Student Housing Continues to Be a Strong Player in Multifamily
by Michelle N. on 12/1/2015 11:47:00 AM
As the student housing sector continues to expand and evolve at a rapid pace, industry leaders are bullish on the market's future.
“If you’re looking for high-end customers, you want high-end amenities to attract the customer,” says Miles Orth, COO at Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments. “Your imagination can run wild, but location and price are what students look for overall.”
Students want a trendy, affordable living space where they can study, socialize, and relax. Study spaces, high-speed Internet, and close proximity to campus are the fundamental amenities that make for a successful student housing complex.
Auburn 160, an ACC property at Auburn University in Alabama, has an expansive clubhouse with lounge spaces and a full fitness center. - Johnny Stevens Photography
“We tend to have confidence in the more fundamental amenities,” says Clark. “The broadest appeal for students is in well-appointed fitness centers, resort-style pool areas, and, more recently, an abundance of study rooms.”
Aware that there's a competitive job market awaiting them, today's students are taking their academics seriously, and demand has emerged for computer labs, study lounges, and other kinds of specialized spaces such as music labs or art studios. Still, Internet connectivity remains the critical amenity for successful student housing.
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Come See Buyers Access at Booth #511 at the HRAC Trade Show - Nov. 10, 2015
by Michelle N. on 11/9/2015 2:41:00 PM
Mark Your Calendars Folks!
The Hampton Roads Apartment Council - HRAC Trade Show
November 10, 2015
Norfolk Waterside, Norfolk, VA
Reduce the Amount of Money You Spend on Emergency Purchases
by Michelle N. on 11/5/2015 2:39:04 PM
“How can I reduce the amount of money we spend on ‘emergency’ purchases?” A great question often asked by Multifamily Housing Professionals. Buyers Access is here to help with practical ways to either mitigate, or greatly reduce these expenses.
Have a plan in place. This includes having a list of approved emergency vendors. Failure to do so can lead to inefficiencies such as higher costs for standard items, use of inferior substitute items, use of unauthorized vendors, trips off site, and overtime charges. One recent analysis performed for a Buyers Access client revealed an increase of over 20% charged by the use an unauthorized vendor. This increase included the extra time involved in an offsite purchase, and reconciling an invoice to an unauthorized vendor. How can this drag on NOI be avoided?
Be realistic about what can and should be reduced. True emergency spend will never go away 100%, but in many cases the term “emergency” is used only to help justify an unplanned purchase. Establish ground rules, as to what constitutes a true emergency. Consultants at Buyers Access have identified several ways to improve efficiency, increase service levels, and reduce the incidences of “False Alarms”. Once the ground rules have been set, communicate the plan to your team, and designate a leader to go to with questions.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One practical way to reduce emergency expenses is to perform scheduled property inspections. These can detect potential emergencies waiting to happen. Key vendors are invaluable in this process. Buyers Access members have the benefit of making one call to our Member Services team to schedule qualified inspections by HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contractors.
Practice makes perfect. Review emergency procedures on a consistent basis. Our Account Management Team, can assist with this review, and identify additional solutions to further reduce costs associated with emergencies. Ultimately, these steps not only improve your NOI, but your residents’ experience through more timely resolution to their requests.
To learn more about other cost reducing strategies that Buyers Access can offer, contact the Buyers Access Sales Team today orclick here for a Free Consultation!
Come See Buyers Access at Booth #48 today at the NEAHMA Conference & Expo Oct. 20-21
by Michelle N. on 10/20/2015 11:49:38 AM
Learn how your organization can leverage the Smart Advantage® Purchasing Program to improve efficiency, while increasing NOI.
Contact Diane today! firstname.lastname@example.org
It's Fire Prevention Week - Fast Facts About Fire
by Michelle N. on 10/7/2015 10:47:00 AM
This week is Fire Prevention Week and we want your residents to be safe. Below are some compelling facts about fire.
Fast Facts About Fire
• Did you know that roughly half of resident/home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep?
• Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
• Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
• When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
• Smoking materials started an average of 17,900 smoking-material home structure fires per year during 2007-2011. These fires caused an average of 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries and $509 million in direct property damage per year.
• On average, there are 29 home candle fires reported per day.age of 47,800 home fires per year in 2007-2011, resulting in an average of 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.
Working smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire at your property, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give your residents time to get out. In fact, having working smoke alarms cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!
To find out more about how you can benefit from being a Buyer Access member and access our national fire protection suppliers, please contact us today!
Buyers Access Can Help with Your Budgeting Season
by Michelle N. on 9/28/2015 6:05:00 PM
With Fall in full swing, and budgeting season at hand, there's no better time to take a moment to hear about what Buyers Access can do for you. Our team of experienced Account Managers are working every day to uncover opportunities to deliver savings, and every year we're putting millions of dollars back on the bottom line for our clients. In addition, our Member Services team is supporting hundreds of communities across the country, putting valuable time back in to their hands to focus on what is most important: serving their residents and welcoming new residents to their communities.
We encourage you to take full advantage of our Smart Advantage® Purchasing Program, as it will have a positive impact on your business.
5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Budget Season
by Michelle N. on 9/16/2015 6:19:55 PM
As a residential property manager, you’re likely already gearing up for the 2016 budget season. As busy as property managers are with the many hats they wear — marketing and sales, screening prospective residents, assisting with all manner of residents requests, and more — most understand that putting together a solid budget is critical for financial performance all year long.
