Archive for February, 2013

Winston-Salem Makes Forbes List of 25 Best Places to Retire

Winston-Salem made the Forbes list of 25 Best Places to Retire in 2013. Here’s what they wrote:

Pros: Low cost of living, median home price $129,000, moderate climate, college amenities (Wake Forest), high doctors per capita, high Milken Institute aging rank. Con: Crime.

Other North Carolina cities that made the list were Charlotte and Asheville.

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February 28, 2013 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

Big Real Estate Companies Entering Student Housing Market

The Wall Street Journal has a story about large real estate companies getting into the student housing market in an effort to diversify and, hopefully, better weather future recessions:

Housing for college students, long dominated by small players willing to put up with beer pong and raucous parties, is attracting some of the biggest names in real-estate development…

The moves are designed to help the companies better weather the next economic recession by diversifying into areas considered less sensitive to downturns. During the real-estate crash, as prices of single-family homes declined and apartment landlords reduced rent, many student-housing landlords continued to raise rent, thanks to the generosity of parents and student-loan programs.

Meanwhile, established players in the market are on a buying spree in hopes of remaining competitive against the big-name newcomers. Last year, a record $3.7 billion of student-housing properties traded hands, up nearly 95% from the previous year, according to ARA Student Housing…

Developers’ heavy construction activity has prompted Freddie MacFMCC -0.70%which purchases student-housing loans from lenders, to turn somewhat cautious. “You can’t help but notice there’s a lot of interest now going into that space,” said John Cannon, head of multifamily sales at Freddie Mac, which purchased $1.7 billion in student-housing loans last year, up 55% from 2011…

A big reason why companies are diversifying into student housing is that they believe the sector is recession-resistant.

Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors, a private-equity investor with 15,000 beds, posted annual returns that exceeded 20% between 2007 and 2012, despite the economic downturn. The firm isn’t worried about oversupply.

“I don’t think we’re in a situation where you’re looking at overdevelopment,” said Al Rabil, managing partner of Kayne Anderson. “In almost all cases, you’re looking at a situation where development is just catching up in creating supply to keep up with demand.”

February 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

Google+ Local

Over at the NAA blog there’s an informative piece on the new Google+ Local service that has replaced Google Places:

The most game-changing feature is the new Google ratings and reviews feature. For several months, users have been able to leave reviews of companies that would show up on the business’ Google Places page. After the revamp, these reviews are front-and-center. As soon as a potential customer puts your name into the search engine, they will be able to see what others have been saying. Google’s star ratings have also been replaced with a Zagat style scoring system. When a user writes a review, they are asked to rate the business on a scale of 0-30. Once enough reviews are compiled Google assigns a score from 0-30, 0 being very poor and 30 is approaching perfection. This number is in a prime location directly under your company name. Because of this, it is VITAL to keep track of your online reputation.  Several bad reviews will mar your image, and will influence prospects to take their business elsewhere. 

Thankfully, Google has also implemented a feature we have often requested, the ability to apply to reviews. Once a review is posted, the owner’s of your page can respond to the post. This gives management the opportunity to shine by offering to right any wrongs that may have been committed in the past.  The more reviews your receive, the easier it is for your page to appear higher on Google.

If your team hasn’t already looked into Google+ Local it should definitely do so quickly as it is likely to become an important part of your company’s/communities’ online reputation management.

February 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm 1 comment

PTAA’s 2013 Labor of Love Project, March 22-23

This year PTAA will be working with Housing Greensboro for our Labor of Love project.  Fox8 did a nice story on Housing Greensboro that you can see here.

For our project this year we’ll be working on two homes in Greensboro and below is a brief description of each project. Our project dates are March 22 & 23 and we need volunteers for both days. You can volunteer for a whole day, both days or just a couple of hours on either day. To register simply visit our website or call the PTAA office at (336) 294-4428. We hope to see you out there!

Here are the project descriptions:

Home Repair Project #1: 

The homeowner has owned her home for 23 years.  She is an elderly woman with breast cancer who lives alone and needs repairs to make her home warmer, drier and safer.  She has a very low limited income and cannot do the repairs herself.

