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Reputation Management: The Why’s and How’s

Reputation Management is the monitoring and maintenance of an individual’s or business’s brand. When we think of brands, it’s most often those belonging to Coke, Nike, and McDonald’s that we believe need ongoing management. The truth, however, is that reputation management is something that should be top of mind for every business—including the business of property management.

Attracting the right tenants means projecting the right message in the marketplace. It also means ensuring the feedback and reviews received from existing customers are favorable and enforces the brand in a positive manner. Yet, studies show that apartments are one of the top two industries most heavily impacted by online reviews, making reputation management something that should be given far more attention than many property managers tend to give to it.

On-site.com put together the following infographic to demonstrate how reviews can impact a property’s success.

If you’re new to reputation management, here are some tips for ensuring the ongoing health of your brand:

  • Set up an alert through Google. You can input a variety of keywords, including the exact name of the property as well as variations. When someone uses the name to create a post of any kind online, Google will notify you.
  • Search regularly. Even if you have alerts on automation, you need to be aware of what’s on the web. Make a list of the common review sites, and then visit them at least on a monthly basis.
  • Be effective and efficient in how you respond (and, yes, you need to respond). For tips on how to keep bad reviews from getting worse (and encourage more positive posts), read more in this article.

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. – Seth Godin

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Multifamily Vs. Single Family Investments

Multifamily Investment

Interested in a real estate investment, but not sure whether a single or multi-family property is right for you? The two have their distinct benefits, so it’s a decision best made when armed with the most information.

Real Estate Financial HQ has created the following infographic with the goal of providing an overall comparison of the two.

Which investment type is right for you? If you still need help deciding, the professionals at Class A Management are here to help. Contact us today at 817-284-1411 or by email to info@classamgmt.com.

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When to Allow Apartment Subletting

If you’re a property owner or manager, you know how expensive it is to find new tenants. There’s the cost of cleaning the unit, marketing it, and the loss of rent while it sits unoccupied. So, keeping it occupied is always the ultimate goal.

But, is it worth it to the extent you’d allow a subletting contract to occur? Say, for instance, a tenant must go away on business for 6 months, doesn’t want to lose the unit, and has a viable option for a friend to assume the lease in his absence. Do you allow it? The choice is yours, with these considerations in mind:

Reasons to allow a sublease:

  • The original tenant assumes full responsibility for the continuation of the lease, leaving little to no risk on your shoulders for the subletting tenant.
  • The original tenant pays the rent and the subletting tenant pays him back. This way, you are not the one who is ‘out’ the money.
  • You retain right of approval/refusal for any subletting tenant. This is a given. Every person residing on your property for any length of time is subject to screening.
  • The unit is occupied and continues to generate revenue instead of sitting vacant.

Reasons not to allow a sublease:

  • If your original tenant has already proven to be difficult and unreliable, the situation may worsen when he or she is off the premises.
  • While you can refuse any proposed subtenant, the screening process is out of your hands.
  • In the event legal problems should arise, coordinating with the original tenant and the subtenant could prove to be a logistical nightmare.

The question of whether or not to allow a tenant to sublet one of your units is one that should be answered carefully and with a great deal of thought. For more information or to hire a team who can help you deal with issues like this, contact Class A Management at 817-284-1411 or info@classamgmt.com.

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The Necessity for Tenant Emergency Preparedness

When a line of dangerous storms hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area on December 26, 2015, its safe to say residents weren’t prepared. They especially weren’t prepared for the number of very serious tornadoes it would produce. A series of tornado-producing storms in late December is not something many would anticipate; but it does emphasize the need for any-time emergency preparedness.

When it comes to emergency prep, there is a critical 2-part approach:

  1. Be as comprehensive as possible
  2. Ensure all tenants receive and understand the plan, and can act on it at any time

Step #1

Let’s begin with Step 1, taking a look at a couple of the most likely emergencies we would see in Texas and the surrounding areas:

Tornados – Because of their design, the likelihood a multifamily property would include a shelter is not very strong. Those without should have a working diagram and plan that details where residents should go during a storm. The goal should be getting everyone to the lowest and innermost protected location on the property. In homes, this is most often a bathroom or hallway; so, consider any common areas (pool houses, clubhouse, the office, etc.) where residents can fit and find the greatest amount of protection.

If a location like this isn’t available, encourage residents to work together so upper-level residents can seek refuge in units on the first floor.

Fire – The scary thing about fires in multifamily properties is that they are more likely to happen (more people with fire hazard capabilities) and they can spread rapidly.

To prep tenants, you must ensure each unit has working fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Most managers require that tenants maintain them with working batteries and regular tests; so, it’s crucial to remind of this often. Then, create a viable fire escape plan that shows exactly where tenants should go, depending on the situation.

 You will also always want to ensure you have emergency contacts on file for each and every tenant in case a circumstance demands.