A budget tells you where you are and where you’re going, and it helps you measure your progress along the way. It provides an organized and easily understood look at money coming in and going out for anyone who might need the information, including your staff, community investors, and financial professionals. It’s also an invaluable tool for you in assessing how your community is performing, identifying any fat to be trimmed, and adapting as situations change.
As you prepare your 2016 budget, take a look at the tips below to help make the process as painless as possible.
Review industry data
Visit the library, use an online database, or search online to review standard income, expenditures, profit margins, and other metrics for your industry. You can find lots of free information simply by searching online for various keywords, and you can also find annual reports from market research firms that give away some information for free and include others for a fee.
Generate methods for increasing revenue
If your community isn’t at full occupancy, create a marketing, sales, and communications plan before working on your budget. Does your website need work? Should you be focusing more on generating and cultivating leads? If marketing isn’t your primary area of expertise, consider working with a local marketing firm or a national company specializing in property management for ideas.
Put together your marketing plan first so you can include funding in the budget to cover any new or existing initiatives. Also, spend time thinking about whether your pricing is on target. Are rents where they should be based on market averages, demand, and supply? Should you consider additional fees for services such as using the fitness center?
Consider cost-cutting measures
What can be trimmed from last year’s budget? Are you overstaffed for your current occupancy? Are there areas in which you know you’re spending too much? Spend time reviewing budgets from the past several years and considering your unique situation to determine if any areas can be cut.
Review your tax situation
Prior to working on the budget, sit down with your tax professional for an update on any changes in the local, state, and federal tax codes that may affect you. Plan accordingly for any additional expenses that may result.
Plan for capital expenditures
Sit down with your maintenance staff — and maybe even a hand-picked panel of residents — to plan for needed capital expenditures. There will always be something that can be fixed or upgraded, so you’ll need to prioritize. What has to be done in 2016 and what can be put off for future years’ budgets? Consider your community’s overall financial situation, but also consider the marketing impact and curb appeal of certain upgrades over others.
No property manager looks forward to creating a budget. However, most also understand that taking time to put together an effective budget is critical to the ongoing financial and operational performance of a community. Spending some time planning by reviewing industry information, thinking about how to increase revenue, reviewing spending and taxes, and negotiating with vendors can help make the task a little less daunting.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/small-business-budget.asp, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/steps-preparing-operating-budget-61547.html, http://www.personalfinance.duke.edu/manage-your-finances/budget/overview
September is National Preparedness Month - Be Proactive Not Reactive
by Michelle N. on 9/15/2015 3:30:00 PM
September is National Preparedness Month and we want our members to be proactive rather than reactive. Disasters can happen anytime and without warning but with proper preparation and supplies you can be ready, reduce damage, and pull through. Below are key steps in making sure you are ready in case a disaster strikes. Please review below how to prepare for hazards that can affect your community.
How do I create emergency plans for my property?
Your insurance agent, local fire department, local police department, and Red Cross may all have resources that can help you formulate your own emergency preparedness program. Additionally, professional property management associations, networking groups, or colleagues may be able to provide guidance.
With that in mind, following are some items every emergency preparedness plan should cover:
• Know how 911 is notified in case of emergency—you may well have detection systems (such as fire alarms) that will trigger this but, if not, know who is responsible for contacting 911 and how to best ensure such calls are placed as quickly as possible.
• Clearly mark all emergency exits and fire-safe stairwells; if your property is large, place diagrams where tenants can clearly find them (such as near elevators).
Make sure fire extinguishers are strategically placed throughout the property and are clearly visible. (Also be sure they are checked on at least an annual basis—your local fire department should be able to help with this.)
• Have explicit, easy-to-read instructions about how a fire extinguisher should be used clearly displayed next to extinguishers.
In case of a fire, make sure tenants know to close all doors behind them to stop the fire from spreading and not to use elevators.
• Consider designating a fire warden on the property to account for all tenants and make sure necessary actions are taken (if a landlord does not live on the premises, these duties can potentially be designated to a responsible tenant).
• Identify “safe spots” (such as doorways) in case of an earthquake and disseminate this information to tenants (more on that in the following section).
• Make sure you are aware of any residents who may have difficulty evacuating, such as the elderly or handicapped.
• Suggest that residents with pets place decals indicating they have a pet on unit doors or windows so that emergency services know to look for pets should a rescue be necessary. Such stickers can be found at your local SPCA, fire department, alarm company, or online.
• Make sure all tenants have emergency numbers on-hand to reference. This should include the fire department, police department (a general non-emergency number for cases when 911 is not necessary), poison control, and a property management company number that can be used during off-business hours.
Additionally, you and other responsible parties should know:
• How to shut off water, gas, and electricity
• What to do in case of power failure (garage doors, elevators, etc.)
How do I spread the word to tenants?
Provide all tenants with pertinent emergency preparedness information upon move-in when all other paperwork is distributed. In addition to this, you will also want to update them in writing on an as-necessary basis when information changes. It may also be worth re-distributing this information on an annual basis to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle as time goes on.
Of course, we all hope that none of these plans will ever have to be put into action. But for your own and your tenants’ best interest, it’s vital to know exactly what to do … just in case
Read more from By Geoff Roberts, Buildium, Boston, MA
Does Your Property Have an Emergency Supplies Checklist?
by Michelle N. on 8/31/2015 1:50:00 PM
With tropical storms on the rise, there is no better time than now to review your property’s emergency preparedness checklist. We want our members to be proactive rather than reactive. Disasters can happen anytime and without warning but with proper preparation and supplies you can be ready, reduce damage, and pull through. As a Buyers Access member, you have a handful of dependable sources for the products you need to help your community prepare and recover from an emergency. This emergency checklist
will help you get started.