Archive for July, 2014

How to Help Heritage House’s Displaced Residents in Greensboro

For our members in Greensboro – You’ve likely heard about what’s been going on with the Heritage House condos and some of you might be wondering how you can help. One need they have is finding affordable housing for some of the displaced residents. We’ve been asked to share the information below on the basic housing needs they have and the contact information for the folks coordinating the effort to help:

Residents still need to find houses or apartments — studios or one- to three-bedroom units — with a monthly rent of $600 or less.

Property owners can contact:
Beth McKee Huger, Greensboro Housing Coalition,
Lisa Taylor, New Jerusalem Cathedral,

Owners should include their criteria for accepting tenants in their emails.

Here’s the full press release from the City of Greensboro:

City, Partners Solicit Assistance for Heritage House Residents

GREENSBORO, NC (July 23, 2014) – The City of Greensboro and several partner agencies are seeking help from Greensboro residents and property owners as part of the ongoing effort to transition residents from the Heritage House condominiums, 310 W. Meadowview Rd. The list of assistance needed includes furniture donations, affordable housing options, and volunteer assistance to help move residents.

Alternative Housing Options

The City and its partners are seeking affordable rentals that are ready for occupancy.  Property owners are encouraged to contact Beth McKee Huger at Greensboro Housing Coalition and Lisa Taylor at New Jerusalem Cathedral about studio, one, two, and three bedroom houses or apartments, with monthly rent at or below $600 per month. Owners are asked to include selection criteria to facilitate referrals. Greensboro Housing Coalition may inspect rental units before tenants move in. And, as needed, case managers – including Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina representatives – will assist tenants to succeed in their new homes.

Furniture Donations

The Barnabas Network is accepting furniture and houseware donations, including:

Most needed donations:

Dressers/Chests of drawers

Dining tables & chairs

Mattresses and box springs

Small tables/nightstand

Working washers/dryers

Working stoves

Working refrigerators



Pots and pans

Clean, unstained bedding and linens (pillows, sheets, blankets)

Dishes, silverware & glassware

Basic kitchen utensils

Working lamps

Small appliances (working microwaves, toasters)

Towels (bath, hand & wash)


Barnabas does not accept:



Desks or office furniture

Entertainment Centers or large hutches

The Barnabas Network accepts donations anytime between 8 am and 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Residents who would like to donate outside of those times can call Barnabas at 336-370-4002 to schedule a drop off time. Barnabas may also be able to schedule large furniture donations for pick up. The Barnabas Network is located at 2024 Sixteenth St., behind the Walmart on Cone Boulevard.

Move Action Day

Volunteers are needed to support New Jerusalem Cathedral’s “Move Action Day.” The two-day event takes place from 9 am to 4 pm, July 24-25 with a focus on providing housing counseling, workplace preparation and life skills training, along with housing resources and medical screenings. The event is open to Heritage House residents and to the community at large who are in need of services. For more information, or to assist, residents can contact Lisa Taylor at


Volunteer Services

Volunteers are needed to support the transport and pick up of furniture and to assist with residents who are moving out of the Heritage House. Residents or groups interested in volunteering can contact Gloria Gray at the City of Greensboro at


Financial Donations

Monetary donations may be made to the Emergency Relocation Fund at The Community Foundation of Greensboro. Donations may be made by mail to: 330 S. Greene St., Suite 100, Greensboro, NC 27401, or online at Proceeds will be used to support relocation expenses for residents of the Heritage House and other low income households.




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July 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Resident Puppy

An apartment community in Washington, DC has a unique amenity:

Emmy is a 9-month-old English bulldog who lives in the 2M leasing office. Living up to her unofficial title of Puppy Ambassador, Emmy’s days are full of greeting visitors, playing with building residents and taking naps in an Emmy-sized replica of the 2M building. At night, she goes home with the building’s leasing manager, who lives on-site.

“Here in D.C. there are lots of people who are transplants, don’t have family and work insane hours. Not everyone can own a pet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the perks,” explained Holli Beckman, vice president of marketing at WC Smith, 2M’s developer. “Emmy helps give a sense of community you really want as a renter.”

In addition to being available for walks and romps in the dog park, Emmy also helps host community yappy hours. Some prospective residents ask to meet the pup the moment they walk in, and others find it hard to leave — especially when she lifts her paw to wave goodbye.

If you decide to have your own puppy ambassador you might even be able to get it subsidized since it seems like a natural sponsorship opportunity for a company like Carolina PooPrints!

July 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Where Does the Housing Recovery Stand?

It will come as no surprise to most people that we’re in the middle innings of the housing recovery in the U. S.:

The housing recovery is still very much in its middle stages. Nationally, home values remain 11.3 percent below their 2007 peak. Looking ahead, U.S. home values are expected to rise another 4.2 percent through the second quarter of 2015, according to the Zillow Home Value Forecast. It will take 2.7 years for national home values to re-achieve their pre-recession levels, assuming a steady rate of appreciation at the forecasted level.

In other words, national home values won’t get back to their prior peaks until at least the first quarter of 2017, almost a decade after the beginning of the housing recession. And full recovery could take even longer, as the pace of home value appreciation is expected to slow in coming months and years.

Locally, in 50 of the nation’s 100 largest metro markets, it will take three years or more for home values to reach prior peaks. Notable large metros where full recovery in home values will take longer than a decade include Minneapolis (14.5 years), Kansas City (12.5 years) and Chicago (11.7 years).

