2019 Empower Conference Highlights
by Christin D. on 9/20/2019 11:27:00 AM
Have you ever been to a Buyers Access Empower Conference before?
The Buyers Access team hosted another memorable conference earlier this month where members and supplier partners spent 3 days collaborating on various industry topics while having a little fun. Breakout sessions, brainstorming, a reverse trade show, and face-to-face meetings between key industry professionals made this year’s EMPOWER event both productive and insightful for attendees.
During the 3-day event industry leaders explored topics such as industry trends, optimal use of resources and purchasing power, new product insights, and how to further utilize the Buyers Access teams in ordering, reporting, and streamlining bidding processes and partnerships. You could probably feel the energy from afar as the event burst with knowledge and genius, not to mention unforgettable fun. We can’t tell you all the secrets, but below we will share some highlights from the recent event and exciting new features to come.
Buyers Access Suppliers
Buyers Access partners with some of the industry’s best and most reputable suppliers to ensure we have the most relevant product offerings and selections available to members. With approximately 50 of the most well-known supplier partners on board, Buyers Access optimizes these relationships to leverage opportunities for members in purchasing, training, capital projects, standardization, and reporting, to name a few.
This year, Buyers Access suppliers from the below companies were able to work together with the Buyers Access team and members to present some of the newest innovative ideas and solutions for multi-family.
Suppliers in attendance included:
- The Home Depot PRO (formerly Wilmar)
- Ancillary Services Management
- HD Supply
- Bidders Access
- Energy Link
- Courtesy Connection
- Maintenance Supply Headquarters
- National Exemption Service
- BBC Lighting
If you are not currently a Buyers Access member but already purchase from any of the above, our team can easily integrate the Buyers Access advantages into your existing purchasing process. Our members get exclusive resources that add time back in their day, along with insights relating to multi-family MRO rollouts, and ongoing support to meet the new regulations and consumer trends.
Breakout Session Highlights
This year’s Empower 2019 breakout sessions were hosted by Home Depot Pro, Sherwin Williams, Staples, HD Supply, and Cintas. The sessions addressed many aspects relevant to keeping Buyers Access members ahead of the curve and at the forefront of competition in the multi-family arena. Innovation, optimization, standardization, and selection were common topics throughout the conference, which were more specifically addressed during these sessions.
Staples and Sherwin Williams provided innovative solutions to common challenges through service and product offerings, introducing and expanding on a variety of new additions to their product offerings. HD Supply and Cintas put a large emphasis on the many changing regulations and safety requirements directly related to multifamily properties. HVAC regulation changes, exclusive warranty programs, and other life-safety updates were discussed in detail. Home Depot Pro, formerly known as Wilmar, unveiled a Buyers Access member advantage program which addresses innovative technological offerings, product standardization, and maintenance optimization.
Brainstorming and the Reverse Trade Show
In addition to the informative workshops hosted by the leading national vendors listed above, Buyers Access members had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with suppliers and account managers during the legendary reverse trade show. During the event, teams were able to collaborate and strategize avenues for implementation of key topics covered at previous sessions. The trade show was fully equipped with a DJ, great music, an electrifying atmosphere, chocolate covered popcorn, and plenty of laughter.
The final day of the conference everyone gathered together over refreshments and coffee to discuss hot topics that were hand selected by conference attendees prior to the event. During this session attendees shared ideas, strategies, and gained new perspective on various industry topics. Maintenance and time saving technology was a popular area of choice among the group, and where Buyers Access account managers shared insight into standardization and the creation of product lists to promote savings and efficiency.The brainstorming session and breakouts were enticing, and everyone left with something new to apply and a team of support to execute for them on a variety of levels.
Until next time!
The Buyers Access program has proven to be of high value to any management companies looking to optimize performance, purchasing, and increase their bottom line. With industry changes constantly affecting the multi-family industry, creativity and innovation continue to stay at the forefront of our minds when providing value to our members. If you want to be a part of this “family” of thought leaders and become a member, contact us now and we will do a free purchasing analysis with no strings attached. We can be reached at BASales@buyersaccess.com or by calling 1-800-445-9169.
Refuse and Paint Expenses- Budget Edition!
by Christin D. on 8/9/2019 9:42:00 AM
This edition of the Buyers Access® budgeting series takes a look at two of the largest recurring expenses a property realizes in monthly operations; waste disposal services and property painting requirements. Here we will review some of the most complicated issues faced by management companies within these two categories and explore solutions that Buyers Access® can offer access to from vendors within our strategic partnerships network.