Scope of repair work:

  • Roof- replace sheathing, felt paper, drip edge, shingles, pipe boots, ridge vent & ridge cap
  • Exterior- seal & flash windows, repair missing brick at slab, replace knob & deadbolt on front door, reinstall storm door
  • Bathroom- install baseboard behind sink, install grab bars in shower
  • Kitchen- fix leaking sink, replace faucets & repair tiles on countertop
  • Energy Efficiency- air seal attic, install insulation dam & insulated lid for attic access, install bathroom fans, replace blubs with CFLs throughout house, patch sheetrock in utility room & tape joints

Home Repair Project #2:

The homeowner has owned the home for 20 years.  She is an older adult living with her daughter and they both have disabilities which limit their ability to financially or physically do the repairs themselves.  Her home needs plumbing, electrical and accessibility repairs to make her home warmer, drier and safer.

Scope of repair work:

  • Plumbing- caulk tub, replace faucet, supply lines & toilet
  • Electrical- replace motion light, cap wire for disposal & install junction box with cover over sink
  • Accessibility- install grab bars beside toilet & in shower, install handrails at front & rear doors
  • Other- replace back door to laundry room, repair deck
  • Energy Efficiency- vent dryer to outside, air seal fireplace, install insulated lid on attic access, air seal attic & crawlspace

February 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

How to Keep Your Star Employees

Emily Goodman wrote an excellent post on employee retention for the NAA blog:

For example, consider new hire and rockstar Jill — an outstanding, experienced Property Manager recently drafted at considerable expense from one of the hiring company’s main competitors. Despite her outward success and the success of her newly acquired property, she’s unsure how she’s performing, where she stands in the company, and how she fits into the overall goals of the agency. Her pay is great and she loves the autonomy of not being micro-managed, but over time, she finds herself feeling dispirited by the lack of communication and checks out.

The loss of rockstar performers like Jill doesn’t just leave a talent vacuum to seal; it also leaves a wide hole in the bottom line.

Keeping rockstars engaged comes down to creating a culture of communication — one in which employees know the organization’s direction, how they factor into it, and what’s expected of them.

Emily then outlines three strategies for creating that kind of culture. You should definitely check them out.

February 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Economic Impact of the Apartment Industry

NAA and NMHC commissioned a report by George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller on the contribution the apartment industry makes to the US economy. From Multifamily Executive’s article about the report:

The study found that apartment industry spending contributes $1.1 trillion to the national economy and supports 25.4 million jobs.

“People underestimate the economic impact that flows from apartment buildings,” says Stephen S. Fuller, an academic researcher at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis who conducted the study.

 “It’s always that first splash of new construction that gets the attention,” Fuller notes. “No one pays attention to ongoing maintenance or to the people who live in these properties. By not paying attention to them and the long-term effect they have, people underestimate the importance to the overall economy.”

Multifamily construction contributed $42.5 billion to the national economy, and construction spending spurred $12.7 billion in personal earnings, while supporting roughly 324,000 jobs, in 2011. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s worth noting that resident spending on goods and services produces an economic impact nearly four times greater than construction.

Apartment resident spending drove nearly 80 percent of the apartment industry’s total contribution to the national economy and sustained nearly 90 percent of total jobs supported by the apartment industry. In 2011 alone, the country’s 35 million apartment residents contributed $885.2 billion to the national economy. Renter spending also generated $222 billion in additional personal earnings and supported 22.8 million jobs during the year.

For more information you can visit the weareapartments.org website and download the full report, look at state-by-state data or use the apartment community estimator.

February 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

Somerset at Friendly Site Plan Approved

Lomax Properties’ site plan for its 200-unit Somerset at Friendly project was approved by the Greensboro Planning Board:

The city’s Zoning Commission in September approved Lomax’s proposal for the Somerset at Friendly project, which is planned for a 4-acre property at 3358 W. Friendly Ave. at the corner of Hobbs Road and Northline Drive. But Wednesday’s site plan approval was a formal step toward finalizing the project’s design, said Patrick Woods, vice president of development at Lomax Properties.

With the formal site plan approval, Lomax can now move forward with architectural and engineering design, Woods said.

February 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

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