You can count the Piedmont Triad as one of the markets that will likely take longer to fully recover. Our two real estate MSAs – Greensboro/High Point and Winston-Salem – continue to lag the rest of the state and there’s still a significant number of mortgages underwater here. Until demand and prices rise enough to bring home values up it will be hard for those homes to sell unless the buyers have cash, which essentially knocks out any first-time home buyers and that keeps them in the rental market which obviously benefits the apartment industry.

July 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

How is Tech Changing Your Customer Interaction Experience?

There’s an interesting piece making the social media rounds right now. It’s about a Craigslist post by the management of a New York City restaurant who were trying to determine why their service was so much slower in 2014 than it was in 2004 despite a simplified menu and increased staff. They were able to find security tapes from 2004 and compare them to their current security recordings and here’s part of what they found:

26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.

14 out of 45 customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.

9 out of 45 customers sent their food back to reheat. Obviously if they didn’t pause to do whatever on their phone the food wouldn’t have gotten cold.

27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo. 14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another 5 minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.

Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave.

8 out of 45 customers bumped into other customers or in one case a waiter (texting while walking) as they were either walking in or out of the Restaurant. 

In the end the restaurant’s management found that in 2004 the average customer was with them for 1 hour and 5 minutes. In 2014 that time had increased to 1 hour and 55 minutes, an increase of about 77%. No wonder they were seeing slower service times and an increase in complaints about slow service.

In the apartment industry we spend a lot of time talking about how technology has changed many aspects of the business – the impact of mobile on the leasing process, how to respond to online reviews, etc. – but we haven’t talked a lot about how these new technologies are changing how we interact with customers on a daily basis. I’d love to hear from you about changes you’ve noticed in your daily interaction with your customers and prospects, and how that’s impacted how you do business. Feel free to email me with any stories or observations you have about the changes you’ve seen as a result of the boom in mobile tech.

July 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Rent a Family?

Want to give your model that “lived in” feel? You might borrow this idea from some realtors in Florida:

When the Mueller family sits for dinner, the leftover broccoli and crepes are already wrapped in plastic, the kitchen is beyond spotless, and the rest of the home is so tucked-away tidy it looks like they just moved in. In a way, they have: Every inch of furnishing, every little trinket and votive candle, sits precisely as designers placed it five months ago. That would make them the most perfect suburban ideal, except for one catch: This isn’t actually their home. Bob and Dareda Mueller and their three grown sons are, instead, part of an “elite group” of middle-class nomads who have agreed to an outlandish deal. They can live cheaply in this for-sale luxury home if it looks as if they never lived here at all.

The home must remain meticulously cleaned and preserved: the temperature precisely pleasant, the mirrors crystalline clear. If a prospective buyer wants to see the home, they must quickly disappear. And when the home sells, they must be gone for good, off to the next perfect place.

That they do everything an owner would do — sleeping, making memories, learning the home’s quirks and secrets — imbues an otherwise-empty home with an unmistakable energy, say executives with Showhomes Tampa, the home-staging firm that moves them in. It also helps the homes sell faster, and for more money.

July 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

Do Seniors Prefer Downtown?

An interesting item from the 7/9/14 Plots & Ploys segment of the Wall Street Journal’s Property Report:

Will seniors want to live in a bustling downtown rather than the far-flung suburbs? A Colorado senior-housing developer and owner is betting on it.

Balfour Senior Living intends to finish construction later this year of a 205-unit senior facility in downtown Denver. Costing an estimated $77 million, the Balfour at Riverfront Park complex sits on the edge of Denver’s Commons Park and just blocks from the metro area’s redeveloped, $488 million Union Station mass-transit center.

Michael Schonbrun, chief executive of closely held Balfour, believes seniors will prefer the proximity to downtown amenities. Balfour’s other complexes, like most across the U.S., are in suburban locations.

“For people who like to be independent and to walk to a large variety of cultural, dining and sports venues, a location in the center of a vibrant downtown is hard to beat,” Mr. Schonbrun said.

July 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

Saying Yes to the Dress – and the Tutu – for a Good Cause

I want to take this opportunity to thank two of our member companies for allowing me and our Food Drive Committee Chair, Dale Holder of Apartment Finder, to embarrass ourselves in exchange for significant donations to Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC.

Today Dale and I will be at the main entrance to Robinhood Court Apartments and Villas at 4 p.m. wearing “prom dresses” in exchange for a $550 donation to Second Harvest, plus $5 for everyone who stops in to visit while we’re there. In my case the only dress that would fit is something that a typical high school girl’s grandmother might wear to church on Sunday so we’ll call it a prom-ish dress, but Dale is sure to be bedazzling.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Blue Ridge Companies and their Burke Ridge Crossing community for donating $250 to Second Harvest last month in exchange for me wearing a tutu, a tiara and high heels, having their corporate slogan painted on my back and then jumping into the Burke Ridge Crossing pool.

Jon Cold Water Challenge

Many of our member companies are very active in our food drive and do an amazing job raising funds, food and awareness for Second Harvest, but I just wanted to take a quick second to thank these companies for so enthusiastically throwing me and Dale under the proverbial bus for a great cause:)

If you’d like to get involved in our food drive, or would like to make a donation online, you can find out everything you need to know at our food drive website at

July 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

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