BLOGS: Multifamily Focus

2009-04-08, 12:12

Wi-Fi, Rapidly Becoming the New-Age Dishwasher

By: Multifamily Real Estate Industry Team
Housing communities are offering an increasing number of amenities to entice renters, including wireless internet. Multi-Housing News recently reported that wireless internet has been an effective retention tool for several property management companies (read the full article here ).

Given the state of the economy more and more people, either by choice or circumstance, are opting into the rental market. Inasmuch, the housing industry focus has shifted from buyers to renters. This shift is evident even in cable programming targeted at these groups. HGTV, a cable network dedicated almost exclusively to “home” improvement programming with shows like House Hunters and Design on a Dime, to name a few, recently launched its newest show all about renters ( ). Whatever the circumstance may be for an increased rental market, one thing is for sure, renters are getting a lot of attention.

Today, a dishwasher is a popular -normally standard- amenity that renters expect to be included as part of the lease. However, dishwashers were originally a luxury item. Although patented in the mid 1800’s the dishwasher was not widely manufactured and sold until the 1930’s to private wealthy families. By the 1970’s the dishwasher became more popular and was seen as a kitchen asset. The dishwasher has outgrown the luxury class and has become a common amenity, and we can are seeing the same happening with options like Wi-Fi.

From coffee shops, to airports, to hotels, organizations and business have offered wireless internet to successfully attract and assist clients. Providing wireless internet in multi-family housing communities is an inexpensive amenity to provide that renters will assuredly be looking for. Moreover, wireless internet can help to increase retention rates, resident satisfaction, and property value. Wireless internet has become the new-age dishwasher in that it is no longer a luxury reserved for the elite but a popular amenity to be enjoyed by the masses.

(This entry posted by Christina M. Thomas, a member of Womble Carlyle's Real Estate Development group)

2009-04-06, 12:49

Smart Property Management in a Down Economy

By: Multifamily Real Estate Industry Team
As the hard times continue to become harder for apartment owners and their renters, smart property management is key. One property manager, Resource Residential, recently described a number of interesting things it is doing to keep occupancy high in the apartments that it manages for Resource Real Estate Investors.

Implementing a New Revenue Management System for Daily Pricing of Apartments

Resource Residential will soon roll out a lease/rent optimization system (LRO) that will enable it to calculate the optimal rent on any given apartment on any given day. The program is similar to that used in other industries (hotel and airline, for example) to price products on a daily basis in accordance with daily supply and demand. The intent is to ensure that all apartments are appropriately priced at all times in every market in which Resource Real Estate has apartment properties.

Marketing Less Expensive Resource Real Estate Properties to Current Tenants to Keep Occupancy Rates High Across the Portfolio

Some tenants in "Class A" properties may no longer be able to afford their rent payment, but are reluctant to move to something they would consider inferior. To address this, Resource Residential has embarked on what it calls a "guerilla" marketing campaign to promote Resource Real Estate's "Class B", fully amenitized, properties that are in similar high quality neighborhoods, with access to the same schools and the same level of public services. Keeping tenants within Resource Real Estate's portfolio of properties while still enabling them to significantly reduce their monthly rent payments is a win-win for all.

Assisting Residents "Weather the Storm" by Organizing Inexpensive Community and Social Activities

In what seems to be an excellent customer care initiative, Resource Residential is organizing community and social events at Resource Real Estate's properties for tenants. For example, Resource Residential is hosting movie nights and other events that promote camaraderie and bonding within the community. These events help ease tenants' anxieties, help them save on entertainment fees, and also build loyalty and a sense of belonging to the community.

For more information on Resource Residential, go to its website at

(This entry posted by Karen Estelle Carey, a member of Womble Carlyle's Real Estate Development and Construction groups.)

2009-04-01, 09:58

Administration's Plans for Buying Trouble Loans

By: Multifamily Real Estate Industry Team
In an article entitled "Administration’s Plans for Buying Troubled Loans: What Does it Mean for MultiFamily," Multifamily Housing News observes that the Obama Administration’s plan to increase activity in the credit markets and lower interest rates will be good news for the multifamily housing industry. The Federal Reserve plans to use part of $1 trillion that has been targeted to reinvigorate the financial industry to purchase Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) and infuse capital into banks through asset purchases. This will provide some relief, most likely through lower interest rates and increased liquidity. As with all complex plans, the devil will be in the details.

It simply is too soon to breathe a sigh of relief and expect markets to normalize. There are a number of unknowns. First, as has happened with the bailout of troubled banks, increasing banks liquidity and improving their balance sheets does not guaranty that they will begin lending large amounts of money. Further, several portions of the plan hinge on partnerships between private equity and the government. This will only be a game for substantial players. It remains to be seen whether these players will have enough faith and confidence in the government to risk the large sums that the plan requires. Finally, even if some liquidity is returned to the CMBS market, it may turn out that the number of purchasers of CMBS securities has been permanently and substantially reduced. This would both reduce the volume of transactions and likely lead to increased interest rates.

(This entry is posted by Erica Harvey, a member of Womble Carlyle's Real Estate Development group.)
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