAVTUS, based in New York City, calls its new digital property manager “Adam.”
Residents that use the service can complete many of the basic interactions with property management. For example, residents who need repairs in their apartments can start the process with Adam, which can route the work order to the people who will carry out the repair and even begin the process of procuring supplies.
“We trying to deal with a day-to-day, so that your property manager is only dealing with the genuine escalations,” says Tripty Arya, founder of TRAVTUS. “The property manager can then focus on the 30 or so that really need attention.”
Fitting technology into the lives of residents
These new technology companies hope to succeed by fitting their ideas into the activities that residents perform every day.
Moderately-sized, class-B apartment properties can probably benefit the most from this latest wave of technology innovations. That’s because many of these services effectively fill in for a doorman, and allow management companies to stretch the limited staffing resources farther.
Property managers are also now thinking about how to coordinate services that require access to an apartment property, like dog walkers, dry cleaners and grocery deliveries. Property managers may soon not only open the door for these services, they may also help arrange them. For example, if an apartment community could arrange a dog walking service, that amenity may be provided more efficiently, and the property could potentially make some money from the transactions.
“Everyone is trying to figure out how to monetize and control these features,” says Haughey.
Source: National Real Estate Investor
Renting is Becoming the New End Game for Many Millennials and Baby Boomers
by Michelle N. on 6/1/2018 2:30:00 PM
Baby boomers are flocking to rentals in town centers, such as Reston Town Center, above, near the communities in which they’ve owned homes for years. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
By Robert Pinnegar
Renting traditionally has been viewed as one rung on the housing ladder: First, you rent an apartment, then move on to purchase a starter home, which is followed by the family home, where most people spend the majority of their years. Renting has always been a step in the process and rarely the endgame.
Based on the growing number of renters in major cities throughout the country, including Washington, it’s clear that attitude is changing. Instead of viewing renting as a short-term phase, an increasing number of residents are choosing rental housing specifically because it offers a more-flexible lifestyle than homeownership.
This is especially true for baby boomers and millennials, two of the fastest-growing groups of renters. Whether just starting out in their career or settling into retirement, both generations are seeking a lifestyle that offers mobility, convenience and community.
“There’s no question that apartment living keeps getting better,” said Stephanie L. Williams, president of Bozzuto Management Company. “We’ve just started to see a slight shift in boomers actually deciding to forgo a mortgage for rent in high-end, highly serviced [properties with lots of amenities,] and do believe that we’ll see more. And they’re not necessarily moving from the suburbs directly into downtown locations. More likely, they’re staying fairly close to home in communities they’ve known for decades and are opting for nearby town center locations. Millennials, on the other hand, are enamored by the eclectic, energetic urban environment and thus love living downtown close to art, culture and entertainment.”
Mobility needed: Regardless of age, mobility is one of the top reasons people decide to rent. For millennials just entering the workforce or in the process of building their careers, the ability to relocate is a major factor. Even if they are in a financial position to purchase a home, millennials may choose to rent to have the flexibility to take advantage of new job opportunities as they arise.
Boomers value mobility, as well — with their children grown and out of the house, many have realized they no longer want or need a large suburban home. Instead, they’re opting to rent in urban environments that offer greater flexibility for travel and the option to leverage the equity in their homes. Many baby boomers also are working longer than their parents did. They still want to be close to their job and are not yet ready to retire to a new locale, but they are empty-nesters who want a vibrant, walkable lifestyle.
Transportation and accessibility play an important role. With busier-than-ever lifestyles, more and more people are simply refusing to spend hours commuting every day. Especially in cities such as Washington, where the commute between downtown and the outlying suburbs can take hours during peak travel times, rental housing close to work or with easy access to public transit offers residents the opportunity to achieve a higher quality of life, with less time stuck in traffic.
The convenience of living in the middle of things: Similarly, we’re seeing residents choose renting over homeownership for the sake of convenience. For busy boomers who are ready to give up the yard work and other home-maintenance tasks, renting is an attractive alternative. If something breaks or goes wrong, all they have to do is pick up the phone and call the property manager to take care of it. The same goes for young professionals who may lack the time, experience or willingness to address these issues.
We’re also witnessing apartment owners and operators go beyond basics like regular maintenance by offering amenities such as package storage, fitness centers and pools, along with hotel-like concierge services to enhance the resident experience. As communities compete for residents in the Washington market, we can expect the bar to continue to rise in terms of luxury and creativity, further augmenting the rental lifestyle.