About waste, recycling, and valet services
Waste services are not a glamorous, value added benefit that can be seen in day to day operations on a property by residents or prospects. On the other hand, we can guarantee that the waste services (or lack thereof) will be immediately noticed when it goes awry. Receptacle overflows, jammed compactors, nasty smells, and bulk items sitting at the curb take away from a property’s curb appeal, and make for some unhappy residents in no time. Nothing is worse than conducting a weekend leasing tour, and the trash receptacle areas create a detraction to the property. Waste and recycling services may seem like an easy thing to manage from a resident’s perspective, but the behind the scenes “plan” can be a bit more complex.
Waste service needs are unique from property to property. One asset can contain multiple contracts and invoices to process and monitor depending on things like: property location, vendor selection, equipment needs, local ordinances, bulk item disposal needs. and valet recycling and doorstep valet waste services. All-encompassing waste services are sometimes hard to find depending on vendor offerings in the area, requiring management teams to keep track of separate contracts for each of the services. Everything from the hauling of half empty containers to “contaminated” recycling bins that the recycling company can’t haul, causing extra charges and fees for additional services outside of traditional scopes defined.
Buyers Access® and Refuse Specialists work together to offer Buyers Access® members a simple solution to their waste disposal services. Refuse Specialists is a team of waste consultants who analyze, renegotiate, and monitor invoices for property management companies. Their services have no upfront costs, and the savings Refuse Specialists realizes is passed on to customers, saving them 20%-40% on waste expenses without sacrificing services.
Refuse Specialists - 4 Step Solution
- Refuse Specialists contacts each waste company you are currently contracted with and renegotiates the contract keeping it to a minimum of a 5-year term to avoid annual expense increases.
- A waste analysis is conducted on the current waste activities which includes evaluating equipment on site, haul frequencies, and other aspects of the waste health of a property.
- Once the contracts are negotiated based on the analysis of the current health, the contracts are delivered directly to the property management team to review and sign off on when appropriate.
- After execution of the contract(s), Refuse Specialists continues to monitor every invoice that is received for waste and related waste services, extra charges, fees, inefficiencies, and other inaccuracies, saving you time and money!
All about paint
Budgeting for recurring and non-recurring paint expenses
Paint frequently accounts for a large portion of a property budget. Buyers Access®, provides members a competitive advantage through access to national supplier partners; PPG and Sherwin Williams. Members have access to lower pricing, additional design resources, and industry leading expertise through account management by both Buyers Access® and the chosen paint supplier. Through the Buyers Access® program, properties can effectively create a practical strategy to manage all painted surfaces and lower prices, while increasing quality and useful life.
Matching Existing Paint
Paint can vary immensely and create many challenges for properties when it comes to painting surfaces on the interior or exterior of the buildings. Newer properties with freshly painted walls at construction may be difficult to touch up when that first resident moves out because of the commonality of primer not being used when the fresh surface was painted at construction. Paint touch up becomes challenging with varying sheen and primer practices. Paint types must be evaluated considering such things as type of property, average length of resident stay, and even geographical location. Working with the paint suppliers in our program and Buyers Access® simplifies the development of paint programs for a property/company and aids in streamlining paint operations.
Varying Surfaces and Paint Selection
Exterior paint surfaces are diverse and require various textures, qualities, and finishes in order to last on surfaces for the expected life of the paint project. For example, using the incorrect type of paint for a site-wide front door painting project could be detrimental if the paint easily chips when residents enter and exit their homes. Not only do these peeling doors create an eye-sore, they can also cost the property even more money than originally intended if they all must be re-painted due to the improper paint being used originally. Both PPG and Sherwin Williams have a complete exterior paint program that includes such things surveying the exterior needs and photo imaging services. Keeping the exterior of your buildings looking fresh is an investment that can help attract and keep your residents!
Another example of potential shortcomings involved with improper paint selection can come in the form of increased risk and liability. It is common for properties to treat stairs and pathways in and outside the structures with paint as a surface, especially on concrete stairs and pathways. If the concrete is a smooth surface and the paint used is not porous enough or durable enough to withstand being on the floor, the property has increased its exposure to slips, trips, and falls along with the paint possibly peeling in an unreasonably short about of time. This can potentially cost the property money and time directly through re-touches or re-done paint projects, as well as liability issues.
Our team can help
Partnering with Buyers Access® eases the budgeting and decision-making process in waste and paint expenses. Buyers Access has key supplier partners: Refuse Specialists, Sherwin Williams, and PPG, who can aid in the budgeting process for these larger recurring expense categories. Not only do members have access to a full member services department and account management department within Buyers Access®, but they also have additional resources from industry leading experts specializing in streamlining paint and waste activities for multi-family communities. Contact our sales department today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help your team through a successful budget season. If you are a current Buyers Access® customer, reach out to your account manager for more information regarding the programs and how you can get started.
