Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Help for Joplin, Mo. Tornado Victims

As someone who has family living in Joplin, Missouri I wanted to pass on this email I received from the National Apartment Association.

Apartment residents are among the thousands affected by the widespread devastation in Joplin, Mo., following the recent killer tornados. Hundreds -- if not thousands of residents -- have been left without homes, whether apartments or houses. Many are in survival and recovery modes.

NAA affiliates and member companies have immediately stepped into action. NAA now calls on you for your support. This has been a devastating tornado season for a number of our affiliates – but this is the first request that the apartment industry has received for immediate help.

Becky Weaver, CPM, Vice President of the American Residential Group in Tulsa, Okla., has been in touch with “the few people we have been able to reach” in Joplin. Because they are not sure yet what they need, Becky recommends that NAA members donate to the American Red Cross. It has opened a shelter and is distributing food, clean-up supplies and comfort kits. It is assisting with sending health workers to provide immediate care.

Text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit the website to donate, give blood or volunteer.

Additionally, Gary Wilson says that the Missouri Apartment Association (MAA) Board of Directors recommends making donations to Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Mo.-based organization that is heavily involved in distributing water, food and supplies.

Text "CONVOY" to 50555 to make a $10 donation, or visit the website to donate.

Here are some ways NAA members are already making a difference:

The Springfield Apartment and Housing Association is working to find vacant apartments to help displaced residents.

Properties Plus, Inc., a Tulsa property management company, has closed its properties’ offices and is sending all of its employees along with two trucks filled with supplies to Joplin.

The MAA affiliates are joining forces to help the Red Cross and the Southwest Missouri Rental Housing Association in Joplin, according to Debbie Haukenberry, Associate Executive, Missouri Apartment Association. She reports that Cesar Mendez with Mendez Enterprises has donated trucks to help carry critical supplies. BluSky Restoration in Joplin is seeking out tornado victims to determine what help they need.

Additionally, Debbie says that Oddo Development has donated $1,000 to purchase supplies. Both the Apartment Association of Kansas City and the MAA have already donated or will donate funds. They are also collecting supplies and will begin distributing them this week.

If you have questions about how you can help, contact:
Valerie Hairston, Director of Membership & Affiliate Services
valerie@naahq.org
703/797-0624

If you are a member of the news media, contact:
Carole Roper, Manager of Public Affairs
carole@naahq.org
703/797-0616

Monday, May 23, 2011

What is that strange box?

Your property is up for lease again and you’re looking for a new way to market it. Have you thought about a QR code? If you look around you will see more and more companies using a white box with black symbols in their ads. This new fad is taking off with many in the multi-family housing industry.

What is a QR code? The QR code is a two dimensional bar code that holds information. Using a smart phone with a downloaded scanning app you can open up links to video, maps, photos and more.

The QR code is mystery waiting to be solved by those reading your ad. Imagine someone looking at your ad for an apartment and in the corner is your QR code. If the person looking at your ad is curious enough to pull out their smart phone and scan your code, they could then have access to a video tour of your rental, a coupon for $100 off their first months rent or anything else you can imagine. Once they click on the QR code your prospective renter is now invested in your advertisement. The odds increase greatly of generating traffic to your rental.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Were Bending Over Backwards

Today I wanted to talk about flexibility in the screening industry. I see lots of companies that offer a one size fits all solution when it comes to background checks. At RSI we work hard to make sure we offer different screening options. More options translate to more flexibility when screening applicants. Make sure your screening company offers a way to customize criteria for different properties in your portfolio. Make sure you have a way to choose your own approval process for applicants. Decisions should based on your customized criteria provided by your screening company or make sure you can receive all the data to make your own in house decisions. You should also make sure your screening company has a seamless integration platform with multiple service partners. This provides you the flexibility you need to use different services and information providers. Finding the right screening company can streamline the screening process.