Creating a sense of community: In addition to making residents’ lives easier, modern apartment amenities are designed to encourage socialization and create a sense of community. Whether it’s happy hour on the rooftop deck or cooking class in a common kitchen area — both of which we’ve seen local properties host for residents — these are the types of experiences that today’s renters are looking to incorporate into their lifestyles.
This sense of community is important to boomers, who may be leaving a social network behind as they move away from the suburbs; as well as to millennials who are eager to make new connections personally and professionally, especially if they are new to the District. With shared common spaces and experiences, apartment living creates organic opportunities for residents to make these connections and build on them.
In today’s economy, we can rent almost anything we need, including music, movies, clothes and cars. Having all of these options available to us suggests that people’s view of ownership is shifting. It’s natural that this trend extends to our homes, giving people more choice over where and how they live.
Robert Pinnegar, is president and CEO of the National Apartment Association based in Arlington, Va.
Read more here
It's Not Rocket Science with Buyers Access
by Michelle N. on 5/23/2018 4:40:00 PM
Purchasing doesn’t have to be rocket science. Understand how Buyers Access can uncover purchasing inefficiencies that can reduce property workload and increase NOI!
Don't miss out on the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card at the 2018 NAA in San Diego! Stop by the Buyers Access booth #1838, pose for an #notrocketsciencewithbuyersaccess photo and tag @Buyers Access to enter!
See you there!
Come see us today @ the HAA Education Conference and Expo.- Booth 325
by Michelle N. on 5/17/2018 11:40:00 AM
Come see us at booth 325 today for the 2018 HAA Education Conference and Expo! Enter to win a $50 gift card!
Date and Time
5/17/2018 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
NRG Pkwy, Houston, TX 77054
Come see us today @ the Atlanta Apartment Association Trade Show - Booth 855
by Michelle N. on 5/16/2018 3:35:00 PM
See us today at the Atlanta Apartment Association trade show and learn how we can optimize your purchasing performance!
Come by our booth (#855) and be enter to win some great giveaways!
Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
1:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Cobb Galleria Centre
Two Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339
Reclamation Of R-22 Weakens In 2017, Resulting In Concern
by Michelle N. on 4/17/2018 3:36:00 PM
Recovery efforts may not be enough to meet future needs
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 9 million pounds of R-22 were reported as being reclaimed in 2016. That is up from 2014 and 2015, during which time a little less than 8 million pounds were reclaimed each year, but still significantly below the more
than 10 million pounds of R-22 that were reclaimed in 2008.
While 2016 showed a bump in the amount of R-22 being reclaimed, 2017 showed distinct signs of
softening. As a result, refrigerant reclamation companies are concerned that recovery and reclamation efforts will not be enough to meet the HVACR industry’s needs once the production of R-22 ends in 2019.
Without a doubt, 2016 was a very good year for reclamation, said Carl Grolle, president, Golden Refrigerant, but 2017 was a different story.
“The first half of the year was very robust, but in the second half, R-22 sales declined dramatically,” he said. “I do not have a prediction for 2018, as it hinges on too many factors that we cannot foresee, including weather, pricing and availability of import gases, and government regulatory changes. On the surface, the reduction of new R-22 should tighten the market. Whether the existing surplus will be enough to meet the demand is anybody’s guess.”
According to Taylor Ferranti, vice president, refrigerant, A-GAS, the R-22 market slowed down in 2017 for a variety of reasons, including a lot of product in the respective channels; a cooler season; price increases driving contractors to use more replacement refrigerants; the absence of “dry” R-22 units; and a good economy, which led to more equipment being replaced rather than repaired.
“Even with these market challenges, we had a strong year of growth in 2017,” he said. “We expect 2018 to be even better, given that we have expanded our mixed gas separation capacity and incoming reclaim gas stream.”
Jay Kestenbaum, senior vice president of sales and purchasing, Aspen Refrigerants Inc., feels that the total amount of recovery and reclamation business over the past few years should have been greater, and the industry, as a whole, should be recovering much more than it has been.
“The market has not yet reached the level of overall recovery, reclamation, and reuse of refrigerants that will be necessary to service existing equipment following the 2019 end of production of R-22, based upon EPA’s estimates of continuing needs after that date,” he said.
