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Featured Article


Keep Your Eye On The Ball

by Anne Sadovsky

As the manager drove me to the property, I questioned her about things like competition and office hours. When I asked about weekend traffic, she glared at me and said "Don't mention weekends to my boss. We don't work weekends and we're not going to." Here I was consulting with the owner about a 25% vacancy factor, and they were closed on the weekends! Why? They were closed on weekends at 100% occupancy and didn't reposition when the market changed.

There's a great story in baseball about a player running out in the field to catch a fly ball. Just then his cap blew off, he leaned down to retrieve it and missed the ball.

Stop today and brainstorm, look at the way things are being done (or not being done) and take action to properly position yourself in today's challenging market. Start with the following ten areas:

1. Check the community policies for revision. For example, if your policy is "no pets" consider choosing a few buildings for residents with pets. Have good written policies, pet leases with photos of the animal and strong pet deposits. As our society continues to mature, many of us have furry, feathered or finned companions and are willing to pay extra to have them share our home. While reviewing policies ask yourself "could this policy be costing us leases? If so, should we consider a change?"

2. Stop the bleeding. Focus on resident retention by remembering that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Today's resident expects service, fair treatment, good communication and to be rewarded at renewal time. If you treat the resident like they're stuck with you, they will be sure to prove you wrong.

3. Get off the "giveaway" track! We have conditioned prospective renters to walk in or telephone and ask "What's your special?" If your special isn't bigger and better than the one across the street, you lose. And if you make sure your special is the biggest one in town, you still lose because you probably can't make the mortgage payment.

4. Shop your people regularly. Relationship selling is the strategy of the 90’s. Do you really know how your staff is treating your customers? In a market where every lease counts, shopping should be a standard practice, it should also be a positive learning experience for your team.

5. Drive your property through a prospective renter’s eyes during the day and again at night. Is it well lit, can you see the signs, how’s the curb appeal? Do you have guest parking, balloons, banners, flags, flowers and signs? If they can’t find you, they can’t lease an apartment!

6. Fair Housing "ain't gonna go away!" Be absolutely positive that you and your staff aren't going to get you sued. Know the laws, be sure personal prejudices aren't coming to the office, and best advice, treat everyone exactly the same way!

Anne Sadovsky, CSP, CAM, CAPS, RAM, has been in this industry since 1968. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and has earned the prestigious designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Based in Dallas, Texas, she was named one of the top trainers in the industry by Multi Housing News. Her success story has been featured in Money Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and Texas Business. Anne Sadovsky is the owner of a Dallas based marketing, consulting and seminar firm – where she and her associates provide training, keynotes and counsel to a variety of industries, businesses and associations. She is the former Vice President of Marketing and Education of Lincoln Property Company. Her expertise in multifamily housing makes her a sought after consultant and trainer. As a consultant, Anne has saved and made her clients millions of dollars. To contact Anne by phone: 866 905-9300 or e-mail: or visit her website at


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