Renovations and Amenity Upgrades- Budget Edition
by Christin D. on 7/22/2019 3:22:20 PM
To renovate or not to renovate, that is a common question quite often pondered by operators and investors in the multi-family arena. Many attractive benefits can exist when contemplating an interior or exterior renovation, and amenity upgrades. Renovations may yield higher returns, improve aesthetic appeal, facilitate resident retention, and freshen up aging communities to better compete with modern trends. If you are planning on renovating, analysis of the local market, testing the product, and calculating costs vs. returns are all recommended steps to help forecast potential returns. Amenity upgrades should be comparable to the competition and allow a community to closely compete with surrounding properties. Below we will look at types of renovations, steps to take before the process begins, and what amenity upgrades have prospects and residents interested today.
Before you Start Renovating
According to Darren Williams of Portico Property Management, testing your product against current market conditions and projected future trends is key prior to starting any renovation project. Understanding the demographic nature of your property, along with local consumer tastes and preferences is imperative when choosing design and scope. Surveying current residents on the improvements and their additional expense toleration is critical in deciding on potential upgrades. Renovating and pricing a project’s needed return not based on current market conditions is not recommended. Taking these initial steps are important to anyone trying to achieve superior returns, and to avoid vacancies due to over inflated rents. Investors typically can realize a return of 10%-30% in rent growth post-renovations.
Choosing Interior Renovations
Visiting submarket competitors, both new construction and renovated product can provide information as to what upgraded characteristics yield the highest returns when comparing quality, age, pricing and occupancy. “Owners report that replacing carpeting with vinyl, tile, or wood flooring promises the greatest return on their investment” says Caufield for MultifamilyExecutive.com. Upgrading interior lighting is another desirable improvement due to its ability to brighten and refresh living spaces, especially those with limited natural light. Kitchen and bath upgrades such as wrapping cabinets with new finishes, replacing hardware, as well as upgrading appliances are also remodel activities that may yield superior returns.
Choosing Amenity Additions and Upgrades
The standard amenity package offering for multifamily communities use to include a couple of grilling areas around the property, a workout center, tennis courts, and maybe a business center. It was not unusual for on-site laundry services to be offered if residents didn’t have their own machines or did not have hookups available to them. Fast forward to today, the amenity package desired by renters has shifted substantially.
Today renter wants communal space for gatherings and can inspire other social benefits. Areas where residents and their friends can watch popular sporting events and shoot pool is becoming more attractive, as the sense of community can propel itself into an amenity category all its own. Other examples of communal amenity spaces encouraging residents’ creative capacities are painting and art galleries, pottery and crafting workshops, music studios, and co-working spaces. The offerings of these creative spaces tap into a desire for a lifestyle that is appealing.
Wellness and offerings geared towards healthy lifestyles are another category ranked highly on the desired amenity lists. Offering community cooking classes, nutrition seminars, and other engaging and educational sessions allows residents to bond with one another while engaging in positive initiative to benefit their overall lifestyle. From these gatherings, residents will often form their own relationships inspiring further community building in the form of running clubs, painting and art evenings, and pet play dates. This, creates an organic, thriving community that will help attract new residents through word of mouth and retain current residents that see the value in the relationships built by these offerings.
Upgrading Dated Amenity Spaces
Taking an existing business center with basic office equipment and transforming it into a coffee bar and lounge with free Wi-Fi would likely be more attractive to today’s renter. Multifamily fitness center amenities use to include only basic cardio equipment and a multi-purpose weight machine or two. Now, upgrading the space to include a yoga studio with virtual fitness instruction is highly attractive to those seeking a healthy lifestyle. Using any additional square footage to house free weights and functional fitness equipment can help an older community stand out. Upgrades to amenity areas can allow older properties to better compete with newer assets by looking and feeling the same.
Off leash pet parks are also a common amenity being included with newer developments. If a community has extra outdoor space, converting it into an off-leash pet park or a community garden can appeal to today’s renter who wants to be able to utilize outdoor space as if it was their own backyard. Community gardens are very attractive to renters who have previously resided in single-family homes and enjoy nurturing gardens and harvesting fresh produce. Offering an option that allows residents to enjoy outdoor space in a personal way can make the community feel even more like home, and encourage further social interaction between residents.
Ready for Renovations?
Renovating and upgrading may be a realistic and economical way to generate improved returns, particularly for older communities with dated interiors and amenity spaces. Renters are leaning more towards an overall experience, personalized space, and functional offerings when deciding on their next home. To stay competitive, older communities can upgrade existing spaces allowing them to realize returns faster than a new build. For more information about how Buyers Access can help your team with interior and exterior renovations, contact email@example.com, and we will be glad to offer you a comprehensive solution in every phase of your project using the best materials at competitive pricing.