The reason for that, according to Kestenbaum, may be linked to past EPA actions, through which production allowance caps were often restricted and then expanded.
“This may have given many a false sense of security in believing that there would be ample supply to cover future years,” he said. “The only true source for the long-term continuing supply of R-22 is recovery and reclamation, which needs to increase drastically.”
There is no question that the overall growth in reclamation of R-22 for the industry has been weak, said Kevin Zugibe, chief executive officer, Hudson Technologies Inc.
“Based upon EPA’s supply and demand estimates for R-22, it is evident that the reclamation market will need to grow significantly to fill the impending void,” he said. Zugibe expects greater growth in 2018, as the impending shortage of R-22 becomes more evident.
“We feel confident that the best refrigerant for existing R-22 systems is reclaimed R-22 and that the reclamation industry can provide the necessary R-22 supply for the future, as it has done for CFC [chlorofluorocarbons] needs for over two decades,” he said.
Zugibe added that he has concerns over some R-22 substitutes, which he believes are not necessarily better than R-22 from a global warming potential (GWP) perspective and can lead to system failures if the change-out is not performed properly.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Kestenbaum also predicts stronger growth in 2018, thanks to the expanded and new regulations, the anticipated future phasedown of HFCs following the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and rising prices due to some industry anti-dumping actions.
“These should result in increased recovery and reclamation of many more products in greater quantities in 2018,” he said. “While the reclamation of R-22 continues to be a primary component of our industry, the reclamation of HFCs presents a longer term opportunity, particularly in light of the anticipated phasedown of HFCs.”
There will, of course, be challenges, said Kestenbaum, including the continued higher rates of mixed refrigerants coming back to reclamation facilities.
“The expanded array of refrigerant products, and the unfortunate continued trade practice by some to top off systems without using the same refrigerant, has resulted in higher mixed return rates, and will likely lead to premature failure of systems,” he continued. “Mixed refrigerant returns require extra cost in reclamation and obviously inflate the cost of future supply.”
Zugibe agreed, noting the use of many drop-in substitute blends has resulted in more crosscontamination every year.
“Although Hudson is a leader in fractional distillation, poor practices in the use of these substitutes result in more energy and cost to reclaim these refrigerants,” he said. “However, we are optimistic that with the ultimate phaseout of R-22 less than two years away, we are now entering a time in which the supply shortage will be obvious to the industry, which should energize the growth in reclamation.”
Grolle is also optimistic about 2018 and said his company is focused on gaining market share this year. Still, he noted that reclaimers have a very limited ability to select which refrigerants they receive in their collection programs, and that makes it difficult to adapt to changing market prices. “We also face fixed costs associated with the reclamation and packaging of refrigerants,” he said.
“When prices drop, it usually ends up as losses to the reclaimer; conversely, when prices rise, it can result in a better bottom line for the company.”
Looking ahead, Grolle expects the reclamation business to become even more technical, requiring sophisticated equipment and procedures to collect and process the newer blended refrigerants.
“The HFOs [hydrofluroolefins], along with R-32, are mildly flammable gases, which will require another round of investment in order to safely process and handle them,” he said.
This continuing evolution of refrigerants — and their accompanying regulations — means there will always be a need for reclaimers.
“Old habits die hard, but venting of refrigerants is illegal,” said Ferranti. “And reuse of refrigerants is only allowed if the product remains with the existing owner. As a result, we are optimistic that contractors and wholesalers want to do the right thing for the environment and will continue to utilize companies, such as ourselves, and increase their reclamation activities.”
Resource: BNP Media
The Mass Appeal Amenities That Gen-Z, Millennials, & Baby Boomers Crave
by Michelle N. on 3/6/2018 2:23:00 PM
The multifamily housing industry has seen many changes over the past decade, but one of the biggest developments has been the unprecedented growth of renters entering the market. Statistics show that homeownership rates reached a national 50-year low last year with the number of Americans renting apartment homes rising across every age demographic.
While this trend can offer new opportunities, it’s important to recognize the challenges that a spectrum-wide increase in renters can pose for your business. The market is growing more and more multi-generational, and your ability to meet the needs of a variety of renters can make a huge difference in gaining (and retaining) residents. It’s all about finding the point of convergence between three generations of renters - Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen-Z - and while there are dozens of ways that they all differ, there are some key amenities and services that you can offer that appeal to each demographic.