Step #2

Now that your preparedness plan is defined, it’s time to communicate it with tenants. Remember that everyone has different ways they comprehend information, so the key is using a variety of methods in an effort to reach everyone. This should include:

  1. A recording tenants can listen
  2. An email, print document, or website tenants can see and read.
  3. A physical run-through for tenants who want to participate in fire, tornado, or other drills that will empower them with the knowledge of exactly what to do.

Thorough, Through and Through

At Class A Management, our priority is your tenants. We are here to help ensure your emergency preparedness plan is complete and is adequately communicated to each and every tenant on the property. Call us today to find out about these services and more at 817-284-1411, or email us at info@classamgmt.com.

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How To Soundproof Your Apartment

Reposted with permission from Trulia

Can’t sleep? Try these six ways to block noise.

Many of us who have done some city living have been there: You’ve moved into a new apartment only to find that your upstairs stiletto-wearing neighbor (and her terrier, with the claws) like to stomp around after your bedtime or the hot dog man on the corner outside your window sings falsetto.

Trulia compiled the data to get a handle on where apartment dwellers suffer the most from noisy neighbors and examined the frequency of noise complaints. Spots such as the Tenderloin in San Francisco, Seattle’s University and Mission Hill areas, and pretty much all of New York have a lot of noise (or at the very least, a lot of complainers).

But before you start looking at new apartments for rent in Boston, MA, or the middle of nowhere, try these tips to combat how much your neighbors can hear and make your space as quiet as can be. We talked to interior designers, contractors, and real estate brokers for the best advice on how to soundproof a room and turn down the volume for your neighbors.

With that in mind, here’s some of the best advice we got.

1. An empty apartment is a noisy apartment

This one’s a no-brainer: Filling up your space will help absorb sound. Placement can be strategic, so if the noise is coming from the folks next door who share a wall, Brianna Weymouth, interior designer and principal of Weymouth I+D suggests placing large items such as armoires, bookshelves, or dressers against said wall or hanging sound-absorbing wall hangings such as macramé, if that can fit into your style.

2. It’s all about the acoustics

The thought of lining a ceiling with acoustic tiles doesn’t scream style, but color architect Richard Prime tipped us off to the superhandsome Baux line. The Sweden-based brand makes panels and tiles, each in a variety of shapes, constructed from wood wool, cement, and water. Simple materials with a practical, pared-down design make for a beautiful way to line your walls in sound-canceling harmony.

Kyndra Georgeson, principal designer for Platinum Design Studio, recommends a similar product from Mio, which blends recycled paper and cardboard in acoustic tiles that look sleek and are also environmentally sound. “They’re great because you can paint them,” she says, “and take them with you when you go!”

3. Try out a magic carpet

Though it’s not a rule of law, some residential lease terms in noisy New York will add a clause requiring a certain percentage of carpeting in a unit to keep traveling sound (read: footsteps, pets, and completely bizarre and inexplicable nighttime activities) to a minimum. Whether or not you’re obligated by your lease, it’s a good rule of thumb to cushion those floors to soften the pitter-patter of paws and feet.

4. Add a window dressing

Windows are a big culprit when it comes to letting sound come and go. Georgeson and Weymouth both sing the praises of heavy drapes — especially, says Weymouth, in older homes that haven’t been properly made airtight or have lost their caulking. Georgeson recommends fabrics such as elegant heavy velvet or a more utilitarian duck cloth to maximize the insulation no matter what decor vibe you’re going for.

5. Ask your landlord for an upgrade

Getting to the root of the issue starts with the window itself. New windows can help keep energy costs low while also offering soundproofing and curb-appeal benefits.

Denver-based home repair company 5280 Exteriors specializes in home installations that will withstand the Colorado climate — and what blocks cold and snow can often translate to blocking outside noise. If your landlord is replacing your windows, co-founder and owner Mick Lindquist recommends laminated glass with a wider distance between panes (standard is ⅝ inch and superdeluxe options come in at 1 inch thick). But, he adds, windows have to be pretty crummy to be replaced, so if you’re getting new ones of any kind, you’ll probably notice a difference.

But all of these benefits might not matter to your budget-conscious landlord. So even if you’re not in a position to get new windows, there are still things you can do. “Noise can also get through around the outside of the window if the window is not properly sealed,” says Lindquist. “It’s best to use spray-foam insulation around windows to prevent sound (and air and water) from getting in. Caulking around the outside of the window can also help.” Just be sure to check your lease before tackling any repairs.

6. Don’t discount nighttime sleep aids

With the advent of smartphones comes an abundance plethora of ambient noise samples to choose from, whether you prefer a croaking frog in the rainforest or the din of white-noise static. Sound-canceling headphones work well on an airplane and in your living room during a neighbor’s monster-truck-rally binge-watch.

The cheapest solution? Earplugs. They’re right around the corner at the drugstore and can make all the difference when you need a good night’s sleep and you live near the railroad tracks.