Special Edition- Get Ready for Apartmentalize 2019!
by Christin D. on 6/21/2019 3:52:45 PM
Each year the National Apartment Association puts on an epic conference in a premier location featuring anything and everything multi-family! This year, Denver, Colorado, has been elected to host this amazing event and Buyers Access® cannot wait to see all our members, industry partners, friends, and future business partners at our booth, #1223!
If you are attending Apartmentalize for the first time, you are in for a treat! Get ready to network and interact with likeminded industry professionals and explore new potential resources at the Expo. Below is an overview of the various program elements you can partake in at NAA, and we encourage you to visit the event homepage online by clicking HERE!
Game Changer and General Sessions
Mindy Kaling, or “Kelly Kapoor” from the NBC hit show, The Office, will be kicking off Apartmentalize speaking at the opening General Session that begins at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 27th.
Other “game changer” speakers that are going to be at this year’s NAA event include Brandon Stanton, David Rendall, Judi Holler, and Alli Webb! The show starts with Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York, delivering an epic message on the power of storytelling on social platforms, on June 26th at 4:30pm. Moving into June 27th, you can check out Heather McGhee who will speak on transformative organizational change, David Rendall, the hilarious stand up leadership comedian with strong messages on empowerment, or catch Judi Holler of HOLLA productions for some defining courage insight. Friday will wrap up with game changer, Alli Webb of Drybar, speaking about a uniquely fabulous approach to business that has gained her major success!
Catch a “Deep Dive” seminar session where you can learn from influential industry pillars such as Dr. Debbie Phillips, Ed Wolff, and Susan Sherfield about career development on Friday at 12:45pm. You can also catch the industry data mining optimization “Deep Dive” which features 4 brilliant sales and marketing experts who will show us how to use data to our advantage when interacting with residents and prospects at a higher level.
The main event, the moment we have all been waiting for is the NAA Exposition! The grand opening will be held at 2:15pm on Thursday, June 27th and you can visit Buyers Access® at booth #1223. At the Exposition, Buyers Access will be giving live demos of e-commerce, procurement optimization, and launching our exciting new program, Bidders Access. Come see us for fun interaction, learning, and a chance to win a $250-dollar Sunglass Hut gift card!
Apartmentalize is an amazing place to attend the apartment industry’s best breakout sessions, which include insightful information on various topics across the multi-family business. This year, NAA will have over 85 different breakout sessions dedicated to topics in areas like maintenance, industry trends, affordable housing, operations, and marketing, to name a few.
Another exciting portion of this years NAA conference is a focus on health and wellness, bringing functional wellness front and center in the multi-family industry. The Wellness Labs series will host quick 15-minute breakout sessions bringing attention and focus to physical and mental well-being, and tips that are applicable to a multi-family professional’s life. We love the focus on the whole picture in terms of optimizing your personal and professional lives with wellness strategies, and we can’t wait to see you there.
Open Space Series
The open space segments at NAA will be a peer-to-peer learning experience you won’t want to miss. Engage and interact with like-minded industry processionals on topics such as resident loyalty drivers, smart home technology, and maintenance focused conversations. Collaborating with the industry leaders lined up to host these peer training and engagement sessions will enrich your mind and inspire you to do great things moving into the tail end of 2019! Don’t miss it.
Got a topic that you have been wanting to learn more about in the multi-family industry? Check out the Express Education offerings kicking off on Thursday, June 27th which will offer 30-minute sessions on topics such as career development, industry trends, fair housing, leasing, and more. These sessions will run from 2:45pm-5:30pm on the 27th and pick back up from 10:30am-2:45pm on Friday the 28th.
Other things to know
Download the new NAA app or visit the online “map your show” tool by clicking here now and start mapping out your show experience. You can add the events that you want to attend to your outlook calendar with a click of the button, share it with your co-workers and friends, and access the master exhibitor list to plan your show visits. We hope you have safe travels to Denver, stop by our booth #1223, and have a great time at this year’s NAA Apartmentalize event in Denver, Colorado!
Bidders Access and Capital Projects for Budget Season
by Christin D. on 6/19/2019 9:49:37 AM
Capital projects are typically larger expenditures planned in advance by management teams in the multi-family industry. Without needed organizational systems in place for bidding projects, along with a comprehensive understanding of scopes required to complete the repair, comparing bids from various vendors can be a painful and time-consuming task. In this edition of our focus on Budget Season, we will discuss an example of how the Bidders Access bid solicitation platform is utilized at a property for a very large elevator modernization project.
Create and Solicit Bids to Vendors
One of the elevators on “XYZ” property has gone down a couple of times throughout the year, and it is getting more challenging to find parts to bring it back into operation. Since it’s the only elevator in the building, it is important that the management company get the elevator to a more dependable level. In addition, the scopes of work given on bids must also quite often coincide with a clearly defined plan of repair set forth by a city or county inspector, or other permit requirements. This could mean replacement of the entire elevator, modernization, or continuing to repair as needed. Any which way, the owners and managers of the property will want bids, detailed pictures, and clearly defined scopes of work. They will not want to pay for anything additional that is not imperative resulting in a dependable and functioning elevator. So how can Bidders Access help?