Get Smart with Security
For many Baby Boomers, their main focus is finding security and comfort at home. This generation values a supportive living space, considering the fact that they may be caring for parents, children, or grandchildren. In fact, statistics show that Baby Boomers currently play the role of caregiver more than any other demographic.
Standard safety amenities such as gated entrances and on-site security hold major appeal for the Baby Boomer demographic, but there are also productive ways to provide security features that appeal to younger renters. Incorporating smart home automation into your property with devices such as smoke detectors, alarm systems, and thermostats give safety a hip, 21st century glow, allowing older and younger residents alike to stay connected to the most vital of emergency services—all while keeping their apartment safe and secure from any looming threat. Smart home automation also provides residents with the option to personally monitor and configure their apartment home, providing a cutting-edge functionality that Gen-Z and Millennials will both appreciate.
Stay Connected and Green
As the first generation to grow up in the Digital Age, Millennials often equate convenience with speediness, valuing amenities that keep them constantly connected. Gen-Z is similar, and maybe even more inclined to do this, considering they grew up completely immersed in the convenience of technology. And while you might think having an Internet connection is a unique concern for younger renters, studies and surveys have consistently shown that the rise of smart phones has brought older generations into the mix as well. Today, over three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone, and while a large portion of those users come from the 29-and-under age bracket, 74 percent of Americans ages 50-64 are smartphone owners, and nearly half of those 65-and-older use smartphone.
Aside from bare bones basics such as charging stations and high-speed Wi-Fi, you might also consider providing residents with USB port access, electric vehicle charging stations, and the latest technological amenities, which again, includes smart home automation. Smart-home automation allows the renter to be in control of their apartment’s environment even when they are not at home, which for Millennials and Gen-Z is quite often. Renters can seamlessly control temperature, lighting, security, and more from a single device.
In the age of global warming, conservation is now on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Many have become supportive of stricter environment laws and favor environmentally-friendly policies such as green energy development. As we all well know, beliefs translate into lifestyle, and it’s clear that renters value environmentally-friendly amenities in their living space. Features can be as complex as adding solar panels to your rooftop or as simple as introducing a recycling and/or composting program into your community’s practices. Even energy-efficient appliances, low-flow toilets, and LED lighting can be a major selling point.
Offer Digital Resources
Aside from establishing an amiable and modern environment for your residents, what is the most vital tool for gaining leads and increasing retention rates in your apartment community? Surveys show that the newer generation of renters aren’t just looking at your location, price, or in-person tours. For today’s consumer, your website is one of the most critical aspects of your marketing campaign.
Obviously, websites allow prospective residents to find important information they may need about your property. However, as technology continues to advance, you need to go beyond a one-dimensional marketing website to attract leads and keep pace with the demands of today’s renters. Using in-depth and engaging online services such as a resident portal, you can offer residents the ability to communicate with your property instantaneously.
Resident portals allow renters to create service requests, make payments, and renew leases, providing them with everything they need in a simple and comprehensive web platform. Digital tools such as these have been become essential as more and more people access the Internet from their mobile devices.
While it’s vital to set up a marketing website with a functional resident portal, it’s also important to offer several methods of communication to your prospects and residents. In the age of social media, residents across multiple demographics expect to connect with your instantaneously. When it comes to social media, your Facebook profile has the power to bridge the gap between all three generations. While it isn’t a surprise to find the younger demographics engaging online, Baby Boomers are just as reachable through social media. According to a 2017 survey, over 80 percent of Baby Boomers belong to at least one social media site with the overwhelming majority using Facebook.
Social media gives you a space where you can connect with your residents in an amiable and sociable way. While it’s important to maintain as a customer service tool, you can also utilize your profile to highlight your best features and bring your community closer together. Sharing posts with helpful information, showcasing community activities, and inviting residents to organized neighborhood events will create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere throughout your property— one that Baby Boomers will appreciate as much as their Gen-Z neighbors and the Millennials next door.
As the rental market grows, your business can meet the diverse demands of renters by providing amenities that serve their common needs. With features and services that cater to a range of renters, your community will attract more prospects, which will increase rental capacity and ROI.
Resource: Multifamily Tech Trends; MultifamilyBiz.com
Buyers Access Hires New Sales Director
by Michelle N. on 3/1/2018 3:49:00 PM
Denver, Colo., March 1, 2018 – We are pleased to announce that Carol Hand has joined the Buyers Access sales team in the role of Sales Director. Carol brings over 20 years of multifamily industry experience in various positions growing, building and developing client relationships, which will be instrumental in the continued growth of Buyers Access.
Prior to joining Buyers Access, Carol served as a Regional Account Manager with CallMaX, where she successfully acquired large and mid-sized property management portfolios, while consistently exceeding sales goals. Previous to her experience with CallMaX, Carol worked with Network Multifamily (Protection One/ADT) for 13 years where she held various positions, including Regional/National Accounts Manager and Director of Sales Support.
“We are excited to have Carol join our expert team at Buyers Access. With her extensive experience in multifamily enterprise sales, it was easy to see that Carol would be a great fit for our company” said Kelly Scott, Vice President of Sales, Buyers Access.
“I am thrilled to become a part of Buyers Access, and am very excited to bring my extensive multifamily background and client relationships to the company. I look forward to helping us grow the business and exceed our sales goals.” said Carol Hand, Director of Sales, Buyers Access.
Carol earned Sales Person of the Year for CallMax in 2015, and MSR Representative of the Year - Network Multifamily in 2004, 1998 and 1995 respectively.
About Buyers Access
As the nation's leading Purchasing and Cost Control specialist for the multifamily housing industry, Buyers Access provides real estate owners and operators with full service purchasing solutions to help maximize the value of their real estate assets. Since 1986, Buyers Access has helped thousands of properties and hundreds of companies to reduce operating costs and drive improved cash flow, while leveraging substantial personnel time savings. Through the use of data driven decision making and operational expertise, Buyers Access has created millions of dollars in real estate value. For more information, contact Buyers Access at www.buyersaccess.com or call 1.800.445.9169
Director of Marketing
Planning for Preventive Maintenance
by Michelle N. on 2/22/2018 4:53:38 PM
Preventive maintenance plans are crucial to successfully managing a rental housing community. In the early stages of the year, take a look at the current program and make updates to gear up for spring. Precautionary maintenance plans are the most effective to address issues while they are quick and cheap to fix before they become major undertakings.
Implementing a regular program of inspection and upkeep can help maintain a safe environment and avoid unnecessary accidents. For instance, the average cost to fix a plumbing leak is about $200 for multi-unit properties. If the leak is left unchecked, it can lead to water damage and mold, which may cost thousands of dollars to repair.
When creating the new plan, consider systems and aspects of your community where maintenance is most needed. Then, build in a process and schedule that decreases risk for each of those areas. Here are four key areas to consider when creating the plan.
Water damage threats
Check door and window seals for openings, as well as roofs for signs of water damage. Installing Wi-Fi connected water-sensing devices in leak-prone areas such as kitchens and bathrooms is a great way to track issues in real time. Make sure that the gutters and landscaping irrigation systems are draining properly. Schedule maintenance services to check washing machines and sinks frequently because these areas are most common for indoor leaks.
HVAC and water heaters
Two of the most expensive repairs are HVAC systems and water heaters. It is crucial to schedule visual inspections at least once a year. Also consider implementing inspections during the spring and winter to detect any unexpected issues that may appear as the seasons change. Generally, HVAC systems have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years and water heaters last about 8 to 12 years. Keep this in mind when determining whether to repair or replace systems that are having issues.
An easy to overlook solution, installing long-lasting LED lightbulbs will allow maintenance to cut down on simple bulb switches and focus on more important tasks. This change can result in long-term savings over a long period of time. Not only do LED bulbs use approximately 84 percent less energy, but LED technology has been integrated into a variety of bulbs and fixtures both indoors and out.
Every manager knows that changing air filters on a regular schedule helps the efficiency of the system and keeps resident power bills lower. Air filters that are not replaced in a timely manner result in mildew growth and decreased air flow. Create a staggered schedule that will allow maintenance staff to change filters throughout the community at a realistic pace.
Even when things appear to be running smoothly, it’s important to be thorough about preventive maintenance. A good plan will enable managers to spend efficiently on proactive upkeep and avoid unexpected, costly repairs that upset residents and hurt budgets.
Resource: Kimberly DeJesso, National PRO Manager The Home Depot