Bids come Quickly and Easily
Within 15 minutes a Property Manager can log into the Bidders Access system, a cloud-based work flow and document management bid solicitation platform and set up a new standardized RFQ/RFP (Request for Quote/Request for proposal). Once an RFQ/RFP has been initiated by the Property Manager, vendors immediately accept or decline the opportunity to bid on the project. This allows the Property Manager to know right away whether they need to request additional bids, or not. Once accepted, all details of the bid will be available to bidders in the same format. Bidders will be required to fill in line item detailed costs, answer questions created specific to the project, and to upload any necessary documents, like pictures warranties, insurance, etc. This saves the Property Manager and vendor substantial time and effort, standardizes process, provides for document management in one location, and organizes all communications by job and vendor. Nothing gets lost!
It is an industry best practice to obtain 3 bids for capital projects or repairs more than $5,000.00. Bidders Access makes the scheduling, bidding, and communication easy, and clearly defines the awarded vendor with the click of a button. This cloud-based bid solicitation platform keeps things organized and where you need them and when you need them, so you always have your bidding information at your fingertips. It provides for email alerts between all parties for an invitation or intent to bid, for bid updates or changes and for responses to bid requests, making everyone’s job easier.
By standardizing the scope information requested, Bidders Access ensures that information submitted back from the vendors can be easily reviewed, and is apples to apples. When collecting bids, the scope of work is critical in supporting the decision process, and ultimately the results. Typically, scopes and pricing can largely change if not well defined. Bidders Access makes it easy for vendors to reference what areas of the project they must supply pricing and detailed information, as well as questions relative to the defined scope of work to be completed. Upon completion of the bids, the Bidders Access system provides the capability for side by side comparison of every line item, as well as all required questions, and communications.
Simplicity in Awarding
Finally, once all information is gathered for the elevator modernization project, there will be multiple bids in the system for you to consider side by side. By going through each element, one can use the seamless design of the Bidders Access platform to compare, present, weigh in, and decide on a winning bid. With the click of a button a bid can be awarded, and the other bidders notified that their bid was not selected.
Based on the above it’s easy to see that Bidders Access system can add value to every on-site management team’s bidding process. By having everything organized and in one place on a cloud-based system you are always organized, and have immediate access to all your bid information, anywhere, anytime. No longer will you have to search and access information from multiple locations, numerous email attachments or hard copies. Have everything for your capital projects easily accessible, well organized, and ready to present with the Bidders Access program.
If you are interested in learning more about Bidders Access or any other components of the Buyers Access suite of services offered, please reach out to our team by calling 303-991-5550 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We know you will be glad you did.
Budget Season is Upon Us!
by Christin D. on 6/11/2019 4:06:00 PM
The next few months in multi-family management will be the busiest time of the year for many properties. The summer months typically include an influx of residents and prospects searching for new homes, a higher number of expiring leases up for renewal, employees cycling through vacation time, increased HVAC maintenance calls, and its swimming pool season. Then, as soon as you catch your breath, the first draft of your budget is due. Whether this is your first budget or your 50th, proper preparation can make the experience and budget season a success. In this article, we will help to define and provide some tools to inspire your quest with this year’s budget season!
Unit by unit inspections
If you haven’t done so already, it is a great idea to conduct an annual or bi-annual unit-by-unit walk of your property. This is especially important for properties 10 years or older. Unit-by-unit walks can help teams plan for recurring capital replacements, renovation projects, and turn costs. For turnkey costs, click on the following highlighted words to link to our flooring and paint estimation tool for budget expense forecasting.
Collecting serial numbers and appliance information can also make life easier in many ways and is good information to have on hand. You never know when you will have that on-call emergency refrigerator or stove malfunction over a holiday weekend, and you will need to look up relevant information. Unit-by-unit inspections and inventories are great for preventative maintenance, forecasting turnkey expenses, planning large capital projects, and to identify any hazards that may not have been reported. You may even catch a few unauthorized pets or other lease violations in the process.
Pricing for vendor services
Contact current vendors and see if they are going to be keeping their rates the same or if rates will be changing in any way. The Buyers Access® Account Management team and Member Services departments can obtain the best possible pricing for all your products and help to make this a much easier process. Wouldn’t it be great to have an advocate that is constantly focused on bringing savings into your budget, and a higher NOI?
Completing unit-by-unit inspections along with an exterior and interior common area inspection is required when building your short term and long-term capital project plan. The Buyers Access® suite of services includes access to Bidders Access®, a comprehensive capital project bidding platform. For more about Bidders Access and how it can help you this budget season, please click on the following link www.biddersaccess.com, or speak with your Account Manager to get started right away.
Recurring operating expenses
Completing an audit of all contracts is also a helpful budget tool. Click on the following highlighted words to access a contract audit spreadsheet to use when conducting a contract audit. Budgeting the necessary amounts for contracts currently in place, and that will affect the upcoming budget season, is key to maintaining accuracy throughout the year on property financial statements and variance reports.
When drafting the Income portion of your budget, it is important to look at historical rental increases, fees, and other income categories. and how they have performed over the past 5 years as well as the past 12 months in detail. Pulling reports on market conditions from apartment data sites and analyzing historical and current market data will help to forecast income categories such as application, administration, and pet fees, to name a few. Also, pulling industry data for your area can help forecast projected rental increases for lease renewals and potential rent growth on turns. Historically, most properties typically see between 3-5% rental increases, but some may realize higher gains if in a high demand market, or if there are other factors such as a substantial rehab.
Other expenses and bids
Click on the following highlighted words to access a payroll expense spreadsheet, which is designed to aid in the calculation of the annual payroll expenses by a property, or by portfolio. Also included is a standard budget worksheet and a bid comparison form to aid in the overall planning of recurring and non-recurring operating and capital expenses.
The document library below is for anyone to use as a tool to aid in preparing for an annual property budget. For a full property spending analysis contact our team at 1-800-445-9169, or email Buyers Access® at email@example.com.
- Standard Budget Worksheet
- Summary of Contracts per Property
- Capital Replacement Worksheet
- Flooring per Apartment
- How Much Paint Do You Need Per Apartment
- Payroll Spreadsheet for Budgeting
- Bid Comparison Form
Prepare for your Property Inspection!
by Christin D. on 6/4/2019 4:55:34 PM
You are sitting in your office and all of the sudden you get the email…your annual inspection is coming up! What do you do first? Managing residential property on behalf of property owners is a big responsibility. Protection and preservation of the asset, along with minimizing liability and associated risks, should always be at the front of any manager’s mind.
Property inspections can take on many forms. Inspections can be done for improvement grants, financing compliance, state and federal affordable housing programs, and annual property insurance. Depending on the extent of the inspection required and the organization conducting the inspection, there are some universal best practices recommended to help you prepare. Whether it be a lender, HUD, or an asset manager, it is always a good idea to make sure the property is operating at it’s highest potential. Let's take a look at some areas to touch on when preparing for a property inspection.
Is there a checklist?
Depending on what kind of inspection there is going to be on your property, there is a good chance that you can form a checklist yourself, or find one from your local apartment association, lender, or the inspection organization themselves. This list is a helpful piece of information to have, especially for those newer to the multi-family management industry who have not been through a property inspection previously.
If you are able to obtain a copy of the guidelines for the inspection, you can identify and spot check exactly what to look for. Preparing for inspection well in advance is a critical step to a successful inspection, and it is better to be over prepared by leaving plenty of time for unforeseen challenges.
Where to start
If you are unable to obtain a checklist, there are plenty of ways to strategize and form a plan of action. First, look for safety concerns posing potential risk. Second, focus on maintenance issues or possibly even deferred maintenance elements that may exist. Bidders Access®, the newest edition to the Buyers Access® suite of services, can easily help you obtain bids for large capital projects.
Finally, examine every aspect of your asset for general cleanliness and appeal. Look at landscaping. Make sure shurbs are manicured and overgrown hedges are cut low to create good visibility. Pressure wash all concrete halls, staircases and/or decking. Ensure these surfaces are level and no trip hazards exist. Repair cracked stairs and rotten wood as needed.
Place orders now
The last thing you want to do when it comes to an inspection is to be concerned with whether your replacement windows and doors will come in fast enough to make required repairs. Talk to your Buyers Access® Account Manager or contact our Member Services team to place an order. Another great feature of the Buyers Access® program is help in finding hard-to-locate items. Leverage the Buyers Access® team to perform research and ordering support, thus maximizing your time to focus on other critical elements.
Exterior hazard control
Completing property inspection walks on a weekly basis and documenting any needed repairs is a best practice many management companies require of their on-site teams. Before an inspection, complete a thorough walk of the property and notate any siding, sidewalk, or parking lot damages. Research and negotiate product purchasing by using your Buyers Access® Account Manager and Member Services teams. Doing so will ensure you get the best supplier pricing and the correct items delivered.
Meet with your team
Inform your team of items on the pre-inspection list that caused concern. Hold a team meeting to review the pre and post inspection checklists, and inform them of the outcomes, items discussed, and any feedback. This empowers everyone on the team to play “offense” and tackle for-seen property needs as they arise. By learning what to look for teams can work together to ensure the property is always in great shape.
Property inspections are important to do on a regular basis to avoid situations where you have to scramble to prepare. Above we have reviewed some key pieces to the puzzle when prepping for property inspections. It’s always tough to get ready for an inspection on a moments notice, especially when unprepared. Maintaining company and industry inspection best practices can prevent your property from needing an overhaul when it’s time for an inspection. What ways do you prepare for a property inspection on your asset? Leave your ideas and methods in the comments!
Buyers Access® and NAHMA Announce Partnership
by Christin D. on 5/30/2019 12:37:27 PM
Denver, CO, May 30th, 2019 –Buyers Access® (BA) and the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) today announced a strategic partnership, which will provide NAHMA-AHMA members purchasing optimization benefits through Buyers Access. NAHMA members who take advantage of this program will now have the ability to leverage limited resources, and to access additional programs to enhance their bottom line. As part of this strategic partnership, Buyers Access®will work closely with NAHMA in support of its training and education initiatives, and become much more actively involved with NAHMA and AHMA members at a regional and local level.
NAHMA and AHMA members, regardless of company or property size, will have the opportunity to experience cost savings through outsourced services, data analytics, reporting visibility, purchasing standardization, compliance education and training. Members taking advantage of this partnership can realize discounts below published market pricing on key expense categories including maintenance, repair and operating supplies, flooring, paint, office supplies and more.
Dan Haefner, President & CEO of Buyers Access® reiterated his excitement stating, “The entire team is both thrilled and honored to be entering into this strategic relationship. We sincerely welcome the opportunity to provide value-added services and support to the NAHMA and AHMA members, and the ability to positively impact their day-to-day operations. We look forward to working closely with NAHMA, the AHMAs and their associated members.”
“NAHMA is excited to be entering into this partnership with Buyer Access,” said Kris Cook, CAE, NAHMA executive director. “Buyers Access has been a supporter of our organization and members for many years, and this new relationship and program will allow NAHMA and the local AHMAs to strengthen as they continue to support their members.”
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. For more information, visit http://www.buyersaccess.com or call 1.800.445.9169
NAHMA is the leading voice for affordable housing management, advocating on behalf of multifamily property managers and owners whose mission is to provide quality affordable housing. NAHMA supports legislative and regulatory policy that promotes the development and preservation of decent and safe affordable housing, is a vital resource for technical education and information, and fosters strategic relations between government and industry. NAHMA’s membership represents 75% of the affordable housing industry. Visit https://www.nahma.org/ for more information.
3 Reasons to Convert to LED
by Christin D. on 5/30/2019 9:38:59 AM
Property utility expenses have become a line item on budgets that has been getting more attention in recent years. Causes of this attention include a rise in environmental concerns, focus on tighter cost controls when selecting fixtures for use in multi-family buildings, and studies showing significant time and cost savings by reduction of bulb replacements.
Together, property management teams, Buyers Access™, and supplier partners, have implemented extremely successful solutions to minimize the cost of utilities. Buyers Access™ has been instrumental in helping owners and operators complete several successful retrofits to LED lighting, and other energy conservation programs for assets built prior to the more economic and environmentally acceptable alternatives now available. LED retrofits and water conservation programs are two of the larger budgeted line items Buyers Access™ continues to see being considered across the nation.
Why fix something that isn’t broken? Here we will examine 3 reasons why you should include an LED Retrofit proposal with your next budget “wish list” items, and reasons to take the LED retrofit challenge.
Better control over electrical costs-
LED lighting lasts 15 times longer than the incandescent bulbs that were formerly widely used in new construction. Shifting to LED means less time spent by maintenance personnel changing bulbs with a higher frequency of burn out, as well as a lower cost of materials over time.
In 2008, LED bulbs were quite expensive. Since then, LED bulbs have reduced in cost by up to 90 percent. LED bulbs use significantly less energy and dramatically decreases common area electrical expenses. Substantial savings in energy consumption can be realized by properties electing to undertake an LED retrofit project with Buyers Access™.
Reduction in property carbon footprint-
Incandescent bulbs use an average of 70% more electricity than LED bulbs. Switching to LED bulbs preserves energy consumption and reduces the carbon footprint. Less waste is generated with the longer lasting LED bulbs as a result of less frequent bulb changes, which positively impacts the environment.
There are numerous grants and energy rebates which may also be available to your property if you choose to undergo an LED retrofit. Buyers Access™ and its supplier partners work diligently nationwide to plan these projects from start to finish, allowing properties to realize cost and rebate savings upon completion, and for years to come.
Reduction in property risk and increased aesthetic appeal-
Liability is dramatically reduced when areas are well lit and when bulbs burn out less frequently. Keeping up with lighting inspections and the constant replacement of bulbs gives any maintenance team concerns, especially on properties with interior hallways, or that have darker locational challenges.
Recently a variety of information has been published regarding LED lighting vs. other forms of lighting, and the potential correlation to productivity and mood. The change to LED lighting for increased productivity is something that could benefit the communities. Aesthetic appeal can also increase upon an LED retrofit project through nicely illuminated hallways and parking lots. This can potentially help to retain existing residents, and secure new prospects. Add this with the cost savings, and an LED retrofit will pay for itself over time.
Your next steps-
Buyers Access™ and its supply partners are dedicated to partnering with industry leading manufacturers specializing in LED retrofits. If you are currently a member of Buyers Access™ and would like a quote for a site wide LED retrofit project, contact your Account Manager and we will obtain a variety of pricing options and strategies to complete the project. If you are interested in learning more about how Buyers Access™ can help your team, please reach out to our sales department at firstname.lastname@example.org and a specialist will be in touch with you and start a complimentary analysis on savings.
The Power of LED Lighting (2019, May) Rooflines Vol. 55 No. 5., p. 23-25. Aaron Smith, Senior Lighting Consultant at LFP Lighting.
Shaw, P. (2018, August 1). LED Lights the way to savings. Multi-housing Pro Magazine Online.
Are you ready for emergencies?
by Christin D. on 5/21/2019 11:23:00 AM
How prepared are you?
Inclement weather and other natural disasters are better braved with a plan and preparation rather than spur of the moment actions. The past several years has exhibited many challenges in the form of natural disasters for the multi-family management industry. This leaves us asking, “What are some things we can do today to better prepare for tomorrow?”.
The information below is designed to be a guideline, and a proactive approach to emergency response planning that can be taken now to prepare for an emergency later.
Step 1: Review your Property Risk Assessment
Multifamily apartment communities not only have risks associated with daily operations, but they also have larger potential emergency situations to prepare for. Both categories can be looked at in similar ways, but may be approached differently. Performing an emergency response risk assessment outside of your typical property risk assessment will help zero in on potentially larger catastrophic emergency situations. Some of these are:
- Along with all the side effects such as power loss, high wind damages, personal safety, etc.
At Buyers Access™, we recommend that management companies have a well-rounded understanding regarding their insurance companies’ expectations and coverage's when it comes to natural disasters and emergency response situations.
Step 2: Identify Region Specific Natural Hazards
If you are in a certain region of the country, chances are there are specific natural threats that your community faces. For example, if your property is in Miami, Florida, preparing for hurricanes, flooding, and heavy winds could reveal potential opportunities for risk elimination. Those in the northern part of the country may have blizzards and snow storms to worry about in the winter months. Keeping these ideas in mind, a higher focus on potential damage and liability involved with the specific risk condition can help your team gear up for potentially larger disasters.
Step 3: Update the Emergency Response Plan
The service team and community manager along with any other support teams/partners such as Buyers Access™, should walk the property to look for all specific risks, and document all potential risk factors. Contact Buyers Access™ and work with our team to develop a specific plan for any necessary supplies needed, such as generators, first aid supplies, storm shutters, etc. Make sure to always have plenty of drinking water available in case of loss of power or damaged plumbing. What other things should you think of to include in the plan?
Step 4: Draft or Update the Emergency Response Plan
When drafting the emergency response plan, below are a few questions to ask and points to consider making your plan as complete and comprehensive as possible.
- Alarms, where are they located and how will they be shut off
- Emergency call list- make sure this is always up to date
- Command Centers- where will everyone report to, and when?
- What is the communication plan to residents?
- What community resources are available for your team to use and what is their contact information?
- What are the evacuation routes?
- Ensure hazardous materials are safely stored.
- Identify areas of relocation.
- Have a list of vendor contacts easily accessible to save valuable time in case of an emergency.
- Know where your utility shut offs are! Mark a property map with utility shut offs and electrical points of importance for everyone to know.
- Review and include a copy of any corporate specific policies and procedures having to do with emergency response.
- Finally, review the above with your entire team and ensure everyone has access to and knows where this information is kept, and how it is accessed.
Time to act!
Now that we have covered some emergency response plan and natural disaster basics, it’s time to apply some of the points at your property with your team. If you are a supplier, ask yourself what you can do to ensure the properties you call on are prepared for emergencies? Buyers Access™ assists suppliers and multifamily properties in determining their needs and solutions every day nationwide. Some of the most prepared properties are those utilizing the extensive resources of supplier management and purchasing optimization that Buyers Access™ can provide. If you are interested in learning more about Buyers Access and how we can help you and your emergency response processes, contact our Ken Miller, VP of Sales for Buyers Access™ at email@example.com or by calling 864-630-8083.